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2024 NFL Draft: Rome Odunze, Brock Bowers among Day 1's top value picks

The Next Gen Stats Team uses its draft model to identify the five best value picks in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Rome Odunze
Washington · WR · Senior
Chicago Bears
Round 1 · No. 9 overall
  • Production Score: 91
  • Athleticism Score: 85

When selecting a quarterback at the top of the draft, the most optimal strategy to ensure their success is to invest in a strong supporting cast. The Bears acquired Keenan Allen for a fourth-round pick earlier this offseason and added DJ Moore a year ago, and on Thursday, they continued their investment in the offense by selecting Odunze, the No. 3 prospect on NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's Big Board. New QB Caleb Williams will now have an elite trio of pass catchers to rely on, as was foreshadowed during a practice session earlier this week.

Odunze enters the pros after a productive college career, highlighted by a senior season where he led the FBS in receiving yards (1,640) and helped his team to an appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Bears currently have just two more picks remaining in this year's draft, but they've already secured the first and fifth-ranked players, based on the NGS overall score.

Brock Bowers
Georgia · TE · Junior
Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 · No. 13 overall
  • Production Score: 99
  • Athleticism Score: 86

With this pick, the Raiders added more juice to a pass-catching corps that, aside from Davante Adams, lacked blue-chip options. Bowers scored 31 total touchdowns during his three seasons at Georgia, including five of over 70 yards. The three-time first-team All-American was dynamic with the ball in his hands as soon as he stepped on the field in Athens, gaining over 500 more yards than any other tight end in the FBS over his three seasons. Likewise, Bowers is just the fourth tight end prospect to earn a maximum 99 production score since 2003, according to the NGS draft model (others include Vernon Davis and Evan Engram).

For the second year in a row, the Raiders used a top-35 pick to select the No. 1 tight end by the NGS production score (last year, they chose Michael Mayer at No. 35). Expect the Raiders to use heavier personnel next season after deploying multiple tight end groupings on fewer than one-fifth of their plays in 2023, according to NGS data.

Byron Murphy II
Texas · DT · Junior
Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 · No. 16 overall
  • Production Score: 79
  • Athleticism Score: 85

When a record-setting six quarterbacks go within the first 12 selections, teams are bound to find value in the middle of the first round. The Seahawks pounced on the opportunity to take the second defensive player -- and the NGS draft model's No. 1 defensive tackle -- off the board at No. 16 overall. After trading away their second-round pick for Leonard Williams at last season's trade deadline, the Seahawks will have essentially spent their two top picks on shoring up the interior of their defensive line.

Murphy has a similar draft profile to Justin Madubuike, who reached his first Pro Bowl under Mike Macdonald -- now the Seahawks head coach -- last season, when Macdonald was defensive coordinator in Baltimore. The big man out of Texas was a disruptive force along the interior in his final collegiate season, generating 42 pressures aligned across from guards and centers in 2023, per Pro Football Focus -- no other player had more than 25.

Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · CB · Senior
Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 · No. 22 overall
  • Production Score: 83
  • Athleticism Score: 86

After securing two of the five Day 1 value picks in the 2023 draft, Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, the Eagles landed the top defender in this year’s class, according to the NGS overall draft score (90). In fact, Mitchell is the only defender in this year's group to earn a score above 85. Mitchell is the first defensive back that Howie Roseman, Philadelphia's longtime GM, has selected in the first round. Traditionally, the Eagles have used their premium picks to build through the trenches, but this year, they deviated from this trend to bring in a blue-chip player at a position of need.

Mitchell will inject youth and athleticism into the Eagles' secondary and is projected as a potential successor to Darius Slay, 33, and James Bradberry, 30, down the line. The Toledo product lived around the ball in each of his last two seasons, ranking second in the FBS in passes defended in both 2022 (19) and 2023 (18).

Terrion Arnold
Alabama · CB · Sophomore (RS)
Detroit Lions
Round 1 · No. 24 overall
  • Production Score: 90
  • Athleticism Score: 70

For the second consecutive year, the Lions traded up to select an Alabama cornerback with a stellar pedigree. Arnold was the top-ranked defender on Daniel Jeremiah's Big Board (No. 9 overall) and earned the highest production score (90) in this year's cornerback class, according to the NGS draft model. Arnold will reunite with Brian Branch, the aforementioned Crimson Tide product who inspired the Lions to move up in Round 2 in 2023 -- he's also the only cornerback who earned a higher NGS production score than Arnold over the last two draft classes (91).

The Lions have transformed their biggest defensive weakness into a potential strength this offseason by trading their third-round pick for Carlton Davis and moving up to select Arnold. This duo should be a significant upgrade over ex-Lions Jerry Jacobs and Cameron Sutton, who were part of a unit that allowed the second-most yards (2,229) on passes that traveled over 10 air yards last season.