Skip to main content

2024 NFL Draft: Ranking favorite picks in every round

During the intensity of the NFL draft, it's sometimes tough to see the forest for the trees. Now that the 2024 edition is in the rearview mirror, I've taken a step back to identify my favorite picks from the three-day event.

While there were many great prospect-team connections, I limited myself to three players from each round as my favorites – plus, one more (in Round 3) to create a "starting 22" – just as I did in last year’s edition.


Xavier Worthy
Texas · WR

Drafted: No. 28 overall

I projected a Chiefs trade-up for Worthy two months before the draft because the fit was so perfect. The team has needed a true difference-making speed receiver since Tyreek Hill was sent to Miami in the 2022 offseason. Worthy's performance at the NFL Scouting Combine confirmed his elite speed and now he's working with offensive guru Andy Reid and two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes. I can't wait to see the results of this collaboration.

Drafted: No. 26 overall

There’s a solid chance Barton will have a better career than some of the linemen taken before him Thursday night. While maybe not a dominant force who will regularly put guys on the ground, he routinely knows his assignments and executes them with enough nastiness to ensure defenders know he means business. Barton may play center or guard as a rookie, but the Bucs should have no qualms putting him at either tackle spot, if needed, despite his average length.

Jared Verse
Florida State · Edge

Drafted: No. 19 overall

It’s no wonder general manager Les Snead decided to finally use his first round pick – instead of making it eight straight drafts without one. The Rams needed an impact player on the edge, and Verse should have been a top-12 pick because of his strength, hand usage and relentless play. He'll be another guy with tight hips who works hard on every play and consistently takes quarterbacks to the ground on first, second or third effort. 


Javon Bullard
Georgia · S

Drafted: No. 58 overall

Bullard's all-around game makes him a great fit next to Xavier McKinney in the Packers' new defense under Jeff Hafley. His open-field tackling, recognition skills and coverage ability make him a playmaker at a position that often underappreciated until offenses take advantage of below-average performances.

Ben Sinnott
Kansas State · TE

Drafted: No. 53 overall

Sinnott has a chance to be a Sam LaPorta-type target for fellow rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels, presenting a big target on third down and the red zone. He's quick off the line, plays through contact and can grab passes away from his frame. His effort as a blocker will also be appreciated by coaches and players alike -- at least those in Commanders uniforms. 

Marshawn Kneeland
Western Michigan · Edge

Drafted: No. 56 overall

The Cowboys found a bargain pass rusher to help replace Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr., both of whom followed Dan Quinn to division-rival Washington. Demarcus Lawrence just turned 32, is a free agent after next season and hasn't had more than 6.5 sacks since 2018. Kneeland’s quick get-off will challenge tackles at the next level, and he also possesses a strong long-arm move and closing speed. How he lasted until No. 56 overall in a below-average year for edge rushers is beyond me. 


Roman Wilson
Michigan · WR

Drafted: No. 84 overall

While other teams reach for receivers with size and speed, the Steelers routinely sit back and wait for guys with great value to fall into their lap. Wilson may measure a shade under 5-foot-11 and weigh 185 pounds, but he isn’t purely limited to the slot because he wins off the line and separates from corners downfield to create space when plays break down. He'll be a quarterback's dream as he matures. 

Cooper Beebe
Kansas State · OL

Drafted: No. 73 overall

Beebe was this year's Creed Humphrey -- a talented interior lineman who could earn Pro Bowl votes early in his career despite being undervalued on draft weekend. To paraphrase Darth Vader, arm length does not concern me; I want Beebe on my offensive line. He'll be a strong performer at center as a rookie and may eventually slide to guard when nine-time Pro Bowler Zack Martin retires. Beebe played both tackle spots at Kansas State, as well, and could do so in a pinch just as Martin has during his career.  

Blake Corum
Michigan · RB

Drafted: No. 83 overall

This will be the conversation in future scouting meetings after teams watch Corum average 100 yards of total offense per game as a rushing/receiving threat for the Rams: 

"Hey, how come we didn't draft Blake Corum a few years ago?”

“Well, he was short, had average speed and we thought he was only productive because he played behind a great offensive line.”

“OK, let's avoid that sort of thinking this year." 

Jermaine Burton
Alabama · WR

Drafted: No. 80 overall

Burton's talent was evident at Georgia, but he improved in each of his two years at Alabama despite the team's inconsistent passing offense limiting his touches. Watch for him to use his excellent body control and strong hands to make clutch catches over the middle and on the sideline, while Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins get props for big plays. Burton could take over as the No. 2 receiver if Higgins departs via trade or as a free agent in 2025.


Drafted: No. 104 overall

If DTD had played in the SEC instead of at Texas Tech, people would likely have clamored for him to be a Day 2 draft pick. Yet, I figured Taylor-Demerson would last until the start of Day 3 due to the lack of love for safeties. However, his athleticism allows him to cover slot receivers, and he is a reliable tackler in space against the run and pass. He could force coaches to start him at nickel before his rookie year is over. 

