2024 NFL draft: Pros and cons for every first-round pick

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By 5mustsee.com

2024 NFL draft: Pros and cons for every first-round pick

The 2024 NFL draft began Thursday night in Detroit, with the Chicago Bears ending the suspense by selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall. A record six quarterbacks would be selected in the first 12 picks, and 14 straight offensive players came off the board before a defensive player was chosen — also a first.

We will be tracking all 257 picks for Rounds 1-7, and you also can check out all the best available draft prospects.

The draft continues with Rounds 2-3 on Friday (7 p.m. ET) and concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday (noon ET).

ESPN’s team of reporters will submit pros and cons below for each of the 32 players selected in Thursday’s first round:

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina) — Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Why they picked him: The Bears have been preparing to draft Williams for months. A thorough vetting of the quarterback supported their belief the Heisman Trophy winner will be an upgrade at the position and the right fit for the team’s culture. General manager Ryan Poles was hired to break Chicago’s cycle of quarterback futility and believes the Bears have the pieces in place to develop a franchise QB. Nothing reflects that more than trading Justin Fields to Pittsburgh to clear the runway for Williams as he begins his NFL career.

Williams is the type of quarterback Poles has been searching for since being part of the Kansas City front office that drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017. He can make throws with surgical precision and freelance with a unique ability to escape pressure and keep plays alive. After 10 wins the past two seasons combined, Chicago is finally in position to move past the rebuild phase in contention.

Biggest question: What are realistic expectations for Williams’ rookie season? The Bears have never drafted a player with the No. 1 overall pick, let alone a quarterback who carries the weight of a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010. Chicago’s main objective should be consistent quarterback play, the catalyst behind moving on from Fields, and relying on its QB to be the reason the team wins games. Williams will undoubtedly experience rookie growing pains, but the level of talent surrounding him means the Bears need to have more wins than losses and position themselves to become a playoff team in 2024. — Courtney Cronin

Why they picked him: It is not just because Daniels is more prepared to make an early impact than the others. It is because he can still develop while having a skill set — the ability to outrun defenders and make them miss — that the other quarterbacks do not possess at the same level. Commanders coach Dan Quinn said before the draft he likes how quickly Daniels gets through his progressions in the pocket and can adjust to coverage changes after the snap. Daniels also was the most accurate passer in the NCAA last season on throws of 20 air yards or more, completing 66.7% with 22 touchdowns. And then there are his legs: Daniels ran for 1,134 yards last season and was second among quarterbacks with 20 gains of 20 or more yards. He is a dynamic threat.

Biggest question: Durability. Daniels has a narrow frame and weighed 210 pounds at his pro day. He also had a penchant for taking big hits in college — he once hurdled the middle of the line on a scramble against Florida State and was drilled backwards to the ground. He will have to learn when he must give up on a run and slide, or when he needs to throw the ball out of bounds to avoid a sack. Washington fans saw what happened to a potential long-term answer at QB when another dual-threat quarterback — Robert Griffin III — was injured. They do not want a repeat. — John Keim

Why they picked him: Identifying a potential quarterback of the future was the team’s top priority, and as head coach Jerod Mayo said of Maye: “There’s really no ceiling.” Mayo also cited his leadership ability and a “fantastic interview” at the NFL combine. The 6-foot-4, 223-pound Maye has the size and powerful arm to contend with inclement Northeast weather conditions late in the season. Veteran QB Jacoby Brissett will not only compete with him but also serve as a mentor.

Biggest question: How much time will the 21-year-old Maye need before he’s ready to play? He started 26 games in his college career, which is a notable contrast to fellow high draft pick Daniels (55). — Mike Reiss

4. Arizona Cardinals — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Why they picked him:Harrison will be a key addition to the Cardinals’ offense, providing support to quarterback Kyler Murray and potentially elevating the team to the playoffs. With his NFL-ready skills and background as the son of Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison Sr., he is expected to have an immediate impact as Arizona’s top WR.

