If the action during the 2022 college football season is any indicator, then the 2024 NFL Draft could be a franchise-changing event for many teams. As we always do at Pro Football Network, we’re keeping an eye on all the action at every level of football, and here are the top prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft you should be watching too.
2024 NFL Draft Prospects To Watch
To be qualified for this list, it’s important to note that a player must be classified as a true sophomore or a redshirt freshman. While this list may change with some student-athletes deciding to return to school and not enter the 2023 NFL Draft, the athletes that made our 2024 NFL Draft watchlist are not draft-eligible until after the 2023 season.
1) Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Overall player No. 1 going to a tight end may surprise some, but certainly not to those that have watched Brock Bowers feast on opposing defenses since last year. He’s a rare talent, checking in at 6’4″, 230 pounds but hitting reported marks of under a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.
Bowers’ best attributes are his ridiculous catch radius, immaculate body control, and terrific yards-after-the-catch ability. He’s essentially a top-tier, elite receiver in a tight end’s body who is a serviceable blocker to boot.
2) Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Through a few short weeks at USC in 2022, Caleb Williams has looked every bit of an elite quarterback. He’s commanded the offense very well and made the transition look incredibly easy to a new city, state, and cast of receiving weapons. Williams navigates pockets well, has amazing athleticism, and has an incredible arm that accurately hits every level of the field.
3) James Williams, S, Miami (FL)
Think Derwin James, but bigger and stronger, and you have James Williams. A unicorn of sorts, Williams has moved closer to the ball in 2022 but still maintained an ability to flash his all-around traits in coverage and against the run. Williams may be a bit in-between positions in the NFL, almost too big to be a safety, but he can make an impact at whatever position he plays on Sundays due to his elite traits and all-around ability.
4) Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
The son of a Hall of Famer, it should be no surprise as to just how dominant Marvin Harrison Jr. is. Entering the season after setting all-new Rose Bowl records just last January, Harrison has taken off in a featured role in the Ohio State offense.
He’s big (6’3″, 205) and strong, but has an amazing grace to his routes that allows him to create a natural separation anywhere along his route breaks. When it comes down to it, Harrison may be the best receiver in what has become the biggest WR factory in recent memory at OSU.
5) Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
A lot of projection with Drake Maye’s place here, but the fact remains that he’s doing things that even Sam Howell didn’t do in his illustrious UNC career. Maye has thrown for 11 touchdowns through his first three games as the starter, including nine during an amazing two-game span to open his starting career.
With prototypical size, Maye has the arm talent to be a first-round pick, and the grit, tenacity, and leadership skills to become a polarizing franchise-changing quarterback.
6) Andrew Mukuba, S, Clemson
Making plays on the back end of a stacked Clemson defense, Andrew Mukuba is a ball hawk. He’ll jump routes in coverage and make highlight-reel pass breakups on targets thrown well out of his coverage range. And when he isn’t covering receivers, Mukuba’s coming downhill with calculated precision and a thumping nature.
7) Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Another Ohio State receiver in the top seven, Emeka Egbuka has lived up to his high recruiting profile and then some so far in his brief Buckeye career. Egbuka is not the fastest, nor the biggest receiver on the field, but using his crafty route-running skills, he’s always open. He’s a special receiver with his combination of great body control and savvy footwork.
8) Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Living up to his billing from high school, Kool-Aid McKinstry has locked down receivers in his brief tenure to date at Alabama. He’s locked down receivers in his coverage and made multiple highlight-reel plays so far through 2021 and 2022. Rounding out his impressive skills is the fact that McKinstry is also a game-breaking player in the return game, immediately adding even more value than the usual elite cornerback would.
9) Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
A rare talent with the ability to take the top off the defense, Xavier Worthy averages well over 15 yards per catch so far in his career. Though kept quiet in the early stages of 2022, Worthy’s elite speed allows him to separate from any kind of coverage defender, and his uncanny sense for finding soft spots in zone coverage will make him an easy choice as his future NFL quarterback’s favorite go-to target.
10) TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State
Game-changing speed, body-altering elusiveness, and eye-opening balance sum up TreVeyon Henderson in far fewer superlatives than he deserves. Henderson is a bowling ball when he initiates contact, a human joystick when he evades tacklers, and a cruise missile in the open field running past defenders. In summation, Henderson does it all and greatly exceeds the expected value of a running back for the college-to-pro ranks.
