2024 NFL DRAFT POSITION PROFILES
With the NFL Draft kicking off in 11 weeks on Thursday April 25, there will be tons of mock drafts being churned out by experts and fans alike. While those are fun, it only highlights where players are projected to be drafted based on need or value but does not give the best example of the position group of the class overall. However, for this series, each week we are going to dive into a position group to evaluate its strength of class, top prospects, sleepers, and where the general value of the position is in the class. Looking at the position groups from this lens, I intend to help understand the draft value of each prospect relative to the strength of the class at their position. Knowing how shallow or deep a class is, can be just as important as knowing the athletic testing and past production of each prospect when trying to create a draft board.
CLASS STRENGTH- STRONG
CLASS VALUE- EARLY TO MID DAY ONE
1. Caleb Williams, USC, 6-1, 215
STRENGTHS: arm strength, athleticism, toughness, accuracy
WEAKNESSES: lacks size, doesn't always trust his protection and feels invisible pressure causing him to run to quickly at times.
DRAFT PROJECTION: top 2 overall pick in draft.
PRO COMP: Baker Mayfield
2. Drake Maye, UNC, 6-4, 230
STRENGTHS: Stands tall in the pocket to deliver the ball in the face of the rush, excellent athleticism and speed, plus arm, extremely accurate off platform
WEAKNESSES: indecisiveness at times on when to take off and when to throw leading to sacks and pressure incompletions, has a tendency to get cocky in games leading to some ill-advised gunslinger type throws, can be confused with post snap reads.
DRAFT PROJECTION: top 2 overall pick in draft
PRO COMP: Justin Herbert
3. Jayden Daniels, LSU, 6-4, 210
STRENGTHS: exceptional athletic profile and ability, produced at an extremely high level at the highest level of college football, decent arm strength paired with elite speed, shows good processing and distribution of the football
WEAKNESSES: does not always operate within the structure of the offense and prefers to operate out of the pocket and off platform, can struggle with accuracy, tries to extend plays to long looking for the big play instead of taking the check downs to move the offense.
DRAFT PROJECTION: top 5 overall selection
PRO COMP: RG III
4. Bo Nix, Oregon, 6-1, 210
STRENGTHS: exceptional pocket presence and processing, smart instinctive player that understands the nuances of the position to beat you with smarts as well as ability, manipulates defenses with his eyes to create space for his receivers, has a good knack of knowing when to bail on a play and take off rather than trying to overextend a play, good ball velocity off platform
WEAKNESSES: lacks prototypical size and strength for the position, can sometimes lock onto a target pre snap and is hell bent on getting the ball the ball there regardless of the pre and post snap reads, can sometimes be to excitable leading to missing easy throws
DRAFT PROJECTION: mid Rd 1 selection
PRO COMP: Jake Plummer
5. Michael Penix Jr, Washington, 6-2, 212
STRENGTHS: strong arm with good deep ball touch, has a good feel of zone defenses and where to deliver the ball, toughness to deliver the ball in a muddy pocket and not afraid to take a hit, quick release and progression
WEAKNESSES: older prospect who will be 24 to start the season, huge injury red flags after multiple ACL tears, not the most accurate passer with finesse throws, is a limited athlete and not a real threat as a runner
DRAFT PROJECTION: mid to late Rd 1 selection
PRO COMP: Joe Flacco
Jordan Travis, FSU, 6-1, 212
STRENGTHS: poised cerebral player that excels in chaos, above average athlete that is elusive outside the pocket, quick release and decent velocity on throws, is equally as dangerous in and out of the pocket
WEAKNESSES: injury red flag as he is coming off a gruesome broken leg suffered late in the college season, arm strength is only adequate, does not throw with anticipation as he would rather see it before releasing it, has a habit of thinking his arm is better than it is leading to some bad underthrows and interceptions
DRAFT PROJECTION: late day 3 selection due to injury concerns
PRO COMP: Gardner Minschew
POSITION SUMMARY: As is usually the case with the QB position, the top talent resides at the top of the draft and mostly on day one. There are other prospects such as JJ McCarthy who could slide into late Rd1, but if you want a franchise level QB, you better be in the top 20 picks in Rd 1. This draft is unusually top heavy as once you get past McCarthy you are getting into the likes of Kaden Slovis, Spencer Rattler, and Sam Hartman territory with none of them projecting to be of immediate starting quality. However, they have enough talent and experience to hold a clip board and learn for a year or two to hopefully become vet backups in the league. Personally, I am a big fan of Nix and I would rank him third behind Maye and Williams. I think he plays with a ton of toughness and moxie and has all the tools to be good at the NFL level. I am not sold at all on Daniels as he plays with a recklessness that is rewarded in college but will be exposed in the pro game and open him up for injury, reminiscent of Anthony Richardson last year.