NFL Draft: Surprises in updated QB ratings

Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first half at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first half at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor's Note: Thes ratings are from the week after Indianapolis Combine. We are working on a full slate of updated ratings)

 

NFLDraftScout.com posted post-Indy ratings and they are unlike almost all others out there, especially at the celebrated quarterback position. 

 

Opinions on quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft have a life of their own and are almost impervious to thoughtful consideration, assuming any is in the offing. Southern California's magic man, Caleb Williams, is the popular, almost unanimous, choice as the top quarterback and best player available in this draft. 

 

There is plenty of evidence to support this, but we don't see it as a slam dunk. It is almost a foregone conclusion that Williams will be the first player picked, just as Alabama's Bryce Young rode the rising red tide of opinion to a No. 1 pick last year, despite the fact that thoughtful evaluation easily showed that Ohio State's C.J. Stroud was significantly more NFL ready. We do believe Williams is superior to Young, but that's not the point. 

 

In the runup to the draft, it is almost as if public and peer pressure determines that first pick more than common sense. Imagine the shock if Chicago does NOT pick Williams with the first pick. Social media would explode, as if that should have any meaning. We think that price was paid last year when Carolina's Frank Reich surprised us and took Young. Reich, an excellent football guy, is now jobless. 

 

Fact is, Williams may have the highest ceiling, in terms of potential, but there are two other quarterbacks in this draft we believe are a safer pick to excel on the short term and maybe overall — North Carolina's Drake Maye and LSU's ascending Jayden Daniels. We break down these players in our latest ratings, and will continue to update the ratings and analysis. Maybe things will change, but unless these players start working out, it is unlikely. Participation at the Indy Combine and at early Pro Days has been pathetic. There are sometimes valid reasons for why a player doesn't partake, but this year too many seem to be above it all. It is a bad trend for a sport that is based on teamwork.

 

As for the always-dominant quarterback ranting, we break down the 2024 class into three distinct divisions:

 

1. Potential NFL Stars — Maye, Williams, Daniels and possibly Michael Penix (Washington) if he can stay healthy.

 

2. Possible NFL starters — J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) and Bo Nix (Oregon), who had interesting college careers. 

 

3. Intriguing prospects — Spencer Rattler (South Carolina), Michael Pratt (Tulane), Jordan Travis (Florida State), who each have significant upside if things go right.

 

In all, NFLDraftScout.com rates 18 quarterbacks as "draftable" and each of the 10 of them not mentioned here has fanatical followers who believe their guy is underrated. Hey, it happens. Can you say Tom Brady? Brock Purdy? Hell, Joe Montana was a third-round pick and Johnny Unitas was drafted in the ninth round, and released in training camp.

 

Tape trumps analytics

 

Our quarterback evaluations are simplified, derived from looking at game tapes more than analytics.

 

We believe Maye has arm talent akin to that of Justin Herbert and, based on his (and his family's) talent on the basketball court, has athletic ability that is vastly underrated. He needs to improve his progression and show more discretion in his decision-making, but isn't that what we said of Josh Allen back in the day? We admit to being seduced by Maye's arm, which will dilute and perforate defenses across 53 1/3 yards wide by, say, 65 yards with a flick of his wrist. 

 

Williams is undeniably entertaining, especially on off-platform plays. But there are red flags aplenty. We want to see more plays on time and on target, and his ball security and sack ratio are just bad. Hero ball may be zero ball against NFL defenses. It's fixable, but some is hardwired, so it may take time.

 

Daniels is intriguing. In 2022 he was not in sync with the passing game and was too run-first. In 2023 his play improved vastly, reminiscent of that one great year Joe Burrow had at LSU. We are concerned by his slight physique, much as we were RGIII back in the day — though not nearly as much as a year ago by Bryce Young's. But the talent and production in 2023 were undeniable.

 

Top three regardless of position

 

Overall, we see three players who are the best in this draft regardless of position: wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), offensive tackle Joe Alt (Notre Dame) and TE/offensive weapon Brock Bowers (Georgia).

