NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Draft: Ranking 7 Most Accurate QBs in This Year’s Class

Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix (QB08) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is approaching rapidly, so it’s time to take a look at some of the top traits of this year’s draft-eligible players.

Quarterback is the most important position in football, and one of his most important traits is being accurate. Not only does the quarterback need to throw a catchable ball, but can he put it on the frame of his receiver, away from the defender, and where his receiver can do something with it after the catch?

Let’s take a look at the seven most accurate quarterback prospects heading into April's draft.

7 Most Accurate Quarterbacks

1. Caleb Williams, USC

On our 1-9 trait grading scale, Caleb Williams received an 8 (excellent) for overall accuracy, short accuracy and deep accuracy. He’s the only quarterback in this year’s class to receive an 8 in any of those three traits, let alone all of them. 

Sure, Williams didn’t have as good a year in 2023 as he did in 2022, but the traits are still there. In 2023, he possessed a 69 percent completion rate, a 73 percent on-target rate and an 87 percent catchable rate, all with an average throw depth of 8.8 yards.

His ability to put the ball on a spot at all levels of the field, whether from the pocket or on the run, is why he’s the top quarterback in this class and our most accurate.

2. Drake Maye, North Carolina North Carolina Tar Heels logo

Drake Maye also had a better season in 2022 than in 2023. However, he still possesses some high-end traits, including his accuracy. While we gave him a 6 (good) for overall and short accuracy, we gave him a 7 (very good) for his ability to throw deep. 

On 122 balls thrown 15-plus yards in 2023, Maye was on target 52.5 percent of the time, with a catchable ball 67.5 percent of the time. His QB Rating and IQR* on these throws both ranked ninth-best in FBS among quarterbacks who had at least 50 attempts.

IQR = Independent QB Rating, which builds on the traditional Passer Rating formula by considering the value of a quarterback independent of results outside his control, such as dropped passes, dropped interceptions, and throwaways.

3. Jayden Daniels, LSU

Jayden Daniels had a breakout season in 2023, capped with a Heisman Trophy. While a large part of his game is using his legs, he can still sling it with strength and accuracy. 

Our scouts gave him a 6 for all three accuracy traits. In 2023, he ranked fifth in FBS with an 88 percent catchable rate and 15th with a 76 percent on-target rate. He also led all FBS quarterbacks in completion rate, on-target rate, catchable rate, QB rating and IQR on throws 15-plus yards downfield (minimum 50 attempts).

4. Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Michael Penix Jr. had an incredible season and fell just short of the Heisman to Daniels. While he demonstrates the ability to put the ball on his receivers, as shown by leading the country in passing yards in 2023, he displays some inconsistencies. He’ll miss some easy throws and miss his spot, especially when under pressure, something he faced often. 

Despite leading the country in passing, his 70 percent on-target rate ranked 85th among FBS quarterbacks. However, he throws one of the prettiest deep balls in the class. Penix’s on-target rate shoots up to 57th on throws 15-plus yards downfield. That’s with throwing it 150 times, 27 more than the quarterback with the second-most.

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (QB05) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

5. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

J.J. McCarthy, fresh off a National Championship, helped orchestrate a lot of Michigan's offense, even though the Wolverines were a run-heavy team. While we feel his accuracy heading to the next level is a 5 (sufficient) both overall and on the deep ball, his short accuracy received a 6.

McCarthy ranked sixth in completion rate (79 percent), seventh in catchable rate (93 percent) and tied for 20th in on-target rate (81 percent) on throws less than 15 yards downfield with a minimum of 100 attempts.

6. Bo Nix, Oregon

Many might question why Bo Nix ranks sixth in accuracy after coming off a season in which he led the country and broke the NCAA record with a 77 percent completion rate and 91 percent catchable rate (minimum 100 attempts). However, when looking at the Oregon offense's context, he threw many short, quick passes. Yes, he was good at throwing short, and deep for that matter, but he did it a lot. 

Nix’s average depth of target was 6.3 yards, fourth-shortest among quarterbacks throwing at least 100 passes. Additionally, he faced pressure only 16 percent of the time, the least amount in the country. Nix showed some positives when he pushed the ball down the field, but he also showed some inconsistency. He will need to prove he can be accurate under pressure at the next level.

7. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

About 2-3 years ago, many thought Spencer Rattler could be the No. 1 overall pick. While he’s fallen well off that pedestal, he’s still got a bright NFL future. Rattler is another player who we see having better short accuracy (6) than overall or deep accuracy (5). 

Rattler’s 69 percent completion rate tied for 11th, and his 79 percent on-target rate and 90 percent catchable rate ranked third. These are impressive numbers, but his 7.4-yard average throw depth was tied for 18th-shortest. With some development, he has a chance to be a serviceable NFL quarterback.

These rankings happen to resemble the order in which we have them ranked on our Big Board, which makes sense, but that’s not always the case. There are a few other quarterbacks who showed some solid accuracy in college. Still, we don’t see their overall accuracy overtaking any of these seven at the next level anytime soon.

Stats and ranks as of March 4, 2024

This article was written by Nathan Cooper.