2024 NFL Draft Top 100 Big Board: Top 17 WRs; JJ McCarthy is in 25th place, just behind Michael Penix Jr.



We’re in the home stretch — the 2024 NFL Draft begins April 25 — and while we continue the wall-to-wall coverage through the “With the First Pick” podcast (watch it here!), CBS Sports HQ , CBS Sports Network and those mock drafts you love so much, I thought I’d take a moment to roll out my Top 100 Big Board. In case you were wondering, wide receivers led the way with 17 players on the roster, followed by offensive tackles and cornerbacks (14 each), edge rushers (11), defensive line (9) , quarterbacks (7), safeties (6). ), tight ends and running backs (5 each), as well as linebackers, centers and guards (all 4 each).

All right, let’s go.

1. Caleb Williams, QB, Southern California
2. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
3. Malik Nabers, WR, Louisiana State
4. Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
5. Joe Alt, occupational therapist, Notre-Dame
6. Jayden Daniels, QB, Louisiana State
7. Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
8. Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
9. Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
10. Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

No surprises at the top, at least if you follow me and my co-host on “With the First Pick,” Rick Spielman; We believe Caleb Williams was the best player in this category since the fall and that hasn’t changed. I made note of this last November, but just a reminder in case it becomes a topic of discussion again in the coming days: Williams can absolutely play time, it’s just that he was playing behind an offensive line of USC which had difficulty systematically blocking anyone.

And even though Marvin Harrison Jr. didn’t work out during the pre-draft process — and Malik Nabers did — Harrison remains No. 2 on my board with Nabers right behind him. You can’t go wrong with either player and I always remember the 2020 class, when six WRs were played in the first round and Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk were Nos. 5 and 6 off the board (and Tee Higgins was WR7, and he didn’t go all the way to the top of the second round). The point: There are players in this class who we undervalue now and who will exceed expectations as a rookie (like, say, Puca Nacua from a season ago).

I’ve generally had Joe Alt ahead of Olu Fashanu in my mock drafts, but that’s mainly because Alt ends up with the Titans at #7, he would be a Day 1 starter, and right now he’s further along in its development. I think Fashanu could be really, really special, but it might take a little longer.

And it might be a little surprising that I have Brock Bowers as my No. 7 ranked player, but he’s that good. The problem is that he plays a position that has been devalued, especially at the top of the draft. But as I’ve often mentioned in recent months, over the last 20 years, 19 tight ends have been taken in the first round. Five of them were selected in the top 10 (Eric Ebron, 10th overall in 2014; TJ Hockenson, eighth overall in 2019; Kellen Winslow II and Vernon Davis, sixth overall in 2004 and 2006; and Kyle Pitts, fourth overall in 2021). The other 14 were drafted between 19th and 32nd. And 10 months ago, Sam LaPorta lasted until the second round. It’s not unreasonable to think that Bowers could be pushed down the board and then stay there for a team like, say, the Bengals.

Ultimately, Rome Odunze is 10th on my board but he is certainly in the same conversation as Harrison and Nabers. It’s just that this class is so positioned at the top that some impact players who would be top-five picks in other drafts end up lower here.

11. Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas
12. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
13. Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
14. Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
15. Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
16. Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
17. Troy Fautanu, occupational therapist, Washington
18. Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
19. Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
20. Brian Thomas Jr., WR, Louisiana State
21. Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
22. Cooper DeJean, BC, Iowa
23. JC Latham, occupational therapy, Alabama
24. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
25. JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

You may notice that Drake Maye is 12th here and Michael Penix Jr. is one spot ahead of JJ McCarthy at 24th and 25th. Here’s the reasoning: Maye is only 21, several years younger than Jayden Daniels and Penix Jr. . (and Bo Nix), but there’s no escaping his inconsistent season for the Tar Heels. That said, his physical attributes are exactly what NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback, and he’s going to get better, maybe a lot better. I compare this to Justin Herbert’s final season at Oregon, which was inconsistent, but how he grew up in the NFL and is now one of the best young QBs in the league. Maye could follow a similar path.

As for Penix Jr., I’ve talked to teams who view him as a first-round pick, and I’ve talked to other teams who think he’s a late Day 2 selection. But if we want to preach “what story does the tape tell?” » then it’s hard to make the argument that Penix Jr. is anything more than a first-round talent. Now, you can raise concerns about his injury history, and I understand that, but based solely on his last two seasons with the Huskies, he is one of the best passers in this class.

And that brings us to McCarthy. He’s probably one of the most polarizing players in this draft, and from the looks of it, he hasn’t been asked to do much for a stacked Michigan team. But when he was …McCarthy intervened. He was one of the most efficient QBs in college football last season on third downs and 6 or more yards, completing 75 percent of his throws with five touchdowns and no turnovers. And he wasn’t throwing screen passes either; he pushed the ball down the field with precision. He is also incredibly charismatic, beloved by his teammates and a leader, all qualities NFL teams look for in their franchise quarterback. And maybe he’ll become the best player in this class — but like Maye, the tape hasn’t told that story yet.

26. Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
27. Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri
28. Jackson Powers-Johnson, OC, Oregon
29. Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
30. Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
31. Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri
32. Tyler Guyton, occupational therapist, Oklahoma
33. Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
34. Graham Barton, OC, Duke
35. Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
36. Braden Fiske, DL, Florida State
37. Mike Sainristil, BC, Michigan
38. Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina
39. Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama
40. Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington
41. Kool-Aid McKinstry, BC, Alabama
42. Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
43. Zach Frazier, OC, West Virginia
44. Jordan Morgan, occupational therapist, Arizona
45. Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
46. ​​Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State
47. Ruke Orhorhoro, DL, Clemson
48. Christian Haynes, O.G., Connecticut
49. Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M
50. Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington

Ladd McConkey is one of my favorite players in this class and I don’t care that he’s less than 6-0 and doesn’t even weigh 190 pounds. He’s an elite splitter at all three levels and plays as fast as his 4.39 40.

He’s a first-round talent for me all day long and Lord will help the rest of the AFC if the Chiefs take him at 32nd overall.

Some other players I like in this lineup: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Braden Fiske, Mike Sainristil, Chris Braswell, Tyler Nubin and Ben Sinnott.

Although he hasn’t tested as well, Rakestraw plays with the same intensity as Devon Witherspoon. Fiske is an inner disruptor who’s tested to the roof – and he’s got a top-notch sense of humor, too:

Sainristil could end up in the top 40 because of his versatility and intelligence, while Braswell may have been overshadowed by Dallas Turner at Alabama, he is a wiry passer himself. Nubin has a chance to be the top safety on the board while Sinnott has gone under the radar for many people, but there is some Sam LaPorta in his game.

51. Patrick Paul, occupational therapist, Houston
52. Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
53. Javon Bullard, S, Georgia
54. Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
55. Michael Hall Jr., DL, Ohio State
56. Payton Wilson, LB, North Carolina State
57. Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama
58. Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State
59. Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas
60. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
61. Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri
62. Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S, Texas Tech
63. Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
64. Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida
65. Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan
66. Adisa Isaac, EDGE, Penn State
67. Calen Bullock, S, Southern California
68. Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
69. Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky
70. TJ Tampa, CB, Iowa State
71. Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
72. Christian Jones, occupational therapist, Texas
73. DeWayne Carter, DL, Duke
74. Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee
75. Leonard Taylor, DL, Miami

Seventeen wide receivers are in my Top 100 and five are ranked 51-75. In other words: Don’t be surprised if teams address other needs in the first round, because there is so much depth at the position – and you can find deep threats like Jermaine Burton, machine receivers explosive slot machines like Roman Wilson and monster trucks like Deebo Samuel. Malachi Corley in this range.

Running backs are finally making an appearance as well; Jonathan Brooks is my RB1, followed by Trey Benson and Jalen Wright.

76. Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State
77. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
78. Brandon Dorlus, DL, Oregon
79. Nehemiah Pritchett, CB, Auburn
80. Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
81. Braiden McGregor, EDGE, Michigan
82. Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
83. Mason McCormick, OG, South Dakota State
84. Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State
85. Delmar Glaze, OT, Maryland
86. DJ James, CB, Auburn
87. Jonah Elliss, EDGE, Utah
88. Khristian Boyd, DL, Northern Iowa
89. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
90. Max Melton, CB, Rutgers
91. Tykee Smith, S, Georgia
92. Marshawn Kneeland, EDGE, West Michigan
93. Matt Goncalves, OG, Pittsburgh
94. Blake Fisher, occupational therapist, Notre-Dame
95. Ty’Ron Hopper, LB, Missouri
96. Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State
97. Roger Rosengarten, occupational therapist, Washington
98. Jha’Quan Jackson, WR, Tulane
99. Tanor Bortolini, OC, Wisconsin
100. Dwight McGlotern, CB, Arkansas

I’ve been a big fan of Spencer Rattler since the fall and think he has a chance to be a Day 2 selection.

He is one of the toughest players in this class, he has a huge arm, he stands in the pocket and takes hits while eagerly throwing. He’s undersized, but there’s a lot to like about his game and how much he’s matured in recent years. Right behind Rattler in my top 100 is Mason McCormick, the South Dakota State offensive lineman who has center guard versatility at the next level. Good luck finding someone who plays with more edge.

A little further down the list you’ll find Max Melton and Tykee Smith, two defensive backs who had stellar Senior Bowls – and overall pre-draft experiences – and who could end up going higher than me here.

And the same could be said for the last four names above: NFL teams are better at offensive linemen Roger Rosengarten and Tanor Bortolini than some media outlets, while I was impressed by the tape of Dwight McGlothern at Arkansas last season.



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