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2024 NFL Draft QB rankings: Caleb Williams leads top 10; how many first-rounders?

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Last year’s quarterback class was rich, with 14 players at the position being selected, the most since 2016. NFL teams may see this year’s crop as an even greater bounty with USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels all candidates to join last year’s big three of Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson as top-10 selections.

Like last year, what makes this class so intriguing, however, is not just the top-end talent but the depth. Traditional pocket passers and dual-threat QBs abound in 2024, with quarterbacks of seemingly every size, speed and age available.

Each week leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, we will break down the top 10 prospects at a different position. We’ll include scouting reports on each individual player, noting specific strengths and concerns, as well as grading them and assessing when they should be drafted.

[2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Caleb Williams leads our top-50 big board]

1. Caleb Williams, USC — 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Junior

Overview: The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, Williams began his career at Oklahoma before following head coach Lincoln Riley to USC as a true sophomore, tossing a staggering 42 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Williams wasn’t as dynamic in 2023, but still threw six times as many touchdowns as picks (30-5), with a porous defense and offensive line more to blame for USC’s disappointing 8-5 record (including 5-4 in the PAC-12) than its play at quarterback.

Strengths: No quarterback from the 2024 draft class is better equipped to star in this era of dual-threat signal-callers than Williams, who pairs a ridiculously accurate throwing arm with terrific agility and burst as a runner. There are several quarterbacks in this class who are gifted athletes, but only Williams is just as accurate on the move as when standing flat-footed in the pocket, making him almost impossible to defend. 

Critics will question his height, but with so many of the passes in today’s NFL thrown out of the shotgun, Williams is plenty tall enough to see the entire field. Vision is one of Williams’ greatest strengths. He possesses impressive arm strength and consistently throws receivers open, showing the velocity, touch and pinpoint accuracy to attack all levels of the field.

Concerns: The term “gunslinger” is often used as a compliment for quarterbacks, suggesting a signal-caller with the talent and competitiveness to match any opponent throw for throw. Williams possesses this but he can be too quick to go off-script, resorting to the “Hero Ball” tendencies of trying to do too much on his own rather than staying within the confines of the play. 

Though his problems are correctable, Williams is currently flawed from a technique standpoint, occasionally throwing off his back foot and across his body. Worse, Williams often holds the ball for too long, inviting hits and fumbling. Williams fumbled a staggering 20 times over his three seasons of college football, including a career-high 10 times in 2023. Along with ball security, there are also concerns about Williams’ leadership ability — or, rather, the perception by some that he lacks it — and he’s shorter than NFL teams prefer.

Summary: With all of those flaws, one might question why Williams isn’t a candidate to be one of the last quarterbacks on this list rather than the first. Knock his concerns all you’d like, Williams is a natural playmaker who possesses the talent and tenacity to make the impossible play a consistent reality. While there are some bust factors to acknowledge, there is no quarterback in this class with higher upside.

Grade: Top five

Should Bears stick with Justin Fields or draft USC QB Caleb Williams?

2. Drake Maye, North Carolina — 6-4, 230, Redshirt Sophomore

Overview: A middling supporting cast played a role in Maye’s production slipping in 2023, with the UNC legacy slipping to “just” a 24-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio after a brilliant first season as the Tar Heels starter, taking over for current Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. Maye looked like a future Heisman Trophy winner in 2022, completing 66.2% of his passes for 38 touchdowns in a brilliant debut. Just 21 years old, Maye is among the youngest players in the 2024 draft class.

Strengths: While the aforementioned Williams is the most accurate quarterback in this class on the move, Maye flashes similar precision with defenders barreling down on him. The prototypical built Maye shows accuracy to all levels of the field, hitting receivers in stride on passes that require velocity or touch, thrown inside the numbers or outside. He can switch off his primary read, reset his feet and deliver strikes like an NFL vet and is very comfortable with play-action, making many of his best throws in 2023 after turning his back to the defense. 

Maye isn’t a dynamic athlete like some of the others on this list, but he’s no slouch, rushing for 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns at UNC. Maye comes from an athletic and competitive family. Further, he didn’t enjoy the supporting cast of others on this list, suffering from plenty of blocking breakdowns — absorbing 30 sacks in 2023, alone — as well as 25 drops this year from UNC teammates.

