Race for the No. 1 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. Carolina’s selection is currently slotted for the No. 1-overall-pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, and that choice is the Bears’ best hope now that they won their second game of the season. If the Bears get the top pick, they should select USC quarterback Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft while trading Justin Fields to add more picks for a rebuild.
Arizona is 1-6 after losing to the Seahawks. The Cardinals still could get the No. 1 pick from their win-loss record, but their hopes to get it with the Texans’ first-round pick are looking unlikely now that Houston has won three games and looks likely to win more.
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
- Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
- Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
- Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Greg Olson
- Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
- Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy
- Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
- Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia
Head Coach Hot-Seat Tracker:
- Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley
- Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera
- Chicago Bears: Matt Eberflus
- Las Vegas Raiders: Josh McDaniels
- New England Patriots: Bill Belichick
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.
Denver Broncos: Jared Verse, DE, Florida State
The Broncos held onto a 19-17 win over Green Bay to come away with their second victory of the season. Denver’s defense played well, including making a game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter that ended any last-second field goal hopes for the Packers. While the Denver defense stepped up, the defense also collected zero sacks despite facing an offensive line that has struggled at times this season. After trading Bradley Chubb and cutting Randy Gregory, the Broncos clearly could use some young pass-rush talent.
Verse has 20 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pass batted so far in 2023. He had a great start to open 2022, showing pass-rush ability and speed around the corner in a dominant performance versus LSU while recording three sacks and seven tackles. In 2022, Verse recorded 47 tackles and nine sacks. He displayed functional strength, athleticism, and a steady motor. In 2021 playing for Albany, Verse recorded 10 tackles for a loss, four sacks and 22 tackles. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has a good motor and upside. He would make sense for the Broncos in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft if they are unable to land a young franchise quarterback.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M
The Pittsburgh offense finally showed some signs of life, putting up 14 fourth-quarter points to get the road win over the Rams. Once again, however, the Steelers’ rushing offense struggled and Najee Harris (14-53-1) underwhelming season continued, as he averaged only 3.8 yards per carry. The Steelers could use more power on the inside of their offensive line to open holes for Harris and protect Kenny Pickett.
Team sources from around the NFL have been impressed with Robinson’s play this season. They say Robinson (6-4, 315) looks like a potential starting right guard for the pros They note that while he has some athletic limitations, he is strong and is a people mover at the point of attack. Robinson could be a tough, nasty power right guard at the next level. He may be limited on some of the wide zone-run plays in the NFL because he lacks foot quickness and overall athletic ability. Still, he brings a violent play style and demeanor. Robinson could be a second-day prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft who would be a nice value and fit for the Steelers on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
The Patriots pulled off an impressive home upset over the Bills in which Mac Jones led the Patriots on a last-minute comeback after their defense blew the fourth-quarter lead. While Jones spread the ball around, clearly the New England offense is missing a true No. 1 receiver and mismatch playmaker. In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Patriots could land an upgrade with Keon Coleman or Marvin Harrison Jr.
Coleman has brought in 31 receptions this season for 472 yards and seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has good size alongside enough quickness and excellent ball skills. In 2022 for Michigan State, he recorded 58 receptions for 798 yards and seven touchdowns while playing. Coleman opened the 2023 season, and his career as a Seminole, with a monster game of nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns versus LSU. Coleman could be a highly impactful result from New England’s first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
New York Giants: Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
The Giants won a low-scoring game at home over the Commanders to get their second victory of the season. New York held Washington to only seven points, and two touchdowns were all the Giants’ offense could produce. Darren Waller (7-98-1) had an excellent game, but the New York receivers struggled despite taking on a Washington secondary that has had issues this season. The Giants did not get three catches from any receiver on Sunday. It would make sense for the organization to add a playmaking wideout via the 2024 NFL Draft.
In 2023, Egbuka has 22 catches for 303 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. He would be a nice option for the Giants to spend their first-round pick of the 2024 NFL Draft on.
Atlanta Falcons: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
The defense stepped up to lead the Falcons, and they scraped together just enough offense to get a road win in Tampa Bay. The victory moved the Falcons into first place in the NFC South, and they could be a dangerous team in the second half as their young offensive playmakers gain more experience. While Atlanta’s defense did very well, the unit had some problems covering Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Falcons could stand to add another corner to go with A.J. Terrell.
There is good cornerback depth for the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft, which would allow the Falcons to take a quarterback or a defensive lineman in Round 1. Arnold could be one of those cornerback prospects for Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. He has 40 tackles, an interception and six passes broken up so far this season. Arnold played well for Alabama in 2022, recording 45 tackles, an interception and eight passes broken up. The 6-foot, 188-pounder has quality size to go along with quickness and athleticism. He has some inconsistency in his technique, and that could lead to him being a second-day prospect. Arnold might be a nice project and future starter for Atlanta.
Chicago Bears: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA
The Bears cruised to a win over a bad Las Vegas team. Chicago’s defense produced three interceptions off of the Raiders’ backup quarterbacks. The Bears, however, only notched one sack in the game, and the lack of talent on the defensive line has been a weakness all season. Latu would make a lot of sense for one of Chicago’s first-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Latu has recorded 22 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles in 2023. After recording 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2022, Latu is proving to be a dangerous quarterback hunter. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder is quick off the edge with athleticism and a strong build. He could be the top edge rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft and would provide Chicago with immediate upgrade.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
The Jaguars held onto get a win over the Saints on Thursday night despite the latter’s passing attack suffering some miscues, like Chris Olave quitting on routes. The Jaguars still allowed Derek Carr to throw for 300 yards, and they were only able to sack Carr once. That sack came from Dawuane Smoot, and Jacksonville could use more interior rush to help Josh Allen and Travon Walker. Adding to their defensive line would make a lot of sense for the Jaguars’ first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Orhorhoro has the ability to contribute in both phases as he is a tough run defender who shows some ability to get after the quarterback. Orhorhoro demonstrates the strength to get off blocks and has the speed to make plays out of his gap. This season, Orhorhoro has collected 11 tackles, two sacks and a pass batted. In 2022, Orhorhoro totaled 23 tackles, five passes batted and four sacks in 2022. Orhorhoro has three-down starting potential for the next level, and he would be a good addition to the Jacksonville defensive line.
