NFL 2024: The draft thread!


It's that time of year, folks.


Where: Detroit

Round 1: 8p Thursday

Rounds 2-3: 7p Friday

Rounds 4-7: Noon Saturday till it's done or you get bored, whichever comes first

TV: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, etc etc

The draft order: Here, starting with this dagger straight to my gut:
1) Chicago Bears (from Carolina).
I won't be tuning in Thursday night.

The rest of the first round for those who are planning to watch:

2) Washington Commanders
3) New England Patriots
4) Arizona Cardinals
5) Los Angeles Chargers
6) New York Giants
7) Tennessee Titans
8) Atlanta Falcons
9) Chicago Bears
10) New York Jets
11) Minnesota Vikings
12) Denver Broncos
13) Las Vegas Raiders
14) New Orleans Saints
15) Indianapolis Colts
16) Seattle Seahawks
17) Jacksonville Jaguars
18) Cincinnati Bengals
19) Los Angeles Rams
20) Pittsburgh Steelers
21) Miami Dolphins
22) Philadelphia Eagles
23) Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland through Houston)
24) Dallas Cowboys
25) Green Bay Packers
26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27) Arizona Cardinals (from Houston)
28) Buffalo Bills
29) Detroit Lions
30) Baltimore Ravens
31) San Francisco 49ers
32) Kansas City Chiefs

Draft previews

Here are a few worth your time:

The Ringer: The Big Board (my one-stop shop for basic draft crap) Top 100 prospects

ESPN: Draft news, etc, is here, but most of it's behind the ESPN+ paywall

The Athletic: Top 300 prospects (also paywalled)

Mock drafts: There are a million of them, and they all stink.

Good luck to your teams. May they all stink less than they did before the draft!

Suppose Carolina did have their first round top-overall pick. What would they have done? Give up on reduced-size Bryce after a year? Try to trade him away? Keep Bryce and trade down for a haul?

Get him help?


Eh whatever.

Pink Stripes wrote:

Give up on reduced-size Bryce after a year?

This. A QB like the guy in the header pic comes around only once a year. Smart teams* keep drafting first overall till they get their guy!

* I have no idea what smart teams actually do. I root for the Panthers.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Zach Wilson to Denver!

Sean Payton, Super-Genius, has his QB of the future? I mean, it'd be hilarious.

Also, Matt Ryan retires. To bring back a classic:


I am...
I am so tired of reading pre draft talk.
I am so ready for this draft.
Let's go!

I am already tired of the draft grades and they haven't come out yet.

I'd rather be in Disney World like I was last year.

The Hater's Guide to the 2024 NFL Draft Quarterback Class

Caleb Williams: Can't miss prospect. Quarterbacks who ascend to the top ranks of college football bailing out of pockets and playing hero ball always translate to the NFL. Wait, sorry, I'm being told that USC wasn't in the top ranks, and went 8-5 and played in the Holiday Bowl last year, and Caleb skipped that game just for his first-start-ever backup to throw 6 TDs and make the same offense run even better. His ability to operate under pressure is elite… wait, sorry, I'm being told his PFF grade under pressure was 39.1, 113th out of 165 qualifying quarterbacks. At least Caleb doesn't have any baggage, like an over-involved parent, or a sense of being so entitled to the top pick that he didn't visit any other teams or participate in Combine medicals. Wait, sorry, I'm being told…

Jayden Daniels: Being butt-hurt about sharing a 30 visit with a bunch of other players is a great look, Jayden. You know what translates to the NFL better than being a 180 pound running QB? Being a 180 pound running QB that doesn't know how to protect himself. That cost Anthony Richardson his rookie year, and Richardson has the muscle mass of three Jayden Danielses. Being the draft's "best processor" won't amount to much after Micah Parsons rocks you so hard that your processor starts doing the original Pentium's floating point errors.

Drake Maye: What if Blake Bortles but from a different swamp state further up I-95? Want to spend the next 5 years watching your power-armed QB make eye-popping throws, just to then throw passes into the ground for seemingly no reason? Want to spend every offseason saying, "this is the year he builds that consistency and puts it all together"? Want a QB whose footwork is never the same twice? Then spend a top 5 pick on Maye! Or just wait and scoop up Daniel Jones next March after the Giants cut him.

