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Are 2024 NFL Draft quarterbacks poised to make history on Day 1?

In 24 days, the 2024 NFL Draft kicks off in Detroit, and it might well be a historic night on April 25.

There have only been three instances in which quarterbacks have been selected with each of the first three picks of a draft -- and there's never been a year in which four straight QBs have been taken to begin the festivities, according to NFL Research.

Could 2024 be the year in which quarterbacks make more history on Day 1?

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is predicting a record four quarterbacks will go in the first four picks -- USC's Caleb Williams to the Chicago Bears at No. 1, UNC's Drake Maye to the Washington Commanders at No. 2, LSU's Jayden Daniels to the New England Patriots at No. 3 and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy to the Minnesota Vikings via a trade at No. 4.

Should this phenomenal foursome fall into place, the quartet would set the aforementioned precedent for QBs coming off the board and it would likewise be the first time since 2021 in which the top three picks were all signal-callers.

However, those three picks didn't exactly work out glowingly for each of their squads, much like the two previous instances.

In 2021, Trevor Lawrence was taken at No. 1 by the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Clemson product has started since Day 1, having earned a Pro Bowl selection along with leading the Jags to a playoff berth in one of his three seasons. However, No. 2 pick Zach Wilson has endured three tumultuous seasons with the New York Jets and has received permission to seek a trade this offseason. Trey Lance, the San Francisco 49ers' pick at No. 3 that year, played in eight games over two seasons before he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick.

Prior to that, three QBs were plucked in the first three picks on two other occasions, per NFL Research.

In 1999, Tim Couch was first off the board, going to the Cleveland Browns, with Donovan McNabb going at No. 2 to the Philadelphia Eagles and Akili Smith following at No. 3 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Back in 1971, Jim Plunkett was the top pick to the Patriots, with Archie Manning following at No. 2 to the New Orleans Saints and Dan Pastorini going third to the Houston Oilers.

McNabb, Manning and Pastorini had long and memorable careers with the teams that drafted them, achieving different degrees of success. Plunkett, meanwhile, would achieve Super Bowl glory, but it was with the Raiders -- not the Pats.

The 2024 class will be looking to set itself apart, whether QBs go Nos. 1-3 or 1-4. draft prognosticators Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis, Eric Edholm, Gennaro Filice, Dan Parr, Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein have Williams as a unanimous choice for the No. 1 overall selection to the Chicago Bears.

Thereafter, predictions vary with Maye and Daniels as the frontrunners to go second to the Commanders.

Should Williams land in Chicago as most expect to happen, he would become the first USC player taken first overall since quarterback Carson Palmer went to the Bengals in 2003 and the sixth Trojans player selected at No. 1 in the Common Draft era (since 1967), per NFL Research. 

Maye could become the fourth North Carolina player to go second overall and the first since QB Mitch Trubisky to the Bears in 2017, according to NFL Research. The others were Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981; New York Giants) and future HOFer Julius Peppers (2002; Carolina Panthers).

Daniels is poised to be the fourth LSU quarterback taken in the top three in the Common Draft era, with the last being Joe Burrow to the Bengals at No. 1 in 2020.

As for McCarthy, he could make some Wolverines history by becoming the first Michigan QB taken in the top 20 during the Common Draft era, per NFL Research. McCarthy's Michigan head coach and the Los Angeles Chargers' current head coach, Jim Harbaugh, remains the highest drafted Wolverines QB, having gone at No. 26 to the Bears in 1987.

Regardless of how it exactly plays out, a star-studded draft class of QBs could make history on Night 1.

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