Main concern: While Harrison has been groomed for the NFL by his father, the real test will be how he adjusts to the professional level, facing various defensive strategies, faster defenders, and the overall pace of the game. His adaptation to these challenges will be closely monitored. — Josh Weinfuss


Reason for selection: Under coach Jim Harbaugh, the Chargers emphasize a strong rushing offense to overpower opponents. Alt is likely to start at right tackle alongside Pro Bowler Rashawn Slater, forming a formidable duo. The Chargers struggled last season partly because of their average offensive line, ranking 24th in rushing yards per game in the league.

Main question: The future of Trey Pipkins III, who has been the Chargers’ starting right tackle. Alt’s selection indicates the team’s quest for an upgrade despite Pipkins’ recent contract extension. A potential trade involving Pipkins could lead to significant savings for the Chargers. — Kris Rhim


Reason for selection: The Giants aim to fill the void at receiver, lacking a 1,000-yard receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2018. Nabers’ explosive play style positions him as a potential standout for years to come, especially with his ability after catching the ball. His compatibility with coach Brian Daboll’s offense suits quarterback Daniel Jones, providing a receiving threat that defenses must account for.

Main concern: Nabers’ adaptation to New York. Questions were raised about his fit with the team, but his character and work ethic were not major worries for organizations, despite past legal issues at LSU. With a strong bond with his LSU wide receivers coach vouching for his attitude, Nabers is perceived as a hard worker committed to success. — Jordan Raanan


Reason for selection: Latham’s size and strength make him an asset for the Titans’ offensive line, particularly to stabilize the tackle position, which was a priority for the team. With seasoned offensive line coach Bill Callahan onboard, Latham may transition from right tackle to the left side similar to the Browns’ strategy in 2020 with Jedrick Willis Jr.

Main question: Will Latham play on the left or right side of the offensive line? The Titans struggled with sacks from their left tackle position last season, while Latham primarily played at right tackle during his time at Alabama. — Turron Davenport


8. Atlanta Falcons — Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Reason for selection: The Falcons opted to secure a future quarterback to succeed high-priced signee Kirk Cousins. This unexpected move addresses the team’s need for a pass-rusher on defense, with GM Terry Fontenot emphasizing the selection of the best available player for their strategy. The Falcons deemed Penix as that player after evaluating him extensively in the lead-up to the draft.

Main concern: Penix’s injury history and age (23). Despite his exceptional quarterback abilities, including a strong deep ball, Penix’s multiple shoulder and ACL injuries raised doubts about his durability, likely contributing to his lower projected draft position. — Marc Raimondi


9. Chicago Bears — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Reason for selection: The Bears aim to bolster their offensive arsenal around quarterback Williams by acquiring premier talent. Adding Odunze to a roster already featuring top players like Keenan Allen and D’Andre Swift enhances their receiving corps, making them a force to be reckoned with. Odunze’s performance as a deep threat alongside Williams during pre-draft sessions indicates a promising start to their on-field chemistry.

The main question is whether the Bears will have a top-10 offense this year. Can their passing game, which ranked 27th last season, improve to become one of the best in 2024? With a talented group of receivers and a plan to involve tight ends like Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett, the Bears seem to have skilled pass catchers all around for their new quarterback Williams to work with. – Courtney Cronin

### 10. [Minnesota Vikings](https://www.espn.com/nfl/team/_/name/min/minnesota-vikings) (from New York Jets) — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

**Reason for selection:** The Vikings needed a quarterback after parting ways with Cousins. Despite signing Sam Darnold for a year, he is considered a temporary solution. The Vikings were eyeing Maye, but were unable to secure the No. 3 pick from the Patriots.

