Grades and Analysis for the Quarterback Landing Spots in Round One

2024 NFL Draft - Round 1
2024 NFL Draft - Round 1 / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft has officially concluded late here on Thursday night. The draft broke a ton of different records this year but most notably featured 6 quarterbacks selected in the first twelve picks; the most we've seen in the first round since 1983. With their landing spots set, it's time to evaluate what these decisions could mean for the future of their respective franchises.

The Chicago Bears take Caleb Williams (USC) at 1

Though the pick was all but predetermined, it can’t be understated how amazing it is that Caleb Williams is now officially a Chicago Bear. The Bears franchise, as great as it once was, has been deprived of great quarterback play for nearly its entire history. Prospects are prospects for a reason, and there’s never a guarantee coming out of the draft, but Caleb Williams should be the best passer to ever play home games at Soldier Field.

Under new OC Shane Waldron, Williams is stepping into one of the best situations that a first overall quarterback has ever had. With DJ Moore, the newly added Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze, and a competent line ahead of him, the former USC Trojan should be able to hit the ground running in his rookie season.
Grade: A+

The Washington Commanders take Jayden Daniels (LSU) at 2

The smoke behind door number two was in fact caused by fire. Jayden Daniels was the second quarterback taken off the board in as many picks. Owner Josh Harris and GM Adam Peters have officially taken the reins of the franchise, and look to begin a new era of quarterback play in the capitol.

Daniels's deep ball proficiency and insane speed should bring a level of big play threat ability that has not been seen in the DC area since Robert Griffin III was selected 12 years ago in the same slot. Kingsbury’s air raid style offense fits Daniels’ skill set well, and should allow him to start early in his career, if not week one.
Grade: A-

The New England Patriots take Drake Maye (UNC) at 3

With Drake Maye somehow getting out of the top two, the Patriots strike and get their guy. Maye is a pro-style quarterback with size, speed, and a ridiculous arm. New England’s offensive talent level is abysmal, but hitting on the quarterback can change the math quickly, as we saw in Houston last season. With Jacoby Brissett already on the roster, the newly appointed Jerod Mayo can let Maye ride the bench for a good portion of the season before being released to the hounds. The post-Belichick era is now in motion with a new hope under center.
Grade: A+

The Atlanta Falcons take Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) at 8

This was by far the most "Holy Crap, I did not see that coming" pick of the first round this year. After signing Kirk Cousins in free agency to a four-year deal worth up to 180 million dollars, they double down at the position taking Michael Penix Jr., as the QB4. The 6th year passer will be 24 years old entering this season, and will likely spend at least the first two years of his rookie contract as the backup behind Cousins. This potentially puts Penix in line to first start in his age 26 season.

Despite benefitting heavily from his NFL-caliber supporting cast the past two seasons, Penix Jr has some of the best arm talent in this class and has shown the ability to work on time and avoid taking sacks. Frankly, I wouldn't have made this move myself, but given the recent success with the Jordan Love experiment in Green Bay, I can understand why you take this shot at the most important position in the game.
Grade: B

The Minnesota Vikings take J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) at 10

The Vikings land who we thought they would, but are only forced to move up one spot to do so. After sending 11, 129, and 157 to the Jets for 10 and 203, they take their national championship-winning quarterback, J.J. McCarthy. Minnesota’s GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been gearing up to make a change at quarterback for many years, and will now bring McCarthy into one of the best situations we’ve ever seen for a rookie passer.

The Vikings have three very good receiving options, including the best receiver in football in Justin Jefferson, with two good young starting tackles, all behind Kevin O’Connell at the helm. With Sam Darnold already rostered, the Vikings will be able to take their time developing McCarthy before having him see the field. Given that they were able to get their guy without jeopardizing pick 23 or any significant future capital, this is a huge win for Skol Nation.
Grade: A+

The Denver Broncos take Bo Nix (Oregon) at 12

Sean Payton seems to have finally gotten his hands on a quarterback prospect to mold in Oregon's Box Nix. The Payton/Nix connection has made a ton of sense stylistically given Nix's ability to operate on time and with accuracy in the middle of the field.

However, to see it realized at 12 was certainly a shock. Denver's roster is still very far away from competing, but if Payton is able to establish an early rapport with Nix, it could seriously accelerate the process. He has the arm talent and athleticism to play quarterback at a high level in the NFL, and it should be very interesting to see what the future has in store for Payton's first true attempt with a rookie quarterback.
Grade: A-