NFL 2024 First Round Draft Grades!

NFL 2024 First Round Draft Grades!

Day One of the 2024 NFL Draft is wrapped. Do you know what happens next? Yes, Day TWO, of course. But we also get to critique each pick that was made from Day One and give each team a letter grade on the day. There were some obvious picks, up until about pick #5, and then things went a little sideways…per usual. Some GMs pulled it off very nicely, others made you scratch your head, and then some made you wonder how they got their jobs…and why they still have them. Let’s dive in, starting with pick #1:

  1. Chicago Bears: QB, Caleb Williams

Quite possibly the most obvious pick from Chicago since they traded away their starting QB from last year. Caleb Williams has had all of the hype to be the number one pick. I don’t see it. I see someone who loves the idea of getting all of the attention and love, but when things get tough, he’ll fold like a cheap chair. Williams didn’t beat any ranked teams last year, he wants ownership options in the team that he plays for, he cries to his mom in the stands, and he wears pink nail polish and lip gloss. I think he’s the bust of the decade. The Bears had to choose him though because they put themselves in a position that they couldn’t get out of. For that, they get a Grade of C.

  1. Washington Commanders: QB, Jayden Daniels

I believe that Daniels will have a better NFL career than Williams. It was a toss up between Daniels and Drake Maye, and in my four mock drafts I had Maye winning three of four. Daniels seemed to be unhappy that Washington was bringing out multiple QBs on a visit when he thought it would just be a one-on-one situation. His camp let that be known. Apparently, they worked through their transgressions though, and Daniels is a Commander. Hopefully he won’t suffer the same fate as RGIII. Grade: B+ due to the fact that it was really only a choice between two players.

  1. New England Patriots: QB, Drake Maye

I feel like the Patriots had the opportunity to do something stupid here. They needed a QB because all of theirs sucked last year. They could have traded with the Vikings or the Broncos or the Raiders, but they kept it simple and just drafted the best player on the board, which was also a HUGE necessity. Drake Maye is a big guy with a lot of talent. I see him as a better QB than Williams as well, and he should be in the league for a long time. Grade: A- because they got potentially the first or second best QB in the draft at #3.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: WR, Marvin Harrison Jr.

This was a no-brainer. The Cards have a need for a WR and they get arguably the best one in the draft. 70+% of mock drafts had Harrison landing here, and AZ didn’t feel the need to get cute and try to trade back with anyone. Take the best player, and then figure out who your SECOND pick in the first round is going to be. Grade: A- because…this was just easy.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: OT, Joe Alt

I was never on the bandwagon that the Chargers were going to trade this pick to Minnesota, because LA needed a WR! I was right about them not trading the pick, but wrong about them picking a WR. The Charges decided to go with the best OT in the draft, and that should make Harbs and Herbs feel a lot more comfortable about their offensive scheme. Kudos to NFL’s Bucky Brooks and PFFs Gordon McGuiness for being two of the only mock drafters to see Alt going here to the Bolts. Grade: A- because while they did get the best OT in the draft, I think WR was a bigger need.

  1. New York Giants: WR, Malik Nabors

I thought there was some potential of the Vikings moving up to this spot if they offered enough, but that didn’t come to fruition. Nabors was projected to go at #6 or better in 80+% of mock drafts. The Giants haven’t had a stud WR1 since OBJ, and Nabers fell right into their laps. If Daniel Jones can’t do something with this weapon, then I’ll start believing the hype NEXT draft that the Giants are looking for a new QB option. Grade: A because the Giants didn’t move back and they took what they needed. Also, you have to wonder if Nabers is really the #1 WR in the draft but because Marvin Harrison Jr has a the name…he gets a little more credit.

