2024 NFL Draft First Round Recap

Opinions varied as to how crazy things were going to get during the 2024 NFL Draft first round. Some pundits were predicting a flurry of trades, while others were predicting a whole lot of expected outcomes and only a handful of surprises.

As it turns out, we had some of both, as the trade activity wasn’t quite as hot and heavy as some tried to speak into existence, but, as always, there were some noteworthy fallers and some surprising selections.


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J.J. McCarthy NOT A Top-Five Pick

It was far from a slide reminiscent of the complete freefall of Will Levis during the 2023 NFL Draft, as QBs went 1-2-3, but not 1-2-3-4 or 1-2-3-5, as the Cardinals and Chargers opted to stay right where they were and draft WR Marvin Harrison Jr. and OL Joe Alt, respectively.

When all the dust settled, McCarthy went No. 10 to the Vikings, who moved up from No. 11 to make sure they got the guy they wanted. 

McCarthy was +135 to be taken in the top five just before the draft and there were actually some whispers, rumors, and outright conjecture about the Michigan product maybe moving up as high as No. 2 or No. 3. Well, neither of those things happened, as McCarthy had to wait a bit longer to hear his name.

He was a heavy favorite to wind up with the Vikings and did just that. Minnesota swapped with the New York Jets for No. 10, giving up a fourth and a fifth in the process.

With McCarthy going No. 10, this draft became the first in NFL history without a defensive player selected in the top 10.

Michael Penix Jr. IS A Top-10 Pick

I guess this would be considered burying the lead, but this was the shocker of the first round by far. Penix was a fringy first-round pick at best with an Over/Under Draft Position line of 32.5 throughout the pre-draft betting process. He wound up going No. 8 to the Atlanta Falcons and locked in the Over 4.5 Quarterbacks in the first round wager.

The Falcons just signed Kirk Cousins for four years and a whole hell of a lot of money, so the Penix pick was about as stunning as humanly possible. Only the first two seasons of Cousins’ contract are fully guaranteed, so let the speculation begin.

New head coach Raheem Morris was expected to be looking for a defensive player, but he now has a QB with a big arm instead. This one is sure to be talked about for a long time.

Host of The Handle Matt Brown handled it well.

Bo Nix Taken No. 12 By Broncos

Apparently 4.5 was a bad number for first-round quarterbacks. The SIXTH quarterback in the first 12 picks was Nix, as Sean Payton picked up his QB of the future. Nix, like his Pac-12 compadre Penix, was lined around 32.5 for his Over/Under draft position.

The vig was very heavy on Over 4.5 first-round QBs, but this was an unexpected development to see six of them taken in the first 15 selections. Denver obviously had a need for a QB and they didn’t pick again until the third round. With the cost of moving back into the first round extremely high, the Broncos were able to justify taking their QB with their lone first-round selection.

As Adam Schefter noted during the broadcast, this was the first time six QBs were taken in the first round since the 1983 NFL Draft. Those QBs? John Elway (1), Todd Blackledge (7), Jim Kelly (14), Tony Eason (15), Ken O’Brien (24), Dan Marino (27).

Nix and Penix were both underdogs to be first-round picks and they were taken off the board before the clock hit 10 p.m. in the Motor City.

Second Half of First Round: Rams Went to Jared (Again); Big Boys Get Drafted

How about that for a stat? 2,912 days. That’s almost eight years without picking in the first round. The Rams took Jared Verse out of Florida State to bolster the pass rush. Verse was part of a big run on defensive players.

Laiatu Latu was the first defensive player selected at No. 15, cashing his Under 16.5 at heavy juice. Latu started a run of seven defensive players out of 10 picks, as the Bengals and Steelers bucked the trend by taking offensive linemen, and the Jags gave Trevor Lawrence some help with WR Brian Thomas Jr..

Amarius Mims (CIN) and Troy Fautanu (PIT) made it six offensive linemen in the first round, joining Joe Alt (LAC), JC Latham (TEN), Olu Fashanu (NYJ), and Taliese Fuaga (NO).

Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell went No. 22 to the Eagles, making him the first and only player picked from a non-Power 5 school. Mitchell is the first Rocket to be a first-round pick since 1993.

First-Round NFL Draft Trades Recap

The night was really light on trades until the end. The Vikings traded up one spot from No. 11 to No. 10 in the aforementioned McCarthy pick swap. Minnesota also traded up from No. 23 to No. 17 to pluck Dallas Turner. The Lions traded up from No. 29 to No. 24 and gave Dallas a third-round pick to take CB Terrion Arnold. The WR-needy Bills traded back twice, once with Kansas City and once with Carolina, only to see the Chiefs take Xavier Worthy and the Panthers take Xavier Leggette.

Arizona also traded back into the first round to get EDGE Darius Robinson.

But, all in all, it was a slow night on the trade front and the QBs and WRs ruled the day, as three of the final five picks were pass-catchers to go Over 6.5 WR.