Pre-Draft Dynasty Football Rookie Quarterback Rankings
Much like in the NFL our dynasty teams can suffer with a below average quarterback. While streaming quarterback’s can work with great success in redraft leagues, dynasty leagues (especially Superflex or 2QB) require you to have strong consistency. Some believe this quarterback draft class can be just as good as the 1983 and 2004 classes. 1983 included Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. The 2004 draft class should eventually have three Hall of Famers as well in Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. The difference with this class is they have six quarterbacks who could all be studs or viable starters in the NFL. Of course team, system, and coach will all help determine most of the fates of these QB’s.
In this article I’m going to dive into my early rankings based on who I believe has the best chance to be the franchise players of this class. I’ll touch upon their college careers as well as discuss potential landing spots that would be a great fit for them.
1. Baker Mayfield Oklahoma
- Passing Yards: 14,607
- Passing TD: 131
- INT: 30
- Career QB Rate: 175.4
- Rushing Yards: 1,083
- Rushing TD’s: 21
Baker Mayfield started his college career as a walk on at Texas Tech in 2013. He won the starting job as a true freshman, although he eventually got injured as was replaced by Davis Webb, Patrick Mahomes was also in waiting on that team. After a verbal altercation with the coaching staff Mayfield left Texas Tech and had to walk on to play at Oklahoma. He played three years at Oklahoma amassing great Qb stats while playing. He never threw fewer than 36 touchdowns a season, and completed 70% of his passes in his final two seasons. Mayfield won the Heisman last and is one of two quarterbacks coming out in this draft who have won the Heisman.
If Mayfield were a few inches taller he would be considered the top prospect in this draft. He gets comps to Russell Wilson because of the use of his legs, however Mayfield isn’t as explosive. He also gets “lazy comparisons” to Johnny Manziel because of his size and arm. Mayfield is a much better passer and due to the public and media perspective his skills are overshadowed. He has a solid accurate arm, he also does a great job creating by moving in and around the pocket looking to throw the call more often than run it. Mayfield is extremely competitive and should thrive in most environments.
Mayfield sometimes struggles with inconsistent mechanics and sometimes tries to do to much outside the pocket. He also has had some minor issues off the field which some teams may worry about.
Mayfield I believe could fit into any system if given a chance and play calls are tailored to his skills. I think the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints are the best fits for him. I could also see in Arizona but have yet to see what kind of offense they plan to run.
2. Sam Darnold USC
- Passing Yards: 7,229
- Passing TD’s: 57
- INT: 22
- Career QB Rating: 153.7
- Rushing Yards: 332
- Rushing TD’s: 7
Sam Darnold was anointed the next best quarterback prospect after his freshman year. In which he capped off an incredible year, by decimating Penn State in one of the best Rose Bowl games of all time. He threw for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, his sophomore year failed in comparison. He threw 26 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, while also struggling with fumbles all year long. Darnold will be entering the draft as one of the youngest quarterbacks ever at the age of 20 and only played two years in college.
Darnold is an athletic prospect and has good size for the quarterback position. He has decent arm strength probably second best in this class (Josh Allen has the best). He has shown he can run a pro style offense (USC runs mostly pro offense sets) and showed he could call out blitz packages and shift coverages. Darnold also does a great job creating outside the pocket moving and trying to make throws downfield, or running. This is considered to be on of his best and worse traits. He is considered to have the highest ceiling of all the Qb prospects, and if he hits could be a franchise Qb.
Darnold biggest concern is his decision making. He threw multiple interceptions and fumbles by trying to do to much at times. His mechanics also seemed to break down when he was flushed out of the pocket and forced to throw on the run.
Darnold’s fits are honestly every team. Many believe he’s a can’t miss prospect. I feel he would be better off getting the Aaron Rodgers treatment. He needs to go to a team that has a quarterback he can sit behind and learn and watch the pro game. Be given the chance to absorb the NFL game and work his way into playing. The teams that will allow him to do that with offenses he could command. Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New York Jets, Denver Broncos.
3. Josh Rosen UCLA
- Passing Yards: 9,340
- Passing TD’s: 59
- INT: 26
- Career QB Rating: 140.1
- Rushing Yards: -154
- Rushing TD’s: 6
Josh Rosen had an accomplished career at UCLA. He came out hot his freshman year throwing for 3,669 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. An injury to his throwing shoulder required him to have surgery that cost him most of his sophomore year. However, he came back with a vengeance his junior year. He threw for 3,756 yards which is a UCLA record, with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Rosen is one of the most polished QB prospects we’ve seen. He has a big frame and solid mechanics. Inside the pocket with his arm he can shred defenses. However, his biggest asset is his brain. He understands football and is highly intelligent. It’s been widely stated he learned the UCLA playbook in a matter of days. Rosen succeeded at UCLA with a bad team around him. He has the best footwork of the class and the highest floor.