  1. Tennessee Titans: OT, JC Latham

Everyone knew that the Titans needed an OT, but most people thought it would be Joe Alt. With Alt off the board, I wonder if Tennessee panicked a little because they took a BIG reach on Latham. PFTs Mike Florio is the ONLY mock draft that I saw with Latham under pick #10, and exactly at this spot. Latham was a #13 or #14 pick on average. Grade: C because the Titans could have traded back and picked up some more draft capital to get Latham OR selected Olu Fashanu or Taliese Fuaga, who were generally projected to go before Latham.

  1. Atlanta Falcons: QB, Michael Penix Jr.

I want to make sure that I have this straight. The Falcons sign Kirk Cousins to a three-year deal, which about two years is guaranteed money. Then, Atlanta uses it’s #8 pick to draft a QB…who isn’t even the BEST QB on the board…who also happens to be 24-years-old. So, when are they expecting Penix to play or start? When he’s 27? This is one of the oddest and worst picks I’ve ever seen. Penix MIGHT have fallen to the second round…but, why not take him at #8. Hey, Atlanta…fire your GM. He’s terrible. Grade: F-

  1. Chicago Bears: WR, Rome Odunze

This pick almost makes up for the fact that they drafted Caleb Williams at #1. Odunze was going to go anywhere between 5-10. The fact that the Bears got him at #9 is legit. They didn’t do anything stupid to trade back, and they went with someone who could help make their first pick look better. I had Odunze at #9 in two of my four mock drafts as well. Grade: A

  1. Minnesota Vikings via trade with New York Jets: QB, J.J. McCarthy

This is a bit of a head-scratcher. Everyone knew that Minnesota was going to go after a QB with the possibility of trading up to #3, #4, #5, etc. But why trade up to #10 from #11 with a team that definitely was NOT going to pick a QB. I feel like the Vikings just gave away assets to get what they would have one pick later. I had McCarthy going to Minnesota in every mock scenario, so I’m not surprised that they ended up with him. I’m just surprised at how it happened. Grade: B.

  1. New York Jets via trade with Minnesota Vikings: OT, Olu Fashanu

You see, this is how it’s done. The Jets still get what they want, and they get a little more from MN in the process. It was a great selection as well. I had Fashanu going either #9 or #10 in my mock drafts while he was averaging around #14 across other mock drafts. Connor Orr from had Fashanu going at #11 but it was via a trade between Minnesota and the New England Patriots. Grade: B+ because it was a good trade, a good player, and it was what the Jets needed considering they have the oldest OT duo in the NFL.

  1. Denver Broncos: QB, Bo Nix

In my first three mock drafts I had the Broncos taking Nix at #12. Then in my Final Draft I completely took Nix off the board because Denver had gotten Zack Wilson, and I thought they might try to ride it out with him unless they took a QB in the second or third round. Nix was on about a third of mock drafts in the first round ranging from #10 to #28. Grade: B because it’s the biggest need for the Broncos. They could have gone with the best player on the board, which was NOT Nix, but this might work out for Denver. 

  1. Las Vegas Raiders: TE, Brock Bowers

The Raiders did what the Broncos did not; take the best player on the board. This pick doesn’t fit the “Need” category for Las Vegas though, as they just drafted Michael Mayer last year with the 35th overall pick. NOBODY had Bowers going to the Raiders. I had him going to either the Broncos or the Colts at #15. Grade: B- only because TE was not something that the Raiders needed to draft at all this year, but they decided to get the best one and the best player at #13.

  1. New Orleans Saints: OT, Taliese Fuaga

The Saints were expected to draft an OT, and I thought it was going to be JC Latham at this point. Both Fuaga or Latham would have been great picks right here. The Saints needed an upgrade at RT to bookend their other first-round OT pick from 2022, Trevor Penning. Grade: A because this is exactly what New Orleans needed, and Fuaga fell right to them. They didn’t try to get greedy or cute either, and just took was placed in front of them.

