Race for the No. 1 Pick of the 2024 NFL Draft:
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. At 1-11 on the season, Carolina has the worst record in the NFL and may not win again the rest of the season.
New England Patriots:
This Patriots could be the worst team in the NFL, and they were dropped to 2-10 by the Chargers on Sunday. New England was shut out 6-0 by a bad Chargers defense, and Bill O’Brien continues to prove to be a terrible hire by Bill Belichick. New England’s roster is devoid of talent thanks to years of terrible drafts by Belichick. The Panthers have young talent on their roster and a quality defense, so they might win games down the stretch, which could lead to New England landing the No. 1-overall pick.
The Cardinals are 3-10 after getting a road win over the Steelers. Beating Pittsburgh was a critical blow to any hopes Arizona has of landing the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Cardinals need Carolina and the Patriots to get a few wins while losing out to land the No. 1 pick.
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
- Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
- Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
- 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
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.
Houston Texans: Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame
The Texans were able to intercept Russell Wilson three times and did a very good job of keeping the Denver playmakers from producing a big game. Derek Stingley Jr. showed why he was the third-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, coming away with two interceptions and four passes broken up. Houston could use more corner talent to pair with Stingley and could land a nice No. 2 corner on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft.
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 Houston.
Los Angeles Chargers: Blake Corum, RB, UCLA
The Chargers came away with a 6-0 win over the Patriots in a laughable affair of inept offenses. It was shocking that Los Angeles only managed two field goals, but it was not surprising that New England’s terrible offense was shut out. Austin Ekeler is having the worst season of his career, and that continued with 18 yards on 14 carries. Ekeler will turn 29 in May, and the Chargers could use some fresh legs to invigorate their rushing attack.
So far in 2023, Corum has averaged 4.7 yards per carry for 1,028 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has 14 receptions for 82 yards as well. The 5-foot-8, 210-pounder was a tough back and point producer for the Wolverines in 2022. On the year, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also recorded five receptions for 73 yards. As a downhill runner, Corum shows good strength to break tackles alongside contact balance and an ability to pick up yards after a hit. Corum would make sense as a second-day pick for the Chargers and allow them to get some secondary help in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
The Buccaneers managed a three-point win over Carolina behind the Tampa Bay defense having its way with Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Baker Mayfield did not play well, completing less than half of his passes versus Carolina. Mayfield is capable of some good games, but he has a backup’s skill set and is a limited starter at the pro level. This offseason, the Bucs need to find a franchise quarterback.
Daniels has completed 72 percent of his passes this season 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 invigorate the Tampa Bay offense.
Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
The Cardinals got a surprising road win over the Steelers as the Arizona defense held Pittsburgh to 10 points. While the Cardinals scored 24 points, their receivers played poorly. Arizona did not have a single wideout make three catches or have even 22 yards through the air. Kyler Murray has played well since coming back from injury, and it has been clear that Murray is missing DeAndre Hopkins and lacking a true No. 1 receiver.
In 2023, Harrison has 67 catches for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns. He broke out in 2022, 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 CeeDee Lamb-type receiver for the next level. Harrison would make sense for Arizona’s first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Detroit Lions: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
The Lions jumped out to a big lead before the Saints came storming back for a narrow loss to Detroit. The last time the Lions were 9-3, John F. Kennedy was president, and in a few the weeks, they could clinch the NFC North title. The big weakness on the Detroit roster is the secondary after the season-ending injuries suffered by C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley. Detroit needs to get more corner talent to go with Cam Sutton and Jerry Jacobs this offseason.
Lassiter (6-0, 180) has a good skill set and has established himself as the top cover corner for the Bulldogs in 2023. Lassiter is very instinctive and has impressed with his ability to sustain coverage. He has 37 tackles and eight passes broken up so far this year while providing steady blanket coverage on the opposing team’s top receiver. He recorded 38 tackles and four passes batted in 2022. Lassiter could make a lot of sense for the Lions’ first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys: Terrion Arnold, 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, setting the record for pick-sixes. However, Dallas clearly needs more cornerback help, and that was evident with what D.K. Metcalf (6-134-3) did to the secondary on Thursday night. Adding a corner to pair with Diggs and Bland would make a lot of sense for the Cowboys in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Arnold has 61 tackles, five interceptions and 11 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 late portion of Round 1, Arnold could be a good pick and an excellent corner to pair with Diggs and Bland for years to come.
Indianapolis Colts: Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma
The Colts experienced some Minshew Magic with Gardner Minshew leading them to an overtime win at Tennessee. Indianapolis struggled with Derrick Henry (21-102-2), and after cutting the overrated Shaq Leonard, the Colts could use more talent for the middle of their defense to help them defend against the likes of Henry and Travis Etienne.
