2024 NFL Draft: 5 Quarterbacks Taken In The Top 10 Of The NfL Draft For The First Time Ever

Caleb Williams is projected to be selected with the first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft after excelling with the USC Trojans. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — The 2024 NFL Draft has kicked off with the Chicago Bears selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick on Thursday night.

Bears fans at the event applauded Williams as he walked onto the stage to share an embrace with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

This year’s draft could well be be a blockbuster one, with heaps of highly-touted quarterback talents, a potentially all-time wide receiver group and overall value throughout. It’s the first time in NFL history five quarterbacks were selected in the top 10, and there are plenty more teams searching for an answer at the position.

With teams loaded on veteran players, the draft allows the 32 franchises to stock up on young prospects before heading into training camp to fine tune their rosters ahead of the opening of the new season in September.

Earlier Thursday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said on X 150,000 fans are in attendance at the draft.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 NFL Draft.

How to watch

The 2024 NFL Draft will be held in Detroit across three days in the downtown area surrounding the Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza.

The first round began at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The second and third rounds will be held on Friday and the final four rounds on Saturday.

Fans can stay across all the action on NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes as well as following all the selections on the NFL+ app.

A quarterback heavy draft

There are some years where the crop of quarterbacks coming out of college football isn’t awe-inspiring.

This is not one of those years.

There are a number of potentially franchise-changing signal-callers in the 2024 class, and chief among those was USC’s Williams.

Although he endured somewhat of a down year last season, Williams possesses all the attributes required to be a high-level quarterback in the NFL.

His throwing ability in various scenarios combined with his athletic talents make him the perfect example of the modern dual-threat QB and have led to comparisons to former No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray.

The 22-year-old Williams has been high on many draft analysts’ radar for over a year now, following his Heisman Trophy winning season in 2022; he broke Trojan records in passing touchdowns, passing yards and passing efficiency that season.

That skillset is expected to translate immediately into the NFL, even as a rookie, and Williams was overwhelmingly the favorite to be selected with the first pick of the 2024 Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears traded away last year’s starter Justin Fields in the offseason to presumably clear the path for Williams to start in his debut season.

The Washington Commanders chose LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second pick. Daniels is coming off a Heisman Trophy winning season in Baton Rouge, where his throwing and running ability helped elevate his draft stock.

He became the only player in Division I history to throw for 12,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards in a college career, and the 23-year-old could provide a dual-threat danger for any team.

North Carolina’s Drake Maye was the third pick of the night, selected by the New England Patriots.

Maye came to prominence in 2022 and last year he led UNC admirably to enhance his draft reputation, while also showing areas of growth.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein describes Maye as having a “gunslinger mentality” which allows him to “make splash throws that get crowds (and evaluators) on their feet” but also means he tries to “make throws that he shouldn’t have attempted.”

This marks the fourth time in NFL history and the first time since 2021 that three quarterbacks were taken with the first three picks.

In the stunning move of the top 10, the Atlanta Falcons selected University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings traded up with the New York Jets to pick 10 to take University of Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy, and the Denver Broncos selected Oregon quarterback Bo Nix with the 12th pick.

Pass-catching game-changers

According to the NFL’s draft expert Daniel Jeremiah and his rankings of the 2024 draft prospects, three of the four best players are wide receivers, and 12 of the top 50 play the position.

Marvin Harrison Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, is the leader of that group. Harrison Jr. was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the fourth pick Thursday night.

Harrison Jr. developed into a dominant force for Ohio State over recent years and, perhaps unsurprisingly, his game bears similarities to his father, who was an eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Indianapolis Colts.

A player who is fast but not reliant on his speed, Harrison Jr. has made route-running his forte, able to break free from defenders with ease while also making tough catches.

Zierlein describes Harrison Jr. as a “pedigree prospect and a Day 1 starter with high-end production expected” and will likely be the first non-quarterback selection.

There are two other wide receivers who were expected to go in the top 10 – and did.

Both Washington’s Rome Odunze and LSU’s Malik Nabers are top-end talents while also bringing very different skillsets to the table.

Nabers is a dynamic, shifty pass-catcher who thrives when the ball is in his hands, while Odunze has a bigger frame – his strength alone is a formidable threat for opposing defenses. The New York Giants took Nabers with the sixth pick.

Odunze has been compared to Larry Fitzgerald and Nabers to Justin Jefferson; the former is a Hall of Famer and the latter is arguably the best wide receiver in the league at the moment. The Bears chose Odunze with the ninth pick.

There are heaps of other wide receiver talent on offer further down the pecking order.

Other wideouts available include Brian Thomas Jr., who was a touchdown monster last year for LSU, while the Texas duo of Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy are polished prospects. Georgia’s Ladd McConkey is also a shifty slot receiver.

There’s plenty of depth for teams in need of pass-catching threats, so if you’re a fan of the position, the first round could be a treat for you.

First round order

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina)

2. Washington Commanders

3. New England Patriots

4. Arizona Cardinals

5. Los Angeles Chargers

6. New York Giants

7. Tennessee Titans

8. Atlanta Falcons

9. Chicago Bears

10.  New York Jets

11.  Minnesota Vikings

12.  Denver Broncos

13.  Las Vegas Raiders

14.  New Orleans Saints

15.  Indianapolis Colts

16.  Seattle Seahawks

17.  Jacksonville Jaguars

18.  Cincinnati Bengals

19.  Los Angeles Rams

20.  Pittsburgh Steelers

21.  Miami Dolphins

22.  Philadelphia Eagles

23.  Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland via Houston)

24.  Dallas Cowboys

25.  Green Bay Packers

26.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

27.  Arizona Cardinals (from Houston)

28.  Buffalo Bills

29.  Detroit Lions

30.  Baltimore Ravens

31.  San Francisco 49ers

32.  Kansas City Chiefs

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