Concerns: While Maye does flash impressive poise under pressure, there are times when he falls into the same trap as Williams and reverts to Hero Ball, attempting to make the jaw-dropping play rather than throw the ball out of bounds or even take the sack. Further, while an underrated athlete, Maye’s accuracy drops significantly when he is forced to move his feet. 

He is among the least experienced quarterbacks in this class, starting just 26 total games and opting to enter the 2024 NFL draft even after poor performances (by NFL standards) in losses to Clemson and rival North Carolina State to end the 2023 regular season, raising questions (for some) about his true competitiveness.

Summary: Maye’s relative inexperience is an obvious red flag but all the physical and mental traits are there to project him as a future standout NFL starter. Some scouts will justifiably rank him as the best quarterback in this class.

Grade: Top five

Drake Maye passes to Andre Greene Jr. for a six-yard touchdown to bring UNC to a 7-7 tie with Oregon

3. Jayden Daniels, LSU — 6-4, 210, Senior

Overview: A dynamic dual-threat signal-caller at Arizona State, Daniels added considerable weight and greater downfield accuracy to his game after transferring to LSU two seasons ago, culminating in the 2023 Heisman Trophy. He was good at ASU — tossing 32 touchdowns against 13 interceptions — but exploded this past season in Baton Rouge, generating 50 scores (40 through the air) with just four interceptions.

Strengths: It seems odd to characterize the quarterback who ranks third on my list as a human highlight reel, but Daniels won the Heisman Trophy in large part due to his ability to make extraordinary plays, both as a passer and a runner. Daniels has a good arm — showing impressive velocity and touch to attack the entire field — but perhaps the most exciting element of his passing is how much he improved on the deep ball in 2023. 

Before his breakout senior campaign at LSU, Daniels’ greatest strength may very well have been his slithery scrambling. I’m showing my age by referencing former Philadelphia Eagles standout QB Randall Cunningham, but that is who Daniels reminds me of, as has the vision, agility and burst of a running back or receiver. Tackling Daniels is like trying to bottle up smoke — his escapability can be maddening to defenders and mesmerizing to fans and teammates.

Concerns: There is no denying that Daniels is a playmaker, but his production certainly expanded with LSU’s dynamic receivers, who often turned good throws into great catch-and-run touchdowns in 2023. A disproportionate number of Daniels’ best throws were simple vertical routes to wide-open receivers and from a clean pocket, raising all sorts of concerns as to how well his game will translate to a more diverse NFL offense. 

Daniels has proven durable over his career but he has a relatively slight build for the position, with narrow shoulders, limiting his potential to add the muscle mass he might need to remain as reliably healthy in the NFL.

Summary: If the NFL draft were purely about highlight-reel plays — like the Heisman Trophy has become — Daniels might be the top pick. Fair or not, questions about his frame and how quickly he’ll adapt to a more traditional offense could push him down the board more than his flashy statistics would suggest.

Grade: Top 20

Jay Glazer on Jayden Daniels’ draft stock

4. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan — 6-3, 202, Junior

Overview: The youngest player on our list, the just-turned-21-year-old McCarthy opted to follow his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, to the NFL, riding the wave of a national championship. He was born in La Grange Park, Ill. but played his senior season of high school football at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. when his previous program canceled their season due to the pandemic. Michigan’s run-heavy offense didn’t lend itself to big numbers for its quarterback, with McCarthy heading to the NFL after 49 touchdowns thrown over his college career (against 11 interceptions), with another 10 as a rusher.

Strengths: As Brock Purdy is proving for the San Francisco 49ers, poise, toughness and anticipation remain some of the most important attributes at the quarterback position, perhaps even more than size, speed and arm strength. McCarthy wasn’t asked to throw the ball often in Michigan’s run-heavy scheme but when he did so, he showed courage, consistency and accuracy on the short and intermediate throws that are the staples of every NFL offense. 

Rival fans might have scoffed at his much-publicized meditation prior to big games, but not necessarily scouts, who see his focus, grit and leadership as skills that can translate to the NFL. McCarthy is also a terrific athlete for the position, showing the awareness and agility to escape pressure and either scramble or throw accurately on the move.

