In the Market: Looking at the Top QB Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft Class, Week 12 edition

  • Caleb Williams' final USC game?
  • Bo Nix has another strong showing.

UCLA v USC / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Week 12 of the college football season has been completed. Teams have either inched closer to clinching a spot in a bowl game, or to secure a trip to their respective conference championship game. With that, there is one more week remaining to ensure the team's season can end on a high note and extend it for at least one more game.

The top college quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft all played in the penultimate week of the season. Some impressed to help lead their team to meaningful championship games. Others may have played their last collegiate football games before declaring for the pros.

Without further ado, here is how the top quarterback prospects played in Week 12.

Previous editions of "In the Market" can be found below:

Taking Stock: How top 2024 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 12

Caleb Williams, USC

Is this the final time that fans will see Caleb Williams play college football? The USC Trojans season has gone far from the way they had expected. After starting off the season 6-0, the team won one of their next five games. With the team already eligible for a bowl game, the Trojans had the chance to at least end the season on a high note against the UCLA Bruins.

Instead, the Trojans lost 38-20. Once again, Williams' heroics couldn't save USC, although it was one of his more tame statistical performances. Williams threw 31 completions for 384 yards and one touchdown on 42 attempts, while also throwing one interception. There was no rushing success for Williams, as he took seven carries for a loss of 20 yards.

One of the more impressive things from Williams' performance is how well he threw when blitzed. On 21-of-51 dropbacks, Williams completed 14-of-19 pass attempts for 247 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, per Pro Football Focus.

The Trojans are now done for the regular season and await to see which bowl game they will be participating in. The real question is, will Williams play or hold out to preserve himself for the 2024 NFL Draft? We should find out in the coming weeks.

Drake Maye, North Carolina

Drake Maye and the North Carolina Tar Heels won't be partaking in the ACC Championship Game after the end of the regular season. Those spots are reserved for the Florida State Seminoles and the Louisville Cardinals. But in Week 12, Maye had the chance to beat the team that defeated him in the ACC title game last year -- the Clemson Tigers.

Well, that didn't pan out for the top quarterback prospect or the Tar Heels, as they lost 31-20.

Maye got off to a great start with a 33-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Jones off his backfoot, but it all went downhill for the Heels.

Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik led the team to a 14-7 lead after a three-yard pass to Jake Briningstone and a three-yard touchdown run. The Tigers wouldn't look back.

Maye threw for 209 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while completing just 16-of-36 attempts. Not a great day of passing for Maye. With a clean pocket, Maye completed 13-of-26 throws for 153 yards and one interception on 28 dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus. In fact, he actually played better when he was blitzed, completing 9-of-20 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown on 24 dropbacks.

Next Game: at No. 22 North Carolina State, Saturday, Nov. 25, 8:00 p.m. ET

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Michael Penix Jr. was entering the penultimate week of the season. With an undefeated season and a Pac-12 Championship Game bid on he horizon, all Penix and the Washington Huskies had to do was win out. But in Week 12, they had to face an Oregon State team that was 8-2 on the season.

The game was a bit of a nail-biter. Even though Penix led the team to a 22-10 lead on two touchdown passes to wide receiver Rome Odunze and a touchdown run of his own, the Beavers did fight back in the second half with a five-yard touchdown run by Damien Martinez and a 35-yard field goal by Atticus Sappington.

With Washington facing a third-and-three with under two minutes remaining and with Oregon State having no timeouts left, Penix clinched the game and the 22-20 win with a 19-yard pass to Odunze.

Penix threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns while completing 13-of-28 pass attempts, while running for 22 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Penix was kept in a relatively clean pocket for 26-of-30 dropbacks, where he completed 12-of-25 attempts for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington and Penix look to end their regular season with a win over Washington State.

Next Game: vs. Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 25 at 4:00 p.m. ET

Bo Nix, Oregon

What else is there to say about Bo Nix. As of now, he is one of the top three favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The Oregon Ducks took their loss to Washington personally, and they ahve put up points against opposing defenses at will. That was evident once again in Week 12, when they took on the Arizona State Sun Devils. A team that put up competitive fights against Washington and USC, Oregon made easy work of them.

Nix threw six touchdown passes in the first half against the Sun Devils. Yes, you read that correctly. Six touchdown passes in two quarters to give Oregon a 42-0 lead entering halftime. Nix had more touchdown passes than incompletions (five). The senior quarterback completed 24-of-29 passes for 404 yards and six touchdowns.

One interesting stat was that Nix was blitzed seven times on 31 dropbacks, and he managed to complete six of seven throws for 120 yards and three touchdowns while being pressured twice, per Pro Football Focus. Yeah, it was that kind of night for Nix.

