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2024 NFL Draft

Bell: Ranking Top Quarterbacks in 2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Now analyst Derrick Bell ranks the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class, from USC’s Caleb Williams on down.



Steelers QB Caleb Williams 2024 NFL Draft
USC QB Caleb Williams

As we all know, quarterback is the most important position in all of sports and the 2024 NFL Draft features a couple premier talents and several potential starters. While the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t shown a ton of public interest in signal callers, they don’t have one signed for 2025 which means you can’t completely rule one out the possibility if the right one falls into their hands. Nonetheless, here’s how I rank the passers in this talented group.

1. Caleb Williams, USC

Playmaking phenom with an innate feel for creating explosive plays out of thin air. Williams has the arm talent that NFL evaluators obsess over but his repeatable mechanics, anchored by a snappy throwing motion and clean footwork, offer optimism for down to down consistency. His reputation as a big play hunter is well-founded and he needs to become more comfortable playing within the structure of the offense. Having said that, Williams possesses special traits at his disposal and the competitive nature necessary to become one of the games elite in the future.

2. Drake Maye, UNC 

Ultra aggressive passer with prototypical size and an arm that allows him to access every inch of the field. Maye has every club in his bag: he can generate easy velocity when necessary, throw with touch over the middle and launch javelins deep down the sideline with impressive precision. The footwork isn’t consistent enough yet, which leads to some wild sprays on throws that he should be able to make in his sleep. Still just 21-years old, the Tarheel is dripping with potential and has to scratch the surface of his extremely high ceiling.

3. Jayden Daniels, LSU

Electric dual threat capable of punishing defenses with his blazing speed and down the field with vastly improved accuracy to all three levels. Daniels was lethal on slot fades and consistently displayed good ball placement away from leverage to maximize yards after the catch. He’ll need to continue expanding his game outside of LSU’s offense which was simplistic in nature, with a main focus point being attacking the middle of the field. If the strides he’s taken in the past two seasons are any indication of what’s to come, his future is that of a winning starrer who can be difficult to game plan for.

4. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Shanahan-style quarterback that excels on in-breaking throws and throws with good accuracy on the move. McCarthy is a natural athlete, comes equipped with an NFL caliber arm and there are some high-level anticipatory throws that stand out on tape. He wasn’t asked to do a ton in college which limits the sample size but as of right now, he doesn’t appear to have the true trump card that the top guys in this class display. With that being said, he’s still young and considering all of the rave reviews on his intangibles, there’s a path to him becoming a solid NFL starter.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Bo Nix

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws the ball at the 2024 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. — Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

5. Bo Nix, Oregon

Efficient point guard who can nickel and dime his way down the field. Nix is a fairly well-rounded quarterback, a good athlete with a decent arm, can work quick game concepts and has worked relentlessly to cut down on negative plays to the point where he’s now proven reliable in that regard. He’s an older prospect and an inconsistent processor. With his experience, you can see a path for him to become a starter in a good situation but his above-average tools and lengthy experience should be enough to make him a long-term backup at worst.

6. Michael Penix, Washington

Flame-throwing, battle-tested lefty that thrives when pushing the ball vertically and outside the numbers. Penix has supreme confidence in his arm and rightfully so, having made a ton of tight-window throws in his career while also avoiding sacks at an impressively low rate. Even though he tested like a great athlete, he looked uncomfortable whenever forced off the spot under pressure. He’s a pocket passer with decent accuracy which would have made him a top-ten pick 20 years ago but there aren’t many players playing this style in today’s league.

7. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

Talented, tough passer with intriguing pocket maneuvering habits that developed behind a poor offensive line. Rattler’s release is quick but his arm talent is what he’s known for: smooth velocity and the ability to change arm slots when necessary. He’s not a good athlete overall and that’s particularly alarming because of his preferred play style as a scrambler. However, his poise in the pocket will translate and he’s an intriguing dart throw for a team with an already established, older starter who could mentor him.