2024 NFL quarterback mock draft: Team fits in seven rounds

The 2024 NFL draft class is loaded with quarterback talent, and three or four passers seem destined to be picked in the top five. But there are good options from top to bottom this year, so we decided to mock draft landing spots for the signal-callers across all seven rounds.

Fourteen quarterbacks were picked last April, and the 2024 class could be in that ballpark — especially after teams were often forced to rely on second and third options during the 2023 season. In all, 66 passers started at least one game, which means we might see a few more late-round dart throws as teams shore up their depth charts. Quarterback remains the most important position in the sport, and NFL front offices are always trying to find their guy.

So how will the signal-callers come off the board? NFL draft analysts Matt Miller and Jordan Reid alternated turns and found landing spots for every QB who will get drafted, starting with the first pick and ending with Mr. Irrelevant. They wove in intel from around the league, ideal team fits, their own rankings and how each team might actually approach its selections. And while trades can often be unpredictable, Matt and Jordan did forecast one move up the board in the first round that just makes too much sense. Let’s start with Jordan’s projection for Caleb Williams’ new home.

See rankings (ESPN+): Miller | Reid

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Day 1 picks | Day 2 picks | Day 3 picks

Reid’s quarterback pick: Caleb Williams, USC

For the second consecutive year, the Bears are at the top of the draft — but this time, they aren’t going anywhere. The trade of Justin Fields to Pittsburgh officially clears the way for a new QB1 in Chicago, and Williams is the type of franchise-altering talent that the Bears need right now. They were in the bottom half of the league in QBR for a fifth straight season in 2023 and had only four more touchdown passes (19) than interceptions (15).

Williams’ wizardry inside and outside the pocket combined with his electrifying arm talent would give the Bears immense upside on offense. He still needs to learn to be patient within structure and take what defenses give him more often, but with DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and Cole Kmet running routes, Williams would be stepping into an advantageous situation for a young quarterback. Williams averaged 9.2 yards per attempt and accounted for 120 touchdowns — 93 passing and 27 rushing — over three college seasons (one at Oklahoma, two at USC).



Yates: Caleb Williams to the Bears is a formality

Field Yates breaks down why he expects Caleb Williams to go first overall to the Bears.

Miller’s quarterback pick: Jayden Daniels, LSU

The Commanders have kept their plans for the No. 2 pick pretty quiet, and we might not know which quarterback they will take until they turn the card in on draft night. But I have them doing the right thing here and taking the best QB still on the board in Daniels. There will be calls about trading out of this spot — the Vikings should absolutely kick the tires — but the new regime will likely use the pick to land its quarterback. Washington tied for 30th in the NFL in interceptions (21) and ranked 26th in yards per attempt (6.6) last season with Sam Howell, but that would change for the better with Daniels.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Daniels is an amazing runner and downfield thrower who started 55 games in college and is pro-ready coming out of Brian Kelly’s LSU system. His career has been marked by dual-threat ability. Since transferring from Arizona State to LSU in 2022, Daniels threw 57 touchdown passes with seven interceptions and rushed for another 22 scores while averaging 9.4 yards per pass attempt and 6.3 yards per rush over those two seasons.

Perhaps most impressive was his improved completion rate in each of the past four seasons, ending with a stellar 72.2% mark in 2023. Daniels’ deep passing, poise in the pocket and excellent running skills make him an ideal game-changer for the Commanders’ new era of football.

Reid’s quarterback pick: Drake Maye, North Carolina

Will the Patriots trade back or stay put to select a QB? That’s the biggest question for New England and why many view this as the most intriguing pick of the first round. And it’s a legit debate, as the Patriots have, in my opinion, the worst offensive personnel in the league. Trading back for multiple first-round picks would allow them to add more young talent on that side of the ball. But would the Pats really risk missing out on all of the top options in this year’s QB class, hoping to instead be in position to pick one in 2025? I don’t see it, even though New England signed Jacoby Brissett on a one-year deal as a possible bridge.

We definitely know the Patriots need a quarterback; they struggled in just about every passing statistic last season and traded Mac Jones to Jacksonville this offseason. But which passer makes sense? Director of scouting Eliot Wolf — who is the lead decision-maker in the post-Bill Belichick era — had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers during his time in Green Bay, and Maye is similar from a build and skill set standpoint. He is 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds and has a ton of arm strength. I actually have him ranked ahead of Daniels. Maye’s highlights are terrific, and he has the talent to make some ridiculous throws, but his accuracy, decision-making and footwork occasionally leave you scratching your head.

