Table of Contents
In 2018, the consensus Top 5 Quarterbacks to draft were: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. Obviously Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have cemented their statuses as NFL Franchise Quarterbacks.
Baker Mayfield looked to be the franchise QB for the Cleveland Browns, but they decided to move on and go with Deshaun Watson in 2022. Mayfield continues to provide average to solid production in the NFL, and he just finished a very solid season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mayfield is a UFA in 2024.
Sam Darnold was the almost can’t miss franchise QB of the 2018 Draft, but Darnold never proved that with the New York Jets or Carolina Panthers. Darnold signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason.
Josh Rosen was projected to be a good NFL Starting QB, but he never caught on anywhere. Rosen played in 3 NFL Seasons with 1-year stints for the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons. Rosen’s last year in the NFL was 2021.
Mason Rudolph was mostly projected to be a backup quarterback in the NFL. He was the primary backup QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019 and 2020. He was the 3rd string QB the last 2 seasons for the Steelers. Rudolph ended up starting 3 of the final 4 games for the Steelers in 2023. He went 55 for 74 for 719 yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Rudolph also posted an incredible 118.0 passer rating and a 70.6 adjusted QBR. Rudolph will be a free agent in 2024, and the Steelers will be looking to re-sign him.
Mike White has proven to be an effective backup QB in the NFL. He signed a free agent deal this past offseason with the Miami Dolphins.
Kyle Allen has spent time with the Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Houston Texans, and currently the Buffalo Bills. Kyle Allen will be a UFA in 2024.
“Spread quarterbacks have had limited success as have small quarterbacks. Mayfield falls into both categories and has to prove he can transcend those perceived deficiencies on the next level. Having complete command of the Oklahoma offense isn’t an automatic precursor for NFL success, but Mayfield’s ability to process, extend plays and throw with accuracy give him a good shot. He’ll be somewhat scheme-dependent so whoever takes him will need to be willing to build their offense around his strengths.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“At the end of the day, Darnold has NFL size, arm strength, accuracy, pocket mobility, poise and field reading capability. His windup is an eyesore for sure, but he has the velocity to mitigate the additional release time. While Darnold has the mental toughness and talent to start tomorrow, early sideline seasoning could help him better process coverages in an attempt to eliminate future interceptions. Darnold has the tools to thrive in any system and doesn’t have to have perfect protection to succeed. His floor is solid starter, but he has the ceiling to be one of the top tier quarterbacks in the game as he gains more experience.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Likely be the biggest boom-or-bust quarterback prospect in the draft. Allen’s size and arm talent are prototypical for early first-round picks, but it’s rare to find a quarterback with such a low college completion rate become a successful pro. Allen’s receivers struggled to separate, but there were plenty of times where his lack of anticipation and post-snap plan did him in. Allen can make some truly special throws, but his ability to improve the mental part of his game will determine whether he’s a good NFL starter or just another big, strong-armed guy.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Josh Rosen’s footwork and mechanics make him as pretty a quarterback as you will find in this year’s draft. The biggest concern with Rosen is that his on-field success requires many elements to stay on schedule. He lacks plus arm strength, so identifying coverage (pre- and post-snap) and throwing with anticipation takes on added importance. Rosen has the pocket poise, accuracy and intelligence to become a good NFL starter, but he needs to be willing to take what defenses give him more frequently. Rosen will need to quell concerns surrounding leadership and coachability early on in order to establish a strong first impression and get his career off on the right foot.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Jackson is the ultimate playmaker in this draft. He has the ability to beat teams with his legs or his arm, but he has a tendency to miss on simple throws and hasn’t proven he can slide to avoid hits outside the pocket. The one major concern is whether Jackson can stay healthy with his penchant for leaving the pocket.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Pocket quarterback with good size who has shown consistent improvement as a passer. Rudolph is more of a downfield, play-action passer than a quarterback who can win with precision and arm strength. He’s a capable field reader who has the ability to operate with timing which will be important since his arm can be dull at times. Rudolph could be an early backup with the potential of becoming an average to below average starter in the league.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Lauletta has decent accuracy and mechanics to work with, but his lack of NFL arm strength will limit the number of teams who are willing to consider him. Lauletta’s interceptions come due to arm issues rather than decision-making and that may not be correctable in the pros due to the increase in play speed that he will see in NFL secondaries.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“White saw major downturns in every important passing category this year, but evaluators will have to balance his inconsistent play against the porous protection he got. White has good size and a live arm which is enough to get him drafted, but if he doesn’t do a better job of recognizing blitzes and making decisions faster, his arm talent won’t matter. White has QB3 potential with a shot to move up the ladder as a backup.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Despite a low completion percentage and high interception total at Tulane, there was a buzz surrounding Lee when he opened the season as the starter at Nebraska. In his season at Nebraska, it was the same story with Lee struggling to decipher moving pieces effectively resulting in the same issues he had previously. Lee has a shot of getting drafted and making a practice squad on his traits alone, but his issues with processing and anticipation probably can’t be corrected.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Etling has decent size and an NFL arm, but his mechanical inconsistencies — often brought on by impending pressure, are big concerns moving forward. Etling will have to prove he can improve his poise in the pocket as well as his ability to win with his progressions and decision-making after the snap. Etling may find an invite into camp, but will face long odds in making a roster.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein
“Woodside is an undersized quarterback with a very average arm who overcomes his deficiencies with good football intelligence and above average accuracy. His lack of size will be an immediate turn-off for most teams, but his competitive nature and ability to throw it where he wants to could give him an outside shot of finding work for a West Coast offense that values his accuracy and decision-making.” By NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein