As we move closer to draft day, the number one pick will gain more speculation, hype, and consideration than any pick in the draft. While nothing is set in stone, odds are a quarterback will be taken with the inaugural selection, even if Cleveland trades it away. The next few months will leave us all finding, defending, and hyping up our top quarterbacks which we all would love our teams to draft. However, this is not a “QB1” debate, something you will find in the Breaking Football Draft Guide. Rather, it is a conversation about the best quarterback for a myriad of traits.
General Accuracy: Baker Mayfield
To start, we have Baker Mayfield as the best general accuracy passer, or the guy who can throw the most strikes. Across the entire field, from behind the line of scrimmage to deep balls to OU receivers, Mayfield stays accurate in and out of the pocket, independent of his state of motion. His throws get there on time and on target, a prominent factor in his rise to stardom. Mayfield consistently shows off the ability to throw guys open, and he rarely misses the open man. His throws may not be pinpoint or with the perfect amount of power, but he is an extremely reliable passer teams will love.
Touch: Josh Rosen
A different side of the accuracy analysis is touch: the placement of a pass, and how velocity is managed for each throw, along with the pass’s accuracy in relation to a defender’s potential play on the ball. Here, Josh Rosen, my top quarterback, takes the cake. Complimenting his ability to be relentlessly accurate, he has offensive coordinators drooling with his tendency to drop a dime right where it needs to be.
Sometimes over-aggressive, Rosen can and will make throws into the tight windows due to his stunning touch. From about ten to twenty yards, from sideline-to-sideline, there certainly is not a better passer in this draft class. Maybe even the sport.
Arm Strength: Josh Allen
Look, we all know how Josh Allen got his hype. The Wyoming product draws closer comparisons to Aroldis Chapman than he does some NFL quarterbacks. Allen’s a one-trick pony, with fatal flaws like a tragic hero. It’s almost like his arm is “too good”. He only throws fastballs, offering absolutely no touch on any pass. Each pass is a laser and it hurts him just as much as it helps him. Nevertheless, Allen can sling it, as seen in his 50-yard chuck from his knees. At the Senior Bowl, receivers were dropping passes they couldn’t handle due to his velocity. There is not a prospect in this class that can sling it as far or as hard as the Potato Bowl MVP.
— Jordan Palmer (@JwPalms) February 21, 2018
Athleticism: Lamar Jackson
I’ll just assume this doesn’t come off as much of a surprise. His combination of mobility and arm talent won him a Heisman and plenty of games as a Cardinal. At any given moment, Jackson could sprint out of the pocket and break down a defense, something that helps him as a passer and as a runner. There isn’t a big play threat on the ground quite like him, and that is exactly what makes him special. Jackson will beat some of your favorite running backs in the 40-yard dash, is more agile than other elite athletes, and knows how to use his athleticism more than any quarterback coming out of college this year.
Decision Making: Kyle Lauletta
To be transparent, I am not a big fan of Mr. Lauletta. He is an easy candidate to be over-drafted after a great Senior Bowl week, and it may come back to haunt a team. His footwork can be atrocious at times, and he struggles to make a few too many NFL throws. However; the Richmond passer has two impressive traits: his arm motion and his decision making. When it comes to quick reads, Lauletta reigns supreme.
He is prone to making an ill-advised throw, but at his level who isn’t? Under pressure, this skill certainly lessens, but on a basic level, he is great. In a West Coast scheme based off of quick, twitchy dissections; or even play calls that take time to develop, Lauletta will succeed, as his progressions are consistent and smart. In the right system, the kid will succeed, in large part due to his decision making and ability to go through progressions.
Mechanics: Josh Rosen
Back to my QB1, there is a reason for Rosen’s elite accuracy. It stems from his clean, crisp, and quick mechanics. His arm motion is almost flawless and helps him get the ball out on time, avoid fumbles, and light up the scoreboard. A more underrated part of mechanics is a passer’s footwork, and here, Rosen is clearly the best in his class. Steady, nimble, and graceful, Rosen can navigate the pocket without stutter-stepping, opening up, or misaligning his feet. Additionally, Rosen rotates his shoulders well and has a great follow through. These all add up to near-perfect mechanics and one of the most accurate passing prospects in recent memory.
Competitive Toughness (TIE): Baker Mayfield and Austin Allen
When watching both Mayfield and Austin Allen, the one thing that stood out was their toughness. First, the big name of the duo, Baker Mayfield. To put it simply, he’s an absolute gamer. Nothing will stop him from doing everything he can to win and it shows. Mayfield can be fiery on the sidelines, but when he is on the field he gives each play his all. Moving on to Austin Allen, possibly the toughest player on the planet.
His film is littered with dimes dropped in the wake of a bone-crunching hit that makes you question both his sanity and his health. It does not matter if a defensive lineman is in his face about to cream him, Allen has the same approach. It is already an impressive trait if it happens once in a while, but it seems like every other play he is struggling to get up after he got body slammed while delivering a pass. Both Allen and Mayfield will surely draw attention from teams simply because they are willing to give every play their all and treat each play like it is their last.