2024 NFL Draft Awards

Laiatu Latu

With the 2024 NFL Draft in the books, it is only fair to dish out some awards for a job well done by a number of teams across the NFL. It also doesn’t hurt to look at which teams may have made regrettable picks.

Best Value Pick Round 1:

Indianapolis Colts: DE Laiatu Latu

The 2024 NFL Draft was loaded on the offensive side of the ball, and a shocking six quarterbacks were selected in the top dozen picks. That pushed some premium talent down in the first round, and the Colts were extremely fortunate to land the best defensive player in the 2024 NFL Draft with the 15th-overall pick. Latu was a tremendous pass rusher over the past two seasons, generating a ton of production and illustrating an excellent skill set for the NFL with size, speed, strength and athleticism. On top of Latu having pro talent, he plays with relentless effort and has good intangibles. Latu has overcome adversity, and that will pay off when dealing with the ups-and-downs of the pro game. On top of Latu being a superb player, he ended up in an excellent landing spot that has talent around him including DeForest Buckner, Dayo Odeyingbo and Kwity Paye. Latu could end up being a steal, and the Colts were fortunate they landed him midway through the first round.

Detroit Lions CB Terrion Arnold

Las Vegas Raiders TE Brock Bowers

Arizona Cardinals DL Darius Robinson

Pittsburgh Steelers OL Troy Fautanu

2023: Bijan Robinson, Falcons

2022: Charles Cross, Seahawks

2021: Justin Fields, Bears

2020: CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys

2019: Quinnen Williams, Jets

2018: Derwin James, Chargers

2017: Malik Hooker, Colts

2016: Laremy Tunsil, Dolphins

2015: Todd Gurley, Rams and Malcom Brown, Patriots

2014: HaHa Clinton-Dix, Packers

2013: Sharrif Floyd, Vikings

2012: Riley Reiff, Lions

Best Value Pick Day 2:

Philadelphia Eagles: S/CB Cooper DeJean

This pick was a tough choice because there were a number of excellent value picks, but DeJean really stands out to me similarly to Brian Branch did last year. DeJean could be an outside corner for the Eagles while learning behind veterans James Bradberry and Darius Slay. With his position flexibility, DeJean can also start as nickel corner and safety, although Philadelphia has C.J. Gardner-Johnson in that role. However, DeJean could also be a starting safety for the Eagles, and his tremendous instincts could make him a dynamic safety. He has sprinter’s speed to go along with good size and tackling ability. I think Vic Fangio will find a good way to utilize DeJean and make him a dynamic defender for the Eagles.

Las Vegas Raiders G Jackson Powers-Johnson

Cincinnati Bengals DT Kris Jenkins

Indianapolis Colts WR Adonai Mitchell

Los Angeles Rams DT Braden Fiske

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Chris Braswell

Cleveland Browns DT Michael Hall

Detroit Lions CB Ennis Rakestraw

Los Angeles Rams RB Blake Corum

Los Angeles Rams S Kam Kinchens

2023: Brian Branch, Lions

2022: Arnold Ebiketie, Falcons

2021: Trevon Moehrig, Raiders

2020: Cam Akers, Rams

2019: Greg Little, Panthers

2018: Derrius Guice, Redskins

2017: Dalvin Cook, Vikings

2016: Myles Jack, Jaguars

2015: Jaelen Strong, Texans

2014: Carlos Hyde, 49ers & Louis Nix, Texans

2013: Eddie Lacy, Packers

2012: Janoris Jenkins, Rams

Best Value Pick Day 3:

Tennessee Titans: LB Cedric Gray

Gray was an absolute steal for the Titans in the fourth round, and I am surprised he slid that far because he was a much better player in college than some of the linebackers who went ahead of him. For North Carolina, Gray was a tackling machine all over the field. While Gray had some missed tackles, he was constantly around the ball, totaling 364 tackles over the past three seasons. He made plays in pass coverage, and also was a dangerous blitzer. I think Gray is a natural football player who could become a good starter for Tennessee and end up being a fourth-round steal.

Carolina Panthers TE Ja’Tavion Sanders

Denver Broncos WR Troy Franklin

New England Patriots G Layden Robinson

Buffalo Bills RB Ray Davis.

