If the 2022 college football season was any indication, the 2024 NFL Draft could be a franchise-changing event for many teams. On the heels of a 2023 class that lacked blue-chip talent, the early returns of the projected 2024 group are extremely promising. And there’s only more to come.
2024 NFL Draft Prospects To Watch
Will the 2023 NFL Draft fading behind us, the 2024 NFL Draft cycle now comes into focus. There’s still plenty more studying left to do, but already, a top group is starting to emerge from the haze. Who are the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class, as it stands? And who is best positioned to go early next April?
1) Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Coming off a season with 4,537 passing yards, 42 scores, and just five picks, Caleb Williams already has the production profile of a first-overall pick. At 6’1″, 215 pounds, he’s an off-platform ninja with rare creative feel and a hose for an arm. Williams’ ability to produce off-script is surpassed only by his layering ability — both franchise-caliber traits.
2) Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Being a Hall of Famer’s son can generate an exorbitant amount of pressure, but Marvin Harrison Jr. has already proven he can handle it. Early on, he looks like a blue-chip NFL prospect in the mold of A.J. Green. At 6’4″, 205 pounds, Harrison makes unnatural things like sinking, separating, and converting at the catch point look absolutely effortless.
3) Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
Having completed 342 of 517 passes for 4,321 yards, 38 scores, and seven picks in 2022, Drake Maye is one of those quarterbacks who makes it look easy, both as an athlete and as a passer.
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Maye has a smooth, effortless throwing motion and can evade rushers and create at a high clip, despite his 6’4″, 220-pound frame. His ability to torque off-platform is superb.
4) Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
It’s rare for offensive tackle prospects to “look the part” as much as Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu does coming out of his redshirt sophomore season. At 6’6″, 321 pounds, Fashanu hits all the size thresholds. But he’s also a superb athlete with the mobility and flexibility to match and recover against rushers and the violent hands to suffocate rushes.
5) J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
Most preseason lists don’t have J.C. Latham quite this high, but the Alabama OT has the talent to follow in the footsteps of other Crimson Tide first-rounders before him. He’s unnaturally explosive and nimble on his feet for his 6’6″, 335-pound frame, and his unending physicality serves as a channeling module for his elite physical tools.
6) Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Accruing 119 catches for 1,824 yards and 20 touchdowns across his first two seasons, Brock Bowers is on a collision course with Round 1 capital. The Georgia offense has always been proficient at giving Bowers space, but he makes the most of it with his instant acceleration, zone awareness, contact balance, and vice-grip hands at the high point.
7) Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Harrison is a blue-chip prospect, but Emeka Egbuka has top-10 upside in his own right. At 6’1″, 205 pounds, Egbuka has the desired blend of explosiveness, agility, and speed. But what truly brings Ebuka’s profile together is his ability to displace and exploit zones as a route runner, and his ability to naturally corral passes in stride while turning upfield.
8) Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
It’s very early in the 2024 NFL Draft process, but it’s safe to drink the Kool-Aid on Alabama’s next first-round CB prospect. Kool-Aid McKinstry is coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him rack up 15 pass deflections in coverage. He has length at 6’1″, 188 pounds, but he’s a gnat with his technique, twitch, burst, and precise, stifling physicality.
9) Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
In a year, Jared Verse has gone from an under-the-radar Albany transfer to a projected Round 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Had he declared in 2023, he might have gone in that range as well.
Verse, who logged nine sacks and 17 TFLs in 2022, has it all in his arsenal: Burst, length, power, bend, and supremely quick and active hands at contact.
10) Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Next in line for the Crimson Tide, Dallas Turner has big shoes to fill after Will Anderson Jr.’s departure. Turner himself has work to do before he reaches Anderson’s caliber, but he has the upside to get there. At 6’4″, 240 pounds, Turner has the length to go along with high-level burst and bend, and his speed-to-power element is surprisingly destructive.
11) Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Usually, offensive tackles hit a point of diminishing returns once they hit 6’7″ or 6’8″. It is possible to be too tall at a position where leverage is paramount, but Notre Dame’s Joe Alt is an anomaly.
At 6’8″, 315 pounds, the former tight end is absurdly flexible, well-leveraged, quick out of his stance, and his recovery athleticism is a formidable failsafe.
12) Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
On my board, Rome Odunze would have been a fringe first-round candidate had he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. Fresh off a 75-catch, 1,145-yard, seven-touchdown season, the 6’3″, 201-pound receiver is a true complete three-level threat. He’s a smooth athlete and separator, an instinctive contested-catch savant, and an elusive RAC threat.
13) J.T. Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State
If all goes well, J.T. Tuimoloau could be one of the first prospects off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft. At 6’4″, 277, he has a rare blend of size, burst, and power capacity, and he doubles as an elite playmaker who’s always around the ball. He doesn’t quite have game-breaking bend, and his hand usage can improve, but the sheer upside is tantalizing.
14) Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Preseason hype can be a dangerous thing. LSU WR Kayshon Boutte is a recent example.
But Malik Nabers, the next in the Tigers’ line of WR prospects, is a better bet to deliver on that upside. Nabers is a legitimate speed threat downfield who can offset and stack DBs with ease. He has unnatural RAC ability for his size, and he’s an adept contortionist.
15) Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State
Many of the top DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft are a bit undersized, but that quality can actually help them win the leverage battle. Michael Hall Jr.’s film proves that, as the Ohio State standout effortlessly gets under his opponents and wrenches through blocks with his burst, hand power, and tenacity. He’s an adept pass-rushing threat who’s trending up.
16) Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
Lukas Van Ness represented Iowa in Round 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Cooper DeJean is on pace to follow a similar path in 2024. DeJean — who logged five picks (including three pick-sixes) and eight PBUs in 2022 — has eye-catching twitch and movement freedom at 6’1″, 209 pounds. He’s also a high-IQ defender who can jump routes in coverage.
17) TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State
The college football world will be eager to watch if TreVeyon Henderson can get back to 100% in 2023. Because if he can, he can be the RB1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Henderson has an instant trigger when accelerating upfield, as well as the contact balance at 5’10”, 214 pounds to churn through tackles. His versatility as a receiver is an added bonus in the modern NFL.
18) Donovan Jackson, G, Ohio State
The 2023 NFL Draft didn’t have a bona fide Round 1 guard prospect, but that may change with the 2024 group. Donovan Jackson is a former five-star recruit with a dense 6’4″, 320-pound frame and elite proportional length. Jackson’s hands explode into contact, he brings overwhelming core strength, and he has the lateral mobility and vision to handle stunts.
19) Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
One of the nation’s most productive pass rushers in 2022, Bralen Trice returns as a first-round hopeful in the 2024 NFL Draft. The main appeal of Trice’s profile is his power element. At 6’4″, 260 pounds, he can relentlessly barrel through opposing tackles with his straight-line burst and club-like hands, and his energy never wanes, even late in games.
20) Maason Smith, DT, LSU
The question will be whether or not Maason Smith can come back to 100% after missing most of the 2022 campaign with a torn ACL. If he can, he has first-round potential.
Smith — the 6’5″, 300-pound behemoth who logged four sacks and five TFLs in 2021 — has an overwhelming power profile, but he’s also athletic enough to shade outside at 5-tech, and he’s shown he can stack searing hand counters as a pass rusher one on one.
21) Andrew Mukuba, S, Clemson
Andrew Mukuba’s production took a slight dip in 2022, but the Clemson defender still has the profile to be a coveted NFL Draft prospect in 2024. Mukuba, at 5’11”, 185 pounds, is an incredibly versatile piece for the Tigers’ defense. He can play single-high or two-high, but he’s arguably best in the slot, where his high-energy, elastic athleticism serves him well.
22) Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
At 6’1″, 163 pounds, Xavier Worthy falls outside the desired weight threshold for WRs. But he could be an anomaly within that class. What he lacks in mass, Worthy makes up for with his gravitational effect on defenses, stretching the field and attacking weak spots with his blistering speed, and he has the high-level instincts to convert beyond his frame.
23) Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
His player type is a bit unorthodox, but there will be demand for Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. Listed at 6’2″, 280 pounds, Newton falls between the DT and EDGE positional designations, but he’s just a great football player at the end of the day.
Newton is quick off the line, flexible peeling through blocks, and his violent, combative hands can wreck blockers in congestion — fueled by his constant energy.
24) J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
Quietly, J.J. McCarthy showed promise in his first season as Michigan’s full-time starter, completing 208 of 322 attempts for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five picks.
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McCarthy has been bulking up this offseason, which will help with his projection. But the next step in 2023 will be maturing as a passer and cutting down on mistakes. If he does that, he has the elite creation capacity and high-powered arm to go very early.
25) Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
Quinn Ewers’ first season at Texas had its ups and downs, but there’s growing optimism for a breakout in 2023. Ewers can still improve his accuracy and decision-making, among other things, but there’s no denying his rare natural arm talent. He generates velocity with ease, can throw from multiple angles, and isn’t afraid to take high-upside risks down the field.
26) Barrett Carter, LB, Clemson
There isn’t yet an indisputable first-round LB prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, but Barrett Carter is one of the top candidates.
Having amassed 10.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, two picks, and eight deflections in 2022, Carter epitomizes dynamic versatility with his usage and talent. He’s a lightning bolt attacking downhill with zeal and blitzing through gaps, and he also has the twitch and range to hawk over short passes in coverage.
