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As the NFL season comes to a close, some fans are already looking for future stars for the 2018 NFL Draft. Many NFL teams are looking for a quarterback like Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield or Pac-12 phenoms Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold. The Browns, Giants, and Colts have the top 3 picks in the draft with the Browns and Giants looking for their new franchise quarterbacks. Here are my 10 best quarterbacks in this years NFL draft.

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA, 6’4, 218 lbs.

As one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen has the best mechanics and is the most natural pocket passer. Rosen’s tight spiral helps him to get his passes through tight windows and beat good coverage. He has serious arm talent along with field vision and pocket presence. Rosen also works under center, which has been rare to see with college quarterbacks in recent years.

In 2017, Rosen completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,756 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He left UCLA’s game against Washington with an undisclosed injury and missed the contest against Utah with a concussion. After returning to the field, Rosen has played well, including throwing for over 400 yards against USC. He was pulled early in the regular-season finale against California and missed UCLA’s bowl game.

Projection: Top 10 Projected Pick

2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, 6’1, 220 lbs.

Baker Mayfield is too short. The Big 12 Conference doesn’t play defense. Lincoln Riley’s system is quarterback-friendly. Mayfield has all day to throw behind the Oklahoma Sooners’ talented offensive front. He has an attitude problem.

Every excuse will be made for why the 6’1″, 220-pound Mayfield can’t succeed in the NFL. Maybe, just maybe, everyone should look at what he did in 2017 and realize he was college football’s best quarterback. His exceptional ball placement and overall accuracy to all three levels of the field should take priority. He improved as a senior with his decision-making from the pocket and increased arm strength.

Mayfield completed 71 percent of his passes this season for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns. Mayfield led Oklahoma to an impressive road win at Ohio State, lost a shootout at home to Iowa State, and led the Sooners to an epic win over Oklahoma State, in which Mayfield threw for 598 yards on the Cowboys.

Projection: Top 10 Projected Pick

3. Sam Darnold, USC, 6’4, 220 lbs.

In 2017, Darnold completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has had an up-and-down season with too many turnovers. His fumbles are a particular issue beyond the interceptions. Darnold also makes some beautiful anticipatory throws with excellent accuracy in just about every game.

Darnold deserves a lot of credit for guiding USC to its first conference title since the Pete Carroll era. He, in many ways, became the program’s margin for error as so many young players worked through growing pains. Darnold’s performance during the 24-7 Cotton Bowl loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes didn’t impress, but his long-term potential keeps him in the conversation. Of course, his turnovers are a concern, but Darnold’s career 2.6 interception percentage is lower than or equal to the college marks of Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston.

Projection: Top 10 Projected Pick

4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 6’3, 211 lbs.

Jackson has an amazing skill set with a powerful arm that allows him to make throws off a platform that many NFL quarterbacks couldn’t even dream of making. He is tough in the pocket, knows his scheme well, and has amazing athleticism and speed as a runner. Jackson looks like a taller and right-handed version of Michael Vick. In 2017, Jackson completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground on his way to 1,601 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.

Jackson isn’t respected enough as a quarterback though. The knocks are predictable: He’s too skinny, his footwork needs to be improved and he doesn’t win from the pocket. Those arguments don’t take into account multiple factors.

First, Jackson improved each season from the pocket. Second, Bobby Petrino’s offense asked him to make multiple reads in the passing game. Finally, Jackson is only 20 years old and still developing. No one can deny his production and consistent dominance against top competition.

Projection: Middle to Late First Round

5. Josh Allen, Wyoming, 6’5, 233 lbs.

In 2017, Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He notched five rushing touchdowns as well. Allen did miss Wyoming’s last two regular-season games with a shoulder injury. Some of his performances in 2017 indicate that he could be a work in progress who will need some developmental time. His completion percentage and interception total from 2016 provide evidence for that assessment. Allen has a great skill set, but he needs a lot of grooming for the NFL.

An argument can be made that Allen’s supporting cast is terrible after losing last year’s leading rusher, top three targets and starting center. This doesn’t excuse the quarterback’s poor decision- making, ball placement and overall accuracy.

