Skip to main content

Historical NFL Draft Picks of All 32 NFL Teams (2024 Fantasy Football)

Historical NFL Draft Picks of All 32 NFL Teams (2024 Fantasy Football)

The NFL Draft is under a month away, and the frenzy of 2024 mock drafts has reached peaked heights. Football analysts and draftniks across the board are attempting to piece together plausible and convincing real-life draft selections for all 32 teams. The primary rationale behind these choices usually comes down to “team needs” or “best player available,” but there’s a third factor that isn’t considered enough: the historical track records of GMs and other decision-makers in the team war rooms.

Here’s a look at the recent history of all 32 NFL front offices and how their draft tendencies and current roster makeup set each team up heading into the 2024 NFL Draft.

Historical NFL Draft Picks of All 32 NFL Teams

AFC EAST AFC NORTH AFC SOUTH AFC WEST NFC EAST NFC NORTH NFC SOUTH NFC WEST
BUF BAL HOU KC DAL DET TB SF
MIA CLE JAC LV PHI GB NO LAR
NYJ PIT IND DEN NYG MIN ATL SEA
NE CIN TEN LAC WAS CHI CAR ARI

Chicago Bears

General manager Ryan Poles took over a roster in 2022 with no first-round draft capital and glaring roster needs at wide receiver, offensive line, and cornerback.

He addressed the secondary in the 2022 draft by selecting CB Kyler Gordon and S Jaquan Brisker. He blew the WR selection with Velus Jones Jr. in Round 3 but made up for it by acquiring veteran WR D.J. Moore during the 2023 offseason as part of the trade with the Panthers for the No. 1 overall pick. He also “made up” for the blown Chase Claypool WR trade by acquiring Keenan Allen this offseason for a fourth-round pick.

After foregoing the OL in 2022, Poles invested in it with OT Darnell Wright last season. He also re-invested in the secondary with CB Tyrique Stevenson.

Upgrading the OL was going to happen sooner rather than later, given Pole’s roots in the Chiefs’ player personnel department, which has taken a newer approach to bolstering the offensive line in the early rounds.

To pinpoint the archetype of the OL play Poles is looking for early on, we can look at the guys he has drafted in past seasons between Wright, Braxton Jones and Zachary Thomas. The closest OL prospect comparisons in this year’s class include Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Matt Goncalves, Christian Jones, Walter Rouse, Nathan Thomas, Javion Cohen, Gottlieb Auedze, Sataoa Laumea and Layden Robinson.

Not many are mocking the Bears’ decision to draft an OL piece at ninth overall, but Fashanu could be strongly considered as additional protection for Caleb Williams (presumably the No.1 overall pick). Fashanu is Williams’s former high school teammate. He probably has a higher ceiling than Jones (the current LT).

Outside of a slightly off-the-wall tackle selection, I’d expect more resources thrown at the defense.

Specifically in the secondary in the later rounds (like they did the past two seasons) and on the defensive line with the more premium picks. They drafted two DL players last season – Zacch Pickens, Gervon Dexter – but neither fired to astounding results. K.C. went heavy drafting defensive linemen during Poles’ tenure there, and it’s a major need.

But it’s more so with a pass rush than run stopping. The Bears finished with the second-fewest sacks and PFF’s 32nd-ranked pass rush grade. They traded for Montez Sweat before the trade deadline last season, but they still need more guys to get after the QB. DT Kris Jenkins could be a potential Day 2 selection, but he might be more of an overlapping skill set with Pickens/Dexter.

Again, it’s likely going to be a pass rusher, given the team’s need and Poles’ background from KC. It’s also the position Poles has invested the least draft capital – aside from the trade for Sweat before last year’s trade deadline.

Fantasy Spin: The Bears might not be done upgrading Caleb Williams’ supporting cast, but that could hurt Allen/Moore if it’s another top WR.

Back to top

Washington Commanders

Out with the old, in with the new. Well, sort of.

Martin Mayhew was hired by the Commanders three seasons ago. And he’s still in the building as the current senior personnel executive. But it’s Adam Peters who was hired as the new GM, coming over from the 49ers (2017-2023) where he served various roles from VP of player personnel and assistant general manager.

Mayhew’s draft tendencies revealed that linemen (both OL/DL) were a priority with his first-round picks, and CBs/WRs/RBs reflected the bulk of his second and third-round selections.

In the 2023 draft, the Commanders went back-to-back drafting CBs, just to trot one of the league’s worst defenses (again). Mayhew has always stuck to his “script” more often than not. He also was notable for investing decent draft capital into tight ends. Also, the guy loves to draft RBs.

However, Mayhew’s remaining influence on the draft picks under the new regime of HC Dan Quinn, OC Kliff Kingsbury, and the aforementioned Peters remains to be seen. In my estimation, it’s probably nothing more than an advisory role. They overlapped time from their tenure with the 49ers from 2017 to 2020.

So, we can look at the 49ers’ overall draft record to get an idea of what they plan to do while also layering in the influences of Quinn and Kingsbury, both of whom have been NFL HCs.

The 49ers have drafted heavily on the defensive side, with their first selection in five of the last seven drafts (since 2017). And when it comes to defensive backs (mostly CBs), the 49ers have traditionally preferred guys with long arms. They drafted Darrell Luter Jr. and his 81st-percentile arms in the fourth round last season.

Names to keep an eye on if the Commanders go DB at the start of Round 2: Max Melton, T.J. Tampa, and Ennis Rakestraw.

Quinn was the HC in Atlanta for five seasons (2015-2020). The top picks were a blend of pass-rushers/cornerbacks first, than WRs and IOL. He also took shots on RBs and DTs as well, but never with premium picks. Drafted Austin Hooper in Round 3.

Kingsbury was the HC in Arizona from 2019-2022. For starters, he had an obsession with shorter WRs. Drafted Andy Isabella and Rondale Moore with high draft capital. The former HC also drafted 3 total WRs in his first draft with the Cardinals. And like his counterparts, he also invested highly into a tight end (Trey McBride) in Round 2.

Kingsbury consistently drafted pass rushers in Round 3. But he made little investment in the OL with Josh Jones the highest draft pick (Round 3).

This is a classic case of his belief that his “Air Raid” system does not require premium-level OL talent, which is not dissimilar to what we have seen from SF’s drafting strategy.

What’s most surprising is that Kingsbury drafted a linebacker in the first round. Woof. And only 1 time did he draft a CB in the first three rounds.

As for Edwards’ influence on the No. 2 pick overall – what matters the most, in my opinion – I think it signals Jayden Daniels to be the eventual selection at No.2 overall. I’ve mocked it as such in my last two mock drafts.

Here’s the excerpt from my mock draft.

“A lot will be made about this potential rookie QB’s fit in new OC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, but new GM Adam Peters will likely also have a large input on the future franchise QB. He’s referenced that his new home in Washington is eerily similar to his situation when he first landed in SF back in 2017 – citing the team needs to build through the draft.

All in all, Peters saw the disaster that was Trey Lance during his tenure in SF. He also benefitted greatly from the Brock Purdy selection, claiming that the tape and how well Purdy played the QB position pointed them in drafting the QB.

And although Lance’s rushing ability makes more sense in comparison to Daniels, I think Drake Maye has more of the boom-or-bust profile that Peters would rather avoid. Injuries withstanding, Daniels offers more of an under-the-radar game manager with strong fundamentals, accuracy and decision-making. Maye has the arm and a size that offers ceilings like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. But that is accompanied by inconsistent play at times, like from what we saw from him in 2022 versus 2023.

The other thing that is overlooked about Daniels – is his experience. 5 seasons of college ball. 55 games. Purdy played 48 games at Iowa State. 2023 Heisman Trophy Winner, Jayden Daniels is the selection at No. 2. With his ability to add value as a rusher and experience with five years under his belt, he can thrive in a familiar Kingsbury system with underrated weapons already entrenched at the skill positions. In 55 games in college, Daniels rushed for over 3,300 yards – 60 rushing yards per game. Last year’s third quarterback selected, Anthony Richardson, also averaged 60 rushing yards per game in the college ranks.”

We know it will be a QB at No.2, but what the Commanders do with picks 36, 40, 67, and 78 will be interesting. It’s easy to see them trading down to get more picks.

But based on the blend of decision-makers between Peters, Quinn and Kingsbury (speaking to offense), I’d bet it’s EDGE/CB as the first two priorities on defense, followed by WR/TE/IOL.

The defensive needs for EDGE/CB align with exactly the Commanders’ needs, so this is hardly mind-blowing evidence to project their draft plans.

However, if Kingsbury gets his way on offense, you better believe he will do whatever it takes to add another WR or pass-catching tight end to the fold. Right now, the top three playmakers for the Commanders are Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Zach Ertz.

Dyami Brown and Jamison Crowder are penciled in to see a ton of WR snaps, which likely isn’t ideal. Ertz is not a long-term option at tight end. Given the overwhelming evidence of more than 1 of these decision-makers drafting a tight end with Day 2 capital, I’d expect the Commanders to draft a tight end in this year’s draft along with another WR.

They have already hosted tight end Ja’Vion Sanders from Texas on an official top-30 visit. They met with WR Roman Wilson before his pro day.

And shocking nobody, they also met with the 5-foot-8 WR Malik Washington from Virginia. For similar reasons, Arizona’s short-statured Jacob Cowing could also be a Commander. He’s also 5-foot-8 and 168 pounds.

His closest comps are Greg Dortch, Marquise Brown, Tahj Washington and Andy Isabella. Cowing also lit up USC’s defense for over 100 yards and four TDs.

As for potential edge rushers who could fit this defensive scheme, Marshawn Kneeland (a close comp to Dorace Armstrong) looks like a prime target. Brenden Rice and Tahj Washington are both USC products, so they already have a connection with Kingsbury. Also, Kingsbury could be infatuated with undersized RB Bucky Irving after he destroyed USC’s defense in 2023. Isaac Guerendo also saw similar success in the 2023 Holiday Bowl.

Fantasy Spin: Don’t trust this WAS receiving corps in its current form room. TE/WR/RB are in play to be drafted.

Back to top

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick was the Patriots’ stand-in GM since being hired in 2000. The 2023 draft was just the sixth time the Patriots held a first-round pick inside the top 20. Three of the four players (Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, and Jerod Mayo) were defensive stars, with tackle Nate Solder and quarterback Mac Jones the offensive players. Christian Gonzalez‘s rookie year was cut short due to injuries, but he looked like a star in the making in only 4 games.

Each enjoyed a successful NFL career – aside from Jones – and I’d classify them as hits.

But the last time the Patriots had a top- 5 pick was in 1994. Willie McGinest. It’s been a LONG time since the Patriots have sniffed this part of the draft. So, with that comes a different strategy/approach.

This is especially true with Eliot Wolf and Mayo entering as the new GM/HC for New England. Wolf’s tenure with the Browns/Packers suggests that he is analytical-driven, and that strongly points in the direction of the quarterback position at the top of Round 1. If that position hits, it’s the biggest win for the roster overall. If not a quarterback, then I’d presume it’s a trade-down scenario where they look to draft another quarterback either later in Round 1 or the start of Round 2.

Wolf also spent time with the Packers before becoming the assistant GM of the Browns from 2018-2019. In his first year with the Browns, they drafted Baker Mayfield, CB Denzel Ward, OL Austin Corbett and RB Nick Chubb. Wolf told John Dorsey (Browns GM) before he was even hired… ‘Even if I don’t take this (job), you’re not going to screw this up and not take Mayfield.'” Both Dorsey and Wolf were in lockstep on selecting Mayfield, given that he graded very highly in the Packers QB scouting system.

In Wolf’s second draft with the Browns, they had no first-round pick (traded for Odell Beckham Jr.). They selected CB Greedy Williams in the second round. Wolf played a role in the Browns’ acquisition of OBJ to surround his young quarterback with more weapons.

That’s interesting to note because the Patriots are heavily rumored to be in the trade market for a high-caliber wide receiver such as Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, and Brandon Aiyuk. I think when it’s all said and done, they get the veteran wide receiver they need to pair with their future rookie signal caller.

