Last year, we saw the most QBs drafted since 2016, with 14 prospects drafted. For fantasy, we typically care only about the day-one quarterbacks, but this is going to be an NFL Draft-centered article. We do get some surprises every couple of years with a later-round guy hitting. I am going to post a top 14, followed by some honorable mentions. This article will include:

  • School reported Size
  • How many years they are removed from High School
  • Playstyle – *spoiler* there’s no NFL-level dual threat coming out
  • Projected Draft Cap

This will not be a full draft profile. this article would be 15000 words long and considered cruel to our editor overlord at C2C, Dwight Peebles. This article is meant just for the ‘Cliff Notes’

QB1 – Drake Maye, UNC

Drake Maye Player Profile | North Carolina Tar Heels QB | College Football Network
Photo Courtesy of Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports
  • 6’4″ / 230 lbs. / 21.2 yrs
  • Early Declare
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer / Scrambler
  • Projected DC: Top 5

Yes, this is considered a spicy take by some. Maye performs well in and out of the structure. He’s poised in the pocket, works through progressions well, and has some clean mechanics. When the pocket is collapsing, which is very often, he’s athletic enough to make a defense pay with his rushing upside when they do not have an assigned LB spy. He makes off-platform throws, but he won’t be extending the play the way we see Mahomes or Kyler do at the next level. Maye can make any throw on the field with touch. He has been surrounded by mediocre collegiate players, and we love QBs who know how to elevate an offense.

Maye is a proven winner.  He is a locked top-five pick in the NFL draft and the most NFL-ready starter. He might be the best QB when playing within structure, and a natural feel for the game.

QB2 – Caleb Williams, USC

Caleb Williams watches game action against the Colorado Buffaloes.
Photo Courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports
  • 6’1″ / 215 lbs. / 21.0 yrs
  • Early Declare
  • Playstyle: Scrambler
  • Projected DC: Top 5

Why is Williams not the QB1? He is the best improviser in college, but we’ve seen him get shut down when he can’t rely on his legs. He is a savant when the play breaks down, and that’s when he is the most deadly. Williams is a bit of a hothead (Jonny Manziel, Baker Mayfield), and at this rate, I do think the NFL has grown weary of these players. Williams has not shown to be a poor locker room guy, but painting your “F*ck Utah,” or saying he wants 5% ownership of whatever team drafts him, and other recent events doesn’t scream maturity or leadership.

From a talent perspective, Williams is the best improviser in the class; hence, the Mahomes comps, Along with all the arm talent, make him a locked in the top five overall pick, with tools that could make him among the upper echelon of NFL QBs.

QB3 – Jayden Daniels, LSU

Jayden Daniels throws for 3 TDs, runs for another score as No. 19 LSU routs Army 62-0 - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Photo Courtesy of Gerald Herbert / AP Photos
  • 6’4″ / 210 lbs. / 22.9yrs
    • (He’s maybe 200lbs soaking wet)
  • 5th year
  • Playstyle: Dual Threat
  • Projected DC: Late 1st-2nd

Daniels has mobility and a skinny frame that just doesn’t seem will ever fill out. He has been a different QB during this 2023 run than he has been in the last four years. Usually, Daniels struggles to get through his reads, playcalling is simplified to help him execute schemes. This year, very different story; his deep ball accuracy has greatly improved this year, and his running has been efficient. Daniels is not a power-back type runner the way Jalen Hurts is or the shifty runner that Lamar Jackson is. I have a hard time deciding if he is a true dual threat at the next level or in the category of a plus scrambler.

I can’t deny that he looks like a different QB, whose deep balls are great, and he has a great feel for the pocket. He’s always been a good thrower in the short and intermediate areas. Daniels works through his progression well. My only complaint is the lack of improvement in his last three years without explanation. This is a bad year of SEC play, which troubles me in understanding how much he’s actually improved or if the talent he’s against is that big of a step down from prior years. As of today, Daniels’ floor is QB5 in this year’s class. His success, mixed with his mobility, should intrigue offenses converting to the modern playstyle of having a mobile QB.

QB4 – Carson Beck, Georgia

Photo Courtesy of Kim Klement Neitzel / USA Today Sports
  • 6’4″ / 220 lbs. / 21.0yrs
  • Early Declare
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer
  • Projected DC: Late 1st – 2nd

Beck has been the most consistent QB when it comes to the short and intermediate throws. It’s his first year, and he looked uncomfortable at the start of the season. He has prototypical size, works through his progression well, and has clean mechanics. Beck’s deep ball needs improvement in velocity, and they currently have an 18% drop rate on throws over 20 yards.

Beck is currently on the path to being an NFL-level game manager who can thrive in the short quick-throw game and ‘good enough’ mobility to extend the play when the pocket collapses. He is only a first-year starter and is currently on a great run. Unless he destroys the CFB playoff, the expectation is that he goes back to school, and during the off-season, he will enter QB1 conversations for the 2025 class.

