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 Carolina. As part of that trade, the Bears have the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick, so the Bears have two avenues where they might obtain the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The pick from the Panthers is the most likely avenue to get back into the top spot because the Panthers are 1-9 on the season after losing to the Cowboys. The Bears are 3-8, so they are in the running from their pick as well, but they are much more likely to land it via Carolina.
The Cardinals are 2-9 after losing to the Texans. With Kyler Murray returning to the field, Arizona probably will win more games and miss out on the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots:
The Patriots are one of the worst teams in the NFL and were dropped to 2-8 by the Colts on Sunday. New England’s roster is devoid of talent thanks to years of terrible drafts by Bill Belichick. Arizona, Carolina and Chicago each have young talent on their rosters, so those teams might games down the stretch, which could lead to New England landing the No. 1-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.
New York Giants:
The Giants hurt their chances of landing the top pick significantly by beating Washington. At 3-8, the Giants are still in the hunt for the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, but it could be a long shot. If the Giants land the top choice, they should draft a quarterback and look to trade Daniel Jones.
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:
- Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera
- Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley
- New England Patriots: Bill Belichick
- Chicago Bears: Matt Eberflus
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Todd Bowles
- Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Smith
- Carolina Panthers: Frank Reich
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.
New York Giants: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Many pundits said the Giants would not win a game the rest of the season when Daniel Jones went out for the year, but that was quickly proven wrong when the team beat Washington in Week 11. Saquon Barkley played well, and it was shocking that Tommy DeVito threw for three touchdowns against the Commanders. If the Giants win too many games to land Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Giants could consider adding a true No. 1 wide receiver in Harrison.
In 2023, Harrison has 59 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns. He broke out last year, recording 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. The sophomore was a dynamic mismatch weapon for C.J. Stroud. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Harrison has excellent height and length with speed to get downfield. He runs routes like a smaller receiver, and he obviously learned a lot from his Hall of Fame father. However, the younger Harrison is much bigger than his father and is more like an A.J. Green-type receiver for the next level. If the Giants miss out on a top quarterback, Harrison would be a fabulous pick for them high in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Dixon, CB, Penn State
A week after getting abused by San Francisco, the Jaguars bounced back with a 20-point win over the Titans. The Jacksonville defense shut out Tennessee in the first half, and the Jacksonville offense leaned on Trevor Lawrence. The franchise quarterback threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns to lead the Jaguars. DeAndre Hopkins did some damage for Tennessee, and this season, the Jacksonville defense has had some issues at corner. The team could use another young starter to go with Tyson Campbell
Dixon (6-0, 191) has impressed NFL evaluators this season, while his teammate Kalen King, who had a great 2022, has struggled. Dixon is gritty, quick, instinctive, and can run the route to prevent separation. This year, he has 21 tackles, three sacks, an interception and three passes broken up. In 2022, he recorded 23 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defended. He would make a lot of sense for the Jaguars in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Miami Dolphins: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
The Miami defense came up with some clutch stops and turnovers against Las Vegas to make up for a sloppy day from the offense. Jalen Ramsey had two interceptions for the Dolphins, and those turnovers were critical in their holding on for the six-point win. The Raiders had some success throwing the ball in the middle of the field, and Miami could use a strong safety to pair with Jevon Holland.
Some teams had Nubin graded out as a potential first- or second-round pick for the 2023 NFL Draft prior to him returning to Minnesota for another year. So far in 2023, Nubin has four interceptions, four breakups and 50 tackles. While he has looked better in pass coverage this season, he has had some missed tackles. In 2022, he recorded 55 tackles, four interceptions and three passes defended. Nubin had similar production in 2021 with 49 tackles, three picks and two passes broken up. Pro evaluators like that Nubin (6-2, 210) is big, physical, instinctive, and has impressive movement skills for a player of his size. Late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Miami could target a player like Nubin.
Green Bay Packers: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
The Packers got a close win over the reeling Chargers, while Jordan Love put up the first 300-yard passing game of his career. Love had to carry the Green Bay offense because Aaron Jones went out with an injury and A.J. Dillon (14-29) was shutdown by Los Angeles. In the offseason, Green Bay could stand to find more young talent for its offensive line along with improved run blocking and more pass protection for Love.
The 6-foot-6, 326-pound Latham has a good skill set and a ton of upside. He did not give up a sack in 2022 and allowed very few pressures while manning right tackle. There is no doubt that Latham is a powerful athlete with the ability to generate movement at the point of attack. He makes winning blocks look easy with serious strength and an ability to sustain. However, Latham is more of a right tackle than a left tackle for the NFL given his feet and movement skills. Latham could be a plug-and-play contributor who helps the Packers quickly. He could make sense for their first-round pick during the 2024 NFL Draft.
