The writing is on the wall for the New York Jets in 2017. Gang Green is pretty much a lock to land a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and the tank got off to a good start with a Week 1 loss at the Bills.
Joe Malfa kept a close eye on the performances of college’s top quarterback prospects this week, since one may very well be the franchise’s savior (or next great bust).
Here are the rankings ahead of Week 3:
1) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 1)
Result: 56-23 win over Hawaii
Stats: 22/25, 329 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: Hawaii is not nearly as good as the Texas A&M team Rosen lit up in the second half in Week 1, but he was nearly perfect on the day and did nothing that would have warranted a drop from the top spot. He sits at the top of this list and is climbing towards the top of my 2018 NFL Draft big-board. Remember, these weekly updates are simply power rankings based solely on performance as opposed to prospect evaluations. With a cupcake of a matchup against Memphis in Week 3, odds are Rosen will be No. 1 for at least one more week.
Next matchup: 9/16 @ Memphis at 12:00 p.m. (ABC)
2) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 2)
Result: 42-24 win over Stanford
Stats: 21/26, 316 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
Analysis: Darnold reminds me more and more of Brett Favre with each game he plays. He has that gunslinger mentality and with that comes both great plays and turnovers. He has thrown two interceptions in each of the first two weeks, but he carved up a solid Cardinal defense en route to an easy victory in a game that a lot of “experts” believed Stanford would win. He showed more of that poise and touch we grew accustomed to in 2016, and he further proved that he performs his best on the biggest stage. He will have that chance again this week against Texas in prime time.
Next matchup: 9/16 vs. Texas at 8:30 p.m. (FOX)
3) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Last week: 4)
Result: 47-35 win over UNC
Stats: 25/39, 393 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 19 carries, 132 yards, 3 TDs
Analysis: After two weeks, Jackson has turned the “big three” of 2018 top prospects into a “big four.” He still runs a bit too much for my liking and is not very consistent as a passer, but he looks better than he did last year and will remain in the conversation as long as he keeps making plays. He has a great opportunity to prove he belongs this week as he faces the stout defense of the defending national champions.
Next matchup: 9/16 vs. Clemson at 8:00 p.m. (ABC)
4) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 6)
Result: 31-16 win over Ohio St.
Stats: 27/35, 386 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: Matt Miller had an interesting comparison for Mayfield over the weekend and I thought it made a lot of sense — Colt McCoy. What does that mean for his pro-potential? We can figure that out in April. For now, it means he is a stellar college quarterback who has a very real chance of leading his team to a national championship. If he manages to do so, Oklahoma would be the first Big 12 team to compete for a national title since Texas in 2010 — a team led by Colt McCoy.
Next matchup: 9/16 vs. Tulane at 6:00 p.m. (Not nationally televised)
5) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 5)
Result: 44-7 win over South Alabama
Stats: 25/38, 335 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 4 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: I would be lying if I said I watched any of Rudolph’s performance against South Alabama, but the stats were enough to keep him locked into the five spot. He will face more of a test this week on the road against Pitt. I will certainly be spending the 12:00-3:00 window flipping between Rosen and Rudolph.
Next matchup: 9/16 @ Pittsburgh at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN)
6) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 3)
Result: 27-0 win over Gardner Webb
Stats: 22/32, 328 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: I would also be lying if I said I watched any of this game, but then again, so would anyone because it was not televised. Allen posted a respectable stat-line against Gardner Webb, but he faced the weakest opponent of the week and had the second worst week of any QB on the list — cause for a major drop in the rankings. He will have a chance to redeem himself this week with one final game against a power-five opponent.
Next matchup: 9/16 vs. Oregon at 7:00 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
7) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 7)
Result: 47-44 win over Boise St.
Stats: 24/34, 193 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: Week 2 was an interesting one for Falk. He started slow, was benched (which I thought was an overreaction from Mike Leach given Falk’s talent and productivity), re-entered the game briefly, then exited once and for all as a “precaution,” according to Leach. I don’t know what Week 3 has in store for Falk, but my gut tells me he will bounce back so long as he’s healthy and Leach decides not to bench him.
Next matchup: 9/16 vs. Oregon St. at 5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Photo Credit: UCLA.com