2024 NFL Draft: Ranking First-Round QB Fits for Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Michael Penix Jr., Others

Six quarterbacks were selected with the top 12 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Which QB-team fits made the most sense in Round 1?

While quarterbacks were expected to come off the board early in the 2024 NFL Draft, few would have predicted that six signal-callers would be selected inside the first 12 picks.

Six QBs hadn’t been taken in Round 1 since the 1983 NFL Draft, which produced Hall of Famers like John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.

It’s too early to declare whether any quarterbacks from this year’s class will eventually wear a gold jacket. But we can take a step back and assess how each rookie QB fits with his new team’s offense, roster construct, and competitive window.

Here’s an early look at the six 2024 rookie quarterbacks’ chances of success, both in the short and long term.

Ranking Round 1 QB Fits From the 2024 NFL Draft

6) Micahel Penix Jr. | Atlanta Falcons

Kirk Cousins was “stunned” that the Atlanta Falcons used the No. 8 pick to draft Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. — and he was hardly alone.

Atlanta inked Cousins to a four-year, $180 million deal with $90 million fully guaranteed just six weeks ago. His contract essentially guarantees that he’ll be the Falcons’ starting quarterback through the 2025 campaign.

Penix is entering the NFL as an older prospect; he’d be 26 years old by the time he could theoretically take over for Atlanta in 2026.

Finding a Cousins successor made sense for the Falcons — on Day 2 or 3. The opportunity cost of taking Penix when WR Rome Odunze, DT Byron Murphy II, and EDGEs Dallas Turner and Laitau Latu were still available is too significant to ignore for win-now Atlanta.

5) Bo Nix | Denver Broncos

While Bo Nix is the schematic fit Sean Payton was looking for, the former Oregon quarterback is already 24 years old. His upside could be limited, making him a strange fit for a Broncos team undergoing a roster reset.

Nix, who should immediately start over Zach Wilson and Jarrett Stidham for the Denver Broncos, has enough savvy and experience to be effective in Year 1.

Denver’s offensive line is solid enough, but how effective can Nix be with Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims Jr., and Josh Reynolds as his top receivers?

4) Drake Maye | New England Patriots

Drake Maye was the No. 1 overall prospect on Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings’ Big Board. Landing the North Carolina product with the third overall pick represented a coup for the New England Patriots.

Still, Maye will have to overcome his surroundings to succeed in New England, at least initially.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Complete Results, Recap, Order, and All 257 Picks

First-year Pats OC Alex Van Pelt hasn’t called plays in 15 years, so New England’s scheme is something of a black box. The Patriots will enter Round 2 without a starting-caliber left tackle on their roster, while they arguably have the worst set of pass catchers in the NFL.

New England could deploy Jacoby Brissett early in 2024 to shield Maye from its lackluster offensive environment.

3) Jayden Daniels | Washington Commanders

The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, Jayden Daniels, could become an immediate dual-threat weapon for the Washington Commanders in his rookie season. He can work as a point guard within Kliff Kingsbury’s system, hitting Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson on deep shots while using his mobility as a game-breaker on the ground.

Daniels comes with downside. He’s already 23, he let pressure turn into sacks too often during his time at Arizona State and LSU, and he took far too many gargantuan hits.

Daniels has tendencies to clean up, and Washington needs to find a left tackle on Day 2 of the draft. But the upside is enormous.

2) J.J. McCarthy | Minnesota Vikings

J.J. McCarthy couldn’t have landed in a better situation.

While Justin Jefferson missed seven games with a hamstring injury in 2023, he’s still the best receiver in the league. TE T.J. Hockenson (ACL, MCL) might not be ready for the start of the season, but Jordan Addison put up 911 yards in his rookie campaign, and Aaron Jones should add more juice to the Minnesota Vikings‘ rushing attack.

Add an underrated offensive line and a creative, QB-friendly scheme designed by HC Kevin O’Connell, and McCarthy could succeed early.

The Michigan product’s loose athleticism, arm talent, and off-script ability are a perfect match for Minnesota’s supporting cast.

1) Caleb Williams | Chicago Bears

Caleb Williams would’ve been the No. 1 pick regardless of who held the top spot in the draft. But his fit with the Chicago Bears — who’ve spent the past two years rebuilding their roster — is especially snug.

General manager Ryan Poles acquired DJ Moore and Keenan Allen via trade over the past two offseasons, giving Chicago one of the league’s top WR duos. The Bears watched WR Rome Odunze fall into their laps with the ninth pick on Thursday night, giving them one of the best receiver rooms in the league.

KEEP READING: Analysis and Grades for All 7 Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft

D’Andre Swift’s free agent contract was overkill, but he’ll form a solid RB rotation with Khalil Herbert and 2023 draft pick Roschon Johnson.

Chicago has no weakness along its offensive line and could add more depth on Day 2 or 3.

With an efficient scheme coordinated by former Seattle Seahawks OC Shane Waldron and a defense that shined over the second half of the season, the Williams-led Bears could be a playoff contender as early as 2024.

Looking for everything you need surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft? Make sure to check out the latest draft results, overall team grades, and updated best remaining players available at every position!

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