Where each top 2018 quarterback prospect stands at midseason

Kiper expects big things from Darnold (0:42)

Mel Kiper Jr. compares USC QB Sam Darnold's "it-factor" to the likes of No. 1-overall picks John Elway, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. (0:42)

Does your favorite NFL team need a quarterback? You might be in luck next year.

After only three QBs went in the first round in this year's draft, ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both believe the 2018 QB class is one of the deepest in recent years. In fact, both have three quarterbacks among their early top four overall prospects.

So we decided to ask Kiper and McShay for early season verdicts on their top QB prospects and how they project for the 2018 draft. They go back and forth on six of college football's best signal-callers -- Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield -- and hit on a few other guys to keep an eye on.

One note before we get started: Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Jackson are all underclassmen and could still return to school. There's still a lot of time between now and the 2018 draft.

More 2018 draft coverage: Kiper's latest Big Board | McShay's latest Top 32

Sam Darnold, USC

2017 stats: 136-of-210 passing (64.8 percent) for 1,705 yards with 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions; three rushing touchdowns; 68.5 Total QBR (No. 37 in FBS)

Kiper: Let's start with the interceptions. Darnold has already matched last year's total of nine -- in only six games. The number is concerning, especially when one of his strengths in 2016 was his supreme accuracy. But I think it's also misleading, even though his mechanics get a little sloppy at times. What do you think, Todd?

McShay: I'm not concerned about Darnold's picks. Several were well-thrown balls that simply bounced off his receivers' hands. I still have questions about his mechanics and his three-quarter launch spot, but his accuracy has been tremendous from what I've seen on tape. I also love Darnold's ability to manipulate the pocket and keep his eyes downfield, and he does a terrific job of going through his progressions.