NFL Draft 400: Top QBs for 2018 NFL Draft

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 24, 2018

NFL Draft 400: Top QBs for 2018 NFL Draft

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Scouts and general managers have called the 2018 NFL draft class average, but we still have questions. Who is the best overall player? How about the best at each position?

    The goal of the NFL Draft 400 series is to figure that out.

    The top 400 players were tracked, scouted, graded and ranked, with help from scouting assistants Marshal Miller and Dan Bazal. Together, we viewed tape of a minimum of three games per player—the same standard NFL teams use.

    Oftentimes, we saw every play from a prospect over the last two years. That led to the grades, rankings and scouting reports you see here.

    Players were graded on strengths and weaknesses, with a pro-player comparison added to match the prospect's style or fit in the pros. The top 400 players will be broken down position by position for easy viewing before the release of a top-400 big board prior to the draft.

    In the case of a tie, players were ranked based on their overall grade in our top 400.

21. Kyle Allen, Houston

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    Eugene Tanner/Associated Press


    Mobile in and out of the pocket.

    Can reach back for extra velocity.

    Arm strength to fit throws into tight windows.

    Quick release.

    Puts his receivers in position to make plays.



    Couldn't keep starting jobs at Texas A&M or Houston.

    Left Houston early and did not receive combine invitation.

    Struggled against Arizona and Texas Tech, resulting in benching.

    Throws to his first read.

    Only ran offenses with limited reads.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: David Fales, Miami Dolphins



    Allen has the traits and measurables that might get him a look as a developmental prospect, but he seems more like a case of an overhyped prep star who won't pan out.

20. Brandon Silvers, Troy

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press


    A four-year starter at Troy who developed well within the system.

    His ability to anticipate routes and know where the ball was going before the snap was largely due to his familiarity with the offense.

    The offense was well-suited for Silvers' short-game passing attack, which led to solid production.

    Silvers has shown he has the ability to grow and be coached.

    The Troy offense prepared him well for the style of NFL ball that asks the quarterback to move and make plays with his feet.



    —The air raid offense at Troy limited snaps from center and NFL-style five- to seven-step drops.

    —Silvers saw a lot of batted balls at the line of scrimmage, especially for a 6'2" quarterback.

    His short release point takes velocity off throws and allows defensive backs to break on deep to intermediate throws.

    —Silvers has a lot of work to do on his footwork and release point.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: David Fales, Miami Dolphins



    With average NFL size and athleticism, Silvers has to dominate with accuracy and timing, and that's not his game. He'll come into the NFL as a late-rounder or priority free agent, but he is coachable and smart enough to make a roster.

19. Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech

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    John Weast/Getty Images


    —Can sling the football to any part of the field.

    Pocket poise to keep eyes downfield.

    Mobile enough to avoid pressure with his feet.

    Played in a system that allowed him to get to many reads.

    Willing to coach and help young guys on the team.



    Couldn't win much time on the field because of Patrick Mahomes II.

    Slow delivery.

    Wasn't asked to take dropbacks at Tech.

    Doesn't throw with NFL-caliber velocity.

    Offense featured a lot of underneath and screen passes, creating big numbers on short throws.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: Garrett Gilbert, Carolina Panthers



    Shimonek was just a one-year starter at Tech and failed to showcase the traits to make him a more desirable draft prospect. He carries an undrafted free agent grade.

18. Danny Etling, LSU

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press


    Protects the football (only two interceptions in 2017).

    Adequate touch on intermediate passes.

    Stands in the pocket and scans the field.

    Comfortable in pro-style offense.

    Able to create when plays break down.



    Doesn't keep his feet square in throwing motion.

    Drops his hand to throw, resulting in slow throwing motion.

    NFL-caliber talent all around him and failed to produce.

    Struggled to get the ball downfield to speedy targets.

