2024 NFL Draft

How good is the 2024 QB draft class? NFL execs draw notable comps

Do Caleb Williams and Drake Maye have franchise-altering potential?

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For the second time in four years, the New England Patriots will have a golden opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future. And this time, they could land one of the best of the bunch.

At 3-11, the Patriots would own the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft if the season ended today. They have an 82 percent chance of landing a top-three pick, a 58 percent chance of staying at No. 2 and a 10 percent chance of vaulting the Carolina Panthers for the No. 1 overall selection, per ESPN Analytics.

New England's biggest need is at quarterback, where the 15th pick in the 2021 draft, Mac Jones, simply hasn't panned out and may have already taken his last snap with the team. If the Patriots land a top-three pick, they should strongly consider taking USC's Caleb Williams or North Carolina's Drake Maye -- widely viewed as the top two quarterbacks in the 2024 class -- with that selection.

LSU QB and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels also projects as a top-10 pick, while Oregon's Bo Nix, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy could go in the first two rounds, as well.

That's a lot of QB prospects, which raises an important question: How good are these guys? How does the 2024 class stack up to QB classes of years past, and what type of talent would the Patriots (or another team picking above them at No. 1) will be getting if they landed a player like Williams or Maye?

ESPN's Matt Miller asked a handful of NFL scouts and executives to analyze the 2024 class, and the responses were mixed.

"This is a good quarterback class, but it's not as great as some people say," one AFC East scout told Miller.

"It's good at the top, but it's a bad year to need a guy after the first round," an AFC general manager added to Miller.

So, what are good comparisons for Williams and Maye if the Patriots go the QB route in Round 1?

"This is a better class than the last few years, but the 2020 class was better. ... [Joe] Burrow compares well to Williams. [Justin] Herbert to Maye. You could say McCarthy is this year's Tua [Tagovailoa]. Jayden Daniels is the Jalen Hurts. But 2020 had Jordan Love, too. I don't see that fifth guy this year."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it's encouraging to hear that this class projects as better than more recent first-round crops in 2021 (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones), 2022 (Kenny Pickett) and 2023 (Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud).

Of course, a lot of a quarterback's success depends on the talent around him, and the Patriots have plenty of holes to fill elsewhere on their roster. Fans shouldn't expect Williams or Maye to make New England a Super Bowl contender right away, especially if the rest of the roster doesn't improve dramatically.

But if the Patriots have the opportunity to draft either QB, the consensus seems to be that they should take it.

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