NFL experts debate the 2024 draft: Best picks and biggest head-scratchers-ZoomTech News

The 2024 NFL draft introduced record-breaking tendencies, together with six quarterbacks picked in Spherical 1 for the primary time since 1983 and eight offensive tackles taken in Spherical 1, which ties 2008 for probably the most ever. Now that greater than every week has handed for the reason that draft concluded, our NFL specialists have had time to evaluate the category.

We requested our analysts and insiders to reply among the draft’s largest questions. We’ll start with their favourite picks and the largest head-scratching alternatives — a few of which do not contain quarterback Michael Penix Jr. going to the Atlanta Falcons within the prime 10. We’ll proceed to replace this story with a brand new subject day by day this week, together with rookie courses our analysts consider will make the largest impacts, Rookie of the Yr picks, fantasy sleepers and daring predictions.

Who had been the perfect picks on this class? Which had been probably the most puzzling? Our specialists dive in on the highest takeaways:

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Favourite picks | Greatest head-scratchers

Who was your favourite choose in the whole draft?

Stephania Bell, fantasy soccer analyst: Cornerback Quinyon Mitchell to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 22. When a workforce fills a necessity with a standout prospect with out breaking the financial institution to do it, it is a winner. Mitchell is quick and agile and allowed no touchdowns in over 400 protection snaps final season. He rose on many draft boards in latest months … and but, the Eagles had been capable of shock the competitors by snagging him right here.

Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Cornerback Mike Sainristil to the Washington Commanders at No. 50. A nickel nook with a playmaking mentality, Sainristil was one in every of my favourite defensive backs to check. He led Michigan’s protection final season with six interceptions and 7 go breakups. Search for him to play a disruptive function as a rookie in Dan Quinn’s defensive system.

Mike Clay, fantasy soccer analyst: Extensive receiver Ladd McConkey to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 34. The Chargers moved on from Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett through the offseason, a foursome answerable for 55% of the workforce’s targets over the previous two seasons. Enter McConkey, who is a superb match as a possible Allen substitute within the short-to-intermediate space for quarterback Justin Herbert. Even in a run-heavy offense, McConkey, who got here out of Georgia, has a path to huge quantity proper out of the gate.

Jeremy Fowler, nationwide NFL author: Extensive receiver Malik Nabers to the New York Giants at No. 6. For all of the hand-wringing concerning the Giants’ quarterback outlook, the reality is New York quarterbacks have not had a real top-10 receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. Nabers might need the very best ceiling of any offensive participant within the draft. A number of groups within the prime 15 coveted him. Give quarterback Daniel Jones an opportunity with a man of this caliber, and see what occurs.

Matt Miller, NFL draft analyst: Extensive receiver Rome Odunze to the Chicago Bears at No. 9. Let’s give the Bears credit score for not overthinking and easily drafting nice gamers. With a rookie quarterback added in Caleb Williams, deciding on a go-to receiver for him to be taught and develop with was good. It additionally helps that the 2 educated collectively, constructing chemistry within the pre-draft course of. Odunze was my No. 3 general prospect, which implies Chicago drafted two of my prime three gamers on this class.

Eric Moody, fantasy and sports activities betting analyst: Offensive lineman Graham Barton to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 26. As an ex-offensive lineman, it was a pleasure breaking down Barton’s movie. He is constant and showcases most effort on each play with out psychological errors. Barton can play middle, guard or sort out as a rookie, and I consider he’ll have a superior profession to among the names drafted forward of him.

Jason Reid, senior Andscape author: Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. I perceive every little thing concerning the Falcons’ dedication to quarterback Kirk Cousins, the wage cap implications and the potential for strife inside the locker room. But when the Falcons are proper about Penix, none of that can matter in the long term. If a workforce believes it has recognized a possible transformational participant at crucial place in sports activities, effectively, it has to go get him. It is that easy.

Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: Edge rusher Dallas Turner to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 17. Minnesota hasn’t drafted an edge rusher within the first two rounds since 2005 (Erasmus James). The workforce wanted to replenish its expertise off of the sting after dropping Danielle Hunter in free company. Whereas the workforce signed Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel throughout free company, Turner supplies a excessive upside as a pass-rusher in Brian Flores’ protection. Turner led Alabama with 10 sacks and 45 pressures final season.



Fantasy projections for the 2024 rookie NFL go catchers

Try Mike Clay’s fantasy projections for Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze, Brock Bowers and Brian Thomas Jr.

Aaron Schatz, NFL author: Extensive receiver Adonai Mitchell to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 52. Analytics counsel there is no such thing as a such factor as a “draft steal” as a result of prospects drop from consensus for good causes. That being stated, Mitchell might need dropped on account of off-field issues, and Colts GM Chris Ballard spoke out in opposition to that. This was the No. 5 vast receiver in Playmaker Rating however the No. 11 receiver off the board.

Mike Tannenbaum, NFL entrance workplace insider: Odunze. He has a reputable probability to be the perfect receiver from this draft. Underneath the motto of “win for at this time and develop for tomorrow,” the Bears have Allen on a one-year deal, and Odunze has Terrell Owens‘ kind of capability. Odunze had 1,640 receiving yards and 13 scores in 2023. That is splendid for Chicago.

