There were 13 quarterbacks taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Five of them were taken in the first round. Of the remaining eight, only two have had any impact on an NFL franchise.
Mason Rudolph, picked 76th by Pittsburgh, and Mike White, picked 171st by Dallas.
Rudolph has started about 10 games as an injury replacement and was recently moved back to second string when the Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky from Buffalo. White Started 3 games for the Jets last year before being replaced by rookie Zach Wilson after his return from an ailment.
Josh Rosen was taken in between Allen and Jackson, and we can address him right here, right now: he’s terrible.
Now that we don’t ever have to speak about Rosen again, we’re going to examine the two QBs drafted with the first few picks of the draft to see why they were taken there, and how they’ve disappointed as opposed to the gunslingers for the Bills and Ravens (Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson).
Baker Mayfield: Pick 1, Cleveland Browns
Going into the draft Mayfield was the consensus first overall pick after incredible play at Oklahoma. He was always going to be the first pick, so Cleveland fans can’t really say they should’ve picked someone else, because at the time that would have been labeled incredibly silly.
Mayfield has had an up and down career in his four years with the Browns. He broke rookie records despite having really no help on the offensive side of the ball in his first year and picked up 6 wins, more than Cleveland had known in quite some time.
His second year was disappointing. He won just six games again and threw over 20 interceptions. This wasn’t helped though by his horrid offensive line.
Once the Browns shored up the guys in front of him, Mayfield led the Browns to the playoffs for the first time in decades and even won the team a playoff game.
But last year his inconsistencies showed again as he frequently played a great game, followed by an all-time bad performance. Mayfield’s inconsistencies were too much to deal with, causing the Browns to replace the four-year starter with alleged sexual abuser Deshaun Watson.
No one knows what’s next for Mayfield. Whether he’ll be a starter next year for any NFL team is still up in the air, but he wants out of Cleveland. His lack of size and overall messy play style has caught up to him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a long career as an NFL QB if he finds himself in the right situation.
He’s not first pick-worthy whatsoever, and never will be. But at least Mayfield is a starting-caliber quarterback.
Sam Darnold: Pick 3, New York Jets (now with the Carolina Panthers)
Darnold has been highly touted as an NFL prospect from his early days at USC, despite never really performing to his potential. All the scouts said he was more of an NFL prototype QB, and it would show once he stepped into the league.
If it weren’t for Mayfield’s explosion in his final collegiate season, Darnold may have been the first pick in the draft. But, instead, he was taken third by a franchise with fans begging for a QB savior.
They picked another “savior” in the 2021 draft, so that should tell you everything you need to know about the Sam Darnold experience in New York.
He was alright his first year, winning just four games but having no help on either side of the ball at all. And, in his second year, he actually had a winning record as a starting QB and improved in most, if not all metric categories.
But, his third season was tragic. Going just 2-10, failing to play more than 13 games yet again, and throwing just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Just three years into his career and the Jets had enough and traded him to Carolina while recouping a few draft picks.
His failure on the Jets was often attributed to the franchise’s poor roster management and overall black-hole-like culture. The scouts still believed Darnold had the potential to be unlocked.
This all looked true when he started his career in Carolina with consecutive wins and impressive performances as he broke his own career-high marks numerous times. But once again, he sustained an injury and came back worse than before, losing seven games in the season as the Panthers went from very promising, to very bad, very quickly.
Darnold may still have another shot at being a starting NFL QB this upcoming season, but I think everyone is just about fed up with the narrative of Darnold’s potential. He hasn’t shown it and I think we’ve seen enough by now to know what he’s going to be in the NFL.
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