Race for the No. 1 Pick of the 2024 NFL Draft:
Cardinals almost won, but the Giants pulled off a late victory to drop Arizona to 0-2. Thanks to a terrible trade by the Texans, the Cardinals have two routes to landing the No. 1-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Arizona looks like the worst team in the league with the least amount of talent on its 53-man roster after years of poor drafts from former general manager Steve Keim. The Cardinals easily could get the No. 1 pick from their win-loss record, but they also could get it with the Texans’ first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft because Houston is one of the worst teams in the league as well. The Texans are off to an 0-2 start and look like they are going to struggle to win any games this season. At this point, Arizona is the favorite to land the first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Chicago had the No. 1-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft prior to trading down with the Panthers. As part of that trade, the Bears have Carolina’s first-rounder in the 2024 NFL Draft, so the Bears could have two avenues by which they might obtain the top pick for the second straight year. The Bears are off to an 0-2 start and have not looked good in either game.
The Broncos have a very difficult schedule in the loaded AFC. If Russell Wilson does not get turned around, Denver could be in the hunt for the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Denver lost a close game to the Raiders and then blew a huge lead to Washington. It could be a long year for the Broncos after losing some winnable games in the opening two contests.
Top General Manager Candidates:
- Detroit Lions director of scouting development Mike Martin
- Atlanta Falcons vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith
- Indianapolis Colts chief personnel executive Morocco Brown
- Buffalo Bills director of player personnel Terrance Gray
- Tennessee Titans director of pro scouting Brian Gardner
- Philadelphia Eagles director of scouting Brandon Hunt
- Miami Dolphins assistant general manager Marvin Allen
- Washington director of pro scouting Eric Stokes
- Miami Hurricanes general manager Alonzo Highsmith
Top Head Coach Candidates:
- Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden
- Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
- Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Greg Olson
- Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
- Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy
- Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
- Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph
- Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
- Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia
- USC head coach Lincoln Riley
Let’s Play Matchmaker:
This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with teams that have a dire need at the position.
Dallas Cowboys: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
In their home opener, the Cowboys improved to 2-0 after suffocating the Jets. The Dallas defense has been phenomenal thus far in 2023, and the team’s offense enjoyed a huge performance from CeeDee Lamb (11-143) against the Jets. Brandin Cooks was out with an injury, but none of the other Cowboys wide receivers had four receptions or even 20 yards. Dallas could use more receiving weapons for Dak Prescott.
Worthy has 16 receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2023. The 6-foot-1, 163-pounder is a quick, shifty, undersized playmaker who can get open vertically and is a threat to score on any reception. Worthy had an impressive debut in 2021 with 62 catches for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2022, he turned 60 receptions into 760 yards and nine scores. During both seasons, Worthy dealt with inconsistent quarterback play. He could make for a nice addition to the Cowboys with their first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
New York Giants: Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State
The Giants avoided the dreaded 0-2 start thanks to a 31-point second-half explosion to come away with a 31-28 comeback win at Arizona. Once again, the franchise’s wide receivers were underwhelming. Jalin Hyatt (2-89) has potential, and tight end Darren Waller is still an asset, but the Gaints need more receiving talent for Daniel Jones. Here’s a big monster.
Wilson displayed mismatch size and big-play ability in 2022, hauling in 897 yards and five touchdowns on only 43 receptions – a 20.9-yard average. The 6-foot-7, 235-pounder presents an obvious size disparity, but he runs and moves well for a receiver that big. Wilson is able to sink his weight and get in and out of breaks extremely well for his size. However, Wilson has a problem with dropped passes, and that is especially problematic for the role that big receivers are expected to play. Wilson has 11 receptions for 209 yards so far this saeson. He could be an intriguing addition for the Giants.
Tennessee Titans: Caelen Carson, CB, Wake Forest
The Titans came away with a tough home win over the Chargers, getting enough from Derrick Henry and the passing attack to barely get by. Tennessee’s defense has had problems in pass coverage for years, and that was evident again with Keenan Allen (8-111-2) and Mike Williams (8-83) producing well on Sunday. The former Titans front office drafted a lot of corners in recent years, but the position remains a weakness. New general manager Ran Carthon could target cornerback upgrades in the 2024 NFL Draft.
