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2018 NFL Draft QB Props
Check out more NFL Odds and Props at BetOnline.ag!

Who will be the First Quarterback Drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft?

To get your appetite ready for the 2018 NFL Draft, BetOnline.ag has thrown up a board projecting the first quarterback drafted this coming April.

The interesting part about this exercise is that you could argue that both the Giants and Colts have their quarterbacks of the immediate future, while Cleveland will have two shots in the top-four to presumably get their guy.

But should anyone really reach for a quarterback with a high end pick in 2018?

2018 NFL Draft Order (Top-10)
1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)
2. New York Giants (2-14)
3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston)
5. Denver Broncos (5-11)
6. New York Jets (5-11)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
8. Chicago Bears (5-11)
9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
10. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

We were lucky enough to enjoy a really strong rookie class this past season, and that doesn’t happen often. Standouts like Alvin Kamara, Evan Engram, Christian McCaffery and Leonard Fournette dotted fantasy rosters around the country while defensive studs like Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, Budda Baker and Marshon Lattimore made names for themselves as well. Unfortunately, rookie quarterbacks didn’t fare so well.

Mitchell Trubisky was the second overall pick and the second quarterback taken overall. He never threw multiple touchdowns in a single game. Patrick Mahomes is probably in line to take over for the Chiefs next year, while DeShone Kizer might be out of the league by then. No two rookies had more cursed seasons that C.J. Beathard and Nathan Peterman. The lone bright spot was Deshaun Watson of the Texans, who lit the league on fire for five weeks before tearing his ACL.

A run like that will cause people to sound the alarm as if everything has gone awry with the development of young quarterbacks at the college level. It’s a symptom created by the sudden influx of talents like RG3, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson in 2012 along with Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton the year prior. Those guys created a sense that rookie quarterbacks can come in and dazzle right out of the gates. As rookies, those quarterbacks didn’t just play like pro’s, they performed at Hall of Fame levels.

What’s easy to forget is that this was an anomaly. What’s happened more often than not is one or two rookie quarterbacks being standouts early on and everyone else taking the usual three-year development course. Even Goff and Wentz were tragically below-average in 2016 as the top picks in the draft before exploding this past season. Winston and Mariota are another pair of examples of slow developers.

The point is that the culture for quarterbacks is tempered. New blood is always intriguing given that it feels like there are at least 10 open jobs for quarterback in the league, but teams might be less willing to take chances on a top level talent since the returns aren’t either immediate or even that guaranteed. It’s like spending $1,000,000 on a sports car that might be awesome in two years. Would you bother?

We all know that there are special talents like Dak Prescott, Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins that can be found deep in the draft but someone is going to get antsy and pull the trigger early. So who is going to be the first quarterback taken in the NFL Draft? Let’s look at the board in order of odds.

Odds per BetOnline.ag

Josh Rosen (+100 to be First Quarterback Drafted 2018 NFL Draft)
Here’s the problem with Rosen: his attitude sucks. He refused to play in the post season while doubling down on his diva like behavior by stating that he doesn’t want to play for the Browns. Floating all this hype is the obvious trend that he is a tremendous prospect. Size, strength, technique, vision. He seems to have it all.

But teams have avoided drafting players like Rosen with a high pick because of the risk that it presents the locker room. If Rosen presents as anything, it’s a mercurial talent with a me-first, ego centric attitude. The UCLA starter also doesn’t look he’s good enough to play right away, depending on what system he lands in. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland or New York drafted him, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him slide. A great hedge play, but not a huge upside bet in my opinion.

Sam Darnold (+125 to be First Quarterback Drafted 2018 NFL Draft)
I still do not understand what teams might see in Sam Darnold and my fear is that a lot will be exposed during either his Pro Day or the combine itself. Darnold has really poor technique, and his in-season performance was capped by the 5th highest passing numbers (4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns) but also involved some stat padding against awful competition and letdowns in big games.