    Plays stiff and slower than his 4.76-second 40 time.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers



    Etling wasn't asked to sling the ball all over the field but struggled to push passes accurately and at times held the LSU offense back. He needs a decent amount of work.

17. Austin Allen, Arkansas

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images


    Comfortable taking snaps under center and utilizing play action.

    Junior year had scouts excited for 2017 season.

    —Has decent speed with a 4.81 in the 40.

    Keeps eyes downfield when pressured.

    Family of quarterbacks.



    Lacks NFL size at 6'0", 210 pounds.

    — Twenty-one interceptions to only 36 touchdowns.

    Inaccurate: Struggled to complete 60 percent while at Arkansas.

    Average arm strength before shoulder injury.

    Holds the ball too long and misses receivers.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jake Rudock, Detroit Lions



    Allen falls well below NFL standards for size, arm strength and accuracy. He has an NFL name given his brother Brandon's time in the pros, but he doesn't have top-level traits.

16. Quinton Flowers, South Florida

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press


    —Three-year starter and two-time all-conference quarterback.

    Has tremendous athletic ability and is able to extend plays, make throws on the run and create when plays break down.

    —Mobile quarterback who dominated at the college level with his feet and used his arm as a secondary weapon.

    Excels outside the pocket, where he is a threat to run or pass.



    Arm strength is not there, and when he needs to make throws with velocity, he often loads up and is late because of the motion.

    While at times his accuracy can be adequate, it is too inconsistent for NFL scouts.

    —Will most likely have to look at different positions in the NFL.

    Field vision, speed and ability to break tackles may transition well to running back, and teams may like his footwork at safety, but these aren't strengths for a quarterback.


    GRADE: 4.99 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: Denard Robinson



    Flowers was a legit quarterback in college but lacks the size (5'10") and accuracy for the NFL. If he's to have a pro career, it'll be at another position.

15. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press


    A four-year starter and three-time captain at Ohio State, Barrett has almost all of the intangibles you would look for at quarterback.

    His ability to tuck the football and run is at the top of the class, as was his 40 time (4.70).

    Barrett gets more credit for being athletic than he should, but he is still a gifted runner.

    —An excellent leader, Barrett was a winner: 38 victories in 44 starts.



    He has one of the weakest and most inaccurate arms in the class.

    Had the misfortune of throwing after Josh Allen at the combine, and the difference was eye-opening.

    Struggles were evident at the combine and may be too much to overcome at an already loaded position.

    —Lacks touch and timing.


    GRADE: 5.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)




    Barrett is one of the best college football players of the last four years, but he doesn't have the size (6'1"), arm or accuracy to be a viable NFL quarterback. His future is likely in coaching.

14. Logan Woodside, Toledo

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press


    A three-year starter with the mental aspect of the game down.

    He has enough arm strength to throw efficiently to all three levels.

    While he won't wow you with a big arm, he has a body that could still add weight and strength, and arm strength is one thing that improves drastically your first couple of years in the league.

    He anticipates routes and open windows for receivers and limits mistakes (93 TDs, 25 INTs).

    Accurate and smooth; he can hit targets and has instincts to excel in a timing-based offense.



    Jack of all trades, master of none.

    —Has enough talent and work ethic to improve and be drafted, but he doesn't do anything that is going to impress scouts or teams.

    Still has to work on a long, awkward delivery and prove he can be a consistent thrower.

    Doesn't have the size (6'2", 201 lbs) teams look for at the position.

    A lack of arm strength shows up consistently and will keep him from pushing the ball downfield.

    Lacks zip and tightness on throws outside the hashes.


    GRADE: 5.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: Trevor Siemian, Minnesota Vikings



    Woodside doesn't project as a future starter, but his instincts, intelligence and accuracy are good enough to give him a career in the pros.

13. Chase Litton, Marshall

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press


    A three-year starter at Marshall, Litton shows great potential on the field.

    Has the ability to throw the ball to all three levels with accuracy and a soft touch.

