2024 NFL Draft quarterback class features more mystery than ever

NFL Draft, NFL

We’re less than three weeks away from the 2024 NFL Draft, and no one knows what to expect during the highly anticipated three-day weekend that kicks off Thursday, April 25. Sure, the Chicago Bears will select Caleb Williams as the No. 1 overall pick. But after that, it’s a crapshoot.

Teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders may(e) have their eyes on acquiring a top quarterback, but none of their plans can be finalized until learning what the Washington Commanders are planning with the No. 2 overall pick.

Being that the Commanders have already traded last season’s starter and former QB of the future Sam Howell and have replaced him with Marcus Mariota, we know they’re drafting a new face of the franchise. But who?

Related: NFL QB Rankings 2024: From Patrick Mahomes to Jarrett Stidham

Washington Commanders hold the key in unpredictable NFL Draft QB class

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe polled seven NFL team executives, coaches, and scouts during the first week of April, seeking their latest evaluation of the 2024 NFL Draft quarterback class. Predictably, the results delivered chaos.

Three respondents believed Jayden Daniels would land in Washington as the No. 2 pick, two answered Drake Maye, and one even suggested J.J. McCarthy. Another said a trade down would be best, opting against a prediction.

This is a relatively new development over the past few weeks from where Maye was long-viewed as the second-best quarterback prospect in the 2024 draft class. But it echoes other reports suggesting Washington has grown fond of Daniels.

Naturally, this makes life difficult for the New England Patriots. Jerod Mayo’s team needs a quarterback, but they’re at the mercy of the Commanders, taking the best player available between Daniels, Maye, and McCarthy, and that’s only if the Patriots view any of the two remaining players as prospects worthy of a top-three pick as trade offers will surely be pouring in.

One executive stated another factor that has caused what appears to be a late shakeup was each individual QB’s pro days, of which McCarthy may have improved his stock the most after “killing his workout” as one NFL exec noted.

Pouring over the film has also revealed more inconsistencies in Maye’s game for some, with one NFL offensive coordinator even being “wary” of placing a first-round grade on the North Carolina QB.

However, just because one team may perceive faults, other evaluators may see room for growth and star potential. That’s just how unique draft boards are when there are 32 different organizations operating independently, gathering data and weighing results at various weights.

Unlike in previous weeks, there are no more upcoming pro days or NFL combine events for QB prospects. The film won’t change either. This means the only way a player can improve or detract from their draft stock at this point is through private workouts and official team visits.

Now that teams have spent the past year-plus gathering intel on this QB class, they can only try jostling for position, hoping to draft the top-rated quarterbacks on their draft boards, which may not always be what the public expects.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Best players in the 2024 NFL Draft

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