The 2024 NFL Draft represents uncharted territory for the Patriots.

It’s been literal decades since New England has had a decision this important to make, with many expecting Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf will take a shot at selecting their next franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick. Foxboro, Mass. won’t be the only place on April 25 with folks sweating a monumental choice, however.

The Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders, who each will pick before the Patriots, are in the market for a QB. The Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders probably wouldn’t mind grabbing one either, so it’s good news that this class could have as many as six first-round options at the position.

You’ve heard about USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix, but you might not know that much about how they play.

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We decided to help out with that, drawing on-field comparisons to players you’ve seen take NFL snaps. It’s finally time to answer the months-old question: “Who does he remind me of?”

Caleb Williams, USC

Comp: Donovan McNabb (1999-2011)

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It’s pretty startling how close these two are stylistically, and though it’s not a perfect comparison, there are a lot of individual similarities. McNabb was always known for his ability to extend plays, never really looking to pull the ball down and instead keeping his eyes downfield and thriving when the play breaks down. Williams is the same way, showcasing a truly absurd level of poise both in and out of the pocket.

McNabb was bigger than Williams, but they’re both pretty stout despite not having prototypical quarterback height. It’s pretty much a wash in the athleticism category (so long as you don’t forget how elusive young McNabb was) and the arm strength is closer than you might think — especially when watching them completely abandon footwork. Williams’ ceiling is much higher given the evolution of offenses, but watching them toss it around? It’s pretty dang close.

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Drake Maye, UNC

Comp: Justin Herbert (2020-Present)

This is the easy one. You’ll hear Mel Kiper Jr. or Daniel Jeremiah (depending on your network preference) tout this comparison moments after Maye is drafted, and there’s good reason for it. Maye and Herbert are both big, strong, athletic options who have the prototypical build and rockets attached to their shoulders. Herbert leveraged his athleticism to make some game-breaking plays early in his career, eventually becoming a bit more nuanced, and the hope is Maye can do the same.

Bo Nix, Oregon

Comp: Matt Corral (2022-2023)

It might sound like a dig at Nix, but when watching him it’s hard not to see a lot of Corral — who despite being out of the NFL was afforded a couple of chances at becoming a legitimate starter. Nix and Corral both have the natural athleticism to keep plays alive, which is the biggest thing that allowed them to have success at the college level. Nix wasn’t tasked with doing all that much at Oregon, making the majority of his throws right around the line of scrimmage and having the ability to diagnose and deliver the ball quickly when coverage would bust. Corral? He did much of the same, despite having some added responsibility in a more multiple offense.

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It looks like footwork is the biggest weakness for Nix, and the same was true for Corral. If an NFL team wants to put him under center, it could be a winding road trying to get Nix to find consistency at the next level. Just like Corral.

They’re both perfect for the UFL if we can be harsh for a moment.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Comp: Steve Young (1985-1999)

No, we’re not claiming McCarthy is going to be a Hall of Fame player. Just take a deep breath and hear us out on this one.

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McCarthy has every physical tool a team could look for in their potential franchise quarterback, but given his limited role in college, it’s hard trying to forecast where things will translate. It’s a question if he’ll ever reach his full potential. Young was similar, and though he eventually got there, it took seven seasons across three different franchises in two professional football leagues. It never was/is about talent, it’s whether either could/can fully tap into it.

McCarthy and Young match pretty well stylistically, as well, serving as mobile options whose early success might be predicated on their legs alone. McCarthy throws the ball at one speed (supersonic) much like Young did early in his career, but the latter developed touch and varied his delivery to help thrive in a great San Francisco 49ers’ red zone offense during his tenure. He kept growing and eventually became great. Can McCarthy?

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Comp: Tua Tagovailoa (2020-Present)

It’s easy to see where this one comes from.

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Penix and Tagovailoa are both left-handed quarterbacks, came from college programs with elite talent, have medical questions left to be answered, put up gaudy collegiate numbers, thrive on touch throws, can recognize things before they happen and are at their best when playing in structure.

Jayden Daniels, LSU

Comp: Randall Cunningham (1985-2001)

Lamar Jackson? Jalen Hurts? Robert Griffin III? Kyler Murray but if you stretched him out with a rolling pin?

Nope. Jayden Daniels has similarities to these players, but the guy he most closely aligns with is Cunningham. If you’re unaware of the man affectionately known as “Rambling Randall” kids, you should type his name into YouTube and enjoy.

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Cunningham entered the NFL and immediately took the league by storm, becoming one of the first true dual-threat quarterbacks we’d seen. He had some Wile E. Coyote to his game, absorbing hits, running directly into masses of humanity and uncorking the ball as far as a human possibly could. Daniels has all of that in him, plus the refinement of a modern-day starting quarterback.

It’s honestly really hard to place a comp on Daniels, but there’s enough for us to choose Cunningham.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images