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NFL Draft: Top five QBs heading into the Combine

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

The NFL Scouting Combine is right around the corner. Here is a breakdown of our top five quarterbacks heading into the event.

RELATED: Should Bradley Chubb be taken No. 1 overall?


Recruiting: Rosen committed to UCLA in the spring before his senior season. At his commitment ceremony, Rosen said there would be three hats on the table, all turned out to be UCLA. Michigan was the other top contender. The five-star liked Stanford but was never offered.

Career stats: Rosen finished his UCLA career by completing just about 61 percent of his passes for 9,341 yards with 59 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He missed significant time as a sophomore because of injury.

Buzz: A lot of determinations on whether Rosen could be the first pick or possibly fall in the first round will be made after he interviews at the combine.

Farrell’s take: Is Rosen No. 1 pick worthy? I believe so and have felt that way for a while. In high school he was the best quarterback prospect I had scouted in my nearly 20 years until Trevor Lawrence recently came along. There was something about his attitude and cockiness that led you to believe the game would never be too big for him and he would excel regardless of the circumstances and we have seen some of that in college as well. 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 by far.

Recruiting: Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech even though he received offers from Washington State, Rice and Florida Atlantic. He became the starter for the Red Raiders and earned Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors. However, he left the team after the end of the 2013 regular season and transferred to Oklahoma.

Career stats: In one season at Texas Tech and three at Oklahoma, Mayfield completed more than 68 percent of his passes for 14,320 yards with 129 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He had 40 and 41 TD passes in his last two seasons and won the Heisman Trophy as a senior.

Buzz: Mayfield is a dynamic competitor who puts up huge numbers but he’s undersized and might be a creation of average Big 12 defenses and a spread offense. Will he continue to impress at the combine like he did at the Senior Bowl?

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. Now the system talk begins again, at least to a small extent, as some wonder whether he’s just a product of the wide-open Big 12. I don’t believe that for a second and think he will have a great NFL career. I’m still happy with his three-star ranking since we saw something none of the local schools did at least (he was a walk-on after all), but he has clearly outplayed his ranking and his leadership skills are off the charts despite some off-field hiccups. He wasn’t getting much NFL love because of his lack of size and average arm until this season where he showed improved arm strength and a great ability to improvise.

Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold (AP Images)

Recruiting: Darnold, who did not attend many camps or play much 7-on-7, 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. Some schools considered using him at tight end or linebacker.

Career stats: In two seasons at USC, Darnold completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 7,229 yards with 57 touchdowns and 22 picks. He also rushed for seven touchdowns.

Buzz: Darnold had an excellent first season but regressed this past year with 13 interceptions. Turnovers are an issue that need to be addressed.

Farrell’s take: Darnold is an interesting prospect because he has all the skills you need but his turnovers are troublesome. He slid considerably in our rankings after an underwhelming performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl where his arm strength was questioned, but that was clearly an anomaly as arm strength is not an issue. But is he a franchise quarterback? I’m on the fence. While Darnold had some throwing issues mechanically out of high school, he could run and hurt you with his arm or legs. He can play like a five-star in some games and like a low three-star in others but could be the top pick in the NFL Draft. I’d take Rosen or Mayfield clearly but Darnold won’t slip far even if he falls behind those two. I worry a bit about his laid back demeanor compared to Rosen and Mayfield and those turnovers.

Josh Allen
Josh Allen (AP Images)

Recruiting: Allen put up big numbers during his time at Reedley (Calif.) C.C., and it helped land him offers from Wyoming and Eastern Michigan. He announced his commitment to the Cowboys a week before Christmas 2014. Indiana was showing interest.

Career stats: Mainly in two seasons at Wyoming, Allen completed about 56 percent of his passes for 5,015 yards with 44 touchdowns and 21 picks. He totaled only 16 TDs and six interceptions this past season.

Buzz: ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., puts Allen No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns and said “stats are for losers,” in many instances. That’s the defense of Allen, who has been bad against strong competition.

Farrell’s take: He’s on this list because it’s clear someone is going to take him in round one. However, I am not a believer. His poor performances against FBS competition have me down on Allen, despite his cannon of an arm. But is he this year’s Carson Wentz? He could be, but I doubt it.

Out of high school, there was nothing remarkable about Allen, aside from his height. He attended a high school of around 600 students and never really got any looks despite putting up solid numbers, as there were questions about his ability to handle the rush at the next level. His JUCO year did wonders for him, but still most chose to ignore him, including, as we had him as a two-star. Now he’s taken that dual-threat ability he showed in high school and JUCO to the FBS college level, and NFL scouts love him - even though I don’t. Kiper says stats are for losers but I don’t see the performances on film from Allen to make me think he’s not the next Ryan Mallett and certainly not a franchise guy.

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 to the Cardinals.

Career stats: Jackson completed 57 percent of his passes for 9,043 yards with 69 TDs and 27 picks during his time at Louisville. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons and won the Heisman Trophy in 2016.

Buzz: Former NFL executive Bill Polian said last week Jackson should move to receiver in the NFL because he’s short, slight and doesn’t have the accuracy of other quarterbacks in this draft.

Farrell’s take: Jackson is still a tough projection to the NFL, because you don’t know if someone will take a chance on him in the first round because of his athletic ability or if he’ll slide because he’s not a pure pocket passer. But he certainly hasn’t hurt himself with his college performances.

He 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, but will it translate to the pros?

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 had him as a four-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 possible position change as a pro as Pollian mentioned. Personally, I think that’s crazy.

Others to watch: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State; Luke Falk, Washington State; Kurt Benkert, Virginia; Mike White, Western Kentucky; Kyle Lauletta, Richmond; Riley Ferguson, Memphis; Nick Stevens, Colorado State.