These quarterback trackers began under the impression the Jets would be a lock for a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They are sitting at 4-6 after a bye week, and the results across the league during their bye week lowered them from the 11th pick to the 12th
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 13:
1) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Last week: 1)
Result: 41-3 win over Kansas
Stats: 20/30, 257 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: I did not think I would have to reference the game against Kansas at all because I figured Mayfield and the Sooners would romp the Jayhawks in a very one-sided, boring blowout. That is what happened, but thanks to the pregame handshake snub and the crotch grab heard ’round the world, the Oklahoma-Kansas game became a main topic of conversation.
Mayfield’s zany personality and playmaking abilities have captivated the nation all season, but eyes were one him for the wrong reasons after his gesture on Saturday. I have no problem with the feistiness he displayed in calling out the Kansas sideline — in fact I love it and it is a great showcase of his competitive spirit — but he needs to be careful not to go overboard and do something like…grab his crotch.
He had a stellar game, by the way, but it was overshadowed by his antics and came against a glorified high school team so it faded into oblivion. His next outing will be abridged because his gesture landed him a stripping of his captaincy and a benching against West Virginia this week. It was not specified how long he will sit, but I can’t imagine it being longer than a quarter.
Assuming TCU beats the 1-10 Baylor Bears, Oklahoma and TCU will square off a second time in the Big 12 title game. It would be another tough test against a top defense for Mayfield, though he has already made the strong TCU defense look like one of the nation’s worst.
Next matchup: 11/25 vs. West Virginia at 3:45 p.m. (ESPN)
2) UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Last week: 5)
Result: 28-23 loss against USC
Stats: 32/52, 421 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: Darnold may have led his team to victory, but Rosen was by far the better QB in this duel. He certainly looked the part of a No. 1 pick in this matchup, and he continues to have success without many weapons and a bad offensive line.
Friday night’s matchup with Cal is key because a bowl trip is on the line. What’s more important than the bowl game itself is that a bowl trip will give the Bruins an extra three weeks of practice, which will continue to help Rosen develop. He is already the most pro-ready prospect in the class, but every extra bit of practice will help refine his tools and prepare him for the next level.
Next matchup: 11/24 @ California at 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
3) USC QB Sam Darnold (Last week: 2)
Result: 28-23 win against UCLA
Stats: 17/28, 264 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INTs; 5 carries, 10 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: After stringing together a couple of his best performances of the season, Darnold looked rather pedestrian against the QB he will be fighting for that No. 1 pick. UCLA’s defense is mediocre so I certainly would have liked to see more from Darnold, but running back Ronald Jones II was having a big day and they understandably kept feeding him.
In an odd scheduling quirk, USC’s bye week comes this week at the end of the regular season. In a sense, it is a good idea because they will have an extra week of rest ahead of the Pac-12 championship game against either Washington St. or Stanford.
Next matchup: BYE WEEK; Pac-12 Championship still TBA
4) Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Last week: 4)
Result: 42-14 win against Louisiana Monroe
Stats: 18/24, 235 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: A week 12 matchup against a team that is mediocre even by Sun Belt standards. Yawn. This was scheduled with good intentions though, as it provided a final tune-up before the Iron Bowl.
There seems to be a growing sentiment that Stidham may actually head to the draft given his play down the stretch. A strong showing against Alabama on Saturday could thrust him into the national spotlight. It should be a fun one down at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Next matchup: 11/25 vs. No. 1 Alabama at 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
5) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (Last week: 6)
Result: 56-10 win against Syracuse
Stats: 14/26, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 12 carries, 111 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: At this point, I have made it clear that I am not Jackson’s biggest fan. He had another weak showing through the air against a bad Syracuse defense, adding more fuel to my fire of skepticism regarding his future. He did, however, have another electrifying game on the ground. A hat tip and slight bump in the rankings for that. Despite my lack of belief in his throwing ability, the man looks like 2003 Michael Vick when he tucks it and runs.
Next matchup: 11/25 @ Kentucky at 12:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
6) Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph (Last week: 3)
Result: 45-40 loss against Kansas St.
Stats: 32/53, 425 yards, 4 total TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing), 2 INTs
Analysis: Those look like good numbers on the surface, but dig deeper and you’ll find that Oklahoma St. was down 42-13 at the start of the fourth quarter and most of those yards and three of the touchdowns came after that point. The interceptions, however, both came before the half and helped put the Cowboys in that major hole. Kudos to Rudolph for almost completing the comeback, but his sloppy play early on put them in the hole to begin with.
Next matchup: 11/25 vs. Kansas at 12:00 p.m. (FS1)
7) Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (Last week: 7)
Result: 66-45 win against SMU
Stats: 21/27, 320 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 6 carries, 29 yards, 3 TDs
Analysis: Ferguson keeps flying under the radar and posting video game numbers while doing so. His predecessor at Memphis, Paxton Lynch, will get his first NFL start this week. Could Ferguson follow in his footsteps as an under-the-radar Memphis QB who makes a surprise late run up draft boards? That is to be determined.
Memphis and Ferguson should not be tested this week against East Carolina, but a conference championship showdown against a UCF team that beat them 40-13 earlier this season is just a week away.
Next matchup: 11/25 vs. ECU at 12:00 p.m. (ESPN U)
8) Washington St. QB Luke Falk (Last week: 8)
Result: BYE WEEK
Analysis: The only thing of note regarding Falk this week is the fact that his head coach had another legendary sound bite:
— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) November 22, 2017
This week’s matchup against Washington will pose an interesting test for Falk. The Huskies boast a stout front-seven, and Falk has struggled this season when pressured. A win could put the Cougars in the Pac-12 Championship game against USC. Root for Washington St. and a Falk-Darnold rematch.
Next matchup: 11/25 @ Washington at 8:00 p.m. (FOX)
9) West Virginia QB Will Grier (Last week: 9)
Result: 28-14 loss against Texas
Stats: 6/8, 50 yards, one disgusting injury
Analysis: Grier’s day and season ended when he snapped the middle finger on his right hand in half. The thing was literally sideways. Doctors say he may be back for the bowl game, but that is still very much up in the air after he underwent surgery to set the finger back into place.
It’s a shame — I was really looking forward to what would have been Mayfield-Grier this week. Now Grier is out and Mayfield will probably end up missing the entire first quarter, if I had to guess, because of his crotch-grab punishment.
Next matchup: 11/25 @ No. 4 Oklahoma at 3:45 p.m. (ESPN)
10) Wyoming QB Josh Allen (Last week: 10)
Result: 13-7 loss against Fresno St.
Stats: DNP; injury
Analysis: On the bright side, not playing meant Allen couldn’t put anymore bad game tape out there. He is questionable again this week with the shoulder injury that kept him out against Fresno St.
Next matchup: 11/25 vs. San Jose St. at 5:00 p.m. (not nationally televised)
In the hunt: Ryan Finley (NC State), Clayton Thorson (Northwestern), Kurt Benkert (Virginia)
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com