Rosen lacks the play-making and creating ability, and flashy plays some of his peers show. He also made some bad plays for instance (negative 154 yards rushing in his career.) but many scouts believe that’s because he was trying to do to much with the team he had around him. Rosen also has injury questions around him with multiple concussions his junior year, and some still wonder about his shoulder though it didn’t seem to slow him down last year. Rosen is also not afraid to speak his mind whether that’s an unpopular opinion or not which might turn some teams off.
His best fits I think are teams with good structure and an offense that will allow him to command with audibles. He’ll likely need a good offensive line as well as he rarely leaves the pocket. His best fits now look like the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and New England Patriots.
4. Josh Allen Wyoming
- Passing Yards: 5,066
- Passing TD’s: 44
- INT: 21
- Career QB Rating: 137.7
- Rushing Yards: 767
- Rushing TD’s: 12
Josh Allen has the most physical skills of the class, and could possibly be the most athletic and gifted quarterback since Cam Newton. Allen played for Wyoming and had a great sophomore year throwing for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 Interceptions. He suffered a shoulder injury that limited him to 11 games his junior year. He threw for 1,812 yards 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
Allen has the prototypical QB size and a plus arm with ridiculous arm strength. He can also run when needed having over 700 rushing yards in his college career. Allen is also lauded for his football mind. He understands football and how the play the QB position with the best of the best.
Where Allen struggles is also one of his best assets his arm strength. Many believe that because he knows he can fit the ball in tight spaces and throw it deep, he forces into situations when he doesn’t need to and should just check it down. He also has the worst accuracy of the top Qb prospects. Though he blames losing all his offensive weapons for his accuracy issues, his accuracy wasn’t much better the year before either.
Allen could be an interesting fit for multiple teams. I believe if paired with a good coach who can work on his decision making he could end up as the best Qb in this class. Coming with a good coach I think he should sit for at least a year to allow himself to absorb even more knowledge on the game. His best fits are the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bill, and Arizona Cardinals.
5. Lamar Jackson Louisville
- Passing Yards: 9,043
- Passing TD’s: 69
- INT: 27
- Career QB Rating: 142.9
- Rushing Yards: 4,132
- Rushing TD’s: 50
Lamar Jackson is a legit quarterback prospect, not a wide receiver prospect. We all know he has great athleticism, and has drawn many comparisons to Michael Vick. Jackson is a gifted passer who deserves his shot at being a quarterback, which is why he hasn’t participated in some combine drills. He rushed for more yards in his college career than Saquon Barkley. He threw for over 3,500 yards in his last two years, won a the Heisman is sophomore year and had an even better year his Junior year.
Jackson is well known for his great speed and legs. While he has a lot of run plays called specifically for him, he doesn’t run out of the pocket as much as many think. He has played in a Pro-Style offense under Bobby Petrino, however most of his quarterbacks haven’t succeeded at the next level. He plays well in the offense when given a chance.
Jackson much like Allen’s best asset is one of his biggest weaknesses, his speed and legs. When he goes on runs he tends to run erratically and needs to get out of bounds or slide more often to avoid big hits. He also struggles with accuracy and anticipating throws. He also has a tendency to side arm throws while on the move which are highly inaccurate.
All of Jackson’s issue can be worked on refined or fixed with good coaching at the next level. Jackson will likely need a year more likely two sitting behind a veteran to allow working in a scheme and perfecting his technique. The best fits for him I feel are the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, and New England Patriots.
6. Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State
- Passing Yards: 13,618
- Passing TD’s: 92
- INT: 26
- Career QB Rating: 159.7
- Rushing Yards: 28
- Rushing TD’s: 17
Mason Rudolph is the often forgotten about prospect in this class. Rudolph comes in as possibly the best passer in the class. In his three year career at Oklahoma state throwing for over 4,000 yards in his final two years. Rudolph wouldn’t even be in this class had he not been forced to play his freshman year due to injuries.
Rudolph has above average arm strength and a quick release. He does a good job eluding pressure in the pocket moving to get the ball to an open receiver. Rudolph has the reputation of being a student of the game and a great leader in the Locker room. Rudolph does excel at throwing the deep ball. He does a good job in the short to intermediate areas throwing the ball into windows giving his guys room to make plays.
While Rudolph can throw the deep ball he tends to lack anticipation on throws which will be big at the next level. He also apparently was allowed to do much at the line of scrimmage in Mike Gundy’s offense, that might not mean much but not allowing him to make audibles based on the defense or shift line coverage could affect him.
Rudolph much like Jackson is likely a multiple year project. Sitting behind veterans and being able to absorb NFL games and schemes will help him grow and likely become an above average quarterback in the league. His best fits New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, and the New England Patriots.