Ranking top 5 QB draft prospects in 2024: Who will the Commanders take?

It's almost decision-time for the Commanders...
Drake Maye
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5. Spencer Rattler

One thing I’ve come to learn about quarterback prospects - or any prospect for that matter - is that progression is not linear. That could apply to almost any player on this list and it certainly does with the fifth-ranked quarterback in the draft, Spencer Rattler.

That name may sound familiar. Rattler was supposed to be a superstar at Oklahoma and was once labeled a future No. 1 overall draft selection. That was until his struggles in pocket navigation, field vision, and pressure forced Lincoln Riley to bench him against Texas in 2021 for an uber-gifted talent in Caleb Williams.

Rattler would transfer to South Carolina and continue with the same inconsistencies that plagued him in Norman. However, he flipped a switch late in the 2022 season and displayed flashes of NFL starter-like ability. While the Gamecocks struggled in 2023 and missed a bowl game, the signal-caller continued to show plenty of potential.

The former five-star high school recruit features an above-average arm and sufficient three-level accuracy with improvement in most areas of his game. While he still tends to drift in the pocket and his footwork is still hit-or-miss, Rattler can throw beautiful passes from any platform while showing glimpses of pocket navigation skills.

If I’m an NFL team with a veteran quarterback nearing the end of his career, I would stand on the table for the physical tools of Rattler, who could be an adequate starter with further development.

4. J.J. McCarthy

One of the names that has come up in the discussion around the No. 2 overall pick is Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. You may have seen discourse in a less-than-pleasant tone surrounding the player due to some offseason hype and reported conversations around the league.

While it seems unlikely that McCarthy is to be the Washington Commanders selection, he should still be a coveted quarterback for an NFL team willing to be patient. He is still considered raw for the most part. However, it is hard to ignore the work ethic and the overall skill set he's displayed.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, McCarthy’s coach in Ann Arbor for the last three seasons, speaks highly of him. The former five-star high school recruit has shown progression in his last two seasons as a starter, which gives you hope he can develop into a quality pro.

McCarthy doesn’t have just surprising athleticism, he is a legitimate athlete who can be utilized in the read-option game. He has used his legs to create plays out of structure and displays enough arm talent to connect with receivers all over the field, whether it’s the deep third or from the far hash. There are flashes of sound mechanics, field vision, and terrific ball placement.

The signal-caller would fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense - or any system, though he’ll likely need to sit behind Marcus Mariota to start the season. McCarthy might not be a Day 1 starter, but in the right situation, he can take over and develop into a signal-caller in the discussion for being an upper-half of NFL starting quarterbacks.