27) Tony Grimes, CB, Texas A&M
After accumulating 16 pass breakups and a pick over the 2021 and 2022 campaigns at North Carolina, Tony Grimes chose to transfer to Texas A&M. There, he’ll look to prove himself against SEC competition and solidify his stock in the early rounds.
Grimes, a former five star, has high-end athleticism and proportional length and plays the ball with patience and focus while striding downfield.
28) Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Michael Penix Jr. will be a 24-year-old rookie, but he has the talent to take on a Kenny Pickett-like rise. Penix possesses a high-velocity arm with which he can layer passes into incredibly tight windows. His experience shows in his field vision and confidence, and as long as his health checks out, Penix can be an NFL starter at his maximum projection.
29) Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Like Penix, Bo Nix will be an older prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he also has the raw talent to be considered in the early rounds. Nix reached new marks in 2022 with his efficiency and decision-making. And ultimately, when it comes to short-area athleticism, natural creation capacity, and off-platform comfort, few are better equipped than Nix.
30) Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
Legacy prospects are becoming more common, and the 2024 NFL Draft has several in the early-round range. The son of an All-Pro linebacker of the same name, Jeremiah Trotter Jr. aims to carry the family torch in 2024. Trotter has a stocky frame and good strength, but his most impressive trait is his ability to snake through congestion, evade blocks, and halt plays at the line.
31) Kalen King, CB, Penn State
When Joey Porter Jr. locked down his side, the pass attempts had to go somewhere. Many were funneled to Kalen King, who similarly discouraged QBs with his three interceptions and 16 deflections. King is a natural cover man with burst, fluidity, and ball skills, and his relentless competitive toughness as a support defender is a top selling point.
32) Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, C, Georgia
For the better part of two seasons, Georgia’s offensive line has been a dominating unit, and Sedrick Van Pran-Granger is a big reason why.
The 6’4″, 310-pound center is well-leveraged and physical through reps, but Pran-Granger’s most eye-catching trait is his searing explosiveness off the line. He reaches the second level instantly, and his range is a game-changer on zone runs.
33) James Williams, S, Miami (FL)
If you missed the size/speed freak mold at safety, you’re in luck. The 2024 NFL Draft class has another mold-breaker in tow with Miami’s James Williams.
Listed at 6’5″, 224 pounds, Williams truly challenges convention with his size and length at the safety position. He also has legitimate playmaking chops and is a banshee coming downhill with his physicality.
34) Oronde Gadsden II, WR, Syracuse
In the modern NFL revolution, the big-slot WR and move TE roles are becoming more and more valuable. Syracuse’s Oronde Gadsden II blends elements of both profiles together.
At 6’5″, 216 pounds, Gadsden outmatches any DB he faces, but he also has the smooth athleticism and foot speed to surge through creases in the field, and his hands are incredibly strong.
35) Jason Marshall Jr., CB, Florida
Prospects don’t always live up to their five-star pedigree, but Jason Marshall Jr. is on his way to accomplishing that.
The 6’1″, 198-pound cover man notched a pick and eight PBUs in 2022 and is primed for a breakout in 2023. At his size, Marshall shows glimpses of exciting corrective twitch as an athlete and has a full pallet of tools to mold.
36) Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State
2022 was a down year for Denzel Burke, who broke onto the scene in 2021 with a pick and 12 pass breakups. The 6’1″, 190-pound CB still has room to clean up his technique and doesn’t have compromising fluidity.
That said, Burke brings high-level ball skills to the boundary and can easily disrupt and delay receivers at the line with his wide reach and physicality.
37) Will Shipley, RB, Clemson
In two seasons with the Clemson Tigers, Will Shipley has amassed over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 26 total touchdowns. Entering his first year of eligibility, he has RB1 potential, even at a lighter size of 5’11”, 205 pounds. Shipley’s finesse and hip flexibility as a runner is certifiably insane, and he has the creative instincts to maximize that trait.
38) Raheim Sanders, RB, Arkansas
A nickname can say a lot about a running back. That’s very true for Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, who’s coming off a season that saw him amass 222 carries for 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns at Arkansas. Sanders’ size and physicality at 6’2″, 227 pounds, stands out right away, but he’s also an instant accelerator with a turbo button moving upfield.
39) Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
Ruke Orhorhoro was an early-round prospect on my 2023 NFL Draft board, but he chose to return to school and keep honing his craft. Orhorhoro was born in Nigeria and didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school.
As young as he is, Orhorhoro’s an exciting talent with elite burst, power capacity, and alignment flexibility at 6’4″, 303 pounds.
