2024 NFL Draft First-Round Grades


We hope you enjoy this FREE article preview! In order to access our other articles and content, including livestreams, projections and rankings, stat analysis and more, be sure to sign up today. We are here to help you #ScoreMore Fantasy Points!

2024 NFL Draft First-Round Grades

Generally speaking, I think grading draft picks immediately after the Draft isn’t the most fruitful endeavor. Draft pick evaluations shouldn’t be done for a couple of years.

But my caveat here is that I have spent thousands of hours watching and writing up these prospects and have strong opinions on where they should have gone, what teams they fit best, and what positions matter most.

As you read these draft grades, remember that I am not really factoring in development and have no idea what each team's long-term plans are.

These grades aren’t super scientific, I did consider the Whitefield/Wecht Value Model to come up with each grade. The model juxtaposes the numerical value of each pick to the relationship of where that player falls on my big board. For instance, if the 30th overall player on my board gets picked 12th overall, that is likely not going to score high on our chart. The model also considers positional importance as well as the depth of each position in the class.

If you want more details on each player be sure to check out my 2024 Prospect Guide.

1) Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC = B+

I have a really hard time ever knocking a QB-needy team for taking a QB. Williams is an excellent prospect but the slight knock here comes from the fact they took my QB2 in the class when the QB1 was available. Ultimately, I know I am the outlier here.

2) Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU = B+

The Commanders took my QB3, albeit a very good prospect, while my QB1 was still on the board. They do get credit for grabbing a potential franchise QB before and I love the history repeating with my Robert Griffin III comp going to the team that drafted RGIII. (Hopefully, it ends better for them.)

3) New England Patriots: Drake Maye, North Carolina = C+

My QB1 is still on the board here, and the Patriots opt to roll with a very unpolished but high-ceiling prospect in Maye. The nice thing working in the Patriots' favor is they have the ideal meat shield in Jacoby Brissett, who can start at the beginning of the year while Maye develops on the bench. That might be the best plan, given the state of their roster.

4) Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State = A

An easy pick to grade. The Cardinals stand pat and land the best non-QB in the draft at their biggest position of need. Kyler Murray rejoices.

5) Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame = A

This was a little bit of a surprise for me, as I don’t think Alt is the best scheme fit necessarily. That said, Alt was my top-ranked offensive lineman in the draft. He has an incredibly high floor as a pass protector, which is what matters most to me. Standing pat and taking him at 5 is an easy win.

6) New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU = B

The Giants opt to run it back with Daniel Jones. While I don’t necessarily love that decision, especially with my QB1 on the board, they at least added a premium pass-catcher to the mix in Nabers, who theoretically should help Jones get right. The other angle I wasn’t super satisfied with is that I really think Rome Odunze is a better player and should have been the pick here. In the end, Nabers is an acceptable pick but not a huge value swing one way or the other.

7) Tennessee Titans: JC Latham, OT, Alabama = B

I am probably a little warmer on this pick than most. Latham is a massive offensive tackle with some mauling qualities, but his best trait is insanely nimble feet for his size. I think he could play left tackle and offer a high floor as a pass protector with big-time upside as a run-game weapon. It was maybe a touch early for Latham, and I liked some OTs on the board better, though some were projecting those inside at guard (Fautanu and Fuaga).

8) Atlanta Falcons: Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington = F

Gross. I almost never fault teams for throwing darts at QB, but the Falcons literally just signed Kirk Cousins to a massive contract. While they can escape that contract with a post-June-1 trade in 2025, this pick still makes little sense. Not to mention the complete reach for the player himself. I actually like Penix a good bit, too, and think he is a far better prospect than recent 1st-ish-round QBs in Will Levis and Kenny Pickett.

9) Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington = A+

Slam dunk. The Bears double down on their investment into a franchise QB and continue building the stable of pass-catchers he has to work. Williams is stepping into an infinitely better situation than Justin Fields was ever afforded. I love that they resisted the urge to go defense (like the books suggested they were thinking) and took a top-5 player in the class in Odunze, who profiles as a do-it-all, alpha WR with high football character and intangibles.