    Has a quick release and big arm that allow him to fit balls into tight spaces and beat man coverage.

    Isn't afraid of pass-rushers and will stand tall in the pocket and deliver a good ball.

    Has the athletic tools to develop if a team is patient with his skill set.



    Litton has had a series of off-field issues—most recently a failed marijuana test during his sophomore year.

    Scouts wonder if he can handle life off the field.

    Has shown big potential on the field but lacks decision-making skills, and many teams question the work ethic he is going to put in.

    A lack of movement skills shows up on tape and keeps Litton from playing on the move.

    When he misses, he tends to miss big over the top.


    GRADE: 5.25 (Undrafted Free Agent)

    PRO COMPARISON: Ryan Lindley



    Litton's off-field history requires a ton of vetting, and his on-field skills need work. He has a big arm to excite teams that want a vertical passing game, but his lack of movement skills makes it questionable he'll see the field in the modern NFL.

12. Tanner Lee, Nebraska

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press


    —One-year starter at Nebraska and 2016 Scout Team Offensive MVP.

    Has rare arm strength and displayed it at the Senior Bowl and during the combine.

    —He has the second-strongest arm in this class behind only Josh Allen.

    He has experience working under center, in a pro-style offense, which will help his cause.

    Offers fairly solid mechanics and delivery while being able to fit the ball into tight spaces with his big arm.



    Turnovers are a major problem.

    Poor at picking up blitzes and does not keep his head downfield when pressured.

    —When pressured, Lee will throw off his back foot and try to test defenders too often with his arm. The defense often won that battle.

    —Tries to win with his athleticism and hasn't developed anticipation.


    GRADE: 5.40 (7th Round)

    PRO COMPARISON: Logan Thomas, Buffalo Bills



    Lee declared for the NFL draft instead of staying in Lincoln for the Scott Frost era and may struggle to be drafted after a shaky final season and poor showing at the Senior Bowl. He's a developmental flier type.

11. Riley Ferguson, Memphis

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press


    Played in an offense that let him throw the ball all over the field. Deep ball and outside hash.

    Pocket mobility. Comfortable taking drops from center, rolling out and throwing on the move.

    Rallied his team. A take-charge vocal leader.

    Shows accuracy and touch that will leave many quarterbacks jealous.

    Limited turnovers with mass production.



    Slow throwing motion. Windup delivery.

    Poor footwork. Moves well but doesn't always have his feet under him.

    Lanky build: 6'4", 210 pounds. Can he take hits at the NFL level?

    Gets panicked by pass rush. Hurries throws. Gets happy feet and struggles to stand tall in the pocket.

    Took a year off football and left the University of Tennessee without telling coaches.


    GRADE: 5.50 (6th Round)

    PRO COMPARISON: Trevor Siemian, Minnesota Vikings



    Ferguson went off in a productive 2017 season, as his chemistry with wide receiver Anthony Miller was unstoppable at times. As a pro prospect, he struggles to meet the requirements with mechanics and footwork.

10. Kurt Benkert, Virginia

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press


    Delivers the ball well while on the move and is athletic enough to operate on the roll.

    Short and quick release with a smooth motion. Pretty thrower.

    Competitor. Never stops trying to win. Will look to extend the play and make something happen.

    Doesn't let the pressure drop his eyes. Poised in the pocket.

    Has an NFL-caliber arm. Must learn how to use it. Developmental prospect.



    Gunslinger mentality without the arm strength.

    Inconsistent. Looks great or looks terrible. Rhythm passer.

    Poor pre-snap reads lead to bad throws or turnovers. Has to speed up his process.

    Throws into crowded zones or double coverage and is often late seeing openings.

    Accuracy. Misses the mark too many times. Can't throw players open.


    GRADE: 5.70 (Round 5)

    PRO COMPARISON: Chase Daniel, Chicago Bears



    Benkert has the look of a nice backup prospect who can come in and be a spot starter down the road. He doesn't have great consistency, but there are traits worth checking out.