11) Smael Mondon Jr., LB, Georgia
Ever watch and see someone flying around the field for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturdays? That player is undoubtedly Smael Mondon Jr. from his linebacker position. Mondon moves like a safety in coverage, a top-tier edge rusher when he blitzes, and patrols the weakside of the field with terrific angles and fast backside pursuit plays. Mondon is a game-changing LB with high-end potential.
12) Michael Trigg, TE, Ole Miss
Stacked at the top, the 2024 NFL Draft tight end class could give any recent class a run for its money when it’s all said and done. Michael Trigg transferred from USC to Ole Miss and has immediately reaped the rewards of the Rebels’ offense. In fact, he’s exceeded even some of his loftiest expectations so far and may be the nation’s best after-the-catch threat at any position. He’ll bounce off tacklers, use his elusiveness, or just simply initiate contact that will leave defenders broken in his wake after hauling in receptions.
13) Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Whipping off the edge for the Crimson Tide, Dallas Turner has elite traits and a terrific all-around skill set to transform an NFL defense. Turner’s fast first step allows him to bend around tackles when he rushes, but he also has the skills in his backpedal to patrol the flats in coverage or toss sweeps all the same. Turner is a three-down edge rusher with positional versatility that will make him a hot commodity in the NFL.
14) Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
On pace for more than just a career year, Troy Franklin has wowed so far in 2022. His frame at 6’3″ is incredibly wide, but it’s made an even bigger catch radius by his athleticism and ability to high-point the football. He’ll catch everything thrown his way and wins at every level of the field.
15) Adonai Mitchell, WR, Georgia
The Georgia offense doesn’t necessarily need Adonai Mitchell to be the player he’s fully capable of being. Yet, Mitchell has flashed brilliance at times for the Dawgs. He’s a big target at 6’4″ and runs a full route tree with exceptional speed. Putting it all together in 2022 should help set him up for a race to the top of this class.
16) Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
If the NFL world has learned one thing from Jonathan Taylor’s emergence in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts, it’s to never doubt Wisconsin running backs coming out of Madison.
Braelon Allen set all-new records as a freshman and is drawing comparisons to Taylor despite being a completely different back. Allen is a massive individual, whose size pales in comparison to his speed for a man as big as he is. He’ll find any crease in the defense and punish defenders who attempt to tackle him.
17) Raheim Sanders, RB, Arkansas
The Rocket is on the loose in Fayetteville as Raheim “Rocket” Sanders has announced his presence to every unsuspecting defense the Razorbacks have faced since he took over in the backfield. Despite a massive 6’2″, 221-pound frame, Sanders maintains elite top-end speed and needs only a few yards to reach his top gear. He’s also an elusive magician in the open field and easily contributes in each facet on offense.
18) Josaiah Stewart, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
PFN’s reigning Freshman of the Year entering 2022, Josaiah Stewart was a man amongst boys last season. And in 2022, he’s proven that was no one-year wonder. Stewart is a game-wrecker and causes havoc everywhere on the field. Not your typical move-around-the-line defensive lineman, Stewart plays a multitude of positions on Coastal Carolina’s defensive front and wins against any lineman.
19) Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State
The 2022 season hasn’t quite lived up to expectations for Denzel Burke, and he’s “slipped” down to No. 19 here. That just showcases how high he once was after dominating in 2021 as a true freshman. On the heels of a solid rebound performance against Toledo, Burke can cement himself as a top-10 type player with more games of sticky coverage and staying in phase with a variety of receivers.
20) Collin Oliver, EDGE, Oklahoma State
In a vaunted Oklahoma State pass-rushing attack, Collin Oliver has burst onto the scene. The Cowboys have multiple NFL draft picks on their hands on the defensive front, and Oliver may just be the best of them all. He’s long and strong, bullying tackles with his combination of quick first step and tremendous strength in his upper half.
21) JC Latham, OT, Alabama
Sure, the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offensive line has had its fair share of concerns over the past few seasons, but with JC Latham in at right tackle, the right side of the line is not one of them. He’ll project to flipping to the left side in 2023 if things continue to go right in 2022, but either way you slice it, Latham is a dominant pass protector and terrific centerpiece to an offensive game plan that wants to be moving forward in the run game.
