Photo: Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

College QB Power Rankings - Week 7

It's the debut of projected rounds for the quarterback class

October 18, 2017 - 4:16 pm

Derek Kramer

We're past the halfway point of the college football regular season, and it's time to start expanding the power rankings and look into where these players might be projected to fall in the draft. I'm happy to be adding input from the likes of Rob Quinn (@RobQuinn619) from Bills Wire and the USA Today, Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) from NDT Scouting, our own Sal Capaccio, and others to the rankings in the coming weeks! 

Together, we will look into where each quarterback might be drafted, as well as highlight some strengths and weaknesses of the quarterbacks as the college season winds down. 

The competition gets tougher for these quarterbacks as the teams look to make their push for the major bowl games and the college football playoff. Keep tabs, as the game times and channels are constantly updated. Text "COLLEGE" to 550-550 for texts on Saturdays with reminders of when and where to watch the top quarterback prospects!


1.) Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State
Week 7 Stats: 19 of 31, 459 yards, 3 TDs; 3 carries, 11 yards, 1 TD vs. Baylor

Another week, another short work day for Mason Rudolph. Rudolph sat the fourth quarter against Baylor with the game well in-hand. Rudolph continues to shine, and is showcasing himself as a first round selection. Rudolph is now staring down a nice group of defenses in the next three weeks: at Texas, at West Virginia and home against Oklahoma. This stretch will lay the foundation for where Rudolph stands in the pecking order.

There are still major questions to answer with Rudolph, including this: How much of Rudolph's success is his overall talent and how much is it through coach Mike Gundy's system? Rudolph seems to be the greatest fit with a quick strike offense, possibly in a West Coast scheme (which would bode very well for Bills fans). I sense that Rudolph has the arm strength to test all three areas of the passing chart (short, intermediate, deep), and has great accuracy and technique to boot. However, he will need to take snaps under center, and has been below average accuracy on the run. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Mid-to-Late First Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Texas - 12 p.m. (ABC)


2.) Lamar Jackson - Louisville
Week 7 Stats: 19 of 39, 339 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 22 carries, 180 yards, 3 TDs vs. Boston College

Lamar Jackson is not going away quietly. While his team's defense let him down, Jackson accounted for five total touchdowns and continues to dish out video game-like numbers. A fun test coming up next for Jackson: the athletic Florida State Seminoles. 

While some in the draft community are down on Jackson, he is still one of the most dynamic players in the country, and this quarterback class. For more on Jackson, here's Rob Quinn from the Bills Wire (USA TODAY): 

ROB'S TAKE: "Despite his lanky frame, Jackson is an effortless thrower that can accurately deliver the ball to all three levels of the field. He understands the importance of throwing with touch and knows when to zip a ball into a tight window and when to put some air under a pass and allow his receivers to make a play. While Jackson is a dynamic threat as a rusher, he’s done a better job being patient and staying in the pocket when he feels pressure, keeping his eyes downfield and stepping up to deliver a throw - even if it results in him taking a shot from a defender."


NEXT GAME: Saturday at Florida State - 12 p.m. (ESPN)


3.) Sam Darnold - USC
Week 7 Stats: 27 of 50, 358 yards, 3 TDs; 6 carries, 15 yards, 3 fumbles lost vs. Utah

Sam Darnold continues to show a bit of inconsistency in his game. He's putting up the stats and making plays, yet he's acquired a giving side, constantly turning the football over. Darnold sunk his team into a massive hole against Utah with three fumbles lost. However, with his team down, Darnold made plays to keep USC in the game and then come back to claim a gritty victory against a tough defense. 

Darnold has a bit of an extended release, which could lead to trouble in the NFL. However, this issue is easily correctable for two reasons: First - Darnold seems to speed it up with pressure around him by instinct. Second - it can be corrected with proper coaching. Ball security continues to be an issue as well, with five fumbles lost on the season. However, Darnold has cleaned up the interception issue as of late, which is encouraging. Scouts are still enamored with the red-shirt sophomore, and expect his status to remain as a top quarterback on the draft board. 


NEXT GAME: Saturday at Notre Dame - 7:30 p.m. (NBC)


4.) Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
Week 7 Stats: 17 of 27, 302 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT vs. Texas

It is getting tough to ignore Mayfield's performance despite his "sandlot" style. Mayfield continues to shine against quality competition and is primed to be taken within the first two rounds of this draft. Mayfield showed it again that he is capable of stepping up to the task against the underrated Texas defense (who forced Mayfield's first interception on the season).

Mayfield is a shorter quarterback, which will be brought up by scouts, and he does have that off-the-field hiccup from last year. But NDT Scouting's Jon Ledyard believes that Mayfield should still be considered for the first round: 

JON'S TAKE: "Mayfield doesn't lose accuracy off platform, and is a quick mental processor with good pocket presence and enough arm to test short-intermediate windows despite tight coverage. His deep ball needs to improve and there are times he passes up the easy throw to make a much more difficult one. I don't know that he'll be a fit in every offense, but for a more aggressive West Coast-based passing attack, I can see Mayfield making a lot of sense."