J.J. McCarthy: If you draft a slow, skinny white boy Michigan QB who only threw the ball 300 times a season, you're definitely getting Tom Brady, right? Are you the kind of team that feels like they missed the boat on Jared Goff, and that just maybe if you were patient and worked with a guy like that, in 8 years you too could have the league's 14th best QB? J.J. McCarthy is here to make the dreams come true of the team that your replacement trades him to.

Bo Nix: Did you miss the boat on Justin Herbert because the Oregon Ducks didn't let him throw anything but 1200 WR screens, and now you realize that their offense is just hiding all of the star power of their QBs? Bo Nix and his 10" monster dong hands are here to give you another shot. Don't worry about the fact that he's just 6'2" with an arm barely long enough to scratch his own ass. A low release point means the ball has less distance to travel, right?

Michael Penix: What if you shrunk Byron Leftwich and gave him Jimmy Garoppolo's ligaments? You get Michael Penix, the Dark Link version of Tua Tagovailoa. Whereas Tua can only throw touch balls, Penix can only throw rockets. Both being compact left-handed QBs means people will inevitably mix them up during the two weeks out of the year that they're healthy enough to be on the field at the same time.

Spencer Rattler: Remember when Rattler, the "world's first Zoomer QB", was going to be the #1 overall pick of the 2022 draft? That must have been the COVID talking. After failing in Oklahoma, South Carolina put him exclusively in the shotgun and made him throw almost as short as Bo Nix. He does have arm strength though, so maybe HE'S the Secret Herbert!

Devin Leary: The next Brock Purdy.

Sam Hartman: The next Brock Purdy.

Carter Bradley: G5 next Brock Purdy.

Michael Hiers: FCS next Brock Purdy.

Kedon Slovis: Not-a-Mormon-but-transferred-to-BYU-anyway soaking champion next Brock Purdy.


Somebody has to keep up the tradition of gifs related to QB draft assessments, and I guess that somebody is me.

So Legion is an optimist when it comes to the quality of this QB class, then.

For some mid-draft week rambling, what's everybody's best and worst case realistic scenario for their team's draft?

Best case: Graham Barton. The Bucs have a desperate, screaming need at IOL, and LG and C are turnstiles at best. Barton has positional flexibility and should be able to play both positions, and is exactly what the team needs.

Worst case: Chop Robinson. I keep reading about how he has elite measurables and blew everybody away at the combine and how he has all the tools, but his college production was, to put it mildly, utter crap. He had four sacks last year. Two were against UMass. One was against Rutgers. One was, at least, against Iowa, meaning he had a single sack against a team that might have an NFL-quality offensive lineman. Robinson's stat line against both Ohio State and Michigan read exactly the same; zero solo tackles, zero assisted tackles, and zero sacks. If you're going to tell me some kid who vanished against good teams and had marginal production against bad teams has "elite NFL traits", I'm going to sigh heavily and be depressed draft night.

Sam Hartman: The next Brock Purdy.

Hey as long as he doesn't have to play at Louisville in the NFL. Sam Hartman’s last two games at Louisville, one with Wake Forest, one with Notre Dame: 42/73, 525 yards, 3 TD’s, 6 INT, 5 lost fumbles.

I'm betting that Carolina will forget to turn in one of their draft picks.

Either that, or they'll trade up for a guy who can't crack the starting lineup.

Sorry, MMD, but I don't have any worst-case scenarios for the Panthers.

Enix wrote:

I'm betting that Carolina will forget to turn in one of their draft picks.

Either that, or they'll trade up for a guy who can't crack the starting lineup.

Sorry, MMD, but I don't have any worst-case scenarios for the Panthers.

I mean it isn't like you haven't already traded what would be the Number 1 overall pick for the best QB prospect to ever come out of the Lollypop Guild.

I fully expect the Packers to trade in some scenario as they have 11 draft picks.

The potential good outcome of this is they nail a needed position with a great talent with nominal picks going the other way.

The potential bad outcome is something like Christian Watson where they trade to move up when in reality maybe they didn't even need to move up from their previous position.

Need a safety in a so so safety draft.

