2024 NFL Draft Prospects – Top 6 Quarterbacks | Scholar Study Sheets – John Laub

by John Laub · Featured

This is the first installment in a series of articles covering the top 2024 NFL Draft QB Prospects from a fantasy perspective. This is the first installment of the Scholar Study Sheets!

Scouting the Signal Callers: 2024 Quarterback Prospects

After a decade publishing scouting reports for the Football Diehards, it is an honor to become a member of the PlayerProfiler team and continue working for a first-class organization. I look forward to providing insight and analysis to assist fantasy and Dynasty players to identify the next crop of stars entering the NFL.

First, I would like to explain the process and model for readers. As a lifelong educator, my advance scouting begins every summer when school ends for the year. In July, I watch game tape of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming Draft and take extensive notes on skills and traits. I also plug their career statistics into my model to finalize my DEVY rankings before the season kicks off.

Throughout the fall, I pinpoint games that I want to see live in order to grade players as the action unfolds. Last year, I watched both Oregon-Washington games to scout Bo Nix and Michael Penix, Jr. and tuned into USC versus Colorado, Notre Dame and Utah to observe Caleb Williams. There is always a college game to watch with future fantasy stars.

I scribbled notes down during the game action. Did the quarterback improve? Does he still illustrate the same skills that I saw earlier? How does he manage the game and overcome adversity when the offense stalls, a play falters, and the team falls behind on the scoreboard? I often learn more about a quarterback in a loss or poor performance than a stats-stuffing victory.

Over winter vacation, I examined the summer entries and game observations from the fall to compose the scouting reports. In January, the final statistics were added to the QB model in order to compose rankings for readers.

Gridiron Scholar’s Quarterback Prospects

2024 PlayerProfiler QB Rankings

Looking at the QB Class of 2024, I have three prospects with a first-round grade and three more worthy of being selected among the top 64 players. With at least six franchises in need of an upgrade at the position, I would not be surprised if four (and possibly five) come off the board in the first round. Accounting for, and incorporating, all that I have learned over the past decade, the scouting reports for the top six prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft are available for PlayerProfiler’ readers.

Benchmark College Stats for QB Model

Games Played: Over 30

Passing Efficiency: 155.0

Completion Percentage: 65%

Yards per Attempt: 8.0

TD:INT Ratio: 3-1

Rushing Equity: 10%

Escapability Grade: B

  1. Caleb Williams – QB | USC

Prospect Resume

In 2022, Heisman Trophy winner– Caleb Williams became the seventh Trojan to capture the award. Willams was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Unanimous First Team All-American. He set USC single-season records for total offense (4,919), total touchdowns (52), passes completed (333), passing yards (4,537), and highest passer rating (168.5). In 2023, he did not replicate his record-setting Heisman campaign. Williams passed for 3,633 yards and logged a 30:5 TD:INT Ratio. Additionally, he posted a higher passer rating (170.1) and completion percentage (68.6%).

In 2021, Williams was a true freshman at Oklahoma. He started seven games after replacing Spencer Rattler. Williams completed 64.5-percent of passes for 1,912 yards and 21 aerial strikes. Also, he scrambled for a career-high 442 yards. Williams was named as a True Freshman All-American and Second Team All-Big 12 (AP) during that season. During his tenure at Oklahoma, he rushed for 966 yards and 27 scores. As a high school recruit, he was the nation’s No. 1 player and two-time All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honoree. 

Key Statistics

Games Played: 37

Passing Efficiency: 169.3

Completion Percentage: 66.9%

Yards per Attempt: 10.3

TD:INT Ratio: 93-14

Rushing Equity: 16% 

Escapability Grade: A

Film Breakdown and Skills 

Williams is an elite dual-threat signal caller who ranks among the best QB prospects over the past 20 seasons. He has superior arm talent with great physical tools. Williams possesses smoking hot velocity on the fastball. He is an extraordinary athlete who uses arms, legs and mind to keep chains moving. Williams is an excellent thrower off platform. Additionally, he excels outside of play structure. Williams makes off balance throws look easy. He is an accurate passer to all levels of the field. Williams slips and slides in the pocket, avoids pass rushers, and keeps his eyes downfield.

