The buzz around the 2023 NFL Draft has focused on the quarterbacks. Will Bryce Young go first? Stroud second? Where will Anthony Richardson end up?
But, next year's buzz is going to be even... buzzier. The 2024 QB draft class is shaping up to have higher top-end talent, more first-round potential, and unparalleled depth.
Before your favorite NFL team wastes a pick on a QB this year, here's a breakdown of next year's QB class and why some squads should wait for 2024 to draft a franchise passer:
2024 QB Class > 2023's
Per NFLDraftBuzz's pre-draft ratings, the top QBs in the 2024 class would rank first, second, and fourth this year. There's plenty of depth, too, as the 2023 class has nine QBs rated over 80.0, while '24 has 20.
Not only is 2024's QB class better than last year's, but it could be the best group of gunslingers since 2004 (the year of Roethlisberger, Manning, Rivers, and Schaub). You're probably familiar with some of the top '24 prospects, but this class is loaded with future NFL talent.
An anonymous NFL scout believes that Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are better than “anyone” of the QB’s in this upcoming Draft class.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 15, 2022
Williams and Maye both have one year left until they are able to declare for the NFL Draft 👀 pic.twitter.com/C0GWicpvVX
Williams is the gem of the 2024 draft. He's the reigning Heisman winner, has all the tools of a modern NFL QB, and has been touted as a "rare prospect" by scouts. Last year, Williams had more total touchdowns and yards than any USC QB before him, including Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, and EVEN Sam Darnold.
While Maye will enter the 2024 Draft in Williams' shadow, the UNC QB has already been comp'd as the "next Justin Herbert," so whatever team has to settle for him will be doing just fine.
Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are good, but Williams and Maye are just better.
|Name||Passing Yards||Comp %||Y/A||TD||INT||Passer Rating|
The '24 class has an edge in the top talent, but this is where next year's class truly distinguishes itself. Ewers, who already won the Texas job over Arch Manning, and Sanders (Deion's son), have top-10 pick upside, but even Nix has turned himself into a serious NFL draft candidate.
When Nix broke into college football, he was supposed to be this top prospect and a future NFL QB. But, after three rough years at Auburn, he didn't deliver on that promise, until 2022.
Last year with Oregon, the vet collected 43 total touchdowns and finished third in the nation with a 71.9 percent completion rate. With the Tigers, he never threw more than 16 touchdown passes in a season, but in 2023 he threw 29. Nix could've entered the draft this year but chose to go back to Oregon for one more ride, with a chance to further push himself back up NFL draft boards.
I'm not saying all 10 of these guys will be NFL-caliber QBs, and some probably won't even get drafted. But, they've all flashed enough in their first few college years that a strong final season could vault them into NFL consideration, and maybe even the first round.
One guy who I'll have my eyes on this year is Tulane's Pratt. Per NFLDraftBuzz's rating system, he's the sixth-best QB in the class, and grades out similarly to Ewers. He's got elite timing and leads receivers well (8.9 Y/A) and even added 10 touchdowns with his legs in 2022. He led a Tulane offense that averaged over 440 yards and 36 points per game.
There will always be competition-level concerns with a Group of Five QB, but in the three biggest games of Pratt's season last year (against Cincinnati, UCF, and USC), the 21-year-old passed for seven touchdowns and just one interception. CBS' Chris Trapasso clearly sees the same things I do, as he noted Pratt as a potential "next Joe Burrow" who could climb draft boards in his final college season.
MICHAEL PRATT TO JHA'QUAN JACKSON. 87 YARDS.— The American (@American_Conf) January 2, 2023
WHAT A RUN!
📺 @espn #AmericanFB x @GreenWaveFB pic.twitter.com/z4sIp6jJOn
Should QB Needy Teams Wait for 2024?
Let's assume Young and Stroud go in the top three picks, that will leave at least four QB-needy teams who could talk themselves into Levis or Richardson instead of holding off another year:
I actually like the tantalizing potential of Richardson and understand Levis' arm talent, but the pair are full of red flags and just not worth that top-10 selection. Levis threw 23 interceptions in his last 24 college starts and saw his completion percentage and Y/A drop from 2021 to '22. Though Richardson is a combine beast with elite duel-threat potential, he's had a completion percentage in the 50s his entire career and looked overmatched against SEC competition last year.
There are 10 Levises and Richardsons available next year. Take the offensive lineman or linebacker this year, run it back with a veteran at QB, and get your guy in 2024. Most GMs get one shot at drafting their franchise QB, don't waste it.
There's no guarantee the Colts or Titans will get Williams or Maye next season, but next year's class has depth to fall back on. Some teams will get antsy and jump the gun next week, but I agree with whatever evaluators ESPN's Matt Miller is talking to:
"I do think there's some truth to the idea that some teams are looking at where they are drafting in 2023, then looking at the caliber of QBs available next April and ultimately opting to wait until 2024," Miller reported.