In 2023, Carson has 12 tackles and a pass broken up. The 6-foot, 195-pounder was a solid defensive back for the Demon Deacons in both 2021 and 2022. Last season, he notched 21 tackles and seven passes defended. He recorded 31 tackles, two interceptions and seven breakups in 2021. Carson has good size, speed, and movement skills. He could be a good option for Tennessee in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Buffalo Bills: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
The Bills got things back on track against the Raiders, cruising to victory. Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns, and James Cook ran for 123 yards. While Las Vegas couldn’t do much offensively, Josh Jacobs went over 50 yards receiving, and Buffalo previously struggled with the Jets running backs in Week 1. After losing Tremaine Edmunds, the Bills could use more talent at linebacker.
In 2023, Trotter (6-0, 230) has 17 tackles and a forced fumble. He had a superb 2022 season, making a lot of plays for the Clemson defense. On the year, Trotter recorded 92 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception returned for a touchdown. It was only Trotter’s first seasons as a starter, so he could be even better now that he has some experience. His father, Jeremiah Trotter Sr., played 12 seasons in the NFL and was a four-time Pro Bowler whose best seasons came with Philadelphia and Washington. Trotter Jr. would be a good fit in the Buffalo defense.
Kansas City Chiefs: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
The Chiefs avoided an 0-2 start thanks to a tough road win at Jacksonville. However, Kansas City’s offense still was not firing on all cylinders. Skyy Moore (3-70-1) was the team’s leading receiver, and clearly the franchise could use more playmakers for quarterback Pat Mahomes. Late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Chiefs could target a mismatch weapon for their young legendary quarterback.
Coleman (6-4, 215) has good size, which he uses well to wall off defenders and make contested catches, yet he also has enough speed to get downfield and get open. Coleman opened 2023 with a monster game of 122 yards and three touchdowns on just nine catches against LSU. He has 12 receptions for 170 yards and four scores on the year. In 2022 with Michigan State, Coleman recorded 58 receptions for 798 yards and seven touchdowns. Coleman would be an intriguing addition for the Chiefs with their first-round pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Indianapolis Colts: Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
The Colts controlled the Texans on both sides of the ball on their way to a 31-20 win. The Indianapolis defense produced six sacks, while the team’s offense notched three touchdowns on the ground, and Gardner Minshew went 19-of-23 for 171 yards and a touchdown following Anthony Richardson’s departure from the game. While the Colts saw some contributions from a variety of receivers, they need more mismatch playmakers for their passing attack.
In 2023, Egbuka has 12 catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder turned in 74 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022. He emerged as a potential No. 1 receiver or really good No. 2 wideout. At other schools, Egbuka would have had an even bigger year, but he was the No. 2 receiver for Ohio State across from Marvin Harrison Jr. Egbuka has quality size and some serious speed with the ability to separate and challenge defenses vertically. Egbuka could take advantage of Richardson’s cannon for an arm and stretch defenses vertically for Indianapolis.
Philadelphia Eagles: Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami
The Philadelphia defense came through with some clutch turnovers against the Vikings on Thursday night, which made a huge difference in Philadelphia coming up with the home win. Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and the other Minnesota receivers ripped up the Philadelphia secondary. The Eagles have used some veteran additions at safety for the past few years, but they could use a long-term starter and difference-maker in the deep middle of the field.
Kinchens has 10 tackles and an interception in 2023. He broke out in 2022 with six interceptions, five passes defended, 59 tackles and a forced fumble. The 5-foot-11, 202-pounder has good instincts and serious ball skills. Kinchens is athletic and rangy, so he could play single-high deep free safety for the NFL. Sources also say Kinchens is great off the field. The versatile Kinchens would be a real asset for the Eagles in helping to defend a variety of passing weapons including divisional foes like CeeDee Lamb, Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, Jahan Dotson, and Tony Pollard. Kinchens would make a lot of knee for the Eagles first-round pick.
