One week from today, the New York Jets will select a quarterback to be the face of their franchise. When it comes to the third pick, the Jets selection, there may already be two quarterbacks off the board. That would leave at least two of the consensus top four quarterbacks available for them to select from. The top quarterback on my board is Josh Rosen, but does that mean he is the safest? What are the ceilings and floors for the top quarterbacks in this years draft?
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Ceiling- 2016 Matt Ryan
Josh Rosen is a prototypical pocket passer, in the mold of Matt Ryan, and the Manning brothers. Josh Rosen likely won’t reach the heights of an all-time great like Peyton Manning, but could easily settle in around the level of his brother, Eli. Rosen has been a stud ever since his high school days and is the top QB in this years class. He is an accurate passer, who is willing to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball under pressure. He has incredible patience, and never seems to crack under pressure. His personality off the field has rubbed some people the wrong way, but being opinionated is not relevant to being a great quarterback. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the top two quarterbacks in the league, have similar personalities. As long as you win, and are great, no one will care.
Floor- Jay Cutler
If Josh Rosen’s off-the-field attitude combines with a lack of winning, he could turn into the next Jay Cutler. Cutler was a very talented player coming out of college but his personality has rubbed people the wrong way throughout his career. Like Cutler, Rosen could end up a player that some teammates love, and others hate. He is too talented of a player to just fully bust. The biggest concern is him walking away after dealing with injuries, due to the fact that he comes from a family with wealth and doesn’t “need” the game.
Likely outcome? Eli Manning
Sam Darnold, USC
Ceiling- Brett Favre
Sam Darnold is a big, athletic quarterback who has a knack for making things happen on the move. He loves to extend the play and fire it downfield. Darnold has turnover issues, which plagued Favre throughout his career. Darnold has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He has been compared to players like Favre, Tony Romo, and Andrew Luck. He is great at keeping his eyes downfield when getting forced out of the pocket, and has the arm strength to make every throw. He seems to do a very good job of going through his progressions as well.
Floor- Ryan Tannehill
Like Tannehill, Darnold is still raw coming into the league. Darnold will have to clean up his mechanics and cut down on the turnovers in order to succeed at the next level. His elongated throwing motion and inconsistent footwork causes him to overthrow his receivers, leading to too many interceptions. Darnold should at worst be an average NFL starting quarterback when it is all said and done.
Likely outcome? Tony Romo
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Ceiling- Drew Brees
Everyone has seen this comparison of the polarizing Mayfield. Mayfield and Brees are very similar in many aspects of their play. They are both undersized, accurate, and make things happen from the pocket. Like Baker, there were concerns about Brees coming out of college due to his size, however, he has shown that even a small quarterback can thrive. Baker has a very strong-arm, which allows him to make every throw on the field. He has also shown an ability to change his delivery motion in order to fit balls into different windows along the offensive line. Mayfield is not an elite athlete, but he is good enough to move outside of the pocket and make things happen.
Floor- Case Keenum
Like Mayfield, Keenum was a record-setting college quarterback. He is the definition of an average NFL quarterback, at best. Keenum had a career year last year, but has really not shown anything outside of last year to suggest he is more than an NFL backup. He is getting a chance to prove himself in Denver, and I hope he proves the doubters wrong. Keenum is also an undersized player, however, he does have a weaker arm than Baker. Mayfield has the ability to bet a great NFL quarterback, but there is also the worry that he is a product of the Big12. Many expect that if Mayfield doesn’t excel, he could turn into the next Johnny Manziel and be out of the league. However, I believe that Mayfield is one of the safest player in this draft.
Likely outcome? Less-mobile Russell Wilson
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Ceiling- Matthew Stafford
Josh Allen is a rare talent. He has a cannon arm, giant build, and elite athleticism. If Allen can learn any shred of accuracy he could be a great NFL quarterback. This issue is that it is hard to teach accuracy. Most players who are inaccurate throwers don’t drastically improve at the next level. Allen has never been an accurate thrower, even in high school. He is a project, and is a reach in the top five because of it. While he could become a player like Stafford, or even Cam Newton, if he is taught to be better, it is a risky bet.
Floor- Jake Locker
Locker was another player who came into the league with all the physical tools in the world, however, he failed due to his inaccuracy and inability to go through his progression. It is very possible that Allen follows his path.
Likely outcome? Locker
Ceiling- Michael Vick
Lamar Jackson is not in consideration for the Jets pick in the first round, but he will be taken in the first round. Jackson is an exhilarating player to watch on the field. He has some issues with accuracy, but is faster than almost everyone in the league. Jackson’s dual threat ability will open up the field for his teammates, and himself. Jackson has improved as a passer every year, and if he is given time to continue to develop, he could be a superstar.
Floor- Robert Griffin III
RG3 failed in the NFL for multiple reasons. He couldn’t learn how to avoid contact, and he was unable to go through his reads. Those are two things that are going to be key for Jackson if he is going to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback.
Likely outcome? Colin Kaepernick