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, although the tank took a bit of a turn on Sunday with a win against the Dolphins.
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 5:
1) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 1)
Result: 58-34 loss against Stanford
Stats: 40/60, 480 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Analysis: Video-game type numbers in losing efforts because of a terrible defense is pretty much going to be par for the course for Rosen. He looked solid again and continued to make throws that prove he is the most NFL-ready QB of the bunch, but over the last couple of weeks he has made a few more mistakes that have resulted in interceptions than he did the first couple of weeks. Stanford was his last big test for the next month. I am already looking ahead to the meeting with Washington at the end of October.
Next matchup: 9/30 vs. Colorado at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
2) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 2)
Result: 30-20 win over California
Stats: 26/38, 223 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: After an emphatic win against Stanford and a double-overtime thriller against Texas, this matchup against California proved to be pretty dull. Darnold did not have his best game, but he was efficient, made plays when he had to and got his team the win. Friday night will be fun, as Darnold and the Trojans square off in primetime against a QB who is rapidly rising up this list.
Next matchup: 9/29 @ Washington St. at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
3) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 3)
Result: 49-41 win over Baylor
Stats: 13/19, 283 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: If I told you the Sooners would put up 49 points against Baylor, there is no way you would have guessed that Mayfield would only throw the ball 19 times. Despite a decrease in passing attempts, Mayfield still managed to approach the 300-yard mark while recording another 3 TDs and keeping a goose egg in the INT column. He will certainly maintain that goose egg this week — Oklahoma has a bye.
Maybe he can use the time off to think of new ways to simply be awesome. This week, he added “curving a porn star on Twitter” to a list that already include planting an Oklahoma flag at midfield after beating Ohio St., telling Baylor he is their “daddy” before the game, and simply being really good throwing a football.
Next matchup: BYE WEEK; 10/7 vs. Iowa St. (time an network TBD)
4) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 6)
Result: 45-7 win over Nevada
Stats: 36/47, 478 yards, 5 TDs
Analysis: The only major jump of the week. Falk has now thrown for 874 yards, 11 TDs and 0 INTs in the two games since Mike Leach benched him. He surpassed Matt Leinart for most career passing TDs in the Pac-12 in the five touchdown performance against Nevada. Falk has been my dark horse in this QB class since the start of the season, and he has a golden opportunity to thrust himself into the spotlight with a showdown against Sam Darnold this Friday night.
Next matchup: 9/29 vs. USC at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
5) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Last week: 5)
Result: 42-3 win over Kent St.
Stats: 18/22, 299 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT; 8 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: It was Kent St. This week he plays Murray St. We can talk more about him again next week when Louisville goes on the road to take on NC State.
Next matchup: 9/30 vs. Murray St. at 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network)
6) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 4)
Result: 44-31 loss to TCU
Stats: 22/41, 398 yards, 2 TDs , 2 INTs; 5 carries, -8 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Mason Rudolph hype train came to a screeching halt with a sub-par performance against TCU. Do not let the fact that he threw for nearly 400 yards fool you. He was inefficient and simply did not look good against a TCU team that Oklahoma St. should have walloped at home. I mean no disrespect to TCU, a strong program now ranked inside the top-10 in the AP Poll (No. 9), but Oklahoma St. should not have lost this game. The poor play of Rudolph was a major factor. He has a chance to redeem himself on national television against another Big 12 rival this week.
Next matchup: 9/30 @ Texas Tech at 8:00 p.m. (FOX)
7) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 7)
Result: 28-21 OT win over Hawaii
Stats: 9/19, 92 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
Analysis: Yikes. It’s one thing to have a bad game against a power-five school that is much more talented collectively than Wyoming, but Hawaii? Not a good look for Allen. The only reason he is still even on this list is because he is still an intriguing draft prospect that may go in the first round if he has a good draft process and GMs start fawning over his physical attributes.
Next matchup: 9/30 vs. Texas St. at 4:00 p.m. (Not nationally televised)
8) Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Last week: NR)
Result: 51-14 win over Missouri
Stats: 13/17, 218 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
Analysis: The first of three newcomers to the expanded list. Stidham spent his freshman year at Baylor, the following season in JUCO, and then found his way to Auburn. He is no lock to enter the draft following this season and I think another year in college would be really good for his development, but only time will tell. In the meantime, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound gunslinger bears monitoring.
Next matchup: 9/30 vs. Mississippi St. at 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)
9) Washington QB Jake Browning (Last week: NR)
Result: 37-10 win over Colorado
Stats: 11/21, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Analysis: Ah, the man everyone fell in love with last season but seems to have forgotten about this season. Browning is nowhere near on pace to finish with the 43 passing TDs he had last year, but he has been productive through four weeks — 69/99, 958 yards, 9 TDs, and 2 INTs. He has three inferior opponents lined up in a row before a primetime matchup against Josh Rosen so if he strings a couple of big outings together, he will find his way back into the national spotlight.
Next matchup: 9/30 @ Oregon St. at 8:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
10) Mississippi St. QB Nick Fitzgerald (Last week: NR)
Result: 31-3 loss to Georgia
Stats: 14/29, 83 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs; 10 carries, 47 yards
Analysis: He had a very good game in a winning effort against then No. 12 LSU and a very bad performance in a losing effort against then No. 11 Georgia. For the 3rd week in a row, Fitzgerald and his Mississippi St. Bulldogs will take on a ranked opponent as they head to No. 13 Auburn to take on Jarrett Stidham and the Tigers.
Next matchup: 9/30 vs. Auburn at 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)
In the hunt: Riley Ferguson (Memphis), Quinton Flowers (South Florida), Mike White (Western Kentucky)
Photo Credit: OU Athletics