QB5 – JJ McCarthy, Michigan

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws against East Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Photo Courtesy of Paul Sancya / Associated Press
  • 6’3″ / 202 lbs. / 20.8 yrs
  • Early Declare
  • Playstyle: Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 2nd-3rd

McCarthy throws a really nice ball and has some very good measurable athletics, but as of writing this, he is unproven. In 2022, McCarthy showcased some flashes of NFL throws but left a lot to be desired. It’s 2023, and Michigan has had one of the easiest schedules among Power 5 programs. He’s largely untested, but hopefully, a playoff run will show us more of how he looks in the pocket against actual pressure or DBs that can actually cover. Watching Michigan football is like watching a Varsity Team play JV squads, and McCarthy may not be looking bad (with the exception of his game against Bowling Green), but he’s not putting up insane performances. The next few games will determine if he’s shown enough to even declare for the draft.

I don’t think he’s put enough on tape to prove he’s a starting-caliber NFL QB, but a player with intriguing tools that the NFL will want to develop. I think he should stay another year and take that next step in development, but he feels like a lock to be a second-day developmental player.

QB6 – Michael Penix, Washington

Michael Penix Jr. - Football - University of Washington Athletics
Photo Courtesy of University of Washington Athletics
  • 6’3″ / 216 lbs. / 23.5yrs
  • 6th year (Dust)
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer
  • Projected DC: 3rd -4th

Sixth-year senior Penix has had plenty of time to show what he’s got. Once a part of the University of Indiana, he has the tools we’d like, but there are some questions. He has a poor medical history with a torn ACL. He really wasn’t successful until his transfer to Washington, where he was a part of Kalen DeBoer’s offense playing against Pac-12 defenses.

At the very least, we know Penix can run a system when kept clean. In the face of pressure, his movement in the pocket is more of a navigator than having true scrambling ability. He looks very uncomfortable at times, and his poor footwork really comes out. Penix also gets bailed out by his receivers’ superb ball skills more than the average viewer realizes. He’s not afraid to throw the tight window throw and showcases some anticipation in his throws. He’s a great pocket passer who knows how to run a system.

QB7 – Michael Pratt, Tulane

Football's Michael Pratt Earns Place On Walter Camp 2023 Player of the Year Preseason Watch List - Tulane University Athletics
Photo Courtesy of Tulane University Athletics
  • 6’3″ / 220 lbs. / 22.2 yrs
  • 4th year
  • Play Style: Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 4th-5th

Pratt has a great build with great tools. He has a strong arm, and he may play in the G5, but he has high-profile wins on his resume. He’s consistent in rising to the occasion. The 2023 season has been disappointing from a production profile standpoint. Pratt, as a runner, relies on gritty power, similar to Josh Allen. As a thrower, he’s typically excellent in the short and intermediate with some struggles on deep throws, it has been the opposite this season.

Pratt has one of those profiles that when dug into it, it’s hard to find glaring faults, and as of today, it is hard to find what he does at a high level. This recent slump is confusing, and Pratt lands in the bucket of “has all the tools, needs to put it together.” His reputation of big, odd-defying wins keeps him afloat for a while longer. Pratt is a very interesting third-day QB who could be a stock-up with a good off-season.

QB8 – Will Howard, Kansas State

Will Howard - Football - Kansas State University Athletics
Photo Courtesy of Kansas State University Athletics
  • 6’5″ / 242 lbs. / 22.2 yrs
  • 4th year
  • Play Style: Pocket Passer / Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 4th-6th

Howard is a ‘my guy’ for me. He can play within structure and has no issue making off-platform throws or navigating outside the pocket. He was having a great year until he got banged up late during Week 4. Howard’s touch is inconsistent, but there are flashes of tight-window throws, throws with anticipation, and other examples of what sets apart NFL prospects from collegiate players. He has some of the best pocket presence with one of the best pressure-to-sack rates of 13.1%. Howard is a tough runner on his scrambles and, overall, just a gamer that wants to win. Accuracy and ball placement will need to improve, but I find his tools and flashes of success very interesting.

QB9 – Jalen Milroe, Alabama

Size, speed and spirit have Jalen Milroe up and running at Alabama - TideIllustrated
Photo Courtesy of Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
  • 6’2″ / 220 lbs. / 20.9 yrs
  • 3rd year
  • Play Style: Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 5th-6th

Milroe has really settled into his strengths down the stretch. He lacks touch, and ball placement is inconsistent. His pocket presence really needs to improve, but he has a cannon and could gash the defense on the ground. Milroe is tough and hard to bring down as a runner and certainly likes to run with power. If Alabama continues to run the offense in a way that showcases his strengths, NFL teams will be interested in a potential late-round target. I believe he goes back for another year.

QB10 – D.J. Uiagalelei, Oregon State

Photo Courtesy of Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
  • 6’4″ / 251 lbs. / 22.5 yrs
  • 4th year
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer / Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 5th-7th

I can’t believe I’m writing about DJU as a draft prospect. He had a failed career at Clemson in almost every capacity. Oregon State has really helped him out and built a system around him to help him succeed. Oregon State has proven that DJU can still develop while reminding us of his arm talent. He’s not soft as a runner, being commonly used in goalline situations. DJU is worth a late roster spot solely for his NFL traits, but he will need refinement to his game.