If New England goes this direction, it might be wise to be patient with Maye — while starting Brissett to begin the season — and working to improve the infrastructure around him on this roster.

Round 1, No. 4: Minnesota Vikings (via a projected trade up with ARI)

Miller’s quarterback pick: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Watching the run on quarterbacks to kick off Round 1, I would be keeping an eye on Minnesota here. I’m projecting the Vikings to move up to get their QB, sending pick Nos. 11 and 23 and an additional 2025 first-rounder to the Cardinals for the No. 4 selection. Kirk Cousins has gone to Atlanta, and Sam Darnold is currently the QB1. Minnesota has to act.

McCarthy (No. 22 on my board) would be entering the best situation for any of the rookie quarterbacks. The Vikings have a former NFL quarterback as their coach in Kevin O’Connell and an elite wide receiver duo of Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison — not to mention a great tackle combination of Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. McCarthy’s accuracy, toughness and pocket mobility have him set up to perform well in this structure right out of the gate. And he knows how to win games; he went 27-1 at Michigan and won a national title. With McCarthy captaining this offense, the Vikings would have legitimate playoff aspirations in the NFC North.

That said, Michigan’s offense was very run-heavy, and McCarthy had the fewest passing attempts last season (332) of any QB projected to be selected in the top three rounds of this year’s draft. The Vikings’ scheme would be a good fit for McCarthy, given his touch and timing traits from within the pocket, but as a 28-game starter in college, he might benefit from sitting behind Darnold for at least part of his rookie season.

Reid’s quarterback pick: Bo Nix, Oregon

Nix’s landing spot has been difficult to project this spring, and I’ve heard a little bit of everything about where he could be selected. I personally have a Day 2 grade on him, as he ranks No. 43 overall on my board. But look at the Broncos’ depth chart after they moved on from Russell Wilson. There’s just no way that they go into the season with only Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci under center. Denver is light on draft capital, which makes a trade up tough to pull off. And without a second-round pick, it could miss out on the options available early on Day 2. So, don’t be surprised if the Broncos reach a bit for Nix in the first round.

Nix does fit the Sean Payton mold well too. He is decisive, on time and accurate in the short to intermediate areas of the field. Nix led the country in completion rate last season (77.4%), and he had a fantastic 45-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. I could see Denver trading down to accumulate more picks then taking a swing on a QB, but it’s also pretty easy to envision Payton falling in love with Nix’s traits.

Miller’s quarterback pick: Michael Penix Jr., Washington

The Giants might see five quarterbacks come off the board in the top 12 selections and be motivated to trade up for a passer. After sending a second-round pick to Carolina for defensive end Brian Burns, however, they also would want to hold onto as many draft assets as possible. New York has only six picks in 2024. Yet it could still manage to get a quarterback in Round 2.

Penix should come off the board earlier than this based on ranking — he is No. 38 on my board — but the teams that need quarterbacks in Round 1 are all at the top of the order, which might mean Penix slides to Round 2. And the Giants can capitalize there, adding Penix to compete with Daniel Jones and new signee Drew Lock for the starting job as early as 2024. Jones struggled in six games last season after signing an extension then tearing the ACL in his right knee to end his campaign.

Penix is a surgical passer with big-time arm strength and a fearless mentality. The lefty is great from a clean pocket and has easy accuracy to all levels of the field while showing a quick release. Penix led the nation in passing (4,903 yards) and averaged 9.7 air yards per attempt last season. However, he has some injury history that might concern some teams (and potentially contribute to the aforementioned slide). He had four straight seasons end prematurely at Indiana (knee and shoulder injuries) before transferring to Washington prior to the 2022 campaign.



Why Michael Penix Jr. is ready to prove the doubters wrong

Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Penix Jr. is ready to give everything he’s got as he enters the 2024 NFL draft.