22) Jager Burton, G, Kentucky
If you’ve never seen Jager Burton play — either in high school or at Kentucky — then you’ve missed out. Don’t make that mistake anymore as big ole No. 62 is must-watch television. Burton will move off the ball with reckless abandon, yet he’s controlled and strong through all points in the run game. When he does set in pass protection, he anchors everyone and doesn’t allow anyone past him.
23) Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
Cooper DeJean has burst onto the scene for the Iowa Hawkeyes and their stalwart defense in 2022. With multiple interceptions through just three games, DeJean has put himself on the “do not target” list for opposing quarterbacks.
He possesses a special ability to make plays with his length and burst to the football, but the fact that he rarely loses track of his receivers with his backpedal, swiveling hips, and tremendous instincts make DeJean a must-watch player.
24) Donovan Jackson, G, Ohio State
The guard spot at Ohio State will likely churn through NFL draft prospects over the next few seasons as it has over the past few. Donovan Jackson is certainly in the running to be one of the top guard prospects if he stays put. He’s a big, strong, staunch run blocker who excels when he’s on the move. When Jackson does back down in pass protection, he hunts for work and has a great base while maintaining balance through contact.
25) Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma
Off-ball linebackers in the traditional sense should not be able to move as well as Danny Stutsman does for his size. At nearly 240 pounds and standing at 6’4″, Stutsman moves incredibly well and has a lateral agility that keeps him in every play. He’ll run the alley with strength and tenacity but also plays back in coverage just as well.
26) Beaux Collins, WR, Clemson
Consistent despite inconsistent QB play through his time at Clemson, Beaux Collins has helped elevate his offense with the Tigers. He’s a catch-point threat and has all the athleticism in the world to climb the ladder and make any reception. Collins is deceptively fast for a big receiver and has shiftiness after the catch to round out his impressive skill set.
27) Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State
Single-handedly winning Ohio State the game against Notre Dame, Michael Hall Jr. proved just how dominant (and special) a player like he can be in the middle. Though missing some time in 2022, Hall already proved that he has what it takes to use leverage and strength to get under linemen, pushing them back into the pocket, and feasting on lighter, weaker blockers.
28) Seydou Traore, TE, Arkansas State
Get to know the big man from London, England, as Seydou Traore is only improving every single rep at Arkansas State. With a huge frame and improving strength profile, Traore is must-watch television whenever the Red Wolves are on the field.
New to the game, Traore has played American football for just three seasons total, one in high school at Clearwater Academy International and two at Arkansas State. With the kind of highlight-reel play and overall play-by-play ability he’s already showcased, it’s safe to say he may have one of the highest ceilings in the 2024 NFL Draft class and is absolutely in the running for TE2 behind Bowers. Traore was a former standout soccer goalie in London, and his instincts and catch-point abilities are ridiculous because of it.
29) Mario Williams, WR, USC
A big-play threat with his ability to stretch the field from the slot, Mario Williams is more than just a third receiver for an NFL offense. His ability to win quickly and off the line of scrimmage is as impressive as his ability to defeat defenders with speed and elusiveness after the catch. Williams offers more value than the usual slot target would.
30) Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
More projection with quarterbacks as Quinn Ewers will remain out for the foreseeable future and has just over five quarters of starting action under his belt in college football.
Still, with what we saw against an Alabama defense in his first Power Five action, Ewers has it. Arm talent, check. Mobility while maintaining vision downfield, check. Moxie and pocket movement, check. He’s ticked all the right boxes and has all the tools to develop into a surefire franchise QB once he returns to good health.
31) Landon Tengwall, G, Penn State
Need a few yards on the ground? Landon Tengwall will power his way through the defensive front to give you those and then some as he’s a mauler on the move. Tengwall is a massive man and could switch outside to tackle during his junior season next fall, but his presence in both pass protection and the run game has been brilliant so far in 2022. At 6’6″, 330 pounds, Tengwall is a mismatch for a variety of defenders.
