NFL Analysis


10 min read

2024 NFL Draft: 7 Players Who Will Get Picked Higher Than They Should

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) against the Washington Huskies during the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are always a handful of players who are drafted 10-20 spots higher than they should in the NFL Draft. Sometimes, players get drafted earlier due to their fantastic athleticism or because of positional value. Teams reach on players all the time, and it rarely works out.

So, which prospects could get overdrafted this year? Here are seven players who will likely be picked much higher than they should in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Players Who Will Be Overdrafted

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The fourth-best quarterback prospect in most drafts is either a late first- or early second-round pick. Will Levis, who fell to the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, is an excellent example. 

He was viewed as a potential top-10 pick but slid all the way down to the 30s. In some years (like 2022), the fourth quarterback doesn't come off the board until late Day 2.

But J.J. McCarthy is a better quarterback prospect than most QB4s. There is no question that he should be a first-round pick, considering his tools and college pedigree. He averaged 8.7 yards per attempt for his career, and his record as a starter is incredible. 

However, the idea that he is a lock to be a top-10 pick and potentially much higher seems ludicrous. He was never asked to be the focal point of Michigan's offense, and there were seven games this season in which he was asked to throw the ball 20 or fewer times. 

Most quarterback prospects don't have the luxury of playing behind a fantastic offensive line and with the nation's top defense.

On the expert consensus board (Mel Kiper Jr., Daniel Jeremiah, Dane Brugler, etc.), McCarthy's average ranking is 24.3. His overall rank is 23rd, just ahead of Nate Wiggins and Jer’Zhan Newton. 

It's not unusual to see quarterbacks pushed up the board because of positional value. But in this case, Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are all viewed as consensus top-eight players in terms of talent. 

McCarthy is not considered in the same tier but is likely to be drafted in the same range. For that reason, he could be overdrafted by 10-15 spots, which is significant in Round 1. 

Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims pass sets vs. TCU
Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Amarius Mims (65) and offensive lineman Tate Ratledge (69) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia 

Amarius Mims’ talent is undeniable. Standing at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds, he ran a 5.07 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Despite not doing any agility drills, Mims posted a RAS score of 9.57 this offseason. Those types of offensive linemen usually don't last long in the draft, especially coming from the SEC. 

But Mims is a risky prospect because he lacks experience. He has started just eight career college games and left multiple games early with an injury. He has just 800 career snaps and has never finished four games in a row during his entire collegiate career. 

Even during the combine, Mims was forced to sit out the positional drills after pulling his hamstring on his first 40-yard dash attempt.

Mims is widely expected to be a first-round pick and could be selected in the teens. While his talent suggests he should be taken that high, his injury history and lack of experience are major causes for concern. 

Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins runs his 40-yard dash at the 2024 NFL Combine
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson defensive back Nate Wiggins (DB42) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

This draft has two excellent cornerback prospects: Terrion Arnold (Alabama) and Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo). Both players should be top-15 picks, and you can make a really strong argument both warrant top-10 buzz. Their tape is outstanding, and they have the requisite athleticism to be high picks.

However, after those two, the position lacks a lot of talent and depth. This is not a good cornerback class after those two players, and there shouldn't be another cornerback selected in Round 1. However, so many teams need cornerback help, which will lead to teams reaching.

The third-best cornerback in the class is (probably) Nate Wiggins from Clemson. Wiggins is one of the fastest players in the draft, running a 4.28 40-yard dash at the combine. However, there are some major red flags for him as a prospect.

The first concern is size. Wiggins measured in at 6-foot-1, 173 pounds at the combine. His height is fantastic, but until 2023, we had never seen a cornerback under 180 pounds get drafted in Round 1. 

We certainly haven't seen many sub-190-pound cornerbacks who are over 6 feet get drafted that high. Wiggins' lack of bulk shows up in the game film, as he can get bullied by bigger receivers. It also hinders his ability to stop the run, and most of the time, he opts out of contact whenever possible.  

Wiggins also has just 30.5-inch arms, which ranks in the 18th percentile among all cornerbacks since 1999. His wingspan of 74 inches is well below average despite being over 6-foot-1. Wiggins is tall, but his lack of length and bulk are major concerns. He has a significant injury history, including a groin injury that he suffered at the combine. 

Wiggins is undoubtedly a talented cornerback, and his height and speed will likely get him drafted high. However, considering all of the other factors, he probably shouldn’t be a top-25 pick. However, his consensus ranking and positional value suggest he likely will be. 