10) Minnesota Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan = A+

Given the pre-draft reports that every team ever was looking to trade up, it’s crazy that it took until pick 10 for our first deal. For obvious reasons, this is my favorite pick of the first round. McCarthy is my top player in the draft and lands in a beautiful spot.

11) New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State = B

I generally like the idea of the Jets investing in their offensive line, as they are in a “win-now” window that could close at any second with another Aaron Rodgers injury. Tyron Smith also hasn’t been the shining example of health, so getting insurance for him is great. My only issue here is there are a couple of tackles I like better than Fashanu on the board.

12) Denver Broncos: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon = C

This feels a little early for Nix, but the Broncos were desperate and needed to address QB. I can’t kill them for the pick because the QB position is so important, and they needed one, but I do not like it because of the slight reach and an inability to find a trade-back partner, even if it is a small one.

13) Las Vegas Raiders: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia = B-

Another head-scratcher here with a team grabbing a non-premium position just a year after they spent a top-50 pick on the same position. Of course, Bowers is a mutant. If he played WR nobody would bat an eye.

14) New Orleans Saints: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State = A-

The Saints’ patience pays off as they land one of my favorite OL prospects in the class. The Saints value positional versatility a ton, and I could see Fuaga manning one of the guard spots early in his career.

15) Indianapolis Colts: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA = A

This was one of my favorite picks in the draft, with Chris Ballard landing my top defensive player all the way down at pick 15. The Colts' defensive line was as inconsistent as they came last year, and landing an elite pass-rusher with the versatility of alignment with Latu is easy money.

16) Seattle Seahawks: Byron Murphy II, DI, Texas = B+

Murphy is an excellent DT prospect but wasn’t my top guy at the position on the board. (That title would belong to Johnny Newton.) However I can’t kill them too much as there are growing question marks surrounding Newton’s health. Murphy brings some Grady Jarrett vibes to the Seahawks as Mike Macdonald looks to install his system.

17) Minnesota Vikings: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama = A+

Minnesota was on a rampage last night. For the first time in the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah era, they were decisive and made excellent decisions in the first round. EDGE was by far their biggest position of need remaining, and they got a good one in Turner, who was a top-10 prospect for me.

18) Cincinnati Bengals: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia = C-

Taking an inexperienced, project-type tackle project ahead of Troy Fautanu is sinful. I can’t vibe with the pick, as the Bengals are in a win-now window and need a difference-maker right now.

19) Los Angeles Rams: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State = A-

The Rams land my personally favorite pass-rusher in the class (stylistically) in Verse, a guy who will run straight through his opponent's face to get to the QB. Verse ranked 13th on my big board and provides excellent value.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington = A+

The Steelers make a top-three value pick in the first round with Fautanu, my 6th overall player going 20th overall.I love the overhaul the Steelers have made to the OL over the past two drafts. Fautanu can play either tackle spot or kick inside and provide elite upside as a guard.

21) Miami Dolphins: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State = D

This pick confused me. I get this regime values speed and explosiveness across the board, but Chop, while not a bad prospect by any means, is a very underdeveloped pass-rusher. I also don’t love the effort and play strength he put on tape in the run game. This just feels like a big reach on one of the bigger risk/reward players in the draft.

22) Philadelphia Eagles: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo = A

Howie Roseman continues his streak of ridiculousness. Despite the consistent rumors of trading up, Roseman was able to stand pat at 22 and still land the top CB in the draft, the position they needed most. It’s both lucky and shows excellent process. The Eagles have the best counterintelligence department in the league and do a phenomenal job of predicting what other teams will do.

23) Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr, WR, LSU = B+

It is weird for me to assign a B+ to a team for a team taking my 23rd-ranked player at pick 23. Let me explain why I like what they did. First and foremost, I love investing into QBs. We see so many teams fumble the bag when it comes to how they handle their QBs. Trevor Lawrence has been mildly disappointing so far in his career, but it’s not all on him, and the Jags building up that pass-catcher group with a combo of steady players and upside darts like Thomas Jr. makes me happy. Furthermore, I love that they could trade back 6 spots and still get the guy they wanted. Good process overall.

24) Detroit Lions: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama = A

Only a handful of players in every draft class scream, “That’s a Dan Campbell guy.” Arnold happened to be one of them. The Lions also needed to upgrade their CB unit, and Arnold might have been the best scheme fit for them in the draft class. The trade-up is the only thing preventing this from being an A+, but ultimately, this might be my favorite team/player fit in the 1st round. And I’m only a little biased.

25) Green Packers: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona = F

The Packers are the best OL talent evaluators in the NFL so I can guarantee you this F grade is going to bite me square on the behind in about three years. I think my biggest issue with the pick is that it's just a reach to me. I like Morgan, but nothing on his tape suggested he should be a 1st round. It felt like a trade back or taking Guyton would have been bigger wins, and this was a forced pick based on need.

26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Graham Barton, IOL, Duke = C-

Again, this feels forced. I disliked the pick because they passed on a superior prospect in Jackson Powers-Johnson and took a non-premium position in the 1st round.

27) Arizona Cardinals: Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri = D

This was hard for me to do because I love the player Robinson is. He is a high-floor edge defender who is willing to do the little dirty work. The chance he turns into an elite pass-rusher, though, is very small, and I think that it tanks his value. He is a glue guy, but you don’t draft glue guys in the first round.

28) Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas = F

Who fleeced who? Buffalo gladly allows the Chiefs to get Worthy. This pick ranked dead last in the Whitefield/Wecht Value Model. I don't know why the Chiefs were hell-bent on doing the Mecole Hardman experience all over again, but here we are. The Chiefs' recent track record of WR acquisitions also doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in this pick.

29) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma = B-

Guyton is a solid player at a premium position in the back end of the 1st round. I can live with it. I do have some questions about the plan, though. Does Guyton move to LT here? Does Tyler Smith move to LT, and Guyton play inside? Does Guyton back up Terence Steele this year and remain at his natural position? I could buy in more with some added clarity.

30) Baltimore Ravens: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson = C

I have PTSD from watching Emmanuel Forbes get bullied off the field last season. Wiggins gives me really similar vibes to Forbes from a strengths/weaknesses standpoint. Sometimes, recovery speed doesn’t matter if you can’t win at the catch point. In the end, like the situation with the Packers, I probably need to trust the organization’s track record here. I just felt like there were better CBs available than Wiggins.

31) San Francisco 49ers: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida = A

“We might have to trade Brandon Aiyuk. Good. Draft Pearsall. We could keep Aiyuk and trade Deebo Samuel. Good. Draft Pearsall. We could keep Deebo and Aiyuk. Good. Draft Pearsall”. This is my internal monologue if I was drafting for the 49ers last night. Pearsall can ball, and no matter what they decide to do with their current group, he will help that team.

32) Carolina Panthers: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina = B

The Panthers invested a ton into their OL during free agency, which opened the door for them to get another weapon on offense. I love their commitment to getting the most out of Bryce Young. I also really love the player Legette and the explosive playmaking he will bring to the offense — they desperately need it. My only pause here is I felt there were better WRs on the board. In the end, though, this might be a “pick your flavor” situation, and Legette is just fine for what the Panthers need.

Brett Whitefield is an experienced professional in football analytics, with more than a decade in the business. He has held several key positions with some of the top companies in the industry, including as a process manager at Pro Football Focus (PFF), where he spent more than seven years. Brett has also worked with and consulted for multiple NFL teams and Power-5 NCAA football programs.