J.J.
McCarthy
Junior
QB
Michigan
Wolverines
Michigan Wolverines Logo
Grades
Score Overall
94.1 1
Position Day
1 1
Score Position Day Overall
94.1 1 1 1
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 2 1/2" Weight: 219 lbs
Hands: 9 Arms: 32
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 2 1/2" Hands: 9 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 219 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 2 1/2" Hands: 9 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 219 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • 27-1 as a Starter

  • 2023 National Champion

  • Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist (2022)

  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalist (2023)

  • Academic All-Big Ten (2022, 2023)

  • Manning Award Finalist (2023)

Strengths
  • Exceptional arm talent. McCarthy throws with excellent velocity and has incredible throw-for-throw accuracy. He has a litany of jaw-dropping tight window throws that he puts right on the money. He has the ability to beat coverage with his arm and can out-throw near-side safeties vertically. His throwing mechanics allow for repeatable accuracy. He is incredible at working high-low concepts from the far hash and can deliver firm, accurate throws on sail/7 routes, one of the hardest throws to make at the college level.

  • Best in class playing within structure. It may sound simple, but hitting the top of the drop, identifying the open pass catcher in the progression, and delivering the ball on time is one of the best foundational traits of a QB to have mastery over. It shows both an understanding of the offensive concept and the defensive counter. McCarthy is the only quarterback among the Big 4 in this class to consistently demonstrate this ability.

  • Underrated creative ability and athleticism. I loathe the term "sneaky-athletic," so I will avoid using it here (or did I already?), but McCarthy has a lot more athleticism in his body than he was ever asked to use at Michigan. He put up the 5th-best 3-cone time among ALL players at the Combine. He also has verified sub 4.5 40 times during his time at Michigan. The designed QB run game was never really part of the Michigan playbook, but when they needed to get out of a funk, McCarthy typically answered the call by making plays with his legs. There are also tons of high-level reps of him escaping pressure, extending the play, and throwing darts on the move. He has a nice arsenal of off-platform arm angles he used as well.

  • Disciplined in the pocket with great footwork. Pocket mechanics and footwork, the ability to feel and react to pressure, and understanding leverages are some of the best skills to master in order to be consistent from the pocket. McCarthy is above average in all of these skills and I really appreciate his ability to slide and step in the pocket to reset and keep himself clean.

  • Unmatchable resume with top-notch intangibles. Everything about McCarthy’s tenure at Michigan screams "NFL," starting with the fact that he operated a pro-style offense with legit NFL concepts and a ton of reps coming from under center. He has high-level experience getting to the right play pre-snap and getting to the right protection calls. He is a big-time competitor and ramps up his play in big moments. Having gone to three CFB playoffs and winning a national championship, no quarterback in the class is even remotely close to him in terms of playing in big moments. Furthermore, McCarthy has the highest percentage of his dropbacks coming on 3rd and 6+ and against top-25 defenses. What he may lack in volume, he makes up for in high-leverage experience.

Weaknesses
  • He needs to add some clubs to the bag. For as talented of a thrower of the football as he is, we don’t have a lot of reps of him layering the ball in between coverage levels. When attacking the middle of the field especially. I would love to see him be able to take a little of the ball and arc it in between defenders rather than constantly rely on throwing absolute missiles (while impressive). The coverage windows in the NFL are tighter, and the reaction speed of defenders is also better, so having multiple ways to win/beat the coverage is important.

  • Low volume/opportunity passer in college. Before we make any adjustments for circumstance, it's really easy to box-score scout him and not feel great about the lack of opportunity he got as a passer, especially compared to his peer group in this draft class. While I don’t buy into the "the team didn’t trust him narrative" at all, there is definitely some merit to the idea that he is inexperienced from a purely volume standpoint. We have countless recent examples of why experience from a dropback volume standpoint correlates to NFL success. However, I am a huge stickler for context and think there is plenty to be applied here. Firstly, this past season, Michigan had a 21-point or more lead in 11 games — 11 games in which the script dictated zero need to throw the football. The goal of the game for Jim Harbaugh was to win, not to earn players accolades. Furthermore, McCarthy didn’t play a single snap in seven fourth quarters, and also added almost two entire third quarters to that. That is the equivalent of sitting for more than two entire games. For normal teams, passing volume increases significantly in the second half of games. I am not going to penalize a guy too significantly because he played on a good team. Most top-QB selections do.