32) Eric Gentry, LB, USC
Transferring into USC with the masses, Eric Gentry has put the nation on notice with his ridiculous frame and overall skill set. At 6’6″ and just 200 pounds, it’s a scary thought for opposing offenses to think that Gentry has room to gain strength. He’s a rare blend of coverage prowess, pass-rushing ability, and run defense wrapped up in an edge defender’s body.
33) Maason Smith, DT, LSU
He’ll miss the remainder of the 2022 season after tearing his ACL celebrating a TFL against Florida State, but don’t forget about Maason Smith. A big man at 6’5″, 300 pounds, Smith is a game-wrecker on the interior, using his strength — both upper and lower body — to get past interior linemen. Yet, he maintains a great motor and second gear to finish at the quarterback all the same.
34) Shemar Turner, DT, Texas A&M
An embarrassment of riches along the Texas A&M defense is nothing compared to the embarrassment of talent that Shemar Turner has. Turner has strength — as obvious with his 6’4″, 300-pound frame — and an amazing get-off the line of scrimmage, sometimes timing that with his incredible hands to get into the backfield before the quarterback can finish his drop.
35) Kaden Prather, WR, West Virginia
Playing in the wide-open West Virginia offense, Kaden Prather has exceeded even the loftiest of expectations that he entered the Mountaineers program with. Prather, at 6’4″ and 211 pounds, is a big-bodied receiver with a silkiness to his routes. He’s shown a keen ability to understand coverages and simply win against both man and zone coverage schemes so far in 2022.
36) Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami (FL)
It doesn’t matter what safety position Kamren Kinchens has to play, he just simply makes plays. Kinchens and Williams roll around the Miami defense, fielding the nation’s top underclassmen duo at the position. The smaller of the two, Kinchens brings a louder boom when he pops receivers over the middle and plays with a precision that is unmatched.
37) Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
With length for days, Chop Robinson has taken to his new role at Penn State after transferring from Maryland this offseason. Robinson has enough of the proverbial bend to get around the opposing tackle, but he also maintains strength no matter his body angle to defeat the blocker in front of him. He’s also strong enough to rush from as far inside as 3-tech if needed.
38) Greg Penn III, LB, LSU
A terrific patroller of the underneath portion of the field, Greg Penn III presents an interesting CFB player as well as draft prospect. Penn is a prototypical three-down linebacker but has high-end coverage skills that he’s growing into in front of our eyes in 2022.
39) Korey Foreman, EDGE, USC
The former top overall recruit, Korey Foreman has finally seen the field for meaningful snaps at USC. In doing so, and just in relief, Foreman has showcased what makes him such a special prospect.
It’s all very likely that he’ll become a full-time starter in 2022, but especially in 2023 as he continues to fill out his massive 6’5″, 245-pound frame. Foreman has speed, strength, athleticism, and has honed his pass-rushing craft since he was a pre-teen out in LA with some of the best in the business.
40) Pat Bryant, WR, Illinois
A relative unknown with Illinois’ offensive attack a year ago, Pat Bryant has exploded onto the scene with the Fighting Illini and Tommy DeVito at quarterback in 2022. Bryant offers a big frame, in the new prototypical sense, and has plenty of after-the-catch ability to round out his skills. Yet, the name of the game for Bryant is high-pointing those 50-50 balls and winning contested catches that are always going to be in his favor.
41) Will Shipley, RB, Clemson
Will Shipley presents a new-age prototype at the RB position. With his ability to make defenders miss in the open field, Shipley is a three-down back who will become a valuable contributor out of the backfield in the NFL. Yet, he’s a hole-hitting, crease-finding, between-the-tackles kind of runner that makes old-school football fans just as happy.
42) Joseph Manjack IV, WR, Houston
A former USC receiver, Joseph Manjack IV surpassed his totals with the Trojans in just three outings with the Houston offense. And yet, the Cougars’ offense in 2022 has been a shell of what some thought it could be this year with Clayton Tune disappointing through three weeks.
Still, Manjack has had multiple plays on tape that showcase what he brings to the table. He’ll be mislabeled as a possession receiver as he’s more like a downfield deep threat with terrific body control and a wide catch radius.
43) Cole Bishop, S, Utah
An old-school safety prospect with hit-stick capabilities, Cole Bishop makes receivers remember when they come over the middle of the field against the Utah Utes defense. Bishop, at 6’2″, 205 pounds, is a big man who moves with bad intentions. What separates him from the typical “big hitters” on the back end, is the fact that he can play essentially as another off-ball linebacker with his ridiculous range in coverage and run defense.
