We are through four weeks of the season which is essentially a quarter of the year for most teams. So I am going to look at the first round of the draft and rank each positional players by how well they have done based on expectations for them and overall performances.
I’ll begin with the Quarterback class drafted in the first round.
1st – Baker Mayfield (22.64 points)
I was high on Mayfield going into the draft and applauded the Browns for taking him with the 1st overall pick. In my eyes he was the most likely to become the “face of the franchise”. He got his first game time in week three following a below-par performance from Tyrod Taylor, and he made a statement. In just over half the game, Mayfield went for 201 yards with a QB rating of 100.09 leading the Browns to their first win since Mount Rushmore was just a hill.
Granted, he didn’t throw any touchdowns, but he showed poise and leadership to carry the team past the Jets on a tough Thursday night game. Week four against Oakland we did see rookie errors from Mayfield in throwing two interceptions, but he again carried himself well, throwing for two touchdowns and just short of 300 yards in a game that you can’t help but feel was stolen from the Browns by poor officiating.
Mayfield has silenced his critics (cough, Colin Cowherd) so far and should continue to do so. He gets the number one seed in my rankings purely because he won a game playing for Cleveland.
2nd – Josh Allen (48.24 points)
How do you go from tearing up one of the best teams in football, scoring a strong 27.74 fantasy points, to getting shut out by Green Bay, scoring just 1.94 points?
I was a non-believer in Josh Allen, but ignoring his week four performance, he has made me change my mind so far. From weeks one to three, he improved every week and has even got himself two rushing touchdowns in the Bills shellacking of Minnesota. If truth be told, I wanted to rank him lower on this list, but I just can’t. He has played well in what is a relatively poor Bills team. Allen looks like the guy that the Bills will build the franchise around over the next few years, and suggesting the front office make some good decisions and strengthen other areas he could have success in Buffalo.
It will be interesting to see how Allen responds to the week four beating over the next few weeks as the Bills face off against Tennessee, Houston, and Indianapolis. He should start really ‘coming out of his shell’ against these teams and could put up decent fantasy numbers.
3rd – Sam Darnold (41.52 points)
I just don’t get what people like about Darnold. He is only ranked third on this list due to Rosen and Jackson not doing anything up to now. Week one, it looked like Darnold was going to settle in seamlessly with the Jets (after the first play) as he threw for 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception giving him a QB rating of 116.77 in his first game. Since then, he has been underwhelming, throwing a further four interceptions and only two touchdowns.
Granted, the Jets aren’t the best team in football, in fact, they aren’t even close. But he has an acceptable receiver core in Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. I can’t help but feel the Jets should have held on to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, as tight ends are useful to rookie quarterbacks. Eric Tomlinson just doesn’t do it for me.
At the moment, Darnold hasn’t settled in like a number three pick should and needs to improve if he doesn’t want to get labeled a flop. I’m not writing him off just yet, but I am certainly not a believer up to now.
4th – Josh Rosen (13.14 points)
The fact that Josh Rosen fell to tenth in the draft and Darnold was taken before him still baffles me. ‘The Rosen one’ was on par with Mayfield in my eyes, Arizona probably couldn’t believe what they were seeing when he dropped to them.
The only reason Rosen is not higher on this list is purely due to lack of playing time. He did okay against Seattle for his first start. You look at his numbers, and they are underwhelming, but watch the way he played, he made some good throws under pressure and seemed comfortable in the position, throwing for 180 yards and a touchdown.
This seasons starter for the Cardinals was Sam Bradford. Bradford has done pretty much nothing since his rookie year, the Eagles, Vikings, and Cardinals all seemed to think he was ‘the guy’ that was going to help their franchise. This was proven wrong first three games as Bradford was benched in week three against Chicago. Now the Cardinals have realized that their best quarterback is their rookie, they should start to see improvement from their 0-4 start. If Rosen can start making good connections with his receivers, then he should have a good year when you consider he is under center for a pretty bad team (not so much the players, just the coaching).
5th – Lamar Jackson (7.16 points)
The Ravens gave Jackson four chances to throw the ball in week one against Buffalo. Jackson completed one for 24 yards and has since only been used as a positional player. It’s tough for Jackson really, as Flacco has finally started playing well this year having thrown eight touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Jackson has to sit at the bottom of this list purely as the rest of the season is more than likely going to continue like the start of the season, with him getting very little opportunity to do anything barring an injury to Flacco. It’s a shame really for the former Heisman winner.
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