2024 NFL Draft sees record QB run at top of first round

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft is still unfolding.

But it has already made history.

As expected, the draft opened with the Chicago Bears selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams. As we noted shortly after the pick, Williams is perhaps the ideal quarterback for the modern era of football, with the ability to create off structure and outside the pocket, while having the instincts to operate as a pure pocket passer.

Williams was followed again with two largely selected picks, with the Washington Commanders drafting quarterback Jayden Daniels from LSU, who took home countless awards last season including the Heisman Trophy. That selection was followed by the New England Patriots staying at No. 3 — and not trading out of the spot — and drafting UNC quarterback Drake Maye.

While those picks were relatively expected, what was not is how the rest of the top 12 unfolded.

Because if you thought this might be the first draft since the legendary 1983 NFL Draft to have six quarterbacks in the first round, you were right.

But while that draft saw the fourth quarterback — Jim Kelly — taken at No. 14 to the Buffalo Bills we did not have to wait long to see the fourth quarterback selected tonight. Because the Atlanta Falcons, yes the team that just acquired Kirk Cousins in free agency, dropped the first true stunner of the night when they drafted Michael Penix Jr., at No. 8 overall.

Eight selections, four quarterbacks.

However, the league was not done yet.

After Rome Odunze came off the board at No. 9 to the Chicago Bears, providing resident Bears fan Ricky O’Donnell a second moment of pure ecstasy on this night, the Minnesota Vikings finally pulled off the trade everyone was expecting, moving up one spot in a trade with the New York Jets to draft J.J. McCarthy.

Ten selections, five quarterbacks.

Back in 1983 the fifth quarterback of the first round, Ken O’Brien, came off the board at No. 24 to the Jets.

After the Jets added Penn State offensive lineman Olu Fashanu, the Denver Broncos were on the clock. Sure, the Broncos recently traded for Zach Wilson, but there were rumors all draft season that Sean Payton was eying a move up in the draft to grab a quarterback. Many stories were written about the 2017 NFL Draft, back when Payton was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, and how he wanted to draft Patrick Mahomes only to see the Kansas City Chiefs swoop in with their draft-night trade with the Buffalo Bills.

The message? Payton was not going to miss out on a quarterback this year.

In the end, he did not have to execute a trade, but he did get his quarterback. Oregon passer Bo Nix, come on down. You are the newest member of the Denver Broncos.

12 selections, 6 quarterbacks.

Back in 1983 Dan Marino was the sixth and final quarterback taken, coming off the board at No. 27 to the Miami Dolphins.

For decades, the legendary QB class of 1983 set the standard. Six quarterbacks, which until tonight was an NFL Draft record. That class needed 27 picks to reach that number.

This year needed just 12.

The ultimate question, however?

Will this crop of six passers live up to what the Class of 1983 — Kelly, O’Brien, Marino, Tony Eason, Todd Blackledge, and John Elway — accomplished in the NFL?

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