Final Points

McCarthy is the perfect marriage between "high-floor" and “high-ceiling.” Typically, when a prospect gets labeled as high-floor, it comes with the sacrifice of the ceiling. That is not McCarthy, who not only does all the quarterback-centric things at the highest level in the class (giving him a high floor), but also has some of the elite physical traits that give him a high ceiling. He is my QB1 in this draft class. I get glimpses of John Elway and Rich Gannon when I watch his tape. McCarthy is worthy of the first overall pick.

Caleb
Williams
Junior
QB
USC
Trojans
USC Trojans Logo
Grades
Score Overall
92.9 3
Position Day
2 1
Score Position Day Overall
92.9 2 1 3
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 1/2" Weight: 214 lbs
Hands: 9.75 Arms: 32
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 1/2" Hands: 9.75 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 214 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 1/2" Hands: 9.75 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 214 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • Heisman Trophy Winner (2022)

  • Consensus All-American (unanimous, 2022)

  • Walter Camp Player of the Year Winner (2022)

  • AP Player of the Year Winner (2022)

  • USC Single-Season Record Holder (total offense, touchdowns scored, passing completions, passing touchdowns, efficiency rating)

Strengths
  • Arm talent extraordinaire. There really isn’t a throw that Williams can’t make. At Fantasy Points Data, we chart something called "hero throws" (a fitting stat for “Mr. Hero Ball” Williams). These are throws of the highest degree of difficulty where the throw itself beats the coverage or maximizes the result of a big play (throws 20+ yards downfield). Williams is a legitimate candidate to be one of the top QBs in this category from the moment he steps on an NFL field. He can attack all levels and areas of the field with ferocity. He can throw with ramped-up velocity to fit a ball into a tight window or can pull out his 9-iron and layer the ball between defenders. As far as pure ability to throw the football goes, he’s as good as they come.

  • World-class play-making ability. Williams has a knack for extending plays with his legs and making things happen. A massive chunk of his best plays from college were created outside of structure, extending a play, and either delivering the football downfield or using his legs to grab some free yards. He is absolutely excellent in this facet of the game. He can invent new arm slots to throw from as he feels pressure or needs to bend the football around closing defenders in scramble-drill. I see shades of Kyrie Irving at Duke when I watch Caleb play. Whether he needs to be a playmaker as much as he chose to is an entirely different discussion.

  • Brings high level RPO and QB run scenarios to the playbook. Starting with the RPO game, Williams’ reaction speed and ability to transition from fake to throw is outrageous. He reads, pulls, and throws so fast that he basically takes any second-level help out of the play completely. Again, there are some questions about how strong his diagnose ability is in these scenarios, but that is for a different conversation. Williams is also a very athletic runner with good burst and top-end speed. He has a little slipperiness to his game and should bring some read-option elements to the run game that become more and more effective the closer to the end zone he gets.

  • Feels and diagnoses pressure in the pocket quickly. What makes Williams such a great playmaker and improviser is his ability to react to pressure quickly. He is almost never caught off guard with blitzes or stunts and can respond accordingly.

Weaknesses
  • Allergic to playing within the structure of the offense. This is a huge red flag for me. So much of his playmaking ability came at the expense of running a functional offense. On tape, you see frequent turndowns, bailing from clean pockets, and unnecessarily extending plays. There were multiple plays from empty the past two years on which the OC had "double bubble" called from empty, and Williams would refuse to throw the ball to the open bubble player. This will drive offensive coordinators absolutely nuts in the NFL. Throwing in rhythm and on time from a clean pocket just isn't something he consistently does.

  • Not yet a high-level processor. Some of the hiccups playing within structure stem from Williams not really demonstrating the ability to read and react to the coverage shells defenses are deploying. He also doesn’t trust the progression built into each pass concept, and his vision gets sticky. This is true when working the scramble drill as well. This impacts his decision-making, both when playing in structure and out of structure. As of now, he is a see-it-throw-it type of quarterback who doesn’t throw with a lot of anticipation and needs to see clear open windows for him to throw to. To be completely honest, this has been an issue for every recent quarterback to play under USC head coach Lincoln RileyBaker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and young Spencer Rattler all struggled with the same issues. While Williams is not those players, the results at the NFL level have been mixed at best, and one could easily argue every deficiency that group of QBs has lies in this bucket.

