Monday Morning Draft – Week 12

Caleb Williams

Race for the No. 1 Pick of the 2024 NFL Draft:

Chicago Bears:

Thanks to their trade with the Panthers, the Bears currently hold the No. 1-overall pick in 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 the Panthers are 1-10 on the season after losing to the Titans. 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.

Arizona Cardinals:

The Cardinals are 2-10 after suffering a loss to the Rams. With Kyler Murray returning to the field, Arizona could win more games and miss out on the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Cardinals need Carolina to get a win or two while losing out to land the top pick.

New England Patriots:

This Patriots are one of the worst teams in the NFL and were dropped to 2-9 by the Giants on Sunday. New England’s roster is devoid of talent thanks to years of terrible drafts by Bill Belichick. Arizona, Carolina and Chicago have young talent on their rosters, so those teams might win games down the stretch. That could lead to New England landing the No. 1-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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.

Atlanta Falcons: Jayden Daniels, WR, LSU

The Falcons got a win over the Saints, with Jesse Bates and Bijan Robinson producing huge plays for Atlanta. Desmond Ridder threw two more interceptions and gave more proof that the Falcons need to find a new quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. Atlanta has won too much to land Caleb Williams and probably Drake Maye, but the organization could have a shot at Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy. Either one would be an upgrade over Ridder. With Daniels’ playmaking ability, the Atlanta offense could be prolific.

This season, Daniels has completed 72 percent of his passes for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has 10 rushing touchdowns as well. Daniels is a dual-threat quarterback who showed improvement as a passer throughout the 2022 season with LSU. He has a quality arm and is a dangerous runner with shocking speed. While he has plenty of room for growth, he has become more consistent with pocket-passing accuracy and reading the field. Daniels could be a dynamic passing and rushing weapon to pair with Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts.

Denver Broncos: Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma

The Broncos cruised over the Browns at home, with Denver playing efficient football in all three phases. In one regard where the Broncos were fortunate, Cleveland did not run the ball enough despite Jerome Ford rushing well. The middle of the Denver defense was also hurt some by David Njoku. The Broncos could use a linebacker upgrade next to Josey Jewell.

Stutsman (6-4, 241) is a tough linebacker for the Sooners, making a lot of tackles and some splash plays for his defense. This season, he has 99 tackles, three sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and two passes defended. In 2022, he recorded 124 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and five passes broken up. Team sources said Stutsman is very athletic, very fast and very instinctive. They stated they feel he has good size and length, but lacks ideal strength and physicality. They opined that Stutsman could be similar to Pete Werner, except Stutsman is a little more finesse and has a lack of strength compared to Werner. Stutsman could be a good pick for Denver on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft and allow the team to upgrade the defensive line or offense in the first round.

Tennessee Titans: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

The Titans got a seven-point win over the terrible Panthers behind Derrick Henry finding the end zone twice. Recording only 17 points versus Carolina continues to illustrate the lack of potency in the Tennessee offense. This offseason, the Titans need to add a young playmaker for Will Levis. DeAndre Hopkins is their only reliable receiver, and he is aging while being in the last year of his contract in 2024. Next April, the 2024 NFL Draft will feature a strong class of receivers for the Titans to draw on.

In terms of size, speed, athleticism and upside, Thomas is probably second only to Marvin Harrison Jr. among the wide receiver prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Thomas has mismatch size and is a fast wideout with the ability to challenge teams vertically. In 2023, he has 60 catches for 1,079 yards and 15 touchdowns. Thomas has a great skill set and a ton of upside to develop. There is some rawness to his game, with Thomas playing small. He needs to play to his size. If the Titans miss out on Marvin Harrison Jr., Thomas could be an intriguing selection for them in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

San Francisco 49ers: J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State

The San Francisco edge rush was lacking early in the season, and that led to the organization claiming Randy Gregory and trading a third-round pick for Chase Young. Young looks like a half-season rental because it will be hard to pay him a big contract after extending Nick Bosa. San Francisco’s pass rush got ramped up against Seattle on Thanksgiving night, and next year, the franchise could use an edge rusher to pair with Bosa given that Young will probably leave in free agency.

Tuimoloau has 34 tackles, four sacks and two passes broken up in 2023. As a redshirt freshman in 2022, Tuimoloau (6-4, 270) turned in a good season for the Buckeyes, showing an ability to produce big plays. He recorded 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two interceptions and two passes broken up on the year. He could make sense as a second-day pick for the 49ers, and that would allow them to use their first-rounder on an understudy for Trent Williams.

Miami Dolphins: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

The Dolphins cruised over the struggling Jets, as their offense stood no chance of keeping up with the Miami point machine. The one glaring weakness on the Miami roster has been the offensive line over the past couple of seasons, and the team could stand to continue to add talent up front to protect Tua Tagovailoa. In the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dolphins could consider an offensive tackle like Latham who also could play guard if necessary. He would be a great fit as a people-moving run blocker and a reliable pass protector.

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. He could be a great first-round pick for Miami.

