DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: The NFL Draft 2024 logo is pictured on the exterior of Ford Field before a college football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans on November 24, 2023 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: The NFL Draft 2024 logo is pictured on the exterior of Ford Field before a college football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans on November 24, 2023 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Shocking 2024 NFL Draft Board Released: Quarterbacks

Reading Time: 8 minutes

2024 NFL Draft QB Board

QB1 Spencer Rattler South Carolina

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 29

Time to Throw 2.82 Seconds (PFF) comparative to Commanders’ QB Sam Howell 2.82 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: First-Round

It was love at first sight when I watched Rattler at Oklahoma in 2020. I love what I see in his eyes. Everything I want in a QB is in his eyes. No other QB did more with less this season. Playing for the No. 72 ranked Gamecocks, Rattler was facing the hardest schedule in the FBS. With that No. 72 ranked team came a personnel deficit and as the season played out, an offense ravaged by injuries, especially on the offensive line. Rattler has cat-quick reflexes and he has the biggest chip on his shoulder in this draft class.

Rattler combines athleticism, above-average accuracy, and ball security to get it done. I can’t wait to see him with a decent offensive line and running game in the NFL. The most encouraging part of his film was his improved decision-making and ball security this past season. That maturation is thanks to South Carolina bringing in offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains who has helped to pro-ready Rattler with his 16 years of NFL coaching experience.

Biggest criticism: Streaky.

Fun fact: Rattler had a higher completion percentage in 2023 and in his college career than USC QB Caleb Williams. Rattler was 68.9% this past season and had an overall college completion percentage of 68.5%. Williams completed 68.6% in 2023 and had a 66.9% career completion percentage.

QB2 Michael Penix Jr. Washington

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 25

Time to throw: 2.68 seconds (per PFF) comparative to Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford 2.68 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS

Grade: First-Round

There will be the predictable knee-jerk reaction to Penix’s game against Michigan and all the lazy takes on how it takes too long for him to throw, which as we can see is hogwash. Scouting isn’t about the ‘one-off,’ it’s about being able to identify patterns of tendencies and behavior over a sustained period.

I was Penix’s biggest critic at Indiana and again in 2022 at Washington. I’m the guy who had an undraftable free-agent grade on him at Indiana and a sixth-round grade in 2022. Humbly, his 2023 game film changed my mind and the greatest compliment I could give him was to attach my name to him in the first round of this year’s draft. His improvements in accuracy and ball security were spray-painted all over his 2023 game film. His development is a sight to behold. Not only is he now going through his progressions, but he’s even looking off defenders, which is is great. Penix made all-around better throwing decisions and his deep ball improved. He looked like an NFL QB playing for the Huskies.

Penix goes for the throat ⎯he’s the most aggressive downfield thrower of this draft class. He attacks secondaries along the lines of how QB C.J. Stroud looked at Ohio State (but he does not have Stroud’s precise downfield placement). Penix keeps throwing the football relentlessly all over the field and he doesn’t stop. He delivers some sweet-looking intermediate back-shoulder throws. I also love how he has overcome all the adversity. Penix gives off a vibe of being fun-loving, smart, and mature.

Biggest criticism: Inconsistent ball placement at the intermediate to deep route levels due to a funky and unchangeable throwing motion that’s mostly all upper body.

Fun fact: Penix overcame four straight season-ending injuries at Indiana before transferring to Washington and remaining injury-free the past two seasons.

QB3 Joe Milton III Tennessee

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 16

Time to throw: 2.64 seconds (per PFF), which is faster than Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford 2.68 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: First-Round

Milton is this draft’s Powerball ticket. He’s like a fictional character who stands at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and he has a rocket launcher for a right arm. However, that’s not all he is. He’s not some raw prospect like some make him out to be. He has star power written all over him and he’s been subtly showing developing traits that transfer well to playing QB in the NFL. Milton looks fluid moving around and he owns the pocket. Incoming defenders are like flies in the kitchen for this guy. He shows he can keep his eyes downfield under pressure and he has a fast release for his size, which is further evidenced by him taking 16 sacks in 12 games.

Plus, Milton has a dominant, magnetic, and mature personality. He’s like this gentle giant unless he’s running the ball, then he will crush defenders like an Aston Martin SUV running over a Coke can.

Biggest criticism: Unsettled footwork in the pocket.

Fun fact: The similarities between him and Jaguars’ QB Trevor Lawrence are uncanny. During their last seasons in college, both threw a ton of short passes, and both were inconsistent at the intermediate route level (11-19 yards). The only big differences ⎯deep accuracy (Milton charted at 32% and Lawrence 51%) and mainstream media labeling Lawrence as ‘generational.’

QB4 Bo Nix Oregon

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 24

Time to throw: 2.44 seconds (per PFF), which would be the second-fastest time in the NFL next to Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa 2.36 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: First-Round

Outside of Penix, Nix is this year’s biggest QB ‘riser.’ LIGHTNING FAST TIME TO THROW. The biggest improvements on game film ⎯accuracy and ball security. Both are ultra important in the NFL. Armed with a super high football IQ, Nix is like having another coach on the field.

This Oregon QB shows polish in terms of his throwing mechanics. He will shine like the sun at his Pro Day. On film, he consistently demonstrates the elite ability to bail out of pressure and make accurate short-to-intermediate throws on the move, which is the NFL game. Nix also has this uncanny ability to be in sync with his receivers.

Biggest criticism: Deep game is BAD.

Fun fact: Most starts in FBS history (60).

