If you polled ten people and asked them their opinion on the top quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, you would probably get seven saying, Caleb Williams. While there is no wrong answer at this point, as neither has even played an NFL snap, it will be a tight race. Through April, when the draft is completed, it will be an interesting process for Williams and Drake Maye.
No position gets more heat, more debate, and more attention than quarterbacks. Most years, it is clear as days who the number one passer is coming out of college football. Recently, in 2021, we had a year where the talent was so thin we didn’t know. In 2023, we don’t know because the talent is so close to each other at a top-tier level.
With the 2024 NFL Draft six months away, a lot can and will change. There is a season and a half of film available on both guys, and with that, we can create a picture. By looking at just a handful of traits right now, it is clear just how close this top quarterback race is both on social media and within the industry.
Both Maye and Williams possess NFL arm talent, but one has better strength. This is by no means a knock on Maye, but the advantage in this category goes to Williams. Last year, we saw his deep ball ability with Jordan Addison. This year, it has flashed, but the receiving talent has let him down. The arm strength doesn’t go away when he is forced out of the pocket or is running to either side of the field. For Williams, his arm strength is one of his elite traits. This trait is going to be evident in a lot of the 2024 NFL Draft class, but with Williams, it is special.
While neither has shown to be turnover-prone, Williams has shown he is willing to take more risks. Despite the risks, he puts the ball in danger less than Maye has this year. In the case of Maye, he has six turnover-worthy plays on the season compared to Williams, who has 16. In the NFL, Williams will have growing pains but If he settles in more often and develops trust in his receivers it would go a long way for his development, until then, the edge here goes to Maye.
This one isn’t particularly close for me, Maye has the best ball placement of the class. There are countless NFL-level throws on film from Maye, and the biggest component is his ball placement. He throws receivers open and hits them in stride, and that is going to help him out on day one. A perfect example of this is looking at all the throws that C.J. Stroud has made this year. His ball placement has allowed him to jumpstart his NFL development while also not allowing defenders to make a play on the ball.
Maye is very much deserving of some more top quarterback discourse. The 2024 NFL Draft will be one of the best ones in terms of chaos in recent memory. There have been some fun ones, but no quarterback class has had this much discussion since 2020. That class gave us three top-tier passers in the NFL; this one at least has two.
Maye and Williams should find success immediately, but they will do so in their own way. Williams is going to get bailed out by his arm talent. He is very much an explosive passer compared to Maye’s sniper approach. It will be an enjoyable couple of months leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, and the benefactor of it all will be dynasty players.
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