Are the Top 10 Quarterbacks from the 2018 Draft Franchise Caliber?

The 2018 NFL Draft was one filled to the brim with quarterback talent. In fact, picks 1, 3, 7, and 10 were all signal-callers that posed to be future stars in the NFL.

To make matters even more astonishing, none of those four quarterbacks took home 2019 MVP honors, as it was the 32nd pick (Lamar Jackson) who took home the hardware. However, MVP awards aren’t always a great measuring stick for determining a first-round pick as a hit or miss.

We all know Jackson is the franchise quarterback in Baltimore, but what about the other four?

Starting with Josh Rosen, he started in Arizona and had a below-average rookie year. Following that, the Cardinals quickly determined that their future was another quarterback, as Kyler Murray was selected first overall in 2019. Rosen was traded to Miami before the draft, where he battled for snaps with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Although he won the quarterback duel at first, his play was sloppy, which could be thanks in large part to the lack of talent surrounding him offensively. He ended up losing the job to Fitzpatrick, who managed to play the Dolphins into a handful of wins.

As for Rosen, he has not shown any indication that he can be a franchise quarterback due to his lack of accuracy and poor decision-making. His accuracy issues can be overstated at times, as his supporting cast has never been proficient––but his irradiate decision making can not be blamed on his receivers or offensive line.

Rosen is one of three possible starters for the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 season, as he’s been put in a familiar situation with Miami’s drafting of Tua Tagovailoa. As a result, he will most likely see himself on a new team within the next year. Although he has only performed in two seasons in the NFL, it might be fair to say that his franchise quarterback likeliness is almost at zero.

Baker Mayfield has been put into a tough position, as he is already going onto his third coach in three years. The team surrounding Mayfield has been nothing less than talented. Mayfield had a great rookie campaign but fell off in his sophomore year. Many believed he was ‘the answer’ after the 2018 season, but after an abysmal 2019 season, fans and analysts retract their statements.

If Mayfield does not have a rebound year this year, then the chances of him being known as the franchise quarterback may be in question.

This offseason, the Browns have helped Mayfield by drafting and signing offensive tackles––two positions that hindered Mayfield’s production in 2019. The man who was once a rookie sensation needs to return to that level of play or his time in Cleveland will not be as promising as many thought. 

Josh Allen brought the Buffalo Bills back to the playoffs last season and is a more than capable quarterback. However, his accuracy has not improved since being drafted.

In two years, he has averaged a 55 percent completion rate. He did improve his turnover to touchdown rate, but for someone with “a strong arm” who has trouble with passes further than 20 yards, his performance has been nothing but pedestrian.

Although the Bills have been competitive with Allen, it is not due to his arm. He has surprised many, as he can keep drives alive, though more so with his feet. With the new addition in receiver Stefon Diggs, Allen has two more years to prove that he can be the Bills’ franchise quarterback. If he can not improve his accuracy, especially with the long ball, then the Bills might have to invest in a new quarterback. 

Sam Darnold had a tough 2019 season. He went on injured reserve for a third of the season due to contracting mononucleosis. The team struggled without Darnold, but when he started the game he led the New York Jets to a 7-6 record.

Out of these four quarterbacks, Darnold has had the worst team built around him. However, his play has not been as star-studded as many have been told. Mayfield and Allen were on dysfunctional teams that had very little offensive protection and talent their first year as well.

Darnold has not improved his decision making. He constantly throws to a covered receiver, leaving an open one empty-handed. Darnold is rushing his passes and trying to always make the big play. This causes a lot of three and outs, and empty possessions. Darnold can still bounce back and be the franchise quarterback for the Jets. But what he needs to do is have two good seasons in which he shows improvement in decision making and learning to protect the ball more.

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