44) Ja’Corey Brooks, WR, Alabama
Coming into his own, Ja’Corey Brooks has all the intangibles to build on what should eventually become an impressive 2022 season. As such, Brooks should certainly be a receiver to watch in the Alabama offense next fall as his athleticism, big frame, and success over the middle of the field indicate sustainable traits to lean on as he continues to develop into a surefire threat downfield.
45) Gavin Bartholomew, TE, Pittsburgh
“Hey Google, show me an athletic specimen at tight end.”
Sure, here’s Gavin Bartholomew hurdling defenders while maintaining balance along the sidelines and skirting up the sidelines for a long touchdown run.
Missed Bartholomew rumbling, bumbling, and hurdling West Virginia defenders in 2022’s biggest season-opening highlight-reel moment? Don’t worry, he puts forth one highlight-reel moment — at least — in every game. He’s also a consistent receiving threat over the middle of the field to boot.
46) Shedeur Sanders, QB, Jackson State
The development in Shedeur Sanders’ game has been remarkable over the past two seasons. He’s grown into his own on the football field, dotting every level with accurate passes and elevating his cast of pass catchers simultaneously. Sanders has improved his mechanics since the 2021 season and early on in 2022 looks every bit like a top-tier draft-eligible quarterback for the 2024 NFL Draft.
47) J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
Taking the reigns like we all thought he should at Michigan, J.J. McCarthy has flashed high-level athleticism and accuracy through his limited starts in 2022. He has a lot to prove now that he’s been given the offense in Ann Arbor, but all signs point to him as a calculated passer, dominant athlete, and improving leader as each game goes on.
48) Tyleik Williams, DT, Ohio State
The bigger man on the interior of the Ohio State defensive line, Tyleik Williams presents a mismatch against any number of blockers that try to stop him. Williams has a high motor and uses his strength to overmatch centers and guards alike. Despite all his production, he still remains a situational pass rusher and an extended role could mean more production and more looks at crossing into the Day 1 conversation.
49) Tyreek Chappell, CB, Texas A&M
After a ridiculous true freshman season in 2021, Tyreek Chappell has continued to lock down his side of the field for the Aggies in 2022. There’s a marked consistency in Chappell’s game, and he presents the Texas A&M staff with a lockdown CB no matter where he lines up. Though undersized by the “new standards” for NFL cornerbacks, Chappell has great length and far more burst than most to break up passes at the catch point.
50) Rara Thomas, WR, Mississippi State
Playing within the Air Raid offense at Mississippi State, Rara Thomas is sure to get a ton of looks in the passing game. And yet, he’s still somehow underrated.
Thomas is averaging nearly 15 yards per catch through his two seasons in Starkville and has game-breaking speed. His route tree is blossoming, and he’ll come into his own, but Thomas already presents a receiver with a massive frame and terrific hands.
Beyond the Top 50 2024 Prospects
- Nyland Green, DB, Georgia
- Kamari Lassiter, DB, Georgia
- Jack Sawyer, EDGE, Ohio State
- Devin Kirkwood, CB, UCLA
- Calen Bullock, S, USC
- Kaidon Salter, QB, Liberty
- Keaton Mitchell, RB, ECU
- Roman Hemby, RB, Maryland
- Devin Neal, RB, Kansas
- Bryson Nesbit, TE, North Carolina
- Campbell Barrington, OT, BYU
- Power Echols, LB, North Carolina
- Terrance Ferguson, TE, Oregon
- Charles Brantley, CB, Michigan State
- Oronde Gadsden II, WR, Syracuse
- Bryce Steele, LB, Boston College
- Romello Brinson, WR, Miami (FL)
- Austin Keys, LB, Ole Miss
- Jackson LaDuke, LB, Oregon
- Tyrin Smith, WR, UTEP
- De’Zhaun Stribling, WR, Washington State
- Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
- Jaden Hicks, CB, Washington State
- Jordan Turner, CB, Wisconsin
- Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
- Karene Reid, LB, Utah
- Billy Bowman, S, Oklahoma
- Barryn Sorrell, EDGE, Texas