Photo: Melina Vastola - USA TODAY Sports

College QB Power Rankings - Week 8

Jackson re-takes the top spot, Grier continues his rise, Allen falters again

October 25, 2017 - 5:35 pm

Derek Kramer

We're into the eighth week of the college quarterback power rankings and it's been a fun project to be watching and evaluating all of these players each week. Some quarterbacks have fallen off of the map, but we've also seen new quarterbacks emerge and stay in the rankings. The top of the quarterback class remains in flux, especially from the start of the season. 

Josh Allen remains a mystery to me. How can analysts tell people with a straight face that Allen is still worthy of a top-10 draft pick? Allen was originally considered one of the top-three quarterbacks in a loaded draft class, and it makes no sense to see him as a first rounder, let alone a top-10 pick. 

We've seen Baker Mayfield, Will Grier and Ryan Finley become major risers. Lamar Jackson is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was last year. There are reports that Sam Darnold will remain at USC. Luke Falk went from sleeper for the second round to a Day 3 guy. 

Entering the season, the class seemed loaded. That remains the case, but Darnold and Allen are not leading the charge anymore. 

I've got more from Rob Quinn (@RobQuinn619) of Bills Wire and Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) of NDT Scouting this week. They have extended thoughts on Falk and Mason Rudolph for Week 8. 

Don't forget, if you haven't yet, text "COLLEGE" to 550-550 for texts on Saturdays with reminders of when and where to watch the top quarterback prospects!


1.) Lamar Jackson - Louisville
Week 8 Stats: 13 of 21, 156 yards, 1 TD; 23 carries, 178 yards, 1 TD vs. Florida State

My goodness, Lamar Jackson is so much fun to watch. But please, Bobby Petrino, can I see more of Jackson dealing the ball? Jackson had less pass attempts than carries in this game. 

That said, Jackson was downright dominant against a tough and very athletic Florida State defense. Jackson's running talents will translate directly to the NFL; he's that fast and that capable. His passing is still leaps and bounds from last year. Against Florida State, there were at least three drops, including a touchdown, from his wideouts on perfectly thrown passes. Jackson is not taking a second Heisman, but he is becoming a lock for the first round and may be moving into the top-15 with more games like this. 

The major question with Jackson: Can he process everything in the NFL at NFL speed? I'm betting on yes. 


NEXT GAME: Saturday at Wake Forest - 12:20 p.m.


2.) Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State
Week 8 Stats: 25 of 38, 282 yards vs. Texas

Mason Rudolph faced a tough Texas team that gave him some fits. Rudolph still delivered some of his patented big plays, but the lack of finish from his offense causes a bump down in what was not his best performance. However, to Rudolph's credit, he also did not turn the ball over either. Up next: an immanent shootout with the red-hot Will Grier and West Virginia. Hope you like bunches of touchdowns. 

Rudolph has been rather consistent in his senior season and making a strong case for himself. For more on Rudolph, here's Rob Quinn from the Bills Wire (USA TODAY): 

ROB'S TAKE: "Rudolph is at his best in the quick game, working the short-to-intermediate areas of the passing game. He throws with anticipation and contrary to what many believe, Rudolph is asked to make full-field reads and he also has the authority to make various checks at the line of scrimmage. His biggest deficiency would be his mechanics - particularly when pushing the ball downfield. While Rudolph has some mobility and a good feel for the pocket, he has a tendency to get flat-footed and throw off of his back foot on many deep passes."

PROJECTED ROUND: Mid-to-Late First Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 22 - West Virginia - 12 p.m. (ABC)


3.) Josh Rosen - UCLA
Week 8 Stats: 21 of 36, 266 yards, 2 TDs vs. Oregon

For the first time in months, Josh Rosen was not asked to carry the team, and what an incredible improvement was shown. This is the player many expect to be drafting, who won't have to be the gunslinger to carry a team. Rosen was on target, and still dominated in his own right. Rosen needed a game like this after being a bit over-aggressive lately and throwing four picks in his previous two games. Rosen faces a huge road test next as he'll need to keep up with Jake Browning while facing a very tough Washington Huskies defense.

Rosen, unlike Josh Allen, will remain in a pocket and has proper throwing mechanics most of the time. Sometimes he throws off balance, but it is far less frequent. Rosen shows plenty of toughness in the pocket, often willing to take the hit in order to deliver a strike. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Early-to-Mid First Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 12 - Washington - 3:30 p.m. (ABC)


4.) Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
Week 8 Stats: 32 of 41, 410 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 9 carries, 69 yards, 2 TDs vs. Kansas State

Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma got off to a very slow start against Kansas State, but Mayfield got his team going and kept reclaiming the lead on a tough Kansas State team that continued to be a thorn in Oklahoma's side. 

