June 13, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterbacks Part 2 (5-1)

10 min read

Brace yourself. It is fantasy football offseason. The Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and visits, all leading up to fantasy football creators’ Super Bowl……the NFL Draft. The long-anticipated 2024 draft class is starting to take shape and we have a good crop of quarterbacks this year. Which ones will raise their stock, and which ones will fall? Who are some names you want to know more about? I got you covered. 

Starting with this year’s quarterback class, I will rank the top 10 of each position. Breaking it down from 10 to 1 and breaking it into two articles from 10 to 6, and 5 to 1. Film breakdowns and testing will factor in but as of this moment, this specific article is for BEFORE the scouting combine. New and updated articles will be released after the combine and the draft because those are the other two major events that will tell us a lot of information. This quarterback class is similar to others in the fact that there are a few studs, a few that need some time, and a few backups. It is important to distinguish between the three.

Player comparisons, draft projections, and measurables will all be taken into effect and added in once they are more available. In the last article, we went over 10 – 6 in the rankings of this class of 2024 Quarterbacks. To say both articles were frustrating to write is an understatement barring the undeclaration of Cam Ward, and Quinn Ewers staying. I would have liked to have this out earlier but alas, they had until January 15th to declare. We are here, and back at it.

2024 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterbacks Cont…

#5 JJ McCarthy (Michigan)

JJ McCarthy, like everyone else is going to say, is one of the tougher evaluations this year. He is one of the taller quarterbacks at 6’3 and a little lanky sitting at 197 pounds. In his college career, he had a completion percentage of 67.6%, with 6,226 yards, 49 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Although some quarterbacks have better stats, JJ McCarthy is younger and only played three years of college ball. We touched on it earlier, he has a slim frame, and he will need to protect himself on the next level and bulk up a little bit for his own safety. 

Speaking of protecting himself, like a few of the other quarterbacks on this list (spoiler), needs to learn how to slide and take what the defense is giving you. The quarterback is the most important position and in the NFL we saw way too many backups, the starters need to stay healthy and quarterbacks going forward need this skill. 

While having good set throws he still needs to work on his accuracy. Too many plays where the ball is behind the receivers or the ball is over their heads. With that being said, he still had a great completion percentage in college, mostly due to check-downs and screens, but you can’t fault him for it because that was the game plan. McCarthy has good running upside but is always trying to use his arm first. He has the clutch gene. When Michigan needed a throw to get out of an offensive slump or to close out a game, he always provided it.

McCarthy has a shot to become a starter but will likely sit a year or two to work out his kinks. He has time to do it too with being only 20 years old. Expect McCarthy to go in the first two rounds of the draft, though, wouldn’t be surprised if it was mid 1st or even in the 3rd round of the draft based on how various scouting departments see him. 

 

#4 Michael Penix Jr (Washington)

Michael Penix Jr is another 6’3 quarterback, but with a little more weight (218), than McCarthy. Penix ended his college career with a 63.3% completion percentage with 13,741 yards, 96 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions. With the national championship game recently played we got to see Penix and McCarthy battle it out. While Penix didn’t get the win and statistically was a little disappointing (based on the hype from the semifinal game), hurt his stock just a tad. The biggest reason I haven’t put McCarthy above Penix yet is we know what we have with Penix. 

The glaring “con” with Penix was his injury history when he played at Indiana. With all four years at Indiana being cut short, whether not being the starter or injured, Penix became a star when he transferred to Washington and got 2 more years under his belt. Penix has the best mechanics of the entire top 10 quarterbacks this year and it isn’t particularly close. His hips (base) move with his shoulders (top), and his feet (bottom) are almost always in the right place. 

He is also one of the best with pre-snap alignments, checking in a new play if needed based on what he sees with the defense and he scans through his progressions quickly leading to open receivers more often than not. While he had the confidence for a lot of beautiful tight window throws, that confidence (in himself, and his wide receivers) got him in trouble. A big aspect of the NFL that I will continue to preach the rest of this article, and always is: learn to play another down. Penix loves to try and extend plays which caused him to either rush his throws or sail them causing some interceptions. 

Unlike McCarthy, even if Penix sits for 1 or 2 years, he is 23. What we see is probably what we are going to get with Penix. This isn’t a bad thing and I am certain there are coaches out there that would love Penix on their team. His arm talent alone will get him drafted in the first three rounds, but like McCarthy, it could be mid-first to third round based on need. 

No surprises here. The top 3 guys that will be on everybody’s lists. How does the top 3 shake out in my eyes? Here is your answer…

#3 Drake Maye (North Carolina)

 

Drake Maye spent his college career at the University of North Carolina. With a career 64.9% completion percentage, 8018 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Maye has been getting love for a lot of years and is at the top of boards everywhere. At only 21 years old and having the prototypical build of 6’5 and 220 pounds. Maye can still be molded and become a starter for many years to come. 