**Biggest question:** McCarthy’s limited college experience makes it hard to predict when he’ll be ready to play. With Darnold on the roster, will one year be enough? How long can the 10th overall pick be expected to remain on the sidelines? – Kevin Seifert

These rewritten segments maintain the core information from the original text but present it in a more straightforward and understandable manner.**Biggest question**: People are wondering if Fuaga will immediately take Ramczyk’s place due to his impressive performance at Oregon State and Ramczyk’s uncertain status because of knee problems. The Saints have had issues with rushing players into starting roles before they are ready, so Fuaga’s development will be interesting to watch, particularly if Ramczyk is not fit to start the season. — *Katherine Terrell*

**Why they picked him**: The Colts had a solid pass rush last season but struggled to prevent big plays from opposing quarterbacks. Adding Latu, who had an outstanding senior season with 13 sacks, could help change that. However, Latu’s injury history, including a serious neck injury during his sophomore year, raises concerns about his health. The Colts must be confident in his medical status to have chosen him over other options available in the draft. — *Stephen Holder*

**Biggest question**: Seattle Seahawks chose Byron Murphy II to address their defensive line issues, despite the need for an offensive tackle like Troy Fautanu. The Seahawks might have believed they could find an offensive lineman in later rounds, but not a top defensive tackle like Murphy, who was the second defender picked in the draft. However, not having a second-round pick makes finding a quality offensive lineman challenging for the Seahawks. — *Brady Henderson*

**Why they picked him**: The Vikings struggled with their edge rush last season after losing key players. Dallas Turner brings speed and agility to the team, running a fast 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. However, the Vikings had to trade multiple picks to move up and select Turner, raising questions about whether this was a necessary move given other positional needs on the team. — *Kevin Seifert*

**Biggest question**: The Bengals selected a massive offensive lineman in Mims, a 6-foot-8 prospect similar in size to Trent Brown and Orlando Brown Jr. The team aims to groom Mims to eventually take over Brown’s role. However, concerns exist about Mims’ lack of playing time at Georgia and whether this will impact his transition to the NFL. — *No specific author mentioned*Games with the Bulldogs, the offensive tackle Cincinnati wants is characterized by his size and length. — Ben Baby


19. Los Angeles Rams — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Reason for selection: The Rams sought to fill the gap left by Aaron Donald and zeroed in on versatile second-year defensive lineman Kobie Turner. General manager Les Snead emphasized the importance of bolstering the defensive line during the annual meetings in March. By drafting Verse, the Rams address this priority and land their first first-round pick since 2016. Notably, Verse is only the second defensive player selected by the Rams as a first pick post Sean McVay’s tenure and the highest-ranking since Donald in 2014.

Main concern: Can the Rams adequately replace Donald’s contribution? Snead clarified that a single player cannot match the output of the elite talent of a future Hall of Famer like Donald. Nevertheless, picking Verse serves as a promising start. While Donald boasted 45 pressures last season, the Rams will also lean on their previous year’s draft picks, including Turner and outside linebacker Byron Young, who secured 35 pressures and ranked second on the team, according to ESPN Analytics/NFL Next Gen. — Sarah Barshop


Reason for selection: The Steelers continued their offensive line transformation with another offensive tackle picked in the first round, aiming to infuse flexibility and versatility, key attributes highlighted by GM Omar Khan during pre-draft discussions. Fautanu could potentially plug into various positions on the line, possibly stepping in at center, a position left vacant after the release of two-year starter Mason Cole in February.

Main question: Will Fautanu remain at offensive tackle or transition to an interior position? In pre-draft discussions, Fautanu expressed a preference for the tackle position, yet his physical build of 6-4, 317 pounds indicates the potential to shift inside. Notably, Fautanu previously started a game at left guard during his time at Washington. — Brooke Pryor


21. Miami Dolphins — Chop Robinson, LB, Penn State

Reason for selection: The Dolphins possess formidable pass rushers in Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb. However, depth remains a concern, even after securing veteran Shaquil Barrett this offseason. Robinson bolsters the Dolphins’ edge rusher lineup, complementing Phillips and Chubb once the latter two regain fitness following injuries sustained in Miami’s last regular-season game.

