Ranking Top QB Performances at NFL Combine: Michael Penix Jr. Awes, J.J. McCarthy Displays Talent

Which QBs stood out at the NFL Combine during testing and throwing drills? Was J.J. McCarthy able to separate himself as a QB3 candidate?

Quarterbacks took the field at the 2024 NFL Combine during Friday’s session. Which NFL Combine QBs stood out among their peers, and who used the throwing session to their advantage? Here’s a closer look at how J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, and others fared.

Ranking Top QB Performances at 2024 NFL Combine

1) Michael Penix Jr., Washington

All of the top QBs who threw at the NFL Combine had their good reps, and all of them have a strong degree of natural talent. But there’s an argument that Michael Penix Jr. was the most consistent of the bunch — both with his placement and the channeling of his velocity.

Throwing in-game with pressure while a QB is moving off of his spot is different, and that’s where Penix stands to improve. But his drive velocity, which is mostly arm-dominant, is impossible to ignore. Passes jump from his hand and reach their targets on a line.

Going further, after hearing Penix talk about the Xs and Os in interviews and watching his processing on tape, it’s clear that he has the mental acuity to maximize his physical talent. Medicals were the last wall for him to break, and he broke that down, too.

2) Bo Nix, Oregon

If there was one knock to point out with Nix during the NFL Combine, it’s that his arm strength — while solid — was noticeably slightly inferior to those of Joe Milton III, McCarthy, and Penix. On occasion, Nix struggled to fully drive passes to his targets without the ball dipping.

Nevertheless, Nix displayed more than enough velocity to hit WRs on intermediate in-breakers, and his accuracy and timing were strong points throughout the drills. And on deep passing attempts, Nix’s touch and crisp release amounted to consistent execution.

3) J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

McCarthy interviewed extremely well throughout the week, and then he proceeded to weigh in at 219 pounds with a 6’2 1/2″ frame. He also ran a 6.82-second three-cone time in the 96th percentile among QBs.

In all of the cosmetic tasks which McCarthy needed to perform well, he performed with aplomb. And in throwing drills, his easy velocity to all ranges of the field was clear. He has a crisp, efficient throwing motion and high-end arm talent. All of these things, in conjunction, made the Combine a success for him.

Still, accuracy has proven to be an issue for McCarthy at times, especially when throwing to his left. When he had to work across his body at the Combine, he overthrew several targets. There’s still further refinement to undergo, but the 21-year-old’s potential is exciting.

4) Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

Spencer Rattler can spin it with the best of them. Drive throws outside the numbers at the Senior Bowl showed that first-hand, and at the NFL Combine, he had one of the livest arms in attendance. He effortlessly generates velocity, and he can hit WRs in-stride out of breaks with timely triggers.

For Rattler, the element of his Combine performance that may weigh him down was his testing. At a lower weight of 211 pounds, he ran just a 4.95 40-yard dash and was around average in both explosiveness and agility drills. He’s not the creative presence that other prospects are, but his arm still commands respect.

5) Joe Milton III, Tennessee

With Milton, there’s still a need for over-arching consistency in the short and intermediate ranges. The Senior Bowl put his inconsistent field vision on display, while at the NFL Combine, accuracy was still a concern in spurts. But if Milton’s best path to a successful day was to sell evaluators on his talent, he accomplished that.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Combine Results — 40-Yard Dash, Bench Press, Vertical, 3-Cone, and More

Early in the day, when the QBs competed to throw the fastest pass, Milton led all passers with a 62-MPH rocket. And later, during deep passing drills, Milton stood above with his ability to drive velocity down the field and allow WRs to keep speed.

Milton’s highlight was a 70-plus-yard bomb to Lideatrick Griffin — a throw that was the emblem of his appeal as a prospect. On Day 3, someone is bound to take a chance on him because of that, but he’s still very rough around the edges outside of his ability downfield.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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