2018 NFL Draft QB Stock Watch: The dilemma with Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield
The Sooners quarterback has been awesome in 2017, but how should he be viewed as an NFL prospect?
The Oklahoma signal-caller isn't especially tall for the position, improvises a lot and rarely reads the entire field. But he has been ridiculously good to begin the 2017 campaign. There's no arguing there.
All he has done through four games is complete 75.2 percent of his throws at a nearly unfathomable 13.2 yards per attempt with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has been the epitome of efficiency; he beat Ohio State in Columbus, and his "worst" game was a 17-of-27, 331-yard, four-score performance against Tulane.
Let's update where these quarterbacks rank and evaluate their draft stocks after the weekend that was in in college ball.
Rudolph's offense didn't pass its first test against a talented defense of this season against TCU, but the outing for the Oklahoma State quarterback had his fair share of quality deep-ball tosses. The 86-yard touchdown to James Washington in the first quarter was an absolute dime, and he had a few other pinpoint throws well down the field.
As has become normal with Rudolph, he displayed pocket-drifting and full-field reading against the Horned Frogs. He did turn the ball over three times, which has been unheard of from him. I've certainly seen Rudolph play better football in his career than he did this weekend, yet he's still my top quarterback prospect in the country.
2. Sam Darnold, USC
USC had more issues with Cal than everyone thought it would, and as we've seen in each of the first three weeks of the season, Darnold was efficient, looked for Deontay Burnett often, and tossed an interception in on an inaccurate pass down the field. He tried to rip a seam shot near the end zone, but the throw was behind the intended target.
The redshirt sophomore had a completion percentage of 68.4 yet finished with a yards-per-attempt average of 5.9, his lowest of the season. He wasn't good enough against the Bears to jump into the No. 1 spot in the quarterback rankings.
3. Josh Rosen, UCLA
Rosen was vintage Rosen against Stanford. He was mostly boringly textbook (a good thing), had some ball-security issues, and fired some beautiful touchdown passes. UCLA's line doesn't do Rosen many favors, and while he displayed some mobility, his pocket presence could be better.
Rosen's going to end the season with some big-time statistics and a ridiculous amount of passing attempts. He's averaging 50.25 throws and 440.75 passing yards per game thus far. NFL teams will like all the volume and experience he'll have going into his rookie year.
4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mayfield is well on his way to being the most polarizing quarterback prospect in the 2018 class, and that label won't strictly be due to his on-field theatrics. The Oklahoma offensive line is downright dominant -- headlined by left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. -- and Oklahoma's receivers run wild in the Big 12.
Against Baylor, Mayfield was hardly even breathed on by the Bears pass-rush, and there was a ridiculous amount of yards-after-the-catch accumulation.
Jackson was on cruise control against Kent State, as he completed 19 of 22 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. One interception was on the receiver. The other came on an overthrow. Jackson is probably going to demolish the lesser opponents he plays this season. I need to see him have the opportunity to make tight-window throws and face a talented defense that'll throw different looks at him before giving him a big draft-stock boost. That opportunity will come against N.C. State on October 5.
Honorable Mention: Luke Falk, Washington State
Take Falk's stats with a grain of salt -- a large portion of them come when his pass-catchers are creating yards after the catch. However, he completed nearly 77 percent of his tosses and had five touchdowns without an interception against the lowly Nevada Wolfpack. Falk begin the season as a member of this watch list but had a disappointing outing against Boise State that dropped him from the rankings. He's had back-to-back impressive performances since then though. It's just nearly impossible to project him to the NFL level because of the Wazzu offense. So gimmicky.
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