2024 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Day 1

Marvin Harrison Jr.

Day 1 Winners

Arizona Cardinals:

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Darius Robinson, DT, Missouri

The Cardinals have been undergoing a big roster rebuild since the end of the Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury regime. Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon took a big step toward improving the talent on both sides of the ball with two safe picks who should be long-term building blocks. With the fourth-overall pick, the Cardinals played it safe by taking Harrison, grabbing a No. 1 receiver for Kyler Murray. While Harrison does not have the electric speed of Malik Nabers, who was the sixth-overall pick, Harrison has size, polished route-running, and excellent hands. He looks like a safe pick to be a good starter.

Twenty-three picks later, the Cardinals added a much-needed building block to their defensive front seven with Robinson. Possessing excellent versatility, Robinson can play a variety of defensive-line techniques. His length and strength help him defend against the run and provide disruption at the point of attack. Robinson’s power translates to shedding blocks in the pass rush, letting him get upfield and put pressure on the quarterback from both defensive end or tackle. Robinson looks like a plug-and-play upgrade for the Cardinals who has the ability to turn into an impactful starter early in his pro career.

Detroit Lions: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

In the months leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, there were zero projections of Arnold not going as a top-20 pick. Arnold was viewed as a likely top-16 selection, and the consensus was that he would be the first cornerback drafted. It was a shock when Arnold slipped lower than the top 20 and wasn’t the first cornerback selected. Lions general manager Brad Holmes traded a third-round pick to the Cowboys to move up five spots and land Arnold as the 24th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Arnold could be a long-term No. 1 corner for the Lions, and he should instantly add much-needed coverage ability to the secondary. He is a plug-and-play upgrade for Detroit, and this was a perfect match of team need lining up with the value of the prospect.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

The Jaguars needed to get Trevor Lawrence more weapons this offseason, specifically some big wide receivers. They started on that in free agency by signing Gabe Davis, and then followed it up by drafting Thomas. From a skill-set perspective, Thomas was one of the best in the draft in terms of size, speed and athleticism. Not only did Jacksonville get Lawrence a potential mismatch No. 1 receiver, the team was able to trade down six spots in the first round and land its target. The Jagurs put together an excellent first day of the draft by moving down, collecting more draft capital, and still acquiring a prospect with boom-pick potential.

Day 1 Losers

Miami Dolphins: Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State

The Dolphins made a surprising pick with Robinson at No. 21 overall. Miami has three veteran pass rushers in Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, and the recently signed Shaq Barrett. With first-round picks already invested in Phillips and Chubb, it seemed luxurious to use another first on a defensive end. The Dolphins could have added interior offensive help via Graham Barton or Jackson Powers-Johnson at pick No. 21. They also could have replaced Christian Wilkins with an interior rusher like Illinois’ Johnny Newton.

Robinson is undersized, and he never put together a big season of sack production in college. Robinson could have a hard time seeing the field and getting playing time over the other three, who all are better run defenders. It would not be surprising if Robinson needs developmental time, but the Dolphins are in win-now mode. They also probably could have landed Robinson in a trade-down, and it stands to reason they were receiving offers because other teams around them had moved down. Making a differnt selection or trading down first would have made more sense for Miami.

San Francisco 49ers: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

The 49ers made one of the surprise picks of the first round by taking Pearsall at No. 31. He was a consensus mid-second-round pick, so it was a shocker that San Francisco took him so early. Considering there were a number of trades around their selection, the 49ers probably could have traded down and still landed him. Pearsall has talent with solid size and speed, but he is more of a No. 2 receiver. There were receivers available who have the physical talent to be No. 1 receivers, such as Xavier Legette. There were also other wideouts who other teams had graded higher, like Keon Coleman and Ladd McConkey. Obviously, San Francisco’s evaluators differed from the consensus. I think Pearsall will be a solid player for the 49ers, but it feels like he was slightly overdrafted with the 31st pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.


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