These quarterback trackers began under the impression the Jets would be a lock for a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. After a disappointment against Tampa Bay, the Jets are 4-6 and would have the No. 11 pick if the season ended today.
Wherever they end up — whether it is top-five, top-10, or even top-15 — 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 12:
1) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 1)
Result: 38-20 win over TCU
Stats: 18/27, 333 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 11 carries, 50 yards
Analysis: I said last week that a strong performance from Mayfield against a top-10 TCU defense would earn him his Heisman and push Oklahoma into the top-four. Well, Mayfield had himself a game. Oklahoma now controls its own destiny in the College Football Playoff picture and the NCAA can start engraving his name on the 25-pound cast bronze trophy.
Mayfield’s performances over the last month have also catapulted him into the middle of the first round, which is where the Jets will likely be positioned in the draft. I could get used to hearing “Broadway Baker.”
This week’s matchup with Kansas is a joke, but the regular season finale against West Virginia will be a fun game to watch.
Next matchup: 11/18 @ Kansas at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
2) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 2)
Result: 38-24 win against Colorado
Stats: 21/34, 329 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 3 carries, 31 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: We are at a weird crossroads when it comes to Darnold. He seems to have turned the corner and has shown, on a more consistent basis, why he is worthy of a top overall pick, but the chatter about him staying in school seems to be picking up. With the way he has played, you would expect the opposite. Only time will tell, but my gut tells me he comes out. There are simply too many risks attached to returning.
This week’s matchup is the one we have all been waiting for and I am sure the Browns and Giants will be watching it very closely. USC vs. UCLA. Darnold vs. Rosen.
Next matchup: 11/18 @ UCLA at 8:00 p.m. (ABC)
3) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 3)
Result: 49-42 win against Iowa St.
Stats: 25/31, 376 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: I had the chance to watch the Oklahoma St.-Iowa St. game in its entirety, which was the first time I was able to watch Rudolph play a full game in a couple of weeks. My opinion on him remains the same — good quarterback to take at the top of Day 2 based on his tools, but in need of some refinement.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. Kansas St. at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
4) Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Last week: 8)
Result: 40-17 win against Georgia
Stats: 16/23, 214 yards, 4 total TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing), 0 INTs
Analysis: If you lead your team to a dominant victory over the No. 1 team in the nation and do so by completing nearly 70 percent of your passes while recording four touchdowns, you shoot up the power rankings.
For all of the talk about the top quarterbacks — Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, etc. — there are a few names that have flown way under the radar and Stidham has been one of them. His performance against Georgia was his coming out party, and duplicating that performance against Alabama in two weeks might move him right behind Mayfield when I publish my final quarterback tracker of the regular season. Not bad for a player who was not featured in my initial rankings.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. Louisiana Monroe at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
5) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 4)
Result: 44-37 win against Arizona St.
Stats: 25/45, 381 yards, 2 total TDs (1 passing, 1 rushing), 1 INT
Analysis: Rosen and Darnold are currently trending in opposite directions. While Darnold has seemingly figured out whatever was plaguing him, Rosen has dipped into a bit of a slump.
Rosen has had some trouble with decision-making ever since he threw a couple of costly interceptions against Memphis. It seems like those interceptions got into his head and have caused him to be a bit more timid. In the six games he has played since then, he has thrown seven interceptions and has been less accurate and efficient.
Let’s see if he can rise to the occasion and right the ship against the quarterback he may be battling for the top spot in the draft in a few months.
Next matchup: 11/18 @ No. 11 USC at 8:00 p.m. (ABC)
6) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Last week: 7)
Result: 38-21 win against Virginia
Stats: 15/26, 195 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 15 carries, 147 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: I know I will sound like a broken record to those of you who have consistently read these rankings on a weekly basis, but I once again was unimpressed with Jackson. I am not denying that he has a lot of talent and is worthy of a selection if the value is there in the second or third round, but he has not yet managed to put it all together. He is still only 20-years-old so he has a lot of time to marinate. I just think he should do so via another year in college rather than a jump to the NFL.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
7) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 5)
Result: 33-25 win against Utah
Stats: 40/69, 311 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Analysis: Falk went on the road against a good Utah defense and had a decent showing. He was not as accurate as he usually is and he threw a pair of interceptions, but he continues to showcase his steadiness. What you see is what you are going to get. The floor is high, the ceiling is low. He is not a sexy pick, but he can be very effective at the next level given his experience in a pro-style system and his ability to make quick reads.
Next matchup: BYE WEEK; 11/25 @ Washington (time and network TBD)
8) Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (Last week: 6)
Result: Bye week
Analysis: The bye week was the only thing capable of slowing Ferguson down. Let’s see if he can pick up right where he left off.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. SMU at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN News)
9) West Virginia QB Will Grier (Last week: 9)
Result: 28-23 win over Kansas St.
Stats: 27/46, 372 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
Analysis: Grier is in the same boat as Stidham — quietly having a great season in the shadow of all the big name prospects. Also like Stidham, I believe Grier returns to school for another year. If he can duplicate his performance and sharpen his skills, he may be one of the first quarterbacks taken in what seems to be a weaker 2019 quarterback class.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. Texas at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN)
10) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 10)
Result: 28-14 win against Air Force
Stats: 8/11, 70 yards, 2 total TDs (1 rushing, 1 passing), 0 INTs
Analysis: To sum up his performance in one word — meh.
The numbers are actually very good, but it was a small sample size since he left the game early with a shoulder injury. He had his best first half of the season, but the injury prevented him from keeping the momentum going. He is questionable for this week’s matchup.
Next matchup: 11/18 vs. Fresno St. at 2:00 p.m. (not nationally televised)
In the hunt: Ryan Finley (NC State), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern), Kurt Benkert (Virginia)
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com