This is part two of our “Dash To The Draft” series for 2018. When it comes to evaluating prospective NFL quarterbacks in this day and age, I’m often reminded of what Winston Churchill once said of the then-Soviet Union: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” It has always been difficult to find that safe, sure-fire QB prospect a la Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. And the proliferation of spread, option-based offenses in college football has made that task even harder, thus the riddle even more puzzling. While the 2018 QB draft class is sizzling with potential, it lacks that sure thing. And as noted NFL draft analyst Matt Miller (Bleacher Report) suggested a few weeks back, he doesn’t remember a quarterback class with such a high ceiling that has also had such serious flaws. And joining us tonight to address these quarterbacks and the intrigue, shortfalls, and mystery surrounding them is one of THE best quarterback analysts in the business. He is Mark Schofield of InsideThePylon.com. It was a pleasure meeting him down at Saucy Q in Mobile, Alabama during the Senior Bowl and it is a pleasure to welcome him to the program for the very first time.
- Let’s start off with the guy many expect to be selected by the Browns with the first overall pick: Sam Darnold. Three major draft gurus (Mike Mayock, Dane Brugler, and Lance Zierlein) have him as the top-rated QB in this class. While there is a lot to like about Darnold (intangibles, accuracy, mobility, etc.), his sloppy mechanics and persistent turnover problems leave many believing he needs to spend his rookie season on the bench. What does the tape say to you about Sam Darnold? Is he a day-one starter, does he need to ride the pine in 2018, or does the truth lie somewhere in between?
- Moving on to the QB many feel has the safest floor in this draft: Josh Rosen. While Rosen’s footwork, accuracy, pocket presence and touch are easy in fall in love with, many scouts are concerned he lacks the requisite passion for football. Do you think he helped ease those concerns this past week at the Combine? Another key red flag about Rosen that we have mentioned on this program before is durability. Mike Mayock compared him to Sam Bradford during the Combine broadcast and suggested that he is concerned Rosen will have a hard time staying healthy because of his inability to escape the pocket. Do you share those concerns? Do you think the comparison to Sam Bradford is warranted?
- We now continue to a QB that I personally believe you cannot sleep on as the first overall pick: the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Many, at least on Draft Twitter, have him either first or second on their boards. Mayfield checks a lot of boxes with his leadership, charisma, accuracy, anticipation, and football intelligence. However, he doesn’t have prototypical QB height (just slightly over six feet tall), didn’t often have to place the ball in tight windows at Oklahoma, lacks “WOW” physical traits and many believe he will be scheme-dependent in the NFL. Based on your film study of him, where does his ceiling and floor exist at the Pro level? Will Mayfield’s personality drop him out of the top 10 or help him rise into the top five?
- Arguably the most quintessential boom-or-bust prospect in this QB class is Josh Allen. Not only was his production in 2017 underwhelming, he finished his college career with an alarming 56.2% completion rate. Even worse, that was his rate in a non-power five conference. History shows that accuracy issues are unlikely to get fixed at the pro level. Still, because of his unique blend of size, athleticism and arm strength, the belief is he will still be a top-10 pick. Why do you think NFL decision-makers are much higher on Josh Allen than those of us on Draft Twitter?
- Baker Mayfield isn’t the only Heisman winner in this QB crop. Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman winner is an intriguing prospect. Many have compared him to Michael Vick, and it can be argued that if Vick found success in the NFL, so can Lamar Jackson. However, since last fall, many in the draft community were suggesting he switch to wide receiver at the Pro level. And as was reported by Peter Schrager, some teams even wanted him to participate in WR drills at the Combine. Why do you think this idea of Lamar Jackson becoming a WR came to be and do you think he has a permanent home under center in the NFL?
- Another quarterback that could be rising up draft boards around the league is Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, who put on a show at the Senior Bowl. A few weeks ago in his weekly Monday column, Peter King illustrated some of the striking similarities between Lauletta and Jimmy Garoppolo in terms of their measurables, Division I-AA experience, and completion percentages. Does the tape justify the Lauletta/Garoppolo comparison as well?
- Best Team Fits for…
That’s it for today here on Sports Krunch with DKrom. But we will be back with more this week, so stay tuned!! Also, be sure to check out the episode archive (including all the interviews I conducted at the Senior Bowl last week) as well as an up-to-date blog of mine at SportsKrunch.com!! And if you enjoy these podcast episodes please consider leaving us an iTunes review and donating to our Patreon at Patreon.com/SportsKrunch so we can improve our iTunes ranking and afford to produce even more shows with awesome guests like Mark, especially since there’s NEVER an “offseason” for talking football.
For Mark Schofield, our producer Chris Brodhead, I’m David Kromelow saying so long, and of course, stay awesome!!!
Mark’s Twitter handle: @MarkSchofield