The NFL draft is about two weeks away, meaning all the talk from fans, media and executives is almost over. Quarterback always overshadows all the other positions in terms of pre-draft chatter. This year is no different. The need for solid quarterback play in the NFL is as dire as it has ever been and there are not that many decent ones to go around at the moment.
As many as six quarterbacks could wind up going in the first round. This would match the legendary quarterback class of 1983. That class had a Hall of Famer at the top in John Elway and two others in Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Todd Blackledge, Ken O’Brien and Tony Eason did not pan out nearly as well.
Whether it is the accuracy of Josh Allen, the turnovers committed by Sam Darnold, the character of Baker Mayfield or something else, all of these guys have red flags attached to them. So three of the top six quarterbacks in this year’s class ending up in the Hall of Fame is probably a stretch.
However, they could all be successful in the right situation. If the NFL draft has shown us one thing over the years, it is that evaluating players is an inexact science and no one really knows anything. Still, here is the start of a two-part series exploring the best possible landing spots for this year’s top quarterback prospects.
Sam Darnold: Cleveland Browns
Given its abysmal track record of developing quarterbacks since returning to the league in 1999, it is difficult to call Cleveland an ideal landing spot for any quarterback. Even so, one of these guys has to end up there.
Darnold was the primary starter for two seasons at USC. His 22 interceptions are worrisome to some, but they become more forgivable when you put them up against his 57 touchdown passes.
USC always plays a tough schedule as one of college football’s traditional powerhouses. Knowing that, Darnold’s completion percentage of almost 65 should also translate well to the next level. Perhaps most importantly, he has said all the right things about the challenge of turning around a struggling NFL franchise.
Darnold or some other rookie will most likely not start right away in Cleveland as they just traded for Tyrod Taylor. However, the more recent rumblings have the Browns warming up to another quarterback prospect.
Josh Allen: New York Giants
Cleveland has reportedly become enamored with the University of Wyoming prospect. The word project gets thrown around a lot in regards to Allen, who posted a college completion percentage of just 56.2. That is bad at any level of football. It is especially concerning when you realize that Wyoming does not play against much NFL talent.
It is his arm strength that has NFL scouts intrigued. He can reportedly throw the ball 50 yards from his knees. That is great, but NFL plays simply do not require that. Cleveland has won one game in two years. The Browns do not have time to develop a raw talent like Allen, but the Giants might.
Despite last year’s three-win season, Eli Manning still played pretty well for the Giants all things considered. But the 37-year-old is clearly close to the end of his career. With a year or two to be coached by Pat Shurmur and learn from a two-time Super Bowl champion like Manning, Allen could work out well if the Giants decide to address their long-term quarterback situation early in this draft.
Josh Rosen: New York Jets
Rosen’s biggest issue at UCLA was staying on the field. He missed eight games in three years. The hits only get harder in the NFL. So durability is a legitimate concern, but his play is not. He posted a career passer rating of over 140 for the Bruins.
Some are nervous about the Rosen’s personality. You could consider saying publicly that you want to win more rings than Tom Brady cocky. However, you could also consider it the perfect mentality to play quarterback in New York. Believing you are the best is an asset there because the media will try to tear you down at every opportunity whether it is deserved or not.
Coming off a five-win season, the Jets re-signed 38-year-old Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Bridgewater has missed significant time due to injury, making just two pass attempts in the last two seasons. The Jets also traded with the Colts for their current first-round draft position. Translation: The organization knows they need to get their long-term quarterback in this draft.
Rosen may end up getting thrown out there before he is ready if he ends up with the Jets, but he seems to have the attitude for it.
Be sure to check back over the weekend for the best possible fits for Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Mason Rudolph.
Featured image from prosportsextra.com
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