Wolf could very much change the “Patriot way” into the “Packer way” with him now at the helm of the Patriots’ major personnel moves. That would include sitting a QB that might not be ready on Day 1 for long-term gain as the main goal.

Wolf has also been vocal about an updated grading system, citing it will be much closer to what was done in Green Bay. It’s less about ROLE and how the Patriots can use said player and more about the actual VALUE of the pick/player, etc. Music to my ears as a Patriots fan. Gone are the days of the Patriots “reaching” on a player who likely would have been available much later in the draft. Less overall “reaches” on players that would fit their scheme the best. Draft smarter, not harder.

The Patriots’ current staff features plenty of former Packers coaches from new OC Alex Van Pelt (also was with the Browns) and Ben McAdoo (the Patriots’ new senior assistant).

When it comes to Wolf’s specific influence on the QB atop the Patriots’ draft board, the patient QB approach suggests they won’t be overly concerned about waiting for a younger, more inexperienced Drake Maye to be ready.

When asked what he’s looking for in a quarterback, Wolf emphasized intangibles like leadership and body language in addition to strong physical traits.

But even as a Patriots fan who would prefer the team chases the ceiling of Maye while Jacoby Brissett starts in the meantime, I am much more open to the idea that J.J. McCarthy is in play at No. 3. He also checks off a lot of the same boxes as Maye. It’s been reported by Tony Pauline that Wolf is pushing “hard” for McCarthy. That’s the narrative from the other GMs around the league. I don’t think that’s a smoke screen, given McCarthy’s body of work as a winner at Michigan.

However, given Maye’s superior analytical profile, I ultimately side with Maye being the Patriots’ top QB target. But who knows if HE will be there at 3 either.

Mayo spoke on Maye’s elite leadership in the interview process and how he has ‘no ceiling.’ The Patriots swung and missed on a QB prospect with a Kirk Cousins-level ceiling the last time around. They won’t make the same mistake twice, even if it takes more patience.

And at this point, who knows if McCarthy is even an option with the Commanders reportedly in on McCarthy with the No. 2 overall pick.

As for the rest of the expectations for the Patriots beyond the third-overall pick, here’s what I think might happen. Past Patriots regimes have favored defensive tackle – with three selections since 2004. They have also drafted running back (cringe) and defensive back 3x in the top 20. The offensive line has also been drafted thrice (Cole Strange, again cringe).

OT/WR highlights the main needs, which align with what we could expect from this draft approach. Given that GB was notorious for not drafting a WR in Round 1 for Rodgers – for better or for worse – I think LT is firmly in play over WR at pick 34, with WR being pushed back to Rd 3 at pick 68.

Here’s to hoping the Wolf tenure brings more luck at WR draft selections. Just draft a guy with an early breakout age that was not a one-year wonder in their final college season. Please no.

Typically, the Patriots’ OL draft prospects have all been Senior Bowl products that offer a lot of experience. The first OL they drafted last year? Jake Andrews from Troy. Went to the Senior Bowl.

Tyler Guyton, Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia, Roger Rosengarten, Zach Frazier, Christian Haynes, and Dominick Puni could be potential OL fits for the Patriots. Specifically for OT – Guyton, Morgan, Suamataia and Rosengarten are ideal targets for the Pats. Rosengarten/Guyton would have to flip to LT though, given they played more RT in college.

As for the defense, I’d expect perimeter CB to be the only position given any real attention during the draft.

Other notes from the Packers’ past draft should be kept in mind. They will add weapons for their next QB.

Whether it’s Round 2 or Round 6, expect Wolf to address the WR need in quantity over quality; especially with a class this deep. As bad as the Patriots have been drafting WRs early, they have had some decent hits on late-round/UDFAs such as Julian Edelman and Jakobi Meyers. Demario Douglas was solid as a rookie last year.

Three of the Packers’ nine-highest draft picks have been on defensive backs since 2018.

Lastly, the Packers are notorious for drafting players who “only” hit above certain thresholds in relative athletic score (RAS).

Fantasy Spin: If (when?) the Patriots trade for a veteran WR and draft a future LT in a deep class, how bad will the situation be then? Not as bad as all the Patriots players’ ADPs suggest. However, be warned that a rookie QB drafted by NE may not play a full allotment of games.

Back to top

Arizona Cardinals

Before the 2023 draft, Arizona hired Monti Ossenfort as their new general manager. Ossenfort spent his previous three seasons as the Titans’ director of player personnel from 2020-2022 after serving as a director of college football scouting with the New England Patriots from 2014-2019.

During Ossenfort’s tenure in Tennessee, the team spent high-end draft capital on OT Isaiah Wilson (29th overall), CB Kristian Fulton (61st overall), RB Darrynton Evans (93rd overall), CB Caleb Farley (22nd overall), OT Dillon Radunz (53rd overall), LB Monty Rice (100th overall), WR Treylon Burks (18th overall), CB Roger McCreary (35th overall), OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (69th overall), and QB Malik Willis (86th overall).

As you can see, he oversaw drafts involving many cornerbacks and offensive tackles at the top. He also drafted two players from Georgia with little success.

In his first draft as the lead man last season for Arizona, he was aggressive with trades. He also was not afraid to take shots at guys who fell due to injury concerns.

They took OT Paris Johnson sixth overall (another Ohio State tackle), EDGE BJ Ojulari (41st), CB Garrett Williams (72nd), WR Michael Wilson (94th) and OG Jon Gaines (122nd). Wilson and Williams fell in the draft because of injuries.

Again, there was a clear desire to select tackles and cornerbacks, which aligns with what happened in Tennessee.

Considering Mossenfort’s track record of drafting cornerbacks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team pull the trigger on a cornerback early in the draft with their surplus of Day 2 picks.

Especially when you consider his background with the Patriots organization, who are notorious for valuing coverage over pass rush. It’s also their No.1 need on the defensive side of the ball, specifically on the perimeter.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals traded down from 4 as part of a trade-up for a quarterback. Note they traded down in Ossenfort’s first draft, calling the shots for Arizona last season. Perhaps Arizona doesn’t stick at No. 4 and instead trades down if another team wants to move up for a QB.

And if there’s any GM that could go off script, it would be Ossenfort, given his roots stem from New England – notorious for making the “wrong” WR selections. N’Keal Harry is the most recent one that comes to mind. Ossenfort was also part of the Titan’s draft plans to select Treylon Burks in 2022.

Marvin Harrison Jr. over Malik Nabers as WR1 might not be a lock quite yet. Especially if the Cardinals trade down, that could make Rome Odunze their actual target. Similar to what they did last season when they traded down AND still got the guy they wanted anyway.

Odunze could be the desired target, given that his DeAndre Hopkins archetype is missing in this offense. Kyler Murray‘s best passing seasons in Arizona came after the team acquired Hopkins. All in all, Ossenfort’s philosophies align with exactly what the Cardinals’ need: WR, CB, OL, and it will likely be prioritized in that order.

Back to top

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Los Angeles Chargers

It’s a brand-new era in LA. New head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz (from Baltimore) are IN as the new decision-makers regarding personnel and shaping the roster heading into 2024.

Harbaugh was the head coach for the 49ers from 2011-2014. The first pick he made as the head coach was DE Aldon Smith at 7th overall.

The most high-end draft capital he invested was at safety (two first-rounders), followed by defensive ends. And maybe shocking to nobody, in every single draft, Harbaugh selected an RB inside the top four rounds, including twice in Round 2. LaMichael James and Carlos Hyde were both drafted in Round 2. James ran WILD against Harbaugh’s defense while he was at Stanford. Marcus Lattimore and Kendall Hunter were Round 4 picks. All these RBs entered the NFL with very decorated college profiles.

So, given the lack of elite talent in this year’s RB class, there’s real credence and evidence to the Chargers drafting an RB as early as 37th overall or at least at the top of the third round.

There are obvious ties in this RB class that Harbaugh would love to take. Michigan’s Blake Corum is a low-hanging fruit as a former Wolverine. At the right price, Corum would no doubt become a Charger. Additionally, the Chargers new RB coach, Kiel McDonald, is the former USC RB coach. Another connection with MarShawn Lloyd – although he does not enter this year’s class with as decorated an overall college RB profile as Corum. Missouri’s Cody Schrader was a finalist for the Doak Walker award in 2023 – awarded to college football’s best RB. Kentucky’s Ray Davis has the highest dominator rating in the class. All potential RB options for a run-heavy Chargers offense.

He only once drafted a strict pass-catcher in Round 1 – WR A.J. Jenkins. He was a total bust.

The OL he drafted were always after Round 3-plus. Interesting.

As for Hortiz’s influence from Baltimore (director of player personnel for Baltimore since 2019 under Eric DeCosta), we can look at what the Ravens have done historically. In his five drafts working alongside DeCosta, Baltimore spent the majority of their top picks (inside the first five rounds) on defensive linemen, wide receivers, offensive guards, running backs, and cornerbacks.

An overarching strategy we should see from the newest HC/GM combination of Harbaugh and Hortiz (from Baltimore) screams that they will have completely different values on the “non-premium” positions. Any talented player that falls based on position will undoubtedly be scooped up by the Chargers – whether they need him or not.

Therefore, it’s hardly far-fetched to envision Harbaugh following an unorthodox approach with a potential TE selection in the top 5. He loves tight ends.

Per PFF, only Iowa has targeted its tight ends more than Harbaugh’s Michigan teams among the entire FBS. Ergo, it’s an important position to Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy, and there’s no better prospect than Brock Bowers in this class. And if it’s not a pass-catcher in Round 1, Harbaugh will draft an OL piece that can further improve the run game. Although drafting a tackle this high would be somewhat uncharted waters, given it would be the first time he would select one in Round 1. Still, there’s no doubt he values OL highly. Unless this is truly the ultimate smoke screen.

It is still very possible that Harbaugh goes with the best WR/pass-catcher available, given the Ravens’ track record of drafting Round 1 WR/TE even in a “run-first” offense.

The Chargers are another team that desperately wants to trade down, so this is another spot where we could potentially see a team trade up for a QB. Harbaugh has done a great job of increasing the draft stock of his former QB, J.J. McCarthy, with hopes that will push down non-QB prospects to LA’s pick at five. If that’s his end game, he’s executing it to a tee, with QBs being mocked 1-2-3-4 across many publications.

This is truly the ultimate smoke screen (again). I can’t wait to see what the Chargers do in this year’s draft.

Fantasy Spin: The Gus Bus will not be driving alone in 2024. He will have additional rookie RB competition.

Back to top

New York Giants

Big Blue cleaned house two offseason ago, hiring Brian Daboll as head coach and Joe Schoen as general manager. Both guys spent their last several seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Management/ownership understood they needed to put Daniel Jones in a position to succeed in 2022 to identify him as their long-term answer at quarterback.

In 2022, it worked. Their road to the postseason started with a strong 2022 draft, which they deserved much praise for. They attacked the defensive line early-a strategy implemented by Bills GM Brandon Beane-with Kayvon Thibodeaux. They continued to follow Beane’s layout by doubling down on offensive linemen with Evan Neal and Joshua Ezeudu.

Beane set a standard for addressing needs with multiple assets rather than just one player. Schoen has picked up on this during the Giants’ rebuilding process.

In the 2023 draft, New York used their highest pick on CB Deonte Banks, followed by center John Michael Schmitz and WR Jalin Hyatt. It was a status quo draft for Beane, given that outside DL, the other remaining positions he has targeted most include running back (Eric Gray in Round 5), wide receiver, cornerback, and offensive line-exactly what he did in the 2023 draft.

However, WR remains an obvious need for this team, and they’ve not done enough in free agency to find a fix. They have been heavily connected to this year’s WR class (like last season), suggesting they are hyper-focused on finding a top-tier pass-catcher. And it aligns with Beane’s track record of investing draft capital into the position.

I’d be BEYOND shocked if they don’t take one of the “Big Three” WRs in this year’s draft unless they feel the OL is a bigger priority. It might come down to the WR/OL in Rounds 1 or 2 versus the OL/WR combination. Given that they seem high on Hyatt, I still strongly lean toward them going alpha WR in Round 1.