QB5 Drake Maye North Carolina

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 26

Time to throw: 2.79 seconds (per PFF) comparative to Chargers QB Justin Herbert 2.80 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: First-Round

Mainstream mocks do not match what Maye put on tape in 2023. This is why it’s important to watch the game film. No question, from a quick 30,000-foot view, Maye looks the part of a modern-day franchise NFL QB. That’s the tricky part. He’s got the raw size, arm, and athleticism that GM’s lay awake at night dreaming about. However, the big concern here is as the pressure and expectations have increased, Maye has struggled to handle it in response. Stats confirm what I’m saying as his completion percentage this past season fell from 66.2% to 63.3%. His ESPN RTG went down as well from 157.9 to 149.0.

Being an NFL QB comes down to throwing the ball downfield ⎯and ball placement. Maye’s ball placement in 2022 and 2023 was nothing to write home about. This is ultra concerning. If anything, it looked worse this past season. The issue ⎯Maye is a perfectionist who pressed his throws more in 2023. Mark my words, this tendency will hold him back in the NFL. If all that isn’t enough, Maye being noticeably ‘off’ in half his games the past two seasons ⎯is too hot and cold for my tastes. Plus, he’s a big injury risk due to him running the ball so recklessly as he does.

Biggest criticism: Inward anger and frustration I saw in him in 2023 that was not on his 2022 film.

Fun fact: Good deep game (charted at 58% accuracy).

QB6 Jayden Daniels LSU

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 21

Time to throw: 2.91 seconds (per PFF) comparative to Jets QB Zach Wilson 2.91 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: Third-Round

Daniels will get killed in the NFL running the ball the way he does. He’s got the thinnest frame I’ve ever seen for a QB (in over 40 years) and an insatiable appetite for contact. Not a good combination. However, he has the best running ability of any QB in this draft class. A double-edged sword.

A better athlete than a QB, he’s far too average in the short-to-intermediate route levels to ever be anything more than a backup type in the NFL. Of course, I know, some team will overreact, and reach, but that doesn’t change who and what he is.

Daniels leads the offense with an inconsistent tempo and has a hard time taming his happy feet, which will forever hinder timing with receivers and his ball placement. He’s also inconsistent going through his progressions, and he can flat-out miss seeing open receivers and take off running instead. To boot, he throws the occasion ‘what are you thinking pass.’ and can throw short of the sticks at times on critical down situations. One of the biggest problems with Daniels is he looks uncomfortable in his domain in the pocket. He’s jumpy. Worse yet, Daniels has these ‘mental lapses’ where he loses focus of his downfield receivers, becomes preoccupied with the pass rush, and holds the ball too long. This is why he’s been sacked 65 times in the past two seasons. How else can all those sacks be explained given his athletic and running ability?

Biggest concern: Daniels plays like he is filled with anxiety.

Fun fact: Best deep ball passer in this draft class (charted at 65.9%).

QB7 Caleb Williams USC

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 26

Time to throw: 3.21 seconds (per PFF) which would be the second-slowest time currently in the NFL next to Bears QB Justin Fields 3.23 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: Fourth-Round

I had a second-round grade on Williams after evaluating his 2022 film, but he regressed in 2023. I was even less impressed with his attitude, which has caused him to slide. It’s like he slipped into this dark self-absorbed depression during the final six games of the season. I also am not sold by his 2-9 record against ranked competition during his time with the Trojans. He’s another one whose career trajectory is headed in the wrong direction as pressure and expectations continue to mount. There’s a lot more to this equation than highlights. Bottom line ⎯he’s an elite athlete and a very average QB. The scary part is that he’s a higher injury risk due to how recklessly he tends to run the ball.

Williams’ constant desire to hit the big play causes him to visibly miss open underneath receivers. Every hero ball attempt is not a happy ending. While he has elite natural arm strength and a phenomenal ability to create and extend plays (which will sell tickets), he’s underdeveloped. He’s a ‘glorified system’ QB who only consistently thrives throwing the ball short range ⎯and he needs to be kept on a short leash. Williams has an insatiable desire to get undisciplined and out of structure. Williams leads the offense with an inconsistent tempo and footwork, which leads to inconsistent downfield ball placement.

Biggest concern: Mental breakdown over the final six games of the season.

Fun fact: No. 3 college football NIL earnings ($2.7 million)

QB8 J.J. McCarthy Michigan

Scouting Report

Total number of games evaluated: 23

Time to throw: 2.84 seconds (per PFF) comparative to Seahawks QB Geno Smith 2.84 seconds (NEXT GEN STATS)

Grade: Fifth-Round

Watching McCarthy’s 2023 game film ’bout put me to sleep. Congrats on the Natty, but when it comes to the NFL, he’s an inconsistent game manager who projects to be a middling NFL backup. Stats confirm the film: McCarthy ranked No. 35 in terms of yardage production in 2023. The mainstream narrative surrounding McCarthy is not at all supported by his game film.

McCarthy is a hyperactive perfectionist with a funky throwing motion that doesn’t translate well to the NFL. With this exaggerated wide base (feet far apart), he looks more like a baseball pitcher coming off the mound. He has to step into his throws to compensate for that noodle arm and drive the ball while locking in with receivers. Talk about an NFL cornerback’s dream come true. No doubt McCarthy is one tough cookie who’s rough around the edges and competitive as hell, but he lacks when it comes to the finer points of playing the position. Happy feet lead to inconsistent ball placement no matter where he’s throwing ⎯short, intermediate, or deep. I’m not done yet. McCarthy looks like a swimmer getting swallowed by Jaws when the pass rush closes in on him, he throws an elementary route tree and he struggles to read defenses. No thank you.

Biggest concern: Lack of big play capability.

Fun fact: His first love was hockey.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. Follow on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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