  • Hasn’t shown the ability to take care of the football. Constantly relying on explosive playmaking after extending the play tends to result in turnover-worthy plays, which is true for Williams to some extent. However, most of his turnover issues have been fumbling. There were a lot of dropped snaps and getting hawked from behind on his tape.

Final Points

Williams is polarizing in my own mind. On one hand, I see an absolutely elite set of physical traits that could propel him to easy superstardom at the NFL level. On the other hand, I see a player who hasn’t even begun to master the intricacies of the hardest position in all of sports. He isn’t quite yet a quarterback and more an elite thrower of the football. And while I have pointed out a lot of flaws in Williams’ game, ultimately, buying into his ceiling at such an important position is easy to sell to me. While I haven’t crowned him as a "generational talent" or can’t-miss prospect, I certainly think any QB-needy team picking in the top-5 should be delighted to draft him. He might not be my top QB in the class, but his raw tools and upside score him as #2 in the class. Williams is some great coaching and a strong work ethic away from being an excellent player in the NFL. From a play style perspective Williams is on the Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, Zach Wilson, spectrum.

Jayden
Daniels
Senior
QB
LSU
Tigers
LSU Tigers Logo
Grades
Score Overall
91.7 6
Position Day
3 1
Score Position Day Overall
91.7 3 1 6
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 3" Weight: 210 lbs
Hands: -- Arms: --
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 3" Hands: -- 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 210 lbs Arms: -- 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 3" Hands: -- 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 210 lbs Arms: -- 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • Heisman Trophy Winner (2023)

  • Davey O’Brien Award Winner (2023) Semifinalist (2022)

  • Manning Award Winner (2023)

  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner (2023)

  • AP Player of the Year (2023)

  • 1st Team All-American (2023)

Strengths
  • Elite in the run game. As evidenced by over 3,000 career rushing yards and 30+ touchdowns, Daniels can move. He has insane top gear for a quarterback, and his running ability is the central point of his game. You will want to give Daniels a heavy diet of QB runs in the NFL and a constant green light to scramble for gains. He is on the Robert Griffin III spectrum in terms of running ability — elite. When he gets into the open field, he can turn runs into massive gains, not just chain movers.

  • Excellent downfield accuracy when throwing in rhythm. This is a hotly contested topic among the draft community, but contrary to some, I think Daniels actually has exceptional downfield accuracy when throwing in rhythm from a clean pocket. Does he occasionally let balls fall off the table and leave them short? Yes. Is it frequent? Nope. The number of 50-yard bombs he hit his WR in stride in 2023 was notable. Obviously, playing with the best WR duo in the country (Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr.) helps, but I think mechanically, it will translate with NFL-caliber players as well.

  • Good processor. For as simple and QB-friendly as the LSU offense is, one thing it does is give the QB plenty of full-field reads when he has to identify weak points in the defense and commit to working one of the concepts. Daniels really excelled at this. NFL pass concepts and NFL defenses are much more complicated, but I think he is ahead of the curve in this regard, especially compared to draft counterparts and likely fellow top-5 picks Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.

  • Pocket mechanics are sound. Despite his penchant for breaking the pocket with the sole intention of running, I thought Daniels put out a lot of good tape of him sliding and stepping to reset his protection and keep his platform. He quickly identifies pressure points and free-rushers (both pre and post-snap).

  • Track record of steady development. Most will hold his age (24 years old) against him, and rightfully so in some regards, but I will offer a bright side to it. He steadily got better every year as a starter. His developmental progress should give teams some confidence, knowing that this is a guy who seemingly works hard and is always looking to get better. This isn’t true for everyone.

Weaknesses
  • Relies on the legs a little too much. Like many of the quarterbacks in this class, Daniels loves to freelance, and sometimes it's just too much. It is hard to argue with the results, and I hate telling a QB with his running ability to play more conservatively, but I am a big proponent of good process. I think Daniels left a lot of meat on the bone because he is so eager to escape and run. At first sight of pressure, he basically tucks to run with no intention of remaining a passer. While this does put a lot of stress on the defense, it also lets them off the hook in some ways when open WRs are being turned down in favor of scrambling. He also invites some unnecessary pressure into his life but bailing from clean pockets at times which inevitably leads to some unnecessary sacks.

  • Way too skinny of a build. Daniels is under 200 pounds, which is especially alarming considering he is tall and lanky. One has to wonder if this gives him a ceiling for his rushing upside at the NFL level. Can his body hold up to being hit so much?