Concerns: McCarthy lacks the howitzer of some of the other quarterbacks on this list, relying on his anticipation and accuracy rather than pure RPMs when attacking downfield. Currently, McCarthy appears much more comfortable lofting the ball down the middle than to the perimeter. Further, because he was protected by Michigan’s run-heavy offense and stellar offensive line, McCarthy wasn’t asked to carry his team to success, requiring significant projection of his true playmaking prowess to the next level. 

Though injuries have not been a concern, McCarthy has a relatively spindly frame that could use more body armor and is among the least experienced signal-callers in the draft, starting just 26 games over his college career.

Summary: McCarthy promises to be one of the more polarizing prospects, regardless of position, in the 2024 draft class. Some see a first-round pick and long-time NFL starter with the intangibles that suggest more championships are in his future. Others view him as a middle-round flyer who may never be more than a backup. I lean towards the former and wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him selected in the first round.

Grade: Top 50

Where will J.J. McCarthy get drafted?

5. Michael Penix Jr. — Washington, 6-3, 212, Redshirt Senior

Overview: Penix grew up in the talent-rich state of Florida but was largely overlooked as a recruit, perhaps because he is left-handed and was committed to playing quarterback. He wound up at Indiana, where he flashed future NFL-caliber passing ability in four years but struggled with injuries. Seeking a new start, Penix transferred to Washington prior to the 2022 season and was reunited with Kalen DeBoer, his former play-caller with the Hoosiers. In six seasons at the two programs, Penix completed 63.3% of his passes for 96 touchdowns and 34 touchdowns. He led the country with 4,903 passing yards in 2023 and guided Washington to a national title game berth.

Strengths: After nearly a quarter-century in the NFL draft evaluation business, I’ve learned that pure accuracy from the pocket remains the single best predictor of quarterback success at the pro level and no one offers more of that in this class than Penix. He excelled on the intermediate and deep throws that make up the majority of NFL passing attacks, completing them with the same consistency that some of the other quarterbacks on this list convert simple dump-offs to backs.

Penix has large hands and long arms, which help him generate incredible velocity, putting a spin on the ball that receivers can easily track. Unlike many fastballers, Penix can take something off the ball and still hit the bulls-eye with excellent touch. He has shown remarkable resiliency and toughness in coming back from injury, giving him the perspective and leadership traits teams value at quarterback.

Concerns: Like most quarterbacks, Penix’s accuracy dropped when he was forced to move his feet — a fact that Michigan hammered home in the national championship game. Of course, durability remains the obvious red flag when it comes to Penix, as all four of his seasons at Indiana were cut short due to injury before he transferred to Washington in 2021. Penix has a relatively spindly frame (especially in his lower half) and he’s already undergone two ACL repairs (both to his right knee), and surgery to his throwing shoulder. Also of concern is the fact that virtually all of his success has come in the same offense — a relatively simple one by NFL standards — and he was surrounded by a dominant supporting cast in 2023 at UW, including an offensive line that earned the Joe Moore Award as the nation’s best unit and a pass-catching corps with a few potential high picks, foremost among them Rome Odunze.

Summary: Due to his medical evaluation, Penix is the biggest wildcard among quarterbacks of the 2024 NFL draft with a top 10 or mid-Day 2 selection possible. The team that gambles on his rare arm talent could win big.

Grade: Top 50

How high will Michael Penix Jr. be taken in the NFL Draft?

6. Bo Nix, Oregon — 6-2, 218, Redshirt Senior

Overview: What a long and winding road it has been for Nix, who began his college career at Auburn — where he beat rival Alabama as a freshman — but ultimately transferred amid plenty of criticism of his lack of polished passing. Nix’s pro stock was resurrected at Oregon, where he tossed more touchdowns in his final season (45) than in the first three years combined at Auburn (39). Nix’s career passing numbers are impressive on their own (113 touchdowns against just 26 interceptions) and they are even more eye-popping when you take into account the 38 touchdowns he ran for between the two programs.

