It seems every year around this time of year, everywhere is wondering if that particular year’s draft class of quarterbacks can be an all-time class. Rarely does it turn out that way.
Classes like 1983 are revered for the fact they had three Hall of Fame passers (John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino) taken in the first round. No one ever talks about the three who didn’t make it to that lofty endearment (Todd Blackledge, Ken O’Brien, Tony Eason).
Rarely do you see a class have quality play from quarterbacks at all levels of the draft. 2012 was a good example of depth in a class. Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill went in the top ten. Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, and Nick Foles all went in the middle rounds.
So, the big question is, can the 2024 NFL Draft quarterback class be an all-time great? Let’s look at the prospective prospects.
2024 NFL DRAFT QUARTERBACK CLASS
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Southern Cal QB Caleb Williams is the presumptive top pick in this class. Despite his father’s claims to the contrary, expect Williams to be the top pick in April.
Drake Maye (North Carolina) has some warts but his size and arm should ultimately land him in the top ten.
Several other quarterbacks could end up in the first round or pretty close to it.
Oregon QB Bo Nix has gotten leaps and bounds better since his days at Auburn. He is making much better decisions with the football.
The talk of the college football world, especially among quarterbacks, is Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders. Sanders’ accuracy and athleticism are as big a part of the Buffaloes’ resurgence as anything. Could Sanders get into the first-round conversation?
Duke third-year passer Riley Leonard has also begun to take some of the headlines. Leonard will surely get the “sneaky athletic” label. However, make no mistake about it, Leonard is a tremendous athlete. He could have played basketball at the Division-1 level had football not been an option.
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There are a few quarterbacks that I haven’t seen enough of yet. Prospects that could get into the first round or stay in school. Texas passer Quinn Ewers, fresh off his big game against Alabama, would certainly fit into this category.
Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is off to a great start in 2023 and is well thought of in the mainstream draft community.
Because of NIL and other factors, the depth of the quarterback class can be felt at all levels. Since the NFL Draft was reduced to seven rounds, the highest number of quarterbacks selected was 17 in 2004. I think we could get close to that in 2024. The reason for that is the number of options that will be presented to NFL teams. Also, teams are always looking for cheaper options.
This is good for players like Michael Penix, Jr. (Washington), Jordan Travis (Florida State), Spencer Rattler (South Carolina), and Tyler Van Dyke (Miami-FL). These four could also end up in the first three rounds if they continue to have great final seasons and shine in All-Star games.
OTHER NAMES TO KNOW
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
Jayden Daniels, LSU
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
Devin Leary, Kentucky
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
Michael Pratt, Tulane