We’ve been hearing it for months: The 2018 NFL draft is all about the quarterback.
The quarterback conundrum is more like it.
“You can go around a room and probably get four or five different opinions on how they should be stacked.”
So says John Elway, Denver Broncos general manager and headliner of the pre-eminent 1983 quarterback class that featured six first-round selections and produced three Hall of Famers.
There’s no consensus top quarterback this year like there was with Andrew Luck or Cam Newton a few years ago. Every one of this year’s “Big Four” — USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and UCLA’s Josh Rosen — can find their names atop somebody’s mock draft this week and almost certainly first on somebody’s draft board Thursday night.
What this year’s quarterback crop lacks in clarity it makes up for in complexity.
Should six quarterbacks go in the first round, as many suspect, it would tie the ’83 standard when Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O’Brien and Dan Marino were selected.
There’s no clear-cut top quarterback pick in this year’s draft because all have at least one key drawback. A brief rundown:
■ Sam Darnold, USC: Ball security. Darnold threw 22 interceptions and had 20 fumbles in his two seasons with the Trojans.
■ Josh Allen, Wyoming: Accuracy. The rocket-armed Allen hopes spectacular combine and pro day performances trump his 56 percent completion rate.
■ Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma: Undersized. He is a shade over 6 feet, and that’s usually a deal breaker in the first round.
■ Josh Rosen, UCLA: Durability. A shoulder injury limited Rosen to six games last season, and he’s had concussions. He’s also had to answer questions about his dedication to the sport.
■ Lamar Jackson, Louisville: Mechanics. Bill Polian suggested Jackson’s off-the-charts athleticism might make him more valuable as a wide receiver, but Jackson dismissed that notion: “No sir, I’m a quarterback.”
■ Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State: Mobility. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said for a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback, Rudolph has “fairly average arm talent” and too often can’t escape the big hit.
■ Kyle Lauletta, Richmond: Health. Winning offensive MVP honors at the Senior Bowl should squelch concerns about his college competition and working through four offensive coordinators with the Spiders.
Seahawks still considering Kaepernick
Pete Carroll said the Seattle Seahawks have not closed the door on the possibility of adding Colin Kaepernick to their roster, but how much further they pursue it may depend on the upcoming NFL draft.
“We’re still battling on all fronts, on all guys. We’re still looking at guys and evaluating. There are still free agents we’re looking at and in that the process just continues,” Carroll said. “We’ve gone through the information gathering and we have a pretty good feel for where we are. It’s ongoing. We’re not done with that decision at all.”
Reports surfaced earlier this month that Seattle pulled out of a planned workout for Kaepernick, who has been without an NFL team since the end of the 2016 season. Seattle has been one of the few teams to show any interest in Kaepernick following his protests during the national anthem in the 2016 season with San Francisco.
Carroll said the reports of what happened with the intended workout were “blown up.”
“I think we’ve been working at this thing for some time now. I don’t think that was really as telling as it came across,” Carroll said. “We’re really aware of him and he’s a fine football player and there may be a place for him. We don’t know that yet.”
General manager John Lynch said the 49ers will be patient through linebacker Reuben Foster’s legal issues in a domestic violence case but stressed he won’t remain on the team if it determines he hit a woman.
... Bennie Cunningham, a versatile tight end who starred at Clemson and won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has reportedly died of cancer. He was 63.
... Former standouts Devin Hester and Matt Forte signed one-day contracts with Chicago so they could retire as Bears.
... Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is being investigated for potential domestic violence in a weekend incident, according to Frisco, Texas police.
... Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won’t match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.
... Oakland signed cornerback Daryl Worley just over a week after his release by Philadelphia following an arrest.
... Kaepernick is taking time out from his activism to honor one of his fiercest defenders — his mother Teresa. Kaepernick is the first celebrity announced for VH1’s second annual “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms,” to air May 7.
... Former North Carolina defensive tackle Dee Hardison, a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame who played 11 seasons in the NFL, has died. He was 61.