May 30, 2024


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2024 NFL quarterback selection ranges: High and low expectations

2024 NFL quarterback selection ranges: High and low expectations

No position dominates NFL Draft coverage like quarterback, and the 2024 class features franchise-changing players at the top. There are three signal-callers — Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye — who would be in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick most years, though Williams certainly seems destined to be the top pick in just over two weeks.

After this trio, it's still unclear exactly how the QBs will come off the board. So I swung down the breadth of draft slots — ceilings and floors, basically — for the top nine QBs in this class. (I settled on nine because the decline in my palette after this point is significant.)

Go to QB:
Williams | Daniels | May | McCarthy
nothing | Pinix | death rattle | brat | Milton

My classification: QB1 and No. 1 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 1
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 1

The Justin Fields trade to the Steelers eliminated anything besides the Bears' No. 1 quarterback position, and Williams is the best QB in this class. While the NFL Draft is the ultimate exercise in “you never know until it's official,” Williams may also start looking at real estate in Chicago.

He is a very creative passer with great accuracy and the ability to routinely extend plays. The position he will enter is one of the best of late not only as the No. 1 overall pick but really of any highly drafted quarterback. The Bears' offense features a wide receiver duo of DJ Moore and Keenan Allen that should make life a lot easier.

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My classification: QB2 and No. 2 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: Number 2
Minimum expected draft opening: Number 3

The most dynamic player in the class saw his stock skyrocket during his Heisman Trophy-winning season, putting Daniels squarely in the running to be the second overall pick. Not only is he a second-tier quarterback in my class, he's also a second-tier player overall. He can hit you with his arm or his legs, as evidenced by his 40 touchdowns and 10 rushing in 2023.

What remains unknown at the moment — and may remain that way even closer to the draft — is exactly where the Leaders (who own the No. 2 pick) stand on available quarterbacks, as the team has done nothing to turn its hand. And while my personal assessment is that I'd make Daniels the new guy at center for DC, it's certainly plausible that North Carolina's Drake May or even Michigan's JJ McCarthy could be in play. But if it's Daniels no At No. 2 overall, I think the Patriots should rush the card at pick No. 3.

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My classification: QB3 and No. 5 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: Number 2
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 4

There's a part of me that thinks close followers of the draft are starting to underestimate what Maye brings to the table, as the newly minted 21-year-old has a cannon for his arm, and is a creator both inside and outside of the world. Pocket, can manipulate defenders with his eyes and shows dangerous toughness. All of this means Maye could play with the second pick in the draft while the Captains survey their options.

This of course does not put May in second place just yet, as others are undoubtedly playing there as well. But Maye's stay in the green room in the draft should be short, as the Patriots at No. 3 appear to be a lock to take the quarterback as well. And even if they don't — or select McCarthy — the possibility of a team like the Giants or Vikings trading up to No. 4 overall seems possible. If the quarterbacks move to 1-2-3-4, it will be the first draft in the combined draft era (since 1967) with four straight signal-callers to start the proceedings.

My classification: QB4 and No. 21 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: Number 2
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 11

McCarthy has some supporters around the NFL who view him on par with or even ahead of both Daniels and Maye, though I personally rank lower overall for Michigan's signal caller. I think McCarthy is a long shot to be the No. 2 pick, but there are enough people around the league who have expressed support for his game that I can't rule that out as a possibility. In the end, it will come down to one team's preferences.

There's a lot to like about McCarthy, including his advanced ball placement and movement. This leads me to believe his floor is the 11th overall pick, which the Vikings have. However, a more realistic landing point seems higher in the rankings. Minnesota could trade him, or they could even go No. 6 overall to the Giants, a team that has done its homework on all potential quarterbacks and whose owner has publicly allowed the front office to take a QB (even trading for one if necessary) in the round. The first.

