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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Ranking every first round-graded quarterback

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Photo by Cameron Johnson
LSU QB Jayden Daniels (5) runs with the ball during A&M’s game against LSU at Kyle Field on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Cameron Johnson/The Battalion)

As the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit is closing in, a microscope gets placed on the prospects who play the sport’s most valuable position. Featuring two Heisman Trophy winners, a National Champion and a variety of exciting traits, this is a ranking of the four quarterbacks that should go in the first round:

1. Caleb Williams, USC
Pro comparison: Kyler Murray

Williams has all the tools you could ask for in an elite modern quarterback. Pairing a live arm that can make any throw he wants with special contact balance and agility, Williams can attack every blade of grass on any given play. What separates the former Heisman Trophy winner from everyone else is his ability as a creator and an improviser.

Williams is underrated in his ability to play in structure, he just often chooses to try and produce some magic. While his college offense required his sorcery to produce, NFL defenses will punish his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style. Williams’ success in the NFL will come down to whether Superman is willing to take off the cape and do the Clark Kent stuff more often.

2. Drake Maye, North Carolina
Pro comparison: Justin Herbert with a Josh Allen brain transplant

If you squint your eyes, Maye is the new-age prototype for a franchise quarterback. Maye is a heady player with mechanical flaws and an on-field bravado that makes you hold your breath, but the physical ability is undeniable.

He clearly hears Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird playing in his head every time he drops back, but despite the aggressive decision-making and inconsistent ball-placement, his eyes are often in the right spot. The cannon Maye has for an arm, mobility to create and instincts make me bullish on his odds to develop into a great starter.

3. Jayden Daniels, LSU
Pro comparison: Jalen Hurts on Ozempic

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Daniels had ludicrous production in his fifth collegiate season with 50 total touchdowns for the Tigers. Daniels’ carrying trait is his blistering long speed that gives any play touchdown potential. While he does not have upper-echelon arm strength, Daniels throws a mouth-watering slot fade route with perfect touch to attack the deep parts of the field.

Daniels’ most tangible flaw is that he takes at least one Tom and Jerry-esque hit per game, which he will not be able to endure in the NFL with his exceptionally slight frame. I have concerns about his ability to read out the middle of the field, and he too frequently bails on the play when pressure arises to use his legs, which, in fairness to him, often resulted in big plays.

4. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
Pro comparison: Brock Purdy

While McCarthy steered the Wolverines to a National Championship, it would be a mischaracterization to say he led the way. Playing in a pro-style offense behind a dominant offensive line, McCarthy was often asked to limit mistakes and function as a handoff machine.

Forecasting his NFL future is difficult due to the lack of signature moments in his collegiate career, but executives seem to be enamored with his leadership and intriguing developmental traits. While inaccuracy and shaky mechanics plague his film now, there is hope that he can develop into the Shanahan coaching tree’s platonic ideal of quarterback play.

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