 

This draft has a concentration of good talent at wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback. 

 

Wide receivers: Although it is doubtful he will be drafted No. 1, Harrison is atop the whole list as the best of the best, leading a loaded wide receiver class that includes as many as eight who could justifiably be drafted in the first round — with three in the top 10. Approximately 20 wide receivers could go among the top 100 and 47 are rated as draftable.  

 

Offensive tackles: Topped by Alt and Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State), NFLDraftScout.com lists seven potential first-round offensive tackles, 13 in the top 100 and 27 we deem draftable. 

 

Cornerbacks: Led by Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) , NFLDraftScout.com shows six potential first-round cornerbacks, 15 in the top 100 and a whopping 44 as worthy of being selected. 

 

And at quarterback, teams will overreach, and we will overrate to account for that. Our list shows six potential first-round quarterbacks and 18 rated draftable.

 

Quarterbacks rated in 2024 draft by NFLDraftScout.com

Rnk Player School Pos. Pos. Rnk Ht Wt Class 40 Proj. Rnd
2
Drake Maye North Carolina QB 1 6043 223 rSo 4.62 1
3
Caleb Williams Southern California QB 2 6011 214 Jr 4.48 1
4
Jayden Daniels LSU QB 3 6032 210 rSr 4.52 1
23
Michael Penix Jr. Washington QB 4 6022 216 rSr 4.64 1
28
J.J. McCarthy Michigan QB 5 6024 219 Jr 4.52 1
33
Bo Nix Oregon QB 6 6021 214 rSr 4.62 1-2
106
Spencer Rattler South Carolina QB 7 6002 211 rSr 4.95 3-4
141
Michael Pratt Tulane QB 8 6024 217 Sr 4.7 4-5
165
Jordan Travis Florida State QB 9 6011 200 rSr 4.54 5
187
Joe Milton III Tennessee QB 10 6051 235 rSr 4.65 5-6
210
Taulia Tagovailoa Maryland QB 11 5102 200 rSr 4.73 6
252
Austin Reed Western Kentucky QB 12 6014 220 rSr 4.82 7
265
Sam Hartman Notre Dame QB 13 6011 211 rSr 4.8 7-HPFA
277
Carter Bradley South Alabama QB 14 6030 218 rSr 4.87 7-HPFA
284
Devin Leary Kentucky QB 15 6012 215 rSr 4.78 7-HPFA
300
Kedon Slovis Brigham Young QB 16 6024 223 rSr 4.55 7-HPFA
314
John Rhys Plumlee Central Florida QB 17 5116 200 rSr 4.44 7-HPFA
321
Jack Plummer Louisville QB 18 6040 216 rSr 4.92 7-HPFA