Note that they don’t have their original second-round pick after the Brian Burns trade. They have Seattle’s No. 2 at 47th overall, along with the 70th-overall pick. If it’s not O-line, I’d presume going back to cornerback/safety while adding any more pass-rush juice into the fold.

Also, don’t think they will stop adding WRs even after they take one at seventh overall. Beane doubles down at positions of need.

Potential targets in Rounds 2 and 3 include Max Melton, Devontez Walker, Jaden Hicks, Brenden Rice, Mohamed Kamara, Marshawn Kneeland and Marcellas Dial.

Fantasy Spin: No rookie WR will have an easier path to targets than the one that lands on the Giants in Round 1.

Back to top

Tennessee Titans

Jon Robinson was let go as the Titans’ GM in 2022 after serving in the role since the start of the 2016 season. The team replaced him with Ran Carthon, a former director of pro/player personnel with the 49ers (2017-2022) and Rams (2012-2016).

During his tenure with the 49ers, the team drafted a defensive player with their first selection in three of the last five drafts (when they had a Round 1 selection). In 2022, with no first-round pick, the 49ers took outside linebacker Drake Jackson 61st overall.

In his first draft at the helm last season for the Titans, Carthon addressed top team needs at premium positions with tackle Peter Skoronski and quarterback Will Levis. He also showcased forward-thinking with not only the Levis selection (Ryan Tannehill was in a contract year) but with RB Tyjae Spears, anticipating the departure of Derrick Henry (now with the Ravens).

It’s interesting to note that despite Carthon’s actions during the 2023 free agency period – signing multiple OL pieces – he still went OT in Round 1.

And as glaring as the cornerback position was for Carthon’s Titans last season, he drafted zero CBs. In fact, the Titans drafted zero defensive players in the 2023 NFL Draft. He opted to just address it in free agency with Chidobe Awuzie and L’Jarius Sneed the following season.

My main takeaway from looking back at Carthon’s tendencies is that you shouldn’t rule out in any capacity a WR selection at 7th overall even after the major splash signing of Calvin Ridley (who also reunites with new OC Nick Holz, the Jaguars pass-game coordinator in 2023).

His background with the 49ers doesn’t necessarily scream that OL is always the top priority, especially when you believe in the offensive scheme, which makes top linemen less of a priority.

From 2017-2022 with the 49ers, the team’s highest tackle was Mike McGlinchey at ninth overall. But they drafted three WRs inside the top 45 between Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

They’ve got two young tackles that Carthon could see developing under Bill Callahan, the new OL coach/guru. Meanwhile, DeAndre Hopkins is in a contract year. Of course, this can also be used for an OL piece, given that two starters-OG/OT Daniel Brunskill and Dillon Radunz-are free agents in 2025.

Remember when Carthon drafted a QB/RB a year ago with the incumbents in the final years of their deals? I rest my case.

The current odds for the Titans to draft a WR are listed at 20-1 on ESPN Bet. That’s long enough to take a shot, in my estimation.

This could be the Titans selecting the No. 1 rookie tight end Brock Bowers as an option at 7th overall, given the dire need for an upgrade at the position. The Titans have been looking at Jaheim Bell as a later tight end option, but it shows they are interested in the positon should Bowers be available.

Aside from the OL/WR debate, DL will be the next logical area to address. They didn’t do so last season, it’s a major need (lost Denico Autry) and Carthon’s bloodlines to the 49ers suggest they will be suckers for pass-rush juice. Note that they don’t have any Round 3 picks.

Fantasy Spin: Whatever happens in Round 1 – WR, OT, TE-the Titans are giving Will Levis everything he needs to succeed in Year 2. He might be the late-round quarterback du jour in 2024.

Back to top

Download the BettingPros App

Atlanta Falcons

GM Terry Fontenot spent 18 years with the New Orleans Saints serving in roles that included director of scouting and assistant general manager before becoming GM of the Atlanta Falcons at the start of 2021. It’s impossible to pinpoint precisely where Fontenot’s input on the roster weighed most heavily, so we have to look at his time spent with the Saints with a wide lens.

Those teams invested a lot of draft capital in WRs – especially big bodies. WR Drake London landing in Atlanta was one of the few picks I got right in 2022’s final mock draft.

Last season, I was right again with the team landing Bijan Robinson. They followed up the RB selection with OT, DE, and CB. Very on-brand for Fontenot from his time spent in New Orleans, where the positions that earned more attention in the draft included defensive backs, linebackers, and offensive tackles.

His 3-draft sample size with the Falcons can provide us with a better idea of the team’s approach entering Year 4 and the first in the post-Arthur Smith era.

Fontenot focused his first draft mostly on cornerbacks, defensive linemen, and offensive linemen. In his second draft, there was another attempt at addressing pass rush with more defensive linemen, followed by skill players (WR/QB/RB) and linebackers.

All in all, it seems pretty clear that it’s going to come down to CB or EDGE/DL with the eighth-overall selection.

After all, it’s been three straight seasons that the Falcons have drafted a skill position player within the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft. With defensive head coach Raheem Morris taking over, he might flip the script and likely look HARD at the highest-ranked defensive player on the board.

Morris did so as much in 2 of the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as their previous head coach, with selections of interior disruptors: Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn. In the other draft where they selected a QB first, the next highest pick was on a DT.

And as the Rams defensive coordinator this past season, LA’s defense ranked first in interior pass-rush win rate.

Simply put, aside from the QB selection in his first draft as an HC, every other selection Morris has made with the highest draft capital has been on a defensive lineman. Roy Miller, Brian Price, Kyle Moore and Da’Quan Bowers – were all drafted with some of the highest draft capital available to Morris.

It’s pretty overwhelming how hyper-focused Morris has been targeting the DL – specifically the interior – which puts some of my Falcons to draft a CB first and CBs Quinyon Mitchell/Terrion Arnold as the first defensive player off the board in doubt.

However, it further bolsters the bet on Texas DT Byron Murphy II potentially hearing his name called as the eighth-overall pick and potentially as the first defensive player off the board. That was one of my featured bets in my 2024 NFL Draft Prop Bet Card. The lines have dramatically shortened since I first placed the bet.

Either way, it will probably DL/EDGE and CB in the first two rounds, with OL/WR in the middle rounds.

Fantasy Spin: Expect defense in Round 1, so no major fantasy implications for the Falcons. If anything, perhaps a QB like Michael Penix or Spencer Rattler lands in Atlanta as a backup plan for Kirk Cousins off the Achilles injury.

Back to top

New York Jets

Jets GM Joe Douglas was hired in 2019, shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft. Douglas had input from 2020-2023 when the team primarily addressed needs.

Quarterback Zach Wilson, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, WR Elijah Moore, and RB Michael Carter all filled hole In 2022, the Jets earned an A+ draft grade from me while drafting three excellent first-round picks between CB Sauce Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson, and DE Jermaine Johnson. WR and EDGE were their two biggest needs, followed by the secondary/offensive line.

In 2023, the Jets came up just short of addressing the OL, and that had the worst outcome as a result. Aaron Rodgers was lost for the season, and the entire offense crumbled without any protection upfront. And that was despite 2 of their 3 picks being used on OL, after they selected edge rusher, Will McDonald IV, in the 1st round.

I’d assume the Jets plan to attack this year’s draft similarly: the best player available that fits a critical team need at value. Their current top needs include OL, WR, TE, and CB. And I don’t think the free-agent additions between two veteran tackles and WR Mike Williams will change the top two needs between OL and WR.

Those veteran signings are band-aid fixes. All one-year deals for older players with injury track records. It’s insurance.

Rumor has it that GM Joe Douglas already has an affinity for the rookie Oregon State tackle. This lines up with Douglas’ recent tendencies to draft players from Power Five schools. Taliese Fuaga was PFF’s second-highest graded tackle in 2023 lining up as the team’s starting right tackle the past two seasons.

The Jets 2020 draft featured the top five selections all from Power Five schools. 2021 followed suit, except for Wilson heralding from BYU. Although BYU joined the Big 12 – and the Power Five – in 2022. In 2022, all but one of their draft picks came from a Power Five school. Last season, their top 4 picks were all from Power Five schools. The non-Power Five prospects – Zaire Barnes, Zack Kuntz – did not play as rookies.

I also have an inkling they might favor players with elite athletic testing numbers as they go further in the draft as well. Kuntz was that GUY among tight ends last season, testing like a freak at the NFL Combine. The Jets took notice of that performance.

Based on Douglas’ track record, the names to keep tabs on landing with Gang Green: Theo Johnson, Jarrian Jones, AD Mitchell, Brian Thomas Jr., Xavier Legette, Devontez Walker, Jermaine Burton, Taliese Fuaga, Amarius Mims, Olu Fashanu and Troy Fautanu.

Note that the Jets don’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft.

Fantasy Spin: Buy Jets. O-Line will be lightyears ahead of where it was last season. Is Breece Hall the fantasy RB1? You bet.

Back to top

Minnesota Vikings

Ex-Vikings GM Rick Spielman’s draft tendencies included targeting running backs, cornerbacks and tackles with premium picks. But he also never drafted a defensive end with a first- or second-round pick.

Therefore, then-new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (KAM) seemed primed to flip the script on avoiding edge rushers/defensive linemen with high-end draft capital with his roots tied to the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. He was part of the teams that drafted Solomon Thomas, Nick Bosa, and Arik Armstead in the first round.

However, that turned out to not be the case, with Adofo-Mensah drafting back-to-back defensive backs (Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth) plus a guard (Ed Ingram) with his first three selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. In the 2023 NFL Draft, KAM went WR in Round 1 (Jordan Addison) and double-dipped into the secondary again with back-to-back CB selections.

To some extent, the Vikings GM followed Spielman’s merits of investing in defensive backs and the offensive line. The Browns drafted Greg Newsome, Grant Delpit, and Jedrick Wills with their last top draft picks over the last two seasons KAM was in Cleveland. When KAM was with the 49ers and they weren’t drafting defensive linemen, they were selecting a mix of defensive backs and OL talents like Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, and Mike McGlinchey.

Linebacker was also a very popular position in Rounds 3 and 4. The Vikings drafted LB Brian Asamoah from Oklahoma 66th overall in 2022.

Because Minnesota has gone so defensive back-heavy the past two seasons, I’d imagine they focus more on the defensive pass rush first, as the 49ers faithful has always traditionally done. That along with help across the OL.

But more DBs wouldn’t be that shocking, given it’s still a need even after the last two drafts. CB Byron Murphy is entering the last year of his contract. They drafted two CBs last season, with Mekhi Blackmon playing well enough to be a feasible piece in 2024. Still, former Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. has barely played over the last 2 seasons. Akayleb Evans should not be viewed as a legitimate stater after finishing as the team’s worst CB in 2023. The Vikings could use an improved slot CB/S considering both Murphy and Josh Metellus were bad defending the inside in 2023.

That’s of course after they address the QB position in the draft.

I have learned from studying the tendencies of Adofo-Mensah’s drafts as GM including his willingness to have no fear of targeting players that come with injury red flags at a suppressed price. He also apparently loves PFF, so it is something to keep in the back of your mind as we link certain players to the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft. He also knows the value of quantity over quality when it comes to the NFL Draft, which I envision him taking advantage of with only two picks inside the top 100 selections. They might draft one player (QB) in the first 100 picks (they have pick 108) before it’s all said and done.

Given the analytics background, I am not surprised that Minnesota has been connected to quarterbacks Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy, both of whom are 21 years old. Age-adjusted production stands out in an analytical analysis. My best guess is that they prefer Maye of the two, given that the UNC passer was PFF’s highest-graded QB in his first year as a 20-year-old starter. Why do you think among all the free-agent QBs, they signed Sam Darnold? He’s 26 years old despite entering his 7th NFL season. He also has a relationship with Josh McCown, who he was teammates with during his rookie season in 2018 with the New York Jets.