Williams faces pressure without flinching. When moving in the pocket, he holds onto the football with both hands. Williams excelled in an RPO-vertical passing scheme under coach Lincoln Riley. He is a leader of men on and off the field. At times, Williams’s mechanics break down and he embraces a gamblers’ mentality. Additionally, sometimes he holds onto the ball too long. Williams lacks idyllic height (6’1” and 210 pounds) for the position. Can he move through progressions at the next level? To me, he is a franchise-changing quarterback who changes the outlook of an organization.

Scholar’s Grade: Top Prospect in the Draft

Draftniks on Fire! 

Who Ya Got as the top quarterback prospect coming out of college under coach Lincoln Riley? 

Baker Mayfield (2018): 12%

Kyler Murray (2019): 23%

Jalen Hurts (2020): 14%

Caleb Williams (2023): 51%

Caleb Williams for me. When I watch Williams, I see a faster version of Pat Mahomes. This century, the former USC quarterback is my third-best quarterback prospect behind Andrew Luck and Mahomes. Williams will flourish quickly…even if the Bears draft him, and that is saying something.” @aceholesrule

“Went with Caleb Williams, but Baker Mayfield had an underrated prospect profile and really did put some nice things on tape during his collegiate career. I dinged Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts for just having the one big year under Lincoln Riley.” @FF_Guitarist 

“In Lincoln Riley’ system, I really believe Kyler Murray played the quarterback position as good, if not better, than Caleb Williams.” @ManiHousePTY

  1. Drake Maye – QB | North Carolina

Prospect Resume

In 2023, Maye was named Second Team All-ACC. He did not match the statistical success of freshman campaign. Maye passed for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 449 yards and nine scores. As a redshirt freshman in 2022, Maye captured the ACC Player of the Year after throwing for 4,321 yards and 38 aerial strikes. Also, he scampered for 698 yards and seven touchdowns. Maye was named First Team All-ACC, ACC Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American (FWAA).

Since 2010, Maye joined Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III in an elite club. In a single season, all of these quarterbacks posted 4,000 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 650 rushing yards, and seven rushing scores. Maye was a four-star recruit in high school. He ranked as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback and No. 3 player in North Carolina by 247Sports. Maye was named as second team All-American and selected to the Under Armour All-American Game. He was also a three-year basketball letterman who averaged 16.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Key Statistics

Games Played: 26

Passing Efficiency: 154.1

Completion Percentage: 64.9

Yards per Attempt: 8.4

TD:INT Ratio: 63-16

Rushing Equity: 32%

Escapability Grade: B+

Film Breakdown and Skills 

Maye is a dual-threat signal caller with idyllic height (6-4) and size (230-pounds.). He has the arm strength to make throws at all levels of the field and zip balls into tight windows. Maye makes big boy throws outside the hash marks and deep down the field. He has good touch on his throws when needed. Maye is much better running/scrambling than casual fans realize. He avoids defenders in the pocket and blasts up field. Maye is effective on designed runs. He is very good as an off-platform passer who keeps focused and calm to find targets. Maye has all the tools and physical traits teams seek at the position. He has nice mechanics as his arm, hips, and feet are all in rhythm. It’s important to remember that Maye played behind a below average offensive line.

The Tarheels’ offense is not complicated, but Maye excelled within framework. The question is – can he make the leap to a more complex aerial assault? Maye does not give up on plays and holds onto football too long at times. He appears to process information slowly as plays unfold. Occasionally, he is inconsistent with his mechanics and footwork. However, from the first day of training camp, Maye can be a franchise quarterback who can turn an organization around. 

