Why the Slide?: Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

Spencer Rattler

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

The 2024 NFL Draft has the makings of a quarterback class that could be historically good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. There were a consensus six early-round prospects, and after them the next quarterback prospect who was expected to be a second-day pick was South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. Rattler had some impressive performances with the Gamecocks and early in his career with Oklahoma. He had a slow start at South Carolina in 2022, which was his first with the program, but he improved down the stretch. That season, Rattler completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,026 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns. Rattler then completed 69 percent of his passes in 2023 for 3,186 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. After the season. Rattler performed well at the Senior Bowl and at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Rattler has arm talent to go along with some athleticism, yet he slid to the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources, there were a combination of factors that led teams to pass on Rattler. Firstly, Rattler’s personality and demeanor from his early days in Oklahoma turned off some team evaluators. While he was said to be fine to work with at South Carolina, some sources were already reluctant to give him a pass and also deal with his family, which is said to be a pain. Other issues that sources cited were Rattler being smaller than they liked, and some said they felt he gained weight and was not as athletic in 2023, which reduced his playmaking ability. However, the biggest issue that hurt Rattler with team sources was the turnovers in college. Multiple sources said they did not like Rattler’s poor ball security and did not feel his decision-making improved enough from his penultimate to final season with the Gamecocks. Generally, he was graded as a mid-round backup. All of these factors combined to cause Rattler to slide.

The New Orleans Saints ended Rattler’s fall in the fifth round, and that was a mixed landing spot. In the short-term, Derek Carr is the Saints’ established starter, and Rattler will be in a competitive fight to win a backup roster spot. Rattler will have to beat out at least two of a group that includes journeyman backups Nathan Peterman and Kellen Mond, along with second-year pro Jake Haener, who the Saints drafted last year in the fourth round. Peterman is probably the favorite to be the No. 2 behind Carr, but the staff could be inclined to keep Rattler as the third-stringer because he was a pick under new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak. Rattler would also be harder to keep stashed on the practice squad than Haener or Mond.

Rattler will need to impress in the preseason, and if he does, it isn’t out of the question that he gets consideration for playing time if Carr doesn’t play well. Rattler has an opportunity with the Saints, but as a fifth-round pick, he will need to hit the ground running and impress when he gets an opportunity to stick and carve out a NFL career.


Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12