  • Avoids MOF throws like the plague. Some of this is on the LSU offense as much as it is on Daniels, as the scheme predicates itself on vertical passing outside the numbers and heavy screen opportunities. However, there were still plenty of chances to attack the defense in the middle of the field, and he usually turned it down. I will say he slowly started to get more comfortable with it towards the end of 2023, again pointing to consistent development. I distinctly remember a couple of jaw-dropping throws right on the hash towards the end of the year, one on a well-covered dig route in which he laced it in with some anticipation and another on a seam ball between two defenders. However, he is a work-in-progress in this area and needs to demonstrate much more consistency to be effective at the next level.

  • Arm strength is questionable. I already mentioned that sometimes his long ball falls off the table. This happens more often when he tries to drive the ball on a line and has to push it. His ball locations get a little wonky in these situations, and he routinely leaves drive throws on the back shoulder unnecessarily.

  • He is an older prospect. Daniels will be 24 years old halfway through his rookie season. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but when you start plotting out roster-building ideas and realize that he will be well into his 30s after a second contract, it could shake some teams off of him, especially because his calling card is athleticism and mobility.

Final Points

If instant offense is your thing, then Daniels is the quarterback for you. From the moment he is drafted he should be considered a top-5 running QB in the league and is a serious weapon with his legs. As a passer, there is some work to do, but he already has a lot of the intangible qualities that should lead to success and/or continued development at the NFL level. He is a top-4 QB in the class and is worthy of a top-5 selection overall.

Drake
Maye
Sophomore
QB
North Carolina
Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels Logo
Grades
Score Overall
90.9 12
Position Day
4 1
Score Position Day Overall
90.9 4 1 12
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 4" Weight: 223 lbs
Hands: 9 Arms: 32
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 4" Hands: 9 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 223 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 4" Hands: 9 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 223 lbs Arms: 32 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • 2nd Team All-ACC (2023)

  • All-ACC Academic Team (2023)

  • 3rd Team All-American (2023)

  • Dad and three brothers all played college sports

Strengths
  • Excellent combo of size and athleticism. Maye has the old-school QB build and among the top QB prospects this year, has the most impressive. He is big and durable but also has excellent movement skills for his size.

  • Raw arm talent is top-notch. Maye has a very strong arm and has the ability to make any throw. He can easily push the ball downfield and has a litany of far-hash, deep outside-the-numbers throws on tape. When throwing deep, the ball arrives on time and usually with good location. He can attack tight windows and consistently beat tight coverages with his arm. He has a full bag of clubs at his disposal as well. He can pull out the driver to power throws in on a frozen rope, or can club down a bit and layer the ball in.

  • Ability to create and throw off-platform. He does a great job using his athleticism to extend plays with his legs. He is a great scramble runner, but perhaps my favorite thing about him is his willingness to keep his eyes downfield once he gets on the move. He can be lethal when he gets into creative mode. When on the move, he can change his arm angle as necessary to fit the ball around closing defenders or into tight zone pockets. When he feels pressure coming he also has the ability to speed up his throwing motion to get the ball out quickly and effectively.

Weaknesses
  • Inconsistent accuracy as a thrower. His accuracy regressed from a throw-for-throw standpoint in 2023. Perhaps the coaching/system change can explain away some of it, but ultimately, I think it comes down to inconsistent mechanics. I am not going to break down his upper half mechanics in detail, but I will say not every throw looks the same. This is where perhaps some balance needs to be found with altering arm angles to deliver the ball. I see his footwork being a bigger issue, though, as sometimes he gets a little heel-clicky in the pocket and fails to consistently reset his base when he moves or hitches.

  • Cracks a bit under pressure, even when he knows it's coming. Maye can be excellent as an improviser, but typically those looks come against four-man rush scenarios where he has a much better feel for pass-rush lanes and escape angles. When defenses dialed up pressure or got exotic, Maye often looked rushed and out of control. He is young, with just two years of starting experience — the more he plays the more I am confident he irons this out.

  • Desire to freelance and make big plays leads to turnovers and poor decisions. A lot of the same red flags I see with Caleb Williams I see with Maye as well. I would love to see him prioritizing playing within structure, throwing in rhythm and paying attention to the small details of QB play. This would help him eliminate some really ugly turnovers and likely clean up some of those accuracy issues as well.

