Southern Cal quarterback Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye are likely to be the prized jewels of the 2024 draft class.
The class has a handful of passers who could make their way into the top two rounds.
Here are five names to keep an eye on for next year’s crop:
1. Caleb Williams, USC — The 2022 Heisman winner and top-ranked quarterback eligible for the 2024 draft, Williams’ arm talent is the best college football has seen since Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
He is still honing his downfield ball placement but already hits passes that would make some NFL quarterbacks jealous. His ability to improvise as a runner keeps defenses honest, another similarity he shares with Allen. It might be too early to crown Williams as the next Patrick Mahomes, but that type of potential is no reach.
2. Drake Maye, North Carolina — Maye enters his second season as a starter for the Tar Heels and the redshirt sophomore is still relatively green.
What stands out after one season leading the offense is impressive touch for such a young quarterback (20). Highly confident when attacking leverage and giving his receivers a shot against man coverage, and anticipates well.
An other year of honing his accuracy and instincts should lead to projections in the top 64. There’s no doubt he’s a rising prospect despite physical tools that aren’t considered elite.
3. Quinn Ewers, Texas — A redshirt sophomore in 2023 has all the arm talent in the world, and seized the starting job in spring practice even with a Manning looking over his shoulder.
The top high school recruit in 2021, Ewers is one of the smoothest throwers in college football. Looks the part of the pocket prototype with an incredibly gifted arm and plenty of confidence attacking downfield. He dealt with injuries in 2022, prompting ups and downs from a production standpoint. A healthy 2023 could be enough to warrant an early declaration from Ewers and a spot in the top 50.
If he leads the Longhorns to expected great heights or delivers a national title, Ewers immediately enters the conversation around the No. 1 pick in 2024.
4. Devin Leary, Kentucky — The replacement for Will Levis with the Wildcats is a super senior in 2023.
The sturdy pocket passer has the guts to stand in, take hits and deliver with velocity to make tough throws.
Leary, a transfer from NC State, has the requisite ball placement and touch to win at all levels of the field. He’s back in 2023 to show a combination of a season-ending injury in 2022 and a transfer to Kentucky is more about proving his pro potential than taking cover.
If he can get back on track, the potential for Leary to rise is undeniable.
5. K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas — Enormous (6-3, 242) for the position, Jefferson has the physique of Anthony Richardson (Florida, No. 4 pick in 2023). He’s built more like a tight end than your factory specs model quarterback. His arm and accuracy are average, but his ability to be a plus in the run game will draw plenty of interest from scouts and RPO fanatics.
–Field Level Media