PROJECTED ROUND: Late First Round / Early Second Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Kansas State - 4 p.m. (FOX) 


5.) Will Grier - West Virginia
Week 7 Stats: 32 of 41 for 352 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT vs. Texas Tech

Ok, it's happening. We may have found our fast riser of the class in Will Grier, the transfer from the Florida Gators. Grier carried an offense that ran for less than 50 yards against Texas Tech, needing to put the team on his back for a comeback win. Grier is a player who can push the ball on all three levels, and has also shown that he can scan the field for open receivers. Grier has shown that he is worthy of shooting up draft boards, as he is now tied for the lead for most touchdown passes on the season. Be ready for more massive numbers as he faces the same Baylor defense that was shredded by Rudolph. 

Grier showed this promise as a freshman at Florida, but then transferred after being suspended for use of performance enhancing drugs. That will undoubtedly affect the red-shirt junior's stock. Grier does need to show more with timing routes, as well as more consistent deep ball accuracy. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Late Second Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Baylor - 8 p.m. 


6.) Josh Rosen - UCLA
Week 7 Stats: 20 of 34, 219 yards, 3 INTs vs. Arizona

Woof. Rosen falls here with a bit of a careless game out of the bye week against Arizona. Rosen got pummeled in the backfield, as he was sacked five times. Taking a beating has been common with Rosen, but the pressure did not really cause many of the bad throws from Rosen in this game. Rosen has had a couple of games through this season where he has been careless with the ball, with his gunslinger mentality sometimes backfiring. This game was much worse. 

However, Rosen does have all of the physical tools and can accurately test secondaries at any range of the field. Rosen's size will undoubtedly be a big positive for the scouts as well. If Rosen can be given a competent supporting cast in the NFL, he has a chance of truly shining. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Early-to-Mid First Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Oregon - 4 pm 


7.) Ryan Finley - N.C. State
Week 7 Stats: 14 of 25, 198 yards, 1 TD vs. Pittsburgh

Ryan Finley has been a calming presence at quarterback for the Wolfpack this season after joining them as a graduate transfer in 2016. Finley has been great with protecting the ball, and he has yet to throw an interception this season. Furthermore, that stat showcases one of Finley's best strengths: his ability to scan the field and make the right decision. 

Finley has been a riser lately, and has the chance of making a name for himself through the draft process. I'd like to see Finley test more with the deep ball, but there is a lot to like about the former Boise State backup. He gets a huge test after his bye week - N.C. State visits Notre Dame on October 28th.


NEXT GAME: Saturday 10/28 at Notre Dame - 3:30 p.m. (NBC)


8.) Jake Browning - Washington
Week 7 Stats: 20 of 31, 367 yards, 1 TD vs. Louisville

Jake Browning had a rough game against Arizona State, in what turned into a defensive showdown. Browning was sacked five times in this game, which was the same amount as he had been taken down all season. Despite the pressure, Browning did not turn the ball over in such a tight game. However, the 4.6 yards per-attempt is paltry and shows how out of sync he was in this game. He has a bye week next, before taking on Josh Rosen and UCLA.

Browing is a decent sized quarterback and does not possess the best of arm strength, but certainly enough to fit into a west coast scheme that would allow his decision making and accuracy to thrive. Browning also possesses enough mobility to extend plays and escape pressure. Don't expect Browning's name to be called in the first round, but he is a solid option for teams who miss out on the quarterback derby and need one in the second day of the draft. 


NEXT WEEK: Saturday 10/28 vs. UCLA - 3:30 p.m. 


9.) Josh Allen - Wyoming
Week 7 Stats: BYE WEEK

After getting crushed by Iowa and Oregon (and even Hawaii), Josh Allen has one more chance to make some real noise this season against a tough opponent in Boise State. Many scouts are still high on Allen, mostly for his physical tools, big arm and prototypical size. Fans of Allen will mention his lack of a supporting cast at Wyoming, which is a fair argument. Allen has tried to make things happen on his own, which has led to some of his failures. 

However, Allen is not just making mistakes via aggression. Allen is also rarely throwing properly. Even in plays where he succeeds, Allen is far too reliant on arm talent alone and often will not set his feet. In the NFL, that lack of proper throwing mechanics will get you picked, a lot. I'd expect Allen to jump to the NFL, but he needs to be stashed as a third QB for his rookie season. While I see a Day Two prospect, many around the NFL still believe he is a first rounder. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Second to Third Round

NEXT WEEK: Saturday vs. Boise State - 10:15 p.m. (ESPN2)


10.) Luke Falk - Washington State
Week 7 Stats: 28 of 43, 286 yards, 5 INT, 1 fumble lost vs. Cal

Wow. That game was awful. There were several passes that were severely underthrown, and it cost Falk and Washington State big time. Falk was off target, showed a lack of arm strength and made some terrible decisions with the ball. I've mentioned that I'm not sure what Falk truly is all season, however, Falk's body of work has still been good for most of this season. Maybe it's not right to overreact. Falk was bad against Boise State earlier this year as well, and was benched in that game. So when Falk has been bad, it has been disastrous. 

There is still plenty to like about Falk, including his arm strength and his decision making (usually). Falk also has great size, which scouts gravitate to. However, first round consideration cannot include Falk as of now. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Late Second to Mid Third Round

NEXT WEEK: Saturday vs. Colorado - 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

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