Photo: Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

College QB Power Rankings - Week 2

Darnold bounces back, Mayfield shines, Jackson & Rudolph dominate

September 12, 2017 - 8:36 pm

Derek Kramer reporting
Twitter: @DerekKramerWGR

 

A lot of Buffalo Bills fans have their eyes on the upcoming 2018 quarterback class. While there are many underclassmen who could easily return to school, that won't stop us from watching the potential draft stock of some of the top names being mentioned. 

Last week, there was a pair of projected stalwarts (USC's Sam Darnold and Wyoming's Josh Allen) struggled mightily, which allowed two new names to get into the top-three in Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph and Louisville's Lamar Jackson. 

Spoiler alert - Those two aren't going anywhere. 

But Jackson, Rudolph and UCLA's Josh Rosen (third last week) weren't the only ones to shine in this game. We saw bounce backs from Darnold and Rosen, and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield lit up Ohio State. It was a great week for draft eligible quarterbacks. Are we getting spoiled? Will this become a class of multiple options to choose from? 

Let the second set of quarterback Power Rankings begin! In addition to stat lines, I'll now add game times and channels for each quarterback's next game. You can also get that info by texting "COLLEGE" to 550-550!
 

1.) Lamar Jackson - Louisville 
LAST WEEK: 
1
Week 2 Stats: 25 of 39, 391 yards, 19 carries, 132 yards, 6 total TDs vs. UNC

Wow. I wasn't sure Jackson was going to have as good of a game against North Carolina, but here we are. Jackson was dominant, unlike anything we've seen in the young college season. Through the air, on the ground, it did not matter. One play saw Jackson spot the corner blitz, dodge the defender, step up into the pocket and effortlessly fling a bomb for a 75-yard touchdown. It was absolutely filthy, and the complete package. The only person who could stop Jackson on Saturday was Jackson himself. Which, however, he sometimes did. For as amazing as Jackson played, there were still plenty of throws he would like to have back, including a disastrous throw where he tried to fling the ball up to avoid a sack, only to have a should-be interception dropped. Still, there were far more dominant plays to even think about bumping Jackson from the top spot. Jackson gets a stiff test next, the Clemson Tigers had 11 sacks against Auburn last week. 

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. #3 Clemson - 8 p.m. (ABC)
 

2.) Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State 
LAST WEEK: 
2
Week 2 Stats: 25 of 38, 335 yards, 4 total TDs vs. Southern Alabama

Like Jackson above, there is no reason for me to move Mason Rudolph from his spot. He looked crisp, though not as superb as his near perfect effort in week one. However, Rudolph continued to dominate his lesser competition and showcase his overall arm talent. The rest of the Bills fan base needs to get a look into Rudolph, he has been every bit as impressive as the other top quarterbacks. Anticipation, pocket presence, arm talent to hit all of the throws, Rudolph is looking like the complete package. Can Rudolph make the same statements against tougher opponents? Only one way to find out.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Pittsburgh, 12 p.m. (ESPN)


3.) Josh Rosen - UCLA
LAST WEEK: 
3
Week 2 Stats: 22 of 25, 329 yards, 5 TDs vs. Hawaii

I want to move Darnold up, I really do. But how can you not keep Rosen on par with his spot? He ripped up on inferior competition, shredding poor Hawaii in a passing day that saw only three Rosen passes hit the ground. In the blowout wins, you look to see if a passer is making good throws, keeping his mechanics sound and seeing if there are throws that would wow even in the NFL. Check, check and check. Rosen's last six quarters have been on another level, picking up where he left off with the Texas A&M comeback. 

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Memphis - 12 p.m. (ABC)


4.) Sam Darnold - USC 
LAST WEEK:
4
Week 2 Stats: 21 of 26, 316 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs VS. #14 Stanford

Welcome back, Sam Darnold. The presumptive favorite was back to his old ways, with a surgical performance against rival Stanford. While there were a couple of interceptions in there, it's not enough to knock his overall performance. Three of Darnold's touchdowns were passes that required great precision, and his accuracy is one of the major reasons he is the favorite to go first overall. Darnold was able to make throws on the run, within the pocket with pressure around him, with there rarely being even an incompletion. However, every performance has its flaws, and Darnold's second interception was an ill-advised floater into double coverage that wound up in Stanford's hands. However, in the end, Darnold made up for an uneven opening week, and I'm sure he will continue to improve. If not for the top three's continued dominance, Darnold would have moved up in the rankings. Call it a very good #4 rating. 

