The work never seems to end in the NFL player evaluation world,
which means front offices have already turned their attention toward the upcoming college football season in advance of the 2024 NFL Draft.
With that in mind, let's kick off our CBS Sports summer prospect series on the top prospects at key positions in the next draft class with the most valuable one: the quarterbacks.
Just like a year ago with Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud -- the first two picks of the 2023 NFL Draft who were selected by the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans,
respectively -- two passers have established a tier of their own early in the 2024 evaluation process: 2022 Heisman Trophy winner
and USC quarterback Caleb Williams and North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, the 2022 ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
"I don't know yet, I know there's two up above [USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye], and then it drops off,"
former longtime Minnesota Vikings general manager and current CBS Sports HQ NFL analyst Rick Spielman said July 6 on an episode of the "With the First Pick" podcast.
However, as seen in recent years, quarterbacks can come out of nowhere and vault up the draft boards with electrifying performances.
Take what Florida's Anthony Richardson did this past draft cycle (selected fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2023 NFL Draft).
There's also been BYU's Zach Wilson (selected second overall by the New York Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft) and LSU's Joe Burrow (selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft).
This summer series will examine where things stand entering the upcoming 2023 college season, but the order could look a little different come next April,
with the exception of Williams being a surefire lock to be the next top overall pick.
Here's an in-depth look at the current top five passers with some pro comparisons from Spielman and CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson,
plus some names who could rise through the ranks in the season to come. The quarterbacks are ranked by their readiness for the NFL entering the 2023 college football season.