The NFL Might Have a Different View on the 2024 QB Prospects, and It May Impact the Vikings’ Draft Process

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s NFL Draft is chock full of talented QB prospects.

Many have expected the trio of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and Caleb Williams to go somewhere within the top 10 selections, and they very well could be taken 1-2-3 with the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, and New England Patriots holding the first three selections in this spring’s draft. Further down the line, J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix could be in line for first-round selections if a team in need of a QB trusts them to lead an offense.

However, recent reports have suggested that the QB pecking order could look a little different when the draft actually arrives. If that is the case, it could impact how the Vikings go about their draft process this spring.

An Update on the QB Prospects’ Pecking Order

QB Prospects
Nov 11, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Benjamin Allbright, a Denver Broncos insider, tweeted the following on Thursday: “League is definitely higher on McCarthy (top 10) and lower on Nix/Penix (day2/3) than media/fans according to the people I talk to.”

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if this is true, and McCarthy actually is viewed as a top 10 prospect, that could push the Vikings out of the first-round QB picture unless they swing a big trade to move up in the order.

Currently, the Vikings sit with the 11th overall selection in the draft, placing them just outside of that top 10 threshold. Meanwhile, another team that could be looking to add a QB in the draft is the Atlanta Falcons. They sit with the 8th overall pick, and they are a prototypical version of a team that could be “a QB away” from contending in the NFC. If they are one of the teams that views McCarthy as a top prospect, perhaps Atlanta is a landing spot for the Michigan product.

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, this could also benefit the Vikings in a way. If Minnesota views either of Nix or Penix as worthy of being their “QB of the future”, they might be able to get away with selecting one of them later on in the draft.

The Vikings hold the 42nd overall pick (11th overall in the second round), and if teams above them pounce on QBs in the first round, this opens the door for Minnesota to take one of these QBs in the second round. It’s a big “if,” but seeing as the Vikings have a number of needs on the defensive side of the ball, they could stay put and land a top defensive prospect at No. 11 while also filling that QB need later on.

Both Nix and Penix were at last week’s Senior Bowl, giving Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell ample opportunity to scout them throughout the event in Mobile, Alabama.

Feb 1, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; National quarterback Michael Penix Jr of Washington (9) talks with National quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork of the Arizona Cardinals during practice for the National team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, it would make sense for teams to be higher on McCarthy, despite the fact that Michigan implemented a run-first offense throughout his two seasons as a starter. He is extremely young at 21 years old and is a very sound passer for his age. There is great potential in McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Penix has a very long injury history, which could scare NFL teams away from using a high-end pick on him. He had two ACL tears and a pair of shoulder injuries from 2018-2021 as an Indiana Hoosier before finding success at Washington. There are also questions as to whether Nix’s success at Oregon can truly translate to the NFL level.

Overall, we are still well over two months away from the 2024 NFL Draft, so many things can change between now and then. At the end of the day, though, this is just another example of the NFL potentially viewing prospects in a different light compared to many analysts.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.