Strengths: The statistics speak for themselves with Nix, who offers a remarkable combination of savvy, speed and short-area accuracy perfectly suited to today’s up-tempo NFL. With five years as a starter (under five different play-callers), Nix has seen it all and it is his ability to read defenses and distribute the ball efficiently that stand out in this class for a lot of scouts. Nix throws a very catchable ball and is a real threat with it in his hands, as well, showing vision, elusiveness and rare speed for the position.

Concerns: Put simply, Nix’s accuracy dips the deeper he throws. This isn’t to suggest that he can’t complete deep balls, only that too often receivers are forced to adjust on longer throws. Further, Nix throws the ball with a whipping motion, making himself effectively shorter with a ¾ release that could lead to passes being batted down more frequently in the NFL. Like a lot of passers with this kind of release, he’s better on passes requiring zip than touch. 

Finally, while some scoff at the idea of QB wins as an evaluative tool, some scouts take it quite seriously. Against rivals Alabama, Oregon State and Washington over his five seasons, Nix won just twice, while losing five times with too many questionable decisions in the losses, raising concerns about his “clutch” factor.

Summary: Given that they were rivals for the past two years, there is some poetry in the fact that Nix and the previously mentioned Penix are polar opposites in style. Nix may lack the elite ball placement on deeper throws of his flashier former PAC-12 competitor but his experience, mobility and ability to distribute the football will appeal to a lot of NFL clubs. Like McCarthy, Nix promises to be one of the most polarizing players in this draft class but in the right NFL system, he could be a star.

Grade: Second round

Oregon’s Bo Nix connects with Troy Franklin for a massive 41-yard touchdown

7. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina — 6-0, 219, Senior

Overview: Rattler began his college career as a celebrated five-star recruit for Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma and looked like a future Heisman Trophy candidate after tossing 28 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 2020. He was benched the next season in favor of Caleb Williams, however, and ultimately transferred to South Carolina, which was led by former OU assistant Shane Beamer. Rattler would go on to throw 37 touchdowns (against 20 interceptions) in two seasons at South Carolina, earning a captain role and team MVP each season.

Strengths: Rattler has arm talent, threading the needle on difficult passes that require pure RPMs and touch alike. Better yet, he shows this talent even after re-setting, showing the ability to avoid the rush, locate a second or third target and fire away. For a short quarterback, Rattler can whip the ball, showing a snappy release that generates surprising velocity. He is a bit of a gunslinger who believes he can make every throw and that kind of confidence can be contagious. His success in two very different schemes against quality competition is intriguing. A solid showing during Senior Bowl practices is helping his cause, as well.

Concerns: Porous pass-protection and a “wing-it” mentality have contributed to Rattler developing some bad habits. Too often he throws off his back foot, with his fadeaway tosses lacking ideal velocity and accuracy. Further, Rattler is overly confident in his ability to squeeze passes into any hole, passing up easy completions underneath in an effort to make the splashy play downfield. Rattler lacks ideal size and while a savvy scrambler, he isn’t a dynamic running threat that defenses must account for.

Summary: Rattler’s college career didn’t go as planned but he remains a very gifted passer who could prove a steal if he is available in the middle rounds.

Grade: Third round

8. Michael Pratt, Tulane — 6-2, 216, Redshirt Senior

Overview: The only senior on this list to spend his entire time at one program, Pratt was a four-year starter for Tulane who helped the program finish each of the past two seasons among the top 15, including No. 9 overall in 2022. Pratt, the 2023 Offensive Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference, completed 60.6% of his passes over his career with a 90/26 TD-to-INT rate and another 28 touchdowns on the ground.

Strengths: Pratt is a gamer who has made a career out of exceeding expectations, including beating Williams in the Cotton Bowl to end the 2022 season. He is a rhythm thrower with good accuracy to all levels of the field and is especially adept on throws that require touch, putting enough loft on the ball to allow his receivers to catch and run with it. He shows good anticipation and can move defenders with his eyes — a testament to his football IQ and starting experience. Pratt is a savvy, battle-tested quarterback with good athleticism and vision, quickly scrambling upfield to take advantage of defenses asleep at the wheel.