Team Draft Report:
In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Seahawks are going to be an interesting team to watch this season. They are built to win now, but also have some young talent on both sides of the ball for a foundation for the future. After a shockingly good season from Geno Smith in 2022, Smith was signed to a team friendly contract. He earned the right to be the starter for 2023, but Smith may not be a long-term starter at this point in his career. He underwhelmed in Week 1, but he bounced back to carry Seattle to an overtime win in Detroit in Week 2. Hence this could be a very interesting offseason in Seattle.
Even if the Seahawks don’t go deep in the playoffs this season, they have too much talent to be picking high in the first round. They would probably have to give up the farm in order to land USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. However they might have a shot at some mid to late first round quarterback prospects. Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders could be a prospect for that range. Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler are other quarterback prospects that could rise into first round consideration. Smith will be 33 and signed for 2024 and 2025 affording Seattle some developmental time. Thus, quarterback has to be a top consideration.
In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Seahawks taking Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner and that would make sense as Seattle needs to improve their pass rush. Turner is a fast and dangerous edge rusher that would fit the Seattle scheme well. Aside from Turner, they could consider rushers like Florida State’s Jared Verse, UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, and Washington’s Bralen Trice depending on where they are picking.
Offensively, Seattle has a strong group of young talented players at wide receiver, running back, and on the offensive line. They might want to add more mid-round talent for the interior of the line and an understudy for Tyler Lockett. If the Seahawks get a talented young quarterback, they could have one of the top young offenses in the NFL.
General manager Jon Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have done a very good job of rebuilding the roster after the Russell Wilson and Legion of Boom defense era aged out. Now finding a long-term starting quarterback and adding more talent to the defensive line are the only real areas to address. If they hit on those decisions, Seattle could be back in Super Bowl contention very soon.
After winning the NFC North last year, the Vikings are off to a surprising 0-2 start to open the 2023 season but upon a deeper look it is not that shocking that Minnesota is struggling. Last year they had a terrible defense, one of the worst if not the worst in the NFL, and they did little to upgrade the defenses in the offseason. They used their first-round pick on wide receiver Jordan Addison, and their second-round pick was traded to Detroit for tight end T.J. Hockenson. Thus, it isn’t surprising that Minnesota is struggling to stop offenses this season.
While their defense needs a lot of help, the top question for the Vikings to answer in the 2024 offseason is what to do at quarterback. Minnesota has paid an insane amount of money to Kirk Cousins with no post-season success to show for it. Cousins will be a free agent after this season and the Vikings could be poised to make a change. Minnesota won’t be picking in the top three to land USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. They would probably have to give up a huge amount to trade up for either of them. However they might be able to get another quarterback in the middle of the first round or on day two. Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders could be a mid first-round target. Other quarterbacks with potential to rise into round one consideration could include candidates like Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. The Vikings have to consider that they may have gone as far as Cousins can take them and they should look to get a young franchise quarterback to build around.
If they decide to stick with Cousins, add a different veteran starter, or are picking too low to land a good prospect, then upgrading the defense has to be the priority. Minnesota needs difference makers at every level of the defense with a lead edge rusher, interior defensive line presence, playmaking linebacker, and a No. 1 corner. If they are not drafting a quarterback they have to take the best defensive prospect available.
In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Vikings taking Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin. He would be a long-term playmaker for the back middle of the defense and be helpful for defending divisional weapons like Aaron Jones, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery, and Justin Fields. Other good first round options would include edge rushers like Florida State’s Jared Verse, UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, and Washington’s Bralen Trice. They could also consider defensive tackles like LSU’s Maason Smith, Ohio State’s Michael Hall, and Illinois’ Johnny Newton.
This will be a fascinating offseason for the Vikings, but the priorities are clear. Figure out who will be their quarterback for now and the future, and start upgrading their porous defense. It will take a few years of good drafting and signings to rebuild the defense, but at least Minnesota has good players on offense to build around in the form of Justin Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, Hockenson, and Addison.