NFL Draft – 2018 QB Prospect Tracker: Week 11

Joe Malfa with his weekly ranking 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. After a Thursday night demolition of the Bills, the Jets are 4-5 with a chance to enter the bye week at .500. They currently sit in position to have the No. 14 pick in the draft.

Wherever they end up — whether it is top-five, top-10, or even top-15 the way they have been playing — 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.

Here are the rankings ahead of Week 11:

1) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 1)

Result: 62-52 win over Oklahoma St.

Stats: 24/36, 598 yards, 6 total TDs (5 passing, 1 rushing), 2 INTs

Analysis: Take those impressive, astronomical numbers with a grain of salt because there is never any defense played in the Bedlam rivalry, but that’s not to say Mayfield didn’t have a great game. He did. It was phenomenal, actually.

Mayfield continues to showcase his abilities at the highest level every week, but his detractors still cite his height and the offense that he is running as potential issues that will lead to his downfall at the next level. The more I watch him play, the less worried I become, and the more I see 2018’s Russell Wilson.

My favorite part about watching Mayfield play is seeing the joy, confidence, and swagger he brings to the field. He seems like he could be a perfect fit in New York, and I know I will enjoy watching him play at the next level no matter which team’s jersey he dons.

This week poses another stiff test for Mayfield and the Sooners, and this one will be tougher than the last. They will face a 6th ranked TCU team that boasts a stout defense. If Oklahoma comes away with a convincing victory and Mayfield plays another great game, they may move into the top-four and he will lock up the Heisman.

Next matchup: 11/11 vs. No. 6 TCU at 8:00 p.m. (Fox)

2) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 2)

Result: 49-35 win against Arizona

Stats: 20/26, 311 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Analysis: My favorite part about “Pac-12 After Dark” is the fact that I get to watch Darnold (and at other points of this season, Luke Falk and Josh Rosen) when absolutely nothing else is going on. Everyone in my house/dorm is asleep. There really is nothing else on TV or any other games to watch. It’s just me on my couch with the remote in one hand and the other reserved for a snack and a drink.

This week, in that serene setting, I was more than pleased with Darnold’s performance.

He threw an inexplicable red zone interception on 2nd and goal from Arizona’s one-yard line and another pass that should have been a pick-six, but aside from those two throws, he looked like the potential No. 1 pick everyone was raving about in the preseason.

His throws had great zip on them, his footwork was clean, he made quick decisions, and he made NFL-type throws like this 27-yard touchdown strike.

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I bring up the red zone interception and should-have-been pick-six because those throws cannot be ignored and his sometimes frustrating decision making needs to improve, but Darnold flashed his true potential this week.

Next matchup: 11/11 @ Colorado at 4:00 p.m. (FOX)

3) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 4)

Result: 62-52 loss against Oklahoma

Stats: 28/54, 448 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs

Analysis: Rudolph was outplayed and overshadowed by Mayfield, but he had a very strong showing of his own. If the score were reversed, it would be Rudolph drawing much of the attention this week.

Rudolph has a lot of raw ability but will need time to learn an NFL system coming from that Oklahoma St. offense. Given last week’s Jimmy Garoppolo trade, the Patriots will be in the market for a young heir to Brady. This thought does not really relate to these power rankings and is still far down the road, but don’t be surprised if Rudolph is selected to be that heir. He is the perfect player for Josh McDaniels to try to mold — all the tools, just needs the refinement. Store this one in the memory bank.

Next matchup: 11/11 @ No. 25 Iowa St. at 12:00 p.m. (ABC)

4) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 3)

Result: 48-17 loss against Utah

Stats: DNP; concussion

Analysis: Nothing to analyze here — Rosen missed this matchup with a concussion. It seems like he will be ready to play this week against Arizona St. in what is a must-win game for UCLA if they want to make a bowl game.

Next matchup: 11/11 vs. Arizona St. at 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

5) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 7)

Result: 24-21 win against Stanford

Stats: 34/48, 337 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Analysis: Falk once again turned in a stellar performance after a benching. Earlier this season, he bounced back with a six-touchdown performance. This time, an efficient three-touchdown performance against a very good Stanford team en route to a Cougar victory. He will close out the season with two games against strong passing defenses in Utah and Washington.

Other TOJ staffers have mixed feelings about Falk. I like him and think he can be a make a seamless transition into John Morton’s offense, which has many similarities to Mike Leach’s. Falk’s mobility, or lack thereof, continues to be an issue and lead to multiple sacks each week, but throw him behind a good offensive line and he can pick defenses apart with his accuracy and ability to make quick reads.

Next matchup: 11/11 @ Utah at 5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

6) Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (Last week: 6)

Result: 41-14 win over Tulsa

Stats: 27/39, 298 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs

Analysis: With all of the other quarterbacks receiving attention in this draft class, Ferguson has flown under the radar, quietly posted some strong numbers and looked pretty good doing it. He has thrown for 2,881 yards, 27 TDs and 7 INTs this season while leading Memphis to an 8-1 record and a spot in the top-25 (No. 22). The senior will need to take full advantage of the Senior Bowl and his pre-draft workouts, but he could turn some heads.

Next matchup: BYE WEEK; 11/18 vs. SMU at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN News)

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

Result: Bye Week

Stats: N/A

Analysis: Hey, Jackson finally went a week without carrying the ball more than 20 times! Granted, it only happened because of the bye week, but it happened!

I am hoping to see him carry the ball less and protect himself more after the bye, but I doubt it. Here is my weekly reminder that I believe he needs one more year in college to work on his mechanics and accuracy. I like the talent, just don’t think he is at all ready to make the jump.

Next matchup: 11/11 vs. Virginia at 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

8) Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Last week: 9)

Result: 42-27 win against Texas A&M

Stats: 20/27, 268 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

Analysis: It is never easy going on the road to College Station to take on the Aggies, but Stidham turned in one of his best all around performances of the season. He has a chance to make a major statement over the next three weeks. Auburn takes on No. 1 Georgia this week and closes out the season in three weeks against No. 2 Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Next matchup: 11/11 vs. Georgia at 3:00 p.m. (CBS)

9) West Virginia QB Will Grier (Last week: 10)

Result: 20-16 win over Iowa St.

Stats: 20/25, 316 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Analysis: I mentioned Ferguson as someone who is flying under the radar — Grier is right there with him. I have really only paid some attention to him because a good friend of mine goes to West Virginia and raves about him, but he deserves the attention. The numbers speak for themselves — 3,068 yards, 30 TDs and 10 INTs in nine games. 

He is in a very similar situation to Rudolph — he has the tools and the ability to be a good quarterback in the NFL, but he needs to be able to sit and learn an NFL offense coming out of that West Virginia system.

Next matchup: 11/11 @ Kansas St. at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN 2)

10) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 8)

Result: 16-13 win against Colorado St.

Stats: 10/20, 138 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs; 12 carries, 60 yards

Analysis: Just a heads up — no matter how poorly he performs, Allen will never fall off this list. He may just camp out at No. 10, but he will not fall off because I know he is going to end up in the conversation as a first round pick come draft season. I want to make sure you all know how he performs each week.

This past week as not a good one. The silver lining? Wyoming got its sixth win and punched a ticket to a bowl game, which means an extra opportunity to watch him.

This week also presents a good opportunity to watch him against a good Air Force team on a major network.

Next matchup: 11/11 @ Air Force at 10:15 p.m. (ESPNU)

In the hunt: Ryan Finley (NC State), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern), Kurt Benkert (Virginia)

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com