NFL: 1st-round quarterbacks from 2018 draft on cusp of next level

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This is the continued series charting their progress, now through week 4 of year two.

In 2004, four quarterbacks were selected in the NFL draft. There was Eli Manning, selected by the San Diego Chargers but traded to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers, who was taken with the fourth pick. Ben Roethlisberger went at no. 11 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Buffalo Bills selected J.P. Losman with the 22nd-pick.

A trio of these quarterbacks have gone on to what are likely Hall of Fame careers (apologies to Losman, who still ended up playing in parts of eight seasons in the NFL). Manning, Rivers, and Roethlisberger all have stats and accolades worthy to be considered among the best of all-time.

Will the quarterbacks taken in the first round of 2018 end up on the same path?

Now in their second season, a trio from this class is starting to separate themselves from the pack. Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Allen are still dealing with their share of struggles, but their doing a lot more positive than negative.

They've also been placed on teams with solid defenses and talent around them on offense, contributing to their success(es).

Here's a look at how they're sitting after week four of 2019.

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield gets the edge here not only based on stats, but because he won the most recent head-to-head matchup with Jackson.

These two, along with Allen, have attributes and qualifications to be placed at top of the list. Through week 4 of 2019, the edge goes to Mayfield.

The Cleveland Browns are 2-2, tied with the Baltimore Ravens, but now hold the edge for 1st place in the NFC North thanks to Sunday's 40-25 victory. Mayfield did so while only completing two passes to All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

The second-year quarterback had probably his best game of 2019, as did the Browns. They were coming off a 20-13 Sunday night loss to the Los Angeles Rams and had been inconsistent so far this season.

Mayfield had struggled with is accuracy, hovering just above the 50 percent mark in completion percentage. On Sunday against the Ravens, he was 20-30 for 342 yards and one touchdown. Mayfield still threw one interception, his sixth of 2019, but was much more composed this game.

Mayfield only took one sack as well, a nice sign considering he'd been sacked 11 times in the season's first three games.

Overall in 2019, Mayfield has thrown for 1147 yards and four touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes. One thing missing from Mayfield's game so far in 2019 has been his running game, carrying the ball only four times.

Of course, when he's jockeying with Jackson and Allen in the ground game, those two will usually always have the edge.

Next 5 weeks: @San Francisco, vs Seattle, Bye, @New England, @Denver

Lamar Jackson

Jackson has continued to electrify, extending plays with either his moves or his legs.

The Heisman Trophy winner has racked up 238 rushing yards and one touchdown, putting him on pace get close to 1000 yards on the ground in 2019.

Impressive, yes, and Jackson has also shown off his arm in 2019.

He's thrown for 1110 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing 64.9 percent. Jackson's first interception -- and second -- of the season came in the game four loss to the Browns.

This marks the second-straight loss for the Ravens, who fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 33-28 in week 3. Jackson struggled a little in that game, often failing to connect with wide open receivers. He also was sacked three times in that loss, plus another four times in the Browns game.

Still, in the first four games of 2019, Jackson has proven he can be a good passer in the NFL, something Allen has battled as well, at least in terms of accuracy.

Next 5 weeks: @Pittsburgh, vs Cincinnati, @Seattle, Bye, vs New England

Josh Allen

Allen and the Buffalo Bills were one of seven undefeated teams heading into week 4, winning their three games by a combined nine points.

And they might have very well been 4-0 if not for a special teams touchdown and Allen exiting the game thanks to a hit to the head early in the fourth quarter.


The Bills allowed New England only one touchdown on offense but fell short in a 16-10 loss.

Allen had reverted back to his old ways prior to his injury, though that can partially be attributed to a tough Patriot defense. The New England defense finally allowed a touchdown, courtesy of an Allen run, but didn't give much else to the second-year quarterback.

He was 13-28 for 153 yards and 3 interceptions. Prior to this game, Allen had been completing over 60 percent of his passes and had been protecting the ball better.

Allen was also sacked four times.

Overall, Allen has thrown for 903 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions. He's completing 60.3 percent and been sacked nine times. Allen has also carried the ball 31 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns.

Next 5 weeks: @Tennessee, Bye, vs Miami, vs Philadelphia, vs Washington

Josh Rosen

To be honest, I wasn't sure Josh Rosen was going to be given the opportunity to start in Miami, no matter how bad they are going to be in 2019.

Lucky for him, Ryan Fitzpatrick was an interception machine, giving Rosen his chance.

The two games he's started haven't translated to wins but he's showing progress.

The Dolphins are 0-4, losing at home to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday 30-10. The game was actually close through the first 2.5 quarters and Rosen looked sharp. He finished 17-24 for 180 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The touchdown was only Miami's second of 2019.

Things are going to be bad in Miami this season but Rosen has given glimpses of hope.  He had some nice long passes that were dropped in the blowout loss to New England and didn't throw a pick in the loss at Dallas.

Rosen has played in all four games and is 43-84 for 482 yards. He's thrown three interceptions and been sacked 11 times.

Next 5 weeks: Bye, vs Washington, @Buffalo, @Pittsburgh, vs New York Jets

Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold is in the fifth-spot this time around because he hasn't played a down since week 1. Darnold has been out with mono. The Jets, who had a bye this week, are 0-3. 

Darnold had hoped to be back in week 5 but it's been reported he's not a lock to play against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Next 5 weeks: @Philadelphia, vs Dallas, vs New England, @Jacksonville, @Miami

This is a continuing series, updating (roughly) quarterly in each season. Check back in after week 9 for the next in the series. Further reading: 
Photo credit: commons.wikipedia.org

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