Monday Morning Draft – Week 17

Caleb Williams

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

Chicago Bears:

The Bears clinched the No. 1-overall pick pf the 2024 NFL Draft in Week 17. The lockup occurred when the Panthers lost to Jacksonville and fell to 2-14 and the Cardinals shockingly upset the Eagles for their fourth win of the seaso. The Bears 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, which has ended up being No. 1 overall.

The Bears have a big decision to make whether to stick with Justin Fields, or look to trade Fields while drafting a quarterback like USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, or LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Fields has accuracy issues and his pocket passing is inconsistent. Many around the league believe Chicago will take a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft and trade Fields. If Chicago moves Fields, the franchise could recover an early-round pick, as the team gave up one of those for defensive end Montez Sweat.

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 Commanders 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
  • Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Smith
  • New England Patriots: Bill Belichick
  • Chicago Bears: Matt Eberflus
  • New Orleans Saints: Dennis Allen

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.

Cleveland Browns: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

The Browns were without Amari Cooper on Thursday Night Football, but tight end David Njoku stepped up with a monstrous performance, catching six passes for 134 yards. Joe Flacco tossed two touchdowns to running back Jerome Ford, and Cleveland clinched a playoff spot by improving to 11-5. This offseason, the Browns could use more wide receiver talent to go with Cooper and Njoku.

Pearsall played well for the Gators in 2023, showing route-running, quickness, and yards after the catch. If Florida had more consistent play out of its offensive line, Pearsall would have had a huge year. Pearsall recorded 65 receptions for 965 yards and four touchdowns in 2023. He could be a nice weapon as a slot receiver in the NFL, but also has enough size to line up on the outside. In the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Pearsall could be a good value for the Browns.

Dallas Cowboys: Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

The Cowboys were able to get a win on Saturday night thanks to the incompetent NFL officiating that stole the game from Detroit. Dallas got lucky the referee misheard Taylor Decker reporting as eligible on his game-winning two-point conversion catch. It was a huge win for the Cowboys and was embarrassing for the NFL and its terrible officiating.

The Cowboys deserved to lose, but CeeDee Lamb (13-227-1) had a monster game to carry their offense. Detroit is very tough in run defense, but Dallas had little help from the ground game, with Tony Pollard totaling only 49 yards on 16 carries. The lack of consistency from the rushing attack has been an issue all season. Pollard is entering free agency, but even if he’s re-signed, the Cowboys could use a power back to go with him.

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 be a nice second-day pick for Cowboys in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The Cardinals pulled off a shocking upset with a road win over the Eagles. Arizona got huge performances from James Conner (26-128) and Kyler Murray, who was clutch. Murray spread the ball around, and Greg Dortch (7-82) was Arizona’s leading receiver. The Cardinals might be in position to move down in the first round with a team that is looking to land a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, but if the win over Philadelphia bumps them lower, that trade opportunity may not be there. Still, the Cardinals could come away with a No. 1 receiver for Murray with Harrison.

In 2023, Harrison made 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 a A.J. Green, or CeeDee Lamb-type receiver for the next level. Harrison would be a great first-round pick for Arizona in the 2024 NFL Draft.

New Orleans Saints: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Tampa Bay scored some points in garbage time to make it look closer than it was, but the Saints dominated the Buccaneers to keep New Orleans’ slim playoff hopes alive. Derek Carr was very efficient, spreading the ball around. He could have had an even bigger game if he had gotten more help from his receivers. Chris Olave had some painful mistakes again, and the Saints need to get Carr more playmakers for the 2024 season.

In 2023, Nabers had 86 catches for 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was dominant for the Tigers, showing excellent speed, route-running, and run-after-the-catch skills. While Kayshon Boutte was supposed to be LSU’s No. 1 wide receiver in 2022, Nabers outplayed him and was a steady contributor for Jayden Daniels. Nabers caught 72 passes for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns that season. He has decent size at 6-foot, 195 pounds as well as being fast and athletic. Nabers would be a great first-round pick for New Orleans in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Colts got a crucial win at home over the Raiders thanks to their defense keeping Las Vegas in check for most of the game. The one problem Indianapolis had was Davante Adams, who caught 13 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts have a good nickel corner in Kenny Moore, but they could use more outside cornerback help. Assuming they re-sign Michael Pittman Jr. and don’t need a No. 1 receiver, the Colts could use more corner talent to help their defense.

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 would be a good pick for the Colts in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Houston Texans: Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame

The Texans cruised over the Titans as their defensive line pounded the Tennessee quarterbacks. Houston rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud played well after missing time with a concussion, but the Houston defense was so dominant that Stroud had an easy game. The Texans allowed some production from DeAndre Hopkins, and they could use more cornerback talent to pair with Derek Stingley Jr.

