Top 10 quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL draft

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Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected round) for the 2018 NFL draft, which is set for April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.

UCLA’s Josh Rosen is the AJC’s No. 1 rated quarterback

Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected round) for the 2018 NFL draft, which is set for April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas:

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA, 6-foot-4, 226 pounds (first round): He has survived some questionable comments from his former coach Jim Mora, but is immensely talented. His bizarre behavior and ability to lead has been heavily scrutinized during the pre-draft process. But physically, there is no question about his talent. He was a five-star recruit, but didn't win big at UCLA while playing under three different coordinators. Rosen was the first true freshman in UCLA's storied history to start the season opener. He passed for 3,670 yards, 23 touchdowns and had 11 interceptions, while setting several UCLA freshman records on the way to an 8-5 record. He had a shoulder injury and played just six games as a sophomore before going 6-7 last season as a junior. "Rosen needs to stop trying to do too much with his arm and improve his feel in the pocket, but his instincts and movements are reminiscent of Matt Ryan, projecting as a NFL starter," according to Dane Brugler's 2018 NFL draft guide. 

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2. Sam Darnold, USC, 6-3, 221 (first): He got plastered by Ohio State in his final collegiate game in the Cotton Bowl. He took his licking and tried to keep on ticking. After that spanking, 24-7, Darnold elected to bypass his final two years of eligibility and enter the draft. He was a four-star recruit and red-shirted one season before playing the past two seasons. He completed 549 of 846 passes (64.9 percent) for 7,229 yards, 57 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. "Sam Darnold should be the pick for the Cleveland Browns (at No. 1 overall)," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "I think he's the right guy there. I personally think he's the best quarterback in his class. And I think he's, at 20 years old, is just scratching the surface of what he can do."

3. Josh Allen, Wyoming, 6-4 7/8, 237 (first): He was a late-bloomer who was lightly recruited coming out of high school and junior college. Only Wyoming and Eastern Michigan gave him offers. He has the biggest arm in the draft and the most imposing physical stature. He was not very accurate at times, while completing just 56.3 percent of his passes. He has drawn comparisons to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz since they both played in the same offense. Allen was under center and in the shotgun for the Cowboys. He was proficient with read-pass option concepts. Most of his woes have been attributed to his weak supporting cast. "I've done a bunch of his tape and saw him live at the Senior Bowl," NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "He's got as live an arm as anybody I've seen since JaMarcus Russell. I heard people thought that was a negative because of JaMacus's career. But to qualify that, all I'm talking about is arm talent. I'm not talking about the ability to play in the NFL. His arm talent is the best I've seen since Russell."

4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 6-2, 216 (first): A team that is willing to re-tool on offense to blend in Jackson's unique talents could end up with the steal of the draft. Former Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson, showed in a small sample size, how dangerous a quarterback with pass-run skills can be in the NFL. The former Heisman Trophy winner played three seasons at Louisville under former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino. He selected the school because Petrino ran a pro-style offense, and he had a chance to start as a freshman. The speedy Jackson rushed for 1,571 yards as a sophomore and 1,601 as a junior. The knock on Jackson is that he is not an accurate passer. He completed 619 of 1,086 passes (57.0 percent) for 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. "We ran the (Ron) Erhardt system," Jackson said. "Coach would probably call it from the sideline, and I would have to relay it to the line. My receivers had to look to the sideline to know what protection (was called). Simple stuff like that." Baltimore and New England appear to be most interested. "Jackson has the first-round athleticism of a right-handed Michael Vick and can have a better NFL career if he continues to develop his decision-making, mechanics and accuracy as a passer," according to Dane Brugler's 2018 NFL draft guide.

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5. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, 6-0 5/8, 215 (first): Didn't endear himself to many football traditionalists when he planted the flag at Ohio Stadium. Also, has shown childish behavior on the sideline and made a bad impression with a camera crew following him around to shoot a reality series at the combine. He needs to mature on and off the field. Mayfield was arrested and charged (Feb. 2017) with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing after Washington County (Arkansas) police responded to an assault report. Mayfield attempted to run from the law. But when you strip away all of his nonsense, he's won a lot of college football games. He's a bit on the short side and must be in the right offense to exploit his talents. Mayfield has inflated numbers coming out the defensively-challenged conference.

6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 235 (second): Played for Kyle Richardson at Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern High. Richardson is currently at Clemson as an offensive assistant. The ACC and SEC schools over-looked Rudolph, who went out to the midwest and starred for the Cowboys. He left Oklahoma State with nearly all of the school's passing records, including touchdowns (92), passing yards (13,618), 400-yard passing games (10) and 300-yard passing games (23). "Mason Rudolph is who he is," Mayock said. "Big, strong, good-looking kid. I have a second-round grade on him. I don't think his arm strength is in the same conversation (as the other guys)."

7. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State, 6-1, 224 (third): He posted a 38-6 record with the Buckeyes and set 34 school records, including breaking Drew Brees' Big Ten marks for career passing touchdowns and total yards. He has the arm strength, but must speed up his reads and delivery to be successful in the NFL. He has the intangibles that pro scouts like, but his slow deliver is a red flag.

8. Mike White, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 224 (third/fourth): He started his career at South Florida and played as a freshman. He transferred after Quinton Flowers took over to run the offense that then South Florida coach Willie Taggert wanted to run. He passed for more than 11,000 yards over his career.

9. Kyle Lauletta, Richmond, 6-2, 222 (fourth/fifth): There's been a buzz about him since he won the most valuable player award at the Senior Bowl. He completed 63.5 percent of his passes for the Spiders and passed for more than 10,000 yards while starting 36 of 40 games.

10. Luke Falk, Washington State, 6-3, 215 (fifth/sixth): He was a three-year starter for the Cougars and was a perfect fit for Mike Leach's spread offensive system. He completed 68.3 percent of his passes and passed for more than 14,400 yards.

Best of the rest: Marshall's Chase Litton, Nebraska's Tanner Lee, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Memphis' Riley Ferguson, Toledo's Logan Woodside and Flowers. Mayock on Lee, who had a workout with the Falcons: "He has arm talent. ...His issues were more bad decisions and bad throws in games."

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