It’s no secret the 2018 quarterback class has the chance to bring a new era of superstar talent at the position. It’s only week six, but four of the five first round signal callers are officially starting for their franchises.
Do not get it mixed up: the 2018 group was a rare one. Fans of the draft and even more importantly fans of quarterback-needy teams won’t be as spoiled this year. With that being said, Oregon’s Justin Herbert is an exciting headliner this year. I’ll take a deep dive into one factor that can potentially ruin that, as well as who would be next in line as QB2.
As always, I’ll close out the week with the biggest buzz I’m hearing. Want an early hint? This pass rushing class is something to be fired up about.
The Justin Herbert Dilemma
A lot of excitement is building around Justin Herbert and it’s further than the Oregon Ducks faithful. Media, the online draft community and NFL scouting circles are buzzing about the junior quarterback, who is viewed as the best prospect at his position for next Spring.
Here’s the issue: what if he doesn’t declare?
Those are the rumors coming out of the scouting community, which for quarterback needy-teams is a legitimate concern. It’s safe to say the New York Giants should be headlining that list.
It’s not the craziest thing as Herbert’s younger brother Patrick, a four star tight end committed to Oregon, will probably play right away next season. That’s a special opportunity, as well as allowing the quarterback to continue his development while fighting for a chance to win the Pac-12 one more time.
Now let’s pump the breaks because we’ve heard this song before, most recently with Sam Darnold last year. When players get a round 1 projection back from the draft advisory board, it’s hard to pass up that money on the table. Herbert will get a high grade in return, but only he knows right now how much that will sway the important decision looming for him.
My take? He should leave this year. It’s a weak quarterback class (and 2020 already has some promising names to compete with him) and he seems like a near-lock to be selected in the top half of round one.
Who The Hell Is QB2?
After that deep dive on the potential Herbert debacle (not for him, but for teams dying to find a quarterback) you’re probably wondering one thing: what are the other options?
Those guys need to step aside because this spot belongs to Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins now. In his first year as the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes he’s absolutely thrived, throwing for 25 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He’s completing over 71% of his passes and has rarely looked challenged much of the season.
From a pro perspective, Haskins checks all of the boxes. He throws a beautiful ball with touch to all three levels of the field, displays top notch velocity on intermediate throws and has enough mobility to extend plays in and out of the pocket.
With Ohio State in the driver’s seat to the college football playoff, big challenges lay ahead for their quarterback. If he continues to blow by every single one as he has, it will be hard for him to not make the jump to the pros.
Scouting Buzz: Finally, A Star-Studded Pass Rush Class
Over recent drafts there has been a premium put on pass rushers. Bradley Chubb was selected fifth overall, the Saints gave up two first round picks for Marcus Davenport and Myles Garrett owned the number one spot from the second it became a conversation.
You get the point: if NFL teams think a player can get after the quarterback, they’ll do whatever it takes to land him (I’ll save the Khalil Mack jokes this week).
For the first time in a long time, there might not be the same panic this year due to the depth of prospects that dominate the trenches by blowing up the pocket.
You know all about Nick Bosa, who I believe is a safe bet to go number one overall. Even though he plays on the interior, Ed Oliver can have an Aaron Donald type impact as a disruptor. How about the other guys though?
Before the season started Ferrell was the only one expected to be in that conversation, but the absurd production from the other three (who have 17.5 sacks combined already) has put them firmly on the NFL radar.
While this class lacks quarterbacks, it’s packing a punch when it comes to the guys that disrupt them.