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 Ravens play in the toughest division in the NFL, and thus far in 2023, they have been the most consistent team. Baltimore has an elite quarterback in former MVP Lamar Jackson in the prime years of his career. The franchise also has difference-makers spread throughout the roster, but the team still has a few needs to address to help the organization be competitive with the elite teams of the AFC. After all, the Ravens will have to go through the likes of the Chiefs and the Bills to get to the Super Bowl.
Even though Baltimore took a wide receiver in the first round last year, the position remains a consistent sore spot for the Ravens, and they should address it to help Jackson. They need multiple receiving targets who can get open and cut down on the amount of plays that Jackson takes off to run. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Ravens taking South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette. He would make sense as a big wideout to pair with Zay Flowers. Odell Beckham Jr. is aging and not the same player he was before his injuries. Rashod Bateman, meanwhile, has been a disappointment, and Nelson Agholor is a solid veteran, but not a true No. 1 receiver. Adding a big wideout like Legette could be a great complement to Flowers. Some other receivers for Baltimore to consider late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft would include LSU’s Malik Nabers and Texas’ Xavier Worthy.
The Ravens also could use some youth on the defensive line. Jadeveon Clowney has been a quality signing, but he is entering free agency after this season. Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo have yet to break out as pros, so Baltimore could use another option in case they both prove to be busts. Oweh is definitely trending that direction, so edge rusher has to be a top consideration for the Ravens. In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, they could consider prospects like Washington’s Bralen Trice, Florida State’s Jared Verse, Penn State’s Chop Robinson or Alabama’s Dallas Turner. Any of them could provide Baltimore with a potential long-term rusher.
The Ravens could consider guard help on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft. Some options for them to consider would include Duke’s Graham Barton, Texas A&M’s Layden Robinson and Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe. If Baltimore can help the offensive line in free agency and/or on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, then the organization could address another need in the first round.
Also on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Ravens could consider help at linebacker if Patrick Queen is not re-signed. Queen probably wants to be paid like a top linebacker, and it would not be surprising if Baltimore is unwilling to pay that after giving Roquan Smith a mammoth contract. Baltimore could find a potential replacement for Queen on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, where there should be some quality options like Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau, North Carolina’s Cedric Gray, Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman, Georgia’s Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Ohio State’s Tommy Eichenberg, and one of the Clemson duo of Barrett Carter or Jeremiah Trotter Jr.
The Ravens have a lot of talent, but also have a number of needs to address. If Baltimore drafts well, as it has traditionally, the team could get back to the Super Bowl and have a special quarterback who could bring the franchise another Lombardi Trophy. It will be up to general manager Eric DeCosta to make the right moves for the Ravens to win a Super Bowl while they have Jackson playing at a championship level.
New Orleans Saints:
Even though the Saints lost on Thursday night versus the Jaguars, the Saints are still in the NFC playoff picture because their division lacks a dominant team and they have time to make up ground. With a new quarterback in Derek Carr, the passing game is going through some growing pains, but the New Orleans receivers also need to step up their play. Chris Olave quitting on routes on Thursday night was awful. While Carr received a lot of criticism for his visible frustration, a lot of NFL team sources and coaches want their quarterback to ride their teammates and hold them accountable when they are making mistakes. New Orleans has a good defense and talent on offense, so the team definitely possesses the ability to rally and win the division this season.
In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Saints taking Washington edge rusher Bralen Trice as they could use a speed rusher off the edge. New Orleans notched zero sacks on Thursday night and need more pure pass rush. While Cam Jordan has had a superb career, the team could use a long-term speed rusher to go with younger ends like Carl Grandson and Isaiah Foskey. In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Saints could consider players like Trice, Florida State’s Jared Verse, Penn State’s Chop Robinson or Alabama’s Dallas Turner. Any of them could help the Saints produce more rush on the quarterback.
New Orleans could use help at defensive tackle as well after losing some veterans in free agency last spring, and I have the organization adding an interior rusher in Illinois’ Johnny Newton in the second round. The Saints also could consider other defensive tackle options like Clemson’s Ruke Orhorhoro, Ohio State’s Michael Hall Jr. or Texas’ T’Vondre Sweat.
Depending on how Carr plays in the back half of the season, New Orleans might want to add a quarterback. Jameis Winston is getting paid too much as a backup, and the franchise could use another starting option who is young, cheap and has upside.
The Saints have already won too many games to pick high enough for top quarterbacks like Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, but they could consider adding a quarterback prospect on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Then they could develop them behind Carr for a year and maybe have a young option as a potential starter of the future. Some players for New Orleans to consider could include Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Washington’s Michel Penix Jr. There is a chance that McCarthy might not get to New Orleans’ pick high in the second round, but the others could be available to consider.
The NFC South is wide open this season, and it probably will remain that way in 2024. The Falcons and Buccaneers are both searching for long-term starting quarterbacks. Carolina has bet the farm on Bryce Young, but the team’s roster needs a lot of help, plus Young needs to play better. The Panthers look to be a year or two away from being competitive. Therefore, the Saints could easily be the top team in the division this year and next year. Another good draft could make them more capable of competing in the NFC.