Main concern: Despite his physical attributes, Robinson’s productivity raises questions. With 11.5 sacks across three seasons at Maryland and Penn State, there is a lack of statistical evidence of his impact. However, Robinson’s explosive initial burst evidenced in his 4.48-second 40-yard dash, coupled with the Dolphins’ trust in his potential, outweighs concerns surrounding his output. — Marcel Louis-Jacques


Reason for selection: The Eagles aim to address deficiencies in their secondary which struggled significantly in 2023, ranking 31st in both passing yardage and passing touchdowns conceded. The aging tandem of Darius Slay (33) and James Bradberry (30) underlines the necessity for youthful energy and speed in the cornerback position. Mitchell’s exceptional performance at the scouting combine, boasting a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, coupled with his All-America honors after leading the team with 18 pass breakups, makes him a promising addition.

Main concern: Mitchell’s exposure to top-tier collegiate competition raises doubts. Given his experience in the MAC, tape against elite collegiate talent is limited. Despite this, Mitchell showcased his capabilities at the Senior Bowl, demonstrating traits that suggest a smooth transition to professional football. If all progresses as expected, he stands a chance to compete for an immediate starting role. — Tim McManus

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Minnesota through Cleveland and Houston) — Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Reason for selection: The Jaguars strengthen quarterback Trevor Lawrence by drafting a sizable receiver (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) with impressive SEC performance. Thomas presents a deep-threat dynamic to the offense, boasting 17.3 yards per catch and 17 touchdown receptions from the prior season, alongside 4.33 speed (second-fastest at the combine). His inclusion should address the Jaguars’ red-zone challenges with his size and ability to secure contested catches.

Main concern: Can Thomas fill the productivity void left by Calvin Ridley‘s move to Tennessee? Despite signing Gabe Davis to a three-year deal in March to play on the outside, Thomas is likely to feature opposite Davis, alongside Christian

Kirk in the slot. Ridley had a total of 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns receiving in 2023. No rookie receiver has ever gone beyond the 1,000-yard mark in the history of the franchise. -Michael DiRocco

24. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Why they chose him: Lions general manager Brad Holmes stated that he would choose the best available player, regardless of position, and this selection appears to immediately enhance Detroit’s defense. This pick also fulfills one of their major needs in the secondary by adding an All-American cornerback, especially after the team released Cam Sutton this off-season.

Biggest question: Was selecting a cornerback the right decision? Arnold’s overly physical play on the field might be a concern, but if that is his main drawback, then it is a good dilemma to have. Alternatively, should the Lions have gone for an edge rusher? There are few downsides to this choice other than the uncertainty about whether they picked the correct defensive position, given that defense was clearly an area that the Lions needed to strengthen. -Eric Woodyard

Why they chose him: With the departure of five-time All-Pro David Bakhtiari and three-year starter Jon Runyan Jr., there is an opening for Morgan on the offensive line. Whether they see him as a tackle to fill Bakhtiari’s spot or as a guard in place of Runyan, this pick is a significant move. Additionally, it marks the first time since 2012 that the Packers have selected an offensive player in the first round apart from Jordan Love in 2020. Green Bay is preparing to heavily invest in Love with a contract extension, making protection for him a top priority.

Biggest question: Does this mean a potential position shift for Zach Tom? Although Tom performed well at right tackle last season, the Packers believe he could excel as a Pro Bowl player in that position. However, some within the organization see him as an All-Pro guard or even a Hall of Fame center. Alternatively, does this selection indicate a lack of confidence in Rasheed Walker as the long-term solution at left tackle? -Rob Demovsky

Why they chose him: The Bucs have been lacking a dominant force on the interior offensive line since Ryan Jensen’s retirement. Center Robert Hainsey’s performance fell short in both run blocking win rate and pass blocking win rate, emphasizing the need to improve the line to safeguard quarterback Baker Mayfield, who requires a clean pocket due to his height. Barton, who only allowed one sack in 2023, addresses the team’s urgent need to strengthen the league’s poorest rushing offense over the last two seasons.

