You can learn very little from the preseason but what you can glean from these meaningless August games is what rookie QB’s are made of. So after two weeks of the preseason where does this hugely hyped rookie class stand, let’s check in.
The best QB of the bunch.
It’s tight but I have to give the edge to Baker Mayfield over Josh Rosen. Mayfield has shown tremendous decision making, awesome pocket awareness, and veteran savvy. There were six plays against the Bills in the preseason that should have been losses that Mayfield turned into gains or smartly got rid of the ball. If there is one thing for Mayfield to work on it’s eliminating throwing off his back foot which he has done seven times this preseason. Baker is ready to be the week one starter in Cleveland, and in my opinion, he should be.
The most overhyped.
Sam Darnold. Maybe it is just because the Jet’s have had a deserted nuclear wasteland in the backfield for over 60 years but people are way too hyped up about Darnold. He looks fine. Makes good throws, doesn’t have a problem with mechanics and can make plays with his legs. He also stands in the pocket too long, takes bad sacks, and runs himself into trouble sometimes. Darnold is the most likely QB to start week one but he won’t dominate right away there will be significant growing pains in Jersey.
The most overlooked.
Josh Rosen. No doubt about it. Go watch some of his film on NFL Game pass I beg of you. The kid makes all the right throws has a tremendous pocket presence and doesn’t make rookie mistakes. He struggles when he’s being chased down by three unblocked defenders, but what NFL QB doesn’t? Rosen may not start week one but he will see some time this year and remains my favorite QB out of this draft.
The one with the hype, that I really don’t understand.
Josh Allen. Ya, he has a hose. Ok, what else? Under pressure he runs back and takes sacks, his accuracy is all over the place, his velocity makes short out routes easy targets for interceptions, and he doesn’t see the field well. Arm strength does not make up for all that.
The one I am mesmerized by.
Lamar Jackson. Listen I see it all now, he has accuracy issues, he isn’t a great passer but oh my god when I watch Jackson play it makes me feel alive. I never saw Michael Vick but this is what I imagine he played like and I love it. I want to see more of it, I want to see if Jackson can develop into something truly special. It may take one year it may take five but he will get there. I love Lamar Jackson, I am really excited to see how his career plays out.