Jaden Hicks
Washington State · S

Drafted: No. 133 overall

It's a shocker that the Chiefs landed a very good defensive back in the fourth round: L'Jarius Sneed was picked in that round in 2020, Joshua Williams stepped in as a rookie when needed in 2022, as did Chamarri Conner last season. Conner could take the spot vacated by Sneed this year, and Hicks will fight for playing time at strong safety as the year goes on or could become the starter if Justin Reid is not re-signed after the 2024 season. Hicks’ hits in the backfield, box and over the middle will be felt by running backs and receiver for the next decade.

Javon Foster
Missouri · OT

Drafted: No. 114 overall

The Jaguars needed to find a young tackle to back up Cam Robinson, Walker Little and Anton Harrison this year. Robinson and Little are free agents after the season, as well, so the team may have found a future starter at a bargain price. Foster figured to be a Day 3 pick because he doesn’t have elite quickness, but his length and experience as a starter in the SEC give him a chance to make it on the left or right side at the next level. 


Drafted: No. 155 overall

I could have included this pick for sentimental reasons alone. The son of the former Eagles Pro Bowl linebacker of the same name brings a physical, instinctual game to Philly. He's not big (6-foot, 228 pounds) but he finds the ball and gets to it quickly, avoiding blockers and shooting gaps when given the go-ahead. Nakobe Dean and free-agent acquisition Devin White (who signed a one-year deal) dealt with injuries last year, so don't be shocked if the young Trotter comes in when needed and doesn't relinquish the job by season’s end.

Spencer Rattler
South Carolina · QB

Drafted: No. 150 overall

Adding a talent like Rattler in Round 5 could pay major dividends for New Orleans down the line. With Derek Carr in place, Rattler doesn’t have to be “The Guy” for at least a couple of years, allowing him to mature and learn the pro game at a more developmental pace. It’s a low-risk, high-reward selection.

Drafted: No. 176 overall

Stiggers’ amazing story makes his selection another one that tugs on the heartstrings. He proved he belonged at the East-West Shrine Bowl, and his pro day confirmed his athleticism. A senior at a major college program with his ability likely would have been a late Day 2 pick, but the Jets snagged him with the last selection in Round 5. With a strong training camp, Stiggers could earn a reserve role as a rookie.


Logan Lee
Iowa · DL

Drafted: No. 178 overall

Lee's a great fit at 5-technique for the Steelers. The 6-foot-5, 281-pound (and growing) former Hawkeye has a quick first step that caught plenty of offensive linemen off guard last season, making him tough to reach-block. He disengages from blockers effectively, tracking down ball-carriers in the backfield or to the sideline. With a strong rookie season, Lee could earn a major role when Cameron Heyward eventually retires.

Mekhi Wingo

Drafted: No. 189 overall

Wingo was a second-team All-SEC pick as a sophomore, but an injury and his small frame (6-foot, 284 pounds) pushed him down draft boards. The Tigers had to be happy he didn't sit out their bowl game against Wisconsin, as his play along the interior helped LSU pull off a comeback win. Wingo’s excellent quickness off the snap and in short areas, leverage against guards using his low center of gravity and hustle to the ball downfield could earn him a roster spot over some veterans.

Dylan McMahon
N.C. State · OL

Drafted: No. 190 overall

McMahon lasted two rounds longer than I expected, but he fits quite well on an Eagles team that needed to at add more bodies along the O-line. His strength and natural bend allow him to anchor against any nose tackle, and his mobility and knowledge of blocking angles negate second-level targets. He’ll be a starter at some point in his career -- early on if injuries force him into action, or in a couple of years when free agency thins the depth chart.


Jaylen Harrell
Michigan · Edge

Drafted: No. 252 overall

Harrell has experience not only working through blocks to the quarterback, but holding his ground against the run. He might not rate as elite in any aspect, but he’ll be a solid option up front for a team that needed to add youth off the edge. Tennessee couldn’t have asked for a better fit in the seventh round.

Myles Harden
South Dakota · CB

Drafted: No. 27 overall

It's surprising Harden lasted until late on Day 3, considering his smooth movement and excellent short-area quickness. He showed on tape to be a willing hitter who found the ball when quarterbacks made the mistake of targeting him. The Browns needed another talented corner to compete for a roster spot, and they found a fourth- or fifth-round talent waiting in the seventh.

C.J. Hanson
Holy Cross · OL

Drafted: No. 248 overall

When I see Hanson, I think of long-time starter Joe Thuney. Of course, the Holy Cross alum has a long way to go to reach the level of the Chiefs’ two-time Pro Bowler, but the Holy Cross alum has real upside. He lasted until the seventh round possibly because of his lean lower body, but a couple of years in an NFL strength and conditioning program could help him add enough mass to improve his anchor. Hanson's athleticism stands out immediately on tape, and filling out his frame should not affect his movement skills. I'm not sure he'll make the roster this year, but a season on the practice squad working at center and guard could pay dividends for him (and the Chiefs) in 2025 and beyond.

Related Content