Top 2024 NFL Draft Steals: Spencer Rattler Falls to Saints, Eagles Find Two Stud DBs

Just like that, the 2024 NFL Draft is over. With the dust settling, let's look back at the biggest steals from across all seven rounds.

Fourth-eight hours and 257 picks later, the 2024 NFL Draft is finally over.

And it didn’t disappoint. From an early, unprecedented run on quarterbacks to a flurry of trades to more than a few head-scratching picks, there’s much to digest. And we’ll cover all of it in the coming days.

For now, let’s focus on the biggest steals from across all seven rounds.

Biggest Steals From Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft

QB J.J. McCarthy: No. 10, Minnesota Vikings

On talent alone, J.J. McCarthy isn’t a steal at this spot. He was the No. 26 prospect on the Pro Football Network Big Board, and he was lower on other lists. In fact, you could argue this is a reach.

However, there was a world in which the Minnesota Vikings had to part with both of their first-rounders (Nos. 11 and 23) to move up for McCarthy, whom they clearly coveted. Instead, Minnesota only swapped No. 11 and a pair of late-round picks with the New York Jets to move up to No. 10.

Many mock drafts had McCarthy going in the top five. Instead, he made it all the way to No. 10 and the team that wanted him all along.

Ultimately, this is a win for Minnesota.

TE Brock Bowers: No. 13, Las Vegas Raiders

Some teams had Brock Bowers as their highest-graded plater in the draft. He’s that good of a tight end prospect.

In other years, Bowers would’ve been a top-10 pick, maybe even a top-five selection. But due to the needs of the teams in the top 12, Bowers slipped to the Las Vegas Raiders, who’ll add him to an offense that already features Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

This is a huge steal for Las Vegas.

EDGE Dallas Turner: No. 17, Minnesota Vikings

The first 14 draft picks were used on offensive players, a new record. But six of the next eight picks were used on defenders, including Dallas Turner, who was viewed by some as the top defensive prospect in the class.

A wildly talented edge rusher, Turner was ranked No. 7 on the PFN Big Board. Most mock drafts had him going somewhere in the top 10.

MORE: Analysis and Grades for All 7 Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft

Many ticketed Turner for the Atlanta Falcons, who stunned the football world by drafting QB Michael Penix with the No. 8 pick.

Turner ultimately went 17th overall to the Vikings, who drafted him after moving up from No. 23 to No. 17 in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If you remove the trade aspect and focus solely on the draft slot, this is a steal for the Vikings.

CB Quinyon Mitchell: No. 22, Philadelphia Eagles

Cornerback was the Philadelphia Eagles‘ top draft need, and they landed one of the best in the class.

Quinyon Mitchell was 16th on our Big Board, but he was higher on others. In any other year, he probably would’ve been a top-15 draft pick.

Instead, the Toledo product fell to the Eagles, who surprised some by drafting Mitchell ahead of Alabama corner Terrion Arnold.

Regardless, landing Mitchell at No. 22 represents great value for Philadelphia.

CB Terrion Arnold: No. 24, Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions traded up for this pick, sending Nos. 29 and 73 to the Dallas Cowboys for No. 24 and a 2025 seventh-round pick. With the 24th pick, Dan Campbell and Co. address their glaring cornerback need by selecting Terrion Arnold.

We had Arnold as the top corner on our Big Board and the No. 10 prospect overall. That a corner-needy team landed him in the mid-20s was a stunning development, one made possible by the early run on offensive players.

Plus, the Lions didn’t need to give up too much in the trade. This is a great pick.

Biggest Steals From Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft

DT Jer’Zhan Newton: No. 36, Washington Commanders

Jer’Zhan Newton, who prefers to go by “Johnny,” was a consensus first-round talent and the No. 12 player on our Big Board. No. 12! But a foot injury — that reportedly is fully healed — caused arguably the best defensive tackle in this class to fall to the second round.

Newton’s slide ended early in Round 2 when the Washington Commanders made him the 36th overall pick. This is a steal, one that enables Washington to plan for the future at defensive tackle while adding a player who should contribute right away.