9. Mike White, Western Kentucky

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press


    Big arm. White has the strength to get the football to all three levels and outside the hash.

    High football IQ. Knows what he is supposed to do.

    Able to use touch to drop the ball over defenders.

    Can push the ball downfield.

    Three different coaches and produced well in each scheme.



    Struggles with pressure, and he saw plenty of pressure behind a poor offensive line.

    Lacks mobility in the pocket and on the move.

    Locks on to his first target, missing open receivers.

    Tries to beat good coverage with strong arm.

    Too many turnovers: 17 fumbles, 15 interceptions and 62 sacks during two seasons at Western Kentucky.


    GRADE: 5.80 (Round 4)

    PRO COMPARISON: Cooper Rush, Dallas Cowboys



    White is one of our favorite developmental prospects in this draft. He has solid mechanics, good accuracy and enough tools to see the field once he gets into the league.

8. Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press


    His natural athleticism jumps off the tape. He is able to move in the pocket while keeping his feet balanced and eyes downfield with great poise.

    With his quick delivery and adequate throwing motion, Lauletta can make the short to intermediate throws and shows a soft touch up the seam.

    Spins the ball with a tight spiral and velocity to all levels.

    While some small-school quarterbacks struggle with the pressure of the Senior Bowl, he proved he was up to the challenge.

    Uber-productive in college, Lauletta will look to be a Day 3 developmental prospect with future starter potential.



    Will have to prove he was more than a system quarterback with gaudy numbers.

    The Richmond spread offense doesn't make for an easy transition to the NFL.

    Lauletta will have to work on the small things: footwork drops from under center, taking snaps from under center, improving arm strength and sensing pressure in the pocket.

    He has the poise to stand tall and face the crowd, but he needs to use his quickness to escape and reset more frequently.

    Tries to win with his legs too much for the type of athlete he is.


    GRADE: 6.50 (Round 3)

    PRO COMPARISON: Alex Smith, Washington



    Lauletta was the belle of the ball as a sleeper quarterback at the Senior Bowl but may have seen his stock artificially inflated leaving Mobile. He's still a nice developmental prospect at quarterback but isn't game-ready.

7. Luke Falk, Washington State

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press


    A prototypical pocket passer with a tight, quick release.

    Has the arm to throw with velocity to every level and shows an understanding of timing and space.

    A high-IQ passer who has won over scouts and coaches in interviews.

    Falk is a great passer on deep routes and has the touch and timing to give receivers room to make plays.

    A good enough athlete to slide in the pocket and can step up and run.

    Overall accuracy is a major positive.



    Injuries have added up, and he was briefly benched as a senior.

    Scheme concerns are prevalent coming from Mike Leach's offense.

    Can get caught hanging on to the ball in the pocket and waiting for windows to open.

    Needs to learn the difference between college covered and NFL covered.

    Banged up coming out of college and might be feeling that still.


    GRADE: 6.65 (Round 3)

    PRO COMPARISON: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings



    Falk might not be a fit in every scheme, but in a West Coast system he has the tools and smarts to step in and play right away. He doesn't compare favorably to the trait-based quarterbacks in this class but is a natural passer.

6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press


    He's a true pocket quarterback with the field vision and tools of a future pro starter.

    —Rudolph moves well in the pocket for a non-athlete and can extend the play by stepping in and up from the rush.

    —He's a tough player under pressure and will hang in the pocket to make throws.

    —Rudolph sees the field well and is adept at manipulating defenses with his eyes.

    —Doesn't have an A-plus arm, but he can execute beautifully on deep throws and shows the touch needed to turn catches into major gains.

    Experienced starter with ideal NFL size (6'5", 235 lbs).



    Comes from a prototypical spread scheme and faced meager competition defensively.

    The Mike Gundy scheme hasn't projected well to the NFL for other quarterbacks.

