The college football regular season is close to being over. The final month of the campaign began in Week 9, with teams learning of their standings in the College Football Playoff the previous Tuesday. With that, teams will be looking to either climb up the rankings, or reach the coveted six wins to qualify for a bowl game.
This also gives those draft-eligible quarterbacks to impress scouts and executives with their performances through the final month of the season. These are the most pivotal games, which does present itself for teams to see how they can handle the pressure in must-win contests. Let's look at how the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class performed during Week 10.
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Taking Stock: How top 2024 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 10
Caleb Williams, USC
Week 10 was highlighted by a battle between Caleb Williams and Michael Penx Jr. Williams had put the USC Trojans back in the win column and ended their losing streak at two games with a victory over the California Golden Bears. However, that was due to the Golden Bears failing a two-point conversion attempt that would have won them the game.
Once again, Williams had to play like Superman, but his kryptonite was his defense. Specifically, the defense led by coordinator Alex Grinch. With an adequate defense, the Trojans might have had a chance to win.
Williams had some incredible plays that show why he's the favorite to go first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Look no further than his 25-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Rice to tie the game up at 35-35. This happened after he spun away from pressure in the pocket.
Unfortunately, Williams saw the Trojans lose, 52-42, handing them their third defeat in the past four weeks.
Williams completed 27-of-35 pass attempts for 312 yards and three touchdowns while running for 16 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Williams may have only completed four of nine passes further than 20 yards, per Pro Football Focus, but they were for a total of 120 yards and three touchdowns.
Now, Williams will have to try and contend with a tough, elite Oregon Ducks team, led by Bo Nix.
Next Game: at Oregon, Saturday, Nov. 11, 10:30 p.m. ET
Drake Maye, North Carolina
The North Carolina Tar Heels lost their last two games to Virginia and Georgia Tech. But those losses weren't on Drake Maye, necessarily. While their path to the ACC Championship Game is more cloudy with more road bumps, the Tar Heels are still in the running. Maye and North Carolina were given a gift on their schedule, facing off against the Campbell Fighting Camels.
This game went as expected for Maye. There was no upset bid. It wasn't even close. Maye was benched midway through the third quarter when the team was up 42-7. The Tar Heels won 59-7.
Maye completed 16-of-23 pass attempts for 244 yards and four touchdowns. The yardage and touchdown totals all arrived with a clean pocket on 22 dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus.
Next Game: vs. Duke, Saturday, Nov. 11, 8:00 p.m. ET
Michael Penix Jr., Washington
Now to head to the other side of the USC vs. Washington game -- Michael Penix Jr. In Week 9, Penix rebounded with a four-touchdown performance against the Stanford Cardinal, one week after his zero-touchdown, two-interception showing against Arizona State. With NFL scouts and executives in attendance, Penix showed why he should be considered a top prospect in the NFL Draft next April.
Penix and the Huskies offense put up 52 points and 572 yards of offense against the Trojans defense, which opened the eyes of their head coach Lincoln Riley to move on from his defensive coordinator. While the majority of the scoring came from running back Dillon Johnson (256 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns), Penix had a great game against the Trojans. Look no further than his second quarter touchdown pass to tie the game 14-14. Penix rolled to the left towards the sideline and with little room remaining in bounds, connected with tight end Devin Culp.
Penix threw for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while completing 22-of-30 pass attempts. When not blitzed on 26 dropbacks, Penix completed 20-of-26 throws for 237 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, per Pro Football Focus.
Next Game: vs. No. 18 Utah, Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
Bo Nix, Oregon
The Oregon Ducks may very well be the most dangerous team in the entire nation, despite their No. 6 ranking in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Had they gone for the points, they probably would have beaten Washington in that game. But, the Ducks have been motivated and determined to make it back to the Pac-12 Championship Game and get some revenge on the Huskies.
Last week, the Ducks obliterated the Utah Utes in what was supposed to be a tough game for them. In Week 10, Nix and Oregon took on the California Golden Bears, a team that was a problem for USC. Well, California posed no threat to Oregon and Nix.
The Ducks cruised to a 63-19 win over the Golden Bears. Oregon entered halftime with a 35-13 lead behind five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) from Nix. Even though the team was up 42-19 entering the fourth quarter, Nix remained in the game and put them ahead 49-14 on a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Terrance Ferguson. From there, he was removed for the remainder of the game.
Nix threw for 386 yards, four touchdowns and one interception while completing 19-of-38 attempts. The quarterback also picked up two rushing touchdowns and three yards on five carries.
Next Game: vs. USC, Saturday, Nov. 11, 10:30 p.m. ET
Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
The Colorado Buffaloes have not been the same after starting the season 3-0. They lost against the big-name programs in the Pac-12 in Oregon and USC, and blew a 29-0 lead to Stanford to lose 46-43 in double overtime. The Buffaloes held a 4-4 record, needing to pick up two more wins to qualify for a bowl game.