Final Points

In Maye, we have yet another great QB prospect with elite physical traits but has lagging skills when it comes to the intricacies of playing the QB position. I see Carson Wentz when I watch Maye. Unfortunately, Wentz could never consistently elevate his game and overcome some of those clear deficiencies. Maye, however, is young and moldable, and given the circumstances at UNC, I think it is fair to assume some developmental runway will not only be necessary, but good for him. Landing in a situation similar to Patrick Mahomes, where he can sit for a year, would be awesome for him. Unfortunately, the likely draft capital needed to secure him will likely lead him to the field early, if not immediately. For me, he scores as a top-4 QB in a very talented QB class who is worthy of a top-5 pick, considering the importance of the position.

Bo
Nix
Senior
QB
Oregon
Ducks
Oregon Ducks Logo
Grades
Score Overall
88.1 23
Position Day
5 1
Score Position Day Overall
88.1 5 1 23
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 1 6/8" Weight: 214 lbs
Hands: 10 Arms: 31
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 1 6/8" Hands: 10 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 214 lbs Arms: 31 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 1 6/8" Hands: 10 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 214 lbs Arms: 31 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • Heisman Trophy Finalist (2023)

  • Davey O’Brien Award Finalist (2023) Semi-Finalist (2022)

  • Maxwell Award Finalist (2023) Semi-Finalist (2022)

  • Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year (2023)

  • Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year (2023)

  • 61 career starts, most all-time by an FBS QB

  • NCAA Single-Season Completion Percentage Record Holder

  • 2nd in total yards in NCAA history (16,965 yards)

Strengths
  • Enters NFL as an experienced vet. Nix started 61 games in college and amassed over 2000 dropbacks and over 400 rushing attempts. He will have significantly more playing experience than a good chunk of current NFL starters (NFL stats included). Similarly to Jayden Daniels, there is a clear-cut developmental track record here with Nix and while it is easy to point at the age as a concern, his proven ability to keep getting better slightly offsets that. I hate to call out the low-hanging fruit here, but it would not surprise me if Nix had a similar start to his career as Brock Purdy, who was another QB with a ton of experience.

  • NFL arm with compact throwing motion. He isn’t going to light the world on fire with his arm, but he definitely has enough juice to make most throws, especially when in structure. His throwing motion is short and whippy, allowing him to quickly get the ball out.

  • Checks a lot of the QB-centric boxes. Starting with his ability to keep his offense on schedule, Nix is an actual quarterback. He understands the system in which he plays and how to stay ahead of the chains. He gets through progressions decisively and quickly capitalizes on what the defense gives him. He plays with timing and rhythm and consistently gets the ball out once his back foot hits the top of this drop.

  • Creative playmaking ability. You can make an argument that Nix is a more accurate thrower when on the move. He is an underrated athlete and is capable of extending plays with his legs and keeps his eyes on his receivers with the intention of throwing before running. He is a good enough athlete to have the occasional QB run drawn up for him and should be a consistent chain mover with his legs. Once in the red zone, his athleticism and grit make him a legit touchdown threat — he’s got 20 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons on his resume.

  • Excellent pocket management. Aided by a quick-hitting, screen/RPO-heavy offense at Oregon, Nix almost never took sacks. He feels pressure naturally, stays calm, cool, and collected, and understands how to reset his OL and take away rush lanes.

Weaknesses
  • Fraudulent production profile. Over 100 of Nix’s attempts in each of the past two seasons were screen passes. Almost half of his throws came within 5 yards of the LOS or shallower. No quarterback in the class benefited from RAC opportunities more than Nix.

  • Accuracy and ball location need to get better. This is by far Nix’s biggest issue. He is not an accurate thrower at this point, which seems absolutely bonkers to say, considering his completion percentage numbers the past two seasons on some serious volume. So while he doesn’t outright miss a lot, his ball location is a serious problem, and you have to wonder how different things would be if he played in a system that didn’t give him a ton of layups. Even his throws into the intermediate level were often schemed with guys running to space with free access. He routinely would leave those throws on the back shoulder or in the dirt, requiring the pass catcher to disrupt their catch-run transition.

  • Too conservative of a decision-maker. Nix was borderline allergic to throwing into congested windows over the middle of the field. In fact, in all of his 2023 tape, I think I found two MOF throws at the intermediate level that featured a pass catcher who wasn’t wide open. Most offenses in the NFL attack the intermediate MOF at a higher frequency than any other space. Nix will have to develop his game here. On the bright side, you will be able to trust him to protect the football.