Maye had one of the worst offensive lines this year so he kind of got swept under the rug based on some mediocre performances to start the year, and some losses on the way. Yet, on film, he showed why people are excited about him. When he got time he had a deep ball that could be placed anywhere and was. He has a good release point to get the ball out fast.

Maye made his best plays when he was under duress this year. With a good ball, he also possesses some good rushing ability, ending his career with 1209 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is athletic in the prototypical way, meaning he can run when he wants/needs to, but will always pass first. He won’t have 10 designed runs for him every game but he could if needed. 

I told you all, I was going to preach this. Learn to live another day. You need confidence in your game, I get it. I love it, but I also need you on the field. Too many unnecessary hits, and poor throws for my liking. These next few improvements should come pretty easy for him because it was hard to gauge if it was his fault or his offensive line. Regardless, he needs to improve his pocket presence.

He doesn’t have the natural feel you see from quarterbacks to just step up in the pocket and gain a few precious seconds to let your play develop. Along with that, he bailed too early on plays sometimes where if he would’ve just worked through his progressions a little better he would have seen some wide-open options on the other side of the field. 

Maye and McCarthy are the wildcards of this draft. They can improve and mold into franchise guys with the right system and coaching. Maye has shown a lot more ability so far in his college career than McCarthy though and he should easily be a top 5 draft pick in this upcoming draft. He is going to test well that will make his case, and remind people of what he can do. This offseason should only help Maye solidify a top spot. 

Coming in at 2 could honestly become the number 1 based on this year’s performance and testing coming up.

#2 Jayden Daniels (LSU)

At 6’3 and 185 pounds here is another quarterback that could benefit from putting on some weight. Especially because he needs to learn how to slide to ensure he can stay on the field because when he is, it is electric. His career stats are a completion percentage of 66.3%, 12,750 yards with 89 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He had a great 5-year college career, capping it off with the Heisman trophy.

He is a natural playmaker whether it is him moving up the pocket to deliver another great deep ball to Nabers or Thomas, or it is Daniels’s ability to use his legs. Finishing his career with 3307 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns. Jayden Daniels is one of the best prospects in the draft. 

Jayden Daniels does have a longer release than most quarterbacks coming out of the draft which could cause issues for him in the pros. This, however, does not waiver his confidence. From his three years at Arizona State to his two years at LSU he has found an unrelenting confidence that he is the best passer and runner on the field at all times and plays like it. The problem with this is, especially in blowout games, he sometimes seems to be lackadaisical in the pocket causing some inaccurate throws and turnovers that get teams back into the game. 

What sets him apart from Maye is his pre-snap recognition. Daniels commands the pocket and makes sure everyone knows that he is the guy. He knows what is coming and he knows what check he needs to put the team into for positive plays. Jayden Daniels in my eyes is an automatic top 5 pick, the last guy to come out of LSU with this much confidence has turned a franchise around. Will history repeat itself?

 

To no one’s surprise, the top guy before the Scouting Combine is…

#1 Caleb Williams (USC)

At 6’1 220 pounds Caleb Williams put up great career stats at Oklahoma and USC. With a 66.9% completion percentage, 10,082 passing yards 93 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions he put in 3 quality years of football. What makes Williams so good? Lincoln Riley as his coach helps as he has produced multiple starting quarterbacks in the NFL because he runs an offense similar to what the NFL does. The learning curve is drastically smaller than other quarterbacks in one-read throw offenses. 

 

Caleb learned early on that pre-snap recognition and looking through all progressions is what makes a quarterback successful. You can tell he knows what the defense is doing by manipulating the defense with his eyes to make a wide receiver get a wide-open lane. While many other quarterbacks in this class can throw in tight windows or throw to an open man. Williams is the only one who knows how to trick a defense into thinking they know where he is going. 

 

Even when the play breaks down Caleb Williams can make every throw and do it on one foot. He makes it look effortless with his instincts. With 979 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns in his career, Williams seems to always know where to be. Like everyone though, there are improvements still that can happen.

Even though he can throw on one foot doesn’t mean he should all the time. Along with improving footwork, Williams NEEDS to learn how to tuck the ball. There is too much tape showing WIlliams keeping the ball extended where the defenders can easily take it from him. With his natural ability to play football, sometimes against inferior opponents, he can look bored. I would work on staying locked in until the final whistle because there are no cakewalks in the NFL.

 

Unfortunately, we have to talk about some of the bad press that has come out about Caleb. Among sources that I have never seen or heard of, he has some silly demands for a percentage of ownership of the team and that he needs to have insurance about not being a Chicago Bear. To be honest, I think it is a smear campaign to try to drop his stock. There are people out there who just won’t like him based on some fingernail paint and emotions on the sideline. I think the kid just wants to play football. Whichever team does draft him is getting a quality quarterback. 

 

With that, there are the quarterbacks ranked 5-1. Like I said at the top, this list is ever-changing. Nothing in football is set in stone in January, so enjoy the read and if you disagree, I am more than happy to discuss it with you. If you liked the shorter pros and cons list I will have that posted on X at @CodyFolden.