Buffalo Bills: Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M
The Bills snapped their slump by rolling over the inept Jets. Buffalo’s defense dominated Zach Wilson and Tim Boyle, while Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns. The ground offense of the Bills continued to have some issues. as they only averaged 3.4 yards per rush. The Bills could stand to continue building up the size and power of their offensive line this offseason. That could help add more rushing potency to their scoring attack.
Team sources have been impressed with the play of Robinson this season. They say Robinson (6-4, 315) looks like a potential starting right guard in the NFL. They note that while he has some athletic limitations, he is strong and is a people mover at the point of attack. Robinson is a tough, nasty, and power right guard at the next level. He could be limited on some of the wide zone-run plays in the NFL because he lacks foot quickness and overall athletic ability. Still, he has a violent play style and demeanor. Robinson could be a second-day prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft, and he would be a nice value and fit for the Bills on Day 2.
Los Angeles Rams: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
The Rams pulled off a surprising comeback win over the Seahawks, sweeping the season series with their divisional rivals. One of the keys to the game was the Los Angeles defense forcing three field goals instead of giving up touchdowns on Seattle scoring drives. The Seahawks’ one touchdown came on a completion to D.K. Metcalf (5-94-1), and he could have had a bigger game had Geno Smith not missed some possessions in the second half. The Rams could use some cornerback help aside Derion Kendrick and need a true replacement for Jalen Ramsey.
In 2023, McKinstry has 24 tackles and six passes broken up. Most freshmen don’t play immediately for Nick Saban, but McKinstry was an anomaly, notching 26 tackles, an interception, a pass broken up and a sack in 2021. In 2022, McKinstry recorded 35 tackles, a sack, an interception and 15 passes broken up. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder possesses, size, length, straight-line speed, and physicality. However, he is a press-man corner only and does not look like a good fit for a zone or off-man scheme. McKinstry could be a good second-round pick for the Rams, as he would allow them to address either offensive tackle or edge rush in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Baltimore Ravens: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
The Ravens got a win on Thursday Night Football, and their defense knocked out Joe Burrow for the rest of the season. Essentially, Baltimore locked up the AFC North title. The Steelers are in contention, but the struggles of their offense make it look unlikely they will pass the Ravens. With Cleveland and Cincinnati going with backup quarterbacks for the rest of the year, either team would be fortunate to secure a wild-card spot. Baltimore has a strong roster for many years to come, but one position where the team could use some young talent is at cornerback. Adding a corner to go with Marlon Humphrey would make a lot of sense for the Ravens.
Arnold has 49 tackles, three interceptions and nine passes broken up so far this season. He 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 instincts and good technique. Arnold’s only real flaw is not being fast, and that presents some limitations for the NFL. Still, Arnold looks like a good fit for a zone team. He looks likely to be a first- or second-round pick next April in the 2024 NFL Draft. Late in the first round, Arnold could be a good pick for the Ravens and an excellent No. 2 corner to pair with Humphrey for many years to come.
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.
Las Vegas Raiders:
Raiders owner Mark Davis made a monumental mistake in allowing the NFL league office to pressure him into firing Jon Gruden. Just two years ago, the Raiders were on their way to the playoffs and came close to beating the eventual AFC Champion Bengals in the first round. Las Vegas made the playoffs despite the Henry Ruggs tragedy and Darren Waller being injured down the stretch run. Gruden had the team playing hard, playing well, and poised to be a playoff contender in the competitive AFC for many years to come. Davis compounded the mistake by hiring Josh McDaniels, who was poisonous to the organization, dismantling the roster and instituting a toxic environment in the organization.
The smartest thing Davis could do is hire Detroit Lions executive Mike Martin to be the new general manager and try to get Jon Gruden back. If Gruden didn’t want to work with the Raiders again, Martin could bring Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson or defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to Las Vegas. The best players on the Las Vegas roster were acquired by Gruden. Maxx Crosby, Kolton Miller and Josh Jacobs are the headliners, but there are other good players in Trevon Moehrig, Nate Hobbs, Divine Deablo, and Hunter Renfrow. The Raiders have almost nothing to show from McDaniels’ time as Davante Adams is aging, declining, and an overpaid expensive player. Thus, the new general manager in Las Vegas will have a significant hole to dig out of.
