Friday, May 24, 2024
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2024 NFL Draft: Best fits for remaining QB prospects, including Spencer Rattler, Jordan Travis, Michael Pratt

The quarterback has always been the best most valuable position in football, and perhaps all of of sports, and the NFL’s 32 teams have never made that fact more clear than they did in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft Thursday night. 

The 2024 first round made the following quarterback draft history according to CBS Sports Research: 

  • First draft with four quarterbacks in the first eight picks 
  • First draft with five quarterbacks in the first 10 picks
  • First draft with six quarterbacks in the top 12
  • Draft with shortest span of picks for six quarterbacks at any point in a draft (previous mark: 20 picks in 1992 from picks 211-230)

However, a number of teams still didn’t come away with a new quarterback to develop, whether that’s to play right away or sit and cook for a little while. Some of the NFL squad who could still be suitors for new passers to add to their depth charts could be the New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams to name a few. 

Here is a closer look at seven of the top remaining midround options with a brief scouting report and possible NFL team fit. 

All QB measurables are from the NFL Scouting Combine

  • Height: 6-0 | Weight: 211 pounds
  • Hand Size: 9 7/8″
  • Accolades/notable statistics: 2024 Senior Bowl MVP (4-4, 65 pass yards including 29-yard pass TD to UGA WR Marcus Rosemy Jacksaint)

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler is the clear-cut top quarterback talent remaining as the 2024 draft shifts to the second round. He was the high school class of 2019’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback, per 247 Sports. Rattler possesses a quick release and one of the better deep passing skill sets in the draft. His arm talent is powerful enough to where he can still connect on throws downfield even when his feet aren’t set, ditto for throwing on the run. 

The knocks are he is a touch undersized and with either sometimes force throws or take too many sacks. Rattler was sacked on 8.9% of his dropbacks in 2023, the 15th-worst rate in college football among 110 qualified quarterbacks in 2023. 

Potential fit: Seattle Seahawks

Rattler could learn behind Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith for a year or two and then take over after Smith’s contract expires following the 2025 season. Should Rattler show promise before then, Seattle could save $25 million in cap room by releasing Smith next offseason as he won’t have any guaranteed money left on his contract. 

The Seahawks receiver room is well-stocked with Pro Bowler DK Metcalf and 2023 first-round selection Jaxon Smith-Njigba. New Seattle offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb helped Michael Penix Jr. find new heights to his game with the Washington Huskies, and perhaps he could coax similar growth and success out of Rattler after a little bit of time to marinate in his system. 

  • Height: 6-2 1/2″ | Weight: 217 pounds
  • Hand Size: 9 1/4″
  • Accolades/notable statistics: 2023 AAC Offensive Player of the Year, Tulane all-time leader in pass yards (9,611), pass TD (90)

Michael Pratt helped lead the most successful two-year stretch of football in Tulane history with 12-2 2022 season that was capped off with a Cotton Bowl win over 2024 first overall draft quarterback Caleb Williams and USC plus an 11-3 campaign in 2023. Pratt threw an efficient 49 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions during the stretch, the 15th-best touchdown to interception ratio in the nation among 109 qualified in quarterbacks since 2022. That’s pretty, pretty good.

He has smooth throwing mechanics, and does a good job of throwing with anticipation regularly in order to connect with targets in a way that sets them up for yards after the catch. Pratt is decent at moving up in the pocket to duck the first wave of a pass rush despite not being a jaw-dropping athlete. The cons are his passes on average as far as the zip on them, and he struggles going deep if he can’t cleanly step into throws. Pratt will start his NFL career as a backup, but he may have the potential to be a starter if surrounded by the right supporting cast. 

Potential fit: Miami Dolphins

Neither Tua Tagovailoa nor Pratt are known for their arm talent, but both have found ways to succeed at high level despite that. The way both quarterbacks compensate for this knock is with football IQ and and middle-of-the-field, anticipatory throws. Tagovailoa enters the final year of his rookie deal in 2024, and he has history of injuries. Pratt could develop well under Mike McDaniel’s tutelage and potentially be ready to play if the worst happens with Tagovailoa. 

  • Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200 pounds
  • Hand Size: 9″
  • Accolades/notable statistics: Holds FSU career records for total offense (10,559) and total TD (97)

The College Football Playoff committee deemed Jordan Travis the most valuable player in college football by pointing to his season-ending leg injury as a key reason for leaving the undefeated ACC champion Florida State Seminoles out of the most recent four-team playoff bracket. Travis helped lead FSU to an 11-0 start before suffering a broken left leg against North Alabama. 

The 2023 First Team All-ACC quarterback’s athleticism is better than most thanks to his quick footwork that allows him to quickly roll out of the pocket to pass or run — his 1,910 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns are both the most in school history by a quarterback while his 31 rushing scores are the fourth-most in FSU history by any player. Travis is strong when throwing on the move with ideal touch down the field. He finished his collegiate career with 17 consecutive victories. 

The issues with him as a prospect are mostly physical. He is undersized in both height and weight, and he can rely too much on escaping the pocket to make a throw. Travis’ anticipation needs to improve. Plus, he turns 24 on May 2 and is coming off of a broken leg after playing six years of college football. 

Potential fit: Baltimore Ravens

Travis could do well to follow in Lamar Jackson’s footsteps when it comes to developing a higher comfort making throws from inside the pocket, particularly with anticipation and a heightened  football IQ. Jackson, a two-time NFL MVP, is obviously entrenched as the starter for the foreseeable future, but working in a quarterback room with Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Monken could serve Travis well. Perhaps he could flash in the preseason and/or in spots for Jackson and then find a chance to start elsewhere in the NFL.

  • Height: 6-2 | Weight: 206 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics: 2021 Honorable Mention All-CUSA, 54% comp pct, 40 pass TD, 33 INT in career

Hardison became University of Texas-El Paso’s starting quarterback in 2020, but he failed to put much on tape in his final collegiate season because he needed elbow surgery to fix a UCL ligament, just like San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy after the 2022 NFL season. The arm strength is there for Hardison, but he needs to improve in big way with anticipation and breaking down different coverages. He is at his best operating in a scheme that frequently utilizes run-pass option plays. 

The accuracy isn’t quite there, but he has a live arm. Hardison just needed to become more refined. 

Potential fit: Green Bay Packers

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Packers hosted Hardison for a visit back on April 17, and after seeing the work head coach and play-caller Matt LaFleur did in refining Jordan Love, Green Bay could be a landing spot for the UTEP alum. He of course would be brought in strictly to develop and push Sean Clifford for the backup quarterback job. Who knows, perhaps Hardison looks like a much different player after working in the Packers quarterback factory. 

  • Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics: 2022 SoCon Offensive Player of the Year (set school single-season pass TD record with 36)

After two years at Murray State and two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College, Michael Hiers broke out at Samford. He threw 36 touchdowns to only four interceptions in 2022, setting the school’s single-season record for passing scores en route to leading the Bulldogs to a Southern Conference title. 

Hiers is quick on his feet in the pocket, which is mostly good, but he could stand to chill out and not bounce around as much. Accuracy is strongest attribute, competing 76.6% of his passes in 2022 and 71.3% of his throws in 2023. He throws with touch over the middle of the field, but his ball security needs work. Hiers combined for 12 interceptions and 22 fumbles in two years at Samford. He isn’t a stunning athlete, but he has touch on his throws and his accurate. That could help keep Hiers’ football career going for a few more years. 

Potential fit: Cincinnati Bengals

Cincy’s roster is starting to get expensive with quarterback Joe Burrow on the biggest contract in the NFL from an average-per-year standpoint (five years, $275 million), and Ja’Marr Chase’s extension looming on the horizon. Backup quarterback Jake Browning, who started seven games after Burrow’s season-ending injury, is in a contract year in 2024. Hiers could be a cheap backup option who could learn a few things from Burrow and head coach/play-caller Zac Taylor. An accurate backup is ideal, and Hiers is that. 

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