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I’ve long been against drafting USC quarterbacks in the NFL but Darnold has the good fortune of being touted for so long that he’s just a fixture in people’s heads at this point. I don’t think he’s a worthy play on this board and at +125 you’re not getting a strong enough return to take the risk.

Josh Allen (+600 to be First Quarterback Drafted 2018 NFL Draft)
The words “Wyoming” and “sexy” have probably never been used in the same sentence, but here we go. The Wyoming quarterback is the sexy pick of the 2018 NFL Draft when it comes to quarterbacks. He’s a tower at 6-foot-5 and showed extremely well in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with an efficient 11-for-19, 154 yards and 3 touchdowns. After the success of Wentz, is probably smart for teams to look far and wide for talent. Allen has all the tools but is also projected as a very raw prospect, which sort of cools down the mood in the room when a lot of the teams drafting in the top-10 are in win now mode. It’s also worth pointing out that unlike Wentz, Allen is a relatively sudden arrival to the mix. He could be great. He could be Brock Osweiler. THESE ARE CHILDREN! WE KNOW NOTHING!

Lamar Jackson (+1400)
The long time thinking in Cleveland is that they’re going to have to wait for the Steelers to fall apart due to age in order to be competitive. That might be true, but after a winless season, fans need reasons to be hopeful. Like RG3 did in his first season, Lamar Jackson could instantly fill the void of excitement in the most desolate of all NFL landmarks.

To me, Jackson represents instant offence and what’s intriguing here is that Sean Ryan of the Houston Texans is interviewing for the offensive coordinator job in Cleveland. He molded the Watson wave of offence that overwhelmed all of us for a blip in the 2017 season, and he could absolutely target Jackson as the creative mastermind of a different kind of offence.

Mason Rudolph (+1600)
People love Rudolph, but I am not one of them. He’s a great late round pick, but taking him in the first round seems like a waste of time. Buoying his stock is the fact that he led the whole country with 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions. But he did play at Oklahoma State, which has a habit of running the type of system that allows for those numbers without preparing players properly for the rigors of the NFL game.

Baker Mayfield (+2500)
He may be the Heisman winner, but without a championship on his resume it’s going to be hard for teams to really make the leap for Mayfield as the first quarterback drafted. But that’s why this NFL futures board is kind of fun. You can easily make argumenta against Mayfield, but Oklahoma was also one defensive play away from making the championship game. They took Georgia to overtime, who then took Alabama to overtime. The coaching in Oklahoma blew the extra time, not Mayfield and anyone who knows anything about football could’ve seen that.

The thing about Mayfield is that he’s going to test well in the combine. He’s going to interview extremely well. His 43 touchdowns and bonkers 198.9 quarterback rating were the highest in the whole country, and he threw just 6 interceptions. When people liken him to Drew Brees it is not far off. Like Watson before him, Mayfield has the makings of just being good despite what traditional metrics might suggest about him.

One of the biggest reasons I’m touting Jackson and Mayfield overall is the return on investment, but beyond betting it’s important to understand that the NFL is in dire need of a paradigm shift. We’ve been drafting these 6-foot-4 pocket passing buffoons for years. Every now and then you get Philip Rivers or Matthew Stafford. More often than not you get some kid who doesn’t have what it takes. The teams that have taken chances on players like Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota and players that don’t fit this prototypical mindset that’s been drilled in to our skulls are the franchises embarking on a new horizon. How many times do we have to see teams draft a Blake Bortles “just because” when a mad man like Case Keenum is leading the best team in football?

NFL teams need to take a chance and if some franchise like the Browns, Giants, Broncos or Jets is willing to then you’re either getting 14-to-1 on Jackson or 25-to-1 on Mayfield. For a fun flier play that could result in an “I told ya so” of epic proportions, that seems worth it.

There are so many other places to play it safe. Why not live on the wild side for once. We’ll have plenty of 2018 NFL Draft action for you in the coming months, but for now bet on the first quarterback drafted while the odds are ridiculous.

Bet on who’s going to be First Quarterback Drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft and much more at BetOnline.ag in the futures markets!

  
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