40) Brandon Dorlus, DL, Oregon
If alignment versatility is what you seek out in prospects each cycle, then you’ll be a fan of Oregon’s Brandon Dorlus. At 6’3″, 285 pounds, Dorlus — who contributed 2.5 sacks and 9.5 TFLs in 2022 — is truly a goblin on the defensive line. He has the length and mass to disrupt inside at 3-tech, but he can also play as a stand-up rusher and use speed to power.
41) Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State
Had he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, Cooper Beebe might have been a contender for the top guard spot. Beebe’s a multi-year All-Big 12 performer with experience at both tackle and guard, but guard is where his skill set translates best. The 6’4″, 332-pound blocker is refined and powerful, and his angle awareness makes him exceedingly reliable.
42) Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
If Texas’ offense explodes in 2023, as many expect, tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders could be a prime beneficiary. Sanders already broke out in 2022 with 54 catches for 613 yards and five scores, but it still feels like he’s underrated in preseason rankings. At 6’4″, 249 pounds, he has the size, length, and functional athleticism to wreak havoc up the seam.
43) Omar Speights, LB, LSU
Omar Speights won’t be a breakout in 2023, but this is the year that everyone discovers how good of a player he is. Transferring to LSU from Oregon State, the 6’1″, 237-pound linebacker already brings four years of starting experience with him. On top of his instincts and football IQ, Speights is an explosive, agile competitor with physicality and zone awareness.
44) Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
Blake Corum was arguably the most prolific running back in the nation in 2022, with 247 carries for 1,463 yards and 18 house calls. He’s a well-leveraged ball of rock at 5’8″, 210 pounds, who brings back memories of the Muscle Hamster with his balance, tenacity, and high-energy style both as a lateral and vertical mover.
45) Tyreek Chappell, CB, Texas A&M
Grimes isn’t the only Aggies CB on the early 2024 NFL Draft radar. Tyreek Chappell also has early-round potential.
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Chappell has solid production, with eight deflections in 2022, but the tape is what truly sells his game. At 5’11”, 185 pounds, he’s fluid and an easy mover out of transitions, but he’s also patient and disciplined with his footwork and technique.
46) Will Sheppard, WR, Vanderbilt
In Vanderbilt’s suspect offense last season, Will Sheppard was able to put up 60 catches for 776 yards and nine scores. Being at Vanderbilt, Sheppard is overlooked at times, but he has the profile as a potentially productive NFL receiver. Size isn’t an issue at 6’3″, 200 pounds, but he’s also a nuanced and flexible route runner with stubborn RAC ability.
47) Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
In his first year with Nix at QB, Troy Franklin put up 61 catches for 891 yards and nine touchdowns. His 2023 campaign could be even more prolific.
Franklin is still growing on the operational side, and he can be a bit leggy with his movements at 6’3″, 178 pounds. But Franklin’s spidery frame grants him plenty of range in contested situations, and he’s a big-play threat whenever the ball comes his way.
48) Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington
He’s overshadowed by Odunze at times, but Washington’s Jalen McMillan has an exciting 2024 NFL Draft profile as well. Coming off a 79-catch, 1,098-yard, nine-score 2022 campaign, McMillan has already set the bar high. He’s a long-strider at 6’1″, 180 pounds with speed and burst, but he can also swivel around and chop his feet as a route runner.
49) Javon Bullard, DB, Georgia
As he enters his first year of eligibility, Javon Bullard joins the fray as a potential early-round slot DB target. He can play the boundary or the slot, but he thrives as a hybrid STAR defender with physicality beyond his 5’11”, 180-pound frame. He’s a menace as a blitzer and pursuit defender, but Bullard also has patient feet in off-man and tenacity at contact.
50) Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
Spencer Rattler’s composite 2022 stats are misleading. Across the final five games, Rattler logged 1,389 passing yards, 13 scores, and just three of his 12 interceptions across the season.
Rattler ended 2022 on a high note, and with a full year of stellar play in 2023, he can get himself back on the draft radar with his arm elasticity and gunslinger mentality.
Beyond the Top 50 2024 Prospects
- Jaheim Bell, TE, Florida State
- Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
- Rod Moore, S, Michigan
- Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State
- Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
- Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
- Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
- Trikweze Bridges, DB, Oregon
- Ja’Quan Sheppard, CB, Maryland
- Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona
- Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma
- Mario Williams, WR, USC
- Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State
- Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M
- Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame
- Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
- Jack Sawyer, EDGE, Ohio State
- Devin Kirkwood, CB, UCLA
- Calen Bullock, S, USC
- Devin Neal, RB, Kansas
- Bryson Nesbit, TE, North Carolina
- Terrance Ferguson, TE, Oregon
- Fabien Lovett, DT, Florida State
- Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State
- Keon Coleman, WR, Michigan State