Powered by On3

Joel Klatt ranks his top five quarterbacks in 2024 NFL Draft

On3 imageby:Kaiden Smith02/19/24


J.J. McCarthy Declares For NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is already regarded as one of the best to date at the quarterback position, with numerous passers from across the country proving that they belong under center on Sunday’s following impressive college careers.

This year’s draft will surely be an interesting one between the number of high-level players at the position and the NFL teams in need of a quarterback. With some projecting as many as six quarterbacks being drafted in the first round.

College football analyst Joel Klatt is one of those people, and on a recent episode of ‘The Joel Klatt Show’, he ranked his top five players at the the most prized position in football ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft.

1. Caleb Williams

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Not to much surprise, USC quarterback Caleb Williams leads the pack in Klatt’s rankings. With the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner drawing comparisons to Patrick Mahomes throughout his college career after accounting for over 8,000 total yards and scoring 93 total touchdowns in his last two seasons in Los Angeles.

“Why is Caleb Williams a generational talent and why is he number one on many lists including mine? It’s because this guy is top-end excellent in all five categories that I evaluate and that’s one of the most rare things at least in this position and profession,” Klatt said.

2. Drake Maye

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Drake Maye lands in the two slot after two impressive seasons with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Maye took college football by storm in 2022 after throwing for 4,321 yards and rushing for 698 yards with 45 total touchdowns. And although his 2023 season didn’t quite stack up to his breakout redshirt-freshman year, Klatt and many others still feel strongly about Maye as one of the best prospects in the entire 2024 draft.

“Drake Maye is as good as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Klatt said. “Let me put it to you very simply, if it wasn’t for Caleb Williams, Drake Maye would be the slam dunk number one pick in this draft and I don’t think it’s that close. I think that these two guys are separated from the rest of the quarterback pack.”

3. Jayden Daniels

Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels was the best dual-threat quarterback in college football season at LSU. Breaking out for 3,812 passing yards and 40 touchdowns along with 1,134 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground. But one of the things Klatt likes most about him is experience, joining the Tigers ahead of the 2022 season after three years at Arizona State.

“I love how experienced this guy is, he’s played a ton of football. 55 starts in his college career, 26 of them at LSU in the SEC. He was incredible last year on his way to a Heisman Trophy, averaged over 400 yards of total offense per game including 95 per game on the ground,” Klatt explained. “So again, he is a threat.”

4. Michael Penix Jr.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. trails Daniels just like he did in Heisman Trophy voting this season after throwing for 4,903 yards and 36 touchdowns. And while he doesn’t have the rushing ability of the quarterbacks ranked ahead of him, he does have experience and a knack for making elite plays from the pocket.

“This guy from the pocket, nobody was required to control the game from the pocket in college more than Michael Penix. They didn’t win unless he was controlling the game from the pocket,” Klatt said. “His ability to understand the schematics of defense and then throw with leverage down the field is second to none.”

5. J.J. McCarthy

Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy rounds out the top five after helping lead the Wolverines to a national championship last football season. No quarterback in the rankings threw less pass attempts in the regular season than McCarthy given Michigan’s run-heavy offensive attack. But Klatt is still confident that he has the tools to get it done at the next level.

“He’s 27-1 as a starting quarterback. So does his game translate?” Klatt asked. “Yes of course it translates. He wasn’t running a college offense, he was running Jim Harbaugh‘s offense. That is a pro style offense, he was handling protections, run checks, all of those things are gonna translate and he did so by the way in an incredibly unselfish manner.”

Honorable mention: Bo Nix

Ben Lonergan-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix missing the top five is not a slight on his game, with Klatt projecting his to be selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos with the No. 12 overall pick of the upcoming draft. Nobody has started in more college football games in the history of the sport than Nix, showing constant improvement throughout his career which culminated in a 4,508-yard, 45 touchdown pass season last year.

“Is he as talented as these other guys? Maybe not, but if you looked at all those quarterbacks that were selected in the last 10 years, he’s better than a lot of those guys, a lot of them,” Klatt said. “He’s more of a point guard and he’s a little bit more cerebral, but his super power is that the ball is on target and on time.”