2023: Clark Phillips, Falcons

2022: Dameon Pierce, Texans

2021: Chuba Hubbard, Panthers

2020: Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos

2019: Mack Wilson, Browns

2018: Nick Nelson, Raiders

2017: Caleb Brantley, Browns

2016: Andrew Billings, Bengals

2015: Jay Ayayi, Dolphins

2014: Justin Ellis, Raiders

2013: Philip Thomas, Redskins

2012: Bobbie Massie, Cardinals

Best Trade:

Detroit Lions: CB Terrion Arnold

For a lot of the pre-draft process, Arnold was viewed as the likely first cornerback to be taken and looked safely to be selected as a top-20 pick. However in the 2024 NFL Draft, Arnold surprisingly slid down to No. 24, where the Lions made an aggressive move up for him. Arnold was the highest-graded cornerback for Detroit, and it was a perfect situation where top talent available meshed with a position of team need. Beyond being able to compete immediately for a starting spot, Arnold is a great fit for Aaron Glenn’s scheme and could turn into a Pro Bowl cornerback for Detroit. The Lions gave Dallas a third-round pick in order to acquire Arnold, and that is small price for a player who could be a defensive cornerstone for the next decade. There weren’t many trades in the first round, but the Lions moving up for Arnold was the best one.

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Brian Thomas Jr.

Dallas Cowboys OT Tyler Guyton

Los Angeles Chargers WR Ladd McConkey.

2023: Paris Johnson, Cardinals

2022: Jameson Williams, Lions

2021: Justin Fields, Bears

2020: Kenneth Murray, Chargers

2019: Montez Sweat, Redskins

2018: Lamar Jackson, Ravens

2017: Tre’Davious White, Bills

2016: Myles Jack, Jaguars

2015: Maxx Williams, Ravens

2014: Louis Nix, Texans

2013: Alec Ogletree, Rams

2012: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars

Biggest Reach Round 1:

Denver Broncos: QB Bo Nix

The Broncos bet the farm on Nix being their quarterback of the future, but there were a lot of differing opinions about him around the league. Teams liked his intelligence, accuracy, mobility and experience. However, many sources shared they felt that Nix lacked arm talent, calling it just average. The arm-strength issue could limit Nix’s effectiveness in the NFL. Many other teams did not view Nix as a first-round prospect and going 12th overall was a reach. Multiple team sources said Nix was the biggest reach on the opening night of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy

Miami Dolphins DE Chop Robinson

Green Bay Packers OT Jordan Morgan

San Francisco 49ers WR Ricky Pearsall.

2023: Mazi Smith, Cowboys

2022: Cole Strange, Patriots

2021: Payton Turner, Saints

2020: Damon Arnette, Raiders

2019: L.J. Collier, Seahawks

2018: Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

2017: Corey Davis, Titans

2016: Josh Garnett, 49ers

2015: Stephone Anthony, Saints

2014: JaWuan James, Dolphins

2013: Travis Frederick, Cowboys

2012: Bruce Irvin, Seahawks

Biggest Reach Day 2:

San Francisco 49ers: CB Renardo Green

Green was a surprising selection in the second round. There were other teams that had Green graded well into Day 3 with a projection of being a NFL backup. San Francisco could have made a very short trade-up in order to land Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw, a fringe first-round prospect. Instead, the tean ended up taking a chance on Green. The 49ers probably could have moved down and landed Green as well. There were a few reaches in the second round, but Green was the most egregious.

Houston Texans OT Blake Fisher

Baltimore Ravens OT Roger Rosengarten

Washington Commanders TE Ben Sinnott

2023: Tyrique Stevenson, Bears

2022: Marcus Jones, Patriots

2021: Brady Christensen, Panthers

2020: Jalen Hurts, Eagles

2019: Jalen Hurd, 49ers

2018: Connor Williams, Cowboys

2017: C.J. Beathard, 49ers

2016: Roberto Aguayo, Buccaneers

2015: Jordan Richards, Patriots

2014: Jack Mewhort, Colts

2013: Duron Harmon, Patriots

2012: Bryan Anger, Jaguars

Best Undrafted Free Agent Signing:

Tennessee Titans: OLB Khalid Duke

Duke slipped through the draft over being an undersized defender. However with the Titans, I think Duke could challenge for a roster spot as a designated pass rusher. Tennessee could use more rotational edge-rush depth, and Duke has some speed on the corner and plays tough. It would not surprise me if Duke wins a roster spot and finds a role as a designated pass rusher in the NFL.