Final Points

In a very good QB class, Nix presents himself as an entirely different flavor than the rest. He is experienced, conservative, and efficient, but will leave a little meat on the bone in terms of output. I do think he has the necessary foundational skills and resume to be a relatively high draft pick in a normal QB class. This class, unfortunately, has some standouts, and trying to predict where Nix will go in the actual draft is a very hard proposition. With that said, he scores as clear first-round pick for me, and for QB needy teams, he starts to have some value around pick 15 in the draft. He scored as a better prospect for me than Will Levis, who was the 2nd pick of the 2nd round last year.

Michael
Penix Jr.
Senior
QB
Washington
Huskies
Washington Huskies Logo
Grades
Score Overall
87.3 27
Position Day
6 2
Score Position Day Overall
87.3 6 2 27
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 216 lbs
Hands: 10.5 Arms: 33.63
40 YD Dash: -- 10 YD Split: --
Vertical: -- Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' 2" Hands: 10.5 40 YD Dash: --
Weight: 216 lbs Arms: 33.63 10 YD Split: --
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
Height: 6' 2" Hands: 10.5 40 YD Dash: -- Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 216 lbs Arms: 33.63 10 YD Split: -- Vertical: -- Shuttle: --
The Story
  • National Champion Runner-Up (2023)

  • Heisman Trophy Finalist (2023)

  • Maxwell Award Winner (2023)

  • Walter Camp Player of the Year Award Finalist (2023)

  • 2nd Team All-American (2023)

  • AP Comeback Player of the Year Award (2022)

Strengths
  • Timing and rhythm passer. Penix is a true throwback pocket passer. He operates the offense the way it’s drawn up. He gets through progressions quickly and confidently and almost always gets the ball out on time. He has shown the ability to throw with anticipation at times. He also has no problem getting to his checkdown and generally taking what the defense gives him.

  • Tight, compact throwing mechanics. Penix has a really nice throwing motion that, in theory, should make way for consistent accuracy. It also contributes to playing on time and within the structure of the offense.

  • Excellent arm. Penix can ramp up velocity with just a short little flick. He has the ability to hit throws anywhere on the field and has shown the arm strength and accuracy to dominate tight window throws. His resume of jaw-droppers rivals any other QB in the class.

  • Has an advanced degree in pocket management. Penix is a master at diagnosing pressure looks and keeping himself clean. He is great about using subtle pocket movements to keep the integrity of the pocket intact and, for the most part, does so while keeping a ready base for quick delivery. He almost never gets sacked.

Weaknesses
  • Ball location can suffer at times. Penix is a very talented passer but, for whatever reason, has bouts of inconsistency with his accuracy. There are a lot of outright misses on his tape and another large bucket of completed balls that I would deem poor ball location. Usually, his misses happen because of either an open stance working back to his left, where he leaves his front foot behind, or when he opens his base extra wide in preparation for a throw he knows is going to require some extra oomph.

  • Way too willing to put up YOLO balls. When you get to throw the ball to Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, or Ja’Lynn Polk, I suppose it would be easy to have an unreasonable amount of trust in them to make it happen at the catch point. I have a top-5 overall grade on Odunze and day 2 grades on McMillan and Polk. This is a bad habit, though, and won’t bode well for him if it continues in the NFL.

  • No creative element to his game. In six years and 50 starts of college football, Penix had only 265 yards rushing. Furthermore, he physically cannot throw while on the run. When he tried, the result was bad almost every time. He seems to know his limitations, though, and basically comes to a complete stop before throwing when on the move. All of this is increasingly frustrating when you see the insane workout he had at his pro-day (ran a 4.54 40).

  • Extreme injury history. Two season-ending ACL tears while at Indiana and a slew of others of the less serious variety. As a result, Penix is on the older side and will be a 24-year-old rookie.

Final Points

Michael Penix Jr. might be the best pure pocket passer in this draft. He is fully on the Jared Goff and CJ Stroud spectrum of players. (The lefty version, at least.) He definitely isn’t as consistently accurate as those guys were, but the three of them all win the same way — playing in structure with great arm talent, throwing in rhythm from the pocket with anticipation when needed. I do think Penix has some limitations to his game which ultimately is the driving force behind not scoring as the level prospect Goff (1st overall pick) and Stroud (2nd overall pick) were. With that said, the quarterback position is so extremely important, and even though I technically don’t have a 1st-round grade on Penix, I have no problem with a team pulling the trigger sometime in the 20s. In this class, I have only 17 1st-round grades.

