Saturday, May 25, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Ranking J.J. McCarthy, other first-round QB picks based on college performance formula

How a college football expert ranks the historic group of six first-round quarterbacks in 2024

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A historic six quarterbacks were selected in the first 12 picks of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday, tying a draft record. It’s the fewest overall picks for six quarterbacks selected in NFL Draft history. 

The six selections were as follows:

  • Round 1, Pick 1: Caleb Williams, USC (Chicago Bears)
  • Round 1, Pick 2: Jayden Daniels, LSU (Washington Commanders)
  • Round 1, Pick 3: Drake Maye, North Carolina (New England Patriots)
  • Round 1, Pick 8: Michael Penix Jr., Washington (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Round 1, Pick 10: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Round 1, Pick 12: Bo Nix, Oregon (Denver Broncos)

That’s how the NFL teams rank a sterling crop of collegiate quarterbacks, but how about me

In 2012, I created a formula that I hoped would predict a quarterback’s success in making the jump from college to the NFL. It’s not perfect, but it can be helpful. The formula rates quarterbacks on throwing ability, not rushing. It’s broken down into three categories: against top-50 defenses, third-and-long/fourth-down situations and the red zone. After shoving all those numbers into the machine, it spits out a score for each player. That score is then taken and compared to the average score of the quarterback class being graded, which is added to the list of all the quarterbacks rated in the past.

Here’s how those six quarterbacks rank in what we call the Fornelli Rating:

Rank Quarterback School Fornelli Rating 2023 Stats
1 Caleb Williams USC 8.98% 3,633 yards, 30 TD, 5 INT
2 J.J. McCarthy Michigan 7.64% 2,991 yards, 22 TD, 4 INT
3 Jayden Daniels LSU 2.93% 3,812 yards, 40 TD, 4 INT
4 Bo Nix Oregon 1.84% 4,508 yards, 45 TD, 3 INT
5 Drake Maye North Carolina 0.25% 3,608 yards, 24 TD, 9 INT
6 Michael Penix Washington -0.26% 4,903 yards, 36 TD, 11 INT

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