NFL Analysis

4/26/24

1 min read

2024 NFL Draft: Report Card Grades For Every Day 2 Trade

The 2024 NFL Draft is finally here. And while we theoretically have known for months where every team will pick, draft day trades will shake up things considerably.

As those trades happen, we will grade all the moves from one of the NFL's biggest days.

Here we go!

2024 NFL Draft Day 2 Trade Grades

South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette (WO14) talks to the media during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina TRADEs INTO FIRST ROUND FOR RECEIVER

Panthers Get: No. 32, 2024 SIXTH-ROUND PICK (No. 200)
Bills Get: No. 33, 2024 FIFTH-ROUND PICK (No. 141)

The Carolina Panthers targeted big and fast wide receiver Xavier Legette during the pre-draft process and traded up into the first round to get him. Legette had only one productive season at South Carolina, but it was last year as a senior when he had 71 receptions for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns. And his size and speed have drawn comparisons to A.J. Brown. Legette needs to improve his technique, especially against press coverage, but he adds another weapon as Panthers QB Bryce Young seeks to step up his performance in 2024. 

After the Buffalo Bills traded from No. 28 to No. 32 and then to the first pick in Round 2, Bills Mafia and QB Josh Allen were relieved to see the team finally address its shaky wide receiver corps (after trading Stefon Diggs and losing Gabe Davis in free agency) by picking Keon Coleman, a big, physical wide receiver with great leaping ability and impressive body control. He does need to work on his technique in route running.  

Panthers Grade: B
Bills Grade: B+

Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey
Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) makes a catch and runs for touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half in the 2023 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Jumps Ahead for WR McConkey

Chargers Get: No. 34, 2024 Fifth-Round Pick (No. 137)
Patriots Get: No. 37, 2024 Fourth-Round Pick (No. 110)

The Los Angeles Chargers needed help at wide receiver after trading Keenan Allen and releasing Mike Williams. They addressed this need by trading up three spots and selecting Ladd McConkey, one of the top slot receivers in the draft. 

McConkey is a great route runner with quickness and toughness for his size. He's also an excellent special teamer but battled injuries last season, so durability is a concern. He had only 30 catches for 478 yards and two touchdowns in 2023 after posting 58 receptions, 762 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022. He joins the Chargersā€™ top pick last year,  Quentin Johnston, and Joshua Palmer in a new-look receiver corps for QB Justin Herbert. 

In exchange for dropping three spots in the second round, the New England Patriots moved up 27 spots from the fifth to the fourth round. But with the 37th pick, they selected Ja'Lynn Polk, one of Michael Penix Jr.'s wide receivers at Washington. Polk isn't the fastest receiver and can improve his route running, but he has excellent hands and is a great leaper. He had 69 catches for 1,159 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Chargers Grade: B
Patriots Grade: B+

Clemson defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro runs drills at the Combine
Clemson defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro (DL21) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta TAKEs DT ORHORHORO AFTER TRADE WITH CARDINALS

Falcons Get: No. 35, 2024 Sixth-Round Pick (No. 186)
Cardinals Get: No. 43, 2024 Third-Round Pick (No. 79)

After the Atlanta Falcons passed on defensive help with their surprising first-round pick of QB Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta selected a defensive tackle instead of hitting its need for pass rush help. Ruke Orhorhoro brings youth to an area of strength at defensive tackle (led by 30-year old Grady Jarrett). Orhorhoro is a raw power player with a lot of potential who needs to improve his technique. 

The Arizona Cardinals picked up a third-round pick in the trade and selected CB Max Melton at No. 43. He had eight career interceptions and is a solid tackler and big-play man but needs to be more consistent in his pass defense.  

Falcons Grade: C
Cardinals Grade: B+

Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Braden Fiske
Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Braden Fiske (55) reacts after a tackle on Louisville Cardinals running back Jawhar Jordan (25) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Gives up Haul FOR DT FISKE 

Rams Get: No. 39
Panthers Get: No. 52, 2024 Fifth-Round Pick (No. 155), 2025 Second-Round Pick

The Los Angeles Rams jumped 13 spots in the second round ā€” at a high cost ā€” to pick defensive tackle Braden Fiske as part of the team's effort to replace the great Aaron Donald. Fiske is a strong, high-motor player who had six sacks last season playing alongside the Rams' first-round pick, Jared Verse, at Florida State. Fiske will be a 24-year-old rookie and needs to become more consistent as a pass rusher and improve his lateral movement skills.

The Panthers benefit from the deal by gaining a 2025 second-rounder. They traded No. 52 to help move up to the Indianapolis Colts' No. 46 spot and took the first running back in the draft, Jonathon Brooks. Nice work by Carolina with these draft maneuvers. 

