NFL Analysis


12 min read

2024 NFL Draft: 1 Surprise Player At Every Position Who Could Sneak Into Top 100

Tulane QB Michael Pratt looks to pass
Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) looks to pass in first quarter action at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

We are officially less than a week away from the 2024 NFL Draft, so it's time to dig further into the class. Rather than just focus on the first round, let's look at several players who could sneak into the top 100 despite being projected as Day 3 picks.

For this article, we will only use players listed outside the top 100 on the consensus board via MockDraftDatabase. That will provide a baseline of where those players are projected to go. In turn, we will explain why they could be selected much higher than the consensus. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the potential surprise top-100 picks.

Potential Surprise Top-100 Picks

QB: Michael Pratt, Tulane

Six quarterbacks will go in the first two rounds. Plus, Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) is widely expected to be a Day 2 pick. But after those seven quarterbacks, there is a significant drop-off.

The only other quarterback who can sneak into the top 100 is Michael Pratt, who started 44 games at Tulane. 

Pratt doesn’t have elite physical traits, but he was incredibly productive in college and elevated the Tulane program. In his final two seasons, he averaged a whopping 8.7 yards per attempt and threw 49 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions.

Pratt is viewed as one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the class and projects as a high-level backup or low-end starter. There isn't much difference between him and Kenny Pickett, who was a first-round pick during the 2022 NFL Draft.

RB: Isaac Guerendo, Louisville

The NFL loves speed and isn't afraid to take running backs early if they have it. 

This is a big reason why Bijan Robinson and Jahymr Gibbs were top-12 picks in last year's draft. We won't see a running back come off the board in Round 1 this year, but there could be some big surprises on Day 2.

One player who can sneak into the top 100 is Isaac Guerendo, who ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That was the fastest time among running backs despite him weighing 221 pounds. The only other running back to run a 4.35-second (or faster) 40-yard dash at the combine while weighing at least 220 pounds was Ben Tate (4.34 seconds).

Guerendo isn't without flaws. He will turn 24 during his rookie season and has only three career 100-yard games. But with his size, speed and low touch total (273 career touches), Guerendo has an excellent chance to sneak into the top 100.

WR: Luke McCaffrey, Rice

This is an incredibly loaded wide receiver class; we could see nearly 20 receivers come off the board in the top 100. So picking a wide receiver who might be a surprise top-100 pick is difficult.

However, one name to watch here is Luke McCaffrey from Rice.

McCaffrey is the consensus board's No. 23 receiver and No. 140 overall. His value is widely debated, and he is expected to go sometime early on Day 3. But it wouldn’t be a shock to see him land in Round 3, especially after running a 6.70-second 3-cone drill and a 4.02-second short shuttle at the combine. 

He is one of the class’ quickest receivers, and his NFL bloodlines (Ed McCaffrey is his father and Christian McCaffrey is his brother) certainly don’t hurt. 

The biggest knock on McCaffrey is that he is new to the wide receiver position — he made the switch during the 2022 season. Since then, he’s racked up 1,700 receiving yards and has scored 19 touchdowns. 

He is still a work in progress, but his athleticism and good size (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) make him an intriguing project at the next level.

TE: Ben Sinnott, Kansas State

This is one of the shallowest tight end classes in recent memory. There is an excellent chance Brock Bowers is the only tight end selected in the first two rounds. Besides him, most tight ends project as early Day 3 selections. However, the NFL always needs more tight ends, so we should expect four or more to come off the board in the top 100.

One player who needs to be on everyone’s radar is Ben Sinnott of Kansas State.

Sinnott was very productive at Kansas State, catching 80 passes for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns in the last two seasons. His measurables are fantastic, coming in at nearly 6-foot-4, 250 pounds. He ran a sub-4.70-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and his agility scores were off the charts. Athleticism matters greatly at tight end, and Sinnott has it, posting a 9.72 RAS score.

If there is a tight end who can be the next Sam LaPorta, it's Sinnott. He checks almost every box you want from a starting tight end, and his above-average blocking will endear him to coaches. Don’t be surprised if Sinnott is drafted as the second tight end after Bowers.

OT: Roger Rosengarten, Washington

This one feels like cheating, but we are including Roger Rosengarten because the consensus is still too low on him despite potential first-round buzz building. 

Rosengarten is ranked as the No. 13 offensive tackle in the class and No. 110 overall. However, a few draft experts, including Mel Kiper Jr., have stuck him in their recent first-round mock drafts.

Rosengarten was the right tackle for Washington and the blindside protector for Michael Penix Jr. (a left-handed quarterback). Rosengarten had a really nice season and was named an honorable mention All-Pac 12. 

