Monday, April 22, 2024
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2024 NFL Draft: Trading up for a quarterback, veterans on the move and other top draft storylines

The excitement ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft is palpable as fans anxiously await the fate of top quarterback prospects and the dominoes that those decisions topple. Here are five of the top storylines ahead of this month’s draft:

1. Will a team trade out of the top 10 overall selections so that another can trade up for a quarterback?

USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye have been suspected to come off the board early for several months and the quarterback needs of the teams atop the draft order only cemented the likelihood. Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy has been charging up the board of late as well. 

The belief is that the teams picking in the Top-3 overall are going to stick and pick quarterbacks rather than trade out, which means teams like the Vikings, Raiders and Broncos will need to trade up if they are going to land a signal caller of their own. If a run on the position happens early, then that benefits the next tier of quarterbacks like Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.; the odds of five quarterbacks going in the first round increases exponentially if that were to occur.

2. What will Jim Harbaugh do with his first draft since returning to the NFL?

Los Angeles’ pick at No. 5 overall is one of intrigue. At one point, Georgia tight end Brock Bowers was viewed as the most likely choice for Harbaugh. Then, there was significant dialogue regarding his philosophy to field a physical football game that wins in the trenches. Many wonder if that means they are inclined to draft an offensive lineman. Finally, the Chargers released veteran wide receiver Mike Williams and traded away veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen. They could also be the team that trades out, allowing a team to move up for a quarterback. 

There are a lot of options for the AFC West franchise and that is expected to be a turning point in the draft. Harbaugh has actively talked about how much talent was on his National Championship Wolverines. Could he be responsible for taking a few Michigan players in their bid to break Georgia’s record for the most draft picks by a college program in a single year (15)?

3. Who will take tight end Brock Bowers? 

Bowers is and has been regarded as one of the best players in this draft class regardless of position. However, the tight end position is not viewed in the same light as other premier positions, such as quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, etc…While Bowers is no less of an impact pass catcher on the gridiron than he was at the start of the season, others have risen up the rankings and it is difficult to justify taking the Georgia tight end in the Top-10 overall when so many others are also deserving. 

Until New York solidified their holes at offensive tackle, it was not easy pinpointing a likely landing spot for Bowers. If he slips beyond the Jets selection at No. 10 overall, there is no telling when the junior will come off the board. Some mock draft scenarios have seen him falling into the 20’s. 

4. Will a veteran be moved on draft night? 

There have been multiple veteran players moved on draft night in recent years, including wide receivers A.J. Brown and Hollywood Brown, offensive tackle Trent Williams and running back D’Andre Swift. 

Could the Bengals trade away wide receiver Tee Higgins? Cincinnati used the franchise tag on the wide receiver and he has voiced his displeasure about the organization’s lack of interest in signing him to a long-term deal. Brandon Aiyuk has been disgruntled with his contract situation and that could force San Francisco to make a decision this offseason. There could be others that become available as a result of decisions made during the draft. Swift fell into that category when Detroit took Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round. 

5. When will the first running back be drafted?

A year ago, Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs and Texas’ Bijan Robinson were taken in the first dozen picks. Fans will not see history repeat itself this year, but there are plenty of possibilities once Day 2 arrives. When will the first running back be drafted? 

The latest that the first running back has came off the board since 2000 was No. 54 overall. The Titans took Washington’s Bishop Sankey in 2014. Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman and Jerick McKinnon were others taken that year. It is entirely possible that pick No. 55 overall arrives and top running back prospects are still waiting by their phones. 

Florida State’s Trey Benson, Texas’ Jonathon Brooks and Michigan’s Blake Corum are a few of the best available running backs in this year’s class.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at CBSSports.com, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects

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