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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 01: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies and Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks shake hands after Washington's win 34-31 during the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium on December 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

Last week, we took a look at which top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft had the most to gain or lose during college football’s Championship Weekend. With those games in the books it only makes to now do some following up, right?

We looked at five quarterbacks from the Power Five championship games, plus the top Group of Five quarterback in the country. Collectively those quarterbacks went 3-3 in their championship games, with all three winners’ teams landing a spot in the College Football Playoff.

On3 on Twitter: "BREAKING: The College Football Playoff IS SET🔥Who will win it all? 🏆https://t.co/QNFyRTeA4a pic.twitter.com/asQU1jaGaw / Twitter"

BREAKING: The College Football Playoff IS SET🔥Who will win it all? 🏆https://t.co/QNFyRTeA4a pic.twitter.com/asQU1jaGaw

For the purposes of the NFL Draft process though, we’re less interested in the team results and more focused on the performance of each individual quarterback on his own. Who played well, who didn’t? While these were just individual games and won’t make or break a prospects entire draft status, evaluators do tend to put more weight on bigger games against an increased level of competition.

Let’s take a look back at the six quarterbacks we highlighted last week, and each of their performances. At the end, we’ll see whose draft stock went up, whose went down, and whose stayed the same.

  • Michael Penix, Washington

    Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Conference championship stats: 27-of-39, 319 yards, TD, INT

    As has been the case all year, Penix delivered a steady performance against Oregon in Washington’s 34-31 win in the Pac-12 Championship. He showcased his tremendous arm talent, completing five of his nine passes of over 20 yards in between picking the defense apart with short passes. He got Washington up and down the field with ease, as six of Washington’s eight full drives (excluding running out the clock at the end of halves) ended in points.

    Where Penix struggled was against pressure. He handled the blitz well when it was picked up, but was just 3-for-9 passing when pressured. That included his lone interception. He was also sacked twice.

    Ultimatley though, Penix made the throws when he needed to make them, which is a great sign of maturity in a quarterback. Penix was one of the better quarterbacks overall this weekend, and reminded evaluators why he should be a first-round pick. He’ll now have a chance to continue to do that in the College Football Playoff.

  • Bo Nix, Oregon

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 01: Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium on December 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 01: Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium on December 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

    Stats: 21-of-34, 239 yards, 3 TDs, INT, 6 carries, 69 rushing yards

    Nix’s performance in the Pac-12 Championship was interesting. He shined in areas that have been considered weaknesses for him, but his strengths didn’t come through as much.

    Noticeably, Nix’s downfield ball was as good as it’s been all year. He was 2-for-3 throwing to the deep middle of the field, and hit another throw to the intermediate as well. Nix also created with his legs in this game, rushing for a season-high 69 yards without taking a single sack.

    Meanwhile he wasn’t as good with the short stuff – while he was 8-for-8 on throws behind the line of scrimmage, he was just 10-of-16 on throws within 10 yards. He also struggled with pressure, and threw off-balance more than he needed to.

    What really stood out from the game for Nix though was his demeanor on the sideline late in the game. After hitting a 63-yard touchdown pass on a catch-and-run to make it a three-point game with 2:14 to go, the Oregon offense had to watch the defense try to get a stop with two timeouts left. While getting the ball back was hardly automatic, there was a real chance for the Ducks to get the ball back with about a minute left in the game, to drive and try and get in position for a game-winning field goal. The game was far from over.

    Yet Nix, whose poise and leadership ability as a fifth-year starter with over 60 starts under his belt are considered some of his best traits, spent the drive sitting on the sideline slumped over with a towel over his head. Even as teammates came over to try and encourage him, Nix kept his head down.

    It sounds minor, but this is the kind of thing NFL teams will look at in a potential starting quarterback (you’ve already probably heard plenty of this discussion surrounding USC quarterback Caleb Williams). Nix didn’t seem ready to go back in the game, even though his team might need him to. This wasn’t like not watching a potential game-winning field goal.

    Towel aside, Nix played well but not great, and couldn’t replicate his performance from the first meeting between the teams back in October when he threw for over 300 yards. The question now is whether he’ll play in the Fiesta Bowl or opt out and start preparing for the draft.