    Is an arm passer who doesn't drive the ball with his legs or core. Can lead to sailing passes and a lack of velocity on out routes.

    Improved his pocket presence in 2017 but struggled in previous seasons to stand tall and make throws.

    Small hands (9 ⅛") lead to a lack of tight spirals at times and shows in poor ball security.


    GRADE: 6.75 (Round 2)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts



    Rudolph doesn't have the eye-popping traits of the guys ranked ahead of him, but he's an accurate quarterback with the toughness to hang in the pocket and execute. He will start games in the NFL.

5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press


    Jackson is a unique athlete with the ability to beat a defense with his arm or legs.

    Has a whip-fast delivery and plenty of arm strength despite not being a full-body thrower.

    Jackson can beat defenders to the corner with his legs and takes games over as a runner. He's the best running quarterback in college since Michael Vick and compares favorably to him.

    His ability to turn nothing into something will excite teams that have adapted to more college-friendly offenses, but his success will hinge on where he's drafted and if the offensive coaches believe in his development.

    Jackson has the type of tools that will frustrate defenses because of his dual-threat ability.



    Jackson's wrist-flip passing motion and narrow base when throwing cause the ball to sail.

    He'll have to rework his setup and better drive the ball with his legs to improve his accuracy—especially on out routes.

    —He hasn't shown on tape that he can fit the ball consistently into tight windows up the seam.

    —Jackson improved in the pocket in 2017 but still bails too early at times and opens up his smaller frame to hits.

    There are concerns among NFL scouts that Jackson is a "one read, two read, run" quarterback who won't be able to make complex pro reads.


    GRADE: 6.75 (Round 2)

    PRO COMPARISON: Michael Vick



    His game isn't a natural fit for the NFL and will require development, but Jackson has game-changing athleticism and playmaking skills.

4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press


    Mayfield is a tough, fiery competitor with a playmaker mentality.

    Has a quick delivery and enough arm strength to drive the ball with velocity and hit passes up the seam.

    In 2017, his deep accuracy and play from the pocket improved, and it appeared his arm strength did too. There are few balls Mayfield misses on.

    —His tape shows a smart, quick-thinking quarterback who can make reads and get the ball out on time. His touch accuracy will remind you of Drew Brees at times.

    —Despite not being track-fast, Mayfield uses his legs well and can extend plays. He has a thick frame and can take hits.

    —Mayfield is coming out of a spread offense, but scouts and coaches raved about his football IQ and overall intelligence.



    Mayfield comes in under the NFL's ideal size threshold at 6'0 ⅝".

    He was arrested before the 2017 season for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and attempting to run from the police.

    Mayfield was caught on camera yelling obscenities across the field and grabbing his crotch, gesturing at Kansas players. Some scouts were rubbed the wrong way when he planted the Oklahoma flag at midfield after beating Ohio State.

    The Sooners' scheme was tailor-made for Mayfield and gave him huge passing windows. It got him on the edge of the formation to better see routes.

    —Plays hero ball and will make off-balance throws that can sail.


    GRADE: 7.05 (Round 1)

    PRO COMPARISON: Case Keenum, Denver Broncos



    Mayfield is a polarizing prospect given his size and off-field issues, but he is also the most accurate passer in the draft and a natural playmaker with his legs. In the right scheme, he should be able to start early in his pro career.

3. Josh Rosen, UCLA

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press


    In terms of mechanics, accuracy, footwork and touch, he's the best passer in the 2018 draft class. He's an incredibly clean passer.

    Rosen's background as a tennis player is obvious in watching him take a three- or five-step drop.

    He's a prototype in his release and delivery and operates like an NFL quarterback on play action.

    Rosen doesn't get rattled in the pocket despite a thin frame and tends to get better the more he's hit.

    With little talent around him at UCLA this season, Rosen's numbers weren't off the charts. Drops and missed connections played a role too.