Biggest question: Barton’s short arm length and foot speed may not pose a problem when moved inside, where his core strength and low center of gravity could be beneficial. Additionally, having experience in that position reduces the likelihood of facing the same challenges as Hainsey and Luke Goedeke. -Jenna Laine

27. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston) – Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Why they picked him: With a mere 33 sacks last season, the Cardinals have prioritized their pass rush. Robinson, who tallied 8.5 sacks at Missouri, is known for his versatility and ability to play both inside and outside on the defensive line. While he will contend for a starting position immediately, his role during passing plays remains uncertain.

Biggest question: Robinson’s success has largely relied on his power and long arms to disrupt offensive linemen and reach the quarterback, but this skill may not suffice in the NFL. Developing a diverse set of moves will be crucial for Robinson to make a meaningful impact. -Josh Weinfuss

28. Kansas City Chiefs (from Buffalo) – Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Why they picked him: Worthy’s exceptional speed, showcased by a 4.21-second 40-yard dash at the combine, poses a significant threat if he breaks tackles after catches. His addition, combined with the signing of Hollywood Brown, addresses a position of need for the Chiefs amid uncertainty caused by Rashee Rice’s legal troubles.

Biggest question: Weighing at 172 pounds, questions have emerged regarding Worthy’s ability to navigate through press coverage. Will he receive enough playing time to justify the trade-up? -Adam Teicher

29. Dallas Cowboys (from Detroit) – Tyler Guyton, T, Oklahoma

Why they picked him:The Cowboys are facing challenges on their offensive line due to the departure of Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz in free agency. They decided not to select Graham Barton at No. 24 with a trade down with Detroit. Instead, they are considering Guyton to help fill the left tackle position left vacant by Tyron Smith. Although Guyton primarily played at right tackle during his time at Oklahoma, the Cowboys have a strong track record of selecting quality offensive linemen in the first round. If Guyton is chosen, Tyler Smith will likely move to left guard.

The main question surrounding Guyton is how quickly he can adjust to playing left tackle, a position that demands specific skills and physical attributes. The Cowboys need him to adapt swiftly as the current options on the roster, Asim Richards, Matt Waletzko, and Josh Ball, might not be sufficient. Guyton’s experience protecting the blindside for a left-handed quarterback at Oklahoma could work in his favor, although passing on Barton could potentially backfire. However, acquiring an additional third-round pick to address multiple needs can be seen as a positive move. – Todd Archer

The Baltimore Ravens selected Nate Wiggins, a cornerback from Clemson, with the intention of addressing their need for a top-tier cornerback. Despite having established starters like Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens, the Ravens opted for Wiggins due to his impressive performance last season. One concern with Wiggins is his lack of size, as he weighed only 173 pounds at the NFL combine. Nonetheless, his exceptional speed and agility, highlighted by his 4.28-second 40-yard dash, make him a valuable addition to the Ravens’ secondary. – Jamison Hensley

The San Francisco 49ers picked Pearsall to bolster their receiving corps, which faces uncertainties with Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings nearing the end of their rookie contracts. Pearsall’s versatility across different positions provides flexibility for the Niners in the future. This move raises questions about Aiyuk’s future with the team, as the Niners have expressed interest in extending his contract. While receiver depth was a concern even before this draft, the implications of selecting Pearsall on Aiyuk’s status remain unclear. – Nick Wagoner

The Carolina Panthers selected Xavier Legette, a wide receiver from South Carolina, to complement their offensive weapons, including top pick Bryce Young. Legette brings size and speed to the receiving corps, offering playmaking abilities and the potential to create separation. Although Legette needs refinement and struggles against press coverage, the Panthers’ decision to trade up for him raises the question of whether they missed an opportunity to acquire more picks by assuming he wouldn’t be available at No. 33. – David Newton

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