Seth Walder, sports activities analytics author: Defensive finish Laiatu Latu to the Colts at No. 15. Due to medical issues and the run on offense, the Colts managed to take the sting rusher who led FBS soccer in stress fee in every of the previous two seasons — sure, forward of Will Anderson Jr. and Tyree Wilson in 2022 — at No. 15. The Colts might need landed an awesome one at a premium place in the midst of the primary spherical.

Area Yates, NFL analyst: Odunze. The wideout falling to No. 9 was not an entire shock, given the anticipated run on quarterbacks early, nevertheless it was additionally not a positive factor. The sixth-highest-rated participant on my board may have been the primary receiver taken in so many prior drafts, however the presence of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Nabers (the third- and fourth-rated gamers on my board) made him the third off the board on this class. However do not be mistaken — Odunze can be an prompt influence contributor as one probably the most polished prospects within the class.

Who was the largest head-scratching choose of the draft?

Bell: Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. It’s laborious to justify spending this first-round draft capital when the Falcons had declared their nine-figure love for Kirk Cousins weeks earlier. The workforce did fulfill defensive wants — its most evident gap coming into the draft — in later rounds, however will the technique of getting two QBs able to beginning create much less pressure within the locker room … or extra?

Bowen: Penix. The Falcons constructed depth behind Cousins with this choice and arrange their QB room for the longer term. Nonetheless, I noticed this as a possibility for the Falcons so as to add an impactful defensive participant to new coach Raheem Morris’ system, with exterior linebacker Dallas Turner and defensive sort out Byron Murphy II nonetheless on the board on the time of Atlanta’s choose.

Fowler: Extensive receiver Ricky Pearsall to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 31. I am not about to doubt coach Kyle Shanahan’s eye for offensive ability gamers, and I really like Pearsall as a participant. However his place as WR6 on this draft was sudden. Most groups I spoke to pegged him as a Day 2 choose. Contemplating the 49ers nonetheless have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk on the roster, bolstering the offensive or defensive position appeared like a wise play.

Liz Loza, fantasy and sports activities betting analyst: Tight finish Brock Bowers to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 13. I used to be stupefied by the Raiders’ choice of Bowers, and it isn’t due to his expertise degree. He is a possible generational expertise with a do-it-all ability set who was anticipated to return off the board earlier than the primary half of the primary spherical. Nonetheless, Las Vegas spent an early second-round choose on Michael Mayer only a yr in the past and entered the draft with holes all alongside the offensive line. Ultimately, I suppose, the worth Bowers offered was too nice to go on.

Moody: Quarterback Bo Nix to the Denver Broncos at No. 12. Whereas he posted prolific numbers at Oregon throughout his last collegiate season, it is value noting that almost 67% of his passes got here inside 9 yards of the road of scrimmage. Nix’s choice seems to replicate desperation on the a part of a Sean Payton-led Broncos workforce in want of a quarterback improve. I felt like Denver may have traded down and nonetheless landed Nix.

Jason Reid: Offensive sort out Tyler Guyton to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 29. Look, I get that the Cowboys had a significant want alongside their offensive line. And the truth that they moved to rebuild it on this draft is smart. That established, Guyton, whereas possessing spectacular bodily instruments, is a developmental participant. There isn’t any sugarcoating that.

Jordan Reid: Defensive sort out Ruke Orhorhoro to the Falcons at No. 35. With Jer’Zhan Newton nonetheless on the board, it made extra sense to take him there. Newton possesses extra upside as a rusher and is a perfect inside defender who pairs completely with Grady Jarrett. Orhorhoro is definitely the higher run-defender, however Newton’s mixture of explosiveness and disruption would’ve made him the higher choose.

Schatz: Penix. Look, I perceive the significance of the quarterback place, main to 6 quarterbacks chosen on this yr’s prime 12. You’ll be able to discuss me into the concept that Penix is a greater prospect than J.J. McCarthy regardless of McCarthy doing higher in my QBASE projections. But when all goes effectively, Penix isn’t going to take a snap within the NFL common season till he is 26 years previous. The Penix choose is not that head-scratching; it is the Penix choose along with the Cousins contract.

Walder: Defensive sort out Braden Fiske to the Los Angeles Rams at No. 39. This has little to do with the participant and extra to do with the circumstances of the choose. The Rams paid an obscene value to maneuver up from No. 52, sacrificing a fifth-round choose and future second-rounder within the course of — the costliest Day 2 overpay in no less than the previous six drafts and a bigger funding than their first-round choose (Jared Verse at No. 19), in accordance with our draft pick valuations. And all this for a participant who was originally of his choice vary, in accordance with the Draft Day Predictor (in different phrases, this was a borderline attain).

Yates: Penix. I had a top-of-the-second-round grade on Penix, however quarterbacks all the time fly off the board sooner than the general ranks point out. That is about Atlanta investing in a participant who will flip 24 on Wednesday at a place wherein just one participant will play after paying Cousins $100 million assured in March. One of many nice benefits of a quarterback on a rookie contract is the modest price of his contract, which affords you the flexibility to spend elsewhere throughout the roster. The Falcons should not realizing that benefit with Cousins underneath contract and making $90 million over the primary two seasons of Penix’s deal.

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