Scholar’s Grade: First Round

  1. Jayden Daniels – QB | LSU

Prospect Resume

Daniels is the second Heisman Trophy winner in the past four seasons for the Tigers (Joe Burrow in 2019) and third all-time (Billy Cannon in 1959). He is a Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and Walter Camp Player of the Year winner. Daniels was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-American (AP). He finished the season No. 3 in touchdown passes (40), passing yards (3,812), and passing yards per game (317.7) in the nation. Daniels completed 72.2-percent of his throws and posted a 40-4 TD:INT ratio.

Daniels is the only player in FBS history to rush for 200 yards and pass for 350 yards in a game (Florida). Additionally, Daniels set the SEC mark for total offense with 606 total yards (234 rushing and 372 passing). He is one of only five players in SEC history to reach the 50-touchdown mark. Daniels scampered for 1,134 yards and 10 scores. In 2022, he won the starting job in training camp for the Tigers and led the team to a 10-4 record and the SEC Championship Game. Daniels logged a historic season for LSU, establishing school records for rushing yards (885) and rushing scores (11) by a QB. He completed 266-of-388 throws for 2,913 yards and posted a 17-3 TD:INT ratio.

Arizona State Tenure

Daniels played for Arizona State for three seasons (2019-2021). He called signals as a true freshman for the Sun Devils and started 29 games in the desert. In 2019, in his rookie season, Daniels threw for 2,943 yards, 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Additionally, Daniels scampered for 355 rushing yards and three scores. He captured the Sun Belt MVP against Florida State. In high school, Daniels was an Elite 11 finalist and ranked as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. Daniels is a four-star prospect who played in the Under Armour All-American Game. 

Key Statistics

Games Played: 55

Passing Efficiency: 158.4

Completion Percentage: 66.3%

Yards per Attempt: 8.9

TD:INT Ratio: 89-20

Rushing Equity: 44%

Escapability Grade: A

Film Breakdown and Skills 

At 6-3 and 210 pounds, Daniels is an electric playmaker who beat opponents with both arms and legs. He possesses underrated pocket governance. Daniels has the ability to avoid defenders and remains calm and focused. He is also a patient passer. Daniels is an incredible deep ball passer. He creates plays off script and keeps the chains moving. Daniels has above average mechanics. His eyes, arms, and feet are in sync. Daniels has a quick release. He steps up in the pocket and throws a great intermediate ball. Daniels makes back shoulder throws and drops the ball into a bucket down field.

He gains chunk yards with his legs. Daniels displays nimble footwork and excels on designed run plays. He also has stupendous speed and elusiveness running the ball. He illustrated continued improvement over his five-year college tenure. Daniels does have a skinny frame. The question facing scouts will be – Will the body hold up to physical pounding in the NFL? Daniels needs to identify second and third options in progressions. He needs to improve as an anticipatory thrower. Also, Daniels does not possess elite arm talent. He must become more confident in making tight window throws in the middle of the field and comebacks and curls on the outside. With so many teams desperate for a starter, the LSU signal caller will likely come off the board within the top 10 picks of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Scholar’s Grade: First Round

  1. J.J. McCarthy – QB | Michigan

Prospect Resume 

In 2023, McCarthy guided undefeated Michigan to the National Championship. He was named First Team All-Big Ten and Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year. Additionally, he was a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalist after passing for 2,991 yards and posting a 22-4 TD:INT Ratio. In 2022, McCarthy was the Wolverines’ Offensive Player of the Year. He was also Honored as a member of the Third Team All-Big Ten. McCarthy accumulated 2,719 passing yards and 22 aerial strikes. During his Michigan tenure, McCarthy scampered for 632 yards and 10 scores. He played in 40 games and started 28. McCarthy is a two-time member of the Academic All-Big Ten Team (2022-23). He is a five-star recruit who led his high school team to a 36-2 record. In high school, McCarthy recorded 7,905 passing yards with 94 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Key Statistics

