PFF Draft Watch: Week 2 QB overview
Each week, we at PFF will break down all of the notable, draft-eligible quarterbacks and how they performed the weekend prior. Be it good or bad, get the exclusive PFF take on each of those quarterbacks you will be certain to hear about come April.
Sam Darnold, USC
Steve Palazzolo: A solid bounce-back game from Darnold who got back to his dominant ways in the middle of the field where he connected on 12-of-15 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns between the numbers. Darnold was excellent when pressured, connecting on 8-of-11 for 141 yards and three of his four touchdowns. However, he threw two more interceptions, both similar plays in which Darnold threw down the field while off balance, and he left both passes short for easy turnovers. Darnold now has three turnover-worthy plays on the season, with all three being intercepted.
Luke Falk, Washington State
Steve Palazzolo: A week after completing only one pass thrown at least 10 yards in the air, Falk’s struggles continued against Boise State as he went 2-for-8 for 69 yards on 10-plus yard throws. The underneath stuff has been there through two games, and Falk has been happy to take what is given, but he also came away with two turnover-worthy plays this weekend (one of which was intercepted) and he’s yet to hit a big-time throw. Falk was benched temporarily and also banged up against Boise State, but he should be good to go for next week.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Steve Palazzolo: It was another impressive all-around performance from Lamar Jackson as his 94.3 overall grade led the nation in Week 2. He’s shown improvement as a passer, particularly in the middle of the field where he’s made a number of NFL throws the first two weeks. Against North Carolina, Jackson’s best throw was his 75-yard touchdown pass that saw him come out of play action to a free blitzer, but Jackson calmly stepped up in the pocket and delivered a strike 46 yards in the air to complete the big-time throw. While Jackson has improved as a passer, there are still bouts of inaccuracy, including a series in which he missed three throws in a row, but the arrow continues to point up for the 2016 Heisman winner.
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Steve Palazzolo: In perhaps the season’s biggest test, Mayfield showed off his accuracy and playmaking on the national stage. He finished 28-for-36 for 394 yards and four touchdowns with an adjusted completion percentage of 93.9 percent (two batted passes, three drops, one throwaway) that led the nation in Week 2. Mayfield had the usual sample of easier throws that come out of a well-designed Oklahoma offense, but it was the out-of-structure plays that really showed off his ability. He maneuvered the pocket well and delivered the ball accurately – his touchdown pass at Q4 11.18 was a perfect example as he scampered to his left and hit his receiver in-stride coming out of the backfield. The underrated part of Mayfield’s game, and perhaps the part that many sleep on, is his ability to not miss throws as he’s had the lowest percentage of negatively-graded throws in the nation over the last two years and he’s only missed a handful through two games so far this season.
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Steve Palazzolo: Last week was a reminder that Rosen may not have been as good as the hype against Texas A&M, but he took care of business this week against Hawaii. The ball came out of his hand much quicker this week as his average time to throw of 2.18 was 13th-lowest in the nation a week after averaging 2.75 seconds against Texas A&M. While facing a lesser opponent in Hawaii made a difference, Rosen was much more sharp and decisive than he was in Week 1 and his second-quarter 9-yard tight-window touchdown was a thing of beauty as he put the ball into a spot where only his receiver could catch it. This is the kind of game that showcased Rosen’s potential as he finished 22-for-25 for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Steve Palazzolo: There were times last season where Rudolph’s arm strength looked like a question mark but the ball came out of his hand well in the early going against South Alabama. Whether throwing an outside-the-numbers curl route or a skinny post to WR James Washington, Rudolph showed good zip on the ball and he did a nice job of taking what was there against a lesser opponent for the second week in a row. Rudolph usually lights it up statistically on the deep ball, though he only connected on 1-of-4 passes for 30 yards down the field. In the middle of the field between 10 and 19 yards, Rudolph went 9-for-13 for 167 yards and all three of his touchdowns.
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Steve Palazzolo: Against Gardner-Webb, Allen avoided many of the peaks and valleys that often define his game as he didn’t have a big-time throw or a turnover-worthy throw in the game. The usual menu of show-off-the-arm throws were there, whether firing far-hash curl routes or throwing comebacks on the move, and as PFF analyst Sam Monson put it, “it’s as if Wyoming is trying to showcase his arm in the way they run their offense.” Overall, it was a solid effort by Allen who finished with a 79.6 grade after posting a 48.5 grade against Iowa in Week 1.
Mike White, Western Kentucky
Zac Robinson: White and the Western Kentucky offense struggled to get anything going the whole night. The Illinois defensive gameplan was aggressive, blitzing White on 50 percent of his dropbacks and impacting White’s decision-making under pressure finishing with a 0.0 passer rating under duress (3-of-10, 9 yards, 1 INT). White was on the end of five dropped passes that did not help his case.