Monday, April 22, 2024
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2024 NFL Combine: What QB prospects said about meeting with Patriots, Giants, other teams with top draft picks

The NFL Scouting Combine is as much about getting to know the players in an upcoming draft class as people as much as it is about seeing how fast they can run or how high they can jump.

That intangible component of player evaluation is of the utmost importance, especially with the quarterback position since a team’s starting quarterback naturally assumes a significant leadership position for any NFL franchise. With that in mind, here is what some of the 2024 NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects said about their initial impressions with some of the league’s quarterback-needy teams. 

Chicago Bears (No. 1 overall pick)

“The Bears were a 7-10 (team), and that’s pretty good for a team that has the first pick,” Williams said Friday. “They got a good defense. They got good players on offense. It’s pretty exciting if you can go into a situation like that.”

After having a chance to meet Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles, Williams’ impression of them was “awesome.”

“I spoke more about ball and things like that because the interviews are so short. So it was more about them getting to know me, getting to test my mental, what I know, the base things of what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL.”

The Bears have never had a quarterback throw for 4,000 yards in season, so naturally Williams was asked about his confidence in Chicago’s ability to develop him.

“Whole lot of dominant quarterback play? No. Not at all,” Williams said when asked about Chicago’s quarterback history. “I don’t compare myself to the other guys that are there or have been there. I think I’m my own player. I tend to like to create history and rewrite history. … Ten minutes is difficult to figure out if they’re going to be able to develop you. I enjoyed the meeting. It was a good meeting, but 10 minutes or so it’s pretty difficult [to say].”

Williams isn’t even willing to contemplate the idea that he won’t be the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“It’s not a thought in my mind,” he said. “I don’t think I’m not going to be No. 1. I put in all the hard work, all of the time, effort, energy into being that. I don’t think of a Plan B. That’s kind of how I do things in my life. I don’t think of a Plan B. Stay on Plan A and then when things don’t work out find a way to make Plan A work.”

The Bears haven’t won a playoff game since the 2010 season, so of course Williams has just one question about Chicago.

“Just do you want to win? That is it,” he said.

“Watching Chicago, Cole Kmet is a great tight end. You got DJ Moore, who played [for the Panthers], I was a big Panthers fan growing up, so watching DJ,” Maye said Friday. “The ability to play in those cold weather games, and they always have a great defense. … Yeah, the Bears, shoot, great sports town. Chicago’s about as good as it gets, so, just got in there, let ’em know who I am. I don’t think they knew much about me. Just show them what I’ve got and who I am and kind of speak on some of the plays and some of the tape.”

Maye cautioned people about analyzing players “based off the helmet” when he was asked about potentially following in the footsteps of another North Carolina quarterback who was taken high in the draft by Chicago in Mitch Trubisky.

“Yeah, Mitch, shoot, he had some great years with Chicago,” Maye said. “Especially had that one year, I remember him making the playoffs and playing well. You know, I think a lot of people, they analyze based off the helmet. I think we’re different players and different people. But at the same time, a big fan of Mitch.”

“Been great, formal interview, it was awesome watching tape with them going over our plays a little bit, and they got me up on the board to retain some information and we did pretty well, so it was awesome,” McCarthy said, via transcript.

Washington Commanders (No. 2 overall pick)

“It’s familiar,” Williams said of playing for the Commanders, as he attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. “It’s hometown as everybody knows. It would be really cool to be back there and experience that. The meeting went really well. Everybody was in the room. Being around everybody and getting a taste of how they are, who they are because everything is new there.” 

“First with Coach Quinn, it was great to meet and we clicked right off the bat,” Maye said Friday. “He is a great guy. Great coach with the stuff he has done with the Cowboys over the past couple of years has been pretty special. Coach [Tavita] Pritchard (the Commanders QB coach) recruited me in high school from Stanford, so he got to know me a little bit. Coach [Kliff] Kingsbury knows my offensive coordinator for college, so we got a lot of connections.”

