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NFL Draft 2024: LSU’s Jayden Daniels Leads QB Class

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Many reporters will have the masses believing that USC’s Quarterback Caleb Williams is the undisputed number one overall quarterback in the draft without any questions. However, the NFL combine tainted Williams’ draft stock to an extent and now Daniels should be the first quarterback taken off the board without much debate.

Although it’s sometimes easy to dismiss things like skipping a press conference after losing to a rival or not disclosing medical information to all 32 teams, there are certain expectations of would-be starting quarterbacks.

When you’re about to go number one in the draft as a quarterback, there’s an expectation that the Head Coach will give you the big letter C for captain. You’re the leader of the team. You keep the team together in the toughest times. Now, that likely seems like an unrealistic expectation. How can one expect a young man in his early 20s to lead NFL veterans? That seems like an example of overthinking things. Well, life comes at you fast in the NFL. These quarterbacks have the task of showing leadership from the beginning before the very first practice. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Here are my rankings of this year’s quarterback class

  1. Jayden Daniels -LSU – Daniels appears to be on par with Williams in terms of overall talent. It’s tough to see any significant gap, if any, between these two passers. Daniels has equally as impressive scrambling ability as Williams. Daniels quick release when passing will make it tough for defenses to pressure him consistently. His lob passes have pinpoint accuracy and transitioning to the NFL may not be too long of a process. Daniels doesn’t have any red flags so he’s the safe pick at number one. Not everyone likes Heisman-winning quarterbacks however as the history of Heisman-winning quarterbacks wasn’t always favorable. He has Lamar Jackson-like improvising ability.

2. Caleb Williams – USC – Williams should be the number one pick. However, it’s tough to see this quarterback as a leader. Skipping the press conference after the game against UCLA was one thing. When you don’t do what the other quarterbacks are willing to do in terms of giving teams all the facts, that’s usually a bad look. It was also observed that he painted obscenities on his fingernails about opposing teams. This is very much like Johnny Manziel’s type of behavior and this could result in a draft stock plummeting quickly.

On the bright side, Williams’ pocket presence is good when he stays in the pocket. However, he can sometimes be too quick to leave the pocket. Extending plays is one thing but he needs to be able to settle down a bit in pocket.

He usually makes good reads against defenses and rarely takes risky chances. Critics may be quick to point out the lackluster record against top 25 opponents. However, that’s mostly due to poor defensive play.

He threw five interceptions last year, three of them against Notre Dame.

His level of talent won’t be overlooked but neither will the character concerns. There is a chance that he could even fall below Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy. Talented Quarterbacks do not necessarily have to have “Boy Scout” level morals but hopefully, he’ll mature fast during his first few years in the NFL. After all, it’s easy for some people to look back at their early twenties and wish they did things differently.

3. Drake Maye – North Carolina – There’s a lot to like about Maye. He has some of the best footwork for any incoming rookie quarterback. That’s one of the first things I look at for evaluating quarterbacks. He has also a quick throw release will easily negate defensive pressure. Although some General Managers might start to have Mitchell Trubisky flashbacks, there’s no need to worry. Maye is unlikely to fail.

However, there are some early concerns that he may be too comparable to Mac Jones and could struggle out of the gate. However, with Maye’s good pocket presence and ability to extend plays, there’s a good chance of success right away. Even so, Maye could drop to the second round. It’s difficult to tell.

Other Quarterbacks to pay attention to: Bo Nix -Oregon, Michael Penix Junior-Washington, Spencer Rattler- South Carolina, Jordan Travis – Florida State, Devin Leary- Kentucky, Sam Hartman – Notre Dame.

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