Spencer
Rattler
Senior
QB
South Carolina
Gamecocks
South Carolina Gamecocks Logo
Grades
Score Overall
80.2 67
Position Day
7 2
Score Position Day Overall
80.2 7 2 67
Measurables & Drills
Height: 6' Weight: 211 lbs
Hands: 9.88 Arms: 31
40 YD Dash: 4.95 10 YD Split: 1.63
Vertical: 32 Broad: --
Shuttle: -- Cone: --
Height: 6' Hands: 9.88 40 YD Dash: 4.95
Weight: 211 lbs Arms: 31 10 YD Split: 1.63
Broad: -- Cone: --
Vertical: 32 Shuttle: --
Height: 6' Hands: 9.88 40 YD Dash: 4.95 Broad: -- Cone: --
Weight: 211 lbs Arms: 31 10 YD Split: 1.63 Vertical: 32 Shuttle: --
The Story
  • Senior Bowl MVP (2023)

  • Team Captain (2022, 2023)

  • National Freshman of the Year (2020)

  • Freshman All-American (2020)

  • Consensus No. 1 QB recruit in 2019 class

Strengths
  • Plus arm talent. Rattler is a talented thrower of the football. He can comfortably attack all three levels of the field from the wide hash and out-throw safeties converging late. Against Florida this past season, he completed a ball that traveled 55+ yards in the air while throwing off his back foot, falling backward, and taking a hit. He has a distinct ability to ramp up velocity when needed. I would say he has a full bag of clubs at his disposal and can adjust his release point to layer the ball in as needed.

  • Ability to create out of structure. He has excellent short-area quickness to evade and is capable of side-stepping defenders with ease, extending the play. He understands how to climb the pocket and when to extend with his legs. On the move, he has a variety of arm slots he can throw from to fit the ball around defenders. He will likely never have designed QB run opportunities in the NFL, but has a good feel for scrambling for positive yards and can move the chains on occasion.

  • Accurate from clean pockets. When everything is right, Rattler is a pretty accurate thrower with solid ball location. Most of his misses have come when things break down around him or from the illusion of pressure.

Weaknesses
  • Eyes are slow to work through progressions. Processing is really something Rattler struggles with and is his Achilles heel. He is late to come off his WR1 and missed loads of opportunities. Oftentimes he resorted to forcing the ball into tight windows. On routes working back across the face, he would often leave the ball behind the receiver, and in my opinion, this was a result of seeing it late. In the South Carolina offense, he has reps on tape going through full-field reads, which is a good thing and perhaps a sign he can get better here, but he left a lot of meat on the bone.

  • See-it, throw-it passer. He sometimes has a very slow trigger and doesn’t have a lot of anticipatory throws on tape. As a former Lincoln Riley disciple, that doesn’t surprise me. With his arm talent and accuracy from a clean pocket, you would love to see him trust the concept and let it rip, especially on those in-breaking routes that need good timing.

  • Pocket management is a roller coaster experience. At times, you see Rattler properly feel pressure and slide/climb to reset his protection. But more often than not, we get an undisciplined Rattler who drifts too deep, exposing his tackles. He will also unnecessarily slide outside the top of his drop, which also gives opposing DLs favorable angles for pursuit.

  • Older prospect. The only reason this is a negative is because you just have to wonder how much more development he has in him. At the quarterback position, I am not really bothered by this and tend to think his nearly 50 starts are a good thing.

Final Points

Rattler hits the NFL draft as a very experienced, veteran quarterback with nearly 50 starts under his belt. He has played in two very different offensive schemes in two very different football conferences and has seen a lot. His experience, arm talent, and creative ability make him a very intriguing day-2 option. Rattler could be attractive for competitive teams looking to bolster their quarterback room with a developmental backup who could play as a rookie. And teams like the Patriots or Raiders, who have bridge quarterbacks under contract but might not feel ready to add a top pick at the position, might be interested in taking a swing on Rattler and hoping he turns into a solid starter. There are definitely enough deficiencies in Rattler’s game to leave me a little skittish, but the recent track record of very experienced college quarterbacks like Brock Purdy and Aidan O’Connell not looking overwhelmed as rookies likely elevates his standing. I think Rattler has more raw talent than both of those guys. Officially, he scores as a mid to late day-2 pick for me.