NFL Draft – 2018 QB Prospect Tracker: Week 8

Joe Malfa with his weekly ranking/tracker of the top quarterbacks in college football….

These quarterback trackers have been written under the impression the Jets would be a lock for a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. It may no longer be a guarantee considering the is 3-3 and just went toe-to-toe with the Patriots.

Wherever they end up — whether it is top-five or top-10 — they will still have a shot at a franchise quarterback in a QB-heavy draft class, so Joe Malfa kept a close eye on the performances of college’s top quarterback prospects this week as he has throughout the season and will for the rest of the season.

Here are the rankings ahead of Week 8:

1) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 1)

Result: 47-30 loss against Arizona

Stats: 20/34, 219 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs

Analysis: Coming out of a bye week, Rosen was supposed to torch this Arizona team and continue to prove his worth as the most NFL-ready quarterback in college. He must have missed the memo.

Rosen turned in his worst performance of the season, failing to throw for a touchdown for only the second time in his career. The first came back on November 14, 2015, and he actually ran for a touchdown that day so he still found the end zone.

The more troubling number is the three in the interceptions column. He opened the season with two games in which he avoided interceptions, but has since thrown two, two, one and three. He needs to stop forcing throws and trying to do too much because it has cost him and his team on a couple of occasions.

Because Luke Falk had such a poor week and Sam Darnold also turned the ball over three times, Rosen retains the top spot on this list, but the gap is quickly closing.

Next matchup: 10/21 vs. Oregon at 4:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

2) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 3)

Result: 28-27 win over Utah

Stats: 27/50, 358 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs (3 lost fumbles)

Analysis: If not for the three fumbles, Darnold had a perfect game and would have vaulted to the top of this list.

Darnold produces a lot of “wow” moments. Some of them are, “Wow, how did he make that throw?!” Others are, “Wow, why did he make that throw?!” He had more of the positive moments against a stout Utah defense and avoided making any mistakes.

He continues to shine in prime time games and in crunch time of those games, which is a good sign. Quarterbacks who thrive when the lights shine brightest are few and far between, and they are every franchise’s dream.

He will have a few more of these big moments in prime time games going forward, starting this week with a trip to South Bend.

Next matchup: 10/21 vs. Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. (NBC)

3) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 2)

Result: 37-3 loss against California

Stats: 28/43, 286 yards, 0 TDs, 5 INTs

Analysis: Falk was simply bad against California, and I may have jinxed him. The week after I gushed over him, contemplating whether or not I should move him to No. 1 over Rosen, he goes out and throws five interceptions and produces only three points. It was uncharacteristic, and it was just bad.

California was able to exploit Falk’s two major weaknesses — his lack of speed and agility plus his faulty internal clock. Those two flaws combined to get Falk sacked nine times in this one. Yes…nine.

Mike Maccagnan was in attendance at this debacle, but hopefully he was not too frightened by the performance. Falk is still a Day One or Day Two prospect with the ability to lead a team in the NFL to success as a rookie.

Next matchup: 10/21 vs. Colorado at 10:45 p.m. (ESPN)

4) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 4)

Result: 29-24 win over Texas

Stats: 17/27, 302 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Analysis: It took six games, but Mayfield finally threw his first interception of the season. Thankfully, it was the only bad part about his day.

The rest of the day featured posting some big numbers against a good defense, winning the Red River Showdown, and riding an imaginary horse out of the stadium while wearing a golden cowboy hat. That…sounds like a typical Saturday for Mayfield.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Kansas St. at 4:00 p.m. (FOX)

5) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 6)

Result: 59-16 win over Baylor

Stats: 19/31, 459 yards, 3 TDs; 3 carries, 11 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: I won’t put too much stock into this performance since Baylor is now 0-6 and is allowing an average of 40 points per game, but Rudolph looked sharp. He has a big test ahead of him with a trip to Texas this week, which marks the beginning of a three week gauntlet. Next week, the Cowboys will host West Virginia before heading to Norman to take on Mayfield and the Sooners.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Texas at 12:00 p.m. (ABC)

6) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Last week: 5)

Result: 45-42 loss against Boston College

Stats: 19/39, 332 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 22 carries, 180 yards, 3 TDs

Analysis: Another week in which Jackson posts video game-type numbers but left me thoroughly unimpressed. He is fun to watch at the college level as a college fan, but his performances simply do not project to the next level. He is inaccurate, inconsistent and mechanically flawed. Given the depth of this quarterback class and his definite need to improve, I am beginning to think he will return to school with every week that passes.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Florida St. at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN)

7) Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (Last week: 7)

Result: 30-27 win over Navy

Stats: 24/40, 279 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

Analysis: Last week’s newcomer to the list continued to impress, and this week you will have a chance to watch him as he leads the Memphis Tigers against Houston in a nationally televised prime time game.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Houston at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

8) Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Last week: 8)

Result: 27-23 loss against LSU

Stats: 9/26, 165 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs

Analysis: Everything was going so well for Stidham until he led Auburn into Death Valley. Ed Orgeron’s LSU Tigers seem to have new life, and their defense simply terrorized Stidham all day. To his credit, he avoided turning the ball over and has still thrown just two interceptions this season, but he did not do much else and his team lost the game.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

9) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 10)

Result: 28-23 win over Utah State

Stats: 18/26, 208 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 16 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: Allen has worked his way out of the basement of this list with two solid outings in a row. He struggled mightily against Iowa and Oregon earlier in the season. While Boise St. is not quite as good as either of those teams, they are consistently solid and represent Allen’s last real chance to prove himself before a potential bowl game.

Next matchup: 10/21 @ Boise St. at 10:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

10) Washington QB Jake Browning (Last week: 9)

Result: 13-7 loss against Arizona St.

Stats: 17/30, 139 yards, 1 TD (rushing), 0 INTs

Analysis: Just when I thought Browning was getting back on track, going to light it up against a weak defense and head into the bye on a high note,  he laid and egg. Given his performance against Arizona St., there is a good chance next week’s bye will cause him to temporarily fall off this list. Say your goodbyes now and get ready to welcome someone new.

If Browning bounces back with a big game and a win over Josh Rosen in two weeks, he will be welcomed back to the list with open arms.

Next matchup: BYE WEEK; 10/28 vs. UCLA at 3:30 p.m. (TBD)

In the hunt: Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi St.), Will Grier (West Virginia), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern)

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