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Jordan Laube's 2024 NFL Draft Superlatives

What a wild 3 days we just went through. The 2024 NFL Draft was like no other; we had some interesting picks early on, a ton of steals on days 2 and 3, and several undrafted studs. With some inspiration from the wonderful Sam Basel, who did a killer job vetting and editing all of this off-season's draft content (and all of the blogs our amazing writers put out), I'll be covering some Draft Superlatives!


Today, we'll take a look at the best value picks and the biggest reaches (the biggest differences between my big board rank compared to where they were actually drafted), as well as the best undrafted free agents, the most puzzling picks, and my favorite selections throughout the draft. I had a ton of fun putting this together, and I hope my choices resonate with you - especially the head-scratching picks.


 

Top 5 Value Picks


5. DJ James - Seattle Seahawks

(Round 6, Pick 192 - 117 Rank Difference)


Not only was this a great value pick, but DJ is a nice fit for Seattle. The Seahawks look to run more man in 2024 with Mike Macdonald running the ship, and DJ excelled in man coverage at Auburn.


4. Christian Jones - Arizona Cardinals

(Round 5, Pick 162 - 120 Rank Difference)


Jones was a top 50 player for me, and seeing him fall to the 5th round was bizarre. That said, it was even better that the Cardinals scooped him up as a potential swing tackle and long term replacement for Jonah Williams.


3. Christian Mahogany - Detroit Lions

(Round 6, Pick 210 - 153 Rank Difference)


The Lions used this draft to beef up their depth across the OL, and Mahogany has the tools to be an NFL starter. He's a big-bodied mauler who fits what the Lions are looking for in a blocker.


2. Michael Pratt - Green Bay Packers

(Round 7, Pick 245 - 162 Rank Difference)


Seeing Pratt fall to the 7th round was a big surprise, as I thought he could compete for a starting spot in the league. I'm not writing him off yet, as he lands behind Jordan Love, who balled out in the back half of last year, and he may have a nice career as a backup turned journeyman starter based on his landing spot.


1. Tahj Washington - Miami Dolphins

(Round 7, Pick 241 - 168 Rank Difference)


Tahj, despite his size, gives outstanding effort and is a great pickup for the 'Phins. He and Malik Washington will compete for reps, and I think Tahj will end up getting the upper hand despite Malik's big play ability (Malik is very good in his own right).


Photo: Meg McLaughlin/San Diego Union-Tribune


Top 5 Reaches


5. Kingsley Suamataia - Kansas City Chiefs

(Round 2, Pick 63 - 133 Rank Difference)


Kingsley is a project pick, and a big one at that. I think landing in KC is the best thing for him, and I think he has a long way to go before he's ready to start in an NFL game.


4. McKinnley Jackson - Cincinnati Bengals

(Round 3, Pick 97 - 138 Rank Difference)


The Bengals have a need at nose, and McKinnley is a nose tackle, so I guess that fills the spot on paper. If he can take the effort he has in his hustle and apply it to being a stronger run defender and more explosive pass rusher, he could be a solid NT for Cincy.


3. Max Melton - Arizona Cardinals

(Round 2, Pick 43 - 143 Rank Difference)


Besides his game against Marvin Harrison Jr in college, I was left pretty underwhelmed by Max's tape. However, he has outstanding pursuit and a feistiness to him that makes him an interesting pickup this early in the draft. I'm curious to see if he'll be an outside or nickel corner in the desert.


2. Isaiah Adams - Arizona Cardinals

(Round 3, Pick 71 - 152 Rank Difference)


Isaiah had some shortcomings as a full time tackle in college, but I like his upside as a guard despite his ranking. He can develop and fill in throughout his first year or two, and be a serviceable guard for his career.


1. Ruke Orhorhoro - Atlanta Falcons

(Round 2, Pick 35 - 156 Rank Difference)


I'll talk more about the process for this pick later on, but the Falcons needed a pass rushing defensive tackle, so enter Ruke. If he can hone in on being violent with his hands every snap he's on the field, he could be worth the value he was selected with.


Photo: Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY Sports


Top 5 Undrafted Free Agents


5. Garret Greenfield - Seattle Seahawks

(Big Board Rank #106)


The small school offensive linemen has a decent chance for playing time based on Seattle's lacking depth along the OL. Garret's as smooth as they come with his footwork and hand-fighting, and his versatility will help him be a long time pro.


4. Dwight McGlothern - Minnesota Vikings

(Big Board Rank #104)


The Vikings were lacking some serious depth at corner, but with the addition of Khyree Jackson and Dwight, both were top 12 corners in this class for me, they're in a much better spot. Dwight's high-level zone ability and knack for finding the football will allow him to compete for a starting spot early on in his career.


3. Gabriel Murphy - Minnesota Vikings

(Big Board Rank #90)


Despite adding three free agent edge defenders and Dallas Turner through the draft, I still like Gabriel's chances to make the roster. He can contribute immediately in passing situations, as his pass rush ability is one of the best in the class.


2. Gabe Hall - Philadelphia Eagles

(Big Board Rank #86)


Gabe Hall landing in Philly was perfect for him and the Eagles. The Birds love to rotate their entire defensive line often, and Gabe's pass rushing prowess will allow him some opportunities to destroy opposing blockers and to make the 53-man cut.


