Sunday, February 25, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr. headline All-Offense Team

The college football regular season has concluded and that has created a frenzy among players across the country. Some have declared for the 2024 NFL Draft while others have announced that they are entering the transfer portal. There is a lot unknown when considering who may actually be available for the April draft but the top prospects are known.

Here is an attempt to build an NFL offense strictly from prospects eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft:

QB: Caleb Williams, USC

The choice was clearly going to be North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Williams. There are flaws that come with each player but each also offers a high ceiling. Williams has great pocket awareness and does a great job of extending plays. The ability to extend plays has to be complementary to the quarterback’s ability to make plays from the pocket and within the structure of the offense rather than the entirety of his play. In hindsight, Zach Wilson’s time at BYU was more of the latter. 

There has been a lot of criticism about the emotion Williams has shown after losses this season. It was also suggested that the team would not have lost five of its last six games if Williams were the quarterback he was said to be in the media. USC averaged 28.2 points per game in those five losses. 

RB: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

The running back position lacks an alpha this year. It is very possible that zero running backs are taken inside the top 50. Henderson burst onto the scene as a true freshman for the Buckeyes and many were just counting down the days until he was eligible for the draft. The Virginia native missed five games last season with a broken bone in his foot. He has missed three games this season as well. Injuries will hinder his evaluation but Henderson is one of the most well-rounded options expected to be available to teams in the spring.

WR: Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Harrison is the total package at receiver. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he can win jump balls with acrobatic catches downfield or use his speed to create separation in the open field. The true junior has delivered in big moments for the Buckeyes, including 100+ receiving yards against No. 3 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State. He’s clutch as well as 76.1% of his receptions have gone for either a first down or touchdown this season, according to TruMedia. 

The son of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, and one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets, is probably the best prospect eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft regardless of position. 

WR: Malik Nabers, LSU

Nabers is the next best receiver prospect in my eyes. His body control down the field and ability to create separation in open space is what separates him from other No. 2 WR contenders and 80.2% of his receptions have gone for either a first down or a touchdown this season, which is the second-highest among players with at least 50 receptions, according to TruMedia.

WR: Rome Odunze, Washington

The third receiver spot is all about how one would want to build their receiver room. It is understandable if someone wanted a jump-ball winner like Florida State’s Keon Coleman. It would make sense if someone wanted a speedy receiver to do work underneath like Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley. Instead, the choice is to add another prospect with a well-rounded skill set. 

Washington fed Odunze the ball every way imaginable. He is capable of winning contested catches down the field but was also used sparingly on end-arounds and jet sweeps. Among receivers with at least 50 receptions this season, Odunze had the highest rate of catches that went for either a first down or touchdown (82.2%), according to TruMedia.

TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia

Bowers should be a top-10 selection during next April’s draft. In an era where passing reigns supreme, the Napa native is a big matchup problem in the pass game because of his size, speed, acceleration and range. Although he has missed three games this season, Bowers still has 51 receptions for 661 yards and six touchdowns for the No. 1 team in the country. 

Since 2000, six tight ends have been taken in the top 10 overall: Florida’s Kyle Pitts (2021), Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson (2019), North Carolina’s Eric Ebron (2014), Maryland’s Vernon Davis (2006) and Miami’s (Fla.) Kellen Winslow II (2004).

OT: Joe Alt, Notre Dame

To keep the selections pure, the decision was to keep a left tackle and a right tackle rather than choose the two best offensive tackle prospects, which very well could have been two left tackles. If someone were to prefer Penn State’s Olu Fashanu in this spot, it would be understandable. 

After watching Fashanu and Alt again for the purpose of this article, the latter is more well-rounded right now. The Notre Dame product looks more athletic and flexible than last year. His comfort in pass protection gave him an edge. Alt was beaten on just two of his 351 pass-blocking snaps this season, according to TruMedia. Fashanu is better at leaning on defenders in the run game but Alt does a good job of working his angles and sealing run lanes.

OT: J.C. Latham, Alabama

Latham is a massive human being playing the right tackle position. Defenders are incapable of winning through the 6-foot-6, 360-pounder from Wisconsin. According to TruMedia, he was beaten on four of his 365 pass-blocking snaps. He should be the first right tackle off the board next spring despite Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga charging north. 

OG: Graham Barton, Duke

Barton has played left tackle at Duke but is projected to transition inside at the next level. On 235 pass-blocking snaps this season, he allowed two sacks. He has good eyes to pick up stunts and twists. The Tennessee native drives his feet on contact in the run game and displays good flexibility to recover.

OG: Troy Fautanu, Washington

Fautanu, like Barton, has played left tackle for the Huskies. He allowed two sacks on 448 pass-blocking snaps this season, according to TruMedia. The Nevada native with a volleyball background fires out of his stance and plays with a mean streak. He does a good job of mirroring defenders laterally and driving his feet on contact in the run game. 

C: Zach Frazier, West Virginia

Center is another choose-your-own-adventure position. There is not a single prospect who clearly stands out above the rest. Frazier is a sound lineman who plays with a lot of strength and leverage. He may be more athletically limited than other options but the West Virginia native does a good job of working angles in the run game and he recovers well when beaten. He allowed zero sacks this season, according to TruMedia.

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