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The home stretch to the 2024 NFL Draft is here as Monday marks exactly one month until Day 1 of the draft.

As Pro Days take place around the country and teams schedule visits with prospects, the quarterbacks continue to get much of the attention in the lead-up to the draft. I had six quarterbacks get selected in the first round of my most recent mock draft, which would tie the NFL record.

In the latest episode of my podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah joined me to discuss a few of the top quarterback prospects that I find the most interesting. I also shared one of my hottest takes of this year’s draft with him as we discussed potential fits for one of the best quarterbacks in college football from last season.

Here’s a snippet of my conversation with Jeremiah, who I’ll join on the NFL Network desk for the first two nights of the draft.

J.J. McCarthy

Klatt: “Can you give us a sense, based on the conversations that you’re having around the league, about how valuable they deem these five, six guys at the top of the draft in the quarterback room?”

Jeremiah: “I think there’s a lot of love for them. I think there’s a disconnect this year between – and just listening to the conversation that’s taking place on talk radio and different spots – they’re pushing back on this narrative that we could see four quarterbacks in the top 10. I think the biggest reason is that I don’t think that they can figure out J.J. McCarthy. It blows their minds. They don’t get it. They say, ‘I watched Michigan play.’ You were doing a bunch of those games. This is the biggest game of the week, every week. Michigan goes on a run to a national championship and [they think], ‘I just never thought that team ran through J.J. McCarthy.’ They can’t wrap their minds around the fact that J.J. McCarthy could be the fourth quarterback to go in the top 10. I’m telling them, ‘Trust me. I talk to these teams all the time. I know what these coaches, these general managers think of this guy.’ The more you watch him, he’s an acquired taste, the more you appreciate some of the things he does, especially when you get in third-and-7-plus when you watch that cut up. I think there’s the need there, so you have demand. We have a legitimate supply you can sell. I think we’re going to see these guys come off the board quick.”

Klatt: “I called 16 Michigan games in the last three years since J.J. McCarthy stepped foot on that campus. I’ve watched him live 16 times, which is an absurd amount. It’s a really interesting perspective that I had, because I saw him as this wet behind-the-ears freshman that they were giving spot time to, along with Cade McNamara. Then, I saw this guy who won the job, but was still very raw. Then, there was this product that we saw toward the end of his last season as a starter. I can tell you that he grew a lot from the pocket. I’m not telling you anything that you didn’t see on the tape. But I would echo exactly what you’re talking about. What talk radio and fans can’t get over is what they see, and what they see is this Michigan team that was a bit of a machine. They ran the ball 32 straight times against Penn State … and they were like, ‘Well, with an elite quarterback, you wouldn’t have to run the ball 32 straight times.’ But what they don’t understand is they weren’t going to block Chop Robinson. On the first two series of the game, Robinson ran around their right tackle twice and they abandoned the passing game. It wasn’t because of J.J. The last thing I would say on J.J., to have the talent that he did and to just do whatever the team wanted him to do to win, I was always most impressed with that. When I would talk to him, I’d ask ‘Do you want to throw it more?’ He would look at me, dead in the eyes, and he’d say in all sincerity, ‘I will do whatever it takes to win.’ If he said that to those teams, which I’m sure he did, they’re seeing what I saw.”

Joel Klatt and Daniel Jeremiah discuss the quarterback heavy 2024 NFL Draft

Jeremiah: “With J.J. McCarthy, you look at him and say, ‘He’s got a live arm, he’s incredibly smart, tough, athletic and he can move around. He has all of those things. I don’t need to fill up a stat sheet to know the things he has in his toolbox translate well to the next level.”

Drake Maye

Klatt: “I don’t think you and I would have a very interesting conversation about Caleb Williams. We both think he’s a really great player. … So, I want to take it to Drake Maye. There’s chatter on Drake Maye and I just want to give you my thought: I covered him live, and I’m always skewed by the games that I cover live because I’m not trained like you are from a scout’s perspective. I’m swayed if I’m in the booth and I watch someone do something great. I’m like, ‘OK, I’m in.’ I covered the Holiday Bowl when he played Oregon and he made three or four throws in that game, alluding someone in a tight space, in a phone booth, and then ripping something through another phone booth against a really good defense that Oregon had. In any other year when Williams isn’t the consensus No. 1 pick, I think Maye is absolutely No. 1 pick material.”

