NFL Hot Press: 2024 NFL Draft Week Rumors – Thursday

The 2024 NFL Draft is tonight! Here are some rumors that I have heard from sources with the start of the draft only hours away.

For months, I have had the Jets taking Georgia tight end Brock Bowers with the 10th-overall pick, and that outcome sounds like is a real possibility for the Jets. However in speaking to sources with the team, it sounds like drafting Bowers at No. 10 is actually Plan C. Jets general manager Joe Douglas badly wants to trade down in the first round. Douglas wants to acquire a second-round pick, and if the Jets trade down, it sounds like their top target would be LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. The Jets want to get a second-round pick to add depth to their offensive line, or possibly take another wide receiver.

If the Jets are forced to stick at pick No. 10, they would prefer to draft Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze, who the decision-makers like more than Bowers. The Jets feel they need another wideout because Mike Williams is coming off an injury, plus they want another playmaker to attack defenses. They feel they would be in serious trouble if Garrett Wilson were to go down with an injury, and in a critical year, they would prefer to not be lacking depth at a critical position. That being said, the Jets do not expect Odunze to make it to the 10th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.

If Odunze is off the board and the Jets are unable to trade down, Bowers is likely to be their pick. It sounds like the Jets are comfortable with his medical, and they feel he could be an excellent weapon for Aaron Rodgers. They like the tight ends they have, so they do not feel they are desperate at the position. Hence, the Jets prefer Odunze if both would be available. It will be fascinating to see if the Jets can pull off Plan A with a trade down, manage to exeucte Plan B by selecting Odunze, or are forced into Plan C and take Bowers.

Some team sources think Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner could slide some in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Some franchises had some medical issues come back on Turner, which could lead him to going lower than the consensus has been during the pre-draft process.

One of the more interesting and challenging evaluations for teams had been Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. McKinstry has excellent size, good speed, is instinctive with impressive football IQ, and brings a lot of experience against top competition. Some sources have been critical of McKinstry’s training habits and feel there is a lot of room for improvement in that regard for the NFL. Thus, I reached out to sources from a variety of teams that could draft a cornerback in the first round to see where they stood on McKinstry’s football character.

Team sources from Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and Philadelphia all gave a thumbs-up regarding McKinstry’s makeup. It sounds like Indianapolis was not as keen, but he wasn’t an automatic “no.” The Alabama coaches were pressed by team sources, and the Crimson Tide said that McKinstry was mature and a good teammate. Surprisingly, the Alabama coaches said Terrion Arnold needed to mature. Arnold was not said to be an immature trouble maker, but multiple sources said Arnold just needs to toughen up mentally for the NFL. Arnold is expected to be a mid-first-rounder, while McKinstry’s range is more fluid coming off a foot injury that often needs a second corrective surgery. McKinstry could go as high as No. 17 to the Jaguars and could be on the board when the Chiefs are slated to pick at No. 32.

There has been a lot of talk about teams trading up for quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft, but the team that did the big trade of the 2023 NFL Draft – the Carolina Panthers – could be on the move again. The Panthers have two second-round picks at No. 33 and No. 39, along with the top pick in the third round at No. 65 and the fourth round at No. 101, so they have plenty of ammo to jump well into the first round. With the 33rd pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, Carolina is also in a prime position to move down in the second round with a team that is desperate to land a player who slipped out of the first round.

Sources with the Panthers say the team is open for business. It sounds like the inclination is more toward trading down from No. 33 rather than moving into the first round. However, Carolina still is in the market for receiving help for Bryce Young and a very good receiver prospect could slip to them at 33. The Panthers seem to really like Texas’ Xavier Worthy and South Carolina’s Xavier Legette. Florida State’s Keon Coleman is also well-liked as a trade-down option. Carolina likes the physical talent with Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, but his struggles with managing his Type-1 diabetes is an issue for many teams. If the Panthers move down, the mid-second-round options that intrigue them include Coleman, Florida’s Ricky Pearsall and Georgia’s Ladd McConkey. With two second-round picks in an excellent draft for wide receiver talent, the Panthers are in prime position to add a playmaking weapon for Young.

There has been recent buzz about the Seahawks taking Iowa cornerback/safety Cooper DeJean with the 16th-overall pick. For a long time, the consensus projection has been Seattle addressing needs on their offensive line. After landing two superb young cornerbacks in Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen in back-to-back drafts during the past two years, it does not seem like adding a nickel corner/safety like DeJean would be a top priority. However, Seattle general manager John Schneider loves to draft for the secondary and head coach Mike Macdonald comes from the Ravens organization, which invests heavily in defensive backs in the early rounds of drafts. Sources said DeJean could be a possibility for the Seahawks, especially if they trade down, and the Seahawks also really like Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell. Seattle is a mysterious team, and it sounds like the offensive line is definitely a likely spot for the organization’s first-round pick, but DeJean and Mitchell are candidates as well.

Sources said the New York Giants are unlikely to take a quarterback in the early rounds 2024 NFL Draft. That would be different if the Giants were in position to land one of the top three: Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye. All three are expected to be gone after the opening three selections. It sounds like the Giants do not value J.J. McCarthy that highly. Michael Penix Jr. would be a potential pick if he got to the Giants’ second-round pick, but Penix is not expected to make it close to pick No. 47 on Friday night. Sources said the Giants are very unlikely to take other possible second-day quarterbacks like Bo Nix or Spencer Rattler. It sounds like the Giants plan to fill other positions over taking Nix or Rattler on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.