Next Game: vs. No. 16 Oregon State, Friday, Nov. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Quinn Ewers, Texas

Quinn Ewers made his return last week from a grade 2 AC joint sprain last month. In the 29-26 win over the TCU Horned Frogs, Ewers threw for 317 yards. While it was a close win, it was a victory nonetheless for a Texas team looking to clinch their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

In Week 12, Ewers and the Longhorns took on the Iowa State Cyclones. With the team up 6-3 returning from halftime, Ewers helped put the team ahead with two touchdown passes -- a 23-yarder to Jordan Whittington and a 31-yarder to Gunnar Helm. That was just enough to put the victory away for Texas by the score of 26-16.

Ewers completed 23-of-33 pass attempts for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

The sophomore quarterback has the chance to end the season with a win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Next Game: vs. Texas Tech, Friday, Nov. 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

The Colorado Buffaloes had one more chance to keep their slim bowl game chances alive. Losing six of their next seven games after a 3-0 start to the season, Colorado needed to defeat the Washington State Cougars. Unfortunately for Colorado, their chances of winning ended rather quickly.

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders left the game twice in the first half. In the team's second series of the game, Sanders was sacked by Washington State's Ron Stone Jr., which was recovered by Brennan Johnson and returned for a touchdown. Sanders would return to the game, and throw a touchdown pass to Travis Hunter. However, Sanders would leave once again after taking another hit, effectively ending his night.

Sanders completed 6-of-10 pass attempts for 86 yards and a touchdown, while getting sacked four times.

It's unknown if Sanders will play in the regular-season finale against Utah, as he was listed as day-to-day by head coach Deion Sanders.

Next Game: at Utah, Saturday, Nov. 25 at 3:00 p.m. ET

One 2024 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 12

Jayden Daniels, LSU

It's becoming hard to ignore Jayden Daniels, who may now very raising his stock to a first-round prospect. He has wowed the college football world with his ability to put up insane numbers with his arm and legs. That was evident last week when he threw for 374 yards and ran for 234 while putting up five scrimmage touchdowns in the 52-35 win over Florida.

In Week 12, Daniels dropped the jaws of college football fans and media members against Georgia State. In the dominant 56-14 win, Daniels threw for 413 yards and six touchdowns while completing 25-of-30 pass attempts. That's right, Daniels had more touchdowns than incompletions like Nix had this week. But Nix was also able to put up 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Daniels was solid on passes 10 yards and further downfield. The quarterback completed all six pass attempts between 10-19 yards for a total of 122 yards and two touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus. On passes 20 yards and further, Daniels threw three completions for 137 yards and three touchdowns on five attempts.

Next Game: vs. Texas A&M, Saturday, Nov. 25 at noon ET

One 2024 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 12

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

J.J. McCarthy is going to get some love from NFL teams when he does declare for the draft. After all, he is the prototypical size that NFL organizations prefer in their quarterbacks (6-foot-3, 202 pounds). But in recent weeks, McCarthy hasn't shown much statistically. That can be credited to the team prioritizing the run with offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore taking over head coaching duties while Jim Harbaugh serves his three-game suspension. That, and he did deal with a leg injury suffered in Week 11 against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

All eyes will be on McCarthy on Nov. 25 at noon, as he and the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines take on the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in "The Game." This is the most anticipated college football game of the year, so fans will be watching to see if McCarthy can rebound and put up strong numbers against the Buckeyes defense.

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

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

At the rate things are going, the Chicago Bears will hold the first overall pick with the Carolina Panthers continuing to show no intention of winning a game for the rest of the season. The team is 1-9 following a 33-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. With that, the Bears will have to decide what to do with Justin Fields. Given how rare it is to get the No. 1 pick two years in a row, it may be hard for them to pass up on taking Williams or Maye.

The new Arizona Cardinals regime got their second look at Kyler Murray this season, who threw for 214 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while completing 20-of-30 pass attempts in the 21-16 loss to the Houston Texans. It will ultimately be up to general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon to decide if they want to move forward with Murray or draft his replacement. If their standing holds, they could be in position to secure a strong package of draft capital for a team looking to trade up for Williams or Maye.

Holding the No. 3 spot are the New England Patriots, who are playing coy as to who will be the starting quarterback for Week 12 against the New York Giants. One has to believe the team is going to strongly consider addressing the quarterback position next offseason one way or another, as Mac Jones hasn't showed signs of being the team's answer.

Speaking of the Giants, they dropped from the No. 2 spot to No. 5 after Week 11. That's due to their 31-19 win over the Washington Commanders. Third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito and the defense forcing six turnovers played huge roles in the team picking up the win. Once again, beating a bad Commanders team basically ended the team's chances of securing a top-two pick.

The Atlanta Falcons desperately need to address the quarterback position, as Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke are not the team's long-term options.

While Baker Mayfield has played relatively well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they need to find their quarterback of the future. Luckily for them, there are great options behind Williams and Maye.

The New York Jets need to have draft a quarterback just to have a quality option behind Aaron Rodgers next year. The Zach Wilson experiement is over.

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