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My classification: QB5 and No. 37 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 12
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 44

Things are getting more interesting now, as the race for QB5 continues. Nix brings elite accuracy and tackling to the table, two traits that I believe will get interested suitors from the Broncos with the 12th overall pick. Comparing projections with NFL legends is a risky proposition, but there are elements of Nix's game that evoke traces of Drew Brees (the aforementioned accuracy and processing), which would of course be attractive to Broncos coach Sean Payton, Brees' former coach in New Orleans. Furthermore, Denver does not have a second-round pick, meaning their chances of landing a quarterback in the draft are narrow.

The pitch for the Nix in this scenario is the Raiders, who own the No. 13 and No. 44 picks and remain in the quarterback market despite signing Gardner Minshew to compete with Aidan O'Connell.

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My classification: QB6 and No. 43 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 12
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 44

The other half of the race for QB5 in my estimation is Penix, a great pass rusher in the pocket. The ball explodes out of his hand and he can throw brilliantly to the three levels. Penix also used his pro day to showcase his mobility and explosiveness, running the 40-yard dash in under 4.6 seconds and showing off a 36.5-inch vertical jump; He was rarely asked to use these traits during his time in Washington. I consider him the sixth quarterback on my team and he's close to the Knicks in my overall rankings, so the same logic applies here as when he played with the Knicks.

The No. 12 Broncos shouldn't be ruled out, while the No. 13 or No. 44 Raiders are also logical suitors. There's also the possibility that a team could trade from early in the second round to late in the first round — or advance during the second round (like the Giants at No. 47).

My classification: QB7 and No. 84 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 47
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 107

Well, this is where things get difficult to predict. I'm a Rattler fan and I think there are teams in the NFL that see a path for him to become a starter at some point, while others view him as a solid backup at the next level. He has a strong arm and advanced mobility in the pocket, and has endured adversity (including losing the starting job at Oklahoma to Williams in 2021). These types of experiences should help him prepare for life in the NFL, when challenges come for any young quarterback.

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The Rattler's range is larger than the previous six signal-callers, and the window began with the Giants' second-round pick at No. 47 and ended it with their fourth-rounder at No. 107. Someone out there is going to take a chance on him. In my conversations with people in the NFL, I've heard the third round mentioned a lot for Rattler – and that's where I rate him.

My classification: QB8 and outside the top 100 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 95
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 145

Pratt is a consistent signal-caller who helped bring Tulane to prominence during his career as a starter there. He doesn't have the same level of physical attributes as the aforementioned quarterbacks, with average overall arm strength complemented by solid ball placement and some quality clutch production. I see him as a backup in the NFL, and that could be attractive to a team starting late in the third round. He started his group here at No. 95, a pick that belongs to the leaders.

That doesn't mean the Chiefs will be the team to take Bratt (they recently signed Carson Wentz and have relied on veterans to back up Patrick Mahomes over the years), but I could see a franchise moving to the back end of Day 2 to get him, rather than risk losing him to someone else. Early on the third day.

The Broncos' 145th pick was the floor for Pratt, and if they choose not to select a quarterback early — signaling their faith in Jarrett Stidham — they should add some depth in the draft later. Pratt could fit in well there.

My classification: QB9 and outside top 100 overall
Highest Projected Draft Slot: No. 95
Minimum expected draft opening: No. 145

Milton is a great prospect because of his tantalizing ability. It's no exaggeration to say that the moment Milton is drafted, he will be one of the toughest pitchers in the league, as his rocket arm can get anywhere on the field. When Milton closes in and hits his target, it's effortlessly beautiful. However, keeping it consistent will be key. Watching him up close in the Senior Bowl, I saw quite a few stretches of up and down the ball. He has a late 4th round/early 5th round grade for me.

But any team with a need and belief in quarterback development will be intrigued by the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Milton, who adds a running element to his game that brings more potential to the table. While the team may view Pratt as having a higher floor as a top prospect, Milton is the better Day 3 pick of the draft. Hence, I have identical ranges for these two players.