NFL Draft preview: Top 10 quarterbacks
1. Sam Darnold
USC, 6-3, 220
Most publications consider Darnold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but the Cleveland Browns rarely seem to make the logical choice. He has the size and skills required to be a top draft pick. Darnold’s downside is he threw 13 interceptions in his final year at USC, and he also fumbled 11 times.
2. Josh Rosen
UCLA, 6-3, 218
Darnold’s crosstown rival, Rosen threw 26 touchdowns passes last season, and his 341.5 passing yards per game ranked second in the nation. Rosen was bothered by two concussions that kept him out of two games. He also had shoulder surgery that shortened his 2016 season.
3. Josh Allen
Wyoming, 6-5, 237
Allen has the size and arm strength that NFL evaluators covet. He also has climbed draft boards since the NFL Combine and could supplant Darnold and Rosen as the top quarterback taken. The downside is he didn’t put up gaudy numbers at Wyoming. He had a 56 percent completion percentage and 16 touchdown passes against six interceptions last season.
4. Baker Mayfield
Oklahoma, 6-0, 216
Mayfield is not lacking in confidence, which he made evident at the NFL Combine. He considers himself the top quarterback prospect even though his height suggests otherwise. One thing that can’t be questioned is his production. The Heisman Trophy winner, Mayfield led the nation in passing efficiency and yards per attempt. He completed 70.5 percent of his passes with 43 touchdown passes against just six interceptions.
5. Lamar Jackson
Louisville, 6-2, 211
Some teams consider the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner a multi-faceted player capable of lining up at wide receiver. Jackson doesn’t agree with that assessment and is intent on playing quarterback at the highest level. In his final year at Louisville, Jackson finished third in Heisman voting after completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 3,660 yards, 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,601 yards with 18 touchdowns, accounting for 405 yards of total offense per game.
6. Mason Rudolph
Oklahoma State, 6-4, 229
Mayfield wasn’t the only quarterback from his state to light up Big 12 defenses. Rudolph completed 65 percent of his throws, and his 377 yards passing per game was tops in the nation. He finished his senior season with 37 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. One drawback is he was sacked 85 times in three seasons as a starter.
7. Kyle Lauletta
Richmond, 6-3, 217
Lauletta is trying to follow in the footsteps of Carson Wentz as a quarterback making the transition from an FCS school to NFL franchise player. A three-year starter, Lauletta had a 64.9 percent completion percentage and 3,737 passing yards as a senior while throwing 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He also has the pedigree to play the position. His father, Joe, was a quarterback at Navy in the 1980s.
8. Luke Falk
Washington State, 6-4, 211
The draft prospect with the most passing attempts in this class is Falk, a former walk-on who became a three-year starter at Washington State. Only one other quarterback in his class threw for more career yards. As a senior, Falk completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,593 yards, 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He set many Pac-12 career records, including passing touchdowns, passing yards, completions and attempts.
9. Mike White
Western Kentucky, 6-4, 221
White spent two years at South Florida before transferring to Western Kentucky after he was passed on the depth chart. He was the Conference USA newcomer of the year in 2016, and he passed for 4,177 yards and 26 touchdowns (with eight interceptions) in his senior year.
10. Chase Litton
Marshall, 6-5, 232
Litton turned down scholarship offers from South Florida and LSU to attend Marshall. He spent most of his final three years as a starter, and he was under center for all 13 games in 2017. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,115 and 25 touchdowns.
Homegrown big school
Pitt, 6-5, 216
Once the starter ahead of Sam Darnold at USC, Browne spent his final college season at Pitt, where he started five games last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Browne wasn’t healthy enough to attempt all of his throws at Pitt’s pro day last month, but he’s hoping to land in an NFL camp as an undrafted free agent.
Homegrown small school
Seton Hill, 6-2, 212
Strong threw for 8,656 yards with 56 touchdowns at Seton Hill, and he was one of the quarterbacks invited to work out for NFL scouts at the Cal (Pa.) pro day in March. A native of Canada, Strong also participated in the CFL combine in March.
Best fit for Steelers
All of the head honchos — Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, Randy Fichtner — attended Rudolph’s pro day. They also spent time with Jackson, but Rudolph fits the mold of a pocket passer. He could be around at No. 28 overall, but with needs on defense, the Steelers are expected to pass on drafting Ben Roethlisberger’s successor.