Caleb Williams and Drake Maye in Joel Klatt’s top 5 QBs in 2024 NFL Draft

Jeremiah: “Sometimes, I think people think there’s a perfect prospect or think all the pictures are going to be colored in. That’s now how this works. You have to take into account the surrounding. With Drake, and I would even bring Caleb back into this conversation, where with the surrounding cast they had was such a dropoff from what LSU had in place [with Jayden Daniels]. With Drake, his size is irrefutable. He’s got outstanding size. He’s got a big arm, a live arm. That’s irrefutable. He’s an outstanding athlete, you can use him in design quarterback runs and move the pocket. He’s got a creative gene to him to help make things happen. Those things are all irrefutable. When you talk to the folks at the school, you hear he’s incredibly bright and a tough leader. This is the foundation. Now, there’s some footwork stuff that gets away from him at times. He’s always under pressure. He tried to get a little too big in moments, dial that back. But if we’re talking about the foundation of a successful quarterback, he has all of it. So, now we’ve got to get the rest of it out of him and put the right pieces in place around him. That’s an easy one for me to bet on.”

Klatt: “I’m sure this happened at some point in your career, maybe even as a scout, but I learned so much from poor opinions of two guys specifically: Justin Herbert and Josh Allen. Coming out, I wanted to nitpick and do all these things about it. Yet, I could’ve cut and paste what you said about Drake Maye and said the same about those guys. The size, live arm and intelligence, I knew all of those things, but I was like, ‘Well, his completion percentage, and he’s not that accurate. Maye is actually more accurate than both of those guys were in college. I learned a lot from missing on those two prospects.”

Caleb Williams & Drake Maye in Joel Klatt’s 2024 mock draft 2.0

Jeremiah: “[Herbert] was like my 20th-ranked player. I watched every game he’s played in the NFL, that’s the sense of humor in this whole thing. I saw the size, arm strength, athleticism, toughness and intelligence. I looked at all of that and said, ‘I don’t know, he’s a little bit robotic. They don’t really push the ball down the field.’ … That was a good lesson for me. If all of the foundational pieces are there, then what are we doing? Just stop.”

Michael Penix Jr.

Klatt: “What are your thoughts on Michael Penix?”

Jeremiah: “Huge arm. It did not surprise me when I got a chance to see him live for the first time at the Senior Bowl that he has enormous hands because he throws the ball like someone who has huge hands. Drive throws, he’s outstanding. Deep balls over the top, he is unbelievable. It’s a different delivery. It’s a different look. Not only is he left-handed, but he’s high-cut, so he’s got long legs and a short torso, and a three-quarter delivery. Put all of those things together and it looks different. It takes you a while, you’ve to get recalibrated when you watch him. But you can see the ball jump out of his hands. If you want to fall in love with him, watch the Texas game over and over again to see those throws he made in that game and some of the pocket movement stuff that you question when you see some of these other games. The durability, the injuries factor in 100 percent. The age, I don’t really worry about. I think it’s almost a good thing nowadays to have that many starts under your belt. I love that he’s had adversity. … I had him going at No. 13 in my latest mock draft to the Raiders because I’m looking at Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew, the throwing talent between him and those two guys is not close.”

Michael Penix Jr. Highlights

Klatt: “It’s not. I’m going one step further, and I want your honest reaction to this: I love Michael Penix’s ability to throw the ball down the field, his timing, ability to control from the pocket and his ability to throw with leverage so much. … I started thinking about the offenses, play callers and personnel in the NFL and thought, ‘If I wanted to pick one spot where he would immediately not only make them better, but flourish.’ I couldn’t stop thinking about Miami.”

Jeremiah: “Oh man, the Tua [Tagovailoa] folks are going to come after you.”

Klatt: “I know, and they already have. I think Penix is an upgrade. I think he’s an immediate upgrade. There is not a doubt in my mind that he throws the ball better down the field, more accurately down the field, with more, tempo and pace than Tua. That doesn’t mean Tua doesn’t have a spot in the league. Tua would be a lot better for Sean Payton. … I just can’t get this out of my head, Penix to Miami.”

Michael Penix Jr. & Troy Franklin in Joel Klatt’s mock draft 1.0

Jeremiah: “That’s fun. I haven’t heard that yet. It’s an interesting way that you put it, because I don’t think anyone would argue with you in terms of being able to drive the ball and being able to drive the ball over the top. Penix, from an arm standpoint, it’s not close. A lot of this I wouldn’t necessarily say is the Mike McDaniel offense, I would say they’ve crafted an offense around Tua – RPO-based, slants and quick-hitters. I think Tua’s hands are quicker, that’s where I would give him the edge. … Whereas Penix, I think allows you, with the speed that they have, is less ‘run after catch’ and more ‘we’re going to play on top of you.'”

Joel Klatt is FOX Sports’ lead college football game analyst and the host of the podcast “The Joel Klatt Show.” Follow him on X/Twitter at @joelklatt and subscribe to the “Joel Klatt Show” on YouTube.


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