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Edge, Laiatu Latu

Latu was another “wild card” with the “experts” going anywhere from pick #8 to pick #27. The Colts were most likely to pick a Cornerback or an Edge, but with Edge, Dallas Turner and CB, Quinyon Mitchell still on the board, it made this selection a little questionable. I had Latu anywhere from 19 to 23 based on his injury history, but apparently this didn’t bother Indianapolis. Latu is a decent choice, but perhaps a bit early for #15. Grade: B-

  1. Seattle Seahawks: DT, Bryron Murphy

The Seahawks and new Head Coach, Mike McDonald wasted no time in selecting what they needed from last year’s draft; a Defensive Tackle. Kudos to the New York Post’s Jacob Wayne for being the only analyst that I saw who predicted Seattle to pick Murphy. Grade: B+ because I think McDonald will do with Murphy what he did as the DC Baltimore’s 3-4 defensive scheme with Justin Madubuike.

  1. Minnesota Vikings via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge, Dallas Turner

I think most people were expecting Dallas Turner to go at #8 to the Atlanta Falcons (which would have been a MUCH better pick than Penix). Roughly 80% off mock drafts had Turner going before #17, and in all four of my mocks, he was gone at #8. Minnesota moved up because they saw a lot of value with an Edge player that a lot of analysts thought was the best Edge player in the draft. Grade: A- because the Vikings made a big move for someone who should be a big-time producer. However, was giving up THREE future mid-round draft picks worth it though?

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: OT, Amarius Mims

I think the Bengals surprised quite a few people by selecting Mims. I had Mims going anywhere between #20 and #25, and in only one mock draft that I saw had Mims as low as #18. Kudos to NFL’s Dan Parr on that one! With Tee Higgins requesting a trade, and Tyler Boyd already gone, I figure the Bengals would dip their paws back into the LSU pool and pick Brian Thomas Jr. Grade: B because I think it was too early for Mims here who should have gone in the early twenties, and Troy Fautanu was still on the board, and is a better OT overall.

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Edge, Jared Verse

Jared Verse was another guy who analysts couldn’t find a definitive home for. Mock drafts showed him anywhere from #9 to #27. Even I had him at #11 and #21. I figured that the Rams would take a DE here though to strengthen their defensive line with the loss of Aaron Donald. Grade: A- because the Rams filled a NEED and did it with someone who shouldn’t have been at #19. I had Latu here in my last two mock drafts, with Verse going earlier than him.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT, Troy Fautanu

How in the world was Fautanu STILL AROUND at pick #20?! Over 80% of mock drafts had him gone at this point, including myself, who had him selected at #16 every time! Kudos to NFL’s Chad Rueter for being the only one to get this selection correct. Fautanu is Steelers fan, and he looks every part of their lineup as well. Grade: A because they stayed patient and took a guy that fits their team perfectly with a need on the O-Line. This may have been the most perfect pick in the draft.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Edge, Chop Robinson

Miami’s offensive line is a hot mess. I’m not sure why they didn’t trade back to get Tyler Guyton, Graham Barton or Jordan Morgan at this point. To make things worse, Chop Robinson is a mid to late-20’s pick. As far as I’m concerned, they drop the ball twice here. Grade: D because I saw only one mock draft that had Chop this earlier, and it also wasn’t a primary need for Miami. They should have traded back in this scenario, and they blew it.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: CB, Quinyon Mitchell

Is it me, or are the Eagles the LUCKIEST team when it comes to having awesome player that they would otherwise directly target fall right into their laps? I had Mitchell, who is arguably the best CB in the draft at #14 or #17. Only one mock draft that I saw had him this late, and that was from Sporting News Vinnie Iyer. Grade: A- because Mitchell should have been gone at least five picks earlier, but there were so many good CBs there at this pick that the Eagles could just sit back and lick their lips.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars via trade with the Minnesota Vikings: WR Brian Thomas Jr

I thought for sure that the Jags were going CB as well, but they mixed things up to bolster their depleted WR group. Thomas is an LSU product like Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson…so that’s not bad company to be in. Considering most analysts had Thomas between #17 and #28, this is a pretty solid pick. Grade: B+ because essentially Jacksonville picked up three more picks from Minnesota with this trade and still could come away with a stud.