However, due to his athleticism, Rosengarten could go in the top 100 — or even in Round 1. At the combine, he ran a 4.92-second 40-yard dash, the fastest of any offensive lineman this year. 

IOL: Tanor Bortolini, Wisconsin

There are many reasons why Tanor Bortolini could be drafted much higher than he is projected. His average draft position is No. 153, but that feels at least 60-70 spots too low. 

Bortolini comes from one of the best offensive line schools in the country and started games at five different positions, including center, right tackle, left guard and tight end.

Not only is Bortolini versatile, but he is a supreme athlete. 

He ran a 4.94-second 40-yard dash at 303 pounds and recorded a 9.76 RAS. That ranked him 38th all-time (out of 1,523 guards), and he is one of this class’ top athletes. It would help if he could find one position to focus on, but he best projects as a center in the NFL. 

Bortolini should be considered a lock top-100 pick because of his experience and athleticism.

EDGE: Mohamed Kamara, Colorado State

The key for any late-round pass rusher to move up the draft board is good production and elite athleticism. Mohamed Kamara checks both boxes despite being listed at No. 112 on the consensus board. 

Kamara recorded 30.5 sacks and 45.5 tackles for loss at Colorado State and was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year in 2023. After recording 13 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, he was named a second-team All-American. 

But production isn't the only reason Kamara should be selected higher than he is slotted. At the combine, Kamara ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at 248 pounds. While he could gain some weight, his speed and quickness are NFL-ready.

Kamara has an excellent chance to sneak into the third round because NFL teams are always searching for pass-rush help. He is one of the most polished pass rushers in this class and can immediately contribute as a nickel rusher. 

IDL: DeWayne Carter, Duke

DeWayne Carter sits at No. 119 on the consensus board. 

However, of all the defensive players listed here, he is the most likely to be picked in Round 2. Carter has fantastic size at 6-foot-2 and 302 pounds, and he ran a 4.99-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He is a two-time team captain and was a first-team All-ACC selection during the 2023 season.

While his production numbers are less than ideal (25 tackles for loss in 52 career games), he is a disruptive defensive tackle with NFL size and athleticism. 

Carter posted a 7.88 RAS, which is good enough to be an NFL starter. It also doesn’t hurt that he played multiple positions at Duke and won the Jim Tatum Award for the ACC's top student-athlete. 

His leadership, work ethic and athleticism make him a near-lock to be a top-100 pick. Teams are always searching for quality defensive tackle help, and Carter shouldn’t have any problem finding his way into Day 2.

LB: Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

When it comes to linebackers, NFL teams are gambling more on athletes than productive college players. The ability to run, hit and cover are the three most important aspects of being a quality linebacker. 

Trevin Wallace can do all that. At the combine, he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at 237 pounds, and he isn't just straight-line fast. Wallace moves effortlessly and projects as a four-down linebacker.

His biggest knock is that he is far too inconsistent on a snap-to-snap basis, but it’s important to remember that he is one of the youngest players in this class. He just turned 21 in February and has only made 19 starts. 

It might take him a while to become a starting NFL linebacker, but teams will have difficulty ignoring his traits. He sits at No. 121 on the consensus board, but don't be surprised if he ends up being picked in the middle of Round 3. This type of linebacker usually doesn't last long.

CB: Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Louisville 

Typically, the NFL doesn't love cornerbacks who weigh less than 195 pounds and run in the 4.5 seconds. However, Jarvis Brownlee might be the exception due to his versatility and experience. 

Brownlee started a combined 37 games at Florida State and Louisville, playing on the outside and in the slot. He also has a ton of special teams experience, including being a gunner in all five of his collegiate seasons. He doesn’t have elite long speed (he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash), and his overall size is average. But his toughness, quickness and aggressiveness will endear him to coaching staffs. 

His special teams background will allow him to get on the field immediately. Don't be shocked if Brownlee finds his way into the top-100 selections in a shallow cornerback class.

S: Malik Mustapha, Wake Forest 

This is one of the weaker safety classes in recent memory, and there is a good chance zero safeties will be drafted inside the top 40. There is some quality depth late on Day 2, but Day 3 is where the value is.

One player who could sneak his way into the top 100 is Malik Mustapha from Wake Forest. Mustapha is a two-year starter with incredible range who isn't afraid to make plays in the run game. He is a physical tackler who could play nickel linebacker in the right defense. 

Mustapha isn’t a great athlete on tape, but his physical mindset and special teams ability could allow him to go much higher than anticipated. His current ADP is No. 142 on the Mock Draft Database, but he should go at least 30-40 spots higher than that next weekend.