Fantasy Spin: Reality needs to set in that the Vikings will likely be led by Sam Darnold or a rookie QB in 2024. Adjust expectations and rankings accordingly.

Back to top

Denver Broncos

George Paton agreed to a six-year deal as the new Broncos general manager during the 2021 offseason. Before landing in the Mile High City, Paton spent the past nine years working in Minnesota as Rick Spielman’s assistant general manager.

It’s an interesting wrinkle that KAM essentially replaced Paton in Minnesota, and now the two franchises are duking it out for the 4th QB in this year’s draft with neither in possession of a top-three selection.

The main trends I found from past Vikings drafts with Paton on staff involve running backs, cornerbacks, and tackles. The Vikings have had no issue investing Day 2 capital into the RB position (Jerick McKinnon, Dalvin Cook, and Alexander Mattison).

The Broncos followed suit in Paton’s first draft with the team after selecting Javonte Williams in the second round (35th overall). The Broncos were also loaded at cornerback in 2021 but still drafted Patrick Surtain II anyway, along with three other defensive backs. In 2022, they selected two defensive backs in Rounds 4 and 5. In 2023, they again traded up to draft a CB (Riley Moss), after trading up to select WR Marvin Mims.

The one position they didn’t address from 2021 to 2023 is offensive tackle. Tackle Garrett Bolles is in the final year of his deal.

Spielman was never one to invest in the defensive line/EDGE early, but Paton bucked that trend by selecting Nik Bonitto in Round 2 in 2022. That signals Paton’s willingness to add on the defensive front – a critical area where the team needs to improve. Denver needs more pass rush after finishing with the 4th-worst pressure rate in 2023. Their defense was also atrocious against the run – see 70-burger in Miami – and IDL Mike Purcell is a free agent. Fellow IDL D.J. Jones will be a free agent in 2025.

But I am burying the lede when it comes to Paton’s actual input since Sean Payton joined the Broncos last season. Denver sold out to get Payton, and he has the final say. That was apparent last year when they traded up twice to target specific players. Payton knows who his guys are, and will do what it takes to get them. This should be interesting, given they don’t have any second-round picks this year to work with. They pick 12th and 76th.

Before last year’s draft, the expectation was Payton would target defensive backs, linebackers, wide receivers and tackles based on his tenure in New Orleans. He drafted those first three positions with his first three picks.

Simply put, offensive tackle is firmly in play at 12th overall, if the QB they want isn’t available. And drafting a Round 1 wide receiver shouldn’t be overlooked given the current lack of elite talent in the current Broncos receiver room.

Quarterback Bo Nix is rumored to be viewed very highly by Payton. In an ideal world, the Broncos trade back to collect picks and scoop up a quarterback later in Round 1 or early in Round 2, similar to what we have seen in recent years with Will Levis, Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and Drew Lock.

Denver’s a bit of a wildcard if they don’t draft a QB in Round 1, with varying options available. Could just come down to BPA between OT, WR and CB. And that BPA will be hand-picked by the HC.

If Brock Bowers is there at 12 as well, I’d imagine he would certainly be the selection as the best available pure pass-catcher. Or it could be a CB between Terrion Arnold (another Alabama CB) and Quinyon Mitchell.

Fantasy Spin: Reality needs to set in that the Broncos will likely be led by Jarrett Stidham or a rookie QB in 2024. It’s best to not overly invest in this offense, with them not in a favorable position to immediately upgrade the quarterback position. Also, candidates to add another WR to make targets tougher to come by. Adjust expectations and rankings accordingly.

Back to top

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Las Vegas Raiders

Tom Telesco was the Chargers’ general manager since 2013 before being hired as the new Raiders GM in 2024. He struck gold by drafting Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert in 2020 and Rashawn Slater in 2021, but the roster still had too many holes that led to his firing in LA.

But he was not on the open market for long, getting quickly scooped up by the AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders.

During his stint with the Chargers, Telesco has drafted eight offensive linemen in the top three rounds – the most of any position.

That includes 2022’s first-rounder from Boston College, Zion Johnson. Even though they seem relatively set across their offensive line post-free agency – right guard and right tackle specifically – Telesco knows how important depth is upfront. With OL one of the team’s prominent needs (other than QB), I’d presume that’s how they approach Round 1.

After that, Telesco invested many picks in linebackers (two more last season), wide receivers (Quentin Johnston in Round 1), and running backs. Not necessarily all high-end capital, but a plethora of dart throws. And the WR fit more of a “big-bodied” archetype, rather than smaller speed threats.

They drafted running back Isaiah Spiller in 2022 in the fourth round, and they were the betting favorites at some sportsbooks to land Bijan Robinson at points during last year’s offseason, amid the Austin Ekeler trade rumors.

So even though Zamir White is slated to be the RB1 in this backfield, the Raiders are likely not done adding to the backfield. White is the current “frontrunner” making it his job to lose to either Alexander Mattison (not likely) or another plucky rookie RB.

And when it comes to additional WR depth, I wouldn’t rule out the Raiders selecting either Ricky Pearsall or Johnny Wilson. Both played under Pierce (and Marvin Lewis, the Raiders’ new assistant HC) at Arizona State in the earlier portions of their college careers.

Fantasy Spin: Don’t go victory-lapping Zamir White RB1 szn just yet.

Back to top

New Orleans Saints

Longtime Saints GM Mickey Loomis has had his hands on the team’s roster dating back to 2002. He picked up an additional title as Executive Vice President in 2013, so that’s an appropriate spot to reference his drafting history.

Since then, the positions he’s invested the most in with Day 1 or 2 draft picks include defensive backs, linebackers, wide receivers, and tackles.

In 2022, the Saints followed a very “chalk” draft with their top two selections of WR Chris Olave and OT Trevor Penning – just like the majority of mock drafts projected.

In 2023, they went right after an obvious need across the DL by selecting DT Bryan Bresee and Isaiah Foskey with their first two picks.

Considering the OT position is an obvious need for the 2024 Saints, I don’t think we need to overthink this one at 14th overall.

After that, I’d expect WR, CB based on Loomis’ track record. Edge is also in play given the Chase Young deal is only for one season.

Note that the Saints only have two picks inside the top 45. Another team that could trade down to allocate more selections.

Fantasy Spin: Anticipate another WR added to the fold.

Back to top

Indianapolis Colts

Hired in 2017, Chris Ballard was once regarded as one of the league’s sharpest executives because of his exemplary drafting and roster-building approach. But the shine has worn off with the team’s inability to find a long-term answer at the quarterback position. The franchise QB seems to be solved with the selection of Anthony Richardson, although that remains to be seen after an injury-shortened rookie campaign.

Still, Ballard has always understood the harmony required when debating a player’s fit versus the best player available.

For that reason, I expect Ballard to address the team’s flagrant lack of pass rush with an edge defender in the 2024 NFL Draft after forging the position in the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts.

Pass rush efficiency needs a major boost alongside rush defense on the DL. Grover Stewart will return after signing a three-year deal worth $39 million. It’s a big move as the Colts’ run defense took a major hit when he missed time last season. Raekwon Davis was another DL body added to shore up the Colts’ run defense.

DeForest Buckner and former first-rounder Kwity Paye are also entering the final years of their contracts. Tyquan Lewis signed a two-year deal worth $12 million. He was the team’s second-highest-graded pass rusher. Indianapolis cannot rest on its sack numbers (5th-most) as a reason to stay stagnant at pass rush. They boasted the 11th-lowest pressure rate in 2023. If they don’t add any more pass rushers, they will need to get more from second-year player Adetomiwa Adebawore.

Before 2022, Ballard has drafted pass rushers with Day 2 picks in every prior draft except for 2020.

I’d also project the Colts to look at a top-tier cornerback. They drafted Julius Brents last season (one of two CBs selected) and re-signed Kenny Moore. Still, they need to shore up the remaining back end.

Indianapolis has a track record – no pun intended – of selecting athletic players with ideal size and speed.

Keep RAS players like Jarrian Jones, Xavier Worthy, Marshawn Kneeland, Troy Franklin, Braden Fiske, AD Mitchell, Brian Thomas Jr. and Xavier Leggette on the Colts’ short list of potential targets.

And it’s the fact – combined with Ballard’s willingness to go BPA over need – that has me bullish that Indy won’t hesitate to add another pass-catcher with high-end draft capital. Whether that be at a position of need with a tight end, like Brock Bowers, or a wide receiver.

Note that when Michael Pittman Jr. went down last season, the Colts didn’t have many other answers. And it’s not for a lack of effort. They have drafted a WR in the first three rounds in four of their last five drafts.

I feel like a D.J. Chark-type player would be perfect in this offense to pair alongside Pittman and Downs. The Colts have plenty of options in this draft to find that guy.

And as a final note, all NFL GMs (perhaps some more than others) are going to value kick return and special teams ability with the kickoff rules being changed. If anything, we will see a special teams skill set used as a tiebreaker and a reason to rank one player over another.

Fantasy Spin: Anticipate another WR/TE added to the fold.

Back to top

Seattle Seahawks

Since 2010, Seattle has spent the majority of its draft picks inside the top four rounds on wide receivers, offensive linemen (specifically interior), and defensive linemen.

Last season they drafted a WR in Round 1, but they also drafted a CB – which was somewhat shocking to the mock draft community. They opted to push the DL/EDGE position into Round 2.

Expect Seattle to avoid players with major red flags. They didn’t take Jalen Carter last season despite many presuming Seattle wouldn’t pass on his talent. John Schneider drafted Malik McDowell in the second round (35th overall) back in 2017 despite character issues as a prospect. McDowell never played a down for Seattle. And since then, Seattle hasn’t drafted players highly with major red flags, opting for players with strong character to build their roster.

This season, Mike Macdonald is IN as the new head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, and there’s certainly credence to his defensive background influencing the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Last year’s defense struggled – specifically with rookie edge rusher and last year’s second-rounder, Derick Hall. They need to improve the pass rush across the defensive line in 2024. Their run defense was also a major liability.

DL/EDGE matches what the Seahawks need, which makes it easier to predict what they will do with their top pick. However, the OL position also needs help.

Seattle got wrecked by injuries a season ago. And the entire starting interior OL – Damien Lewis, Phil Haynes and Evan Brown – is hitting free agency. Lewis signed with the Panthers and Brown with the Cardinals. Haynes could easily be re-signed given he is still on the market.

Rookie Anthony Bradford was forced to start last year but was horrible in 12 games played. Olusegun Oluwatimi was drafted as a potential center replacement last season and was solid in his four games played as a rookie. They also signed center Nick Harris, who could kick over to guard.

Charles Cross can man the LT spot, but the Seahawks need Abraham Lucas to get healthy at RT. Without Lucas, the Seahawks had no answers at RT all year. They got ahead of this in free agency by signing George Fant, who started at RT for the Texans in 2023.

Even after the first wave of free agency, the Seahawks are spending the least amount of money on their offensive line. And they have zero 2nd-round picks because of the Leonard Williams trade.

After drafting boundary players (CB/WR) in Pete Carroll’s last year as the HC, look for Seattle to improve the trenches under their new head coach.

Macdonald’s bloodlines come from Baltimore where those teams have traditionally favored defensive linemen, offensive guards, wide receivers, running backs, and cornerbacks.

So, although it might be EARLY for the Seahawks to draft a guard at 16, all signs point to a run-mauler upgrade on the OL clearly in play for Seattle. Sixteenth overall might not be too early for Duke’s Graham Barton or Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Note some of the top tackles in this year’s draft that have interior OL ability include Troy Fautanu and JC Latham.

Macdonald also spent the 2021 season as Michigan’s DC, so there’s a connection with some draft-eligible Wolverines we should keep in mind: DT Kris Jenkins, CB Mike Sainristil, LB Junior Colson, OG Zak Zinter, TE Erik All (former Wolverine), EDGE Braiden McGregor, EDGE Jaylen Harrell and LB Michael Barrett.

Fantasy Spin: Improved OL will be GREAT for Geno Smith and his flurry of weapons.

