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2024 NFL Draft grades, first round: Falcons earn B- for Michael Penix Jr., Vikings get C+ for J.J. McCarthy

Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft was dominated by offensive players, with six quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks. Some teams hit on their picks, while others missed. Want to know what I think of every pick made Thursday in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft? You can find it all below. You can also follow along throughout the rest of the draft on Days 2 and 3 for more grades and more analysis. 

Be sure to refresh this page throughout the weekend to get the latest grades. If you want to do all that plus track the best available prospects and get access to every pick in the draft on one page, you can in our draft tracker. And follow along with each pick in our live blog and all the trades in our trade tracker.

Grades: Round 1 • Round 2 • Round 3 • Round 4 • Round 5 • Round 6 • Round 7      

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Grade: A- 

They say he’s generational, and he might be, but there are some concerns. I like his game, but I would have taken Jayden Daniels. Only time will tell. 

2. Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Grade: A

I love this pick. It’s a great situation for a rookie. The team has a new owner, coach and now quarterback. They can grow together. He will be the best QB in this class. 

3. Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Grade: B

He might need some time on the bench, but he has the talent to develop into a good starting quarterback in this league. He just needs to fine tune a few mechanical things. The Patriots had to get a quarterback. 

4. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Grade: B+

He has the tools to be a star receiver in this league. The Cardinals had to get a receiver, so it works. He will be a big-time playmaker in their offense. I think Malik Nabers will be better, but it’s close. 

5. Chargers: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Grade: B

He is the best in this class, but now he has to make the transition to right tackle for Jim Harbaugh. That can be tough to do. But taking a lineman makes sense, I just might have taken J.C. Latham as a better fit. 

6. Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Grade: A+

I love this pick for the Giants. It says they didn’t believe in the quarterbacks who were left and now they get a playmaker on the outside. This kid will be a star. 

7. Titans: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Grade: B+

He is a right tackle and they need a left tackle, so it will be interesting to see how they play it. But he’s a violent player wherever he plays. They cross-train at Alabama at both left and right, so he should be able to make a smooth transition. 

8. Falcons: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Grade: B-

They opted to take their quarterback of the future by taking Penix. He has all the tools, but will learn and wait behind Kirk Cousins. I wonder if he can rush the passer. Like the player, but don’t like the pick. Grade: B

9. Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Grade: B+

This is a smart pick for the Bears, even if taking an edge rusher filled a bigger need. Now you have a young receiver to grow with Caleb Williams. Odunze will give them a nice three-man receiver group. 

10. Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Grade: C+

They had to fill the quarterback spot, so it makes sense to take McCarthy. I don’t love him as much as others do, but it will be interesting to see how Kevin O’Connell and company will make it work.

11. Jets: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Grade: B-

He is a left tackle for the future, but also insurance if Tyron Smith can’t play the whole season, He is good in pass protection, but needs to improve his run blocking. This isn’t an all-in pick like Brock Bowers might have been.

12. Broncos: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Grade: C-

I don’t love Nix, but I get the pick. Desperation forces teams to pick quarterbacks earlier than they should. Sean Payton obviously sees Drew Brees in him, but this is way early. Why not trade down and get him later? 

13. Raiders: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Grade: C

He’s a heck of a player, but didn’t they draft Michael Mayer last year and signed Harrison Bryant this year? They have other needs. Don’t really like this pick that much. It’s not like he’s a good blocker for their run game. Strange pick with other needs. 

14. Saints: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Grade: B+

He fills a major need for the Saints. They have big-time tackle issues. Fuaga is a nasty player who will start right away. Love it. 

15. Colts: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Grade: B-

I think there were other options for them in this spot and better edge rushers in my mind. But Latu has good pass-rush skills, although there are some medical concerns. They do need edge-rush help. 

16. Seahawks: Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

Grade: A

They patiently wait and get the player who might be the best defensive player in this draft. Murphy has been compared to Justin Madubuike, who new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald coached in Baltimore. 

17. Vikings: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Grade: A

Love this move to go get Turner. He will be the best edge player in this class. The Vikings have had a lot of success with edge players and he fits with what Brian Flores wants to do. 

18. Bengals: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Grade: B-

To me, Mims is feast or famine pick. He can be a star, but he also has some limitations because he hasn’t played a lot of football. This could pay off in a big way, but it’s risky. 

19. Rams: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Grade: B+

The Rams patiently wait and end up with one of the best pass rushers in this draft. This fills a major need and will help compensate for the loss of Aaron Donald on the inside. 

20. Steelers: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

Grade: B

The Steelers needed another tackle to go with Broderick Jones, but Fautano can also play inside. He is a physical player who fits what they want to do. This is a nice, solid Steelers pick. 

21. Dolphins: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Grade: A

I love this pick for Miami. He has the best first step in this draft. With a little coaching, he will become a dominant pass rusher. They can also move him around as a joker on their front. Love it. 

22. Eagles: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Grade: B+

The Eagles wait and get the best corner in this draft. That’s smart. There was talk of them trading up, but now they land a player who fills a need with age creeping into their defense. Nice pick.

23. Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Grade: B+

This is a heck of a move for a team that needs another young weapon. He can fly and his best football is in front of him. Watch out for their offense in 2024. 

24. Lions: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Grade: B

The Lions needed some corner help, so it makes sense to make a move to get one. Arnold gives them another Alabama secondary player to go with Brian Branch, another player with versatility. 

25. Packers: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Grade: C+

I might have taken Graham Barton here, but they need help up front so I get it. Morgan can move inside to guard but if they move right tackle Zach Tom to center, he would be their right tackle. 

26. Buccaneers: Graham Barton, IOL, Duke

Grade: A

This is a great pick. They have major issues at center and a question at left guard and he can play both. I love this pick. Barton will move inside from tackle, but he can play there in a pinch too. 

27. Cardinals: Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Grade: B

He is a good, solid player who can play outside and also can move inside as a rusher. The Cardinals needed help up front, so it makes a lot of sense to get a player with this versatility. 

28. Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Grade: A

He can flat out fly. He has had some issues with drops, but for a team that once had Tyreek Hill it makes a ton of sense to get this type of speed. How much will Patrick Mahomes love this guy?

29. Cowboys: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Grade: B

This is a move that has been predicted by a lot of people. He played right tackle in college, but can move to the left side. This fills a major need. 

30. Ravens: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Grade: B+

They have a need at corner and Wiggins might be the best cover player of all of them. He isn’t a great tackler, but he can lock on and play press man in their defense. He just needs to improve his tackling. 

31. 49ers: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

Grade: C-

This is a strange pick. Do they need one? If so, why Pearsall? Unless they are trading Brandon Aiyuk, why take this guy? It’s a luxury pick.

32. Panthers: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

Grade: B+

They have to get weapons for Bryce Young, so landing him makes sense. He is a player who plays physical and runs better than you think. He’s only done it for one year. 

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