Before their game against Oregon State, the team took offensive play-calling duties away from Sean Lewis and gave it to former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur. As it turns out, the change by head coach Deion Sanders didn't help...at all.
Colorado lost 26-19 to Oregon State and has now fallen to under .500, needing to pick up two wins in the next three weeks.
Quarterback Shedeur Sanders had a rough game. Yes, it was against one of the top teams in the conference, but the offensive line has become a problem for Colorado and Sanders. The quarterback completed 24-of-39 pass attempts for 245 yards and two touchdowns, while losing 37 yards on seven carries. Sanders was sacked four times on 16 dropbacks, where he threw three completions for just 24 yards on 11 attempts, per Pro Football Focus.
Colorado's remaining schedule is a tough one, as they face No. 21 Arizona this Saturday.
Next Game: vs. No. 21 Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2:00 p.m. ET
One 2024 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 10
Jacob Zeno, UAB
Looking at quarterbacks who aren't ranked near the top of the 2024 draft class, one who had a great performance in Week 10 is UAB junior quarterback Jacob Zeno. The Blazers aren't on the radar necessarily, as they ranked near the middle of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) with a 2-6 record. But in Week 10, the Blazers got back in the win column.
Facing off against the Florida Atlantic Owls, Zeno led the team to a 45-42 victory. Down 42-35 in the fourth quarter, Zeno connected with Tejhaun Palmer, who was wide open, on a 70-yard touchdown pass.
On the Blazers' final drive of the game, Zeno completed three of four passes for 51 yards, which set up kicker Matt Quinn for the game-winning, 26-yard field goal.
Zeno completed 29-of-35 pass attempts for 484 yards and five touchdowns while throwing just one interception on the day. On the season, Zeno threw for 2,389 yards, 17 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 75.4 percent of his passes.
One 2024 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 10
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Quinn Ewers is one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 class, there's no denying that. He has what teams are looking for. So why does he need to show teams more? Well, it's due to his injury.
Back in Week 8, Ewers suffered a grade 2 AC joint sprain of his right shoulder when getting tackled on a scramble against the Houston Cougars. He then went on to miss the team's next two games as he recovered. For Week 11, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian announced that Ewers will be back in the starting lineup for the team's game against the TCU Horned Frogs.
This isn't to say that Ewers hasn't impressed this season. Rather, let's see how he plays returning from a right shoulder sprain.
Updated NFL Draft order: Who's buying in the NFL?
- Arizona Cardinals (1-8)
- Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers (1-7))
- Chicago Bears (2-7)
- New York Giants (2-7)
- New England Patriots (2-7)
- Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
- Green Bay Packers (3-5)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
- Denver Broncos (3-5)
- Tennessee Titans (3-5)
- Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
- Washington Commanders (4-5)
- Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
- Las Vegas Raiders (4-5)
- Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans (4-4))
- New York Jets (4-4)
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-4)
- Buffalo Bills (5-4)
- New Orleans Saints (5-4)
- Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
- Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (5-3))
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
- Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-3)
- Miami Dolphins (6-3)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
- Detroit Lions (6-2)
- Baltimore Ravens (7-2)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
The Arizona Cardinals hold the No. 1 spot after Week 9 of the NFL season, but it's not necessarily a given they will use it on a quarterback. They are getting back starter Kyler Murray, which will provide the Cardinals regime of general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon to determine if they want to move forward with the former Heisman winner as their quarterback, or use the pick on Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
No shocker, but the Chicago Bears hold two of the top three picks in the draft. One is their own, while the other is from the Carolina Panthers, who have been as dreadfully bad as them. While the question remains if they will keep Justin Fields or select a quarterback, who will be their head coach next season? Matt Eberflus hasn't exactly instilled much confidence in the fanbase, and his record as head coach has been less than stellar.
The New York Giants are the team to watch for the rest of the season. They entered with high hopes, only for them to implode in their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Everything got worse for the Giants, as evidenced in Week 9 when Daniel Jones made his return from a neck injury suffered in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins, only to tear his ACL after one-quarter of play. Tyrod Taylor is on the injured reserve due to a rib injury.
The team will start Tommy DeVito at quarterback in Week 10 against the Cowboys. Behind him on the depth chart is veteran journeyman Matt Barkley, with Jacob Eason sitting on the practice squad. The Giants may be lucky to win a game the rest of the season, considering they play the Philadelphia Eagles twice and a playoff contender in the New Orleans Saints down the stretch.
One team that shouldn't be counted out is the New England Patriots, who sit in last place in the AFC East with a 2-7 record. Quarterback Mac Jones' time may be running out. Head coach Bill Belichick's job security could be in question as well. If they were to land in the top three of the first round, it would be hard for them to pass on a quarterback like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
It would certainly be something if the Los Angeles Rams continue to lose, land a high draft pick this year, and allow head coach Sean McVay to draft Williams or Maye. That would certainly be something. But, the team is looking to win this year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons could stand to draft a quarterback, especially if they land inside the Top 15.