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 totaled 21 tackles, four passes broken up and three forced fumbles, but the numbers don’t illustrate how very good Hart was 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. Hart could be a good second-round pick for the Texans and allow them to add more defensive front-seven talent in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Despite Trevor Lawrence being out, the Jaguars got back on track thanks to drawing the horrific Carolina Panthers. Jacksonville shut out Carolina and made things easy for backup quarterback C.J. Beathard. While Calvin Ridley has been a nice addition this year and Evan Engram has played well, the Jaguars need a big, physical outside receiver for Lawrence. Staying in North Florida and landing Coleman would be a nice move for Jacksonville.

In 2023, Coleman totaled 50 catches of 658 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has good size with quickness, athleticism, 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 also got the better of a future NFL corner in Wake Forest’s Caelen Carson in their matchup. Coleman could be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, and he would be a nice first-round pick for the Jaguars.

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.

New England Patriots:

Entering this season, Bill Belichick had a .763 winning percentage and 30 playoff wins with Tom Brady, but only a .452 winning percentage with one playoff win without Brady. Bill O’Brien was brought in to help the offense, but O’Brien could not win a Super Bowl with Brady in his previous time as the offensive coordinator in New England, and Alabama did not win a National Championship with O’Brien even though the program had perhaps the greatest quarterback in school history with Bryce Young. This season has given clear proof that without Tom Brady, Belichick and O’Brien are very overrated coaches.

The Patriots might have a shot at USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, or LSU’s Jayden Daniels in the 2024 NFL Draft, and any one of those three would be an upgrade at quarterback. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Patriots taking Maye, who would be a plug-and-play upgrade. However they would need a better offensive coordinator because O’Brien could ruin Maye, Daniels or Williams.

If New England ends up picking No. 4 and those three quarterbacks are off the board, the organization could target Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who would be a massive upgrade for the roster. The Patriots must improve their offensive talent this offseason. Belichick has done a terrible job of evaluating wide receiver draft prospects in recent years. In 2019, Belichick took a flawed prospect in N’Keal Harry when it was obvious from the tape that Harry was going to struggle to separate from NFL cornerbacks. When Belichick took Harry, he passed on stud receivers like A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, D.K. Metcalf and Terry McLaurin. There have been other mistaken evaluations at that position as well. Not getting receiver picks must change for New England to start competition in the hellacious AFC. With the Dolphins and Bills in the division, much less competing versus other teams in the playoffs, the Patriots have to get more potent on offense. Harrison is a no-brainer if the three top quarterbacks are off the board.

If the Patriots take Harrison, they could potentially hope to land a quarterback like Oregon’s Bo Nix in the second round or trade back into the first round. If they land a quarterback like Williams, Daniels or Maye, then they could use Day 2 to target receiver help like Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, Texas’ Xavier Worthy, Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka, Florida State’s Johnny Wilson, Florida’s Ricky Pearsall or Maryland’s Kaden Prather.

New England also could use help at offensive tackle. The 2024 NFL Draft will feature a deep and talented offensive line class, so it could make sense for the Patriots to take a quarterback and receiver with their first two picks while hoping a good offensive line prospect slips to their high third-round pick.

The Patriots were blessed to have Tom Brady for as long as they did. The GOAT covered up for a lot of bad draft picks by Belichick. If New England is going to get back to being a playoff contender again, upgrading the scoring attack must happen. Last April, the Patriots neglected the offense and drafted for the defense in the early rounds. Getting a starting quarterback and some offensive weapons has to be the highest priority for the 2024 offseason.

Washington Commanders:

The Commanders were in a make-or-break season for Ron Rivera and the front office, but the wheels came off during the course of the 2023 season. Clearly, Washington needs a lot of help on both sides of the ball to narrow the gap with the Eagles and Cowboys.

The top priority for Washington has to be finding a franchise quarterback. With a top-three pick, the franchise formerly known as the Redskins will have a shot at one of the top three quarterbacks of USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, or LSU’s Jayden Daniels. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft I have the Commanders taking Daniels to give them a playmaker and point producer for their offense to build around. NFL team sources have compared Daniels to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson as a dynamic runner with passing talent. Daniels would have the potential to be a superb pick for Washington.

After taking a quarterback, Washington has other needs to address on their lines on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. The offensive line has been a weakness this year, and the Commanders need help up front. There will be some really excellent tackle values on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft. In Round 2, there could be good options like Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, Illinois’ Julian Pearl, Pittsburgh’s Matt Goncalves and Houston’s Patrick Paul. They all have starting potential, and Washington might want to think of doubling up with offensive tackles because one could kick inside to guard.

The trades of Montez Sweat and Chase Young landed Washington an extra second-round pick and third-round pick to help rebuild the roster. The Commanders need some young defensive line talent to replace those veteran ends. On Day 2, Washington could target defensive ends like Ohio State’s J.T. Tuimoloau, Penn State’s Adisa Isaac and Washington’s Bralen Trice.

It would be a surprise if Ron Rivera is not let go after the season, and that will also probably be the same fate for general manager Martin Mayhew. Washington’s new ownership must get their new hires correct to find a franchise quarterback and rebuild the roster. This will be a critical offseason in order for the once great franchise to become a true contender again.