Would love another WR in round 2. The depth was looking good last year but I feel like WR is just a position you stream talent now as you play so many so why not

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

For some mid-draft week rambling, what's everybody's best and worst case realistic scenario for their team's draft?


Best case:

- A Week 1 starting offensive tackle in the first two rounds. The 49ers are in Win Right the F**k Now Mode, and so the priority is on players that can contribute immediately. Their most desperate area of need is right tackle, where Colton McKivitz needs to be returned to backup swing tackle duty. Late in round 1 isn't necessarily the best spot for the position, so there's a chance they move up, but I think a guy like Roger Rosengarten fits the Shanahan system perfectly and could be an option in late round 2.

- A potential future starter (and immediate rotational player) at CB or DT. The Niners helped address their thin CB depth with a couple savvy budget free agent signings, and while they lost Arik Armstead, injuries meant they didn't have him half the time anyway, and they added a couple guys to the rotation who should help fill that nose spot on the opposite side of Javon Hargrave. But they could still use a guy that could contribute as a rookie and offer legit potential to take over as CB2 or NT1 going forward.

- Luke McCaffrey. The 49ers are flush with extra Day 3 picks, including three 4th rounders. Luke's college career took off when he stopped trying to play QB and moved to his dad's position at WR, and while he's still raw, his YAC ability, positional flexibility, ball skills, and the McCaffrey-Shanahan family connection make him a common mock selection for the 49ers, and with good reason. The team's still set at the top 3 WR spots (assuming nothing happens with Aiyuk), so McCaffrey can be brought along with an eye towards possibly supplanting Jauan Jennings as WR3 a year from now, when Jennings is scheduled to reach free agency.

- More linemen. The 49ers have 10 total picks in the draft. Along with a presumed starting tackle, there should be at least one or two interior linemen to compete at C or RG.

- Frank Gore Jr. late or as a UDFA. I'm not usually a big "legacy" guy (though I still curse the 49ers for not drafting Drew Dalman, I WAS F**KING RIGHT HE WAS A GREAT CENTER IN THE MAKING), but this draft is interesting from the 49ers perspective, in that I think both McCaffrey and Frank Gore Jr make sense for the team. Gore Jr feels like he's going to be the next Kyren Williams, a back who goes late because he's slow, but whose quickness, vision, and compact frame make them productive in that Shanny outside zone scheme. If he slides all the way into undrafted free agency, he should be a priority signing for the 49ers.

Worse case:

- Not able to come away with a tackle in rounds 1 or 2. They're a little bit in no-man's land when it comes to draft position, and it might make sense for them to move up or down from either their 1st or 2nd round spots to get to a spot where the value makes sense. But if they miss on the more pro-ready 1st round tackles, and also have the good round 2 guys like Rosengarten and Amegadjie go before their pick comes up, that would be rough.

- Aiyuk gets moved, with no adequate 2024 replacement. I'm highly skeptical the 49ers move Aiyuk (even if they can't agree to an extension, they can tag-and-trade him next offseason). But if they did, they would need to come away from the draft with a Day 1 starting WR, and that WR would need to be so good immediately that he ends up in the Rookie of the Year discussion, like Garrett Wilson was a couple years ago.

- Drafting an edge rusher high. If the team drafts an edge early, that indicates that they don't think Drake Jackson is the answer at the position. The team signed Leonard Floyd to be the starting edge opposite Bosa in 2024, but the plan should be that Jackson is edge #3, with an expectation that he'll push for the #2 job by next year. If the team goes edge early, that indicates that they don't see Jackson taking those kind of steps in year 2 and 3, and that would be a bad sign. I do expect the 49ers to add to their edge rusher spot, but not before round 3.


Best case:

- Drafting all the wide receivers. It made sense to let Calvin Ridley walk when another team was willing to offer him $23m/yr. It did not make sense to throw $13m/yr at Gabe Davis, but giving WR2 money to WR3 players is Jaguars football 101. As the nosedive the team's offense took when Christian Kirk got hurt showed, WR talent is the offense's biggest limiting factor. It's not necessary that the Jaguars draft a WR in round 1, but in this deep WR draft, they should be taking multiple bites from the apple.

