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Ranking the Last Ten QB Draft Classes: How Will the Class of 2024 Compare?

Caleb Williams taking the stand for reporters at the NFL draft combine.
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Since the NFL QB draft class of 2015, there have been many quarterbacks who have become stars, and many who have not met expectations. With the hype of the upcoming draft on April 25th-27th and the discussion around the 2024 quarterback class, this article will be ranking all the QB draft classes the league has been treated with since 2015.

The NFL QB Draft Classes Since 2014, Ranked

Now, when discussing a draft class that hasn't happened yet and classes who are just now getting their chance in the league, there will have to be some guesswork done. For the new classes, the rankings will be based on potential, what they have shown recently, depth, and their current situation. For older classes, it will be based off of the stars that panned out, the backups, and the overall quality of the class.

#10 Class of 2022

49ers' QB Brock Purdy winding up a pass against the chiefs in the superbowl
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Notable QBs in the class

  • Brock Purdy

  • Kenny Pickett

  • Desmond Ridder

  • Matt Corral

  • Malik Willis

  • Bailey Zappe

  • Sam Howell

As it stands now, Brock Purdy is the only starter for next season. The Mr. Irrelevant titleholder was an MVP candidate for most of the season until the last few weeks, leading one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses. Sam Howell had a decent two-season stint but was traded to the Seahawks to compete for QB2 to make room for whoever the Commanders take in this year’s draft. Desmond Ridder was benched a few times in his most recent season with the Falcons and was traded this off-season to the Cardinals to back up Kyler Murray. Kenny Pickett’s play constantly fluctuated with the Steelers, resulting in his trade to the Eagles, where he will back up Jalen Hurts. Bailey Zappe failed to take the job from a struggling Mac Jones at multiple points, while Matt Corral and Malik Willis never got a major shot at proving themselves. Overall, this class can be considered a disappointment with the lack of talent and starting-worthy players, resulting in this class coming in at #10 in our rankings.

#9 Class of 2015

Marcus Mariota in his Titan days walking off the field after a game
© Andrew Nelles / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Jameis Winston

  • Marcus Mariota

  • Sean Mannion

  • Brett Hundley

  • Trevor Semien

In the great college football year of 2015, this draft class had so much promise, specifically with the top two QBs taken: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Two Heisman-winning quarterbacks with a lot of talent but never showed enough in the NFL. Winston wasn’t off to a terrible start, posting QBRs of over 84 in each of his seasons with the Buccaneers, but his interception totals were consistently high. In his final year with Tampa in 2019, he threw for over 5,000 yards with 33 touchdowns. The kicker is he had 30 interceptions that season as well. Since then, he has been a backup QB in New Orleans and left for the Browns this off-season. Mariota never fully panned out after many coaching changes in his early years, and other than his brief stint as the Falcons' starting QB in 2022, has had the same role as Winston. The rest of the quarterbacks taken in this class have either fallen out of the league or jumped from team to team on their practice squad and official roster.

#8 Class of 2021

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence calling a play at the line of scrimage pre-snap
© Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Trevor Lawrence

  • Zach Wilson

  • Trey Lance

  • Justin Fields

  • Mac Jones

  • Kyle Trask

  • Davis Mills

In just the three seasons since this round of QBs was taken, all but Lawrence have been traded or pushed to a backup role. The Zach Wilson saga in New York is ongoing; with his disappointing play, there is no telling what his future holds in the Big Apple. Trey Lance sustained a significant ankle injury in 2020, changing the course of his career. He was never able to win the starting job in San Francisco and was traded to the Dallas Cowboys to be Dak Prescott’s backup last year. Justin Fields’ tenure was cut short with the Bears clinching the #1 overall pick this year, and he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers to be QB2 behind Russell Wilson. Mac Jones struggled since his promising rookie year and was sent to back up Trevor Lawrence this off-season. In a class that had too much potential, it is hard to look back without being disappointed.

#7 Class of 2019

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray standing in the Cardinals new red uniforms
© Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Kyler Murray

  • Daniel Jones

  • Dwayne Haskins

  • Drew Lock

  • Jarrett Stidham

  • Gardner Minshew

  • Trace McSorley

Kyler Murray has had a great career in Arizona and is regarded as a star quarterback in the league. Daniel Jones is tricky to discuss, as most Giants fans would tell you he is not worth his contract, but he is, in fact, a starting quarterback who has had some decent moments in his career. Tragically, Dwayne Haskins showed promise coming out of college but never reached his prime before passing away in April 2022. Trace McSorley is currently a free agent, and despite going viral for a song made about him in 2020, hasn’t been much more than a journeyman backup. Gardner Minshew is a solid backup, recently playing most of the season for the Colts after Anthony Richardson went down, posting over 3000 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. With the quarterback future of the Denver Broncos being unknown ahead of the draft, there is a chance we see Jarrett Stidham starting in week 1. What separates this class from the lower-ranked ones is the quality of backup quarterbacks produced, and Kyler Murray himself.

