2024 NFL Draft: Expert Projections for Top Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Offensive Tackles

2024 NFL Draft: Expert Projections for Top Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Offensive Tackles

Here’s where experts think top quarterbacks, wide receivers, and offensive tackles will end up in April.

The 2024 Super Bowl is just a couple days away but fanbases for 30 teams have turned their attention to the offseason, including the 2024 NFL Draft. This year’s draft class features top prospects at some of the most important positions in football: quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive tackle as well as a standout prospect at tight end.

Many first round mock drafts lean offense-heavy for 2024. Nate Davis’ latest mock for USA Today featured 19 offensive players in the first 32 selections. If it holds, that’d be the most offensive players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in the last decade.

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Some of the top prospects at important positions include:

  • Quarterbacks Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels
  • Wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, and Malik Nabers
  • Tight end Brock Bowers
  • Offensive tackles Joe Alt and Olumuyiwa Fashanu

Here’s where experts at NFL.com (Lance Zierlein), ESPN (Matt Miller), and CBS Sports (Tom Fornelli) think those players will land, as well as Davis’ mock draft for USA Today.

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  • USA Today: No. 1 to the Chicago Bears
  • NFL.com: No. 1 to the Chicago Bears
  • ESPN: No. 1 to the Chicago Bears
  • CBS Sports: No. 1 to the Chicago Bears

This is one of the few consensus picks in the draft. Davis says Williams’ ability as a passer is too good for the Bears to trade down. Zierlein points to his talent and upside on a rookie contract as reasons to take Williams first overall. Miller says Williams has elite arm strength and field vision with the ceiling of a top-three quarterback in the NFL. Fornelli’s the least confident, noting that Williams’ talent does come with a tendency to hold onto the ball too long, much like the Bears’ current starting quarterback Justin Fields.

Maye sees more variety than Williams despite being long-considered a top prospect. Davis notes Maye’s production dropped in 2023 but his size, arm strength, and mobility make him a top pick. Zierlein predicts Maye will fall with the Commanders choosing a different quarterback and the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals opting for wide receivers. Miller calls him a perfect fit for the modern quarterback profile at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. Fornelli agrees, stating Maye and Williams are a “tier far above any other QB in this class” on his board.

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  • USA Today: No. 2 to the Washington Commanders
  • NFL.com: No. 2 to the Washington Commanders
  • ESPN: No. 3 to the New England Patriots
  • CBS Sports: No. 8 to the Atlanta Falcons

Daniels’ rise in mock drafts over the last two months reflects his incredible Heisman-winning 2023 season at LSU. Davis points to the Commanders’ proximity to Baltimore and two-time MVP Lamar Jackson as reason for Washington to go with the dual-threat talent in Daniels. Zierlein agrees, calling Daniels the “draft’s top dual-threat QB” who sustained production in 2023. Miller calls him the best deep-ball passer in the draft and notes how new Patriots coach Jerod Mayo likely understands how tough it is to face a dual-threat quarterback with his time as an NFL linebacker. Fornelli foresees Daniels dropping because of his slight frame and tendency to take hits in the open field as a scrambler.

  • USA Today: No. 4 to the Arizona Cardinals
  • NFL.com: No. 3 to the New England Patriots
  • ESPN: No. 4 to the Arizona Cardinals
  • CBS Sports: No. 3 to the New England Patriots

Considered arguably the best overall prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, Harrison Jr. is often the one non-quarterback to break into the top four picks of mock drafts. Davis and Miller agree Harrison Jr. would fill the void left by DeAndre Hopkins‘ departure from Arizona and provide Kyler Murray an excellent top wide receiver option. Zierlein calls him an easy plug-and-play choice for New England if they decide against quarterback. Fornelli calls him the most polished and talented wide receiver out of college in years and worth a top pick.

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In a year without Harrison Jr., Odunze could’ve been considered the top wide receiver prospect. Davis acknowledges the Chargers’ decision isn’t clear with Jim Harbaugh’s arrival but providing quarterback Justin Herbert a top target should be a priority. Odunze reminds Zierlein of former Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald, making him a top choice for Murray. Miller says Odunze would be an immediate boost for the Giants’ offense and be a true WR1 for the offense, regardless of who plays quarterback. Fornelli predicts him falling the lowest of the top wide receiver prospects but providing new Bears quarterback Williams a reliable wide reciever.

  • USA Today: No. 6 to the New York Giants
  • NFL.com: No. 9 to the Chicago Bears
  • ESPN: No. 5 to the Los Angeles Chargers
  • CBS Sports: No. 6 to the New York Giants

Much like Odunze, Nabers could be the top prospect at wide receiver if it weren’t for Harrison Jr. Davis and Fornelli both say he’d immediately be the most dangerous offensive weapon for the Giants. Zierlein predicts him falling the furthest of the three wide receiver prospects but would be a perfect fit for new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Miller has him going the highest of the four mock drafts because of his speed, reliable hands, and ability to make defenders miss in space.

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Bowers is the lowest-drafted player on average among these top prospects but that shouldn’t overshadow his talent. All analysts agree he’s the best tight end to come out of college in years. Davis and Fornelli like the fit with the Jets the best as he’d provide an aging Aaron Rodgers a reliable target in arguably the best tight end he’s ever played with. Zierlein likes Bowers’ fit as a safety blanket for second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson. Miller likens Bowers to George Kittle or Sam LaPorta; New Orleans misses out on the top quarterbacks and wide receivers in his mock but “land a legitimate top-10 talent” with this choice.

  • USA Today: No. 7 to the Tennessee Titans
  • NFL.com: No. 7 to the Tennessee Titans
  • ESPN: No. 7 to the Tennessee Titans
  • CBS Sports: No. 5 to the Los Angeles Chargers

Alt is one of the top tackle prospects in recent memory after a standout 2023 season at Notre Dame. Davis, Zierlein, and Miller all like the fit in Tennessee. He can protect second-year quarterback Will Levis‘ blind side and Davis notes new Titans head coach Brian Callahan saw how important the offensive line is after seeing Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow sustain injuries behind a suspect line in Cincinnati. Fornelli figures Harbaugh’s arrival will lead to a mentality change in Los Angeles that’s more physical and tough, a mindset Alt would provide immediately.

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  • USA Today: No. 17 to the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • NFL.com: No. 18 to the Cincinnati Bengals
  • ESPN: No. 9 to the Chicago Bears
  • CBS Sports: No. 4 to the Arizona Cardinals

Fashanu’s considered one of the top offensive line prospects but less polished than Alt or others, hence the variety in his draft predictions. Davis calls it a bargain if Fashanu falls all the way to the Jaguars who could use an upgrade at left tackle. Same with his fall for Zierlein, who says Fashanu has plenty of upside but has work to do to reach that potential. Miller’s mock has the top wide receivers off the board by no. 9 and instead the Bears choose to protect their new quarterback (Williams), who Fashanu played with in high school. Fornelli’s the highest on Fashanu and calls him a “dream prospect” when it comes to pass protection.

2024-02-10 01:37:49
#top #prospects #offense #land

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