National Football League
2024 NFL Draft: Making case for Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy as QB2
National Football League

2024 NFL Draft: Making case for Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy as QB2

Published Mar. 21, 2024 2:58 p.m. ET

The Chicago Bears are expected to take Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft following Justin Fields' trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL scouting community is left debating which quarterback prospect should be the QB2 of the 2024 class. 

As evaluators debate the pros and cons of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and J.J. McCarthy as potential franchise quarterbacks, it is the perfect time for me to examine the three quarterbacks vying for the No. 2 spot on the board. 

Jayden Daniels, LSU 

Career Starts: 55


Stats: 66.3% completion rate, 12,750 passing yards, 89 TDs, 20 INTs; 617 rushes, 3,307 rushing yards and 34 TDs


  • Dynamic dual-threat playmaker 
  • Polished pocket passer with sound footwork and mechanics
  • High-IQ player with significant reps as a starter 


  • Slender frame
  • Average arm strength

Analysis: The fifth-year senior enters the NFL as a polished product with electric, big-play potential as a dual-threat quarterback. Daniels dazzles as a pocket passer, displaying outstanding touch and timing as a rhythm passer. The LSU standout carves up defenses with pinpoint throws at intermediate range, showcasing superb anticipation and ball placement on in-breaking routes. As a deep ball thrower, Daniels routinely drops the ball down the chute on go-balls down the boundary. Although he does not possess A-plus arm talent with limitless range, he capably attacks every area of the field with anticipatory vertical throws delivered well before the targeted receiver separates from coverage. The high-arcing, rainbow tosses are reminiscent of Drew Brees' alley-oops that torched opponents for years. 

As a runner, Daniels is more of a scrambler than a playmaker, but his speed and quickness make him a threat to go the distance whenever he takes off on impromptu runs. He is electric with the ball in his hands, and his improvisational skills make him a nightmare to defend. Though his slender frame makes his durability a concern, Daniels' speed, burst, and athleticism will enable him to extend plays when the pocket collapses. 

Daniels is a savvy playmaker with a balanced game that should shine at the next level. He is a rare find as an athletic quarterback who can win games as a runner or passer. With NFL offenses increasingly tapping into the unique talents of QB1s, Daniels' dynamic skills could add an explosive dimension to any offensive scheme. 

Pro Comparison: Deshaun Watson 

Is Jayden Daniels the best QB prospect in 2024 NFL Draft?

Drake Maye, UNC

Career Starts: 26

Stats: 64.9% completion rate, 8,018 passing yards, 63 TDs and 16 INTs; 302 rushes, 1,209 rushing yards and 16 TDs 


  • Prototypical size and body build 
  • A-plus arm talent
  • Excellent athleticism and mobility
  • Quick-rhythm passer with middle infielder hands 


  • Questionable judgment under pressure 
  • Sub-par big game production and performance

Analysis: If a general manager could build a franchise quarterback from scratch, Maye would be the perfect muse. The UNC standout possesses the prototypical size, arm talent and athleticism evaluators covet in QB1s. With elite physical traits (6-foot-4, 223 pounds), blue-chip talents (arm talent and athleticism) and superb intangibles (high football IQ and leadership skills), Maye is the "Build-a-QB" of the 2024 class. 

As a polished passer with a gunslinger mentality, the third-year pro flashes jaw-dropping potential, dropping "dimes" from the pocket and on the move. Maye routinely hits the strike zone but also flashes an off-speed pitch that enables the pass-catcher to thrive on "catch-and-run" concepts. Though his penchant for spectacular plays leads to more "hero" throws than some coordinators prefer, his fearlessness will result in plenty of big plays at the next level. 

That said, Maye must learn how to seamlessly transition from his role as a "game changer" to a "game manager" based on circumstances. He frequently operates in "game changer" mode, and his risky decisions lead to costly turnovers and miscues. In big games, in particular, Maye's ultra-aggressive approach can result in a topsy-turvy performance that disrupts the offensive flow. 

A more disciplined approach likely yields more consistent results from the quarterback and offense, so Maye must have a solid support system around him (offensive coordinator and quarterback coach) to maximize his potential as an elite playmaker. As a savvy dual threat with underrated running skills, the UNC standout has the potential to create the big plays that routinely decide games in the fourth quarter. 

Given his talent and potential, Maye's draft stock remains high despite his struggles in 2023. As teams search for the next blue-chip prospect with the talent to challenge the elites at the position, the third-year junior could surge to the top of the charts as a "boom-or-bust" prospect with prototypical traits. 

Pro Comparison: Justin Herbert 

Where does Drake Maye land in Joel Klatt’s 2024 mock draft 2.0?

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Career Starts: 28 

Stats: 68% completion rate, 6,226 passing yards, 49 TDs and 11 INTs; 161 rush attempts, 632 rushing yards and 10 TDs 


  • Excellent game management skills
  • Athletic playmaker 
  • Outstanding accuracy and ball placement on rhythm throws 
  • Ball security 


  • Limited repetitions as a passer at the collegiate level 
  • Game manager role only at Michigan 
  • Slender frame

Analysis: Winning matters in the NFL, and no one enters the league with a better pedigree than McCarthy. The one-time national champion posted a 27-1 record at Michigan, exhibiting exceptional management skills as he directed an old-school offense under the direction of a former NFL player and coach. 

As an athletic playmaker with nimble feet and B-plus arm talent, McCarthy is a quick-rhythm passer who can make plays inside and outside the pocket. The Michigan product is a play-action specialist with experience working from the shotgun or under center. With an old-school pro coach in Jim Harbaugh guiding him throughout his three-year tenure, McCarthy is well prepared to step into a pro-style offense with various concepts and play designs requiring "catch, rock, and throw" footwork or traditional dropbacks. 

Despite his limited experience as a thrower (713 pass attempts), the third-year junior's talent as a passer stands out on tape. McCarthy routinely delivers accurate strikes within the receiver's strike zone, and his ability to paint the corners is reflected in his ability to make tight-window throws. Though his skeptics will point to his disappointing performance against Bowling Green (three interceptions) as a preview of what could happen at the next level when asked to carry an offense, his track record as a superb game manager should result in plenty of wins as an NFL starter. 

If given sufficient time to acclimate to the pro game as a "redshirt" candidate behind an established starter, McCarthy should develop into a quality starter with an ego-less approach that enables him to win as a "game manager" at the next level. Considering how well he handled his role at Michigan, teams with playoff-ready rosters should consider McCarthy a viable candidate for QB1 of the future. 

Pro Comparison: Alex Smith 

Expect the Giants to take J.J. McCarthy with the 6th overall pick

Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He also breaks down the game for NFL Network and as a cohost of the "Moving the Sticks" podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.


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