1. Leonard Taylor III - New York Jets

(Big Board Rank #47)


Leonard showed flashes throughout his career, but not being able to put it all together dropped him out of the draft. Despite this, he lands in an amazing situation as the Jets are loaded with solid interior pass rushers, giving him the chance to refine his game as a true nose tackle.


Photo: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports


Top 5 Head-Scratchers


5. Tory Taylor - Chicago Bears

(Round 4, Pick 122)


If I was a GM, I would never spend a draft pick on a specialist. It pains me to say it as a former long snapper, but drafting one usually turns out to be a wasted pick. That's not a knock on Tory's ability at all - he's an awesome punter, it's just a questionable selection from a team building and result oriented stand point, especially considering the pick value.


4. The Jets taking Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis in back-to-back rounds

(Round 4, Pick 134 & Round 5, Pick 173)


If they drafted one or the other, then it's a fine selection. But selecting two very similar backs in terms of rushing style and how they'll be used, I can't get behind drafted both to the same team.


3. The Cowboys not drafting a single running back

(Feed Zeke SZN?)


I know the running back position has become incredibly devalued over the last several seasons, but one of the Cowboys biggest needs is a running back. If they plan on bringing Zeke back into the fold, then fine, but if that's not gonna happen, then I'm not sure why they thought not taking one was a good idea.


2. Ricky Pearsall - San Francisco 49ers

(Round 1, Pick 31)


The 49ers receivers, besides Jauan Jennings, got clamped in the Super Bowl against man coverage. Ricky is a great route runner against man, but I don't believe he was worth even a round 3 pick, let alone a first rounder. Between a lack of production until late in his career, and the fact he'll be 24 throughout his first season, I just don't see the reasoning behind this selection.


1. Almost all of the Atlanta Falcons Draft Picks

(wtf?)


Here's a list of all of the things the Falcons did this draft that made me question if this front office knows what it's doing:


  1. Drafting Michael Penix Jr after signing Kirk Cousins to a massive contract

  2. Trading up and selecting Ruke Orhorhoro over Johnny Newton

  3. Taking three defensive tackles when they have a bigger need at edge

  4. Not picking up any depth for their offensive line

  5. Not selecting a single cornerback despite that being one of their biggest needs


The worst part about point 5 was that their justification for not taking one; "we would have liked to added to that position, but you don't want to force a reach or do something you shouldn't". That absolutely contradicts their selection at 8th overall and trading up for Ruke! Sorry to my buddy Ryan Fryer, but this might have been one of the most questionable draft processes I've seen in the past five years; at least the JD Bertrand pick made some sense!


Honorable Mention: No QBs taken from pick 12 to pick 150

(Spencer Rattler will start for the Saints by Week 10)


Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


Top 5 Favorite Picks


5. Troy Fautanu & Zach Frazier - Pittsburgh Steelers

(Round 1, Pick 20 & Round 2, Pick 51)


The Steelers two-year investment in the offensive line through the draft is going to do wonders. I'll also note drafting Mason McCormick was great process as well, as they'll most likely have four guys starting on the offensive line who will play together for the next several years.


4. Cole Bishop - Buffalo Bills

(Round 2, Pick 60)


Cole was one of my favorite players in the draft, and the Bills desperately needed a playmaking safety with the departure of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Cole's young, instinctual, and plays the game the way Sean McDermott wants his guys to play.


3. Kris Jenkins - Cincinnati Bengals

(Round 2, Pick 49)


I texted my friend when the Bengals picked popped up and said "Kris Jenkins has to be the pick here". I couldn't think of a better replacement for DJ Reader, as Kris has great run stopping ability, and is a solid pass rusher to boot.


2. Austin Booker - Chicago Bears

(Round 5, Pick 144)


The Bears, who were out of picks, traded back into the draft and selected one of my favorite edge rushers in this class. Booker has violent hands and top-notch hustle to find the football and/or the ball-carrier. I nearly compared his play style to Maxx Crosby, and seeing he fell to the 5th round, he may fit that bill in terms of draft value and the ceiling he can reach.


1. Dylan Laube - Las Vegas Raiders

(Round 6, Pick 208)


Going into day 3 of the draft, I told myself "I won't get nervous unless we get to the middle of the 6th round and Dylan is still on the board". Needless to say, I got nervous much earlier. Alas, the Raiders got an absolute dawg in Dylan, as he'll compete for not only passing down reps right away, but a starting spot as well. He fits Raider Nation perfectly, and will be an awesome addition to Antonio Pierce's new regime.


Honorable Mention: Terrion Arnold - Detroit Lions

(Round 1, Pick 24)


Photo: Photographer Uncredited/UNH Athletics

 

Final Notes:


Wanna give a shoutout to some content creators I've connected with over this draft process who have been great to talk with about various players and the draft process itself. They are Brett Kollmann, Marcus Whitman, John Vogel, Zac Ventola, Pat Lane, and Matt St Jean. All of them had wonderful insight and tidbits of information that were invaluable throughout the past several months.


I'll give another shoutout to the fellas in The Scho Show Slack channel, you guys made this draft cycle fun and engaging every single day, and I appreciate the many zoom calls to just watch film and chat through multiple prospects.


We have one more draft blog on tap, and that will cover my draft grades for every single team, as well as my favorite picks for each. Check back tomorrow for that breakdown!

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