  1. Detroit Lions via a trade with the Dallas Cowboys: CB, Terrion Arnold

As if having the draft in Detroit wasn’t big enough, the Lions made a HUGE move to pick up one of the best CBs in the draft. The part that can NOT be overlooked is that NOBODY had Terrion Arnold available this late in the draft! Grade: A+ because this was just a great move. Arnold’s draft rating average was #16! This move is as ballsy as some of Dan Campbells play-calling.

  1. Green Bay Packers: OT, Jordan Morgan

I get that the Packers need O-line help, but Tyler Guyton and Graham Barton were still available here. Only about 65% of mock drafts even had Morgan going in the first round, so this is a bit of a stretch. Grade: C because they got someone who is decent in a position that they need, but they missed on the best player available. Morgan was a #31 or #32 at best, and with other OL on the board they should have thought about trading back.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: IOL, Graham Barton

I projected Barton to be selected between #20 and #24, and he gives me vibes of Tyler Linderbaum in Baltimore (who is one of the best Centers in the NFL). The Bucs re-signed QB Baker Mayfield to an extension and they need to get the running game going this upcoming season. Kudos to NFLs Peter Schrager for being the only analyst I saw to nail this pick! Barton is versatile and he proficient in both run and pass blocking. Grade: B+ because he’s a value pick, possibly best player on the board, and a no-brainer for Tampa’s offense.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: DT Darius Robinson

I do not like this pick only because Johnny Newton was still on the board here, and he’s a much better DT than Robinson, who barely shows up on 50% of first round mock drafts. Newton was selected as early as #18 on some mock draft boards. Grade: C- because Arizona is filling a much-needed position, but they just didn’t do it with the right guy. Did you see Robinson at the draft? He doesn’t even look like he’ll be able to compete against NFL O-linemen.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs via a trade with the Buffalo Bills: WR, Xavier Worthy

Worthy barely showed up in the first round of 50% of mock drafts. Sure, he’s the fasted man in the draft, but KC could have gotten him at #32, and didn’t need to move up. Worthy didn’t even show up in my mock drafts until the third and fourth editions, going #32 to the Chiefs. Grade: C+ because Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConky were still available and there was really no need to waste picks trading up.

  1. Dallas Cowboys via a trade from the Detroit Lions: OT, Tyler Guyton

This was a great move by Dallas to move back, pick up some additional picks, and snag a great late first round OT that they need. Guyton showed up in the first round of 85+% of mock drafts and averaged a selection of #26. Grade: A- because Guyton will be a franchise OT, and the Cowboys were give more picks to take him.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: CB Nate Wiggins

The Ravens were expected to take an O-lineman at this pick, presumably Tyler Guyton. After Dallas took him at #29, the Ravens went to their second biggest need, CB, and found Nate Wiggins, who was predicted to go before pick #30 in over 90% of mock drafts. The New York Post, Nathan Wayne put together the only mock draft that showed Wiggins going to the Ravens. Grade: A- because the Ravens needed to shift gears, and found a gem with Wiggins, who was projected to go around #24 or #25.

  1. San Fransisco 49ers: WR, Ricky Pearsall

Wow…terrible pick the 49ers. Yes, they need a WR or maybe another O-lineman here, BUT, Pearsall? Adonia Mitchell, Ladd McConkey, Keon Coleman, Troy Franklin, Xavier Legette…ALL better! It’s like they pulled a name out of a hat or something. Grade: F because…do I really need to bash this pick any more? Their own fans even booed this selection at the draft. How disappointing.

  1. Carolina Panther via a trade with the Buffalo Bills: WR, Xavier Legette

I have NO IDEA why Carolina would bother to move up one spot for this pick. Adonia Mitchell, Ladd Mc…alright, I already went over the better WR options here. I think the only reason why the Panthers traded up was because they felt the need to appease their fans. I don’t think it worked. Grade: F because trading up to get someone who would have been there with the very next pick is just dumb.


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