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."
That's a quote from John Elway Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys Womens , Denver Broncos general manager and headliner of the pre-eminent 1983 QB class that featured six first-round selections and produced three Hall of Famers.
There's no consensus top QB this year like there was with Andrew Luck or Cam Newton a few years ago. Every one of this year's "Big Four" 鈥?USC's Sam Darnold , Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield , Wyoming's Josh Allen and UCLA's Josh Rosen 鈥?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.
Louisville's Lamar Jackson , Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph , and Senior Bowl star Kyle Lauletta of Richmond are also hopeful they'll hear Roger Goodell call their names early. Throw in Washington State's Luke Falk, and maybe it's one of these "Little Four" quarterbacks who might ultimately end up as the gem of this year's draft.
Sort of like sixth-rounder Tom Brady in 2000 or third-rounder Russell Wilson in 2012.
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.
If quarterbacks go 1-2-3, it would match 1999's group in which Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb and Akili Smith were the first three players off the board a year before Brady went 199th.
There's no clear-cut, surefire top pick quarterback in this year's draft because all of the prime prospects have at least one key drawback.
So, all of those owners, GMs, scouts and coaches scratching their heads for months will soon be crossing their fingers if they bypass Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, Denzel Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds to dive into the deep quarterback class , which could make or break a franchise's fortunes.
Every year, quarterbacks rise to the top of the draft Kerryon Johnson Jersey Elite , pushing value down the board to teams who already have theirs. Fifty-six quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round since 1996, the last draft featuring no first-round QBs.
"This quarterback draft, like every draft, drives the top end of this thing," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "I'm always amazed 鈥?and maybe I shouldn't be 鈥?but last year, three of the top 12 picks were quarterbacks and all three were trade-ups on draft night. The year before, the Rams went all the way up to one to go get (Jared) Goff. The Eagles went from 13 to eight to two to go get Carson Wentz. It's a quarterback-driven league. I think it's going to be a crazy eight, 10, 12 picks, so many permutations of the quarterback conversation."
Underscoring the importance of the so-called franchise quarterback, the Texans averaged 35 points a game with DeShaun Watson last season and 13 without him; the San Francisco 49ers went from 17 points a game to 29 under Jimmy Garappolo, who won all five of his starts.
And yet ...
Case Keenum, who wasn't even drafted, took the Vikings to the NFC championship game. Blake Bortles, a top-10 pick but, in Mayock's words, nobody's idea of a "high-level franchise quarterback," took the Jaguars to the AFC championship contest.
And backup Nick Foles, a third-rounder, outdueled Brady to win the Super Bowl for the Eagles.
"Is that an aberration or a trend?" Mayock wonders.
A look at the top quarterbacks in 2018 and the hazards that accompany the hype:
SAM DARNOLD, USC: Ball security.
Darnold threw 22 interceptions and had 20 fumbles in his two seasons with the Trojans.
"The No. 1 priority of a quarterback is to protect the football. I'm aware of that, and I'm aware how much I turn the ball over and that it's not OK," Darnold said. "I've been addressing it this offseason. I've been working on keeping two hands (on the ball) in the pocket at all times. The only time I let go of the ball is to throw it. That's something I've really been working on 鈥?and also keeping it tight whenever I tuck it and run."
JOSH ALLEN, Wyoming: Accuracy.
The rocket-armed Allen hopes his spectacular combine showing and pro day performance showed teams that his 56 percent completion rate at Wyoming shouldn't scare them away.
"I'm extremely confident in myself," Allen said Byron Jones Jersey Elite , "and we're working on it and there's no doubt in my mind we'll figure it out."
BAKER MAYFIELD, Oklahoma: Undersized.
Mayfield is a shade over 6 foot, and that's usually a deal breaker in the first round.
"Height doesn't matter," Mayfield declared at the NFL combine. "You see guys like Tyrod Taylor, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, they've proven that it doesn't matter. If you want to say anything else, I've got three years of tape you can watch. I think I had fewer batted balls at the line of scrimmage than any other guy here 鈥?and I'm pretty sure I'm the shortest guy, too."
JOSH ROSEN, UCLA: Durability.
A shoulder injury limited Rosen to six games last season, and he's had concussions. Furthermore, he's had to answer questions about his dedication to the sport. Many have wondered whether the strong-armed, free-spirited QB is the next Aaron Rodgers, a cerebral pick-you-apart passer, or the next Colin Kaepernick, who will ultimately focus more on social issues than football, especially if he can't stay healthy.
"I love football with all of my heart and soul," Rosen insisted. "If I didn't, I just don't think I wouldn't been able to make it through the grind of college."
LAMAR JACKSON, Louisville: Mechanics.
Bill Polian suggested Jackson's off-the-charts athleticism might make him more valuable as a wide recei The first taste of the NBA playoffs for Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has been rather bitter, thanks to the 3-point-happy Houston Rockets.