Back to top

Download the BettingPros App

Jacksonville Jaguars

In 2021, the writing was on the wall that the Jaguars were primed to draft a running back. Trent Baalke spent 2011-2016 with the San Francisco 49ers and drafted a running back in every single draft. Five of the seven RBs were taken in Round 4 or earlier.

It was not shocking to see the team select Travis Etienne Jr. in the first round three years ago. And the streak of drafting RB continued last season when the team selected Tank Bigsby in the third round.

I doubt they will draft another RB too high in this year’s draft. Etienne is the entrenched starter on a rookie deal, and Bigsby and D’Ernest Johnson round out a solid RB room.

However, don’t rule them out of the RB conversation entirely. Their depth was sound last year before the Bigsby selection, as Baalke just cannot resist. Note that they met with Bigsby during the pre-draft process before they selected him.

The other major trend I noticed was Baalke’s targeting of defensive backs. He used a third-round pick or better on a safety/cornerback in six of eight drafts. In 2021, the Jags drafted cornerback Tyson Campbell in Round 2 and defensive back Andre Cisco in Round 3. However, they did not draft any defensive backs until Round 5 last season. They did, however, get a STEAL with safety Antonio Johnson. 68th percentile arm length as well.

Baalke owns a strong reputation and a tangible drafting record of gravitating toward players with long arms.

Long-armed players to keep tabs on Jacksonville targeting include OT Patrick Paul, OT Amarius Mims, OT JC Latham, S Jaylon Carlies, EDGE Darius Robinson, EDGE Marshawn Kneeland, CB Ryan Watts, OT Blake Fisher, OT Kingsley Suamataia, OT Tyler Guyton, CB Cam Hart, CB Max Melton, CB T.J. Tampa, WR Devontez Walker

Look for the Jags to select a long-armed CB or OL with their first pick if they do not go with a WR. The only two WRs that Baalke has drafted with high capital are A.J. Jenkins and Laviska Shenault. 0-for-2. I feel pretty strongly that Baalke is going to target a WR with a high RAS score or one that can create yards after the catch. Troy Franklin, Xavier Legette, Brian Thomas Jr. and AD Mitchell fit the build.

Fantasy Spin: I wouldn’t be overly concerned about any additional draft picks nuking the likes of Christian Kirk, Evan Engram or Travis Etienne Jr.

Back to top

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals’ director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, has been running the show as the team’s de facto general manager since 2013. Over that time, he’s been no stranger to investing high-end draft capital into offensive linemen. Since 2015, the Bengals have drafted five offensive linemen (Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, Billy Price, Jonah Williams, and Jackson Carman) with first-or second-round picks.

However, they’ve twice selected a wide receiver in the first round (John Ross and Ja’Marr Chase). Their other recent highly drafted WRs have been second-rounders (Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins).

Bolstering OL and WR is something the Bengals are not shy about doing as they look to get back into Super Bowl contention, even if they appear set at each position post-free agency.

They tagged Higgins and signed Trent Brown in free agency. But neither are long-term answers. They need to acquire a cheap player in this year’s draft at one of those premium positions.

The last time the debate was between OL vs WR, WR came out victorious. And I’d bet these Bengals don’t change their stripes when it comes to this decision in 2023.

Tobin drafted John Ross after he broke the 40-yard dash record at the NFL combine in 2017. History could repeat itself if they draft Xavier Worthy after he broke the all-time 40-yard dash record time at the NFL Combine.

Still, the strong track record of OL picks does support the rationale that they could ultimately go in that direction, given the long-term need for the position.

In 2022, the Bengals went heavy on secondary assets-Daxton Hill, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Tycen Anderson-and Tobin has drafted two cornerbacks in the first round before (William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard). Last year, CB was a priority with the second-round selection of D.J. Turner. That was after they took EDGE Myles Murphy in Round 1.

Given all the resources thrown at defense last season, the offense should be at the forefront of the Bengals’ 2024 draft plans.

In Rounds 3 and 4, I’d keep an eye out for the Bengals to target linebackers. They’ve drafted a linebacker in the third round for seven consecutive seasons – until the streak broke in 2022.

Tobin has also shown a willingness to spend on tight ends in the draft. Most notably Tyler Eifert (Round 1), Tyler Kroft (Round 3), and Drew Sample (Round 2) are among the Bengals’ most recent picks at the position. So, although they added Mike Gesicki, Tanner Hudson and Sample in free agency, I wouldn’t put it past them to add another TE for depth.

As for the fantasy folks out there, here is what we can expect from this backfield: a rookie RB added to the fold alongside Chase Brown and Zack Moss. In the last 11 drafts, the Bengals have drafted an RB in seven of them. It’s been all Day 3 picks in more recent years (since they drafted Joe Mixon in Round 2), but it’s clear they like additional bodies at RB.

The Bengals drafted Mixon in Round 2 when they had both Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill on their roster already.

Bengals RBs drafted since 2013: Giovani Bernard (2nd), Jeremy Hill (2nd), two-year gap, Joe Mixon (2nd), Mark Walton (4th), Trayveon Williams (6th), N/A, Chris Evans (6th), N/A, Chase Brown (5th).

A rookie RB to potentially peg to the Bengals? Jonathon Brooks. Coming off a torn ACL, it’s more of a long-term bet. But Cincy knows they can probably get him at a discount, similar to how they acquired Mixon with his off-field issues at Oklahoma. They’ve met with Brooks during the pre-draft process along with Blake Corum, Will Shipley and Ray Davis.

Another interesting coaching note: Jordan Salkin is the Bengals’ new offensive assistant. He spent last season as an offensive analyst at the University of Oregon. Don’t be shocked to see some former Ducks become Bengals in 2023, such as Troy Franklin and Bucky Irving.

Fantasy Spin: The 2024 Bengals backfield: Zack Moss, Chase Brown, (insert Day 2 rookie RB).

Back to top

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have not had a first-round selection in the past seven seasons, but that will change in 2024.

Based on what Les Snead has done since becoming the GM in 2012, I think they’ll add more talent to their secondary.

The Rams skated through last season with almost zero investment in their defense. No team had less money invested in its secondary than the Rams (or on defense overall). Finishing 21st in pass defense DVOA with a no-name secondary unit is impressive, but there’s obvious room for growth-32nd in PFF coverage grade.

They have drafted more defensive backs in the first three rounds than any other position. In 2022, they drafted two cornerbacks and a safety with three of their first five selections. After completely foregoing any defensive back in last year’s draft, their draft strategy should normalize with secondary options in 2024.

I’d imagine they also focus on a cornerback who can tackle. The CB they selected late last season – Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson – was a sure tackler out of TCU. They also don’t seem to mind undersized CBs, with picks like Derion Kendrick, Cobie Durant and Robert Rochell in the last few couple drafts.

Among this year’s top CB class, Terrion Arnold, Cooper DeJean, Ennis Rakestraw Jr. have strengths as both run defenders and as tacklers.

Clemson’s Nate Wiggins is undersized, so it will be interesting to see if the Rams overlook that to take advantage of his athleticism and coverage abilities.

They then need to backfill their roster in the draft with defensive tackle/EDGE, OL, safety and WR.

It’s worth noting that the Rams also heavily drafted running back, wide receiver, and tackle. They drafted RB Kyren Williams in the fifth round of the 2022 season and Zach Evans in the sixth round of 2023.

Fantasy Spin: In an RB draft filled with values that will be available on Day 3, we should expect a big-body to land in Los Angeles, even if it’s with low draft capital. They met with Audric Estime – another former Notre Dame RB who runs a slow 40-yard dash.

Back to top

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers’ organization is well known for drafting WRs that seemingly outperform their draft-day position. During Kevin Colbert’s tenure from 2010 to 2022, they drafted the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Chase Claypool, and Calvin Austin III outside the first round.

And oftentimes, it was not a position of need. That’s not the case in 2023, with the Steelers needing additional WR depth after trading away Diontae Johnson.

The Steelers have drafted a total of 11 WRs inside the top four rounds over that time – the most of any position. I do not doubt that the Steelers have an effective scouting system that works when identifying WR prospects, but the sheer volume of the receivers they draft increases their odds. Don’t think Pittsburgh won’t take a WR they like in Rounds 1-4. Especially with four top-100 picks.

Note that even though they didn’t draft a WR last season, they did their due diligence by meeting all the top wideouts. This draft season, they have met with Ricky Pearsall, Malachi Corley, Ladd McConkey, Roman Wilson, Brian Thomas Jr., Keon Coleman, Jalen McMillan, Troy Franklin, Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Leggette

Given how many Georgia Bulldogs the Steelers have drafted the last two seasons (three inside the top three rounds), McConkey sure checks the boxes of a future Steeler.

The next three most popular selections by Colbert’s Steelers are linebacker, defensive back, and offensive line.

The O-line sticks out the most because it’s been a hot second since Pittsburgh last drafted an offensive lineman in the top two rounds (2012). In 2021, they failed to add anyone until Round 3. In 2022, they didn’t draft any offensive linemen. Colbert routinely passed on the position because they’ve had such a great line in recent years.

But after he stepped down after the 2022 draft, Omar Khan immediately stepped in and drafted an OL in Round 1 (Broderick Jones).

Khan skipping WR last season in the draft was peculiar, but it came with the caveat that he was the first Steelers GM to invest in OL talent from the get-go. Everything else was pretty spot on with additional defensive needs, but even Khan recognizes the problem with the Steelers in 2024 is not defensive-related. It’s about the offense. No team is spending less money on offense than the Steelers. It would behoove Pittsburgh to invest everything into offense, given no team is spending more on defense than the Steel Curtain.

They could easily take another tackle or OL piece. They’ve met with J.C. Latham, Graham Barton, Amarius Mims, Troy Fautanu and Taliese Fuaga.

If they add to the defense, I’d presume it’s more secondary and DL pieces.

Final point: The Steelers don’t try to hide the players they are interested in. Whether it’s in free agency or the NFL Draft, predicting who Mike Tomlin likes has not been a difficult task. Again, they met with Jones last season before they took him in the first round. Joey Porter Jr. was the son of an all-time Steeler great, and they took him with the first pick of the second round in 2023.

Fantasy Spin: It is not in the Steelers’ DNA to draft a WR in Round 1. Expect another OL upgrade to help their run game lead their offense in 2024.

Back to top

Miami Dolphins

Chris Grier took over as the Miami Dolphins general manager in 2016 after serving as the team’s Director of College Scouting for nine years. He’s partially responsible for the franchise’s upward trajectory, as the selection of tackle Laremy Tunsil in the 2016 NFL Draft has reaped major benefits.

However, a tampering scandal involving Tom Brady left the Dolphins without a first-round pick last season. This season, they have a first-round pick but have no third or fourth-round picks.

Some interesting nuggets from tracking Grier’s draft history reveal that he has drafted more running backs (Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage, De’Von Achane) and tight ends (Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Hunter Long) than wide receivers in the first four rounds (Jaylen Waddle, Leonte Carroo, and Erik Ezukanma). Before Waddle’s selection in 2021, Gesicki was his highest-drafted pass catcher as a second-round selection in 2018. Last season, they drafted a WR-TE convert player in Stanford’s Elijah Higgins.

As for the running backs, the team’s reliance on analytics and track record suggests to me that they won’t end up using any worthwhile picks on a runner. After all, they re-signed two capable backs between Raheem Mostert (extended to two years) and Jeff Wilson Jr. to extremely cost-effective deals. However, I felt the same way last season, and they still drafted Achane (albeit in Round 3).

Still, the track record suggests Miami won’t add another RB until at least Day 3, with Wilson on an expiring deal. Mostert signed a new $9M contract extension with Miami this offseason. Injuries also hit this backfield hard in 2023.

Recall, that they “needed” a running back in 2021 and drafted Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Entering the 2016 Draft (Grier’s first as GM), they had just lost leading rusher Lamar Miller. They addressed the position in that draft by adding Kenyan Drake in the third round (73rd overall). The fifth-round pick from the previous year, Jay Ajayi, rushed for 1,272 yards to Drake’s 179 the following season.

If any NFL team knows that “RBs don’t matter”, it’s the numbers-driven Dolphins. Hell, they snagged Mostert off the scrap heap and saw him score 21 TDs.

