Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports



It's no surprise that Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has shot up to the number one spot on Mel Kiper's latest Big Board. He has proven to be a versatile player with a total of 1,205 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns this season. The San Francisco 49ers, who are at 0-7, are on pace to end up with a top-two pick. Right now, the winless Cleveland Browns are on track for the top pick due to their weaker strength of schedule (.468 compared to .522).

There are a lot of questions surrounding the 49ers' quarterback of the future. Will San Francisco choose to pay an unprecedented amount of money for someone like Kirk Cousins or will it choose to save money and develop a rookie from the 2018 draft class? Acquiring someone like Cousins would enable the 49ers to address another need with their top pick.

Perhaps rookie C.J. Beathard, who is already on the roster and now a starter for the team, shows signs that he can be a potential answer at quarterback for the 49ers.

"I'm projecting to the NFL," Kiper writes of his Big Board ranking. "This is about much more than stats. My projections are based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league."

Kiper has three quarterbacks listed within the top six on his Big Board. The highest ranked signal caller is UCLA's Josh Rosen, who sits right behind Barkley at the number two spot. Previously, USC's Sam Darnold was both the top-ranked signal caller and the top-ranked player overall. The Trojan product has fallen to the number five spot.

"The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Rosen throws a great ball and has rare arm talent," writes Kiper. "There aren't many quarterbacks who can make the throws he does."

Darnold's play has been erratic on a team that is far superior to what Rosen has to work with, which has left many to question whether or not he should be the first quarterback selected – assuming he doesn't stay at USC.

"Darnold has been too up-and-down this season," writes Kiper. "He has 10 picks and has lost six fumbles (plus two more fumbles). His 16 turnovers are the most in FBS. He had an outstanding 2016 season but hasn't matched it. Now, I think Darnold has a chance to be special, and I believe in his talent long-term. But he has to get these turnover issues sorted out."

Right behind Darnold and rounding out the top six is Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who grew up a 49ers fan. Kiper notes that Allen's numbers have not been great this season but he doesn't have a whole lot of talent around him.

"I think Allen's numbers will be much better in an NFL offense with NFL players," writes Kiper.

The only other quarterback within the top 25 on Kiper's Big Board is Lamar Jackson of Louisville, who sits at number 19.