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 Indianapolis on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft and allow the organization to upgrade the defense or offense in Round 1.
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.
Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams sold out to win the Super Bowl when they pulled off trades for veteran stars like Jalen Ramsey, Matthew Stafford and Von Miller. Those moves paid off with Los Angeles wining a Lombardi Trophy two years ago, and the team was fortunate as that Super Bowl squad quickly fell apart, leading to a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft that was in the possession of the Detroit Lions from the Stafford-Jared Goff trade. At it stands right now, for the first time since 2016, when Los Angeles drafted Goff, the Rams will have a first-round pick. They are 6-6 and could get a wild-card spot this year. However, they do not look talented enough to run through the likes of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and Detroit in the postseason. With the roster having a lot of holes, the Rams need to nail this first-round pick, among others, to help make a run at becoming a Super Bowl contender again while they still have Stafford.
In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Rams taking Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter. While Derion Kendrick is a quality starter with upside, they could use more corner talent to help replace Jalen Ramsey. Lassiter or Clemson’s Nate Wiggins could be good cover corners to build the defense around. Aside from them, the Rams could consider cornerback help in the second round as well. In Round 2, the organization could think of 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.
Elsewhere on defense, the Rams could use help at edge rusher after losing Miller and Leonard Floyd. In the first round, Los Angeles could be picking too low for UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. Latu would be a great scheme fit for defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, but the Rams will probably be too low to land him. They have a lot of needs, so moving down and adding more picks would be a smart decision. If they were to trade down in the first round, there could be some pass-rushing options, including Florida State defensive end Jared Verse, Washington’s Bralen Trice and Penn State’s Chop Robinson. Any of them would be a nice addition to the Los Angeles defense while adding more picks to add talent elsewhere.
If Los Angeles decides to address the offense, the team could use a long-term starter at left tackle, where it has yet to find a true replacement for Andrew Whitworth. There should be a number of good offensive tackles options in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, including BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia, Georgia’s Amarius Mims, Alabama’s J.C. Latham, Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu and Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton. There should be some good second-day options as well.
A good play for the Rams could be to add the top defensive prospect available regardless of position in the first round, and then follow up with an offensive tackle and secondary help on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Los Angeles needs to add some instant contributors if the organization wants to get back into Super Bowl contention while it still has Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. The time is now as the window is closing on that elite trio.
San Francisco 49ers:
As evidenced by their road domination of Philadelphia, the 49ers could end up winning the Super Bowl this year. San Francisco is one of the best teams in the NFC, but it all comes down to who is the hot team in January. The 49ers have a strong defense, elite talent on both sides of the ball, and can run the ball. That adds up to make them a top contender to win the Lombardi Trophy in a few months.
Like any team, the 49ers will have areas to address in the 2024 NFL Draft to help with another shot at the Super Bowl next season. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the 49ers taking Florida State defensive end Jared Verse. Chase Young appears to be a short-term rental, and San Francisco could use a defensive end to pair with Nick Bosa. Aside from Young, San Francisco could consider other ends like Washington’s Bralen Trice and Penn State’s Chop Robinson. Any one of those three ends would form a nice tandem with Bosa.
San Francisco also could consider adding defensive tackle talent. Javon Kinlaw is entering free agency and has not turned into the player he was expected to be when he was a first-round pick out of South Carolina in 2020. If the 49ers want an interior pass rusher to go with Javon Hargrave, they could consider players like Ohio State’s Michael Hall Jr., Oregon’s Brandon Dorlus and Illinois’ Johnny Newton. They also could consider tackle options like Clemson’s Ruke Orhorhoro, Texas’ T’Vondre Sweat, and Sweat’s Longhorns teammate Alfred Collins.
On the offense, San Francisco has good talent at the skill positions, but it wouldn’t hurt to continue to invest in the offensive line. Trent Williams is still playing at high level, but Williams can’t play forever, and this is a great draft to land an understudy. There might be some late first-round steals at the tackle position in the form of players like Alabama’s J.C. Latham, Georgia’s Amarius Mims, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton or BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia. Those prospects are more physically talented than Notre Dame’s Joe Alt and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, but Alt and Fashanu have more experience and are safer, so they could be off the board by the time the 49ers pick.
Aside from some help for the lines, the San Francisco have a strong roster, so the team is in a great position to select the best player available in the 2024 NFL Draft and build up the depth on their roster. It would not be surprising if San Francisco ends its Super Bowl drought in the next few years, if not next February.