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Media Roundup: Highlights from QB Interviews

The top quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft will need to adjust to how quickly a pocket can collapse in the NFL.

On Friday, they got a preview of how quickly media members can converge on a podium.

This year's group has received high projections by many and will have the opportunity to show what they can do if they participate in optional on-field throwing drills on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Southern Cal's Sam Darnold and Wyoming's Josh Allen are giving new meaning to friendly competition as they vie to impress pro teams.

Darnold was ranked as the top QB by NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock and second by counterpart Bucky Brooks before the combine. Allen was ranked second by Mayock and fifth by Brooks.

They are rooming together and training together with former pro Jordan Palmer. Allen said he and Darnold "don't really talk about [who might get picked first] that much."

"It's been super great to get to know him. Obviously we're living together, and throwing with him and, in that aspect, we want to throw better than each other when we're out on the field, but he's one of the greatest guys I've met. We've become really good friends."

Here are some highlights from the media sessions of other quarterbacks that NFL Media analysts Mike Mayock and Bucky Brooks were bullish on before the combine.

Josh Rosen, UCLA

Pre-combine draft rankings: Mayock 3, Brooks 1

Rosen had an interesting response to why he focused on football instead of tennis.

"Tennis gets pretty lonely. It's an individual sport. All of your friends are your enemies at the same time. It's a really weird relationship. It's a complex dynamic. I enjoyed the team aspect of football. All of your friends, you're going to war with. It's unique. You get to play alongside your brothers each and every week. That's ultimately what drew me to football over tennis."

On how he developed his accuracy: "My parents always said that coming into my crib room was always dangerous because bottles would come flying out of nowhere. I've always had an arm of some sort — pitching in baseball, I had tennis, football. It's just a lucky ability I was blessed with."

On his most pro-ready attribute: "I think I make very quick decisions, very quick and decisive decisions. I always say that I think if you can get three or four reads into your progression, you give yourself more opportunities down the field. If you're a one-two-and-run guy and you throw the ball 40 times a game, in the NFL 30 times a game, you're giving yourself 70-80 opportunities to get the ball down the field. If you can get into 1, 2, 3 and 4, you're giving yourself 150-160, twice as many opportunities to get the ball down the field. That's what I think my best attribute is. I can sit in the pocket and really pick defenses apart."

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Pre-combine draft rankings: Mayock 4, Brooks 3

Mayfield, the reigning Heisman winner who measured at 6 feet, was asked about his height being a challenge.

"Height doesn't matter. 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. Height doesn't matter at that point; I think I had less batted balls at the line of scrimmage than the other guys here, and I'm pretty sure I'm a shorter guy, too, so it doesn't matter.''

On what teams have asked him: "Teams ask me about my character, but until you sit down and talk to me directly, you might have an image that's portrayed in stories or headlines. But I love the game, I'm up-front and honest, I know exactly what I'm about, and that's the most important thing. What you see is what you get. I've always been brutally honest, and some people don't like that because it's rare now days. But I go into these meetings, and I'm just myself. I want to get drafted to a team that knows exactly what they're getting.''

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Pre-combine draft rankings: Mayock T5, Brooks 4

Jackson's athleticism is undeniable, enticing and prompted some in the media to propose that he consider playing receiver instead of quarterback.

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, however, repeatedly stated he intends to be an NFL quarterback.

"I thought I did a good job at quarterback!" Jackson said smiling. "I thought I did! But hey, they say what they want to say. They're going to build a story. I'm here now. I'm at the combine. I'm happy to be here. I just have to show off my ability."

Jackson said he does not plan to run the 40-yard dash or agility timing and testing drills, but he does plan to throw on Saturday.

"I don't need to show off my speed and show people I can make them miss. I have to show off my arm. Because that's where they doubt me."

On what he wants to show scouts: "I'm mobile. I can hit any target on the field. I love the game with a passion. I lead my team. I feel like I'm a field general. I love to score. I love to put the ball in receivers' hands. I'm not a ball hog at all. It may look like it but I'm not (laughing). I just love winning."

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Pre-combine draft rankings: Mayock T5, not ranked by Brooks

Rudolph was unable to participate at the Senior Bowl because of a foot injury, but he did attend the annual college all-star game in January. He was asked how frustrating it was to not be able to participate and said he plans to fully participate Saturday at the combine.

"Yeah, it was. I think you've got to handle that just like any other piece of adversity that happens in your life. I was especially mad because I had – Brandon Weeden was in Houston for a while, and we had talked, multiple conversations, about their offense, their system, kind of got a head start on it. We were watching film, me and Zac Robinson, my quarterback coach. So I kind of had a leg up, I felt, on all the competition, but I wasn't able to participate. Everything happens for a reason, so I'm not too disappointed. I'm here, and I'll be able to participate Saturday."

Bonus question: How much will you miss Coach [Mike] Gundy and his mullet?

"Oh, a lot. I told him he needs to cut the mullet off now that I'm gone. It was kind of our deal. We lived that out. No, he was an unbelievable coach. Somebody who played at the same school, a lot of knowledge, a lot of off-the-field advice for how to be a quarterback at Stillwater and how to command yourself, the type of leader you want to be. [He is] somebody that I've kept in contact with almost every day since I left and someone I'll stay in touch with forever."

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