In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have Las Vegas taking LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, as he would make a ton of sense for a new regime in the desert. Daniels is a dynamic playmaker with the arm talent to burn defenses vertically and tremendous running ability. Daniels could use development as a pocket passer, but he is a point producer with the ability to dominate good defenses. Unless Aidan O’Connell proves to be the starter for next year, Las Vegas has to find a quarterback of the future. The team won’t be picking high enough in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, so Daniels and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy could be candidates for the franchise’s first-round selection. On the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Raiders could consider options like South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., or Oregon’s Bo Nix. Rattler has the best skill set of that group, and might be a sleeper steal in the second round. If they miss out or don’t fall in love with Daniels or McCarthy, Rattler could be a sneaky good pick in Round 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Aside from quarterback, the Raiders have needs at the skill positions, with wide receiver and cornerback being key areas that could use more talent. Cornerback is more critical because Marcus Peters was an aging stop-gap signing. The team needs more talent to go with Nate Hobbs. If the Raiders take a quarterback in the first round, then in the second round, they could look at corner options like Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry, Notre Dame’s Cam Hart, Illinois’ Tahveon Nicholson, Rutgers’ Max Melton, Penn State’s Johnny Dixon or Penn State’s Kalen King. Las Vegas also could use help at defensive tackle, wide receiver, and along the offensive line. So the organization really should take the best player available at one of those positions in Round 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.
This is going to be a huge offseason for the Raiders. Davis must make a good hire at general manager and head coach to get Las Vegas headed in the right direction. If he gets it wrong again, the Raiders could be a doormat in the rugged AFC for many years to come.
The Bengals had a slow start to the 2023 season, and it might come back to bite them in the super-competitive AFC. Cincinnati plays in the toughest division in football, and there are other heavyweights that will be challenging opponents in January. Still with elite talent on offense, the Bengals will be right back in the mix of Super Bowl contenders in 2024. My preseason prediction was the Bengals over the Eagles in the Super Bowl this year, and I think Joe Burrow will lead Cincinnati to a Lombardi trophy in the next few years. However, adding a good draft class next April is vital for helping the Bengals get past elite AFC teams like the Chiefs and Ravens in the playoffs.
As C.J. Stroud and others have illustrated, the Bengals could use some help in the secondary, where Jesse Bates’ absence has been felt. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft I have Cincinnati taking Miami safety Kamren Kinchens, and he could be a home run pick for the team. He is a ball hawk with insane interception production over the past two seasons. Kinchens possesses tremendous instincts, is a good tackler, covers a ton of ground on the back end, and is physical. He would be a great fit for matching up with the divisional opponents. Aside from Kinchens, the Bengals could target other safety help in the form of Iowa’s Cooper DeJean, Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin, Miami’s James Williams and USC’s Calen Bullock. Landing Kinchens in the first round would be a boom pick for the Bengals.
Defensive tackle could be another position for Cincinnati to consider as well. D.J. Reader is entering free agency after the season, and it could be tough to get him re-signed considering the money the Bengals have spent on Burrow and the money they will need to dish out in order to keep Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Cincinnati could consider a defensive tackle like Clemson’s Ruke Orhorhoro. He could be a nice addition to the interior pass rush while also contributing solid run defense. Other quality options to consider include Oregon’s Brandon Dorlus, Illinois’ Johnny Newton and Ohio State’s Michael Hall Jr. If the Bengals wanted to add a big, heavy defender similar to Reader, an option to consider would be Texas nose tackle T’Vondre Sweat.
Cincinnati could use more help on the offensive line. The franchise gave Orlando Brown Jr. a huge contract along with spending on some interior veterans. Right tackle Jonah Williams will be a free agent after this season, and he was disgruntled after the Brown signing forced him to move to right tackle. It wouldn’t be surprising if Williams prefers to sign with a team that will play him on the left side. Late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft the Bengals could have some good options like Alabama’s J.C. Latham, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton or Duke’s Graham Barton. During the draft workouts and meetings process, other offensive tackles like BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia and Georgia’s Amarius Mims could rise too high, but if they don’t, either would be a great option to man right tackle with Brown. There could be other nice candidates on Day 2 as well, including Illinois’ Julian Pearl, Pittsburghs’s Matt Goncalves and Houston’s Patrick Paul.
The Bengals have a strong roster, so beyond filling a need or two, they are in a good position to take the best player available in the 2024 NFL Draft and build up their depth. While they may not win the Super Bowl this year, I think the Bengals will be right back in Super Bowl contention in 2024. Another good draft might just put the team over the top and bring a Lombardi Trophy back to Cincinnati before the end of this decade.