Recapping an eventful day one of the NFL draft
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Recapping an eventful day one of the NFL draft

The first round of the 2024 NFL draft saw six quarterbacks (QBs) come off the board in the first 12 picks, tying a 1983 NFL draft record for the most quarterbacks taken in the first round. The top three picks appeared to match the consensus predictions leading up to the draft: Caleb Williams, followed by Jayden Daniels, then Drake Maye.

Coming out of USC, Williams is considered a generational talent, with “Mahomie” traits that drew comparisons to the Chiefs’ franchise cornerstone. The ability to make off-platform throws with accuracy and velocity is what separates Caleb Williams from the rest of the QBs in this draft class. Williams should be on track to start day one with the departure of Justin Fields via trade to Pittsburgh.

Caleb Williams courtesy of flickr

Jayden Daniels grew up not too far from the University of California, Riverside; he was born in San Bernardino and went to Cajon High School, where he threw for over 9000 yards and 122 TD. After taking his talents to Arizona State and LSU, he hopes to be the franchise quarterback of the Washington Commanders, who have not won a playoff game since 2005. 

Although Washington signed Marcus Mariota in the offseason, expect Jayden Daniels to contend early for the QB1 job. Perhaps Daniels could learn under Mariota’s wing for a bit before hitting the ground running. 

Over in New England, Mac Jones’s departure via a trade to Jacksonville means Maye is stepping into an organization that can either start veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett or Maye. With first-year head coach Jerod Mayo at the helm, it’s unclear how he’ll approach the start of the 2024 season regarding who will be under center.

Drake Maye becomes the second-highest-drafted quarterback to come out of North Carolina. Mitchell Trubisky was drafted second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears. 

The shocker of the day was the Atlanta Falcons, who had the eighth overall pick. Their choice was star Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who had a history of shoulder and knee injuries throughout his collegiate career. Most mock drafts projected Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy to be selected above Penix; Atlanta’s decision to select this quarterback seems to have come out of left field. 

Back on March 13, 2024, the Falcons signed Kirk Cousins, 35, to a four-year contract worth $180 million, with $100 million guaranteed money. With Atlanta hoping Cousins can become their franchise quarterback for the next four years, this makes drafting Penix a head-scratching decision. Cousins’ 2023 season resulted in a season-ending achilles injury, perhaps leaving unanswered questions about his health entering the 2024 season. 

In the previous two seasons, Atlanta has tended to the offensive side of the ball in the first round of the draft, selecting Drake London and Bijan Robinson, respectively. They did so again in 2024 with Michael Penix, Jr.

The first trade of the day involved the Minnesota Vikings trading up with the New York Jets to select their hopeful franchise quarterback, J.J. McCarthy. Fresh off of winning the National Championship with Michigan, McCarthy is stepping into a quarterback room that already includes former third-overall pick Sam Darnold. McCarthy could sit behind Darnold to open the season but could also contend for the starting job as the year progresses. Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached McCarthy at Michigan, recently said that McCarthy is the best quarterback in Michigan’s history and the best quarterback in this year’s draft class. 

I think he plays quarterback the best of any quarterback in the draft,” Harbaugh said back in March. “He’s incredible. So, big market, small market. Cold weather, hot weather, it won’t matter.”

The Vikings’ receiving core includes one of the biggest names in the sport, Justin Jefferson, alongside a solid supporting cast of Jordan Addision and T.J. Hockenson. 

Minutes later, the Broncos selected Oregon’s Bo Nix with the 12th overall pick. Nix started in 61 games as a quarterback in college, playing three seasons with Auburn and two with Oregon. Nix is stepping into a quarterback room that includes Zach Wilson and Jarrett Stidham as Denver has no clear cut QB1 at the moment. With an abundance of playing experience at the collegiate level, expect Nix to contend early in the season for the starting job in the Mile High City as Zach Wilson is coming off a season of struggles and frustration as a Jet, and Stidham started in only two games last season with Denver. 

On day two of the draft (rounds two and three), zero quarterbacks were taken off the board. Notable names still available include Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) and Michael Pratt (Tulane).

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