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Ranking top 5 NFL rookie quarterbacks by who will be most productive in 2024, with a surprise at No. 5

We had six quarterbacks selected in the first top 12 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, the first time that’s happened in NFL history. Selecting who will be the most productive at the position was not easy.Β 

These are the five quarterbacks who’ll be most productive in Year 1 in the NFL.Β 

I’m starting with an inclusion of Rattler in the his article because I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that the Saints give Rattler an opportunity in 2024. What about Derek Carr, you ask? Of course he’s the established, veteran starter, but there were some ghastly lows in his debut Saints season. Essentially, if Carr doesn’t improve from a pedestrian season this fall, it would behoove the Saints coaching staff, likely on the hot seat, to try every possible option at the game’s most vital position in 2024. I also don’t love that New Orleans essentially added nothing of substance to the receiver room this offseason.Β 

And Rattler has game. He’s a low-level athlete, but in the pocket, from Oklahoma to South Carolina, Rattler demonstrated the arm talent that made him the No. 1 pro-style quarterback recruit in the class of 2019.Β 

With outings against the Cowboys, Eagles, and Chiefs within the first five weeks of the season, if New Orleans is super slow out of the gate, I could envision a scenario in which the Saints give Rattler a shot as a rookie.Β 

Could Sam Darnold start the season in Minnesota? Absolutely. Is it a guarantee? No. And even if he does beat McCarthy in a summertime camp battle, there’s a low-percentage chance Darnold simply starts the entire season.Β 

McCarthy is young, and I have faith in Minnesota’s brain trust. They’ll be smart with him. But this isn’t some green, inexperienced passer. He started 38 games at Michigan. And the physical capabilities jumped off the film, which speaks to why he was a top-12 selection in April. For as much as Kevin O’Connell will want his quarterback to strictly operate within his system, McCarthy has more natural talent, thereby giving O’Connell a thicker playbook theoretically.Β 

And it’s not as if McCarthy operated some gimmicky system at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh. McCarthy should still start right around double-digit games in 2024, and even if you weren’t completely sold on his skill set, there’s no doubting the supporting cast in Minnesota is spectacular.Β 

Nix and Sean Payton are a match made in football schematic heaven. We probably should’ve seen the Russell Wilson experiment in Denver failing right when Payton was hired.Β 

Wilson’s ad-libbing speciality didn’t gel with Payton’s structured, quick-passing philosophy, yet the long-time head coach did squeeze quality statistics from Wilson in 2023. His yards-per-attempt average was low (6.9), yet he completed 66% of his passes with 26 touchdowns to a mere eight interceptions.Β 

Nix should be an extension of Payton’s offensive ideas on the field. He’ll do what’s asked of him and will avoid sacks, which was an issue for Wilson last year. His pressure-to-sack rate was 20.6%. In 2023 at Oregon, Nix’s was 7.6%. Do I think Nix will erupt in his debut professional season? No, I don’t. His genuine accuracy wasn’t nearly as impressive as his 77.4% completion rate, as the Ducks offense was extraordinarily screen-heavy.Β 

But it’s not as if Payton is going to ask Nix to take repeated downfield shots. The uber-experienced quarterback should be able to make quick, smart decisions and have a steady Year 1 in Denver.Β 

I teetered back-and-forth with the No. 1 spot, but Daniels does ultimately finish precisely how the draft went a few months ago. He may have a higher rookie-year ceiling than Williams mostly based on the fact that he could be chasing more leads than his NFC rookie quarterback counterpart.Β 

But Washington’s offensive line is still a work in progress for first-year GM Adam Peters, and for as dynamic of a runner and general improviser as Daniels is — and he’s the most electric athlete at the position to enter the league since Robert Griffin III — he has a tendency to take many sacks, which is part of why I don’t believe he’ll be quite as productive overall as Williams in Chicago. Stock up for Terry McLaurin, but the rest of the Commanders receiver group doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that it can help a rookie quarterback’s develop right away.Β 

Don’t get me wrong though: Daniels should make plenty of ridiculous plays with his legs and with his arm from inside and outside the pocket as a rookie.Β 

That receiver trio for Williams is probably the best for a No. 1 quarterback in his first season in NFL history. I love the diversity of the skill sets in Chicago, too. Williams has a winner at all three levels of the field, assuming Rome Odunze’s downfield speciality instantly translates to the professional game.Β 

Plus, Chicago’s offensive line has been built over the past two offseasons, and the defense played stingy football down the stretch in 2023. The Bears have a true No. 1 outside rusher in Montez Sweat, a lockdown corner in Jaylon Johnson and plenty of athleticism at safety and linebacker.Β 

In short, Williams won’t feel the need to force throws into tight coverage at a high rate because the Bears are trailing 17-0 in the second quarter often. Then again, if he sees a big opportunity when the Bears are trailing, he has the ability to crank the velocity and plays with surgical accuracy. He’ll also make plenty of defenders look silly when manufacturing outside the pocket.Β 

A stellar rookie season is ahead for the No. 1 overall pick in the Windy City.Β 

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Author: Chris Trapasso
June 24, 2024 | 10:35 am

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