DB Cooper DeJean: No. 40, Philadelphia Eagles

Many viewed Cooper DeJean as a first-round pick. We had him ranked as the 15th-best prospect on our big board. And yet, DeJean slipped to the Eagles, who traded up with the Commanders to select him with the 40th overall pick.

Whether DeJean will be a cornerback or a safety in the NFL remains to be seen. But he and Mitchell will add a needed boost to Philadelphia’s secondary.

CB Kool-Aid McKinstry: No. 41, New Orleans Saints

Kool-Aid McKinstry entered last season as arguably the top cornerback prospect in the country. His stock dropped throughout the campaign, but he still was considered a likely first-round pick — and the 19th-best player on our Big Board.

Ultimately, McKinstry fell to No. 41, where the New Orleans Saints drafted him after trading with the Green Bay Packers. This is a great move for New Orleans, which gets a player with all the tools to be a starting corner in the pros.

WR Adonai Mitchell: No. 52, Indianapolis Colts

Adonai Mitchell was the No. 28 player on our Big Board, and he was higher on other lists. But he slid and slid and slid, likely due to concerns about his effort and off-field character. His route running also could use some work.

Nevertheless, landing Mitchell with the No. 52 represents great value to the Indianapolis Colts, who now have one of the more intriguing, young receiver rooms in the NFL. Quarterback Anthony Richardson now can work with Mitchell, Michael Pittman Jr., and Josh Downs. That’s a good group.

Mitchell is far from a perfect prospect, but he has the speed and raw ability to develop into a real weapon.

G Christian Haynes: No. 81, Seattle Seahawks

UConn’s Christian Haynes arguably was the second-best guard available in the draft. He also was the No. 32 player on the Pro Football Network Big Board.

However, interior offensive linemen tend to fall in drafts, and that’s exactly what happened to Haynes. He dropped to 81, where the OL-needy Seattle Seahawks ended his slide. Haynes has the size and ability to be a solid Week 1 starter.

Biggest Steals From Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft

WR Troy Franklin: No. 102, Denver Broncos

The Broncos swung a trade with the Seahawks to move up for receiver Troy Franklin, who played at Oregon with quarterback Bo Nix, Denver’s first-round pick. It’s a reunion that makes a ton of sense, as Franklin and Nix showed great chemistry in college.

MORE: NFL Draft Grades 2024 — Analysis and Grades for All 7 Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft

Franklin was the No. 68 player on our Big Board, so this is a steal. He’s not the most physical receiver and could struggle against press coverage in the pros, but Franklin has the ability to be an impact receiver in the Broncos’ offense.

S Malik Mustapha: No. 124, San Francisco 49ers

With the fourth-round pick they received from the Dallas Cowboys in the Trey Lance trade, the 49ers selected Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha.

No. 56 on our Big Board, Mustapha could be a starter in San Fran in no time. He plays with solid burst and makes plays in contested-catch situations.

TE Jared Wiley: No. 131, Kansas City Chiefs

Jared Wiley, No. 91 on our Big Board, was one of the more underrated players in this draft. The 6’6″ tight end is more polished as a blocker than as a receiver, but he showed tantalizing potential in the passing game while at TCU. He could turn into a valuable offensive weapon down the road for the Chiefs.

QB Spencer Rattler: No. 150, New Orleans Saints

After six of the first 12 picks were used on quarterbacks, zero signal-callers were drafted until No. 150, when the Saints called Spencer Rattler.

No. 101 on our Big Board, Rattler has a lot of work to do. He struggles on deep throws, has accuracy issues, and there are concerns about his leadership. But he knows how to run an offense and is tough in the pocket. If nothing else, Rattler could turn into a solid backup for the Saints.

WR Malik Washington: No. 184, Miami Dolphins

We might look back on Malik Washington as the steal of the 2024 NFL Draft.

No. 81 on our Big Board (and ranked similarly on others), Washington was selected by the Dolphins with the 184th overall pick. He’s short at 5’9″ but makes up for it with speed and pure play-making ability. Washington’s skill set could be a perfect fit in Miami’s offense, which is tailor-made to prop up young receivers.


Looking for everything you need surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft? Make sure to check out the latest draft results, overall team grades, and updated best remaining players available at every position!

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