Russell Wilson will turn 35 years old during the season and is coming off his worst season by far, in his career. Now, he could have a bounce-back season this year, and I certainly hope he does, but the team and we as fans need to be looking at the upcoming draft class, just in case.
This will be a make-or-break year for Russell Wilson. If he has a bounce-back year, then the team can wait on looking for their quarterback of the future, but if he struggles once again, they will be in the market for a quarterback. So, let us take a look at which quarterback prospects have stood out thus far and if they will be names for us to watch in the future.
The potential 2024 QB draft class absolutely showed OUT in week one.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) September 5, 2023
This QB class could be the best the NFL has EVER seen.
Caleb Williams (USC): 18/24, 319 passing yards, 5 TD’s
Drake Maye (UNC): 24/32, 269 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s
Shedeur Sanders (Colorado): 38/47, 510 yards… pic.twitter.com/n56OgL8ScJ
USC QB, Caleb Williams
Unless he decides to stay in school, which apparently is a possibility depending on who holds the number one overall pick, Caleb Williams will be your number one overall pick. So, far he living up to that billing with an impressive start to his 2023 season at USC.
In two games, Williams has passed for 597 yards, 9 touchdown passes, and 0 interceptions and he is completing 73.5% of his passes. He has been getting hype as a generational prospect and so far, he is living up to that potential.
UNC QB, Drake Maye
After Williams, Maye is considered the next-best quarterback prospect and potentially could be the next player or two off the board in the draft. He is viewed as a prototype quarterback since he has the size, athleticism, arm strength, accuracy, intelligence, and instincts. On paper, he is everything you want out of a top quarterback prospect.
So far this year, Maye has only played one game, but it was a solid overall effort from the highly touted prospect. He passed for 269 yards, 2 touchdowns, and completed 75% of his passes. He did have two interceptions on the night which is something you do not want to see, but it was the first game of the season so we shall see how he bounces back. Still, Maye is viewed as one of the top overall prospects in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.
Colorado QB, Shedeur Sanders
All the local fans know about Deion’s kid but after their opening game vs. TCU, he has emerged on a national stage. Colorado upset TCU in their opener and quarterback Shedeur Sanders has emerged as a rising quarterback prospect and a Heisman frontrunner.
The all-22 is somehow even more impressive for #Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders than the broadcast copy.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 3, 2023
Sees it quickly and drives it quickly (and accurately). Big-time talent. pic.twitter.com/9Gsqh8CMFU
In their opener vs. TCU, Sanders passed for 510 yards, had 4 touchdown passes, and completed an impressive 80.9% of his passes. He did this vs. a ranked team. on the road, in the Texas heat, and against a team that played in the National Championship game last season. He will need to continue to build on this performance moving forward, but it was an excellent first start for the Colorado quarterback.
Michigan QB, J.J. McCarthy
The Michigan signal-caller isn’t as highly regarded as Williams and Maye, but he is viewed as a potential first-round quarterback prospect. He comes from a pro-style offense and is being developed by Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. In their opener, they played East Carolina, which is not a top team, but still, McCarthy had an impressive game.
In the opener, McCarthy passed for 280 yards, threw for 3 touchdown passes, and completed a very impressive 86.7% of his passes. He is a talented quarterback prospect who can elevate himself as a sure-fire first-round pick if he continues to have performances like this moving forward.
Washington QB, Michael Penix Jr.
The lefty senior quarterback out of Washington is another quarterback who had a great opening-week performance this past weekend. Against Boise State, Penix Jr. had an impressive performance where he passed for 450 yards, threw 5 touchdowns, and completed 72.5% of his passes.
Michael Penix Jr. was SHARP in his season debut pic.twitter.com/1atJTjKeQp— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) September 3, 2023
He showcased his deep ball ability by completing 11 passes of 20 yards or more and may have elevated his draft stock with this performance. The strong-armed lefty put himself in the Heisman conversation with this performance as well. He will need to continue to build on this performance throughout the year if he wants to be a surefire first-round pick, but so far, he has put himself in that early conversation.
Oregon QB, Bo Nix
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix may not be a top overall quarterback prospect, but he has the potential to sneak into the first round or at least, be a day-two selection in the draft. The Oregon Duck completely dominated Portland State by the score of 81-7 this past weekend and Nix had himself a good showing as well.
In this game, he passed for 287 yards, 3 touchdown passes, and completed 85.2% of his passes. It is hard to take much away from a game like this because of the level of competition, but it was a solid start for Nix. He will need to prove he can do this against tougher competition moving forward.
2024 Mock Draft Roundup
Yeah, it’s WAY too early to be looking at mock drafts, but this will be the first time the Broncos pick in the first round in two years, so let us draft nerds have some fun.
Sean Payton worked wonders with the big-bodied Michael Thomas at the tail end of Drew Brees’ Saints career, and he sees a similar body type and rebounder mentality in Coleman.
People may look at a projected first-round linebacker from Clemson and get flashbacks of past failed draft picks. But Carter really does seem to be a different type of athlete at linebacker coming from that program. He has legit sideline-to-sideline speed but doesn’t shy away from the physical requirements of playing the position between the tackles.
The Denver Broncos are extremely talented in their secondary, with productive linebackers and some explosivity among the pass-rushers. However, the defensive line isn’t as stout, hence why the organization signed Zach Allen to a three-year, $45.8 million free-agent contract to solidify the group.
Beyond Allen, the trio of Frank Clark, Mike Purcell and Jonathan Harris aren’t signed beyond this season. D.J. Jones will only have one year remaining on his current deal as well. An opportunity to select the class’ best defensive tackle in Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton might be necessary even if it’s not sexy.
“Allen and Jer’Zhan Newton would form an excellent one-two punch in the trenches for years to come,” Holder said. “Newton is a stout run defender with pop in his hands and top-notch block recognition. He’s also shown flashes of athleticism to give him upside as a pass-rusher after logging 10.5 sacks last season.”
The 6’2”, 295-pound Newton is a rare interior defender capable of holding up at the point of attack while also providing an up-field presence. Allen and Newton collapsing the interior will provide more opportunities for Randy Gregory and Nik Bonitto when working off the edges.
With the season having kicked off, the Mile-High Faithful will see a lot of their questions answered regarding this year’s roster. Will Sean Payton’s touch turn around an offense that scored a league-worst 16.9 points per game? Can he turn around Russell Wilson after an awful 2022 campaign? Is this offensive line better or will they continue to be the Achilles heel for this team?
Can this defense continue to play at a high level with a third consecutive offseason of changes to the coaches and personnel? We will get plenty of these answers and more over the next four months, and those will help mold the answer to who the Broncos select in next April’s draft. I’ve got Bowers going here, simply because of his talent. It’s not that I don’t think Greg Dulcich is talented, and some think he may be one of Denver’s breakout performers this year. Still, this offense needs playmakers and Bowers has been one of college football’s best over the last two years.