In the Market: Looking at the Top QB Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft Class, Champions Week edition

  • Michael Penix Jr. leads Washington to Pac-12 title
  • Bo Nix wasn't enough to help Oregon beat Washington
  • Quinn Ewers and Texas destroy Oklahoma State in Big 12 Championship Game

Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) holds the the
Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) holds the the / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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What a college football season it has been. There were plenty of upsets that excited fans on a weekly basis, as well as the dominant teams that showed off for nearly the entirety of the year. Now, we are on the wait for the next couple of weeks before the start of bowl games.

This past weekend was Champions Week, which is when teams compete for their conference's title. These games carried huge bowl game and College Football Playoff implications. That led to a much-talked-about and controversial Selection Sunday when bowl game participants were unveiled.

When it comes to the top quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft some of them didn't participate. But there were three that did compete, all of whom had the chance to compete in the Playoff. Let's look at each of their performances.

Previous editions of In the Market can be found below:

Taking Stock: How top 2024 NFL Draft QBs fared in Champions Week

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Michael Penix Jr. helped the Washington Huskies make it to the College Football Playoff for the second time ever, with hopes that this run will result in a national championship. Penix, a quarterback prospect and a Heisman finalist, competed in the final Pac-12 Championship Game ever against Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks.

Penix and Washington looked like they would cruise to a win after leading 20-3 in the second quarter. However, Oregon would go on a 21-point run to take the lead in the third quarter. But when it came to crunch time, Penix stepped up and delivered.

Up 27-24 in the fourth quarter, Penix orchestrated a 12-play, 82-yard drive that killed over six minutes of game clock, where he completed five of seven pass attempts for 58 yards. The drive ended with Penix throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Moore. Despite an immediate touchdown by Oregon, the Huskies were able to hang on to run out the clock.

Penix threw for 319 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while completing 27-of-39 pass attempts.

Next up for Penix -- the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 9. Then, the Sugar Bowl against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns on New Year's Day, which will serve as the College Football Playoff Semifinals.

Bo Nix, Oregon

Bo Nix had been a roll ever since Oregon's loss to Washington back in October. There were countless performances by Nix that played pivotal roles in the Ducks picking up dominant wins. It wasn't crazy to say that the Ducks looked like national championship contenders despite having the aforementioned loss. They had the chance for revenge against Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Ducks got off to a slow start, where they trailed 20-3. But Nix helped Oregon score 21 unanswered points, which were scored on two touchdown passes from Nix to Terrance Ferguson and on a six-yard run by Jordan James. Unfortunately, they watched Washington score two touchdowns on back-to-back drives that were ultimately enough to get the win. Even though Nix made things interesting with a touchdown pass to Traeshon Holden to cut their deficit to 34-31, Washington ran out the clock.

Nix completed 21-of-34 pass attempts for 239 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. The quarterback had his highs and lows when facing pressure. On nine dropbacks, Nix threw three completions for nine yards, one touchdown, and one interception on six attempts, per Pro Football Focus.

This Saturday, Nix will find out if he will win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. After that, he leads the Ducks against the Liberty Flames in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's.

Quinn Ewers, Texas

Texas appears to be back. The Longhorns clinched their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game in their final year before moving to the SEC. Even though they were ranked seventh in the nation entering the game, they could sneak into the College Football Playoff with an impressive win. And did they ever have a strong victory, thanks to quarterback Quinn Ewers.

The Longhorns faced the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and it wasn't even close. The game was essentially over at halftime, with Texas up 35-14. Ewers threw all four of his touchdown passes in the first two quarters to show how much ease the Longhorns had at reaching the end zone; they pulled off a trick play that saw Ewers connected with a wide-open T'Vondre Sweat, the team's defensive tackle.

Ewers was given the rest of the game off late in the second half, and Texas picked up the 49-21 win. The quarterback threw for 452 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception while completing 35-of-46 pass attempts. Ewers thrived, especially on passes between 10-19 yards, throwing eight completions for 133 yards and two touchdowns on nine attempts, per Pro Football Focus.

Next up for Ewers is a Sugar Bowl matchup against Penix and Washington. As for the NFL Draft, recent reports indicate that it's likely he will return to Texas next year.

One 2024 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Champions Week

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

J.J. McCarthy has been a name that was floated around quite a bit, but he doesn't really have the opportunity to show his skillset, especially late this season. That's because Michigan is prioritizing running the football on offense while their defense fends off their opponents. The Wolverines want that national championship, and who can blame them?

In the Big Ten Championship Game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, McCarthy completed 22-of-30 pass attempts for just 147 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The Wolverines secured the 26-0 win.

McCarthy is going to have a ton of attention on him. As the quarterback of the No. 1 ranked team, McCarthy will be competing in the Rose Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff. His opponent will be the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide. McCarthy may very well have the chance to show off his full skillset in the game. This could be his chance to wow NFL teams and fans.

Updated NFL Draft order: Who's buying in the NFL?

  1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers (1-11))
  2. New England Patriots (2-10)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (3-10)
  4. Washington Commanders (4-9)
  5. Chicago Bears (4-8)
  6. New York Jets (4-8)
  7. New York Giants (4-8)
  8. Tennessee Titans (4-8)
  9. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
  11. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)
  12. Los Angeles Chargers (5-7)
  13. Buffalo Bills (6-6)
  14. Denver Broncos (6-6)
  15. Seattle Seahawks (6-6)
  16. Los Angeles Rams (6-6)
  17. Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)
  18. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans (7-5)
  19. Atlanta Falcons (6-6)
  20. Green Bay Packers (6-6)
  21. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
  22. Indianapolis Colts (7-5)
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
  24. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (7-4))
  25. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
  27. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)
  28. Detroit Lions (9-3)
  29. San Francisco 49ers (9-3)
  30. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)
  31. Miami Dolphins (9-3)
  32. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)

The Carolina Panthers are the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention after their Week 13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With that, the Chicago Bears have to be smiling, as the No. 1 overall pick has become that much closer to being clinched for them. For those unaware, Chicago owns Carolina's first-round pick this year after their trade last year that allowed the latter to draft Bryce Young.

It's a strange that the New England Patriots, who were usually playoff and Super Bowl contenders every year, on a path to secure a top-three pick in the draft. It's been that kind of year for the Patriots. But they could get a consolation prize of either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft.

In the top 10, the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could all feasibly pick a quarterback if they so choose. Not to mention that teams like the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos, who sit outside of the top 10, could trade up to take their quarterback of the future. The Arizona Cardinals could be a team to negotiate a trade with, as they appear on the path to securing one of the first three picks in the draft.

While the Washington Commanders and New York Jets rank inside the first six picks after Week 13 of the NFL season, they may not be in the market for a quarterback. Sam Howell has played well for the Commanders, and could benefit from bolstering the offensive line, as the quarterback has been sacked the most out of any player at his position. As for the Jets, they have Aaron Rodgers, so they could use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman, wide receiver, or tight end to help in their quest to contend for the playoffs next season.

Next. 5 transfer portal QBs who can win the Heisman Trophy in 2024. 5 transfer portal QBs who can win the Heisman Trophy in 2024. dark