Games Played: 28

Passing Efficiency: 160.5 

Completion Percentage: 67.6

Yards per Attempt: 8.7

TD:INT Ratio: 49-11

Rushing Equity: 9%

Escapability Grade: B+ 

Film Breakdown and Skills  

At 6-3 and 202-pounds, McCarthy is an intriguing quarterback prospect based on physical tools and projected upside as a playmaker. He is a good decision maker with above-average arm strength. McCarthy mastered a pro-style offense centered around a strong ground game. He uses his feet in the pocket to keep plays alive. McCarthy is a scrambler but keeps his eyes focused downfield. Additionally, McCarthy is a stupendous play-action passer. He also has extraordinary mechanics. At times, he is a nice anticipatory thrower and beautifully hits receivers in stride.

McCarthy is also an underestimated long bomber. He has the ability to drops dimes into buckets. McCarthy has good competitiveness. He has a lean frame and lacks girth. McCarthy is an inconsistent thrower. He must refine his ability to go through progressions. McCarthy needs to improve his pocket presence and the aptness to step forward to avoid rush. He does also force passes sometimes. Once in a while, he is frantic at the top of his drop back. McCarthy did play quarterback in a conservative scheme with a great ground game. He will only be 21-years old on NFL Draft Day. He could be a franchise cornerstone if given time to grow and develop as an NFL quarterback.

Scholar’s Grade: Second Round

  1. Bo Nix – QB | Oregon

Prospect Resume

Nix is a fifth-year senior who established an NCAA record with 61 career starts. He took flight after transferring from Auburn to Oregon before the 2022 campaign. In 2023, he set a program single-season record with a 71.9 completion percentage. Nix passed for 4,508 yards and posted a 45-3 TD:INT Ratio. He was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Pac-12, and a Heisman Trophy Finalist.

In 2022, Nix ranked No. 12 in the nation in total yards per game (315.6). Nix logged 44 total touchdowns: 29 passing, 14 rushing, and one receiving. Nix was a member of the Third Team All-Pac-12 (PFF), was a Walter Camp Player of the Year, and a Maxwell Award semifinalist. In three seasons at Auburn, Nix passed for 7,251 and rushed for 869 yards with 57 total touchdowns. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn. In 2020, he was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was a member of the Third Team All-SEC as a QB. As a true freshman in 2019, Nix was the SEC Freshman of the Year and was on the SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll. Nix was a five-star prospect in high school. He set Alabama career records for total offense with more than 12,000 yards and 161 touchdowns: 127 passing and 34 rushing. 

Key Statistics

Games Played: 61

Passing Efficiency: 149.6 

Completion Percentage: 66.4

Yards per Attempt: 7.9

TD:INT Ratio: 113:26

Rushing Equity: 18%

Escapability Grade: B+

Film Breakdown and Skills 

Nix stands at 6-2 and weighs in at 217 pounds. He is a dual-threat signal caller who possesses many intriguing NFL traits. Nix has understated athleticism. He has very good arm strength. Nix possesses good accuracy at all three levels of the defense. He excels on quick throws. Nix completes passes into small crevices in the middle of the defense. Additionally, he can throw deep outside the hash marks. Nix possesses excellent pocket mobility. He uses his eyes to manipulate defenders. Nix has good mechanics and uses them in combination with quick release.

He throws a nice deep ball with touch and accuracy. Nix can make plays outside of the play structure when chaos erupts. He improved dramatically after transferring to Oregon. Nix orchestrated a Ducks’ passing scheme, which relies on many RPOs, screams, and one-read options. Nix occasionally throws off back foot when in trouble. He was not asked to go through many progressions. Nix is an inconsistent passer. He eyes his primary target too often. Nix is hesitant to pull the trigger at times. His cumulative passing statistics are marked up high with YAC yardage. Nix had a low aDOT as a passer during his career. He might sneak into the first round based on need at the position. 

