2018 NFL Draft: Where are the quarterbacks now? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The 2018 NFL Draft looked to be a class loaded with quarterbacks – one that could contend with the famous 1983 draft featuring future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
Though it fell short of the record of six quarterbacks being selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, it tied the 1999 record with five: Baker Mayfield went first overall, followed by Sam Donald at third, Josh Allen at seventh, Josh Rosen at 10th and Lamar Jackson at 32nd.
But, four years later, a class with so much promise hasn’t lived up to the billing. Following Baker Mayfield’s trade from the Cleveland Browns to the Carolina Panthers, three of those five quarterbacks are no longer on the team that drafted them.
With 13 quarterbacks taken in 2018, let’s take a look at where they all are now:
Baker Mayfield – Carolina Panthers
The 2018 No. 1 overall pick is now headed south. Though Mayfield lifted the Browns’ quarterback and playoff curse in 2020 – which included a Wild Card win – his run with the Dawg Pound ended a year later after a down season. The Browns moved quickly to land Deshaun Watson via trade from the Houston Texans, who still has civil lawsuits pending, making Mayfield’s departure inevitable. Now the Panthers will have to see if there’s untapped potential in Mayfield in a new environment.
Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers
Well would you look at that – the Panthers have two of the top three picks from 2018. But it’s not exactly a threat to the rest of the league. While Mayfield still has a question mark on his talent, Darnold has a red flag. He has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns the last two seasons, including falling short of 10 touchdowns in both campaigns. Maybe this quarterback competition brings out another level to Darnold’s game, but his days of being a starter appear to be ending.
Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
Buffalo drafted Allen at lucky No. 7, and he’s panned out extremely well. Allen has solidified himself as one of the most formidable dual-threat quarterbacks we’ve seen. His 6-foot-5, 237-pound frame has wreaked havoc on defenses, and his production led to a six-year, $258 million contract extension. Allen won’t be short of any bills anytime soon as he hopes to lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl.
Josh Rosen – Free agent
The Arizona Cardinals selected Rosen at No. 10 overall, but that was the beginning of the end for the UCLA product. After an 11-touchdown, 14-interception rookie season, the Cardinals wasted no time grabbing Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the following draft. From there, Rosen bounced between the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons until becoming a free agent.
Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
Jackson is the other quarterback taken from the first round who is still with his original team. The Louisville product had no problems translating his college hype to the NFL, and was named MVP in 2019. He is the second-youngest player to do so behind Jim Brown. Next up for the two-way speedster is a new contract.
Mason Rudolph – Pittsburgh Steelers
Rudolph went 76th overall in the third round to Pittsburgh and had a promising debut campaign in 2019, when he stepped up to lead the team for 10 games. He threw for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 62.2% completion rate, but he never built on it. The soon-to-be 27-year-old is slated to be an unrestricted free agent next March.
Kyle Lauletta – USFL
Lauletta was a fourth-round pick (108th overall) by the New York Giants, but his career never hit the gas. He was arrested on Oct. 30, 2018 on charges of eluding police, resisting arrest, reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, an improper turn in a marked traffic lane and failure to remain in a marked lane while heading to a team practice. He made two appearances for the Giants but was a final roster cut in 2019. From there, four teams signed him to their practice squad, with Cleveland doing so twice. Though his future NFL career is uncertain, he’s currently playing for the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.
Mike White – New York Jets
White was a fifth-round pick (171st overall) by the Dallas Cowboys but never made an appearance with the team. He was the third-string quarterback as a rookie and competed for the backup job to Dak Prescott the following year, but the Cowboys decided to roll with only two signal callers on the 53-man roster, leaving White off the depth chart. White signed with the New York Jets that year and made his debut this past season. He threw a touchdown on his first drive and re-signed on a one-year deal to compete to be Zach Wilson’s backup this upcoming season.
Luke Falk – Free Agent
The Tennessee Titans drafted Falk with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round. He was waived that September, however. The Dolphins signed him to their practice squad a day later but waived him in May after putting him on injured reserve for the entire season due to a wrist injury. Falk made his NFL debut with the Jets in 2019 as a mid-game injury replacement to Trevor Siemian, but he was waived a few weeks later. He had a tryout with the 49ers in 2020 but hasn’t been in the league since.
Tanner Lee – Free Agent
Lee went off the board to the Jacksonville Jaguars three picks after Falk, but he never played in a game. The Jaguars waived him in August of 2019 and he was not picked up elsewhere.
Danny Etling – Green Bay Packers
Etling was the first pick in the seventh round, going to the New England Patriots. He never appeared in a game and was waived in August of 2019. He was on the practice squad for six different teams, with the Seattle Seahawks and Packers picking him up twice. On Jan. 25, 2022, the Packers grabbed him for the second time on a reserve/future contract.
Alex McGough – USFL
McGough went one pick after Etling to the Seahawks. He never made the roster and the Jaguars and Texans picked him up to their practice squads, but he was waived before seeing the NFL field. However, he switched to the USFL field, where he recently helped the Birmingham Stallions win the title this year.
Logan Woodside – Tennessee Titans
Woodside was the last QB off the board, going to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 249th pick. He was waived that September and was signed by the Titans, but he was waived again later in the month. He had a stint with the Alliance of American Football in 2018 before it suspended operations and came back to the Titans on a reserve/future contract in 2020.