The Dolphins haven’t drafted a running back in the top 50 since taking Ronnie Brown second overall. The early 2000s were wild.

It’s more likely than not it will be the Wilson/Mostert/Achane show with another rookie body added with one of the Dolphins’ Day 3 picks. Especially given the big sizes of some of the RBs in this class. With limited draft capital, they are better off taking a stab across the offensive line (tackle).

Grier has selected a tackle in the first round twice since 2016.

The current OL is a big concern, and they didn’t have any salary cap space to work with to mitigate the losses. They only have two draft picks inside the top 150.

No team is spending less across the DL than the Miami Dolphins. But Grier has shown a willingness to draft edge/DL high. In the last 5 drafts when Miami had a first-round pick, they drafted a DL/EDGE piece in 3 of those drafts. 4 of those drafts included a DL/EDGE in Rounds 1 or 2.

Miami has met with Laiatu Latu, Bralen Trice and Jared Verse.

Grier has also drafted three different tight ends in the top four rounds since 2018. Both positions are offensive needs for Miami.

They liked last year’s tight end class but did not pull the trigger. Grier and HC Mike McDaniel met with TE Ja’Tavion Sanders at the Texas pro day. They showed up specifically for him.

Fantasy Spin: Another big-bodied RB could pose problems for last year’s TDs from Raheem Mostert to disappear. The OL could be a major problem for this offense. And tight end Jonnu Smith probably will be in another dreaded committee.

Back to top

Philadelphia Eagles

Howie Roseman is no stranger to selecting wide receivers early on, having selected one in the top two rounds over the last five seasons, two of which have been first-round picks. WR is firmly in play with one of the Eagles’ later-round picks, given that DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell are duking it out for No. 3 WR duties. They have three picks inside the top 100 in a rich WR class.

With their other picks, the Eagles are a prime candidate to go with a cornerback. Their defense regressed in a major way in 2023, especially at cornerback, with their veteran starters playing way past their prime. They desperately need to rehaul their secondary entirely between cornerback and safety.

Bradley Roby (32) is a free agent. They traded for safety Kevin Byard last season (who they just released), despite one more year in his deal. Slot cornerback Avonte Maddox will be released. They signed Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to fill the void at safety. They drafted safety Syndey Brown last season in the 3rd round. They also drafted former Georgia CB Kelee Ringo, who turned it on down the stretch when the Eagles got hit with CB injuries.

But this team loves to invest high-end draft picks into their OL more than any other position. And that makes OL over CB potentially the move Roseman makes, given he has never drafted a cornerback or safety in Round 1 since becoming the GM in 2010.

Since 2019, Roseman has drafted an offensive lineman in the first four rounds of every draft, three of which have been second-round selections or higher. Last year, it was Tyler Steen at the top of the third round.

And when in doubt, the Eagles usually just draft a player from Georgia. They drafted three former Bulldogs last season.

Amarius Mims was Georgia’s starting RT the last two seasons, although he missed time with injuries in 2023. But in the seven games he did play – he allowed just one pressure. The guy is an absolute mammoth, measuring 6-foot-7 at 340 pounds. Jason Kelce retired, but the Eagles were ahead of that happening when they drafted Cam Jurgens and Steen in back-to-back drafts. Sua Opeta (Buccaneers) and Jack Driscoll (Dolphins) are both gone, testing the depth of the Eagles’ IOL. Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger at age 34.

If not Mims, Tyler Guyton is another logical target. The Oklahoma product posted the second-lowest blown block percentage in the OT class in 2023. And he is Johnson’s protege.

Fantasy Spin: Eagles should rebound on offense with more OL and WRs additions made. And if the secondary isn’t fixed, we could see a fun shootout team in the making.

Back to top

Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones has been in charge since 1989, but we won’t go that far back with the game of football changing so dramatically over the past decade.

Since 2010, the Cowboys have drafted four cornerbacks (two first-rounders and three second-rounders) with meaningful draft capital: Trevon Diggs, Chidobe Awuzie, Byron Jones, Morris Claiborne, and Kelvin Joseph.

Last year’s draft was abnormal with a DT, TE and LB rounding out Dallas’ first three picks. They didn’t address any major team needs. In 2022, they went OT, EDGE and WR with their first three picks.

Considering the team’s current top needs – OT, IOL, WR, CB, S, LB – they can approach the 2024 NFL Draft to fill major team needs after failing to do so in free agency. They were hamstrung by the impending Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons and Dak Prescott contracts.

Again, Jones is no stranger to investing high draft capital into defensive backs, so a cornerback is essential to a defense that replaced Dan Quinn with Mike Zimmer as DC this offseason. Trevon Diggs is returning from a torn ACL injury. Stephon Gilmore is A free agent. Jourdan Lewis was re-signed to a one-year contract. Lewis was the primary nickel back and is coming off a horrible season covering from the slot.

Zimmer drafted a TON of CBs while he was the HC in Minnesota. He likes tough aggressive CBs. Zimmer drafted Mike Hughes in 2018, and his closest comparable per Mockdraftable.com is Georgia’s CB Kamari Lassiter. The Cowboys have met with Lassiter during the pre-draft process in addition to T.J. Tampa and Nate Wiggins.

Other CBs that could fit Zimmer’s style include Auburn’s Nehemiah Pritchett (comps to Trae Waynes), Penn State’s Johnny Dixon and Michigan’s Mike Sainristil.

After defensive backs, it’s been a lot of pass rushers, offensive linemen, and wide receivers that Big D has targeted in recent drafts with draft capital in the first three rounds.

Offensive tackle is a glaring issue for Big D. Tyron Smith, age 33, signed with the Jets in free agency. Terence Steele is penciled in as the other starting tackle, but he finished as a bottom-15 pass blocker in 2023. He allowed more QB hits than any other tackle.

Dallas could also go the “sexy” route in the NFL Draft and give Prescott another WR weapon. WR is still a major area of need, given that there’s virtually no reliable depth behind CeeDee Lamb. Brandin Cooks is entering the last year of his deal. Michael Gallup has already been released as a salary cap casualty. Jalen Tolbert has shown nothing two years into his NFL career. Martavis Bryant? Perhaps a sign of the “type” WR they want to draft such as 6-foot-4, 200-plus pounds and 4.4 wheels.

Still, I think they might make a “boring” selection with an OT like Jordan Morgan, a three-year starter at Arizona State with 2,400 snaps under his belt as a left tackle. Or they could also lean on second-year tackle Asim Richards, last year’s 5th-rounder. He did not play as a rookie. But don’t be surprised if he’s in the offensive line rotation in 2024 and beyond.

They have met with the majority of the top OL prospects including Morgan, Graham Barton, Troy Fautanu, Taliese Fuaga, Tyler Guyton, J.C. Latham and Amarius Mims.

As for the elephant in the room, Dallas has to add an RB in this year’s draft. Jones has spent high draft capital on RBs in the past, although it’s been a while since he has selected a rusher earlier than Day 3. He took Deuce Vaughn last season in Round 6. In 2019, they drafted Tony Pollard in Round 4. It was back in 2016 when they took Ezekiel Elliott in the first round. You have to go back to 2011 to the last time the Cowboys selected a Day 2 RB, with DeMarco Murray. Two of Murray’s closest comparisons in this class include Trey Benson and Jaylen Wright.

In addition to meeting with Benson and Wright, Dallas has met with Braelon Allen, Ray Davis, Audric Estime, Jonathon Brooks and Tyrone Tracy. Dallas is one of the few teams that has met with Tracy. Even if they reunite with Zeke, a rookie RB will also be added into the RB room.

From 2018-2020 the Seattle OC and current Cowboys OC, Brian Schottenheimer, coached RBs Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson. One of Carson’s closest comps in this class is Estime.

Fantasy Spin: Dallas is the marquee landing spot for a fantasy rookie RB, and will vault that player firmly in rookie RB1 discussion if not cement their status compared to their pre-draft ranking.

Back to top

Green Bay Packers

The Packers haven’t used a single first-round pick on a skill-position player since drafting Aaron Rodgers in 2005. That goes well beyond the tenure of Brian Gutekunst, the team’s GM since the start of 2018.

That trend continued last season, when they went defense in Round 1, before adding to the offense in Round 2-plus. Still, how ironic would it be for GB to finally draft a Rd 1 WR, after jettisoning Rodgers to the New York Jets last season.

Because it’s not like Gutekunst has been anti-drafting skill players. He has drafted plenty of wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends over the past five drafts – including three WRs and two TEs last season – but few have turned into productive pros. At least until last year’s crop of rookies hits in a big way from Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks and Tucker Kraft.

The Packers’ general manager is willing to add weapons, and he tends to attack roster holes with more than one attempt. But considering ALL the hits from last year’s draft…

I’d guess they look to the defensive secondary as an alternative. Three of the team’s ninth-highest draft picks have been on defensive backs since 2018.

Cornerback is a big issue, given that all the ones that played last year besides Jaire Alexander weren’t very good or were injured. Eric Stokes is going on the final year of his rookie deal after missing most of the 2023 season with injuries. Keisean Nixon was last year’s starting slot CB and re-signed for a 3-year deal worth $18 million. CB Corey Ballentine will also return on a one-year deal. But the two DBs they drafted late last season in Round 7 – Carrington Valentine and Anthony Johnson Jr. – shockingly didn’t pan out.

I’d envision the Packers either going IOL or CB with decent draft capital. Green Bay has also drafted a center/interior offensive lineman in four of the last five drafts – two of which have been selected inside the top 65. After foregoing IOL in 2023, look for the Pack to add more big bodies to bolster the inside of the line. Especially given their surplus of selections on Day 2 of the draft.

Jon Runyan was the only OL projected to start who is no longer on the team. He is now in New York (Giants). However, they do have Sean Rhyan in-house as a potential plug-in option, although he struggled in action as the team’s starting RG last season. Center Josh Myers is in the final year of his contract.

The elephant in the room entering free agency was the availability of All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari. He’s 33, entering the last year of his deal…coming off a season-ending knee injury. The Packers cut him, clearing nearly $21M worth of cap space. If given the chance, the Packers should look hard at finding a new franchise left tackle. They have the draft capital to do so.

During the pre-draft process, the Packers met with OG Zak Zinter, OL Graham Barton, OT Kingsley Suamatia, CB Nate Wiggins, EDGE Chop Robinson and DT Byron Murphy II.

On a side note, the Packers tend to heavily lean on Relative Athletic Scores from the NFL Combine when selecting prospects. They look for certain thresholds to be hit.

Per the PackersWire…Gutekunst has made 61 draft picks, 54 of which registered on the RAS scale. Of those 54 picks, 40 have had a RAS of at least 8.0, including 25 scoring above 9.0. Just 10 Gutekunst selections have scored below 7.0, with only two of them-Amari Rodgers and Jayden Reed-being top 100 selections. The other eight were Day 3 picks.

Some star RAS players GB could consider include WR Adonai Mitchell, CB Max Melton and CB Nate Wiggins. Note that this entire 2024 OL class scored very well in RAS, so the Packers will have an easy time finding one who fits their criteria.

Fantasy Spin: The Packers offense should continue to add weapons and improve. Wheels up for Jordan Love in his second year as the starter. But be wary that this offense loves the spread the wealth between all the different playmakers.

Back to top

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has had the luxury of a talent-rich roster without holes over the last few seasons. In 2024, with quarterback solved cornerback, OL, and WR are at the forefront of team needs.

A quick peek into Licht’s past can provide us with some guidance on how he will approach this year’s draft armed with early picks 26, 57, 89 and 92.

In the Licht era, the Bucs have taken cornerbacks most often during Rounds 1-4. And this year it’s a major need especially after they drafted zero DBs last season with high draft capital.

Anticipate Tampa to bolster their secondary that was gashed for the fourth-most passing yards per game in 2023.

Carlton Davis was playing in the last year of his contract before he was traded to the Lions for draft picks. They also signed CB Bryce Hall from the Jets and Tavierre Thomas from the Texans. They retained both of their starting safeties as well. Antoine Winfield and Jordan Whitehead are both back. Still, the CB trade suggests the Bucs might opt to draft a young with one of their top draft picks.

