Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, a class that has altered the course of several franchises -- two of which ended playoff-win droughts that lasted over a quarter of a century. The Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills are becoming perennial playoff contenders with the franchise quarterbacks they selected in the 2018 draft, while the Cleveland Browns ended decades of playoff futility with the franchise quarterback they selected with the No. 1 overall pick.
The New York Jets are still in flux regarding the quarterback they selected in the 2018 draft, while the Arizona Cardinals have already moved on from their QB pick -- and found a new franchise quarterback just a year later. This historic NFL draft class of quarterbacks has provided more hits than misses, while shaking the balance of power in the AFC playoffs for 2020 -- and for years to come.
As three of these quarterbacks have won a playoff game and have made the divisional playoffs, we'll take a look at each of the quarterbacks in the 2018 draft class in this week's "By The Numbers."
Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns) -- No. 1 overall
Mayfield, the top pick in this draft class, already has an accomplished resume for his third season in the league -- and is the first quarterback to win a playoff game for the Browns since Vinny Testaverde in 1994. Mayfield was the second No. 1 overall pick to win a road game in his first career playoff start -- the other being Michael Vick. The Browns won a road playoff game for the first time since 1969, when Bill Nelsen was the quarterback and Cleveland played in the NFL Century Division.
Here's what Mayfield has accomplished in his three years with Cleveland:
- Joined Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck as the only players in history to record at least 3,500 passing yards with at least 20 touchdown passes in each of their first three seasons.
- Has the fifth-most passing yards (11,115) and completions (932) by a No. 1 overall pick in his first three seasons. His 89.1 passer rating is also fifth.
- Most touchdown passes (75) in first three years with the Browns -- passing Otto Graham (70).
- Third-most touchdown passes by a No. 1 overall pick in his first three years, behind Luck (86) and Manning (85).
Since Week 7 of this season, Mayfield has completed 63.71% of his passes for 2,731 yards with 19 touchdowns to just two interceptions. His 103.4 passer rating ranks eighth in the NFL.
The Browns won 11 games in a season and a playoff game for the first time since 1994. A win this weekend would clinch the Browns' first conference championship appearance since 1989.
Sam Darnold (New York Jets) -- No. 3 overall
Darnold's tenure with the Jets may be coming to an end after three seasons, as New York has been one of the worst teams in football with him as the franchise quarterback. Here's where Darnold ranks amongst the 42 NFL quarterbacks since the start of the 2018 NFL season with a minimum of 500 pass attempts:
- Completion percentage -- 59.8% (40th)
- Passing yards -- 8,097 (22nd)
- Touchdown passes -- 45 (25th)
- Quarterback rating -- 78.6 (41st)
- Yards per attempt -- 6.64 (37th)
- Win-loss percentage -- .342 (36th)
The Jets are 13-25 in Darnold's 38 starts. Darnold ranks second in franchise history among quarterbacks in passer rating and completion percentage, while ranking fourth in passing yards and touchdowns. If Darnold remains in New York, he'll be on his third head coach in four years.
Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills) -- No. 7 overall
For all the flak Allen received in his first two seasons, he evolved into an MVP candidate in Year Three -- leading the Bills to their first playoff victory and first division title since 1995. In Buffalo's playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, Allen became the first player in NFL history to complete 70% of his passes and throw for 300-plus yards while rushing for 50-plus yards in a playoff game.
Allen set Bills' franchise records for touchdown passes (37), completions (396), 300-yard games (eight), completion percentage (69.2), passing yards (4,544) and total touchdowns (46). Here are some other accomplishments Allen achieved in 2020:
- The only player in NFL history with 400-plus passing yards, 30-plus passing touchdowns and eight-plus rushing touchdowns in a season.
- The only quarterback in NFL history with three consecutive seasons of seven-plus rushing touchdowns.
- The first player in NFL history with two games in a season with 400-plus passing yards, three-plus passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 130-plus passer rating.
A second-team All-Pro this season, Allen has started his career with 41 passing touchdowns to just zero interceptions in the red zone (third-most all-time before throwing an interception). He's the fifth player in NFL history with a passing touchdown, rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in his postseason career (Freeman McNeil, Kordell Stewart, Julian Edelman, Nick Foles).
Allen is playing the best football of his career as he looks to get the Bills to their first AFC Championship Game appearance since 1993. Here's where Allen ranks among NFL quarterbacks over the last seven games (regular season and postseason):
- Touchdowns -- 22 (1st)
- Passing yards -- 1,997 (2nd)
- Completion percentage -- 71.2 (3rd)
- Passer rating -- 115.2 (4th)
Josh Rosen (Arizona Cardinals) -- No. 10 overall
Rosen lasted just one season in Arizona before the Cardinals jettisoned him to the Miami Dolphins. He only lasted with the Dolphins for one season before being waived. He landed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad in September before the San Francisco 49ers signed him off Tampa Bay's practice squad and onto their practice squad in December.
Of the 42 quarterbacks that have over 500 passing attempts since 2018, here's where Rosen ranks:
- Completion percentage -- 54.78% (42nd)
- Touchdown passes -- 12 (42nd)
- Passer rating -- 63.5 (42nd)
- Yards per attempt -- 5.67 (42nd)
- Win-loss percentage -- .188 (42nd)
Rosen has been the worst starting quarterback in football since he's been drafted, as his teams are just 3-13 in his 16 starts. His future as a starting quarterback looks over, and quite possibly his tenure as an NFL quarterback.
Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) -- No. 32 overall
The lone MVP of this draft class so far -- which is impressive given he has only been in the league three years -- Jackson is off to a historic start to his career. Here's the long list of everything Jackson has achieved to this point, including his MVP season in 2019:
- Fastest quarterback to reach 30 career victories (37 starts).
- First quarterback in NFL history to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons and consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
- Only the second quarterback with consecutive seasons with 25-plus touchdown passes and five-plus rushing touchdowns (Deshaun Watson)
- Fastest quarterback in league history to 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards (35 games). First quarterback to have 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his first three seasons.
- Only quarterback to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 passing yards in a season (2019).
- Third quarterback in NFL history to have 35-plus touchdown passes and seven-plus rushing touchdowns in a season (Steve Young, Cam Newton).
- Most games with two-plus passing touchdowns and 50-plus rushing yards in a player's first three seasons (14).
Jackson became the third-youngest player to win NFL MVP and a playoff game at 24 years and 3 days old -- only Patrick Mahomes (23 years, 117 days) and Dan Marino (23 years, 106 days) were younger. Jackson joined Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with multiple 100-yard rushing yard games in the postseason, rushing for 136 yards in the AFC wild-card win over the Tennessee Titans (third-most for a quarterback in league history).
The Ravens have won six consecutive games while Jackson has completed 67.74% of his passes for 988 yards with 11 touchdowns to four interceptions for a 107.9 passer rating. He also has 72 carries for 566 yards and five touchdowns during the stretch -- arguably the best football of his career.
Jackson is the best quarterback of this draft class at this point, but him and Allen will compete for which one will be the most successful this weekend when they square off against each other. Buckle up NFL fans.