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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ranking the top 10 quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft

Baker Mayfield

No position can make or break an NFL team quite like the quarterback. Get yourself a good one, and you almost guarantee yourself a decade of competitiveness. Get yourself a great one, and you probably will end up with a Super Bowl ring.

This year’s NFL Draft class of quarterbacks is loaded with talented prospects. Quarterback-hungry teams are salivating over their chance to land one of them. The question is, which ones from the group are the best? Here’s our rankings for the top 10 quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Keep in mind, it will take several years to determine how this shakes out.

10) Kurt Benkert, Virginia

Originally a quarterback at East Carolina, Benkert transferred to Virginia after tearing his ACL and enjoyed two seasons leading the Cavs. His completion percentage either year wasn’t strong — 56.2 percent as a junior and 58.5 percent as a senior. He opened eyes with his strong play early in the season, and a massive 384-yard, four-touchdown game against Miami. To know what he can do, put on the tape from that game and watch him complete nearly all of his passes and make every throw. Overall, he has a pretty strong arm but lacks the accuracy and athleticism to have a big impact in the NFL.

9) Luke Falk, Washington State

A former walk-on at Washington State, Falk developed into one of the better quarterbacks the program has seen in the past 15 years. He leaves as the Cougars’ all-time passing yardage (14,481) and touchdowns leader (119), as he thrived in Mike Leach’s offense. Falk was only tested in the vertical jump and broad jump at the combine and did not excel at either. He did not participate in the Senior Bowl. Falk completed 68.3 percent of his passes during his career and has shown excellent accuracy. He took advantage of a lot of spacing in his offense thanks to the scheme his team ran.

8) Logan Woodside, Toledo

Woodside spent five years at Toledo, redshirting in the middle of his career and then going on to throw 45 touchdowns as a redshirt junior. He’s a good athlete who tested well in many of the running categories at the combine despite not putting up big rushing numbers in college. He often used his mobility to escape pressure and buy himself more time to make plays. He throws with good accuracy on short and intermediate routes, but he probably lacks the arm strength to really spread the ball around against NFL quality secondaries who can close on the ball much quicker than college ones. His ball just doesn’t have enough zip on it, but put him in a West Coast offense and that would suit him.

7) Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

Lauletta put up nice numbers at FCS Richmond, throwing for over 10,000 career yards and 73 touchdowns. He turned a lot of heads with a very strong performance at the Senior Bowl in which he passed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to take home game MVP honors. Lauletta tore his ACL in 2016 but bounced back to play well last season, but the longterm status of his knee is still a concern. He tested well at the combine and showed some good athleticism in all the running and jumping events. He can put some zip on the ball for intermediate throws, but he has a high-arcing deep ball that might not work at the next level.

6) Josh Allen, Wyoming

The physical skills for Allen jump off the page. He led all quarterbacks at the combine in broad and vertical jumps. He tested towards the top of his class in the 40-yard dash and 3 cone drill. He is a strapping 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds and has the look that many teams want from their quarterback. His arm strength is also off the charts as some say he can throw it nearly the length of a football field. He impressed some by hitting the crossbar from his knees from 50 yards away. But here’s the thing: being a quarterback is not about how well you test, how high you jump, or how far you throw it. So much more goes into being a good quarterback. You have to be accurate as a passer, and Allen was anything but that, completing just 56.2 percent of his passes in college. He also completely stunk up the joint in games against power-5 opponents like Nebraska, Oregon and Iowa. Inaccuracy is not a problem players overcome in the NFL; the weakness is only magnified. I see more Kyle Boller or Jake Locker from Allen than anything else. He’s a player I would never spend a first-round pick on with the belief that he will become a franchise quarterback.

See Nos. 5-1 on Page 2

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