In the Market: Looking at the Top QB Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft Class, Week 1 edition

  • Caleb Williams shines once again in Week 1
  • Quinn Ewers struggles early vs. Rice.

Sep 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams
Sep 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the college football season has taken place, and what a weekend it was. Most of the top teams in the nation won their matchups with ease. Then, there were upsets, like TCU losing to Colorado in a high-scoring, back-and-forth game and Clemson scoring just seven points in a loss to Duke. Week 1 was everything fans could have asked for.

With this being the first weekend of college football games, that meant fans got to watch some of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class perform. As is the case, there are only so many games college fans can watch at once, so they may have missed out on how Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., and Quinn Ewers performed. Well, we have you covered.

Here's a look at how the top 2024 NFL Draft quarterbacks performed in Week 1.

Taking Stock: How top 2024 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 1

Caleb Williams, USC

Caleb Williams got a headstart on the season in Week 0, as the USC Trojans took on the San Jose State Spartans. Williams threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns while completing 18-of-25 pass attempts. This past week, the Trojans took on the Nevada Wolfpack, and Williams helped his case to win the Heisman Trophy for the second year in a row.

Williams didn't need to play the entire game to put up video game numbers against the Wolfpack defense. Look no further than his touchdown pass to Brendan Rice to give the Trojans a 35-7 lead. Williams navigated the pocket, avoiding and juking incoming defenders before rolling to the right and finding Rice in the end zone.

Oh, and this -- making a crossbody throw while running out of bounds and connecting with his target.

Williams finished the day by completing 18-of-24 throws for 319 yards and five touchdowns while running for 42 yards on three carries.

If Williams keeps this up for the rest of the year, he'll be the undisputed No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Well, if the right team holds the pick.

Next Game: vs. Stanford, Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10:30 p.m. ET

Drake Maye, UNC

Now we get to Drake Maye, Williams' main competition be selected first overall. If not, Maye should definitely be picked in the top three (depending on how the top of the draft shakes out). Maye received his first shot as the starting quarterback for the Tar Heels after Sam Howell left for the NFL Draft. Maye proved his worth as a top quarterback in college football, as evidenced by breaking the school's single-season passing yards record with 4,321.

Maye opened the year in the Duke's Mayo Classic against the South Carolina Gamecocks. It wasn't the cleanest game for Maye, as evidenced by his two interceptions. But he did make some great plays, such as his deep touchdown pass to Kobe Paysour and his second quarterback crossbody pass while evading defenders.

Maye completed 24-of-32 pass attempts for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-17 victory.

After Week 1, Maye keeps his draft stock high.

Next Game: vs. Appalachian State, Saturday, Sept. 9 at 5:15 p.m. ET

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Last year, there were plenty of quarterbacks playing at a high level. While the focus in the Pac-12 was on Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr. had a strong year for the Washington Huskies. The southpaw signal caller threw for 4,641 yards, setting the program's single-season record. Penix holds the top two single-game passing yard performances with 516 yards against Arizona and 485 yards against Washington State. Penix opted against declaring for the NFL Draft, instead returning to Washington for another season.

So far, Penix is showing why he should be one of the top five quarterbacks selected in the NFL Draft in Detroit next April.

Facing off against Boise State, Penix threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns while completing 29-of-40 pass attempts. Four of those touchdowns and 264 of those yards arrived in the first half alone. With throws like his 44-yard pass to Ja'Lynn Polk, it's easy to see why he put up those numbers early on.

Penix should be a top contender for the Heisman at the end of this season and finish much higher in the voting than his eighth-place finish last year.

Next Game: vs. Tulsa, Saturday, Sept. 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Bo Nix, Oregon

We stay in the Pac-12 to discuss another top quarterback prospect in Bo Nix. The former Auburn Tigers quarterback shocked the world with how well he played for the Oregon Ducks under quarterback coach Will Stein both with his arm and with his legs. The real question this offseason was whether the 2022 season was an anomaly, or if Nix was legitimately this good.

Nix opened up his second season in Oregon against Portland State, and it went as well as you would imagine for the Ducks. As in, the team put up 81 points. Not bad. As for Nix, he primarily passed throughout his two-plus quarters of action before being removed for the remainder of the game. Nix ran a lot last season. In his first game, Nix didn't have a single carry.

On 27 pass attempts, Nix completed all but four for 287 yards and three touchdowns.

A good first showing for Nix, and he will look to have an even better showing in Week 2 when playing Texas Tech.

Next Game: at Texas Tech , Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Quinn Ewers, Texas

Quinn Ewers didn't have the season that many had expected he would last year at Texas. But the belief was that he could take that next step and show why he was such a highly sought-after quarterback.

Ewers and the Longhorns offense had a rough start to their game against the Rice Owls. One area of concern that did stick out was his passing downfield. While some were on the receiver being unable to hold onto the football, some of Ewers' throws were off target.

But, the Longhorns did calm down and pull away from Rice. Ewers completed 19-of-30 pass attempts for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, Ewers ran for 12 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

The spotlight is going to be shining bright on Ewers in Week 2, as he's going to be playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Ewers played well against them last year before having to exit due to a clavicle injury.

Next Game: at Alabama, Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET

One 2024 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 1

Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

When it comes to which quarterback had the best performance of Week 1, Shedeur Sanders sure did make a case for himself.

Sanders transferred over to Colorado this offseason after his father Deion Sanders accepted the university's head coaching job. While there were doubts about how well Colorado would play this season, they silenced them for at least one week.

Facing off against the TCU Horned Frogs, the program that made it to the CFP National Championship Game last year, Sanders lit up stat sheets. In the 45-42 victory, Sanders threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns while completing 38-of-47 pass attempts.

What a debut for Sanders, who played in his first Power 5 college football game. With that, he not only skyrocketed up the Heisman Trophy rankings, but his draft stock has definitely increased. If he continues to play at a high level, there could be legitimate conversations of him being a first-round prospect.

One 2024 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 1

Quinn Ewers, Texas

As mentioned earlier, Ewers had far from a perfect game in Week 1, specifically on passes downfield. Now, he has to face off against the No. 3 ranked team in the nation, in primetime. If he does struggle, Longhorns fans are going to be calling for Arch Manning to enter the game. Yes, it would only be the second game of the season, but Texas fans want assurance that their team is "back."

Next. Toasty-ish Buns. Toasty-ish Buns: 5 CFB coaches who could end up on the hot seat in 2023. dark