QB11 – Graham Mertz, Florida

Florida names Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz its starting QB for opener at Utah
Photo Courtesy of John Raox / AP Photo
  • 6’3″ / 215 lbs. / 22.9 yrs
  • 5th year
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer
  • Projected DC: 6th-7th

I’m going to end this QB Big Board article talking about some of the biggest dink-n-dunkers that are getting overly pumped up in this draft cycle. Graham Mertz is the most capable. Transferring from Wisconsin to Florida with HC Billy Napier has gotten more out of Mertz than anyone foresaw this season. He’s executing a short area scheme and putting the ball in a place where these WRs can showcase their YAC ability. Mertz is accurate and even throws with anticipation more often now that he is comfortable. He still has the LOWEST ADOT among P5 starters, but he’s also not taking risks and putting the ball in harm’s way. Mertz’s pocket presence could use work, and he won’t be doing many downfield throws at the NFL level. I think there is potential to be a journeyman backup QB.

QB12 – Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

2022 Summer scouting: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami - Big Blue View
Photo Courtesy of Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
  • 6’4″ / 224 lbs. / 22.4 yrs
  • 4th year
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer
  • Projected DC: 6th-UDFA

Van Dyke has gone through three different offensive coordinators during his four years at the University of Miami. As a true sophomore, he took over as a starter by Week 4 and threw for almost 3,000 yards. He struggled with injury and new OC Josh Gattis during his 2022 campaign and was written off. Van Dyke was back to elevating an offense with a healthy team in 2023 until Week 8. He’s dealing with a lingering injury, and there will always be things in the profile that are interesting, but the negative continues to stack a little bit higher each year. Van Dyke’s arm talent overall is average, truly not special on an NFL trait scale. He goes on runs showcasing that he’s a brilliant, high-IQ player who plays it safe and kills defenses with accuracy and ball placement.

QB13 – Bo Nix, Oregon

Why did Bo Nix transfer to Oregon from Auburn? Explaining QB's move from SEC to Pac-12 | Sporting News
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
  • 6’2″ / 215 lbs. / 23.9 yrs
  • 5th year
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer / Scrambler
  • Projected DC: 6th-UDFA

Nix somehow always looks frantic in the pocket, whether he’s getting pressured or not. He has inconsistent ball placement, struggles to get to his second read, is quick to bail on a play, and trusts his legs more than he should. Nix has a bottom-five ADOT across all of the P5 conferences, and 65% of his yards come from his WRs YAC abilities. He is a clear example of a QB whose draft stock in the community is being upheld by his offensive scheme, and stat padding. Oregon as a football team, is far superior compared to their Pac-12 defensive counterparts. Nix has benefitted greatly from transferring from one of the worst teams in the SEC to one of the best teams in the Pac-12. Oregon has also only played one defense in the top 50 during their 2023 run. I truly don’t know what Nix offers that an NFL team will covet. He’s a high-profile recruit that has plenty of starting experience.

Q14 – Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

2024 NFL Draft QB1: Spencer Rattler
Photo courtesy of James Gilbert/Getty Images
  • 6’1″ / 217 lbs. / 23.2 yrs
  • 5th year
  • Playstyle: Pocket Passer
  • Projected DC: 6th-UDFA

Rattler has turned his failed career at Oklahoma to moderate success at South Carolina. Rattler has the seventh-worst ADoT among P5 starters. He locks onto his first read and struggles to navigate the pocket, which, in his defense, collapses pretty fast. Rattler will always have that tools argument, NFL Arm, but he clearly struggles with the mental aspect of the game. I do think it is worth noting that historically, he has not been a “locker room” type of player. I will never know the answers to the NFL interview section of the NFL combine, but that could be the most pivotal moment in his ability to get drafted.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Quinn Ewers, Texas – He announced early that he’s going back, which is the right call. He needs to get more consistent on deep balls, but there are flashes of brilliance on tape.
  • Jaxon Dart, Ole Miss – He’s announced he’s returning to Ole Miss. He’s taken steps from being a careless gunslinger type of QB. Dart has become inconsistent down the stretch, but I haven’t dug in to really study the reasoning. If he comes out, he’s also worth Day 3 consideration.
  • Kyle McCord, Ohio State – Look, it’s the starting QB for OSU, and he’s been relatively disappointing. He does well avoiding sacks, but we really need to see improved QB play. There is a 0% chance he will declare for the NFL draft. Let’s see if he takes steps forward next year.
  • Preston Stone, SMU – Stone has really stepped up down the stretch. He is eligible it’s his first year starting, and will be talked about heavily in the offseason. I am 96% confident he will not declare.
  • Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma – He’s under-sized and struggles to stay healthy, but the kid is a bit of a gamer. He’s truly worth late Day 3 consideration.

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