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QB Comps (2024 NFL Draft)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024

One of the most controversial aspects of the draft process is making NFL Draft Prospects Comparisons. Most people want them as they help conceptualize what a prospect is or could become. The main issue with comparisons is not setting up WHAT you are comparing. Is it a ceiling? Floor? NFL comparison? NCAA comparison? Prospect Comparison? This is an important question to answer when looking at a Comp including these QB Comps

For me, I am not an NFL expert in terms of where players have gone and what they have become. Instead, I compare this year’s prospects to my scouting reports of the past. Watching players often does remind me of past prospects I have scouted. So, with my experience analyzing the NFL Draft for 20 or so years, I’ll share those connections I’ve made. 

Now a key is that these comps are NOT NFL COMPARISONS. I am comparing the players as NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS only. So even if they are compared to a high pick NFL “bust” doesn’t mean they will be a bust, but is a compliment.

Here is a general order of what I look for when making comparisons:

  1. Draft Capital (Placing players approximately where they will go in the draft or at least around where I evaluate them)
  1. Size/Athleticism (This leads into #3, but getting a similar size and athletic comparison usually fits to show similar upsides and fits. I use RAS as a comparison.)
  1. Scouting Reports (Almost all my comps will come from 2004 or later when I started scouting the draft. I go back to my old Scouting Reports/Notes and often these comps fit like a glove to match up near exactly)
  1. Play Style (Sometimes a general feel for how a player plays just reminds me of someone else. If the pull is strong enough, I’ll use it as the comp)
  1. Comps from trusted sources (If I get REALLY stuck, I’ll look up some comps or ask people I trust to fill it out)

 

Below are the NFL Draft QB Comps I’ve created for the 2024 NFL Draft class. Once again, these are PROSPECT COMPARISONS comparing these players to prospects from the past, not NFL futures.

 

Caleb Williams Comp (John Elway, Stanford, 1983)

I wasn’t scouting in 1983. Heck, I wasn’t born in 1983. But, there isn’t a top NFL Draft pick that can be Caleb Williams comp.

So, I went back to watch John Elway clips from his time at Stanford. He certainly is bigger than Williams. But when you watch Elway’s traits, the scouting report is write is almost word for word what my notes say about Williams.

Both players are pass first, but have the running ability to be a nightmare on the ground. 

The way Elway plays outside of structure was special, especially for the early 80s.  That is exactly what makes Williams so dangerous now.

Both players process so well on the fly and have the arm strength to rip the ball down the field with great accuracy. Elway’s zip certainly got stronger when he got to the NFL, but it matches Caleb pretty well on the college film (I’d still give Elway the edge).

The leadership and presnap processing is elite for Williams and that was a big strength for Elway as well.

Is it wrong to comp Williams to the best QB prospect ever?  Maybe. But, his play has certainly earned it.

Elway also had his one or two game struggles in college. Against Arizona State, Elway threw multiple interceptions and could only muster 2 TDs. Reminiscent of Williams Notre Dame game.

Does this mean Williams will be a definite HOFer?  That is always in doubt, but the tools are there. This comp shows it.

 

Jayden Daniels Comp (Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 2012)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Jayden Daniels vs. Robert Griffin III

Jayden Daniels is a tough comp due to the NFL’s ever changing landscape. Lamar Jackson often is thrown around, but he was a borderline first round prospect due to the disrespect of how his athleticism would be utilized.

Daniels is on another level with his rushing ability and knowledge of rushing angles. He runs like a RB who can weave for big plays. 

Add in the great deep throwing that Daniels brings to the table and it is difficult to find a top pick that lines up with that skill set.

RGIII was drafted #2 overall due to his athletic ability as well as a big arm. With one real Heisman trophy type year, he vaulted up draft boards to be a top pick, similar to Daniels.

RGIII’s career was cut short due to injuries, but he looked like the real deal before all of that.

Daniels certainly has the look of a potential stud with the appropriate offense built around him, and could exceed what RGIII was able to accomplish.  

 

Drake Maye Comp (Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 2015)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Drake Maye vs. Marcus Mariota

Drake Maye had an outstanding sophomore season and was in the conversation with Caleb Williams at the top of the 2024 draft. Unfortunately, his third season was a slight step back and showed the development needed.

Maye has good size and can run the ball as needed too. His arm strength and zip are NFL level, but the accuracy and footwork can be messy at times. These are fixable, but he will need the right structure.

Mariota had size and rushing ability that were on display in Oregon when he played. He was dynamic, but lacked the fundamentals to be consistent.

Messy footwork often led to inaccurate passes and was an issue that needed to be cleaned up, especially under pressure.

Mariota was never able to take that next step, but Maye may be a different story.

 

JJ McCarthy Comp (Derek Carr, Fresno State, 2014)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
J.J. McCarthy vs. Derek Carr

JJ McCarthy has been labeled as a winner who was only utilized as needed for Michigan. As a run-first team that dominated opponents, McCarthy was asked to manage the game and make key third down throws as needed.

He accomplished this, and even showed the ability to run a bit and hit some deep passes for big plays. The lack of total throws is a question since there just isn’t enough film to evaluate, but McCarthy seems to have the traits to be a starting NFL QB. 

The major issue is McCarthy’s decision making due to the lack of experience.

Derek Carr didn’t have an issue with his throwing volume, with 435 passes in his final year at Fresno State. But, questions remained if Carr’s toolset was enough to be an NFL starter. He had a great offense around him, including top WR prospect Davante Adams. 