    —He has the arm strength to hit windows and has shown consistent touch in leading receivers upfield. He doesn't miss often.



    Injuries and a lack of mobility combine to scare teams as much as Rosen's alleged personality quirks.

    He has been injured in each of his three seasons at UCLA and missed a large part of 2016 with a shoulder injury.

    —He doesn't have the athleticism to evade pass-rushers and instead puts down roots in the pocket.

    When asked to move off his spot and make plays, his accuracy suffers.

    Rosen will be judged on his off-field decisions. He infamously wore a "F--k Trump" hat to a Trump golf course and had a hot tub installed in his dorm room.

    —Scouts have told us Rosen is well-liked by teammates but not by coaches due to his "smarter than" attitude.


    GRADE: 7.15 (Round 1)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams



    Rosen is a polished quarterback who is ready to take over an NFL offense. He is a clean prospect in terms of mechanics but has the biggest question marks when it comes to injury history and coachability.

2. Josh Allen, Wyoming

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images


    Allen's arm strength ranks as the best some scouts have ever seen.

    He can easily hit deep comebacks on a line with tight velocity and has the power to push the ball vertically. He can stretch the field to lengths most quarterbacks cannot.

    Allen has the ability to thread the ball into tight windows and can make "wow" throws that leave you shaking your head.

    As an athlete, he uses his 6'5", 237-pound frame well and can run over or around defenders.

    On the move, Allen can make throws without having to reset his feet and is able to still throw with power while rolling left or right.

    —He has played in a pro-style offense and worked under center at Wyoming.



    Allen's film shows poor decisions and errant passes where the ball gets away from him.

    —His subpar completion percentage (56 percent) can be attributed to poor decisions, passes thrown too hard, drops and plain misses.

    When Allen misses, he tends to miss big and often throws high on crossing routes.

    His footwork needs to be refined so that he's stepping into throws and aligning his lower body with his shoulders—an issue a lot of "arm" throwers have.

    He leaves a clean pocket too often (not trusting his offensive line) and will extend plays instead of throwing the ball away, which can lead to lost yards.


    GRADE: 7.15 (Round 1)

    PRO COMPARISON: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers



    As a developmental prospect, Allen has the traits that make coaches drool. His arm talent, athleticism, football IQ and personality are all ideal. The question every front office will ask is if it can get the most out of him.

    Many will make excuses for Allen's struggles (two-year starter at Wyoming, poor supporting cast, etc.), but evaluators are taught to see Allen's strengths, and he has plenty of those.

1. Sam Darnold, USC

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press


    —Darnold's toughness and football IQ are what sell scouts on his ability and potential.

    —Operated in an offense that asked him to make full-field reads from the pocket and often from a snap under center. Has excellent field vision and a quick processor.

    —His touch accuracy on short and intermediate routes stands out as a strength, and he routinely shows good anticipation and puts the ball ahead of the receiver.

    —Despite having a long release, Darnold can deliver the ball with velocity and can speed up his motion to get the ball into tight windows or throw with anticipation. He's able to throw from multiple angles and create on the move.

    —He has the personality to thrive in any environment, and coaches praise his work ethic and leadership.

    —Darnold isn't blazing fast, but he will lower his shoulder and run over defenders.



    —He lets the ball get on top of his hand and drops his elbow to his waistline on throws.

    —There are times on film when the long release allows defenders to jump his routes and create turnovers.

    —Darnold turned the ball over 24 times in 2017 (13 INTs, 11 fumbles) and has a history of flipping the field.

    —At times, Darnold tries to do too much and forces passes into windows that aren't there. In the pocket, he could improve his feel for defenders and better use his athleticism to make plays.


    GRADE: 7.20 (Round 1)




    As the talent at USC took a dip in 2017, Darnold's turnovers rose, but he never let it affect his demeanor. He's poised, smart, tough and incredibly coachable. Darnold projects as a starter in his second season and has a high NFL ceiling given his mental and physical skills.


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