“With them, it was just how cool the whole staff was,” Daniels said Friday. “Obviously Dan Quinn, Kliff Kingsbury and all those types of guys. Just being able to sit in there and get to know people. You see them on TV and see everybody coaching. Behind the scenes, to be able to just have a conversation, that’s just the coolest part for me.”

“Just the overall energy,” McCarthy said Friday when asked about what stood out about his Commanders interview. “It was my first one, so I was like super nervous I’m not going to lie. I was sweating a little bit. Coach Quinn was just awesome. I got to talk to Mr. Peters (Washington’s general manager) right before the meeting. Just a great vibe, very welcoming. Going through clips and everything. Coach Kliff Kingsbury was just like, ‘Hey, if you get a matchup out here and you really like it, could you just switch it to a go on the outside?’ I told him ‘I wish.’ Just little stuff like that. It was just great to meet them. Great to talk ball with them. I had a lot of fun doing it.”

“I feel confident in all meetings,” Penix said Friday. “I felt confident going in to it, and I felt confident walking away. I was super excited to meet with every team that I was able to meet with. The Washington Commanders, it was a good meeting.”

For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on “With the First Pick” — our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find “With the First Pick” wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, etc. Listen to the latest episode below!

New England Patriots (No. 3 overall pick)

“The Patriots were cool,” Williams said, via transcript. “The room wasn’t as packed. They had just a few guys here. And we talked mainly about ball. It was a good impression. They were asking me questions about my life, about ball and testing me and things like that. So, all of the meetings were good. And they were all kind of in the same ballpark. They don’t really get to see you and test your mental, so this quick 10, 20 minutes that they have, that’s what they’re mainly trying to do to get out of you.”

“Yeah, I was really impressed with them,” Maye said, via transcript. “Coach Mayo, I first congratulated him. Anytime you become a new head coach is a pretty cool experience. So, just being in there, and New England is obviously a great sports town, and to meet with them, I thought it went well. I think New England’s a great spot. All of these teams have got a great spot.”

“It would be dope,” Daniels said Friday when asked about playing for the Patriots. “Obviously growing up and seeing what Tom Brady did there, six Super Bowls. That’s tough to live up to. It would be dope to come in there, seeing the success they had, and help them get back on track.”

“Yes sir I have, and they were amazing,” McCarthy said Friday. “Coach Mayo, just an awesome guy. Asked me really great questions. You can definitely tell he has been around this process a long time and been a part of it. It was just great interactions again. It would be an honor to be a part of their organization.” 

New York Giants (No. 6 overall pick)

“Yeah, it was good in there,” Maye said, via transcript. “Meeting with Coach Daboll, big fan of him, offensive mind, one of the best. So, it’s just getting in there, getting to know those guys, Mr. [Joe] Schoen. So, it was good in there.”

“It was fun,” Daniels said Friday. “Going there and being able to talk football, they handed me the clicker and we were just talking ball. It’s always fun. I love football. I’m very passionate about it. Whenever I get to talk ball, I love it. . … Just how energetic the coaching staff was. They were just going in and getting to know me as a person. They were very excited about that.” 

“I really loved how I drew up a play that I could run against, or run in every situation: third down, fourth down, first and second, all that good stuff, and then know the coaches were kind of changing my verbiage and making it their own,” McCarthy said via transcript. “It was really nice to kind of, like, get a feel of, you know, what that offense would be like, and it was actually a lot more similar.”

Atlanta Falcons (No. 8 overall pick)

“Getting a new regime in there and being able to go out there, I love Atlanta,” Daniels said Friday. “Atlanta is a great city. Obviously going out there, they have some great weapons on the offensive side of the ball. They are on the up and up.”

Minnesota Vikings (No. 11 overall pick)

“Yessir, formal. It went amazing,” McCarthy said, via transcript. “[Head] Coach [Kevin] O’Connell led the whole thing and just being able to see him in person he was a lot taller than I thought. [Quarterbacks] coach [Josh] McCown and just everything about what they were talking about, everything about what they want out of a quarterback is something that aligns with what I want. Just being able to get on the board with them, have them go through their plays, it was something really special and I enjoyed it.”

