In the Market: Looking at the Top QB Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft Class, Week 3 edition

  • Michael Penix Jr. destroys Michigan State
  • Quinn Ewers falls back to Earth

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. runs the ball while looking to pass against Michigan State
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. runs the ball while looking to pass against Michigan State / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Week 3 of the college football season wasn't the most anticipated, to say the least. The matchups, on paper, weren't as enticing as the week prior or for Week 4. But it still provided some excitement for fans and even upsets wins (Florida over Tennessee). What more could you ask for?

Now, as for the quarterback play from the 2024 NFL Draft class, there was one prospect in particular who continued to raise his stock, while another hasn't exactly been lighting the college football world on fire as many had expected. Let's take a look at some of the performances from Week 3.

NOTE: Caleb Williams was on a bye in Week 3, so he won't be covered.

Here are the previous editions of this year's "In the Market" column:

Taking Stock: How top 2024 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 3

Drake Maye, UNC

For the first time this season, North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye threw for over 400 yards. This took place at home, where the Tar Heels hosted the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

There were ups and downs for Maye. Perhaps his best pass was a 46-yard throw to Nate McCollum for a 46-yard touchdown in the first quarter. There was also his deep pass to tight end Kamari Morales, who found himself wide-open downfield due to a missed defensive assignment by Minnesota.

As for the bad, there was his first of two interceptions thrown, which landed directly into the hands of defensive back Jack Henderson. Under pressure, Maye completed just one of four pass attempts for eight yards on 10 dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus.

All in all, a better outing for Maye. We'll see how he performs in Week 4 against Pittsburgh.

Next Game: at Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Michael Penix Jr. has made a strong case for himself to be the QB3 of the 2024 NFL Draft this season. The Washington Huskies are rolling, and he's a big reason for their success.

Penix had his first big test of the season as they went on the road to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans. The quarterback showed off his arm strength and accuracy throughout the game. Some examples include his 38-yard throw to Ja'Lynn Polk in the first quarter, which set up a five-yard touchdown pass to Jack Westover.

Pro Football Focus had Penix recording three big-time throws, which they define as "a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window." His total this season is now at eight on the year, tied for 10th in all of college football.

Additionally, Penix was 7-for-11 for 254 yards on 20+ yard passes against Michigan State, per PFF.

Penix threw for 473 yards and four touchdowns while completing 27-of-35 pass attempts.

Next Game: vs. Cal, Saturday, Sept.23 at 10:30 p.m. ET

Bo Nix, Oregon

Bo Nix continues to impress the college football world playing for one of the top programs in the nation. Putting his Auburn days behind him, Nix has been very good to start off his second season. In Week 3, the Ducks faced the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. This was a game Oregon was expecting to win big, and they did just that, thanks to Nix.

Nix had the time to make the plays he needed to make. His biggest play was a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tez Johnson on Oregon's second play of the game.

In that game, Nix completed 21-of-27 pass attempts for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Three of those six incompletions thrown were dropped by his intended target. But, most of those throws came between 0-and-9 yards, where he completed 12-of-14 attempts for 98 yards, per Pro Football Focus. As for 20+ yard passes, Nix completed all three attempts between the numbers for 120 yards and a touchdown but missed both attempts outside right.

Nix and the Ducks have a huge matchup in Week 4, as they take on the Colorado Buffaloes, led by head coach Deion Sanders and quarterback Shedeur Sanders. This is a test to show that Oregon is one of the top two teams in the Pac-12 behind the USC Trojans. It should be quite the duel between Nix and Sanders on Saturday.

Next Game: vs. No. 19 Colorado, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Quinn Ewers, Texas

In Week 2, Quinn Ewers had arguably the best game of his collegiate career at Texas. His 349 passing yards and three touchdowns helped the Longhorns beat the Alabama Crimson Tide 34-24. As mentioned in the previous edition of this column, it was up to Ewers to carry the momentum from this game for the remainder of the season.

Well, that lasted about a week, as Ewers and the Texas offense struggled against the Wyoming Cowboys.

It wasn't a case of Ewers being under pressure, as he had a clean pocket for the majority of the game. On 20 pass attempts in a clean pocket, Ewers completed just 11 of them for 131 yards and two touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus. Three of those incompletions were drops. But once again, Ewers' deep passing accuracy became an issue, as he was 0-for-3 on 20+ yard passes. On 10-to-19-yard passes, Ewers was 2-for-6 for 30 yards.

This was a disappointing performance by Ewers. But the Longhorns did pick up the 31-10 win.

Next Game: at Baylor, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET

One 2024 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 3

Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma

The 2024 quarterback class is incredibly deep, and Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel is eligible to declare after this season. But, it's unknown if he were to be selected high. Even so, it's hard to look past his performance in Week 3 against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

Gabriel had just three incompletions against Tulsa, completing 28 pass attempts for 461 yards and five touchdowns in the 66-17 victory. On passes between 10-and-19 yards, Gabriel completed all four of his passes for 109 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. On 20+ yard passes, Gabriel completed 5-of-8 for 186 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, Gabriel threw for 905 yards, 11 touchdowns, and one interception while completing 66-of-80 passing attempts.

In Week 4, Gabriel and the Sooners look to improve to 4-0 on the year with a victory over Cincinnati, starting at noon ET on Saturday, Sept. 23.

One 2024 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 3

Quinn Ewers, Texas

Ewers' drop-off in production against Wyoming and his inability to complete deep passes are areas of concern, one week after a great game against Alabama. Even with that outing in Week 3, Ewers is still a top 10 quarterback in the upcoming draft class. But, the inconsistencies are concerning.

dark. Next. Red Flags Week 4. RED FLAGS: 5 CFB teams on upset alert in Week 4