There’s no denying Allen’s raw tools. The 6’5″, 233-pound California native has the best pure arm talent since Matthew Stafford entered the league in 2009. He is nearly as big and mobile as Cam Newton as well.

Projection: Middle To Late First Round

6. Drew Lock, Missouri, 6’4, 225 lbs. (UPDATE: LOCK IS RETURNING TO MISSOURI FOR 2018 SEASON)

Lock set the SEC single-season record for touchdown passes in 2017 with 43. He went on a tear in the last half of the year to lead Missouri to six straight wins after a 1-5 start. Lock completed 58 percent of his passes in 2017 for 3,964 yards with 44 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Lock is a gunslinger-style quarterback who has a big arm with the ability to throw any pass. However, he needs to improve his accuracy, field vision, and the speed at which he works through progressions.

Lock can be prone to overthrows, plus can put too much heat on some passes. Lock has good size and can fit the pass into tight windows. He throws the ball well downfield and shows some timing and anticipation. Lock does have the propensity to force throws to covered wideouts as he can trust his arm too much to beat tight coverage. He also has some mobility.

Projection: Middle To Late Third Round

7. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, 6’5, 230 lbs.

In 2017, Mason Rudolph completed 65 percent of this passes for 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns. But Rudolph will need development as a pro. He will have to work on his shaky accuracy and field vision, plus get used to playing under center and calling plays in the huddle. Rudolph is not very athletic, even though he has good size with average arm strength. Going through progressions and reading the field are problems for Rudolph, and he has to improve there for the NFL. His anticipation is terrible and that will have to improve for the pros, or he could be taking a lot of sacks from holding onto the ball too long.

Projection: Middle To Late Third Round

8. Luke Falk, Washington State, 6’4, 223 lbs.

Falk completed 67 percent of his passes in 2017 for 3,593 yards with 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Some teams like Falk for his pocket-passing potential and accuracy. But Falk has an above-average arm. While his accuracy is his best strength, he does have issues seeing coverage and will throw into it. Falk as a thin-framed player who will need to add weight for the NFL. Additionally, Falk lacks escapability and mobility.

Falk also needs to work on moving his eyes and working through progressions rather than locking on to one receiver or one side of the field. He will need to learn how to work under center and understand the associated footwork with taking three and five-step drops. But Falk will have to learn to call plays in the huddle, too. There are a number of quick throws and bubble screens that the Cougars run that won’t translate to the NFL as well.

Projection: Late Third Early Fourth Round

9. Riley Ferguson, Memphis, 6’4, 210 lbs.

You can tell at times that Ferguson lacks experience. Every now and then, he’ll succumb to bad footwork and make a terrible throw. But that’s just part of the process for a guy who took a long road to Memphis before he got to play. Ferguson’s raw tools are impressive, and he can make a lot of tough, rolling out, across-the-field type of throws that make you say WOW when he completes them. The 6′-4 Ferguson has thrown 70 touchdowns in just two seasons at Memphis and led the Tigers to a 10-1 regular-season record while leading them to an AAC championship game.

Projection: Middle To Late Fourth Round

10. Chase Litton, Marshall, 6’6, 232 lbs

Litton threw for 3,115 yards for 25 touchdowns and completed only 60 percent of his throws. He is lumped in a group of several quarterbacks below the top five who will be eyed by teams looking to add a mid-to-late round quarterback that can develop. They also include Washington State’s Luke Falk, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, and Memphis’ Riley Ferguson. From a measurable perspective, Litton has everything NFL scouts look for: good size (6-foot-6, 232 pounds), arm strength and potential.

Litton showed commitment to improving his body during the last offseason when he put on 25 pounds to improve durability. While physical gain was evident, there was a big mental advantage as well. That weight room commitment showed NFL scouts that he was taking his potential seriously.

Projection: Late Fourth Early Fifth Round

Bryan Hernandez

Author Bryan Hernandez

Grew up and currently living in Southern California. Former baseball utility player. Currently a film major. Passion for all things sports including Dodgers, Kings, Lakers, Galaxy, USC and Patriots. Avid follower of the Trailblazers and Senators.

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