The next most-drafted positions were defensive line, safety and running back.

Their first pick in the last two seasons was defensive tackles. The second picks were all OL. Again, that’s pretty in line with what we have seen from Licht’s past drafts. He’s drafted an OL in the top 3 rounds the last four years, including three inside the top 2 rounds.

They have enough interior defensive disruptors after drafting Calijah Kancey in Round 1 last year. Although rookie edge YaYa Diaby may have shown enough with 9 sacks (2nd-most among rookies) to direct Tampa Bay in another direction than edge rusher early in the NFL Draft.

OL remains a much bigger need.

On offense, the Buccaneers could not run block for a lick in 2023. They need to get better play from the interior of their offensive line. Last year’s second-rounder Cody Mauch needs to play much better in Year 2. Guard Aaron Stinne signed with the Giants and his backup Matt Feiler is still a free agent.

The Pewter Report has connected the Buccaneers with the following OL prospects during the pre-draft cycle: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL Graham Barton, OT Jordan Morgan, OL Taliese Fuaga, OL Blake Fisher, OL Troy Fautanu, G Christian Haynes, OL Tyler Guyton, G Cooper Beebe, and G Christian Mahogany.

2022’s draft selection, Luke Goedeke, compares well to Duke’s Graham Barton.

Other notable meetings they have at need-based positions include CB Kamari Lassiter, CB Dru Phillips, CB Nate Wiggins, CB T.J. Tampa, CB Max Melton, TE Jaheim Bell, TE Devin Culp and TE Cade Stover.

I noted that RB could be a position that the Bucs draft based on Licht’s track record. A name to keep in mind, Ray Davis. Note that Kentucky’s former OC – who Davis played for last season – is the new OC for the Buccaneers.

Other coaching notes to pay attention to…

The Bucs’ WR coach, Bryan McClendon, was at Georgia from 2022-2023. Before then, he was at Oregon from 2020-2021. Before that, he was in South Carolina. Simply put, this guy has too much intel on this rookie WR class with all the time he has spent in the college game for the Buccaneers to NOT select a wideout.

He also worked with RB Trey Benson at Oregon before the running back transferred to Florida State and coached IOL Jackson Powers-Johnson at Oregon.

There’s a likely reason why the Bucs HAVEN’T met with many Georgia, Oregon, or South Carolina WRs: they already have good intel on these prospects.

The Buccaneers didn’t lose Mike Evans in free agency after he re-signed for another two years, but they will likely have to add more WRs anyway, given that Chris Godwin is in the last year of his deal. Russell Gage was released.

Fantasy Spin: The Buccaneers will look to build on what they got from the offense last season and add another layer of WRs and RBs to the mix. Rachaad White will have more competition than last season, but Baker Mayfield will have another WR weapon.

Back to top

Buffalo Bills

Brandon Beane has been the Bills’ GM since 2017 and deserves praise for not only drafting quarterback Josh Allen but building a roster that aided in his development.

Beane has been a pretty balanced drafter over the past seven seasons, with the defensive line the only position he has taken extra shots on in the early rounds. Outside of the defensive line, the remaining positions he’s targeted most include running back, wide receiver/tight end, cornerback, and offensive line.

Last year was pretty status quo with him selecting TE Dalton Kincaid and IOL O’Cyrus Torrence in the first 2 rounds. However, no DL draft picks were somewhat surprising along with no RBs.

In 2024, Buffalo will most likely address the needs at WR, DL, OT, and CB in Round 1, and the choice will be dictated by the best player available. After forgoing the defensive line the past two seasons in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Buffalo head back in that direction.

Prospects that the Bills have met with this offseason that fit positional needs include Devontez Walker, Troy Franklin, AD Mitchell, Brian Thomas Jr., Xavier Worthy, Keon Coleman, Byron Murphy II, Xavier Legette, Jalen McMillan, Roman Wilson, Cooper DeJean and Graham Barton.

Given Beane’s propensity to draft RBs, I’d be surprised if they don’t add a big body in the position ROOM to compliment a slightly undersized James Cook. They’ve met with Braelon Allen and Audric Estime during the pre-draft process. They are two of the heaviest RBs at 221-plus pounds in this year’s draft.

Fantasy Spin: WR in the draft is a must, while another RB added is worrisome for Cook and a potential three-down/red-zone role.

Back to top

Detroit Lions

Fourth-year and newly extended head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes smashed their first pick as members of the organization in 2021. They followed it up with equally impressive drafts in 2022 and 2023…despite criticism after the draft concluded. Full disclosure: I gave the Lions a B for their draft grade.

Holmes’ experience with the Los Angeles Rams in various executive roles dating back to 2003 was apparent when the Lions decided on offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick in 2021. From 2014 to 2016 – the last time L.A. had actual draft picks – the Rams invested significant draft capital in the tackle position. Holmes knows creating a QB-friendly environment is key to long-term success.

In 2022, the Lions used their first-round picks on defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (second) and wide receiver Jameson Williams (12th). They are joined by Sewell, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley II, Aaron Donald, and Greg Robinson as the last seven first-rounders Holmes had a hand in selecting.

In 2023, the Lions used their first-round picks on RB Jahmyr Gibbs and LB Jack Campbell. Back-to-back seasons where the Lions have selected a former Crimson Tide player in Round 1. Three in the top 2 rounds the last two seasons.

On Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, Holmes selected fantasy TE1 Sam LaPorta from Iowa, safety Brian Branch from Alabama, QB Hendon Hooker and DT Brodric Martin.

The Campbell/Holmes tandem has selected defensive linemen with the most draft capital (Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeil, Derrick Barnes, Hutchinson, Paschal, Martin), followed up by offensive line, wide receiver/tight end, and defensive back.

Given the top needs for the 2024 Lions – DL, CB, WR, OL – we can estimate that Detroit will look for BPA at a need, given how they have valued positions on the DL, CB, WR and OL in the past.

They’ve met with several EDGE/DT prospects who are projected to be picked at the end of Round 1 such as Darius Robinson, Bralen Trice and Johnny (Jer’Zhan) Newton.

The duo also has shown some tendencies to select players that have fast 10-yard splits. Gibbs’ 10-yard split was in the 84th percentile. Campbell’s ranked in the 70th percentile. In 2023, all of the Lions’ draft picks that were tested ran a 10-yard split in the 51st percentile or better.

Detroit could target some of this year’s top testers in the 10-yard split, including CB Nehemiah Pritchett, WR Xavier Worthy, WR Brian Thomas, RB Kendall Milton, CB Max Melton, and WR Roman Wilson.

The Lions are also not afraid to stick to their own internal values on players. They showed us last year they are willing to “reach” on players they value the highest, even at less than premium positions. They are also not afraid to take shots at players with injury concerns, such as Williams and Hooker in back-to-back seasons.

Fantasy Spin: Don’t just assume Jameson Williams is walking into a start job that can be useful for fantasy football. As it stands now, he’s fifth in the pecking order of projected touches on the Lions’ offense.

Back to top

Baltimore Ravens

Eric DeCosta took over GM duties in 2019 after serving as the assistant GM for eight years. In his five drafts as the head honcho, Baltimore spent the majority of their top picks (inside the first five rounds) on defensive linemen, wide receivers, offensive guards, running backs, and cornerbacks.

OL, WR, DL and CB are all major needs for the 2023 Ravens, so I’d imagine that is the route they go in the draft. Offensive tackle is the most dire need.

They’ve got impending FAs across the OL this season-John Simpson (Jets) and Kevin Zeitler (Lions)-and next season-Patrick Mekari and Ben Cleveland. OT Morgan Moses was traded to the Jets.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is under contract for two more seasons but has gone through ups and downs since his injuries started piling up. If the Ravens see an opportunity to upgrade from Stanley, don’t think they won’t pull the trigger to do so. The front office is not happy they are paying him like a top-5 LT. If they see a future franchise tackle on the draft board, they will pull the trigger.

It should also be noted that the Ravens are notorious for valuing non-premium positions more than other teams. They arguably got two of the most talented players in 2022’s draft, Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum, because of the positions they play.

Any talented player that falls based on position will undoubtedly be scooped up by the Ravens – whether they need him or not.

However, in 2024…they need an offensive tackle so badly.

They drafted Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu last season, and he is very similar to BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia as a potential draft target. Two years ago, they drafted Daniel Faalele, who is similar to Amarius Mims and JC Latham.

They’ve also met with Jordan Morgan, Patrick Paul and Tyler Guyton as potential tackle targets.

Also, there is a very strong chance the Ravens will draft some Georgia Bulldogs, given the connection current OC Todd Monken has to the school as the former OC from 2020-2022. Amarius Mims, Ladd McConkey, Kamari Lassiter and Javon Bullard.

Fantasy Spin: If the Ravens don’t address the offensive line in the draft, we could have some serious offensive concerns heading into 2024.

Back to top

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have gone heavily on defensive players with their first selection in five of the last seven drafts (since 2017).

This year, I’d presume it’s a BPA approach, so we could get yet another first-rounder DL to the 49ers come draft day. There’s a void across the defensive line after the 49ers were unable to retain Randy Gregory, Clein Ferrell (Commanders), Sebastian Joseph-Day (Titans), Javon Kinlaw (Jets), Arik Armstead (Jaguars) or Chase Young (Saints) in free agency. It’s similar to how things were last offseason for this team.

Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos signed two-year deals. The 49ers also traded for DT Maliek Collins. Still, the FA moves will not prevent the 49ers from continuing to strengthen their already strong defensive line.

Still, I’d assume they’ll look to add depth at the cornerback position after they struggled to stop the pass over the last two seasons. They had to sign Logan Ryan off the street last year to play nickelback.

Charvarius Ward, Isiah Oliver (cut and signed by the Jets), Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas are also free agents at the end of the year. They added Isaac Yiadom after an underrated season with the Saints. He had 75th percentile arm length.

The 49ers’ highest-drafted cornerback since 2017 is 6-foot-3, 198-pound Ahkello Witherspoon (2nd round). When it comes to defensive backs (specifically CBs), the 49ers have traditionally preferred guys with long arms. 2021’s third-round pick CB Ambry Thomas stood at 6 feet with 79th-percentile arm length. They drafted Darrell Luter Jr. and his 81st-percentile arms in the 4th round last season.

One of Thomas’ closest comps is Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry (78th-percentile arm length)

Other names to watch if the 49ers go DB at the end of Round 1 are Max Melton, T.J. Tampa, and Ennis Rakestraw. Even with Nick Sorensen replacing Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator, I don’t expect S.F. to shy away from utilizing long cornerbacks.

SF has drafted a CB/S in just three of the last 7 drafts, but they have used a Round 3 pick or higher when selected.

OL makes a ton of sense as the 49ers’ other top need, given that two of their starters last season-Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford-were well below league average at center and right guard. Jon Feliciano re-signed as the team’s starting guard/center (only one-year deal). Aaron Banks will be a free agent at the end of 2024. Colton McKivitz re-signed a one-year extension with the 49ers.

However, the 49ers’ drafting of OL doesn’t necessarily scream that OL is always the top priority, especially when you believe in the offensive scheme making top linemen less of a priority. Still, given the talent in the class, it is hard to ignore the interest they have had in top offensive line pieces this draft cycle.

They’ve met with Graham Barton, Amarius Mims, Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia and JC Latham.

From 2017-2022 with the 49ers, the team’s highest tackle was Mike McGlinchey at ninth overall. They also drafted Aaron Banks in the second round.

But they drafted three WRs inside the top 45 between Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. If the Aiyuk trade rumors are true, don’t be shocked to see him replaced by a rookie WR in the draft.

Historically speaking, the 49ers have valued WRs over OLs/CBs in the draft much higher. That’s, of course, after the defensive line/edge, which they have invested the most in by far. Potential WR fits in the YAC-heavy 49ers offense include Malachi Corley, Javon Baker, and Ladd McConkey.