#6 Class of 2016

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott dropping back for a pass.
© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Notable QBs in the class

  • Dak Prescott

  • Jared Goff

  • Carson Wentz

  • Paxton Lynch

  • Jacoby Brissett

  • Cardale Jones

The separation between the #6 class and the #7 class is very noticeable. Dak Prescott is a star quarterback for the Cowboys and was an MVP candidate for a good portion of the year last season. Jared Goff is heavily debated between being a good quarterback and a ‘just okay’ one, but he took the Rams to the Super Bowl behind Sean McVay in 2019. Goff has played a major role in the new era of the Detroit Lions, a team that has impressed fans since Dan Campbell took over the helm after Matthew Stafford’s departure. Carson Wentz is now a journeyman backup, but he was once a great starting QB for the Eagles before tearing his ACL in 2017, the year the team won the Super Bowl with QB2 Nick Foles. Another bright spot is Jacoby Brissett, who has become one of the most sought-after backups in the entire NFL.

#5 Class of 2023

Texans QB CJ Stroud scrambling with the ball in a game against the Ravens
© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sport

Notable QBs in the class

  • Bryce Young

  • CJ Stroud

  • Anthony Richardson

  • Will Levis

  • Hendon Hooker

With this class, there is some guesswork to be made. CJ Stroud had an amazing rookie season, breaking more than a few records. The Texans surprised a lot of people, and with the off-season additions including Stefon Diggs, they look to do the same next season, which only allows us to believe Stroud can take the next step. Bryce Young, on the other hand, had a far worse situation in Carolina and greatly underperformed his expectations, being sacked the most only behind Sam Howell. There is still time for him to develop under the new coaching staff, given how fresh this draft class is. Will Levis found himself in the starting role for the Tennessee Titans and played decently well, showing flashes throughout the whole season. With a new coaching staff in Tennessee and the departure of Mike Vrabel, only time will tell if Levis can become the Titans’ quarterback of the future. Anthony Richardson looked amazing in the preseason and the first handful of games for the Colts before going down with a season-ending injury. We have yet to see Hendon Hooker suit up due to injury, and with the recent play of Jared Goff, there is no telling when we will see the former Volunteer in action.

#4 Class of 2018

Bills QB Josh Allen throwing a pass
© Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Josh Allen

  • Lamar Jackson

  • Baker Mayfield

  • Sam Darnold

  • Josh Rosen

  • Mason Rudolph

At this point, ranking the number 2-4 classes is extremely difficult, as they all have so much talent and potential. The class of 2018 is no doubt a stellar one, with the top two quarterbacks being generational talents Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Not much needs to be said about these two, as their resumes speak for themselves. Jackson just won his second MVP, and both are consistently argued in the top 5 quarterback conversations. Baker Mayfield had a career revival with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and re-signed to be their starting QB again next year. Sam Darnold has bounced around but is seen as a competent backup and could be the starter in week 1 for the Vikings depending on how the next draft goes. Being so top-heavy, the #4 spot feels good for the class of 2018.

#3 Class of 2024

USC Trojans QB Caleb Williams with the ball in hand
© Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Caleb Williams

  • Drake Maye

  • Jayden Daniels

  • JJ McCarthy

  • Bo Nix

  • Michael Penix Jr

Here it is, the stacked class for 2024. This is where predicting the future comes in, and that is extremely hard to do. This very well could end up on a ‘bad take’ compilation in a few years, but this class has so much potential it feels right to have them here, even though it is extremely close between this class and the class of 2018. 2024 boasts two Heisman winners in Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, along with two Heisman finalists in Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. The prospects in this class are incredible. Caleb Williams has been described as one of the best QB prospects of all time, and Drake Maye has all the tools to become a top-10 quarterback. The reason this class is ranked so high is solely based on the potential of how deep it can be, as any of these guys could very well turn out to be a star. As mentioned before, this is only a prediction, but all fans should be excited to see how this next draft unfolds.

#2 Class of 2017

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes celebrating and holding the Superbowl trophy, talking with a reporter on stage.
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Notable QBs in the class

  • Patrick Mahomes

  • Deshaun Watson

  • Mitchell Trubisky

  • Joshua Dobbs

  • Nathan Peterman

  • Taysom Hill (undrafted)

  • Nick Mullens (undrafted)

Another example of an extremely top-heavy class, with the key separation being Patrick Mahomes. It is impossible for this class not to be this high, given that it produced what could be the greatest quarterback of all time when he retires, with three Super Bowl wins and two MVPs under his belt in his first seven seasons. Mahomes alone is enough to elevate this draft class in the rankings, without even mentioning prime Deshaun Watson. Watson was a star in Houston before his legal battles but has yet to return to his former self in Cleveland after receiving one of the most controversial contracts in sports history. Mitchell Trubisky never panned out and looks like a horrible pick since he was taken over by Patrick Mahomes, but he still serves as a QB2-type player along with Joshua Dobbs. Peterman has made many stops as a backup, but not much else. Even though they went undrafted, Taysom Hill and Nick Mullens have to be included when talking about this class.

#1 Class of 2020

Bengals QB Joe Burrow clapping without his helmet
© Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Notable QBs in the class

  • Joe Burrow

  • Justin Herbert

  • Jalen Hurts

  • Tua Tagovailoa

  • Jordan Love

Coming in as the #1 ranked class in the last 10 years is the class of 2020. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Jalen Hurts are all-star quarterbacks, which is enough to rank this class here alone. All three of those QBs are constantly debated as some of the best in the league and show no signs of slowing down. Tua Tagovailoa has played very well with the Dolphins, despite not being able to get over the hump. Tua is debated amongst NFL fans on whether he is truly a star or not, but the numbers are there. Last season, Jordan Love got his chance with Aaron Rodgers jetting to New York and had a breakout year. Love shows tons of promise and could be the Packers’ franchise quarterback for the future. This class is special, and we haven’t seen anything like it in the last 10 years.


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