Leading NFL Quarterback Talent Runs Deep in Top Half of League, But 2024 QB Draft Is Light

February 16, 2024 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

Behind Kansas City's Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and Baltimore's league MVP Lamar Jackson, the NFL has a lot of depth in the excellence of its quarterbacks, but a number of teams have also struggled to find one that even looks like he has a bright future.

Only a few members in the bottom half of the league will have the opportunity to improve at that position with a short list of potential breakouts among the College QB's in this year's NFL Draft. The 3-day affair will take place in Detroit from April 25-27 with such stars up for grabs as Heisman winner Jayden Daniels (LSU). However, the 'draft experts' have Daniels sitting at No. 3, behind two other solid QB picks with North Carolina's Drake Maye following USC's Caleb Williams at No. 1.

Further down the list of CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson's mock draft, Washington's Michael Penix, Jr. and Oregon's Bo Nix add to the first-round prospects, but that's about it.

Many big names at the QB position in college are not being found on the Big Board until middle and later rounds. Michigan's J.J. McCarthy is largely seen as a 2nd or 3rd round target, while Tulane's Michael Pratt and South Carolina's Spencer Rattler slip to the 3rd round. Jordan Travis, largely due to his late-season broken ankle, has dropped to the 5th round on most boards, and Tennessee's Joe Milton trails Travis. Another big name in college, former Wake Forest and Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman, sits behind 193 other players on the Pro Football Focus top 275.

In fact, Wilson's 1st round has more wide receivers (6) than QB's (5), including Ohio State's Marvin Harrison, Jr. who sits at No. 3 over-all on the Draft Odds.

A pair of LSU wideouts, Malik Nabors and Brian Thomas are among that group, as well as Washington's Rome Odunze.

Top NFL QB's

Nick Shook at NFL.com just published a list that ranks all 66 QB's that started a game in 2023. That number is actually two fewer than the 68 starting QB's in 2022. For the record, the 1987 strike season holds the record with 87 different starting quarterbacks.

The Cleveland Browns accounted for 5 of the 66 different QB starters in 2023 while the Vikings and Jets had 4 apiece.

Topping Shook's NFL QB index are the aforementioned Jackson and Mahomes at first and third, respectively, with Buffalo's Josh Allen sandwiched in between. Jared Goff (Detroit) and Matthew Stafford (LA Rams) round out the Top 5.

Finishing in the top ten are Dak Prescott (Dallas) at No. 6, followed by Brock Purdy (San Francisco), CJ Stroud (Houston), Tua Tagovailoa (Miami), and Kirk Cousins (Minnesota).

There are still a lot of enormous talents behind those players, ranging from Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and the LA Chargers' Justin Herbert, to Cincinnati's Joe Burrow and Jacksonville's Tyler Lawrence. The list also includes Jordan Love's breakout performance, Joe Flacco's unexpected comeback, and the short-lived stardom of such players as Joshua Dobbs (Minnesota) and Tyson Bagent (Chicago)..

Be sure to check out the Complete List.

What becomes obvious is how much greatness lies at the top. More glaring is the number of simply 'average' QB's that make up the bulk of the field.