Fantasy Spin: Brandon Aiyuk will either be the SF 49ers WR1 or another team’s WR1 in 2024. Either way, targets are coming.

Back to top

Kansas City Chiefs

Brett Veach has been his team’s GM since 2017. Being part of the staff that drafted Patrick Mahomes II seemingly makes Veach impervious to criticism, but there are still takeaways to be gained from his overall drafting history.

He’s drafted a defensive lineman in the top three rounds in five of the last seven drafts. Last year, the trend continued with the selection of defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah 32nd overall.

DT Derrick Nnadi needs to be upgraded from badly – as one of PFF’s lowest-graded defenders the last two seasons. But like last season, he’s back on another super cheap deal. Charles Omenihu was fourth in pressures generated and will be a FA in 2025. Pass rusher Mike Danna is a FA already. There’s room for more pass-rush juice unless the team expects a leap from Anudike-Uzomah.

The 2023 Chiefs draft also marked the fourth consecutive season the team drafted an offensive lineman in the first five rounds since 2017 (Wayna Morris). Morris could theoretically slide in as the starting LT in 2024 and beyond. Lucas Niang is another option in-house at tackle, but he is also in the final year of his deal. The same is true for starting center Creed Humphrey.

I have to imagine that the KC Chiefs invest heavily in surrounding Patrick Mahomes with more weapons. With Rashee Rice entrenched as the possession receiver, they still could add a speedy rookie like Oregon’s Troy Franklin or Texas’ Xavier Worthy as another (and reliable) big-play threat to Mahomes’ arsenal. Note that they only signed Marquise Brown to a one-year deal worth $7 million. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is gone. Justin Watson and Kadarius Toney are all free agents at the end of the season. Mecole Hardman and Richie James are free agents this offseason.

Rice is also dealing with some potential legal issues. This isn’t the first time the Chiefs have had to deal with a WR breaking the law with the potential to face discipline from the NFL. It happened with Tyreek Hill back in 2019. The first selection the Chiefs made in that draft was Hardman (56th overall).

If they feel that Rice might miss time due to a suspension, look for KC to be more aggressive going after a WR in the draft. In addition to Hardman in Round 2, they have also drafted a WR in Round 2 in the last two drafts (Skyy Moore 54th overall, Rice). Seems like they might prefer Round 2 rather than Round 1 for WRs.

Trent McDuffie at 21st overall is the highest they have drafted a defensive back. That’s the highest draft capital that Veach has spent on any selection besides Patrick Mahomes in his tenure as the Chiefs GM. They’ve met with lesser-known WRs in the class like Anthony Gould and Javon Baker.

After they traded away L’Jarius Sneed to the Titans, the time might be now to re-invest highly into the CB position.

Fantasy Spin: We can mock WRs in Round 1 to the Chiefs till we are blue in the face. But the trends show Round 2 is the more likely slot for them to take a WR, with CB being a more logical Round 1 pick. Buy the dip on Rice and Brown as a result.

Back to top

Carolina Panthers

Dan Morgan was hired as the Panthers new GM in 2024 after they fired Scott Fitterer. He was the assistant GM in Carolina from 2021-2023. Before that, he was the Bills director of player personnel from 2018-2020. Off-ball LB, DT, OG, EDGE, and RB rounded out the Bills’ top picks during Morgan’s tenure there.

Carolina operated by the numbers under Fitterer, taking low-cost fliers on quarterbacks and drafting premium positions with high-end draft capital. They drafted OT Ikem Ekwonu sixth overall two years ago before selecting Bryce Young first overall in 2023.

Fitterer tended to gravitate toward uber-athletes as the rounds trickled down, something many forward-thinking franchises do. He has hardly shied away from drafting athletic-gifted players with high-end draft capital. Before selecting Ekwonu, Fitterer drafted Jaycee Horn and Terrace Marshall Jr. Both were two uber athletes from the SEC. Considering Morgan worked under Fitterer, I’d expect him to follow a similar approach.

I’d anticipate they draft athletes from the SEC that fit the team needs: WR, TE, OT, CB, DL

Offensively, they need to give him ACTUAL weapons at WR and TE. Not the hodgepodge group they trotted out last season. D.J. Chark Jr. is a free agent. They traded for Diontae Johnson to be their new No. 1 WR.

Holding the 33rd overall pick, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Panthers invest another Round 2 selection in a WR in a jam-packed class filled with talent. Jonathan Mingo did nothing as a rookie to earn any benefit of the doubt he can improve or be a dominant player in Year 2.

Like last season – where I projected, they would select Mingo – I’d anticipate they draft athletes from the SEC that fit the team needs at EDGE and WR first.

I also think the Panthers will run back the same backfield as last season, given the fully guaranteed money for Miles Sanders. Last season, two of Chuba Hubbard‘s best games were against the Buccaneers’ elite run defense. As the Bucs’ OC, Canales saw in person what Hubbard could do against a strong defensive front. Think that bodes well for Hubbard to be the team’s RB1 to start in 2024.

However, Morgan’s exposure to RBs being drafted from his days in Buffalo leans me toward another back being added to this backfield by the time the draft concludes. Jonathon Brooks is an intriguing option with Carolina not forced to play him right away. They have also met with TE Ben Sinnott, WR Brenden Rice, EDGE Bralen Trice, DL Braden Fiske, TE Jared Wiley, WR Keon Coleman, WR Jalen McMillan and WR Xavier Legette.

Fantasy Spin: Don’t let the Mingo pick persuade you to think Carolina is a bad landing spot for a WR. It’s still a solid spot for a young player to see targets in an offense that should be much better than its 2023 form.

Back to top

Houston Texans

In 2022, the Houston Texans showed us the kind of players they want to target. Five of their first six selections in the first four rounds came from the SEC, including two players from Alabama.

The Texans under Nick Caserio are well-known for loving players from Alabama. Anderson Jr., John Metchie, Henry To’oTo’o, and Christian Harris have been selected from the Crimson Tide in the last two drafts since Caserio (from the Patriots) landed in Houston as their GM. DeMeco Ryans also played his college ball at Alabama.

Caserio will be entering his fourth year as the Houston Texans’ GM.

After focusing on offense with his top three picks in 2021, Caserio altered his plan slightly in 2022, splitting draft resources between both sides of the ball. Two offensive players and two defensive players were drafted within the first 45 overall selections: two defensive backs, one interior offensive lineman, and one wide receiver.

In 2023, Caserio once again splits the difference between offense and defense, drafting the eventual reigning OROY and DROY with C.J. Stroud/Will Anderson Jr. Then he overwhelming favored the offensive side of the ball with a center and another WR selection (Tank Dell) in Round 3.

With three drafts in the bag, we can start to see some of Caserio’s drafting strategies. He’s drafted a WR in the top 3 rounds for three straight seasons. Nico Collins, John Metchie and Tank Dell. The other highest draft picks have been CB Derek Stingley, OG Kenyon Greene and S Jalen Pitre.

So besides WR, the IOL is the only other offensive position Caserio has targeted multiple times over the last three seasons.

From a testing perspective, Caserio’s 2021 draft picks showed a pattern of testing well in the three-cone drill. That held true in 2022, as safety Jalen Pitre posted a 6.74 3-cone time (87th percentile), which was the third-fastest time among the 2022 safety class. They also drafted DT Thomas Booker, who tied for the fastest 3-cone among defensive tackles at 7.33 seconds (80th percentile).

In 2023, they drafted WR Xavier Hutchinson who posted the 5th-fastest 3-cone in last year’s NFL Combine.

Some of this year’s class’s top 3-cone drill performers who may be on the Texans’ radar include WR Ricky Pearsall, WR Luke McCaffrey, RB Tyrone Tracy, TE Ben Sinnott, RB Blake Corum, RB Dylan Laube, WR Troy Franklin and WR Jalen McMillan.

They have also met with Javon Baker, who played at Alabama before transferring to UCF.

Given the Texans’ surplus of two second-round picks, I feel strongly they will take a WR with one of them. They were in the market for Keenan Allen, so WR is a position they view where they want to continue upgrading for their young QB.

The other main needs – CB, OT, DL – will likely come down to the BPA as Caserio’s track record doesn’t suggest he will drastically favor one over the other. He’s spent top-5 picks on CB/DL the last two seasons.

Fantasy Spin: Given the Texans’ surplus of two second-round picks, I feel strongly they will take a WR with one of them. They were in the market for Keenan Allen, so WR is a position they view where they want to continue upgrading for their young QB. It’s possible that Nic Collins is being overvalued as a top-10 WR with more competition on the way in the form of a strong second-round pick.

Back to top

Cleveland Browns

Thanks to Deshaun Watson, the Browns don’t have a first-round pick or a favorable salary cap situation. Their 2024 season will ultimately come down to Watson delivering on his lofty expectations, which has still not happened two years in.

Andrew Berry was hired as the Browns’ general manager in 2020 after a brief stint with the Eagles in 2019. This would be Berry’s second stint with Cleveland, as he previously worked as the VP of Player Personnel from 2016 to 2018.

Berry nailed 2020’s first-round selection of tackle Jedrick Wills, who helped Cleveland boast one of the league’s best offensive lines. He then got insane value with linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in Round 2 of the 2021 Draft.

In 2022, the Browns were limited on picks because of the Watson trade. They rounded out their first three selections with CB Martin Emerson, DE Alex Wright, and WR David Bell in Round 3. The selection of a defensive end was not a surprise.

The one common denominator during the Browns’ drafts from 2016-2018 was a focus on pass rush, with DEs chosen with Day 1 or Day 2 selections each season. It wasn’t until 2020 that Berry shifted focus away from pass rush in favor of OL and defensive backs.

But the 2023 draft brought misses with WR Cedric Tillman and DT Siaki Ika.

OL was decimated by injuries in 2023, so there’s a need for additional depth. Wills is in the final year of his rookie deal, while his LT backup – Geron Christian – is a 2024 free agent.

But the fact that they hit on OT Dawand Jones in last year’s draft – the highest-graded rookie pass-blocker – makes tackle less of a priority. The team also drafted Luke Wypler as a guard in the 6th round of last year’s draft.

Still, Berry knows if there is any concern with the OL, it’s worth drafting sooner rather than later.

Even with the OL in excellent shape last season, they still took Jones. I’d bet OL remains a focus, alongside DL and WR. Even if it doesn’t appear like an initial need on the surface, WR will be addressed by the Browns. That’s because Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore are both 2025 free agents. It was smart for them to take a low-cost flier by trading for Jerry Jeudy, and then extending him.

The Browns did a great job of retaining their key defensive players in free agency to prevent a massive step backward on defense. Given the lack of salary cap space, this is a strong accomplishment. They also have just two picks in the first four rounds.

Given Berry’s track record, I’d bet he uses those picks on the trench positions. Then in the later rounds, it will be WR/RB.

Fantasy Spin: You don’t want rookies on the Browns. There’s not a lot of room on the offensive depth chart where a first-year player can carve out real playing time in Year 1.

FantasyPros Discord Community (Live Chat)

More Articles

Dynasty Draft Values: Christian Kirk, Tucker Kraft, Joe Mixon (Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Draft Values: Christian Kirk, Tucker Kraft, Joe Mixon (Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 2 min read
Dynasty Draft Sleepers: Jermaine Burton, Pat Freiermuth, Jaylen Wright (2024)

Dynasty Draft Sleepers: Jermaine Burton, Pat Freiermuth, Jaylen Wright (2024)

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 2 min read
Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Draft Rankings & Tiers

Superflex Dynasty Fantasy Football Draft Rankings & Tiers

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 1 min read
Fantasy Football Draft Advice: Kyren Williams, De’Von Achane, D’Andre Swift

Fantasy Football Draft Advice: Kyren Williams, De’Von Achane, D’Andre Swift

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 2 min read

About Author

Hide

Current Article

15+ min read

Dynasty Draft Values: Christian Kirk, Tucker Kraft, Joe Mixon (Fantasy Football)

Next Up - Dynasty Draft Values: Christian Kirk, Tucker Kraft, Joe Mixon (Fantasy Football)

Next Article