 DRAFT-RATED WIDE RECEIVERS

Rnk Player School Pos. Pos. Rnk Ht Wt Class 40 Proj. Rnd
1
Marvin Harrison Jr. Ohio State WR 1 6032 209 Jr 4.46 1
6
Malik Nabers LSU WR 2 5116 200 Jr 4.46 1
8
Rome Odunze Washington WR 3 6027 212 rJr 4.45 1
24
Brian Thomas Jr. LSU WR 4 6027 209 Jr 4.33 1
25
Adonai Mitchell Texas WR 5 6022 205 Jr 4.34 1
29
Xavier Worthy Texas WR 6 5112 165 Jr 4.21 1
34
Ladd McConkey Georgia WR 7 5115 186 rJr 4.39 1-2
39
Troy Franklin Oregon WR 8 6017 176 Jr 4.41 1-2
44
Keon Coleman Florida State WR 9 6032 213 Jr 4.61 2
45
Xavier Legette South Carolina WR 10 6010 221 rSr 4.39 2
50
Ricky Pearsall Florida WR 11 6010 189 rSr 4.41 2
59
Malachi Corley Western Kentucky WR 12 5105 215 rJr 4.5 2
62
Roman Wilson Michigan WR 13 5106 185 Sr 4.39 2
68
JaLynn Polk Washington WR 14 6013 203 rSo 4.52 2-3
71
Devontez Walker North Carolina WR 15 6014 193 rJr 4.36 2-3
83
Johnny Wilson Florida State WR 16 6063 231 rJr 4.52 2-3
84
Brenden Rice Southern California WR 17 6023 208 Sr 4.5 2-3
89
Jalen McMillan Washington WR 18 6010 197 rJr 4.47 3
101
Jermaine Burton Alabama WR 19 6002 196 Sr 4.45 3-4
103
Luke McCaffrey Rice WR 20 6015 198 rJr 4.46 3-4
109
Jamari Thrash Louisville WR 21 5116 188 rJr 4.46 3-4
115
Jacob Cowing Arizona WR 22 5083 168 rSr 4.38 3-4
120
Ainias Smith Texas AM WR 23 5093 190 rSr 4.36 4
122
Malik Washington Virginia WR 24 5084 191 rSr 4.47 4
129
Javon Baker Central Florida WR 25 6012 202 Sr 4.54 4
140
Ryan Flournoy Southeast Missouri WR 26 6006 202 rSr 4.44 4-5
155
Anthony Gould Oregon State WR 27 5083 174 rJr 4.39 4-5
160
Devaughn Vele Utah WR 28 6040 203 rJr 4.47 5
170
Jordan Whittington Texas WR 29 6005 205 rSr 4.48 5
175
JhaQuan Jackson Tulane WR 30 5091 188 rSr 4.42 5
182
Jalen Coker Holy Cross WR 31 6013 208 Sr 4.57 5-6
188
Tayvion Robinson Kentucky WR 32 5104 191 rSr 4.45 5-6
198
Tahj Washington Southern California WR 33 5096 174 rSr 4.42 5-6
217
Xavier Weaver Colorado WR 34 6002 169 rSr 4.5 6
226
Isaiah Williams Illinois WR 35 5092 182 rJr 4.63 6-7
231
Cornelius Johnson Michigan WR 36 6026 212 rSr 4.44 6-7
245
Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint Georgia WR 37 6011 195 Sr 4.84 7
263
Drake Stoops Oklahoma WR 38 5095 186 rSr 4.72 7-HPFA
266
Smoke Harris Louisiana Tech WR 39 5056 183 rSr 4.48 7-HPFA
276
Jaxon Janke South Dakota State WR 40 6020 206 rSr 4.52 7-HPFA
288
Lideatrick Griffin Mississippi State WR 41 5100 181 Sr 4.43 7-HPFA
298
Bub Means Pittsburgh WR 42 6010 212 rSr 4.43 7-HPFA
320
Ramel Keyton Tennessee WR 43 6021 197 rSr 4.53 7-HPFA
330
Hayden Hatten Idaho WR 44 6015 210 rJr 4.54 7-HPFA
342
Joshua Cephus Texas-San Antonio WR 45 6022 189 rSr 4.56 7-HPFA
348
Cole Burgess Cortland State WR 46 5116 192 rSr 4.46 7-HPFA

DRAFT-RATED OFFENSIVE TACKLES

Rnk Player School Pos. Pos. Rnk Ht Wt Class 40 Proj. Rnd
7
Joe Alt Notre Dame OT 1 6085 321 Jr 5.05 1
11
Taliese Fuaga Oregon State OT 2 6056 324 rJr 5.13 1
13
Olumuyiwa Fashanu Penn State OT 3 6060 312 rJr 5.11 1
16
Amarius Mims Georgia OT 4 6076 340 Jr 5.07 1
20
JC Latham Alabama OT 5 6056 342 Jr 5.21 1
31
Tyler Guyton Oklahoma OT 6 6076 322 rJr 5.19 1
37
Jordan Morgan Arizona OT 7 6050 311 rSr 5.04 1-2
46
Kingsley Suamataia Brigham Young OT 8 6045 326 rSo 5.04 2
54
Patrick Paul Houston OT 9 6074 331 rJr 5.13 2
82
Kiran Amegadjie Yale OT 10 6053 323 Jr 5.08 2-3
90
Blake Fisher Notre Dame OT 11