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Top 10 QB prospects of past 3 NFL draft classes: Darnold No. 1


Editor's note: analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of the Move The Sticks Podcast shares some of his scouting notes, including:

» A player projection for each of the 2018 NFL Draft picks that changed hands in a blockbuster weekend trade

But first, we kick off this week's notebook with Jeremiah's look at how this year's group of quarterback prospects stacks up against the top QB talents that have entered the league in the previous two drafts.

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I always believe it's helpful during the evaluation process to rank the current group of prospects among the players at the position from the previous two drafts. I recently looked up the grades I gave to the quarterbacks in the '16 and '17 draft classes and I slotted them in with this year's crop of talent. Here's the order I have them in based on their draft grade.

1) Sam Darnold, USC
Draft class: 2018
The skinny: I had very similar draft grades on each of the top four players on this list. However, I gave Darnold a slightly higher grade than Carson Wentz because of his durability and level of competition from college.

2) Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Draft class: 2016; second overall pick, Philadelphia Eagles
The skinny: Wentz had an ideal skill set coming out of NDSU. His ability to drive the ball accurately and create with his legs made him a special prospect.

3) Josh Rosen, UCLA
Draft class: 2018
The skinny: Rosen is the best pure passer in this time frame (2016-2018). His motion, footwork and arm talent are off the charts.

4) Jared Goff, Cal
Draft class: 2016; first overall pick, Los Angeles Rams
The skinny: Goff was very smooth and accurate at Cal. He was an effortless thrower and you've seen that carry over to the NFL.

5) Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Draft class: 2018
The skinny: Mayfield is the shortest member of this group (measured in at 6-foot 5/8 and 215 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine), but I gave him a strong grade based on his touch, playmaking ability and toughness.

6) Josh Allen, Wyoming
Draft class: 2018
The skinny: Allen was an inconsistent performer at Wyoming, but his good moments are incredibly impressive. He is very capable of outplaying my draft grade.

7) Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Draft class: 2017; 12th overall pick, Houston Texans
The skinny: I had Watson as my highest-rated quarterback in last year's class, but based on early returns, I was way too low with my grade. I had concerns with his accuracy and decision making, but he cleaned up both areas last fall. He was off to a remarkable start as a rookie before suffering an ACL tear in November.

8) Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
Draft class: 2017; second overall pick, Chicago Bears
The skinny: I loved Trubisky's talent, but he had a very small sample size of production. He was a full-time starter for only one year at UNC, but his upside was tremendous.

9) DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
Draft class: 2017; 52nd overall pick (Round 2), Cleveland Browns
The skinny: I had a big grade on Kizer heading into his final year at Notre Dame, but he struggled mightily to maintain that level of play. I ended up dropping his grade prior to the 2017 draft and he landed in a really tough spot in Cleveland. He was rushed into action before he was ready to play, and the results weren't pretty. Now, he's getting a fresh start after being traded to the Green Bay Packers earlier this month.

10) Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Draft class: 2016; 26th overall pick, Denver Broncos
The skinny: Lynch was a polarizing player coming out of Memphis. His size, arm talent and athleticism were enticing, but I had concerns about the adjustment he would have to make from his college offense to an NFL system.


The Jets' move up the draft board in a trade with the Colts created quite a buzz over the weekend. The Jets clearly have three players in this draft that they love. They would not have given up so much draft capital if that wasn't the case. In order to acquire the third overall pick, they parted with the sixth, 37th and 49th overall selections in this year's draft and they also included their second-round pick for next year.

I expect them to come away with their quarterback of the future, while the Colts will be able to stockpile players in their rebuilding process. Let's put some potential names to these picks in order to get a better feel for the cost/benefit of the move. This is one scenario that could play out:


Pick No. 3 in 2018 draft: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA


Pick No. 6 in 2018 draft: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Pick No. 37 in 2018 draft: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Pick No. 49 in 2018 draft: Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
Second-round pick in 2019 draft: TBD

I think this could end up being a win/win for both teams. While the Jets did give up four potential starters by trading away those picks, coming away with a quarterback capable of leading your franchise for a decade is a definite win.

For the Colts, this is a chance to add some much-needed talent to their front seven on defense and offensive line. There is also the possibility that the Colts will use one or more of these picks to move around on draft day to secure the players they covet. This will be fun to follow.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.



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