Where will the top QBs and RBs go in the draft?

Published 4:27 pm Friday, January 19, 2018

Where will the best players in college football end up going in the draft?

There is no shortage of stars in this year’s NFL draft. An interesting assortment of quarterbacks and running backs peak my interest the most.

Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Allen (Wyoming) will all be Top 10 picks.

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Darnold showed tremendous capabilities during his previous two seasons at Southern Cal. He has great size, good vision and can become mobile if the situation calls for it. The problem a lot of the time was his accuracy. Darnold threw 13 interceptions in 2017, a lot of them turnovers that a junior quarterback shouldn’t be making. Whatever team ends up drafting him will have to iron out those kinks if they want a productive player.

Rosen had an impressive junior season, throwing for 3,717 yards and 26 touchdowns. Yes, those 10 interceptions aren’t ideal, but I still think he’s the most talented pure passer of this group. He’s the definition of a “company guy” for a football team. I see him fitting well into almost any scheme as a safe bet.

Mayfield is a loose cannon, in a lot of different ways. He says what he wants, acts how he wants and plays how he wants. Sometimes it gets him in trouble, other times it puts him in position to win big football games.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was the most electrifying player in college football this past season, but NFL teams will have to weigh his off-the-field antics if they want to make a run for him. Something tells me he’ll end up causing a media circus Johnny Manziel.

Allen is the biggest wildcard, and according to some pundits, deserves to be the No.1 quarterback in the draft. The guy is a leader that feels like he has everything to prove. Lots of bigtime programs passed on him in college, and Allen still plays like he’s fighting an uphill battle. His numbers will show why those programs said no thanks, but he’s also intelligent and an impressive young man. I don’t think he’ll be drafted before Mayfield, but I do think whoever gets him will end up with a future starter.

The 2018 draft will be stacked with running backs as well.

We’ll see the dominant Saquon Barkley (Penn State) go first, almost assuredly. Barkley has a tremendous burst and is a workhorse. Everything points to this kid being a superstar in the NFL, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes. The talking heads indicate he might get picked by San Francisco. It pains me to think about what coach Kyle Shanahan will make up with an offense running Jimmy Garappolo and Barkley in the backfield.

Derrius Guice (LSU) was the SEC’s leading rusher in 2017, and will follow Leonard Fournette as a Tigers running back going in the first round. While not quite as powerful as Fournette, who appears to be half locomotive on the Jaguars this year, Guice is shifty and elusive, which will serve him well when he plays against other linebackers in this draft like Roquan Smith (Georgia).

Speaking of Georgia, fans are caught between Nick Chubb and Sony Michel on who will actually get drafted higher. The two cemented their legacy as the top rushing duo in FBS history after an outstanding senior year. As much as I love Chubb, I think Michel will get his name called first. He was the more productive of the two in the College Football Playoffs, especially in the National Championship game. Chubb is very much a north to south runner, and Michel has had a little more productivity around the edge. While I hope they’re both first round picks, I don’t find it likely seeing the other talent. Even still, the decision to come back their senior years rocketed their draft stock, so they should be proud of that hard work paying off.

Who do you see going in the first round?