football Edit

NFL Draft stock report: Quarterback

The NFL Draft is far away, but as college football hits its stride for 2017, we take a look this week and next week at the top prospects at each position. Today we start with the quarterbacks.

RELATED: Former five-star prospects for AP Top 25 teams | Rivals Roundtable

Josh Rosen
Josh Rosen (AP Images)

Recruiting: In the spring before his senior season, Rosen committed to UCLA. At his commitment ceremony, Rosen said there would be three hats on the table – all turned out to be UCLA ones. Michigan was considered the main rival to UCLA. Stanford was a top school for Rosen but the Cardinal never offered.

Stats: The former five-star has thrown for 1,763 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. UCLA’s passing offense leads the nation.

Farrell’s take: In all my years of scouting, Rosen was the best high school quarterback I’ve seen on film or in person, although Trevor Lawrence is quickly changing that. There’s something about his attitude and cockiness that leads you to believe the game will never be too big for him and he will excel regardless of the circumstances. We saw that already this season against Texas A&M. I’m kicking myself that we didn’t keep him as No. 1 in 2015 and flipped him and Byron Cowart in the end. That’s on me. His outspoken nature could drop him on some boards, but talent-wise he’s the best NFL quarterback prospect.

Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold (AP Images)

Recruiting: The former San Clemente, Calif., standout did not play out the recruiting process and kept everything pretty low key. He committed to USC a few weeks after getting offered following a workout in front of the coaching staff. Utah, Oregon, Duke, Northwestern and others were involved and some schools considered using him at tight end or linebacker.

Stats: Darnold is completing more than 67 percent of his passes for 1,225 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions so far this season.

Farrell’s take: Darnold is obviously playing better than his four-star ranking. He slid considerably after an underwhelming performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where his arm strength was questioned, but that was clearly an anomaly. While Darnold had some throwing issues mechanically, he could run and hurt you with his arm or legs. He's playing like a five-star now and could be the top pick in the NFL Draft if he comes out. It will be a fun battle between him and Rosen. I worry a bit about his laid back demeanor compared to Rosen and his turnovers.

Mason Rudolph
Mason Rudolph (AP Images)

Recruiting: In the summer before his senior season, Rudolph committed to Oklahoma State over LSU, Virginia Tech and many others. When Rudolph was first contacted by the Cowboys’ staff, he thought he would never end up in Stillwater but a trip for the spring game sold him on Oklahoma State.

Stats: Rudolph has completed more than 66 percent of his passes for 1,533 yards with 13 touchdowns and three picks. In the Cowboys’ first loss to TCU on Saturday, Rudolph threw for 398 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.

Farrell’s take: Rudolph, a four-star coming out of high school, was a huge kid with a live arm who showed excellent accuracy for a signal-caller. He was tempted to just fire the ball on every throw. He chose the right offense because he’s a quick decision-maker who is made for a spread offense where he can put up huge numbers. His size and above-average arm strength as well as quick decision-making could have him off the board in round one. People question his long ball and that he throws too many 50-50 balls and his performance this past weekend against TCU won’t help, but I love his accuracy overall.

Recruiting: Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech even though he received offers from Washington State, Rice and Florida Atlantic. He immediately became the starter for the Red Raiders and earned Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors. However, he left the team at the end of the regular season and eventually decided to transfer to Oklahoma .

Stats: Completing more than 75 percent of his passes, Mayfield has thrown for 1,329 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions in four wins this season. He’s averaging more than 332 yards per game.

Farrell’s take: With a gunslinger’s mentality, Mayfield had a great high school career, but many felt he was a system kid and he didn’t get a ton of offers. That looks crazy now. He’s an early candidate for the Heisman again this season. I’m happy with his three-star ranking since we saw something none of the local schools did at least (he started off as a walk-on, after all), but he has clearly outplayed his ranking and his leadership skills are off the charts. He doesn’t get much NFL love because of his lack of size and average arm, but he’s a winner and someone will land a potential star.

Luke Falk
Luke Falk (AP Images)

Recruiting: Falk started with an early offer from Florida State, only to have it pulled after he played in just two games as a junior following his transfer from Logan, Utah, to Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. Idaho and Wyoming got involved but Falk chose to attend Cornell. After a coaching change, Falk walked-on at Washington State, earned a scholarship and then won the starting job.

Stats: With Washington State averaging nearly 44 points per outing, Falk is completing nearly 77 percent of his passes for 1,378 yards with 14 touchdowns and one pick so far this season.

Farrell’s take: This is an excellent example of how well Mike Leach works with quarterbacks, because Falk was not an attractive commodity out of high school. He was tall and had plenty of room to fill out, but his release wasn’t pretty and his arm strength was average. He couldn’t make it at Oaks Christian and was benched after two games and the competition level in Utah wasn’t great. And now he’s killing it in college after being Ivy-bound? Wow. This is another ranking that will make people shake their heads, but I’m telling you the Falk you see now is nothing close to what he was in high school. And he will continue to rise on NFL boards if he continues to play so efficiently.


Recruiting: Jackson committed to Louisville during the summer before his senior season but still took official visits to Florida, Nebraska and Mississippi State. The biggest push came from the Gators, but Jackson decided to stick with his commitment and he signed with the Cardinals.

Stats: Jackson has completed about 63 percent of his passes for 1,387 yards with 10 TDs and three interceptions. He also leads the Cardinals in rushing with 337 yards and four scores.

Farrell’s take: Jackson was known by those of us who saw him at camps for his arm - he has a cannon with that whip delivery - but in high school he did a ton with his legs as well. But there was no way to see how explosive he’d be at the next level. His speed has translated much better to college than I expected, as I've been surprised with his ability to run away from people so easily. Jackson is still a bit raw as a passer, but he is so dominant as a runner that he gets a lot of a space when inside or outside the pocket as the entire pass rush is geared toward run containment. He is simply the most dynamic player we’ve seen in college football in quite some time. I’m happy we were only one of two networks to have him as a four-star (the others pegged him as a three-star), but it’s clear now we were watching a future five-star. That being said, the NFL isn’t sold on his ability in the pocket and you already hear whispers of a position change as a pro.

Nick Fitzgerald
Nick Fitzgerald (AP Images)

Recruiting: Fitzgerald secretly committed to Mississippi State during summer camp but did not make it public until after the 7-on-7 season heading into his senior year. Middle Tennessee State was his only other offer as he hardly threw the ball in high school because his team ran the triple option.

Stats: Fitzgerald has completed just less than 58 percent of his passes for 626 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also second on the Bulldogs with 287 yards rushing and a team-high five rushing scores.

Farrell’s take: Fitzgerald had good size and a frame to fill out as a prospect out of Georgia, but no one really saw FBS except for Dan Mullen and Mississippi State. He ran a run-first offense where he only threw for 778 yards and 10 scores his senior year but he did rush for nearly 1,500. There was just no way to tell he’d develop as the passer he has. He’s intriguing although still very raw, but his ability to run with his size and accuracy has him rising here and there on boards.