- A CB that can be CB2 by year 2. Signing Ronald Darby was... fine, and stops the immediate bleeding at one starting CB role. Tyson Campbell struggled last year after a sensational 2022, but much of that seems to come down to a soft-tissue injury that lingered all season, so hopefully the full offseason of rest gets him back to legit starter status. Either way, another player needs to be added that can offer depth immediately and ascend to a starting spot by year 2.

- Future starters on the offensive line. Signing Mitch Morse was a wise move to stop the bleeding at center, and retaining Ezra Cleveland after swinging a surprise trade deadline move to get him last year was wise. But the interior line pipeline needs replenishing with guys that have starter potential. Also, the team needs to either decide if Walker Little is the left tackle going forward, or if they need to add another person to that mix.

- Add picks with trade-down moves. If there's one thing Baalke has historically been good at, it's acquiring extra picks. The Jags aren't in a position where they need to be chasing anything, and while they already have 8 picks even after trading away multiple picks (Ridley, McCorkle, Ezra Cleveland), adding more either in this draft or in 2025 would be smart.

Worse case:

- Passing on Lamar Jackson to draft Taven Bryan.

- Trading Jalen Ramsey and using the draft picks on C.J. Henderson and K'Lavon Chaisson

- Drafting Blake Bortles.

- Drafting Blaine Gabbert.

- Drafting Luke Joeckel over Lane Johnson.

Oh, you mean this year.

Other than NOT repeatedly taking WRs in a draft flush with them, I guess the main ones I can think of are:

- Let Trent Baalke draft yet another All-ACL Team. There's a non-zero chance that Trent Baalke has an out-of-body experience and calls in a Michael Penix selection before anyone in the room can recognize what's happening and stop him. Jonathan Brooks seems likely to go earlier than a team that already has a RB1 in Travis Etienne could get their hands on him, but you never know. I'm sure Baalke will get at least one in with a day 2 or 3 selection,

- Any aggressive trade-up move. The opposite of my trade-down recommendation in the Best case. The Jags need to build overall team depth to open a competitive window, and absolutely should not be chasing any big-swing moves for individual players.

Wait, I need to amend my post.

Actual 49ers worst case:

- Adam Peters took all the scouting talent with him. This will be the first draft since the 49ers let Peters get away. He was the one front office guy I never wanted the team to lose. The team promoted from within to replace him, but how much have the guys who were previously under him been able to absorb? Can they replicate the same process that scored starters with Day 3 picks at possibly the league’s highest rate? Or did the magic leave the building with Peters?

I watched this clip of Jerry Jones answering questions about not extending their big free agents, and I can't tell if he started having a stroke while answering, or if I did while watching. Someone else watch it and let me know.

*Legion* wrote:

I watched this clip of Jerry Jones answering questions about not extending their big free agents, and I can't tell if he started having a stroke while answering, or if I did while watching.

You did.

Glad I could help.

"This is terrible. Taste this."

McCarthy's life flashed before his eyes when Jerruh said, "You might have given money to somebody you shouldn't have given it to."

Amon-Ra St. Brown gets PAID. WR contract numbers are always inflated in the initial reporting, but that initial reporting is four years, more than $120 million, $77 million guaranteed.

Justin Jefferson right now:


You think there's a world where the Vikings trade Jefferson to move up and take a QB?

Counterpoint: The three QBs on their roster are Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall and HEYDARNOLD.

Enix wrote:

You think there's a world where the Vikings trade Jefferson to move up and take a QB?

Counterpoint: The three QBs on their roster are Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall and HEYDARNOLD.

Sure, it's a theoretical possibility, and, being I always watch the draft with a hardcore Vikings fan, it would be SO MUCH FUN to witness that. I can also imagine a scenario where they package Jefferson to the Cardinals and take MHJ as a replacement, and then still have enough resources to trade up for a QB. You have to admit, it would be an insanely entertaining draft moment, and, considering how good MHJ is as a prospect, might actually make real sense.

Also entertaining would be if the Vikings forget to draft in their slot again, those two years were a lot of fun.

Enix wrote:

You think there's a world where the Vikings trade Jefferson to move up and take a QB?