Concerns: Pratt lacks the power arm NFL teams crave and this lack of velocity shows up in the red zone, where he struggles to fit the ball through tight windows. He is a bit reliant on his initial reads and can get complacent with a methodical set-up and delivery of the football, essentially tipping off defenders as to where the ball is going.

Summary: Pratt will qualify as a sleeper to some, but he is certainly wellknown by NFL scouts. He was the first player the Senior Bowl announced to their roster this year, a recognition of his pro-ready game, though he projects as more of a spot-starter or quality backup than a future superstar.

Grade: Third-to-fourth round

9. Joe Milton III, Tennessee — 6-5, 235, Redshirt Senior

Overview: Milton began his career with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan but struggled to carve out consistent playing time in Ann Arbor — starting just five games there — and ultimately transferred to Tennessee. He initially won the starting job over Hendon Hooker two years ago but suffered an injury two games into the season and was forced to watch from the sideline while the former became a star in his own right. Finally the unquestioned starter this past season, Milton completed 64.7% of his passes for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions, with another seven on the ground.

Strengths: It is easy to get excited about Milton’s physical tools. He possesses a prototypical frame with one of the most powerful arms in this class. There are highlight-reel-worthy throws on his tape in which he notably steps up in the pocket to avoid the rush and shows off his elite velocity, slinging strikes 30-45 yards downfield with absolutely no windup. He is also a talented runner, showing good timing, vision, patience, lateral elusiveness and acceleration to turn small scrambles into long gains.

Concerns: While undeniably gifted, Milton is also clearly a project, starting just 17 games over six seasons at the college level, including 12 in 2023. Too many of his best plays came when the pressure was off — when the Vols (or previously the Wolverines) were either up or down by 10+ points. He is reliant on pre-snap reads, getting fooled into risky throws over the middle that will be feasted on against NFL competition. He could use sprinkling in a few more changeups among his fastball, relying upon long throws on the perimeter and struggling to accurately loft balls down the seam with touch between layers of the defense.

Summary: This year’s lottery ticket at the quarterback position, Milton has traits every NFL team is looking to develop but he remains very raw despite entering college in 2018 — the same year as Jacksonville Jaguars star Trevor Lawrence, who just wrapped up his third year in the NFL and is eligible for a contract extension.

Grade: Third-to-fourth round

10. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame — 6-1, 209, Redshirt Senior

Overview: Hartman spent the first five years of his college career starring at Wake Forest, leaving the Demon Deacons with an ACC-record 110 touchdown passes against just 41 interceptions and 12,967 passing yards — second only to Philip Rivers (North Carolina State) in conference history. He joined Notre Dame in 2023 as one of the most celebrated players in the transfer portal and posted solid results, including a 23-8 TD to INT ratio and career-highs in both completion percentage (63.8) and average yards per attempt (8.9).

Strengths: While he isn’t physically imposing, Hartman generates impressive torque, with the ball exploding out of his hand and sailing through the air with a trajectory and accuracy that is easy for his receivers to track. He is one of the better deep-ball passers in this class. Hartman’s greatest attribute, of course, is his experience. He started 57 games over six seasons (five at Wake Forest), offering the leadership teams are searching for at the position. While no one will confuse him with the elite dual-threat quarterbacks of this class, Hartman is also a quality athlete, showing the awareness and sneaky burst to steal yards (and 20 career rushing touchdowns) when the defense is focused elsewhere.

Concerns: Hartman is undersized for the position and has struggled with fumbles (20) over his career, showing both a lack of spatial awareness as the pocket collapses and average hand size (9 5/8″). For a quarterback with his starting experience, Hartman is too reliant on his initial reads, risking the ball late and down the middle of the field. He’s more pesky than truly problematic for defenses, suggesting that his upside in the NFL may be as a backup and never as a fulltime starter.

Summary: It isn’t often that a quarterback from Notre Dame can be described as underrated but Hartman’s on and off-field maturity and deep ball proficiency is likely to earn him higher grades with NFL teams than the media. Hartman could be this year’s Aidan O’Connell, who started 10 games for the Raiders as a fourth-round pick.

Grade: Fourth-to-fifth round

Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. He has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated, CBSSports.com, USA Today, Yahoo, NFL.com and NFLDraftScout.com, among others. He also works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.


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