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2018 NFL Draft QB Rankings

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Ranking the draftable quarterback prospects from the 2018 class, out of Southern Pigskin's coverage area.

These rankings are comprised of what are the draftable/PFA worthy prospects from our coverage area here at Southern Pigskin -- the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, and SoCon.

These rankings include a basic rundown of strengths and weaknesses, from the pre-combine rankings, plus new round projections, player comparisons, and a more in-depth summation of my personal opinion on each respective player.

Starting with the quarterbacks, they will be released one day at a time until all of the position groups are up. After that, they will be easily found in a comprehensive database from a homepage that includes an updated mock draft.

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL (OG/C) | EDGE (DE/3-4 OLB) | DL | LB | CB | S

​QUARTERBACKS

1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville:  6’3, 200

Strengths: Good accuracy at all three levels of the field. Plus arm strength. Doesn’t turn the ball over often. Dominates between the numbers. Athletically in a class of his own.

Weaknesses: Has made great strides with his accuracy, but still needs to improve on throws to the sideline. Occasionally panics against the blitz.

Player Comparison: Russell Westbrook, but football

IMO: Lamar Jackson is obviously the best quarterback in our coverage area, but he is also the best quarterback in the entire draft class. There’s a case to be made for Josh Rosen over Jackson -- that’s it. Darnold is the only other one worthy of a first round selection, and there’s a significant gulf between him and the two aforementioned. There are too many questions about Mayfield and Rudolph’s translatable skills and the Josh Allen hype train has gotten beyond out of hand. Jackson is the most well-rounded pure passer of the group and has as high a ceiling as any of them, even putting his athleticism aside. I’ll fight anyone who thinks that Lamar Jackson is a wide receiver in the NFL.

Round Grade: Early 1st

2. Brandon Silvers, Troy: 6’2, 218

Strengths: Good accuracy. Above average deep ball. Pretty consistent throughout his career. Able to keep plays alive with his athleticism. Underrated improviser.

Weaknesses: Struggles mightily when pressured. Less than ideal arm strength.

Player Comparison: Jacoby Brissett

IMO: Efficiency and reliability are the first things that come to mind with Brandon Silvers. He throws one of the better deep balls in the entire class, is above average in the intermediate range, and, perhaps most importantly, does a great job of avoiding potential turnover throws. His touch and timing allowed him to compensate for his lack of arm strength on throws to the sideline at all levels of the field, but he may not have the zip to get away with it as much against pros. Silvers’ ceiling may be a career backup, but he could be a solid option in a pinch as more of a game manager.

Round Grade: Late 6th

3. Kurt Benkert, Virginia: 6’4, 215

Strengths: Plus arm strength. Mobile enough to extend plays with his feet. One of the best in the class in the red zone. Capable of making the highlight throws on the run.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t handle pressure well. Footwork needs improvement. Moves through his progression, but needs to do so more quickly.

Player Comparison: C.J. Beathard

IMO: Benkert’s tape vacillates from one extreme to the other more so than nearly any in this year’s draft. He can make every throw, and occasionally does, but just as often it looks like he’s playing for the other team. The necessary arm strength is more than evident and he flashed great touch from time to time. Benkert is a project but his ceiling makes it a worthwhile undertaking.

Round Grade: Late 7th

4. Austin Allen, Arkansas: 6’1, 209

Strengths: About average accuracy, but it does appear to have improved during his senior season, albeit with a more limited sample size. Very effective downfield passer. When he’s on, he’s on.

Weaknesses: Abysmal under pressure, and actually worse last season than in 2016. Too many interceptions. Less than ideal size. Not very athletic.

Player Comparison: Brandon Allen, duh

IMO: A year ago, Allen would have easily been a draftable prospect. He’s like a magician with the sleight of hand, and prior to his shoulder injury had the prerequisite pop to succeed as a pro. However, he took a ton of hits in 2017 and has never really looked the same, physically or mentally, since. His confidence seems shook, his decision making has regressed, and his own coach has questioned whether or not he can get back to his 2016 form. He deserves to be in a camp and could certainly make a team, but Allen has got to get out of his own head.

Round Grade: PFA

5. Danny Etling, LSU: 6’2, 215

Strengths: Was extremely efficient on deep balls in 2017, after being maybe slightly above average in 2016, but it’s worth asking how much of that was on account of the pass catchers.

Weaknesses: Has never handled pressure well. Accuracy was only ever average, and it actually somewhat regressed last season.

Player Comparison: Austin Davis

IMO: Etling well surpasses the minimum arm talent threshold and has some athleticism to boot, but I can’t get over his overall lack of success at LSU. He’s played behind a couple of the best offensive lines in college football, shared a backfield with Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, and thrown to the likes of D.J. Chark, Malachi Dupre, and Travin Dural -- all with little to show for it. In 2016, he objectively held them back. He was much improved, perhaps even good at times, last year, but Nate Peterman was awesome under Matt Canada, too. The former Tiger ought to find himself in a camp, but feels unlikely to make a roster.

Round Grade: PFA

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP