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Mike Mayock breaks down this year's QB class


NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock breaks down the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL Draft class:

NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock updates his position-by-position rankings for the 2018 NFL Draft.

It is gut-check time in the NFL.

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With the draft just days away, boards are being finalized and kept under lock and key until the show begins Thursday. In some respects, the draft really starts with what the Giants do at No. 2, but no one -- not even general manager Dave Gettleman -- knows how that will play out.

"No," Gettleman said Thursday afternoon when asked if he knows in his heart whom he will take. "I'm being honest."

But does he know if he is set on taking a quarterback?

"Time will tell," he said.

Until then, the clock ticks and everyone is left to speculate, including Mike Mayock. The NFL Network analyst, when it's all said and done, believes USC quarterback Sam Darnold will go first overall to the Browns and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley next to the Giants.

"Let me put it this way with Gettleman and the Giants: If they fall in love with the quarterback who they think is their franchise guy for the next 10 years, that has to trump everything else regardless of fans that want Barkley or whatever, and you have to take your quarterback," Mayock said on a conference call. "However, if you have any concern whatsoever, there are three great position players there, or you can trade down. And I think the furthest he would be willing to trade down would be 6, which is where Indy is, because if he went to 6, and quarterbacks now go 1, 2, and 3, he's still going to get [N.C. State defensive end Bradley] Chubb, Barkley, or [Notre Dame guard Quenton] Nelson. So I don't think he's going past 6, and if he stays at 2, as much as he likes his hog molly, I still think that Barkley will be the guy."

However, if the Giants are in love with a quarterback, which one is it?

Mayock broke down this year's class.

On 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Louisville:

"The guy I'm most excited about is Lamar Jackson. He's the most exciting athlete in the draft. I think somebody in the first round is going to make a philosophical and schematic commitment to this kid and change what they do offensively. And it might not be this year where he makes a significant move, but I think long term, I can't wait to see what Lamar Jackson becomes."

On 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma:

"It seems to me like some teams love him and some teams just kind of go that's not my cup of tea. The film's good, but at the end of the day, you've got to make a decision in your building about who you want being the face of your franchise. And he's really cut both ways for a lot of teams."

On Sam Darnold, USC:

"It's really interesting because I think people were so anticipating this class that it surprises people when we start to kind of pick our way through them and really grind the tape. To put it in perspective, the two easiest quarterback evaluations I've had in the last eight or ten years are Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz, and that's because everything checked off both on the film and all the intangibles. Those two guys walked and talked like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, et cetera. I don't see anybody in this class that I get the same gut feel for as those two. Darnold is my number one guy because I think he can beat you from both inside the pocket and outside the pocket, but after him, I feel like you can kind of pick apart different characteristics of each player."

On Josh Allen, Wyoming:

"When I look at Allen from Wyoming, biggest upside in the draft, really exciting player, obviously has to learn how to be a little bit more accurate, and he's got to throw with timing and anticipation."

On Josh Rosen, UCLA:

"Josh Rosen, the most natural thrower in the draft, but he reminds me of Sam Bradford, both because they throw the ball naturally, but also the question about durability. Rosen's been hurt in college. He has an inability to protect himself in the pocket. He's a tough kid, but he gets hurt a lot. I don't know if he can survive in the NFL pocket for prolonged periods of time."

On Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State:

"I really like Mason Rudolph. If he becomes a quality starter in the NFL, I don't think it would surprise me. And I think we are sometimes guilty of only talking about the top tier guys at every position, to the exclusion of some really good football players. The two things in my head with Mason Rudolph are, number one, for a 6-5, 240-pound guy, he's got fairly average arm talent. I don't want that to be overblown because arm talent is overblown. But he doesn't blow you away with an ability to drive an 18-yard far hash comeback.

"Number two, and what I think is a little bit more important, in today's NFL, you've got to have some escapability, some ability to buy some extra time. I think he struggles with that a little bit. When he's got time with clear feet and clear vision, he can drive the ball, and I think he's the best deep ball touch and accuracy thrower in this draft. So I'm very bullish on this kid. I like the kid himself. I think he's a smart kid. I think he's going to be a starting quarterback in this league, but those are the two things that I -- they're nitpicking, but those are the two things that I would qualify."

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