Western Courier

Draft year of the Quarterback

Mat MCclanahan, Senior Staff

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I have lived a long and strenuous two and a half months; my life has not been that same, something has just been off. However, I can finally see the light! The start of the NFL season begins tomorrow night.

Tomorrow is the NFL draft, which means it is time for way too early playoff predictions, stupid suspensions from Rodger Goodell, Hail Mary’s from Aaron Rodgers, and my personal favorite, Gronk spikes. However, none of that will be the headline of tomorrow night’s draft. As a football family we will see, “The Year of the Quarterback” is unveiled before our very eyes, and I am here to tell you which two will be the cream of the crop.

Tomorrow night guys like Saquon Barkley, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Quenton Nelson will all be brushed under the rug, but for the right reasons. All three of the football players I just named will end up with a gold jacket someday, but tomorrow will go down as the turning point for the NFL at the quarterback position, which will ultimately change the entire professional game as we know it.

In my 22 years of life, I have heard “draft experts” talk about how a player isn’t a NFL kind of player, which always blew my mind. In my pre-pubescent mind, I always thought to myself, “if a guy was dominant in college, why would he not be dominant in the pros?” Then one day it clicked, I saw a picture of Jamarcus Russell and watched Trent Richardson try and catch a pass out of the backfield, some guys just don’t have any room for improvement in the way that the league needed them to improve. One quarterback in this draft is going to make it official and change the game with the help of the greatest coach of all-time.

Before I tell you who is the next Joe Montana, I will debunk and compare each of the top five quarterbacks in this draft to current players in the league.

First, we will start with Sam Darnold. I have recently started to like Darnold a little more because I heard his story. To sum up his story, in high school Darnold was just a good athlete. He played three sports and played linebacker until he got hurt sophomore year, and then he ended up at USC. He has a lot of football left to learn, but if he goes to Cleveland, he will just be a piece of athletic tape on that jersey where all quarterbacks go to die. Darnold, to me, is going to be a Phillip Rivers kind of guy. The way he throws the ball is a little prettier than Rivers, but he just does not have that “it” factor. However, I have good news Darnold fans! If he goes to Cleveland, the Browns will not go 0-16! Congratulations to the Browns, you don’t have to move to Canada.

Next up is the zero-star recruit turned top three pick in the NFL draft, Josh Allen. Allen is special, he can throw the ball farther than Uncle Rico, but he is going to make an NFL all-time bust list someday. I know people say, “he has been proving people wrong his whole life, just watch him do it again, bro!” Sorry to burst your bubble Josh, but you aren’t in Wyoming anymore. Allen looks the part, but is your modern day Blaine Gabbert. Even though I think the Browns will take Darnold, this situation has Cleveland written all over it. If the Browns take Allen number one overall, they will be the first pick in the draft again next year.

The third quarterback on this list was once called the savior of college football, by me. Baker Mayfield has swagger, grit and a chip on his shoulder, but he just does not have what it takes to be the face of a NFL franchise. I hope that I am wrong with this take, but unless he has an entire summer apprenticeship with Russell Wilson, he will be Geno Smith with a bad arm. Mayfield will always have a place in the league, but he will not be able to overcome his undersized arm and height. On top of those things, my favorite player from the 2017 college football season came out of the Big 12, which is the fakest division in all of college sports. The Big 12 always has crazy numbers in football, but no quarterback from the Big 12 ever amounts to much. I hope Mayfield lights up the league, but I just don’t see it.

Finally, the two guys that will be a nightmare for defensive coordinators for the next ten to fifteen years, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson.

The only legitimate knock that I have heard on Rosen is that he is fragile, but I have also heard he is too smart, which is ironically the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Rosen is a natural at throwing the football and is sneaky athletic, very similar to the bad man in Green Bay, Rodgers. I have heard people compare him to Sam Bradford, but I think Bradford is Rosen’s floor. There is not a system that Rosen won’t flourish in; however, the best scenario for him is to end up in New York and play for the G-men in a year and a half when Eli Manning calls it quits. The Giants market will be perfect for Rosen and he will face off in a Super Bowl with the player that’s going to change the NFL in about five years.

My second best quarterback in this class is going to be Lamar Jackson. Jackson was objectively the best player in college, and will soon carry over into the NFL. However, for Jackson to dominate and change the league, all the stars have to align. If Jackson can find a way to end up with New England, and takes his back-up role seriously with the G.O.A.T himself, he will shine. It is pretty obvious that when Brady retires, Bill Bellicheck will follow him out the door. Honestly, that will help Jackson’s development. Jackson is going to have two years to be a sponge to the leaders of the greatest dynasty that the NFL has ever seen. Once Bellicheck and Brady call it quits, offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, is going to take over as the Patriots new head coach.

In today’s game, a young offensive minded head coach is what wins football games, and McDaniels will be able to work with Jackson for two years with absolutely no pressure. The combination of McDaniels and Jackson will result in another 10 years of the Patriots dominating the AFC. Once McDaniels can figure out a way to harness all of Jackson’s ability and use it properly, Jackson is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL for a long time.

When people look back on this draft, it will be “The Year of the Quarterback” and the NFL will be changed forever. The league is ready to turn a new leaf and say goodbye to all the greats of the early 2000’s. This is the beginning of the end for the mercenaries who taught all of us 90’s babies to love the NFL.

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Draft year of the Quarterback