Detroit Lions WR Isaiah Williams

Washington Commanders DT Norell Pollard

Los Angeles Chargers S Akeem Dent

Minnesota Vikings DE Gabriel Murphy

Kansas City Chiefs DT Fabien Lovett.

2023: Brenton Cox, Packers

2022: Jermaine Waller, Lions

2021: Paris Ford, Rams

2020: Trey Adams, Bills

2019: Elijah Holyfield, Panthers

2018: J.C. Jackson, Patriots

2017: Fish Smithson, Redskins

2016: Geronimo Allison, Packers

2015: Akeem Hunt, Giants

2014: Antonio Richardson, Vikings

2013: Chase Thomas, Saints

2012: James Brown, Bears

Worst Draft Class:

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins made some questionable picks in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, and it would not surprise me if they end up with little to show for this draft class in a few years. Robinson was a flawed choice in Round 1 because it could take time for him to become an every-down starter, and he might top out as a designated pass rusher only. Both Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb are coming off injury, but even if one of them comes back next season, that veteran and Shaq Barrett could be playing over Robinson. Offensive tackle Patrick Paul was a similar choice in the second round given that he is raw and needs a lot of development. Paul will sit behind Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson, but Paul plays high and is not powerful or overly physical despite having massive size. Miami made some decent depth picks in running back Jaylen Wright and designated edge rusher Mo Kamara, but those players are backups only. It feels like the Dolphins did not do much to improve their team in the 2024 NFL Draft and only took backups.

2023: Dallas Cowboys

2022: New England Patriots

2021: New Orleans Saints

2020: Green Bay Packers

2019: Houston Texans

2018: Dallas Cowboys

2017: Arizona Cardinals

2016: New England Patriots

2015: Carolina Panthers

2014: Kansas City Chiefs

2013: Dallas Cowboys

2012: Seattle Seahawks

Best Draft Class:

Los Angeles Rams

My favorite draft classes were the Rams and Colts as the clear top two. I think both teams did a tremendous job of adding top talent with excellent values at each spot that they drafted. The Rams got the nod for the best draft class due to an extra second-day pick.

In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Rams landed a safe pick to be a solid starting edge rusher in Florida State’s Jared Verse. While Verse does not have blinding speed off the edge, he has a good mix of power and quickness with the ability to beat offensive tackles through a variety of ways. Verse also is a tough run defender and plays hard. He could be a plug-and-play upgrade for Los Angeles.

The Rams did a tremendous job on Day 2 with a trio of good values. They started it off by reuniting Verse with college teammate Braden Fiske. Fiske is a fast and relentless pass rusher who puts forth incredible effort on the field. With other solid rushers around him, Fiske could be a big-time interior pass rusher for Los Angeles. His run defense needs to improve, but after some development, he could be a very good pro starter.

After Fiske, the Rams landed two steals in the third round with running back Blake Corum and Kam Kinchens. Corum is a tough runner with quickness, strength, and natural running instincts. He is very similar to Ray Rice, and I think Corum could become a good starter for the Rams. Similarly, Kinchens has amazing instincts and ball skills. He slid from a lack of timed speed and not impressing in workouts, but he was one of the best defensive players in college football over the past two seasons.

The Rams added some solid depth players on Day 3 of the the 2024 NFL Draft as well. Overall, I think the team came out of this draft with four players who could be good starters and acquired some foundational pieces for their defense. This year was the first time the Rams has a pick in Round 1 of an NFL draft since 2016, and they made the most of having some early-round draft capital.

Indianapolis Colts

Philadelphia Eagles

Los Angeles Chargers

Detroit Lions

2023: Detroit Lions

2022: New York Jets

2021: New York Giants

2020: Dallas Cowboys

2019: Washington Redskins

2018: Denver Broncos

2017: Washington Redskins

2016: Buffalo Bills

2015: Jacksonville Jaguars

2014: Houston Texans

2013: Green Bay Packers

2012: Pittsburgh Steelers


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