Carr’s big issue was his decision making, throwing interceptions and near interceptions often. This caused him to fall to the second round.

McCarthy is likely to be a first round pick and perhaps a high one. If he has a career like Carr has had, it likely would be a success.  

 

Bo Nix Comp (John Beck, BYU, 2007)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Bo Nix vs. John Beck

Bo Nix failed spectacularly early in his career at Auburn. After being a 5* recruit, he was never able to gain his footing under pressure and looked awful for the Tigers.

When he transferred to Oregon and joined an offense suited to his strengths, Nix took off. He was able to utilize his legs. He was able to use quick timing passes to eliminate pressure. He had weapons around him that could get open.

Though Nix certainly isn’t as polished as an older prospect should be, his success and numbers are tough to look away from. Nix never really had a game in his final season that was a struggle. If an NFL offense could mirror to his strengths, he could turn into a starter.

Beck was an early second round pick and also an older prospect coming from BYU. After some struggles early in his career, Beck took off in his final season. He was a dominant thrower of the football at different levels and more athletic than he looked.

Unfortunately for Beck, the numbers didn’t translate when he was drafted by the Dolphins. But, Nix should have a bit more leeway to fitting the modern NFL to become a starter. 

 

Michael Penix Comp (Jason Campbell, Auburn, 2005)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Michael Penix vs. Jason Campbell

Penix was a very different QB at Indiana than he was at Washington. Perhaps it was his right knee ACL tear in 2018 (or the second one in 2020) but he didn’t appear to be an NFL prospect.

After transferring to Kalen DeBoer’s high flying offense in Washington, Penix showed his true arm strength and progression ability. He was able to put up great passing numbers in a system built to isolate the talented WR group 1-on-1 with DBs.

If Penix was around 40 years ago, he might be the #1 overall pick. But, times have changed.

Penix has a good arm and can hit almost anywhere on the field, but he was rarely under pressure. When forced to throw under pressure, like against Michigan in the National Championships, Penix struggled.

On top of that, he doesn’t run and rarely uses his mobility to manage the pocket. Penix’s Pro Day workout was surprisingly exceptional despite this.

Campbell was a first round pick in 2005 after two successful seasons throwing the football in the SEC. He showcased a solid arm that could make most of the throws on the field.

Though Campbell did not run, he was athletic, but failed to utilize his mobility in the pocket. 

Ultimately, Campbell flashed in the NFL, but did not do well under pressure. He lost his footwork technique and it would lead to poor decisions.

Penix is a better passer than I rated Campbell back in 2005, but they are similar in weaknesses and failing to utilize their full physical tools.

 

Spencer Rattler Comp (Brodie Croyle, Alabama, 2006)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Spencer Rattler vs. Brodie Croyle

Rattler was a top 5* recruit who attended Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley. He had success in his second season, but struggled in Year 3. Navigating the Riley offense seemed over Rattler’s head, and true freshman Caleb Williams took over.

Rattler obviously has good arm talent that he showed at Oklahoma, but he was really unlocked at South Carolina in his final two seasons. 

Rattler throws like an old school gunslinger. This led to double digit interceptions in 2022, but he cleaned that up to excel even more in 2023.

The grit and toughness Rattler brings, along with improved consistency throwing the football makes him an intriguing prospect. He even ran for some TDs despite not being super athletic.

Croyle was Alabama’s starting QB for his final three seasons. He showed good arm strength and was a consistent presence for the Crimson Tide offense.

Croyle struggled (and even had a season ending injury) early in his career but really broke out in his final season.

He showed grit and toughness while commanding a run first offense.

Croyle was a Round 3 pick and would be the back-up for the Kansas City Chiefs for years. He never won a game when given the opportunity.

Rattler has a bit more upside than Croyle, and with how needy the NFL is for QBs, Rattler may get a starting shot. 

 

Michael Pratt Comp (Bryce Petty, Baylor, 2015)

QB Comps, NFL Draft 2024
Michael Pratt vs. Bryce Petty

Pratt has been a four year starter at Tulane and been a winner along the way. He has helped bring the program to new heights thanks to his unique traits.

Pratt has some great zip when throwing the football, and he is athletic enough to get out of the pocket and find open WRs down the field. This has led to success for Pratt in an offense built on short timing passes.

Though he wasn’t asked to challenge defenses down the field much, Pratt showed he can work within structure and ad lib as needed. 

Pratt’s best season was 2022, and even with some injuries and a step back in 2023, he has the make of a back-up who could start.

This should put him on the border of Day 2/3 as a pick with upside.

Petty was a draft community darling after working within structure for two years for Baylor.

Petty had good zip on his passes, but the Baylor offense was built on short throws within structure. He was able to take Baylor back to the prominence it used to have.

In his second to last year, Petty had a great season (32 TDs to 3 INTs) but took a step back in his final season.

He was drafted in Round 4 by the New York Jets. When given a few opportunities, he was never able to work within a pro style system.

Pratt will need to jump over that hurdle as well, but the NFL has certainly changed since 2015.

 

 

Let me know what you think of these comps! See more of my past Comps for the NFL Draft as well.

 

For more on NFL Draft Prospects check these out:

Mock Drafts

Shane P. Hallam Mock Draft

Brian Bosarge Mock Draft

NFL Draft Rankings

 

Follow Shane on twitter @ShanePHallam for more NFL Draft content and Mock Draft.

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