I have been hyping the 2018 quarterback draft class since the end of the 2017 NFL Draft and for good reason. It’s a loaded class that could potentially dwarf the 2012 class and compete with the legendary 1983 class. There are 4 quarterbacks in this class I believe will be franchise quarterbacks in this league and all 4 have a clear best fit in terms of team in the NFL.
This post isn’t about hyping this group or giving detailed scouting reports on each prospect. This is about breaking down what the best realistic fit is for each top quarterback prospect. Talent gets these quarterbacks drafted very high, but finding the right fit is how GMs keep their jobs and what allows these young quarterbacks to succeed very early. See Jared Goff 2016 vs 2017.
Here are the best fits for each of my top 4 quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft:
Lamar Jackson(Louisville), New York Jets- A lot of people are down on Jackson as a first round quarterback because he runs a lot, he turns it over a ton in his bowl game against Mississippi State and most don’t view him as much of a pocket passer. I’m here to tell you that Jackson is going to develop into a really special quarterback at the next level. Once he gets his accuracy under control a little bit, he’s going to be really good. Most of his turnovers are a result of overthrowing or forcing the ball to a tight window. As far as his running guys, there were enough injuries to athletic quarterbacks in the NFL this season that his next head coach will put a premium on Jackson knowing when to run and when to protect himself.
I love the fit here with the Jets for a variety of reasons. First off, I believe Josh McCown will be back and he is the perfect mentor for Jackson. McCown knows how to read a defense, how to be a professional and he has been a team first guy in this league for 15 years. Jackson wouldn’t be thrown into the fire right away and goes to a franchise that is on the rise.
Josh Allen(Wyoming), Denver Broncos- The Bronocs have a tight cap situation with all their stars on defense and two very productive wide receivers. They can’t afford to go after a Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton or Alex Smith in free agency. With Allen they get a bigger more, higher ceiling and a cheaper contract for the next 5 years.
I see a lot of John Elway in Josh Allen, so this fit makes sense. Allen has a big frame, is a good athlete and has a really impressive arm. At Wyoming he was always trying to create something for a receiving core that struggled to get open. Here, he inherits Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.
Denver doesn’t need a quarterback to carry this team, they just need someone who can move the ball a little bit better than Trevor Siemian has the past two seasons.
Josh Rosen(UCLA), New York Giants- This one is probably a lock to happen unless new GM David Gettleman is out of his mind and really wants to stick with Eli and pass on a quarterback while he builds up the offensive line. The Giants are the San Antonio Spurs before Tim Duncan. They are an okay team with some talent, but one injury riddled seasons allows them to draft a franchise changing player.
If the Giants can have better injury luck this season and get rid of all their lock room cancers then a NFL ready quarterback like Josh Rosen can have a lot of success early. Josh Rosen is your ultimate low floor quarterback prospect. He’s Matt Ryan and can play close to that level as a rookie with a decent supporting cast. Rosen would find life in the NFL pretty easy throwing to Evan Engram, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard.
It’s rare to see rookie quarterbacks having a lot of success, but it’s also rare to see quarterbacks this polished going into to a situation this good.
Sam Darnold(USC), Cleveland Browns- Darnold is exactly the type of person this franchise needs to turn things around. He doesn’t see the Browns as place where careers go to die. He sees them as an opportunity to start his NFL career. He’s also a high character prospect with a very short memory. He’s the type of quarterback that isn’t afraid to test a tight window, but also the type that can forget about an interception quickly and not let affect his next possession.
Darnold is still a bit raw and his footwork needs a lot of work, but if you put the right coaches around him I think he’ll fix a lot of his mechanics issues early on. Carson Wentz had similar issues coming out, but a good group of coaches around him has really sped up his development.