Reid’s quarterback pick: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

Signing Gardner Minshew this offseason and drafting Aidan O’Connell in the fourth round last year likely won’t keep the Raiders out of the QB running, especially after Jimmy Garoppolo lasted one season (partially on the bench) with the team. Whether a move happens at the top of the draft — the Raiders pick at No. 13 — or somewhere on Day 2, another passer needs to be added to the roster. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Raiders trade back into the later parts of the first round to add a QB, but with five signal-callers off the board early in this scenario, looking to Rattler makes sense.

I made the rounds to a bunch of pro days over the past month, and I came away really impressed with Rattler. He has had a solid pre-draft process overall. Rattler is a balanced and in-rhythm thrower, and despite playing behind a struggling offensive line, he finished 2023 with 3,186 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes. The talent is obvious, but quicker decision-making under pressure is still needed.

Miller’s quarterback pick: Michael Pratt, Tulane

The Saints are financially committed to Derek Carr for at least the 2024 season, but we could see a change in strategy if they don’t make a playoff run this season. Adding Pratt, who played his college ball locally, at Tulane, would give the Saints an accurate and experienced quarterback prospect capable of developing at the next level.

The four-year starter showed he has the pocket mobility, poise under pressure and consistent accuracy to be worth a flier at the top of the third day following a standout Senior Bowl. Pratt threw 22 touchdown passes last season and averaged 8.5 yards per attempt. He might ultimately max out as a backup, but finding a good QB2 in Round 5 is a great value. And that’s especially true with Jameis Winston — last season’s backup in New Orleans — signing in Cleveland.

Miller’s quarterback pick: Austin Reed, Western Kentucky

The Rams have 36-year-old Matthew Stafford entrenched as QB1, and they just added oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo, who will join the roster after serving a two-game suspension. Behind them are Stetson Bennett and Dresser Winn, so to say that QB3 is a need in Los Angeles might be underselling it. And Reed has the potential to be a future backup.

He is a good mover in and out of the pocket, and I see solid enough arm talent for him to play when needed in the pros. Reed really impresses with pocket escapability and poise too. His 3,340 passing yards ranked 22nd in the FBS last season, and he threw 31 touchdown passes.

Reid’s quarterback pick: Joe Milton III, Tennessee

When I’m looking at potential landing spots for late-round quarterbacks, I always focus on skill sets and try to find situations where offensive coordinators wouldn’t have to condense their playbooks much stylistically if those teams had to turn to the backup. And Milton has some similarities to Josh Allen because he is big — 6-foot-5, 235 pounds — with great arm strength.

Even though Milton’s accuracy is nowhere close to that of Allen, he would be a good fit in this scheme. Milton has one of the strongest arms you will ever see, with the ability to heave the ball 70 to 75 yards in the air; but his ball placement is all over the place, and that will take some work.

The Bills recently signed Mitch Trubisky, but having three capable quarterbacks is a necessity in today’s NFL. Many teams view Milton — who threw 20 TD passes last season, including nine over 20 yards downfield — as a project, but he could certainly serve as a No. 3.

Reid’s quarterback pick: Jordan Travis, Florida State

With 11 picks in this year’s draft, the Cardinals could make big steps forward in their rebuilding stages at the draft. General manager Monti Ossenfort has already set a foundation around quarterback Kyler Murray, who returned to form last season after a torn ACL in 2022. He is still the unquestioned starter, but that doesn’t mean the Cardinals shouldn’t continue to address every position on the roster — even QB.

Travis is coming off his own injury, as his 2023 season came to an end after suffering a broken leg in November. He expects to be ready for camp, though, and when healthy, Travis is a true playmaker. With 20 TD passes and two interceptions in 2023, Travis can make plays happen inside and outside the pocket, really excelling when forced to make plays off-platform. But he has an average arm and can rely on that ability outside of structure too often.

Miller’s quarterback pick: Sam Hartman, Notre Dame

The Jets would be hoping that Hartman follows San Francisco’s Brock Purdy as the next Mr. Irrelevant to eventually become an NFL starting quarterback. Over five seasons at Wake Forest and one at Notre Dame, Hartman showed the accuracy, touch and ball placement to be a quality backup in a West Coast system such as the one Nathaniel Hackett runs for the Jets. Considering that Aaron Rodgers is 40 years old and the team was last in QBR last season (23.4) without him, adding to the QB room on Day 3 is logical for New York. Hartman threw 134 touchdown passes over his six college seasons.

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