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2024 NFL Draft first round analysis: how did your team perform on draft day?

The+draft+took+place+at+Campus+Martius+Park+and+Hart+Plaza+in+Detroit%2C+Michigan.+
“2024 NFL Draft” by Unknown authorUnknown author is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
The draft took place at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan.

In the volatile realm of professional football, the NFL Draft serves as the ultimate battlefield, where dreams are realized and futures are shaped. The 2024 edition of this annual spectacle was no exception, as teams across the league engaged in the high-stakes game of talent acquisition, carefully selecting the players they believe will lead them to glory. As the dust settles and the echoes of draft day reverberate through stadiums nationwide, it’s time to assess the merit of those decisions. Join me as we set out on a journey through the highs and lows of the 2024 NFL Draft’s first round, grading each pick. I hope to separate the game-changers from the busts, and uncover the stars of tomorrow amidst the sea of prospects.

 

Pick 1: Chicago Bears

Selection: Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Reaction: This was always the pick, regardless of any narratives he was thrown into. If Williams turns out to be as generational as his tape suggests, Chicago wins the draft. If he turns out to be a bust, nobody is going to blame them for picking him here. This team needed a spark, and they just got an absolute flamethrower.
Grade: A+

 

Pick 2: Washington Commanders

Selection: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
Reaction: The 2023 Heisman winner has shot up draft boards as of late, but there’s still a lot of questions about his mid-range accuracy and injury proneness. However, with his intelligence and dual threat abilities, he can fit in a variety of systems, including Washington’s.
Grade: B+

 

Pick 3: New England Patriots

Selection: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
Reaction: In 2024, the perfect QB prospect has great size, impressive speed, high football IQ, and unwavering confidence. Maye fits this description to a tee, making him arguably the most complete quarterback in this draft class.
Grade: A+

 

Pick 4: Arizona Cardinals

Selection: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Reaction: This guy runs a 4.3 second 40 yard dash, navigates routes better than any receiver in the game, and has some of the best hands the college football world has ever seen. Kyler Murray is in desperate need of a weapon, and the best WR prospect since Calvin Johnson just landed in his lap. Oh, MHJ is also 6’ 3”.
Grade: A+

 

Pick 5: Los Angeles Chargers

Selection: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Reaction: Look, Joe Alt is the best OL prospect in the class, and will make an immediate impact for LA. The problem is, Justin Herbert is going to be throwing to the worst WR core in the league, and there were multiple great receivers available here.
Grade: C+

 

Pick 6: New York Giants

Selection: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Reaction: Malik can revitalize the giants offense by turning short and easy passes into big gains. However, the giants might have been better off grabbing a QB and cutting their losses with Daniel Jones.
Grade: B-

 

Pick 7: Tennessee Titans

Selection: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
Reaction: This is objectively the correct pick here, even if it isn’t exciting. Latham is a certified bully-ball tackle, making him a good fit in Mike Vrabel’s scheme.
Grade: B+

 

Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons

Selection: Micheal Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Reaction: The first shocker of the draft, and it couldn’t be more baffling. Sure, Kirk Cousins is 35, but he’s not dead, and you just acquired him. The only way this pays is Penix being a generational talent after Kirk is gone, which might not be for a while. Still, the kid has heart, and might develop well behind the scenes.
Grade: D-

 

Pick 9: Chicago Bears

Selection: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
Reaction: There have been muted whispers around NFL media that Odunze might be the steal of the draft. Caleb Williams should be thrilled to start working with a mature jump-ball specialist like Rome.
Grade: A-

 

Pick 10: Minnesota Vikings

Selection: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
Reaction: To be honest, I’m not particularly high on J.J. as a QB. He has mediocre physicals, bland tape, and very limited upside. However, the Vikings game plan should always be to feed Justin Jeerson the football at all costs, and grabbing a selfless, no-fuss facilitator like McCarthy makes for a great scheme fit.
Grade: A-

 

Pick 11: New York Jets

Selection: Olumuyia Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Reaction: OT is a positional need for the Jets, but Fashanu is a work in progress and will need time to develop into a starting caliber tackle. Will Aaron Rodgers still be around by the time he reaches his full potential?
Grade: B

 

Pick 12: Denver Broncos

Selection: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Reaction: Bo has been touted as the most NFL ready QB in the class, and I’m inclined to agree. His ability to quickly distribute the ball and execute his team’s system are great. However, he lacks the ability to create much on his own. Then consider the fact that Denver is a barren wasteland of draft busts and broken dreams, with no good offensive weapons, and you have a recipe for disaster. We’ll see how much he can elevate the roster.
Grade: C

 

Pick 13: Las Vegas Raiders

Selection: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Reaction: Even if he can’t block to save his life, this dude is an absolute beast. If the Raiders couldn’t swing a deal to move up and get a QB, they couldn’t have done much better than Brock.
Grade: A

 

Pick 14: New Orleans Saints

Selection: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
Reaction: Fuaga is an old school run blocking lineman, with no regard for human life. Alvin Kamara remains an underrated running back, so the Saints are likely banking on serious run game production this season, with Fuaga being a great addition.
Grade: A

 

Pick 15: Indianapolis Colts

Selection: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
Reaction: Laiatu Latu is a beast in one on one pass rush situations, and brings immediate value to any defense. The problem is, the Colts already have a relatively stingy defensive front. Is anyone in the front office even remotely concerned with their developing young quarterback, Anthony Richardson? The cards were in play for him to have a disappointing sophomore season before the draft, and nothing has changed with this pick. Even if Laiatu is the best rookie defender in this class, the high upside Richardson has been left out to dry.
Grade: C+