Dallas Cowboys: Kam Hart, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys suffered a devastating injury with Trevon Diggs going out for the year, but fortunately for them, Daron Bland has been incredible this season with a record-setting year for pick-sixes. Bland set the record against Washington, and Dallas scored 25 in the fourth quarter after the Commanders kept it close for a time. Sam Howell threw for 300 yards, and Dallas could use a third corner to go with Bland and Diggs. Stephon Gilmore is aging and not a long-term player.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder Hart is a big corner who will enter the next level with good development and experience. In 2023, Hart has 21 tackles, four passes broken up and three forced fumbles, but the numbers don’t illustrate how very good Hart has been as a senior. He had a superb game against Marvin Harrison Jr., leading the way to limit the star receiver to three catches for 32 yards. Hart moves well for a big cornerback and can play man or zone coverage. With his skill set and experience, Hart could be a starter early in his NFL career. He could be a nice early-round pick for Dallas.

Green Bay Packers: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Packers got a win on Thanksgiving, as Rashan Gary dominated the Lions offensive line and came up with some huge forced fumbles of Jared Goff that proved to be the difference in the game. Green Bay’s secondary was bailed out by Gary, but the team had problems covering the Detroit receivers. The Packers could use more cornerback talent to go with Jaire Alexander to help them match up with the Lions’ high-powered offense for years to come.

Arnold has 55 tackles, four interceptions and 10 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. In the middle to late portion of the first round, Arnold could be a good pick for Green Bay and an excellent No. 2 corner to pair with Alexander 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.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

After another anemic offensive performance, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin finally fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Months ago, some Pittsburgh media and fans created a rumor of Tomlin hiring his old mentor Jon Gruden to be the offensive coordinator. That would be a brilliant move by Tomlin – provided Gruden would be willing to do it. Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett badly needs a quarterback guru. Pickett was regressing under Canada and has not progressed as Pittsburgh needs him to. With Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson in their division, perhaps the toughest in the league, the Steelers must have a point-producing quarterback to have any hope of making it to the playoffs. Landing Gruden would be a huge boost for the Steelers and in helping Pickett to develop, so they would be fools not to pursue Gruden vigorously, but who knows if Gruden would be willing to take that job. Pittsburgh badly needs a better offensive scheme to help Pickett.

In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have Steelers taking Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy, and he would give them a playmaker for their offense. Worthy is extremely fast and dynamic with the ball in his hands. He can uncover quickly and would be a receiver similar to Jordan Addison, who Pickett had huge success with in his final season as a Pittsburgh Panther. Other receivers the Steelers could consider in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft include Washington’s Rome Odunze, Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, Florida State’s Keon Coleman, South Carolina’s Xavier Legette and Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka. Pittsburgh could use a variety of playmakers to help Pickett. George Pickens is talented, but inconsistent – and a headcase -, while Diontae Johnson will be in the last year of his contract. Adding more long-term playmakers for Pickett would make sense to help him make progress.

Aside from help on the offense, the Steelers could use more talent at cornerback. While Joey Porter Jr. should be a good starter for the next decade or so, they could use more corner talent to go with him. Patrick Peterson is not a long-term starter, and Pittsburgh could use a corner to pair with Porter. If the Steelers get some help for their weak offense in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, they could add secondary help on Day 2. In the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, 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 and Penn State’s Kalen King.

This is going to be a huge offseason for the Steelers. They have a defense that is capable of contending for the Super Bowl, but they need to get the offense improved immediately to take advantage of the prime years remaining for players like T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick. The objective is clear that Pittsburgh needs to get a better offensive coordinator and more weapons for Pickett. If the Steelers are able to do those things, they could be back as a legit Super Bowl contender.

Cleveland Browns:

The Browns have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and prior to Deshaun Watson getting injured, they looked like they could be a dangerous team in the postseason. With Watson out for the year, perhaps Cleveland can still contend to get a wild card thanks to the strength of the defense. However with a backup quarterback in rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson under center, Cleveland is not going to beat Pat Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and other game-changing signal-callers. The Browns will have to reload over the offseason to hopefully go further in 2024.

In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft I have Cleveland taking Oregon defensive tackle Brandon Dorlus. The team could use some youth on the inside of the defensive line, and Dorlus is a dangerous interior pass rusher. Lining up Dorlus next to Myles Garrett could provide a potent combination for getting after the quarterback and proving fast disruption to passing plays. Aside from Dorlus, the Browns could consider defensive tackle options like Clemson’s Ruke Orhorhoro, Illinois’ Johnny Newton, Texas’ T’Vondre Sweat and Ohio State’s Michael Hall Jr.

On offense, Cleveland could use more receiving options for Watson. Amari Cooper has played well, but the Browns clearly need more playmakers to go with him. There could be a good wide receiver who slips to them in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Some potential late first-rounders right now who have the potential to slide include Washington’s Rome Odunze, Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, Texas’ Xavier Worthy, Florida State’s Keon Coleman, South Carolina’s Xavier Legette and Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka. Availability of sliders is tough to project this early in the draft process, and all of those players could end up being first-round selections. Some wide receivers who could be intriguing on Day 2 include Florida State giant Johnny Wilson, Florida’s Ricky Pearsall and Georgia’s Ladd McConkey. Pearsall and McConkey are fast, shifty route-runners who can rip off yards after the catch. Wilson is a size mismatch problem but has problems with dropped passes. He might be a poor fit playing in the the late-season conditions in Cleveland.

The Browns 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 Browns could be in Super Bowl contention in 2024. It will be interesting to see if Deshaun Watson has the drive to be a great pro or if he is semi-checked out after Cleveland guaranteed him a quarter of a billion dollars. If Watson loves football and wants to be great, he could take the Browns to a championship.