NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Draft: Buy or Sell Latest Mock Draft Rumors

Washington QB Michael Penix tosses the ball to his running back vs. Michigan
Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) tosses the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during the first quarter in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

The 2024 NFL Draft is only a day away, and we're expecting fireworks early Thursday. 

However, not every rumor and mock draft trend comes to fruition. We are firmly in "lying season," so let's break down which trends will likely come true and which will be debunked.

Buy or Sell 2024 NFL Draft Rumors

Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner Will Be First Defender Selected

It won't be a surprise if 13 of the draft's first 14 selections are offensive players. This is a loaded class on offense, and we could see as many as five quarterbacks picked in the top 16. 

But who will be the first defender off the board?

In most mock drafts, that honor belongs to Dallas Turner from Alabama. Turner was a consensus All-American, leading the SEC in sacks (11) during his final season in Tuscaloosa. He's long, athletic and very young (21), so it's not surprising to see him mocked as the first defender off the board in more than 66 percent of mock drafts. 

However, this is far from a lock. Several other players could be the first defender off the board, including two stud cornerbacks in Terrion Arnold (Alabama) and Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo). Many teams need defensive back help, and these are two plug-and-play starters.

But the name to watch is Texas DT Byron Murphy, who has received a ton of praise during the last few weeks. Murphy is the No. 1 interior rusher in this class, and his incredible NFL Combine performance might help him be the first defender off the board. 

The Atlanta Falcons are the most likely team to pick a defender in the top 14 selections, but that's not a lock. The Falcons could also trade out of that pick with a team looking for a receiver or an offensive lineman. But don't be surprised if Murphy is the first defensive player drafted, potentially to the Chicago Bears at No. 9. 

Verdict: Sell

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. Will Go Top 16 

We know who the top four quarterbacks in this class are, and it is believed all four will be selected in the top 10 picks. What we don't know is the order in which they will be drafted and which teams might move around the board to get their guy.

After that group of four, Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. is next, and his stock couldn’t be hotter. Coming off a tough showing in the National Championship Game, many believed Penix would be a Day 2 selection. But now, he is seemingly a first-round lock — and could even go in the top half of the draft.

The team to watch for Penix in Round 1 is the Las Vegas Raiders, who pick at No. 13. While they would love to trade down and pick him up later in the draft, that might not be possible with so many teams needing quarterback help. 

The Raiders want to bring back the vertical passing attack, and Penix excels in that area. With only Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell on Las Vegas' roster, Penix would immediately be a major upgrade. 

According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the whispers are getting louder that the Raiders might take Penix at No. 13. That seems like a reach, but that hasn't stopped the Raiders before. Expect Penix to get drafted much earlier than expected Thursday.

Verdict: Buy

The Jets Will Trade Up In Round 1 For A Pass Catcher

The New York Jets have done a lot of work on offense this offseason, signing veterans such as Tyron Smith and Mike Williams to improve their talent level. The trade for Morgan Moses helped solidify the Jets' offensive line, and they are in much better shape on that side of the ball going into 2024.

However, one of their most significant roster holes is at No. 2 receiver. Williams hopes to return from his ACL surgery and fill that void, but he isn't a long-term solution. Making matters worse, the Jets don't have a reliable tight end who can take away coverage attention from Garrett Wilson. Joe Douglas has to find someone else to shoulder some of the receiving workload.

Sitting at pick No. 10, the Jets could have a playmaker fall into their laps. Georgia TE Brock Bowers is the Jets' most common pick in mock drafts. While we certainly aren’t dismissing that possibility, the Jets really need another vertical threat. 

Bowers is a great receiver, but most of his work comes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

The Jets need another elite receiver — such as Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze. Neither is likely available at pick No. 10, but they could be in range at No. 8 (Falcons). 

Could New York execute a small trade-up to secure one of the best players in the class? That feels likely, especially because the Jets are in win-now mode with Aaron Rodgers. Look for them to get aggressive, trying to find another elite weapon to pair with Wilson on offense.

Verdict: Buy

Texas WR Xavier Worthy runs away from Oklahoma State defender
Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Kale Smith (10) and Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy (1) in action during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.)

Dolphins Will Select Texas WR Xavier Worthy in Round 1 

The two teams most frequently matched with Texas WR Xavier Worthy are the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, those are Tyreek Hill's current and former teams. 

Both teams value speed, especially the Dolphins. They've built an entire culture around blazing speed on offense. But would Miami pick Worthy at No. 21?

It does make a lot of sense, especially considering Hill's age. The Dolphins just weren't the same team last year when Hill was injured, and Jaylen Waddle’s injury history is pretty significant. 

Miami needs a No. 3 receiver, and Worthy will likely be the best receiver available when the team is on the clock. 

But as much fun as it would be to see Hill, Waddle and Worthy together, the Dolphins have more significant needs than a No. 3 receiver. They lost their star defensive tackle in free agency (Christian Wilkins), and both of their starting pass rushers are rehabbing from major injuries that ended their 2023 season. 

Miami also needs help on the offensive line, and this is a strong draft in Round 1 to grab a quality starter. 

It wouldn’t be a shock for the Dolphins to pick Worthy because Mike McDaniel covets speed more than anything else. But Miami must show some restraint and use its first-round pick to upgrade the trenches.

Verdict: Sell 

Texas RB Jonathon Brooks Will Be Dallas’ Pick at No. 56

Jonathon Brooks is widely viewed as the top running back in the draft. Brooks totaled more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage in 11 games last season before tearing his ACL in November. Still, he’s managed to become the clear-cut RB1 in a relatively weak draft class. 

Brooks won’t be a first-round pick, but his most common landing spot is with the Dallas Cowboys at No. 56. According to Mock Draft Database, Brooks lands there in approximately 59 percent of mock drafts. That is an incredible number for a pick that late in the second round. 

But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when looking at historical trends. The latest RB1 to come off the board was Bishop Sankey at No. 54 during the 2014 NFL Draft. 

If Brooks fell to Dallas at No. 56, it would set NFL Draft history. We should note that if Brooks does fall to the Cowboys in Round 2, there is a good chance he is the pick. 

The Cowboys have a big need at running back, and they know Brooks, especially after their team doctor repaired his ACL. It would be a home run selection for both sides, but the likelihood of him being available there is small. There is a small chance another running back (e.g., Trey Benson, Blake Corum) gets picked ahead of Brooks, but that would be even more surprising, considering where those players are ranked. 

Instead, look for another team to snag Brooks a few spots ahead of the Cowboys in Round 2. We don't see players as talented as Brooks fall this far too often. 

Verdict: Sell