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Florio's NFL/Fantasy Football Scouting Report: Maye, McCarthy, Penix, Nix, and more

Drake Maye - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, QB, NFL Draft Sleepers

Quarterback is the hardest position to scout. No one can get inside a QB's head and I am not going to pretend like I know who has the intangibles and who doesn’t. I do not know if any of them did not have their friends attend their birthday party. But what I can judge is what they put on tape. The physical ability and style of play that each will bring with them to the NFL. 

Landing spot matters more to a QB than any other position. Some teams that are believed to be in the QB market during the draft have a good offensive line, good playmakers, or a proven play-caller -- or some combination of the bunch. And some have none. Where a QB ends up will not only play a huge part in their NFL career and if they live up to expectations or not -- but it greatly changes fantasy football and dynasty value. 

Still, it is important to know how the QBs fall and how they play -- knowing who can add value with their legs is especially big for fantasy purposes. I have already written about my top-two QBs in this class. This article will focus on the secondary options in a strong QB NFL Draft class. 

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Scouting the 2024 NFL Draft QB Class After the Top Two

Drake Maye is my QB3 heading into the draft. Of course, the landing spot matters more with QBs than any other position. When you watch Maye, the arm strength immediately jumps out. You have to see his 40-yard fadeaway touchdown pass to believe it. He also has size and athleticism and just looks the part of the prototypical franchise QB. If this was 15 years ago, he would probably be the first pick off the board. 

Maye not only rivals Caleb Williams for best arm in the class, but he has good touch and accuracy on his ball. He has the rare combination of good touch and laser downfield ability. Maye can fit the ball into tight windows with ease. He is tough to bring down in the pocket and can extend plays with his legs. Not only that but he has sneaky speed. He should be able to add some fantasy value with his legs. 

At times, Maye will look very accurate, but he misses more than you would like. The misses stood out at times while watching him because when he misses, he misses badly. Some of his interceptions come from him missing widely or he doesn’t see the underneath defender. He has a habit of locking in on his first target at times. Also, he definitely tends to play hero ball and force a play when one isn’t there. Think early career Josh Allen. At times, it leads to an amazing play, and at others, it ends in disaster. 

Maye brings huge upside, but a bit of a risky floor. He gets compared to Allen, and I can see why, but I do not think he will put up Allen's rushing numbers. Instead, I think his ceiling is a Justin Herbert type of player. Maybe is a top-four QB in dynasty rookie drafts, but the landing spot will determine if he is third or fourth. In redraft, he is a low-end QB2 with upside. 

J.J. McCarthy wasn’t asked to throw a ton in college but that is not his fault. When he did, he showed to have a strong arm that can put a lot of velocity on his throws and fit them into tight windows. He showed good accuracy and good timing, especially on his fastball. He throws a pretty deep ball and is accurate downfield. He is a good-timing thrower and repeatedly hit the WR nicely when he had to release the ball before the break. He is capable of throwing off awkward platforms, has good accuracy on the move, and is not afraid to make throws with pressure in his face. 

But it is not just his arm that stands out. He has a very strong pocket presence and avoids pressure. While he can win outside and beat the edge as a runner, he doesn’t just look to tuck and run and will climb the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. He works through his progressions well and can use his eyes to look off defenders. He is a good athlete who is a twitchy runner and can pick up yards with his legs. When he has to scramble, McCarthy is an accurate thrower while on the move. 

McCarthy is an aggressive thrower, which I like. But at times, he can trust his arm too much and look to force throws leading to interceptions. He can also force plays with his legs when he is out of the pocket. He could hit receivers better in stride and lacks touch on his throws at times. Also, while it is not his fault, the fact that he didn’t have to throw a ton is a bit of a knock against him. McCarthy was often playing from ahead in one of the very best environments in college football as of late. 

His landing spot will determine his fantasy value. If he lands in Minnesota, he would become the QB3 in dynasty rookie drafts. For redraft purposes, he is a low-end QB2 or high-end QB3. He could have a Baker Mayfield-type season if things break right.  

