Who is the top QB prospect? Experts debate

Posted Mar 1, 2018

Draft experts discussed the top QB prospects - with differing opinions - on's Big Blue Kickoff Live

It remains clear two months out from the 2018 NFL Draft that there’s a lack of consensus over who the top-rated quarterback is in this year’s class.

A first tier of prospects has emerged – Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Josh Allen (Wyoming) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – and fall into that elite group of signal callers. But ask four different NFL Draft experts, and you’ll get four different answers on who that top guy should be.

Welcome to Scouting 101.

Sorting through the height, weight, wingspan, hand size and other key measurements of these prospects are the executives, coaches, scouts and medical staffs of all 32 clubs currently gathered in Indianapolis at the 2018 Scouting Combine. Yes, there’s already hours of tape on all these quarterbacks. But an eye-opening performance on this stage can boost a prospect’s stock, while a poor showing can sink it.

“All of these quarterbacks have great upside,”’s Tony Pauline said Thursday on Big Blue Kickoff Live. “They all the potential to develop into very productive quarterbacks at the next level. But they have an equal amount of downside. [Josh] Rosen, you have the personality issues and the medical. Josh Allen,  you have the accuracy issues. Sam Darnold is a long time away from being NFL ready. Baker Mayfield may just not have the next-level arm.”

History shows that teams in the quarterback market aren’t shy about grabbing “their guy”. Thirty-one quarterbacks have been selected with the No. 1 overall pick, by far the most of any position, which makes sense when you take into account positional value.

So who will end up being the top guy this year? It depends on who you ask.

“I’m a Baker Mayfield guy because I think he got pigeon-holed as the short guy without a great arm, but people were nitpicking the wrong stuff,” said Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo. “He has all the NFL tools minus height. Everything else he does is outstanding - decision-making, accuracy, accuracy under pressure, and he makes plays inside and outside.”

“I don’t consider Baker Mayfield part of the elite quarterbacks,” added Pauline. “I have three elite quarterbacks – Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. I think Baker Mayfield is a good quarterback, but I think there’s a lot of hype.”


So what about the Giants? If Big Blue elects to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick, who should they go with?

"For the Giants, I think a quarterback like Josh Allen would make some sense because he has the highest upside if that’s the option they choose to go with,” said’s Rob Rang.

“If the Giants like Josh Allen, the Giants have two key elements that Josh Allen needs – time and a very good quarterback coach,” added Pauline. “If the Giants draft Josh Allen at two, they’re not going to ask him to play right away, so he can learn behind Eli Manning. And I think Pat Shurmur is an excellent quarterback coach.”

Two for Josh Allen. Check.

“To me, Sam Darnold is the top quarterback this year,” said Dane Brugler of “The intangibles and what he’s done at such a young age at 20 years old really checks a lot of the boxes you look for in a young player. His ability to anticipate passing windows, his ability to create outside of structure and that athleticism where he can evade the rush, keep his eyes downfield and still make plays.”

“If the Giants stay put, it’s just going to be hard,” added Jon Ledyard of “It’s hard for me to say they pass up on a franchise quarterback. To me, I think Josh Rosen is the best quarterback in the draft. I think he makes the most sense.”

Case in point.

All four could end up as franchise quarterbacks. All four could be busts. Scouting is not an exact science. If it was easy, everyone would do it and Tom Brady wouldn’t have been pick No. 199 back in 2000.

So when will we finally get that consensus regarding this year’s group? Look like we’ll have to wait just a little while longer.