No. They don't have all that top-heavy of a cap, I don't think they're overly afraid of taking on a top-of-market contract. Especially if the idea is to go and draft a QB and have him on a rookie deal. What's the point of having the cheap rookie QB deal if you're not spending the surplus on top-end talent?

Minnesota has two 1sts in this draft, plus next year's 1st. They have enough ammo to go after a QB without moving Jefferson. And I think Jefferson wouldn't be trivial to move, because the team that accepts him in trade has to want to turn around and spend $35m/yr on a wide receiver.

I think the likely move is that the team packages those 1sts to move up and take one of the top 4 QBs.

I think the next most likely move is to sit back and target a Penix or Nix.

I think the wildcard move is sending a 3rd to Dallas to bring Trey Lance back to the state of Minnesota.

Meanwhile in the Carolinas:

USoCarolina WR Xavier Legette a few days ago: "“I’ve met with the Panthers about four or five times. ... They keep on telling me if I’m sitting at 33, they’re gonna take me.”

Carolina's new HC today: "I definitely said that to him and about 50 other guys."

Not only does Dave Canales give off serious youth pastor vibes, he's also a sociopath. Lovely.

To be fair to Canales, that is super common. There's an endless line of players who can tell stories of GMs or coaches that told them, "if you're there, we're taking you at pick X", only to reach that pick and watch the team take someone else.

Frank Gore and 49ers GM Scot McCloughan tell the story about Gore being told by so many teams that they were going to take him, while McCloughan told him honestly exactly where the 49ers would select him if they had the opportunity.

McCloughan on a pre-draft meeting with Gore:

[Frank's] like, “Going through this, one team said they are going to take me in the first, two other teams said they are taking me in the second”

I said, “I’ll be honest with you, Frank.” I’m always honest with all the players and the coaches. “If you’re there—and we have the first pick in the third round—we’re going to take you. I can’t take you prior to that, because of the medical issues.”

And he said “Well I’m not going to last that long,”

I said, “I don’t know. If you do, I’ll take you.”

And then:

Gore can still recite the names and career yardage totals for all the backs selected before him in the 2005 draft: "I started crying when Eric Shelton got picked," he says. But McCloughan kept his promise. He selected Gore with the first pick of the third round, 65th overall, and when Gore flew to San Francisco to meet his new head coach, Mike Nolan, he headed straight for McCloughan's office instead. "Everyone's saying, 'Frank, Frank, you gotta meet the coach,'" McCloughan says. "I hear him say, 'Wait a second,' and he walks into my office crying and gives me a hug. He says, 'You have my trust for life. I'll run through walls for you no matter what. I'll outplay and blast everyone and all the backs taken in front of me. You're the only motherf---er that was honest, and I'm going to prove to you that you're the baddest motherf---ing GM in the league.'"

Not to excuse Canales, but he's far from on an island when it comes to doing this.

*Legion* wrote:

I think the wildcard move is sending a 3rd to Dallas to bring Trey Lance back to the state of Minnesota.

Are they going to be collecting underwhelming 3rd overall pick QBs or something? Can they drag Blake Bortles out of retirement to join the fun?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Are they going to be collecting underwhelming 3rd overall pick QBs or something? Can they drag Blake Bortles out of retirement to join the fun?

I think the hard part of getting Lance would be getting Jerry to sell. I think Jerry feels like he has something in his back pocket, and wants Lance there to both put some pressure on the extension-less Dak, and give Jerry some options going into 2025. In that press conference, Jerry basically proclaimed Lance as their 2024 QB draft pick. That's how they're looking at him, as part of their new draft class.

I would bet a small amount of money that the Vikings and other teams have inquired about Lance with the Cowboys this offseason, and that Jerry didn't indicate a strong interest in pursuing a deal. I would bet a smaller but still non-zero amount of money that the reason the Vikings ended up scooping up Sam Darnold is in part because Lance wasn't as easily available as perhaps they expected.

Sending the Cowboys a 3rd would let Jerry collect a profit from the flip, having given up a 4th to acquire Lance. I think maybe in the heat of Day 2, if the Cowboys find themselves with someone they want to target, an offer of a 3rd might be able to shake Lance loose from their grip. Maybe a 3rd plus some later round or pick-swap sweetener.