Scholar’s Grade: Second Round 

Draftniks on Fire!

On Day 3 of the Draft, who is the most intriguing quarterback as a developmental prospect?

Michael Pratt, Tulane: 27%

Jordan Travis, Florida State: 24%

Joe Milton, Tennessee: 18%

Spencer Rattler, South Carolina: 31%

Michael Pratt has some workable tools that can be developed into a quality spot starter at the next level. If he lands in the right system, there’s a nice ceiling as a team’s starter with upper-tier weapons around him.” @RotoSuperstar 

Michael Pratt for me, though Spencer Rattler is close. Not a whole lot of interest in the other two, who are meh.” @ShanePHallam

“It’s close between Michael Pratt and Spencer Rattler, but Rattler seems to have character concerns. I genuinely don’t understand the hype that Joe Milton has in some circles. He’s not an NFL QB in my opinion.” @LinuxForYou2

“Very close but it is Michael Pratt for me. I think he makes good decisions and delivers a good ball. He can be even better in the NFL.” @aceholesrule

  1. Michael Penix Jr. – QB | Washington

Prospect Resume

Penix Jr. is a sixth-year signal caller who guided Washington to the CFP Championship Game. Over the past two seasons, he passed for 9,544 yards and 67 aerial strikes. In 2023, he was named Team Captain. Penix Jr. is a Maxwell Award winner, a First Team All-America (Walter Camp), a Heisman Trophy Finalist, and a Davey O’Brien Award Finalist. He broke the school record with 4,903 passing yards, which was N0. 2-most in Pac-12 history.

In 2022, Penix Jr. led the FBS in passing yards per game with 357 and finished first in total offense. He set the single-season school records for total offense, total offense per game, and total offense per play. Penix Jr. was the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year, Third Team All-America, Second Team All-Pac-12, and a Manning Award Finalist. He played at Indiana for three seasons (2018-2020). Penix Jr. redshirted in 2018. He suffered season-ending injuries in both 2019 (right sternoclavicular joint) and 2020 (ACL). In 2020, Penix Jr. was a member of the Second Team All-Big Ten and was a two-time Team Captain for the Hoosiers. In high school, Penix Jr. ranked as the No. 13 pro-style passer and No. 54 prospect in Florida. He played center field on the baseball team and ran track-and-field.

Key Statistics

Games Played: 46

Passing Efficiency: 146.6 

Completion Percentage: 63.3

Yards per Attempt: 8.2

TD:INT Ratio: 96-34

Rushing Equity: 5%

Escapability Grade: C 

Film Breakdown and Skills 

Penix Jr. stands at 6-3 and weighs 213 pounds. He is a left-handed, long-ball thrower with incredible accuracy deep down the field. Penix Jr. is a master of pocket maneuverability. He climbs, slips, and slides to find better passing lanes. Penix Jr. works through progressions well. He drops the ball into a small bucket outside the hash marks. Penix Jr. is a flick of the wrist pitcher who throws a very catchable pass. He is an excellent back shoulder thrower. Penix Jr. drives the football with velocity. He has a high football IQ. Penix Jr has the ability to recognize and dissects defensive coverages. He is able to process pre-snap information and identifies mismatches. Penix Jr. is a fearless passer with aggressive nature. He scans the defense while avoiding pass rushers.

Penix Jr. has good footwork in a clean pocket. He is an older prospect. Penix Jr. will be 24 when training camp opens. He is also a streaky pitcher who can be inaccurate for stretches in a game. Penix Jr. lacks anticipatory throws on film. He does have inconsistent footwork. Penix Jr. can be derailed by a ferocious pass rush. He has an elongated throwing motion and a slower release. Another worry with Penix Jr. is his past injury history. He has suffered two torn ACLs (2018 and 2020). Medicals will dictate final rankings by organizations: Some teams likely take him off draft boards.

Scholar’s Grade: Second Round