Rams Grade: C-
Panthers Grade: A

CB Cooper DJean reacts to a play from the sideline.
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) reacts during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. (Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

Philadelphia TRADEs WITH DIVISION RIVAL TO PICK DEJEAN

Eagles Get: No. 40, Third-Round Pick (No. 78), Fifth-Round Pick (No. 152)
Commanders Get: No. 50, No. 53, Fifth-Round Pick (No. 161)

The ineffectiveness of the Philadelphia Eagles' pass defense was a big reason for the team's late-season downfall in 2023. So the Eagles are making a concerted effort in this draft to improve their secondary by picking two excellent corners: Quinyon Mitchell in the first round and Cooper DeJean in the second round.

Taking DeJean cost the Eagles a swap of second and third round picks, along with their No. 50 pick, but it's worth it to get a versatile defender who played corner and safety at Iowa and can be an outside or slot corner. He's a playmaker who had seven interceptions and 13 passes defensed over the last two seasons, and he's an excellent return man.  

This is a trade that benefits both teams because the Washington Commanders selected two quality players at No. 50 (cornerback Mike Sainristil) and No. 53 (tight end Ben Sinnott). Sainristil is a converted wide receiver who brings quickness, solid run defense and good ball skills. He had six interceptions for national champion Michigan last season. And Sinnott fills a big need at tight end. He's a physical player and a fine blocker, and he has good hands, so he should be a reliable target for new QB Jayden Daniels. Sinnott had 49 catches for 676 yards and six touchdowns last season for Kansas State.

Eagles Grade: A
Commanders Grade: A

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) celebrates after a missed field goal by LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. (Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports)

New Orleans Secures McKinstry in Trade Up with Packers

Saints Get: No. 41
Packers Get: No. 45, 2024 Fifth-Round Pick (No. 168), 2024 Sixth-Round Pick (No. 190)

The New Orleans Saints moved up four spots to take Kool-Aid McKinstry, a solid cornerback with long arms who plays with excellent technique and is a good run defender.Ā He has 21 pass break-ups over the past two seasons and is a returner.

The Green Bay Packers picked up a couple of late-round picks and helped their defense by picking one of the draftā€™s best linebackers: Edgerrin Cooper. He had eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season as a first-team All-American. He has great athleticism and range to play the run, cover and rush the passer.

Saints Grade: A-
Packers Grade: A

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks, in all white, runs away from a trailing pack of players dressed in white and in purple
Texas Longhorns running back Jonathon Brooks (24) runs for the first down against TCU Horned Frogs in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Carolina MOVEs UP TO TAKE TOP Running BACKĀ 

Panthers Get: Second-Round Pick (No. 46)
Colts Get: Second-Round Pick (No. 52), Two Fifth-Round Picks (No. 142 & 155)

Carolina bolstered its running back group by trading up to take Jonathon Brooks, a highly productive player who runs well with a burst and vision, is a fine receiving back and is a good blocker.Ā 

Brooks rushed for 1,139 yards (a 6.1 yard average) and 10 touchdowns in 11 games last season as the lead back successor at Texas to Bijan Robinson. He tore his ACL in November, which likely kept him from being picked higher. Once heā€™s fully recovered, he has a good chance to win the starting job in Carolina.Ā 

The Indianapolis Colts also did well with this trade by getting two fifth-round picks and still picking a quality wide receiver at No. 52: Adonai Mitchell. He is a tall, fast and physical receiver who should be a good complement to Michael Pittman Jr. and another weapon for Anthony Richardson in the Colts' passing game. Mitchell had 11 touchdowns among his 55 catches last season. He does need to improve his short and intermediate route running.Ā 

Panthers Grade: A-
Colts Grade: B+

BYU offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia towers over a Texas Tech defender in his three-point stance at the line of scrimmage
Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia (78) against Texas Tech Red Raiders linebacker Myles Cole (6) in there first half at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)

Kansas City TRADEs UP ONE SPOT TO Get OT

Chiefs Get: Second-Round Pick (No. 63), Sixth-Round Pick (No. 211)
49ers Get: Second-Round Pick (No. 64), Fifth-Round Pick (No. 173)

The Kansas City Chiefs wanted to be sure they could draft OT Kingsley Suamataia, a raw but talented player from Andy Reidā€™s alma mater, BYU.Ā Suamataia is a powerful tackle who will be developed in Kansas City.Ā 

The San Francisco 49ers dropped one spot and got the player they wanted, Renardo Green. He had one interception and 13 passes defensed last season ā€” but that was the only pick of his college career. Heā€™s a physical corner who plays with good technique.

Chiefs Grade: B
49ers Grade: B+

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