  • Quinn Ewers, Texas

    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: Quarterback Quinn Ewers #3 of the Texas Longhorns looks to throw against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 2, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 2: Quarterback Quinn Ewers #3 of the Texas Longhorns looks to throw against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 2, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    Stats: 35-of-46, 452 yards, 4 TDs, INT

    Statistically, Ewers tore it up the Big 12 Championship Game. He set a game record for passing yards, and did so midway through the third quarter. Throughout the game he showcased his best traits – he was able to keep plays alive with his legs, displayed advanced pocket presence (he was sacked just once on 50 dropbacks), and made some electric throws. From an NFL standpoint, scouts will love how well he threw the ball to  the intermediate part of the field, where he was 8-of-9 for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

    Yet even with all of that, it felt like Ewers left a few plays on the field. He had a bad interception when he was picked off on a quick route over the middle by a lurking linebacker, and missed a few other throws as well. He also got a ton of help from his receivers, with Texas averaging a collective 9.5 yards after catch per reception.

    The big thing for Ewers is he got his team into the College Football Playoff. Lighting up a weak Oklahoma State defense is one thing. But if he can put up more big numbers against Washington, and then against Alabama or Michigan in the National Championship? That would go a long way.

  • J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 02: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass during the second half in the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 02: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass during the second half in the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    Stats: 22-of-30, 147 yards

    In terms of the defense on the other side, McCarthy had one of the toughest tests of any quarterback this weekend when he took on Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. As has been the case most of the season though, McCarthy was as much along for the ride as he was in the drivers seat in Michigan’s 26-0 win.

    Once again, the Wolverines kept things simple for McCarthy and let the skill position players make the plays. McCarthy was 3-of-9 on pass attempts beyond nine yards, and didn’t attempt a pass over 20 yards. The majority of his passes went less than five yards in the air.

    McCarthy didn’t use his legs as a runner as much in this game but was able to run away from pressure at times. He was 5-for-5 when pressured, but also took four sacks in those situations.

    Another passenger’s seat performance didn’t answer any questions about McCarthy’s NFL readiness. He does have a great opportunity waiting ahead of him though, when Michigan takes on Alabama in the Rose Bowl in their College Football Playoff semifinal.

  • Carson Beck, Georgia

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 02: Carson Beck #15 of the Georgia Bulldogs signals the play to teammates during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 02: Carson Beck #15 of the Georgia Bulldogs signals the play to teammates during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Stats: 21-of-29, 243 yards

    Beck didn’t have too many negative plays against Alabama, but there weren’t any highlights either. Against a tough Crimson Tide defense he wasn’t able to create much, especially in the second half when Georgia needed a drive. There were positives in his game – specially the way he hit receivers in the intermediate part of the field, but he failed to make a big-time impact.

    Granted, Alabama’s defense is one of the best in the country. The expectation wasn’t for Beck to come out and sling the ball around the yard. Going into the game, the question was whether or not, after what had been a surprisingly promising season, he could take another step on a big stage.

    He’s still a fringe top-100 pick if he declares for the draft, but didn’t get that step into a solid Day 2 lock. If he goes back to school next year instead of declaring – which it sounds like could happen – he’ll have a shot to build on his performance and earn that stock in the Class of 2025.

  • Michael Pratt, Tulane

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 02: Michael Pratt #7 of the Tulane Green Wave in action against the University of Southern Alabama at Yulman Stadium on September 02, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 02: Michael Pratt #7 of the Tulane Green Wave in action against the University of Southern Alabama at Yulman Stadium on September 02, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    Stats: 21-of-36, 240 yards, TD, INT

    As the top Group of Five quarterback in the class, the AAC Championship was Pratt’s introduction to many football fans across the country. That introduction didn’t go so well.

    Against an SMU defense that was one of the best he’s faced this season, Pratt has one of his least-productive performances of the year. Like Nix his game was somewhat backwards compared to the skillset he’s shown all year. He hit two of his three deep passes, but was 9-of-13 throwing within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He also took seven sacks and struggled significantly under pressure, which isn’t what teams are looking for from an experienced QB (Pratt is a four-year starter at Tulane).

    Coming into the weekend, Pratt was trying to prove he belonged solidly in the top-100 conversation. Now, assuming he opts out of Tulane’s bowl game, he’ll turn his attention towards proving himself at the Senior Bowl.

  • Stock watch

    Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The podium with draft logo at the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The podium with draft logo at the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Whose stock went up after Championship Weekend? Whose went down? And who stayed the same?

    Michael Penix: No change

    Bo Nix: Down

    Quinn Ewers: Up

    J.J. McCarthy: No change

    Carson Beck: Down

    Michael Pratt: Down

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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