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Prospect Profiles: The Quarterback Class

In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2018 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting top prospects by position each week leading up to the first day of the draft on April 26th.

*Next up is a look at some of the premiere quarterbacks according to pundits. *

Josh Allen

School: Wyoming
Height: 6-5
Weight: 233 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Jake Locker

Josh Allen may have the most powerful arm to ever come out of college football.

While that may sound like a bit of hyperbole, pundits, scouts and experts alike all rave about how they've never seen a cannon arm quite like Wyoming's quarterback.

As a result, Allen can fire throws that some of the top QBs to ever play in the NFL can only dream about.  The 6-5, 233-pounder can air it out deep down field while also firing lasers on intermediate routes.  He also boasts nimble feet to find space in the pocket or roll away from pressure.

However, despite his highly regarded skillset, Allen's college stats pale in comparison to some of the other QBs in the draft.  He completed only 152 of his 260 attempts (56.3 percent) in 2017 for 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. Allen can also carve teams up when he takes off downfield, running for 204 yards on 92 attempts for another five scores.

With rare raw traits without the track record of the other quarterbacks in this year's class, some consider Allen one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the 2018 draft.  Still, the upside is so huge that numerous pundits believe the Cleveland Browns will be tempted to take him first overall.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.75 seconds
Bench Press: 33.5 reps
Broad Jump: 119.0 inches

Sam Darnold

School: USC
Height: 6-3
Weight: 220 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Andrew Luck

Sam Darnold has been on the NFL's radar for a number of years with teams eager to get their hands on the premiere quarterback.

In fact, some consider him the best prospect since Andrew Luck, who he is often compared to.

Darnold made a name for himself as a redshirt freshman in 2016, completing 246-of-366 attempts (67.2 percent) for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns. He enters the draft fresh off another dynamic season in 2017.  A first-team All-Pac-12 selection, he completed 303-of-480 passes (63.1 percent) for 4,143 yards and 26 TDs.  If there is one concern, it's his propensity to turn the ball over.

A true pocket passer, Darnold checks all the boxes.  He is as accurate as he is strong, capable of making all the throws.  He has a knack for finding the opening in the pocket while possessing a high football acumen to scan the field and find the correct read in a flash.

Overall, Darnold is considered a safe bet to become the face of a franchise for the next decade with the capability of starting from day one.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.85 seconds
Vertical Jump: 26.5 inches
Broad Jump: 105.0 inches

Lamar Jackson

School: Louisville
Height: 6-3
Weight: 200 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Mike Vick

The youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Lamar Jackson is an electrifying dual-threat at quarterback.

In addition to his uncanny playmaking ability with his arm, the Louisville quarterback is just as likely to carve opponents up with his legs.

All one has to do is watch his record-breaking sophomore campaign in 2016 when Jackson became the first player in FBS history with 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a single season.  He also became only the sixth player in history to throw and run for 20 touchdowns each in the same season.  Overall, Jackson completed 230-of-409 attempts (56.2 percent) for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns while carrying the rock 260 times for 1,571 yards (6.0 ypc) and another 21 TDs.  He accomplished all that at just 19 years old on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

As if that wasn't enough, Jackson followed up his monster season with an equally impressive 2017 campaign.  He completed 254-of-430 passes (59.0 percent) for 3,660 yards and 27 touchdowns in addition to 232 carries for 1,601 yards (6.9 ypc) and 18 rushing touchdowns.

Simply put, Jackson is a proven playmaker who can carry an offense all on his own.

Baker Mayfield

School: Oklahoma
Height: 6-1
Weight: 215 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Doug Flutie

Ultra-competitive with tremendous leadership skills in the locker room, Baker Mayfield is the type of quarterback players love to play with but hate to go against. With his fiery persona and uncanny knack to make the big play, you can see why he reminds some of the Chargers' own Philip Rivers even if they have completely different styles.

Oh, and the former walk-on also just happens to be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner as he heads into the NFL Draft.

Mayfield cemented his case as an elite quarterback prospect with a lights out 2017 campaign in which he completed 285-of-404 attempts (70.5 percent) for 4,627 yards and a whopping 42 touchdowns.  He also is capable with his feet, carrying the ball 97 times for 311 yards and five scores.

Overall, the Oklahoma product ranks second in FBS history in passing efficiency rating (175.4), third in yards per attempt (9.7), tied for fourth in TD passes (131), fifth in total offense (15,690) and seventh in total passing yards (14,607).

Thus, with his knack for the big play and coming up clutch, Mayfield is a surefire bet to go early on draft day.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.84 seconds
Vertical Jump: 29.0 inches
Broad Jump: 111.0 inches

Josh Rosen

School: UCLA
Height: 6-4
Weight: 226 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Trent Green

Josh Rosen is everything teams look for in a quarterback.

He boasts the prototypical physique at 6-4, 226 pounds.

He has experience in a pro style system under center, which is increasingly becoming a rarity in the college game.

He also has the arm to make every throw, the footwork to climb the pocket and sustained success at UCLA.

Overall, Rosen completed 712-of-1,170 attempts (60.1 percent) for 8,339 yards and 59 touchdowns in 30 games over three seasons. He's fresh off a lights out 2017 season in which he set career highs across the board by going 283-for-452 (62.6 percent) for 3,756 yards and 26 touchdowns.  It proved to be one of the top seasons in UCLA history as he set school records for most passing yards average per game (341.5), games passing for at least 350 yards (six) and most consecutive games of 300-plus yards in total offense in a season (five).

Rosen is also the guy you want under center in the face of adversity.  Just look at what he did against Texas A&M. Down 41-10 in the third quarter, he engineered the largest comeback in UCLA history as the Bruins roared back for a rousing 45-44 victory.

Overall, Rosen is considered a safe bet to emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for the foreseeable future.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.92 seconds
Vertical Jump: 31.0 inches
Broad Jump: 111.0 inches

Mason Rudolph

School: Oklahoma State
Height: 6-5
Weight: 235 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Christian Ponder

With so much attention being paid to the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield, a number of pundits believe Mason Rudolph is as likely to have as successful a career as any QB in the draft.

It's easy to see why.

After all, Rudolph has consistently been one of college football's top quarterbacks since taking over midway through his freshman campaign in 2014.  He made a name for himself right away, orchestrating the second-largest fourth quarterback comeback In OSU history with a 38-35 victory over rival Oklahoma.  Before he took over under center, the Cowboys offense averaged just 10.0 points and 286.5 yards of total offense per game.  After he took over, the team averaged 32.0 points and 418.3 yards.

Rudolph only got better from there, culminating with a senior season for the ages in 2017.  He completed 318-of-489 passes (65.0 percent) for 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns. He set a new school record for passing yards in a season, which is one of over 50 school records he set over his tenure.  Rudolph also authored 10 400-yard passing games and 23 300-yard games.

A prototypical pocket passer who can also effectively operate the run-pass option, Rudolph has a rapid-fire release with pinpoint accuracy.  He boasts a high football IQ, often diagnosing the defense prior to the snap before moving through his progressions.

As a result, most believe it will be a smooth transition for Rudolph to go from OSU to the NFL, even if he has to wait a few years before getting his chance to start.

Combine Metrics
40-Yard Dash:4.9 seconds
Vertical Jump: 26.0 inches

 The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above represent those of individual authors and do not represent the opinions or policies of the Chargers' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives.

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