2024 NFL Draft: Which rookie quarterbacks will start in Week 1?

Which rookie QBs will start in Week 1?
Denver Broncos Rookie Minicamp
Denver Broncos Rookie Minicamp / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

There were six quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Who among them will start in Week 1 of the coming season? There might not be as many rookie QBs starting Week 1 for their teams as we think. At the end of the day, rookie QBs still have to earn their jobs.

Some of them, like Caleb Williams, were going to start Week 1 this entire time. Others, perhaps like Drake Maye or JJ McCarthy, may have to battle it out to earn the starting job for 2024. Among the six quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, who is going to start?

2024 NFL Draft: Which rookie quarterbacks will start in Week 1?
Caleb Williams: WILL start in Week 1

This is obvious, and he's already been named the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Ever since the Bears officially clinched the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, it was Caleb Williams. It was always Caleb Williams for the Bears, and trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers signaled the end of that failed era.

With Williams under center, he'll get the start for Week 1 barring something major happening.

Jayden Daniels: WILL start in Week 1

Much like Williams, Jayden Daniels seemed to be a foregone conclusion to go second overall to the Washington Commanders, and the Commanders do not have another viable starter on the team. It's going to be Daniels' show for Week 1 and perhaps longer for Washington. The team also has a new head coach in Dan Quinn and a new general manager in Adam Peters.

Drake Maye: WILL NOT start in Week 1

I do not believe Drake Maye is going to start in Week 1. Many have said that Maye does need a year to clean some inconsistencies up with his game. He's got sloppy footwork at times and the New England Patriots offensive personnel are a disaster. It'll take a full and strong offseason next year just to get the personnel situation on offense to an average state.

There is just no way that the Patriots first-year coaching staff throws Maye into this mess. He might not even be ready for Week 1 anyway, so Jacoby Brissett instead may get the nod for the Patriots for the entirety of the 2024 NFL Season.

Michael Penix Jr: WILL NOT start in Week 1

Yeah, this is just a bad situation overall for the Atlanta Falcons, who overpaid for Kirk Cousins in free agency and then drafted Michael Penix Jr with the eighth overall pick. It's a confusing situation, but this is Cousins team for a few years. The $180 million contract for Cousins just makes no sense if the Falcons were considering drafting a QB in the first round this entire time.

The ultimate disaster scenario is if Penix shows more than Kirk Cousins this offseason, but for now, Kirk Cousins will be the starter for the Atlanta Falcons, even as he returns from his torn Achilles.

JJ McCarthy: WILL NOT start in Week 1

JJ McCarthy just recently turned 21 years old and is another QB prospect who might need a year to get situated. The Minnesota Vikings signed Sam Darnold in free agency and gave him $10 million. Darnold is still in his mid-20s and has put some nice play on tape over his last two seasons. It's not outrageous to think that Darnold will simply beat out JJ McCarthy this offseason.

The coaching staff has also proven to be able to win games with marginal talent at QB, so I do think they personally believe they can be a good team even with Darnold starting. The Vikings have a bit of time with McCarthy, I think, as he's very young and Sam Darnold might just put something together in 2024.

Bo Nix: WILL start in Week 1

Bo Nix is already the most talented quarterback on the Denver Broncos roster. Who else would truly beat him out? In fact, Denver is in a weird situation at QB. Their incumbent, Jarrett Stidham, might technically be QB1, but also may have an uphill battle to just make the roster. Denver traded for Zach Wilson this offseason, and they likely did so with the hopes thay Wilson can earn the QB2 job.

Bo Nix should quickly establish himself as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He's 24 years old and has 61 college starts under his belt. There is no use in sitting him on the bench to begin his career. Nix might be the most NFL-ready QB in this entire class.