Michael Penix Jr. checks in as my QB5 heading into the NFL Draft. The first thing you recognize while watching him is he has arm strength for days. He constantly wins downfield and has the touch to place the ball nicely over the receiver's shoulder. In fact, he has good placement on all three levels. Against Texas, he showed a beautiful touch to give his receiver a shot even with a defender all over him. He can put the ball on a rope and fit it into tight windows. 

Penix is a quick processor and gets the ball out of his hands quickly when he can. He fires the ball accurately on screens. That was one thing that jumped out watching him play against Michigan. He can make throws with pressure in his face, although it hinders his accuracy at times. He certainly has an NFL-caliber arm and can make all the throws. He also had a lot of “Rome Odunze is down there somewhere” type of hail mary throws. Pairing him with an alpha WR1 (Davante Adams?) in the NFL would be a lot of fun.

Penix can handle pressure well at times like he did so well against Texas, but at times he can struggle against it. He often will drift back in the pocket and is not very mobile. He did not run at all in college, which is a little odd considering he is a fast runner and can move when he wants to. He missed deep by throwing long and putting too much air under a throw. He also has an awkward throwing motion with a low release point that can lead to passes being tipped. He can lack touch on his throws and often fires them in at high speeds even when he doesn't have to. He also brings injury concerns as he played six seasons in college with four being cut short due to injury. 

Penix is a better real life than fantasy prospect. Due to not running much, he will rely on pass game volume for fantasy production. His landing spot will greatly determine that -- but he projects to be a QB you can leave on the waiver wire to start 2024. In dynasty, he will be in the QB5 conversation with the next QB, depending on the landing spot. 

Bo Nix is very similar to Penix. He is also an older prospect who found success late in his college career after transferring. A lot like Penix, his tape is filled with a lot of short screen passes and deep balls. Nix has an impressive arm when he was asked to show it. He has a strong arm and can put the ball on a rope when he has to. He is accurate and consistently hits receivers in their hands. Not only that, but he routinely hits them in stride and places the ball where only his receivers can get it. His ability to drop the ball in a bucket on the sideline really stood out to me. He also can throw on the move and has a strong enough arm to throw off his body, which he uses well as he can play off schedule and improvise. 

Nix is a good athlete who can make plays with his legs. His new offense will be able to draw up QB draws, sneaks, and designed runs. He won’t be a difference-maker as a runner, but he will add some fantasy value. His legs are partly why Nix is elite at not taking sacks. However, sometimes he just bails on a clean pocket when he does not have to. 

Nix also has sloppy footwork and will put too much air on a ball while drifting back. He also tends to opt for the safer option and not force anything. That is not a bad thing, but it would be nice to see him be more aggressive at times. Nix has tools, but one issue is he just was not asked to do a ton at Oregon. His offense was loaded with short, quick passes.

His fantasy value will also be determined by the landing spot. It will be close between him and Penix. While I have Penix as QB5 for real-life purposes, Nix has the higher fantasy upside due to his ability to use his legs. For redraft purposes, just like Penix, Nix is best left on the waiver wire. 

Deeper Dynasty Sleepers

Spencer Rattler was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school. Rattler has a strong arm and throws a pretty downfield ball with touch and velocity. He has an NFL arm and can fit the ball into tight windows. He can move around the pocket as well. Rattler has to become more consistent. He projects as a QB who could develop on the bench for an NFL team, but he is very toolsy. He also brings a lot of college experience, which could be useful if he is ever thrusted into a starting job. 

Jordan Travis had FSU in the national championship picture until he was injured. He has strong accuracy and placement on short-to-intermediate throws but could work on the deep-ball accuracy a bit. He adds value with his legs as a scrambler, as long as he is the same type of runner after he recovers from his knee injury. Travis is another toolsy prospect who comes with plenty of college experience. You will likely have to take a wait-and-see approach, but he is worth a late-round pick in rookie drafts.

Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.

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