The 2024 NFL Draft will kick off on Thursday night, April 25th at 8 pm EST. The Chicago Bears set to make the first pick and, like so many other teams, make a huge decision regarding the future of their franchise. There are many question marks entering the 2024 draft and many stories to follow, so here are five storylines for the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.


What Does Washington Do at Pick Two?

NFL Draft: Washington Commanders 2022 7-Round NFL Mock Draft - Visit NFL Draft on Sports Illustrated, the latest news coverage, with rankings for NFL Draft prospects, College Football, Dynasty and Devy Fantasy Football.

The consensus is that the Chicago Bears will take USC QB Caleb Williams with the first pick, leaving the Washington Commanders with choices to make at pick two. It has been assumed that they will pick a QB, but there’s always a chance they could decide to use the pick on one of the three WR options: Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze, They could also choose to pick an OL like Joe Alt. However, if the Commanders do indeed go with a QB as predicted, they have their options between Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye, with a chance that they could consider J.J. McCarthy as well. 

Heading into draft season, many thought the choice for the second QB off the board would be Drake Maye. However, as the draft has neared many now see Jayden Daniels as the clear second option behind Caleb Williams. There is one issue though, namely the swirling rumores that Daniels doesn’t want to play for the Commanders and would rather land with the Patriots at pick three or elsewhere. If Washington doesn’t want to pick Daniels, they could trade out of the second pick and really shake up the draft. What happens here will have a sizable effect on the rest of the draft should Washington not go with the widely expected pick of Daniels.


New England’s Decision-Making at Pick Three

Patriots draft position officially announced for 2024 - Yahoo Sports

What Washington does with the second pick will have an effect on what happens with New England’s third pick, but this is a bit of an unknown for the Patriots. The last time New England picked in the top three was when the selected Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in 1993, and the last time they picked in the top ten was when they selected their current head coach Jerod Mayo with the tenth pick in 2008. New England’s draft strategy is unknown due to Bill Belichick not being in charge for the first time in the 21st century and how involved the Kraft family, especially Jonathan Kraft, might be in the decision-making is worrisome for some Patriots fans.

Regardless, the question isn’t just who they pick, but do they pick at three? The Pats have been open about their willingness to at least take phone calls on the third pick. If they do pick at three, they’ve shown their hand in terms of likely taking a QB. But if Williams and Daniels are picks one and two, do the Pats like Drake Maye enough to take him, or would they prefer J.J. McCarthy? Would they rather trade down and let a QB hungry team, such as Minnesota, trade up to three so New England can take a QB with their second round pick or later in the first?  Whatever the Pats do, the sure thing is that what they do, as well as the Commanders’ decision with the second pick will lay the roadmap for what teams do the rest of the night.


Will There Be a Run on Pass Catchers?

2024 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper shakes up Top 10 wide receiver rankings following Scouting Combine - On3

In recent years, there has typically been some sort of run of receivers being taken close to each other in the first round, and that has especially been true in the last two drafts. The 2023 draft had a WR run from picks 19-23, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnson, Zay Flowers, and Jordan Addison going in consecutive picks. The 2022 draft had its own WR run from picks 8-12, with Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jameson Williams being picked. That doesn’t even include Jahan Dotson and Trevon Burks being selected at picks 16 and 18 respectively.

There should be a run of pass catchers early in the first round of the 2024 draft, with Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze as well as TE Brock Bowers all being projected top ten picks. There could also be a late first-round run with receivers like Brian Thomas Jr., Adonai Mitchell, Xavier Legette, Xavier Worthy, Keon Coleman, and Ladd McConkey. Not all of these receivers will be first-round picks, but there is a chance that there could be two runs of pass catchers in the first round depending on where teams choose to go with their picks. Currently, the O/U for WRs taken in the first round is 6.5, and that doesn’t include Brock Bowers, meaning pass catchers could be a popular choice come Thursday night.


Double Digit Offensive Lineman in First Round?

2024 NFL Draft: Joe Alt scouting report - Windy City Gridiron

One position to watch every year in the draft is offensive line, but that is especially true this year. There is a chance that more O-linemen could be picked this year than any other year in recent memory. Over/unders for the amount of O-linemen taken in the first round currently sits at 9.5, with the under giving plus odds. There are seven lineman that are likely locks for the first round, meaning what happens in the back half of round one will determine how many see their name called come Thursday night. In ESPN’s recent mock draft involving their beat writers for all 32 teams, they had nine lineman being taken. 

For reference, there were nine O-linemen taken in the 2022 draft, an almost even split between tackles and interior linemen, (five tackles and four interior lineman). This year, the talent is mostly with the tackles. Only two interior lineman are very likely to go in the first round, meaning there could be anywhere from six to nine tackles going in the first round, which is insane. But for a draft that is offense heavy, the O-line sticks out as one of if not the deepest position in regards to first-round talent.


The Non-Defense Draft

The Top-50 2024 NFL Draft Prospects Watch List | College Football | Ian Cummings

The 2024 NFL Draft class is offense heavy, but even saying that might be a bit of an understatement. In NFL Draft history, the greatest number of offensive players ever taken in the first round is 19 players, which has happened three times (2009 being the most recent). This year is different though, as the over/under for offensive players taken in the first round is being set at 21.5, meaning this draft is expected to break that record. The ESPN mock draft featuring all 32 beat writers had 20 offensive players going in the first round. That is under the expected 21.5 for betting purposes, but it would still be a new record for offensive players taken in the first round. 

The last time this record was in danger of being broken was in 2021, when 18 offensive players were taken in the first 27 picks before the last five picks of the first round were used on defensive players. The 2020 draft also had 18 offensive players taken in the first round, but in the the only offensive players taken in the top nine were QBs Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert. Many do not expect a defensive player to be taken until the eighth pick at the earliest this year, with a high likelihood that nine of the first ten picks will be offensive players. Plus, with the chance that as many as 13 of the top-15 picks could be offensive players, this draft could potentially blow the record for most offensive players taken in the first round out of the water.


Draft Day is always exciting. You get to see young men realize their dreams, and you get new hope within the fanbase for whatever team you root for, as new players could either make a good team better or turn a struggling franchise around. Regardless of what happens, the draft for any sport to me is one of the best events of the year, and the NFL Draft is always a spectacle.

The Chicago Bears on the clock. 

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