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Texas - 8:30 p.m. (FOX) 
 

5.) Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
LAST WEEK:
Honorable mention
Week 2 Stats: 27 of 35, 386 yards, 3 TDs vs. #2 Ohio State

Well, THAT is certainly one way to enter the quarterback conversation. Mayfield shredded a vaunted Buckeyes team that is expected to fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Mayfield showed instincts in the pocket, mobility when he needed to buy time and was making tough throws. The biggest issue surrounding Mayfield is the lack of snaps taken under center. Mayfield plays in a high-tempo spread offense and will need to continue to dominate to be in consideration for the first round, mostly due to this issue. Expect him to keep up his big numbers and remain in Heisman consideration, the Big 12 isn't exactly known for its defenses. 

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Tulane - 6 p.m. (local coverage only)


6.) Jake Browning - Washington 
LAST WEEK: 
5
Week 2 Stats: 22 of 26, 259 yards, 1 INT, 5 carries, 50 yards, 3 total TDs vs. Montana

Moving down a spot for Browning is not a knock on his performance, beating on a cupcake like Montana. Browning made very nice throws on the move in this game, and also got his legs going, rushing for 50 yards. Browning's interception was a bit of a misfire, but his target did happen to have his arm held and only had one arm to attempt to catch the high slant pass. Browning continues to remain a dark horse for teams that do not wind up in the top-ten in the draft, many scouts do not see him as a bona fide contender for the top pick. Browning is seen more as a Day 2 option, but he is fun to watch.  

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Fresno State - 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)


7. Josh Allen - Wyoming
LAST WEEK: 
7
Week 2 Stats: 22 of 32, 328 yards, 2 TDs vs. Gardner Webb

It was a nice bounce back for Allen, who got embarrassed in Iowa a week ago. However, it's not enough to move him up due to the successes of the other quarterbacks ahead of him. Many of the players who beat up on cupcakes stayed the same this week, and one still got bumped down. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find video for a game between Wyoming and Gardner Webb, so it's tough to see how Allen's mechanics looked, which is my biggest concern with him. Luckily, we don't have to wait long for more tape, he faces Oregon in what should be a good measuring stick for potential progress. 

NEXT WEEK: Satruday vs. Oregon - 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)


8. Drew Lock - Missouri
LAST WEEK:
 Unranked
Week 2 Stats: 14 of 32, 245 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs vs. South Carolina

I'll admit an error here. Drew Lock threw for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns in the opening week. Yet, somehow, the junior managed to be overlooked. However, the SEC still remains a pain in the rear, and they quickly put Missouri in a bad place. Lock was shut down after a solid first half, which included a great touchdown pass that required touch and anticipation. The rest of the night was not as pleasant for Lock, with two interceptions that were great plays by the South Carolina secondary. However, Lock was uneven against a vaunted defense. The reason he debuts on the list is due to some terrible performances from two other quarterbacks from last week, and he also gets many chances to shape his season against SEC defenses. 

NEXT WEEK: Saturday vs. Purdue - 4 p.m. (SEC Network)


What the Falk?

Luke Falk - Washington State

Falk was in the top-8 last week. However, he struggled mightily against Boise State and even got benched as Wazzu completed a comeback with him on the bench. While it's fine to keep an eye on Falk, the fact that he got yanked may not bode well for the year. 

 

Beaten to a pulp...

Jarrett Stidham - Auburn

Stidham was in the eighth spot last week, but a physical beatdown by the Clemson Tigers just makes you feel bad for the kid. Stidham, the Baylor transfer, will still be a player to look at, but any game where a player gets sacked 11(!!!) times means that any sort of evaluation might need to be tossed out of the window. 

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