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7 NFL Draft Burning Questions (2024)

7 NFL Draft Burning Questions (2024)

The Kansas City Chiefs are a week removed from winning their second straight Super Bowl. But for 31 other teams and fan bases, the official conclusion to the 2023-2024 season marks the official beginning of draft season.

What makes the 2024 NFL Draft particularly unique is that the questions truly start at the very beginning. We’ve seen plenty of drafts where the No. 1 pick is a foregone conclusion. We’ve also seen plenty of drafts where it’s fairly obvious that a team is looking to trade out of the top pick. But it’s rare to have a situation as polarizing as the decision the Chicago Bears must make with the top overall selection.

This edition of “Burning Questions” starts at the very top.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Burning Questions

Burning Question #1: What Does Chicago Do?

Again, it’s rare that what happens at No. 1 actually defines an entire draft. But the decision Bears GM Ryan Poles makes with this pick is going to have major ripple effects across the league.

Here are the realistic scenarios Chicago is deciding between:

  • Pick USC QB Caleb Williams and trade Justin Fields for what’ll likely be a second-round pick
  • Keep Fields and use the No. 1 pick on Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison, the only realistic option to take over a quarterback.
  • Keep Fields and trade the No. 1 pick for “historical compensation” to build the roster around him.
  • Pick Williams and keep Fields, leaving it to what would be an insane training camp competition.

I think I covered them all, right? I immediately rule out scenario four, as I think it would be a wasted opportunity to keep both the top pick and Fields when trading either could net you at least a decent haul.

If I had to guess what I think will happen, I suspect Poles will take Williams and trade Fields. I don’t feel Williams is a slam dunk at the next level. But many draft pundits view him as a generational talent, one I don’t think Poles could stomach passing up. Plus, drafting Williams likely buys Poles more time at the helm, as it resets the quarterback clock both from a timing and salary cap perspective.

With a ton of cap space to work with, plus the No. 9 and No. 75 picks, Poles will still have plenty of resources to build a roster that could win with a rookie QB. Granted, Poles could do the exact same thing with even more draft capital by keeping Fields and trading the top pick, but that philosophical decision really comes down to your comparison of Williams vs. Fields.

While the draft takes place in Detroit, it really starts in Chicago.

Question #2: Do Three QBs Get Taken in the First Three Picks?

Right now, half of the mock drafts aggregated by Mock Draft Database suggest the first three picks will be Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, in some order.

But I’m curious to see what the Patriots do at No. 3, and I’m not sold that they’ll choose the third-best QB left on the board over a potential superstar skill weapon in Harrison Jr.

Listen, I’m far from a Mac Jones advocate. But you’re lying to yourself if you think he was the sole problem last season. A big part of New England’s offensive issues stemmed from a miserable group of weapons. And our consensus big board puts Harrison as the second-best prospect in this draft, with Daniels ranking fifth.

Again, that isn’t a gigantic difference, but I do think New England could have a tricky decision on its hands between the draft’s top skill weapon and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

If the first three picks are quarterbacks, then Arizona suddenly enters a position of power. With two first-round picks, thanks to their trade with Houston last draft, they could keep it simple and snag a legitimate weapon as they look to build around Kyler Murray. But you’d have to think the phones will be ringing off the hook with teams looking to jump up to acquire Harrison.

The Cardinals could be one of the big winners of this year’s draft just by standing pat and letting the QB frenzy play out.

Question #3: Do the Giants Take a Replacement for Daniel Jones?

The Daniel Jones contract extension was a colossal failure. And no, injury isn’t primarily to blame. The fact is Jones is an average NFL starter at best, and if the Giants were wise, they’d take a serious look at replacing him.

However, there are two impediments: the first is the aforementioned Jones contract, which doesn’t have a reasonable out until 2025 (which would still cost $22 million in dead cap space). The other impediment is their draft position, as they’d most likely have to trade into the top three to land one of the prized prospects.

The most likely scenario is New York scoops up the next-best receiver on their draft board after Harrison, most likely Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze. But the 2025 draft is not expected to be a tremendous quarterback class, which could have teams like New York thinking aggressively about finding their long-term answer.

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator

Question #4: Where Does Brock Bowers Land?

Mixed in with all the quarterback intrigue is another intriguing prospect in Bowers. The Georgia tight end has seemingly been a household name for years but is coming off of a year in which he posted lows in yardage and touchdowns while dealing with injuries.

The consensus appears to suggest Bowers is a lock to finish inside the top 10, but will recent history give teams pause about investing a premium pick on this position? Kyle Pitts hasn’t quite panned out after going fifth overall to Atlanta years ago.

However, the Chargers, Giants, Titans, Bears, and Jets all make at least reasonable sense as a landing spot for Bowers within the top 10. I’ll be fascinated to see which team takes the chance and whether Bowers can join an emerging crop of exciting young tight ends.

Question #5: Can Atlanta Land a QB?

The Falcons are almost certainly going to try to add a franchise quarterback during the draft. But like the Giants, Atlanta could have trouble achieving that goal with the eighth overall pick.

Atlanta seemingly has the pieces offensively in Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Pitts. If any team were to make a bold move for the No. 1 pick, I could see it being Atlanta. But after hiring a defensive-minded head coach in Raheem Morris, will the Falcons get aggressive and make a move to land a top prospect?

Atlanta also seems like a realistic landing spot for Fields should the Bears move on from him. Either way, the Falcons will be an awfully interesting team to monitor.

Question #6: Could There Be a Battle for the No. 4 QB?

Things will get interesting even after the top three passers are off the board, as there are plenty of teams picking outside the top 10 who could be in the market for a quarterback.

The Vikings could be in the market for a QB if they part ways with Kirk Cousins. The Broncos have already parted with Russell Wilson and have no answer. The Raiders can’t go into next season with Aidan O’Connell as their starter. All three of these teams could be jousting for the next-best QB in this class, either J.J. McCarthy or Michael Penix, both of whom have some concerns. But again, the 2025 class might not offer many better alternatives.

Question #7: Will There Be No Running Backs Taken in Round 1?

As of right now, it looks like there won’t be tailback taken in the first round of this year’s draft, and it might not even be close. Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board lists Florida State’s Trey Benson as the top-ranked tailback as the 60th-ranked prospect.

Combine an unheralded class with the league’s general philosophy of treating running backs like livestock, and this sets up for an RB-free first round. However, I do think there are some prospects in this draft who could surprise, most notably Benson, Texas’ Jonathon Brooks and Notre Dame’s Audric Estime.

2024 NFL Mock Drafts

Here are a few early predictions for the 2024 NFL Draft. We’ll continue to add our 2024 NFL Mock Drafts leading up to the start of Round 1.

2024 NFL Draft Coverage

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