QB Draft Rumors: Penix, Maye, Rattler

The most common predictions we’ve been seeing for the 2024 NFL Draft are that the day will start with a run of four quarterback selections and that those four quarterbacks will be USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. The passer projected to be selected after those four, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., has continuously been linked to the Raiders, and as we approach the big day, that heat continues to produce smoke.

According to Matt Miller of ESPN, Penix to Las Vegas is a rumor he has been constantly hearing from sources he trusts. The Raiders were linked early in the process with Daniels, as the LSU-transfer is familiar with new head coach Antonio Pierce from the two’s time together at Arizona State. In order to draft him, though, the Raiders would need to trade up from No. 13 overall to select Daniels before one or more of the teams with picks two through four has a chance to. Despite doing their due diligence on the situation, it doesn’t appear that the Raiders have the assets to make such a move.

Instead, they have seemingly zeroed in on Penix. Some have classified this as a surprise, since many don’t have a first-round draft grade on the left-handed passer. To be frank, though, many teams don’t seem to have a first-round draft grade on the controversial McCarthy, either. With the projected run of quarterbacks to open the night, though, it’s widely expected that passers initially projected as second- and third-round quarterbacks like McCarthy, Penix, and Oregon’s Bo Nix could easily hear their names on the first day of the draft. As we get closer and closer to that day, it continues to seem likely that, some way or another, Penix will be a Raider in 2024.

Here are a couple other rumors concerning the draft’s quarterbacks:

  • Speaking of passers who some don’t consider a first-rounder, Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post shared the thoughts of a league general manager who called Maye “the biggest wild card in” the draft. According to that executive, “Some guys love him and think he could end up the best QB in this class, and some legitimately think he’s a mid-round pick.”
  • Part of the reason for the apparent dichotomy around Maye’s draft stock is due to the drop in production from the former Tar Heel’s sophomore year to his most recent junior season. Maye had a lower completion percentage while passing for 713 fewer yards, 14 fewer touchdowns, and two more interceptions in two fewer games this year. Some attribute that to the loss of weapons to the NFL and injury, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network points to a different reason. Reportedly, Maye was dealing with a couple injuries throughout the year including an ankle injury and an AC sprain in his left shoulder. He didn’t use it as an excuse, but the limitations showed up on film in the form of inaccuracy and poor pocket awareness.
  • One name who doesn’t get mentioned as a top-six quarterback with first-round possibilities but also doesn’t get classified as a late-round flyer is South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler. According to Pelissero, there are some coaches who ranked Rattler ahead of Penix. This doesn’t change the fact that Penix is an expected first-round pick with Rattler is likely to hear his name on the second or third day of the draft, but chalk it up to the growing controversy surrounding this year’s QB class. McCarthy and Penix only became first-round considerations well after facing each other in the college season’s finale. Maye and Daniels have been back and forth as the top selection following Williams, and apparently Maye isn’t even considered a guarantee there by some executives. And now, we hear of Rattler, being ranked on some boards higher than the passer projected to go 13th overall. Truly anything seems possible with the coming draft’s QB class.
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