“It was great,” Penix said Friday. “I feel like that’s a good organization over there. They show a lot of good things, got a lot of good players as well. I felt very confident in that meeting.”

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Denver Broncos (No. 12 overall pick)

“It was awesome meeting with Coach Payton,” Maye said, via transcript. “I think any time you have one of the great offensive minds in there — you know, meeting with him was pretty cool, and [QB coach] Davis Webb, he seemed right off the bat, seemed like one of the great quarterback coaches to play for. It was just fun being in there with those guys, getting that experience. And [running back] Javonte Williams is a Carolina guy out there in Denver.”

“Sean Payton, obviously what he did in New Orleans, I was down the road, so a lot of people still talk about those days. Daniels said. “To be able to see the offensive mind that he is, the guru. Just being able to like I said, sit in there and talk football with everybody.”

“The energy with [QB] Coach [Davis] Webb, [offensive coordinator] Coach [Joe] Lombardi, it was really great to be in that room with them and go through tape,” McCarthy said Friday. “It was honestly a really fun time. It was a blessing to pick their brains a little bit and have them shoot me questions left and right. I really enjoyed it. … A fellow Illinois guy [head coach Sean Payton], it would absolutely be an honor to play for him. Everything about this process has been so great. Any team that selects me, it would be an honor.”

“Oh man, it was an interesting meeting,” Penix said Friday. “It was different than the others. I felt good. … Playing for Coach Sean Payton, that would be special. He is a great coach, one of the best in the game. To be able to learn from him would be special. … They were tough. They pulled up a lot of bad plays. It’s good because at the next level it’s hard. It’s hard to win. I understand that. In ways, they were probably trying to see how I reacted to those bad plays. If I could take accountability and stuff like that. I’m always going to do that. I’m always going to put others before me. I’m going to be honest about everything.”

“Not going to get into specifics, another team really powerful, really strong running in the right direction,” Nix said. “Obviously got good respect for him [head coach Sean Payton] and what he has done and probably continue to do. …  Along with many other special coaches, he’s [Payton] one of them in the game. To be able to learn from him or anyone on that level would be fun. It would be a unique time and process.”

Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13 overall pick)

“Yeah, it went well,” Maye said, via transcript. “I first congratulate Coach Pierce on what a great job he did this past year. So much respect for him for earning the right of the guys and the nod from the program is a pretty cool experience. Yeah, it went well in there. Just getting to meet some of those guys and watch some film with me. Some good plays, some bad plays. So, we’ve got it all.” 

“It was great,” Daniels said, via The Athletic. “Obviously going in there I already knew Coach Antonio Pierce [Arizona State’s recruiting coordinator when Daniels went to ASU], but just overall meeting the whole staff, meeting everybody, it was a great energy. Just being able to sit down and talk ball. … My time with A.P. … He is who he is. People see it now, but he was the same when I was in high school weighing 150 pounds. He believed in me. He recruited me. He gave me an opportunity. Our relationship goes beyond football.”

“I have met with them, met with them on the second day, so I believe that was Wednesday,” McCarthy said, via transcript. “It went really well. You know, loved all the coaches, they just have great energy, great questions, great interaction. It would mean a lot to play with those guys, but it would mean a lot to play with any one of the great players in the NFL, but it was awesome. … Amazing dude [head coach Antonio Pierce]. Just asked so many great questions. Definitely somebody I can see myself playing for.”

“A lot of guys speak highly about Coach A.P. [Antonio Pierce] and the things he’s able to do,” Penix said Friday. “I was able to see him and meet him, pretty cool guy.”

“Really good visit, really great organization, doing some good powerful things right now,” Nix said, via transcript. “Not going to get to much into detail. I do think there are a lot of great places out there right now, everyone is working really hard not only to get better on the field but to build relationships. Really use this process to the best of their ability.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 26 overall pick)

“I have. Formal. Amazing, once again, great interactions, great guys,” McCarthy said, via transcript. “It would be a blessing to be able to play for them.”

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at CBSSports.com, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects

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