 

Pick 16: Seattle Seahawks

Selection: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas
Reaction: A blend of unusual traits for a player of his position, Murphy has potential to disrupt the game in a variety of ways from his nose tackle spot. Sure, he’s undersized, but not relying on pure power will translate well into the NFL, and should be a great compliment to Seattle’s already impressive defensive line.
Grade: A

 

Pick 17: Minnesota Vikings

Selection: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Reaction: Trading up to draft arguably the best defender in the draft after already nabbing a potential franchise QB? Minnesota, you’ve outdone yourselves. Turner is a game-wrecker, and in my opinion becomes the Vikings’ best defender on day one. A masterclass in drafting by Minnesota.
Grade: A+++

 

Pick 18: Cincinnati Bengals

Selection: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
Reaction: Standing at 6’ 8” and 380 lbs, Mims has the potential to be a franchise tackle, but he only started eight games in college. This team is ready to win now, so is a project pick in the first round really the move?
Grade: C-

 

Pick 19: Los Angeles Rams

Selection: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
Reaction: With Arron Donald retiring, there is a massive defensive void to fill in LA, and Verse fits that need. He’s very well rounded, and should help even out LA’s defensive front.
Grade: B

 

Pick 20: Pittsburgh Steelers

Selection: Troy Fautanu, IOL, Washington
Reaction: The Steelers are thin at offensive line in terms of depth, so why not grab the most positionally versatile lineman in the draft to add some flexibility. Troy has limited upside, but is still the right pick here for Pittsburgh.

Grade: A-

 

Pick 21: Miami Dolphins

Selection: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
Reaction: Chop is an absolute beast of a defender despite his somewhat unassuming physicals. Pair him with a confident secondary in South Beach, he should feast on opposing quarterbacks.
Grade: A

 

Pick 22: Philadelphia Eagles

Selection: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
Reaction: Mitchell is an impressive zone based corner with elite instincts and ability to play the ball. However, Philly’s defense is quietly thinning on the defensive line, and while a solid corner should help to hide that somewhat, he won’t be much of a help against the run.
Grade: B

 

Pick 23: Jacksonville Jaguars

Selection: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Reaction: Contrary to popular belief, the strategy of running really fast in a straight line doesn’t always work out the best against NFL defensive backs. Trevor Lawrence will appreciate the extra body out wide, but Thomas won’t be a true first option due to his limited skillset.
Grade: C-

 

Pick 24: Detroit Lions

Selection: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
Reaction: The Lions land a physical corner to complement a strong front seven. The only problem is that Arnold wasn’t even the best CB on his own team last season, and the man who was, Kool Aid McKinstry, was sitting right there for the Lions at this spot in the draft.
Grade: D

 

Pick 25: Green Bay Packers

Selection: Jordan Morgan, IOL, Arizona
Reaction: This is a good pick at first glance, but upon further inspection, it’s questionable. The Packers need a tackle, not a guard, and Morgan is too small to play tackle in the NFL. Unless they are absolutely convinced that his strength will carry him through, the Packers really should have looked at picking a pure tackle prospect here.
Grade: F+

 

Pick 26: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Selection: Graham Barton, IOL, Duke
Reaction: Baker Mayfield makes his money with his short passing ability, so Tampa makes a nice selection here. The Bucs’ offensive front is quickly becoming one of the best units in the league.
Grade: B

 

Pick 27: Arizona Cardinals

Selection: Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri
Reaction: Robinson’s strength and power is impressive, but his lack of finesse is concerning when it comes to adapting to the NFL. Arizona’s defense is in the trenches, so they better hope that this guy can bully his way past the best blockers in the world.
Grade: D

 

Pick 28: Kansas City Chiefs

Selection: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
Reaction: Ah yes, the long foretold Tyreek Hill replacement has arrived. I understand he’s one of the fastest players in the league on day one, but this isn’t Madden, and speed isn’t everything. That being said, Patrick Mahomes makes any wide receiver at least passable, so this pick can’t be a complete waste in any case. In fact, the presence of an explosive deep threat will likely boost opportunities for Travis Kelce and the rest of the Chiefs supporting cast.
Grade: C+

 

Pick 29: Dallas Cowboys

Selection: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma
Reaction: Considering the Cowboys are infamous for developing offensive linemen, this is a clever pick. Guyton is the definition of a project, but there is plenty of time for this young cowboys team to wait for him. By my eye, Guyton’s upside would land him at the upper echelon of tackles in the league. Not bad, Jerry. Not bad.
Grade: A+

 

Pick 30: Baltimore Ravens

Selection: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
Reaction: Obviously, the Ravens were expected to go with an offensive linemen in the first round. But by the time their pick came around, the first-round-worthy linemen had all gone, so they had to pivot. Nate Wiggins might play corner, but he has the pursuit abilities of a strong safety. He isn’t the most physical corner, but he’s a welcome addition to the Raven secondary.
Grade: A-

 

Pick 31: San Francisco 49ers

Selection: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida
Reaction: How can you improve on perfection? No, really, how? The Niners’ roster is nearly flawless in construction, but they just couldn’t seem to finish the job last year. Taking a chance on a receiver like Pearshall might be the answer. The off chance that this guy ends up being one of Brock Purdy’s favorite targets alone warrants the pick.
Grade: B+

 

Pick 32: Carolina Panthers

Selection: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina
Reaction: Legette is a project WR with the physical tools to be a legitimate No. 1 target. He needs plenty of development, which means that the Panthers are banking on him and Bryce Young improving side by side in the coming years.
Grade: C

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