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In today’s social media age, snap judgments are all the rage.
The reality is that it’s still far too early to offer any sort of reasoned or nuanced assessment of the NFL potential and readiness of the five quarterbacks who were selected in the first round of the 2018 draft—the most in two decades.
However, we’re all about overcoming adversity and fighting through challenges here, so we won’t let that stop us from grading the first (or in one case) second effort of this year’s Round 1 quarterbacks.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (11-of-20, 212 yards, 2 TD): Mayfield wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty close—his passer rating for the game was north of 125. His 24-yard completion to Antonio Callaway on third down in the third quarter was a big-boy throw. Who cares if it came against second-stringers? Start chiseling that bust for Canton.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (13-of-18, 96 yards, 1 TD): As Bleacher Report’s own Brent Sobleski pointed out, Darnold’s performance against Atlanta stated a pretty compelling case to give him a real shot at opening the season as the Jets’ starter. New York and Cleveland both have hope under center—that might be a sign of the apocalypse.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (9-of-19, 116 yards, 1 TD): Allen showed off his arm strength and completed a nice 14-yard score playing with the third team against the Carolina Panthers. But the accuracy issues that dogged Allen at Wyoming were evident in his NFL debut as well. It could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better, too.
Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals (6-of-13, 41 yards): As was mentioned previously, Rosen’s outing wasn’t as bad as the stat line. There were throws and plays for the team to build on. But the NFL is a results business, and in that regard, Rosen had the worst week of the bunch. If Arizona’s offensive line plays like that in the regular season, both Sam Bradford and Rosen are going to be in traction by Thanksgiving.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (7-of-18, 119 yards, 1 rushing TD): The ability to make people miss (badly) that Jackson showed off on his nine-yard scoring scamper no doubt has fans in Baltimore pumped. But if the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner can’t get his completion percentage above 40 and keeps taking sacks (five in two games now), excitement’s going to turn to unease and then dread.