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#pounditSaturday, July 20, 2024

First QB to make Super Bowl from star-studded 2018 draft is a surprise

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The 2018 NFL Draft was loaded with quarterbacks, five of whom were taken in the first round. The first one of that group of five players to reach a Super Bowl is a surpise.

Baker Mayfield went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in 2018. He later ended up with the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, and now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he has led two different franchises (Browns and Bucs) to playoff wins, he has yet to make the Super Bowl.

Josh Allen went No. 7 overall to the Buffalo Bills. He has made two Pro Bowls, finished top-3 in NFL MVP voting twice, and has led the Bills to four straight AFC East titles and five straight playoff appearances. But he has yet to reach a Super Bowl.

Lamar Jackson went No. 32 overall to the Baltimore Ravens. He won NFL MVP in 2019, which was his first full season as the team’s starting quarterback. He has made three Pro Bowls, rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season twice, and he may very well win his second NFL MVP this season. He’s also led his team to two division titles and three playoff appearances, but he hasn’t reached a Super Bowl yet.

Well before the Ravens took Jackson at No. 32, the Arizona Cardinals selected Josh Rosen No. 10 overall. Rosen had a poor supporting cast and could not make the team better. He went 3-10 in his starts with the Cardinals, who quickly jettisoned him in favor of Kyler Murray. Rosen fared even worse during brief stints with the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. He was a practice squad player in 2022 and was the big bust of the group.

The last QB from the 2018 first-round group was Sam Darnold. He was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Jets. He went 13-25 over three seasons as the Jets’ starter as he battled some injuries. He didn’t work out well for the Jets, who later traded him to Carolina. Darnold didn’t do a whole lot better while playing for some bad Panthers teams in 2021 and 2022. But then Darnold found himself a nice landing spot in San Francisco. He is the No. 2 quarterback for the Niners, serving as Brock Purdy’s backup. And of the five QBs from the class, he is the first one to play in a Super Bowl, though that comes with the caveat that he is a backup.

Between guys like Allen, Jackson, and even Mayfield, who would have figured Darnold would make it to the big game as a backup before any of them?

Beyond just the quarterbacks selected in the first round in 2018, Patriots 7th-round pick Danny Etling was a practice squad player for the team’s Super Bowl win, though he didn’t contribute any stats the entire year. Undrafted quarterback John Wolford won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams as the backup to Matthew Stafford in the 2021 season.

The 2018 draft produced one MVP in Lamar Jackson and potentially a second in Josh Allen, yet it’s Darnold as a backup making the Super Bowl before both of them.


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