Despite three quarterbacks drafted in the first 12 picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, many analysts are pegging the 2018 class as one with more talent at the top with several passers jockeying for consideration to be the first player chosen.
According to Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft, USC’s Sam Darnold will be the first quarterback off the board — at No.1 overall — to the New York Jets.
“While he may not be the slam-dunk No. 1 overall that some are making him to be, Darnold had an outstanding redshirt freshman season and he’s poised to take another step forward in 2017. Darnold was outstanding under pressure, ranking sixth in the nation with a passer rating of 101.0 when pressured and, perhaps even more impressive, only 6.8 percent of his pressured snaps became sacks, second-best out of 133 qualifiers. The USC offense took off once Darnold took over last season, and while he was impressive in his debut, there’s still more work to do before he’s locked in at the top.”
Darnold is the first of several quarterbacks Palazzolo has in the top 32, including Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph as the No. 3 pick to the San Francisco 49ers. Rudolph, who appears lost in the hype of Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen, may end up having the best season of all eligible draft prospects and could find himself right where Palazzolo is projecting.
In Palazzolo’s mock, Allen is the next quarterback off the board at No. 7 to the Buffalo Bills, while Lamar Jackson falls to No. 12 to the Washington Redskins. Rosen is the last quarterback taken in the first round at No. 16 to the Arizona Cardinals.
For Palazzolo’s complete 2018 NFL Mock Draft, click here.