The two-game totals tell a frustrating story for the 22-year-old: just 13 points, 5 for 18 shooting and a 2-0 deficit in the series against the Rockets. Towns has found himself the subject of pointed criticism from analysts, fans and even his own team.
The switch-heavy Rockets have double-teamed Towns to a stifling effect, and the Timberwolves sure haven’t helped their 7-footer out by getting him the ball in favorable situations in the post.
”They’re coming to double. He knows that. He has to face up, be strong with the ball Jets Chris Herndon Jersey , make quick moves,” point guard Jeff Teague said. ”But we have to figure out how to get him running, get him some easy buckets.”
The team’s struggles have taken a little luster off Minnesota’s first postseason home game in 14 years, but the fans who remember the Timberwolves reaching the Western Conference finals in 2004 will surely be eager to witness the playoffs in person no matter the daunting challenge in this first round.
”This organization, all of our fans, they deserve this moment,” Towns said.
And they want a win.
The Timberwolves host the Rockets on Saturday night in Game 3. Earlier in the day, Miami takes on Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference and New Orleans hosts Portland, both in Game 4. Later, Utah visits Oklahoma City in Game 3.
Towns tried his best to shrug off the bad vibes and stinging rebukes when speaking with reporters on Friday.
”You dwell too much on the past, you forget that you’ve got to take care of the present,” Towns said.
The chatter on TV and Twitter, he said, has escaped him.
”I live my life very Amish-like,” Towns said. ”Other than video games, I don’t think I have a reason for electronics. It’s a life that I’ve always loved.”
76ERS AT HEAT
76ers lead 2-1. Game 4, 2:30 p.m. EDT, TNT
NEED TO KNOW: It’s simple: The team that has imposed its will is 3-0 in this series. Philadelphia took the pace where it wanted it in Games 1 and 3. Miami out-toughed the 76ers in Game 2. The Heat have to find a way to keep Philadelphia’s 3-point shooting in check; the 76ers made 18 shots from beyond the arc in Game 3. Joel Embiid is back from a concussion and a broken bone around his eye, and an already-confident Philadelphia bunch seems to have even more swagger now.
KEEP AN EYE ON: 76ers guard Marco Belinelli. The 76ers are 25-6 when he plays and 14-1 when he scores at least 15 points. In this series, he’s 13 for 27 on shots from 20 feet and deeper, and many of those makes have been daggers for Miami.
PRESSURE IS ON: Heat center Hassan Whiteside . Backups Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo have played a combined 145 minutes in this series, while Whiteside has played only 41, with 11 points, nine fouls, seven turnovers and three field goals in the three games. There’s no room for error now for Miami Antonio Senzatela Colorado Rockies Jersey , so either Whiteside will figure it out fast in Game 4 or the Heat will get someone else into his spot.
HISTORY LESSON: This is the fourth time in Dwyane Wade’s career that the Heat have trailed an Eastern Conference opponent 2-1. In the three previous Game 4s in that scenario, Miami has won all three with Wade averaging 26.7 points in those second-round games against Indiana (2004 and 2012) and Toronto (2016).
TRAIL BLAZERS AT PELICANS
Pelicans lead 3-0. Game 4, 5 p.m. EDT, TNT.
NEED TO KNOW: The sixth-seeded Pelicans are on the cusp of a surprising sweep of the third-seeded Blazers, and their margin of victory has grown in each game. They dominated Game 3, leading by as many as 20 points in the first half and 33 in the second. Veteran guard Rajon Rondo has masterfully run the offense, and the Pelicans have played unselfishly with a different scoring leader in each game: Anthony Davis with 35 in Game 1, Jrue Holiday with 33 in Game 2 and Nikola Mirotic with 30 in Game 3.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Portland’s body language, intensity and aggressiveness. Guard Damian Lillard challenged the Blazers to ramp up those aspects of their game, stressing that the Pelicans were ”a lot more aggressive than we were and we didn’t dish it back out. I think in the playoffs and in a situation like this, when a team is coming for you like that, you’ve got to maybe go out of your way to do it back, even if that means foul trouble or some altercations happen out there.”
PRESSURE IS ON: Lillard. The Pelicans have sold out to stop the Portland star, who missed nine of 14 shots in Game 3. ”It’s either going to be a tough shot, or I’ve got to give the ball up,” Lillard said. ”I’ve got to trust making the right play, and when it comes time I’ve got to take my chances and I’ve got to take those tough shots.”
INJURY UPDATE: Blazers starting forward Evan Turner missed Game 3 because of a toe injury in Game 2. The team did not update his status on Friday.
ROCKETS AT TIMBERWOLVES
Rockets lead 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN.
NEED TO KNOW: The Rockets cruised to a 20-point victory in Game 2 despite only 12 points on a staggering 2-for-18 shooting performance by James Harden. After squandering their chance to steal Game 1 on the road in a three-point loss, the Wolves are back home in a big hole against the team with the best record in the NBA. They’ll need a big boost from a home crowd celebrating the team’s return to the postseason to send the series back to Houston for a Game 5.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Ger.
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