NFL Draft 2024: Tony Pauline's Top 10 quarterbacks ranked feat. J.J. McCarthy at #4, Bo Nix at #6

NFL Draft 2024: Tony Pauline
NFL Draft 2024: Tony Pauline's Top 10 quarterbacks ranked feat. J.J. McCarthy at #4, Bo Nix at #6

Despite the position being watered down by NIL deals that had draftable signal callers returning for another year on the college field, the top of the quarterback class looks terrific.

And this won’t be a repeat of 2021, as at least five of the top half-dozen quarterbacks should be productive starters on Sundays.

NFL Draft 2024: Ranking top 10 quarterbacks

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NFL: Play Football Prospect Clinic with Special Olympic Athletes

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1] Caleb Williams, USC

From the moment he stepped onto the field at Oklahoma, Williams displayed himself as a star at the quarterback position.

He's a tremendous leader and playmaker, yet he also must improve his techniques. The combination of poor footwork and taking chances he shouldn’t will result in questionable throws and interceptions at the next level.

Williams has all the ingredients to be a franchise quarterback and team leader at the next level if he focuses on the task at hand and improves as a passer. Projection: Top 5 pick

2] Jayden Daniels, LSU

Daniels chose to return to LSU for another year despite a solid 2022 season, and it paid off with big dividends.

He turned in a career year, showed great improvement and ultimately turned from athlete into quarterback over the course of his two years at LSU.

The lack of size will be an issue for some, yet Daniels has the physical skills and mental acumen to be a productive starting quarterback on Sundays. Don’t be surprised if Daniels turns out to be the best quarterback from the 2024 class. Projection: Top 5 pick

3] Drake Maye, North Carolina

While Maye was not as dynamic as some of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft, he's ready-made for the NFL with his size, arm strength and mental approach.

He's a mobile pocket passer who can be used in a variety of schemes and should quickly step in as the starter for whichever team drafts him.

Maye comes with a lot of upside, and if properly coached, he will be a winning quarterback on Sundays. Projection: Top 5 pick

4] J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

McCarthy was a tremendous leader at Michigan and a winning quarterback for the Wolverines.

While he did a great job on the college level, there are concerns about his NFL projection. Over the past three years, McCarthy has attempted 659 passes, more than 400 fewer than Caleb Williams and almost 300 fewer than Drake Maye.

Many of the questionable throws he made on Saturdays will turn into interceptions on Sundays. Yet the fact remains that McCarthy is a confident quarterback who knows how to win.

I believe he's more of a game manager than a true franchise quarterback, and he will need a terrific offensive line and a strong running game to succeed at the next level. Projection: Top 15 pick

5] Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Penix turned in a terrific campaign at Washington in his second season with the program then went on to have an outstanding combine performance.

He possesses the physical skills and arm strength to lead a team at the next level, yet his injury history and streakiness throwing the ball are a concern.

Penix is likely tapped out physically, yet he would flourish at the next level with a top quarterbacks coach. Projection: Late 1st/Early 2nd

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6] Bo Nix, Oregon

Nix transferred to Oregon from Auburn and was incredibly productive as their starting quarterback two years running, showing great progress on the field.

He's an intellectual game manager with an accurate arm, yet he’s not a signal caller who would thrive in a vertical offense. Projection: Mid-second round

7] Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

As a freshman at Oklahoma in 2020, Rattler looked like a potential franchise quarterback who made all the right decisions and offered next-level physical skills.

His game took a step back almost immediately the following season, and he proceeded to struggle the next two years, including his first campaign with South Carolina.

Rattler improved markedly as a senior and must build upon his performance in 2023 and meet the upside and expectations scouts believe he possesses. Projection: 4th round

8] Michael Pratt, Tulane

Pratt is a patient, poised and intelligent quarterback who's more of a touch-and-timing passer who would not fit the vertical game.

He possesses the mental skills and temperament to be a backup quarterback in a West Coast system. Projection: Projection: 5th round

9] Joe Milton, Tennessee

From a size, arm strength and physical ability point of view, Milton rates with any quarterback in this year's draft class. Yet he's been consistently inconsistent and only flashes ability.

Milton has limited experience, starting barely a dozen games on the college level, and he needs work on his game from the ground up, but he comes with tremendous upside.

He will reap big dividends for a team that is patient and properly coaches him. Projection: 6th round

10] Devin Leary, Kentucky

Coming into the 2022 season, Leary received high marks from scouts before struggling throughout most of 2023 and showed flashes rather than consistent production.

When hitting on all cylinders, Leary is a smart, accurate passer who plays with poise as well as football intellect. To his credit, even during the difficult moments last year, Leary didn’t force passes or make a lot of bad throws.

He has the underlying physical and mental skills to play on Sundays, but he must really get back to where he left off in 2022 and consistently play at a high level. Projection: 6th round

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