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NFL Draft: Six QBs taken in first round

Nothing excites an NFL fanbase like their team selecting a potential franchise quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft. And that means a half-dozen fanbases were fired up this past week, as six teams grabbed a quarterback with their first-round pick in the draft. That includes each of the first three selections, led by former USC superstar – and now Chicago Bears cornerstone – Caleb Williams.

Let’s take a look at the six quarterbacks now expected to become the faces of their new NFL teams:

1-01 | Caleb Williams | USC | Chicago Bears

When the Bears got rid of Justin Fields – their starting quarterback in 2023 – this offseason, it paved the way for Williams to take over that job in 2024. The Heisman Trophy winner at USC in 2022 after throwing 42 touchdown passes with just five interceptions, Williams followed up that campaign by throwing for 30 touchdowns (again with just five interceptions) for the Trojans in 2023. With high-end receivers already on the roster, the Bears will be looking for Williams to succeed right away.

1-02 | Jayden Daniels | LSU | Washington Commanders

Washington will also be turning to a Heisman Trophy quarterback, taking Daniels second overall after he won the award in 2023 with LSU. Daniels had 40 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for the Tigers in 2023, and he also rushed for over 1,100 yards and 10 scores on the season. The Commanders did sign veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota in the offseason (while trading away Sam Howell), but they should give Daniels every chance to win the starter’s job from the get-go this year.

1-03 | Drake Maye | North Carolina | New England Patriots

Like the Bears, the Patriots also cleared out their incumbent at quarterback this offseason – they parted ways with Mac Jones – in order to make room for a first-round QB to take over as their starter. That QB is Maye, who threw for 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns for North Carolina last season. Those numbers were down from his 2022 stats (4,300 yards and 38 touchdowns), but the Patriots still opted to take him at No. 3 overall in the draft. Jacoby Brissett is set to push him as the team’s other QB option.

1-08 | Michael Penix Jr. | Washington | Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons were NOT expected to take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick, as they shelled out huge dollars to bring in veteran QB Kirk Cousins this offseason. That made the selection of Washington’s Penix in that spot a real shocker. Finishing second behind Daniels in the Heisman Trophy voting last season (4,900 yards passing and 36 touchdowns), Penix will be second behind Cousins on the quarterback depth chart for the Falcons for the foreseeable future barring an injury to the veteran.

1-10 | J.J. McCarthy | Michigan | Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings lost Cousins to the Falcons in free agency this offseason, then brought in Sam Darnold as a fallback at the position. However, at No. 10 overall in the draft Minnesota went with McCarthy, who finished 10th in Heisman Trophy voting last season with Michigan after throwing for 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Whether McCarthy can outplay Darnold for the team’s starting QB job in 2024 remains to be seen, but having Justin Jefferson around will greatly help his development.

1-12 | Bo Nix | Oregon | Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ offseason quarterback upheaval continued when they selected Nix at No. 12 overall, making it six quarterbacks selected in the NFL Draft’s first 12 picks. Russell Wilson was cut loose and ended up in Pittsburgh but the team has both Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson to compete with Nix, who was third in Heisman Trophy voting for Oregon last season (4,500 yards and 45 touchdowns). Broncos head coach Sean Payton will be looking to work his magic with Nix in 2024.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.