Mayfield remains a question mark to me at times, with his sandlot style of play being a large component to his success. However, he has flashes of being able to remain in the pocket when forced to. While remaining in the pocket is often not the case, he continues to play well and cannot be denied a high ranking. That said, his off field incident from last year and his size will likely knock him back a round. If he can translate his unique skill to the NFL, it's a bargain in the second round. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Late First Round / Early Second Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Texas Tech - 8 p.m. (ABC) 


5.) Will Grier - West Virginia
Week 8 Stats: 26 of 37 for 375 yards, 5 TDs vs. Baylor

Sometimes, a player is going to absolutely shred a weak defense and he won't move up based on the opponent. But for Grier, it's the norm to post up massive amounts of touchdowns. Only once this season has he passed for less that three touchdowns (he threw two and ran for two against Kansas). Grier will get some flak for playing in an air raid system, but he's showing the ability to test the field in all three levels. 

Grier will need to continue his torrid pace, however. This week he gets to engage in another track meet with Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys defense leaves plenty to be desired, Grier will have to keep up with Mason Rudolph. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Mid-to-Late Second Round

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. 11 - Oklahoma State - 12 p.m. (ABC)


6.) Sam Darnold - USC
Week 8 Stats: 20 of 28, 229 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 fumble lost vs. Notre Dame

Darnold continues to be on a learning curve with his sudden penchant for turning the football over. Another two turnovers against Notre Dame, and scouts need to start wondering what is going on with all of the constant fumbles. The red-shirt sophomore will certainly take lessons from games like these, which included some very impressive throws against a very good Notre Dame team. 

So, while Darnold is sitting at six, it's more out of what has been accomplished by the other quarterbacks here. Up next for Darnold is a sneaky Arizona State team that has taken great pleasure in upsetting top-25 teams this season. 


NEXT GAME: Saturday at Arizona State - 10:45 pm (ESPN)


7.) Ryan Finley - N.C. State
Week 8 Stats: BYE WEEK

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 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. Finley needs to test defenses more with the deep ball, but there is a lot to like about the former Boise State backup. 

He now faces a tough Notre Dame team that gave Sam Darnold quite a hard time last week. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Second to Third Round

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


8.) Jake Browning - Washington
Week 8 Stats: BYE WEEK

Browning had off for a week after getting thrashed around by Arizona State. While he was lights out last season, Browning has been more protective of the football and trying to rely less on just chucking deep balls this season. While he does tend to rely on Dante Pettis at times, Browning is trying to mold his game to balance out more. 

Browning 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 vs. UCLA - 3:30 p.m. (ABC)


9.) Josh Allen - Wyoming
Week 8 Stats:
12 of 27, 131 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs vs. Boise State

I'm getting confused at this point. I don't know why people continue to see Josh Allen as a first round prospect. The first game where Allen sets his feet for more than half of his throws would be the first time. Allen's supporting cast is awful, which leads to things like sensing phantom pressure and running from clean pockets. However, mechanics-wise he continues to infuriate me and I cannot safely say I would want to draft him in the second round anymore. 

At the end of the day, all it takes is one coach and general manager to say they can help with his mechanics. That said...

I am deathly afraid of the prospect of Josh Allen being a Bill. Even if Tyrod Taylor were to allow for a year for this guy to sit, I'm not sold. Quite frankly, all I'm seeing here is the word "bust" with Allen. I might need to ask Jeremy White why Allen is still included in the college quarterback text club if I see his name again. 

PROJECTED ROUND: Second to Third Round

NEXT WEEK: Saturday vs. New Mexico - 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)


10.) Luke Falk - Washington State
Week 8 Stats:
17 of 34, 197 yards, 3 TD vs. Colorado

Luke Falk has hit quite the fall from grace here in these standings, falling below a quarterback that I'd be terrified of drafting. That says a lot about how badly Falk has played over the past two games. Falk, over the last two games, has looked like the typical Mike Leach quarterback, which is an undrafted player who will get a couple of years as a backup in the NFL, if that. We'll have to see if Falk can rebound. 

If you think that was harsh, Jon Ledyard of NDT Scouting seems to be off the Falk wagon entirely:

JON'S TAKE: "Falk's arm looks worse every week. He floats passes that should be zipped into tight windows, and takes forever to process reads from the pocket. He doesn’t stretch the field willingly, and often telegraphs throws by staring down his first read until it opens up. But what really make Falk almost undraftable in my evaluation is his pocket presence and inability to play tough under pressure. Falk simply plays scared when he senses the slightest compression of the pocket, doing a poor job of escaping pressure and keeping his eyes downfield. Quarterbacks who don’t play tough in the pocket and can’t play out of structure simply don’t have what it takes to start in the NFL."

PROJECTED ROUND: Day Three (Rounds 4-7)

NEXT WEEK: Saturday at Arizona - 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Comments ()