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Predicting where Michael Penix Jr. will be drafted is incredibly difficult. He is widely viewed outside the top-four quarterbacks, but there are reports he could be a first-round pick. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Penix is “likely” to be a first-round pick and will be picked “likely in the first half of the first round.” 

Even for the biggest Penix supporters, a top-16 pick feels rich, considering his injury history. Penix had multiple ACL tears on the same knee and a history of shoulder injuries. He is an older prospect who will turn 24 after the draft. 

That is a red flag, especially for non-elite quarterback prospects (think Kenny Pickett, Brandon Weeden, etc.).  

Another reason to be concerned is his lack of rushing production. Despite playing six years in college, Penix ran for a total of 265 yards. He scored 13 rushing touchdowns, but he never had more than four in a season. He ran an impressive 4.58 40-yard dash at his pro day but rarely used his athleticism as a runner in the college ranks. 

Penix is a fine quarterback prospect, but there are too many red flags to make him a first-round pick, let alone a top-16 pick. 

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

The NFL is always searching for speed at receiver, and that's why Troy Franklin will likely be picked in the first two rounds. But in a loaded wide receiver class, he is one of the draft’s riskier prospects. 

Franklin played in Oregon’s wide-open offense where he rarely faced press coverage and had free releases off the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t asked to run precise routes and never had to deal with press coverage. 

It's no surprise that Franklin posted big numbers in the Pac-12, but it's fair to wonder how much it will translate to the next level.

Franklin ran a 4.41 40-yard dash but did so at just 176 pounds. More concerning, his agility numbers were average, posting a 4.31 20-yard shuttle and a 6.90 3-cone. He’s not a quick or agile receiver. 

Instead, he’s a straight-line player who has very good but not rare speed. Eight receivers ran a faster 40-yard dash than Franklin at the combine. His speed certainly isn't an issue, but it won't keep cornerbacks up at night.

Many similar receivers have been drafted in recent years, and the hit rate is low. Players like Tyquan Thornton, Jalin Hyatt and DJ Chark's lack of success should concern teams when it comes to Franklin. 

Tall, linear receivers whose game is predicated only on speed have not fared well in the NFL. Franklin should still be a Day 2 pick, but any talk of him being selected inside the top 40 feels foolish.  

Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin holds up first, signaling it's fourth down
Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) celebrates a stop against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. (Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports)

Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota 

This is not a good safety class. There isn't a player in this group that should even be considered a top-40 selection, but there will be teams with a safety need that will reach. Tyler Nubin is the consensus top safety in the class and has been in the first round of recent mock drafts. 

Not only does his tape not match anything remotely close to a first-round pick, but neither does his athleticism. Athleticism isn’t the end-all, be-all for safeties, but it should be a box that is checked. 

Nubin is not a great athlete—he isn’t even a good one. According to RAS, his score of 3.63 ranks 664th all-time out of 1,041 safety prospects. 

We’ve seen plenty of safeties run in the low 4.5s and still have success, but the poor agility drills are a major concern.

His lack of athleticism could be a major concern at the next level when it comes to matching up against tight ends in man coverage. Teams shouldn't feel great about using him as a single-high safety, either. 

His tape is fine, but it doesn't make him worthy of a top-40 selection. When you factor in his lack of athleticism, it's fair to wonder if he should even be a second-round pick.

Texas Longhorns tight end Ja'Tavion Sandes
Texas Longhorns tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders (0) makes a reception against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports)

Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas

This tight end class is one of the weakest in recent memory outside of Brock Bowers. There might not be another player in the class who deserves to be a top-75 selection. 

Unfortunately, the NFL loves to draft tight ends way earlier than they should. Six tight ends were selected in the first two rounds last year, including Luke Schoonmaker (Cowboys) and Brenton Strange (Jaguars). They were greatly overdrafted because so many teams need tight ends.

The tight end who will likely get overdrafted this season is Ja'Tavion Sanders, who is widely viewed as the second-best tight end in this class. Despite playing with Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy, Sanders was productive for the Longhorns (1,200 yards in two seasons). 

However, his athleticism leaves a lot to be desired. His RAS score of 5.61 ranks 502nd all-time (out of 1,141 tight ends), and his 4.69 speed at 245 pounds is underwhelming.

Sanders is usually the type of tight end who is available in the third round. But don't be surprised if he ends up being a top-50 selection due to this class's lack of tight end depth.