After a fantastic divisional playoff weekend, we’re down to the final four teams. With that, there’s not much left to be said about the players involved. We’ve already covered the best players to target and if you don’t get in now, it might be too late.
So rather than pick through a shallow pool, let’s move on to draft season. The College Football Playoff is over and there’s no more data to collect until the NFL combine.
Until those measurables are in, it’ll be hard to say what to expect in both the NFL Draft and dynasty rookie drafts. After all, you can’t know that Anthony Richardson was going to the front of the quarterback line. Or that Jonathan Taylor would become the prize of the draft ahead of initial favorite D’Andre Swift.
But, for now, let’s work with the data we have and see where the top players are. If nothing else, this should serve as a helpful reminder of what the consensus was before newer narratives arrived.
And when draft time comes, you can decide how much stock you want to put on the combine, landing spot, and simply the quality they displayed in college.
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2024 Dynasty Football Rookie Mock Draft
1.01 – Caleb Williams, QB, USC
So, despite saying we should use the data we have now, let’s start by having a bit of fun. Let’s presume the Chicago Bears are taking Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick.
Shocking, right? Well, anyway, let’s also presume that a couple of other QBs like the soon-to-be-mentioned Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels also go in the top 8.
In this scenario, the Bears have a really good chance at landing either one of the top tackles in the draft or Rome Odunze. D.J. Moore, Odunze, and Cole Kmet would make for a comfy supporting cast.
Regardless, this is the clear-cut top talent in the class, despite the scrutiny that Williams is subject to. Time will tell if Williams will be able to translate his skills to the NFL, but whatever you want to say about him, he’s performed as well as any college QB has performed. That will go noticed, and you can expect him to go No. 1 overall regardless of who ends up owning the pick.
1.02 – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
Already, the whispers are growing. More and more suggestions are being made that the real pick at No. 2 overall will be Jayden Daniels.
I would take all of this with a grain of salt at this stage. But all three teams at the top of the draft are potentially looking for upgrades at the QB position. If there is this much interest, the floor seems pretty high as far as draft position.
It would be telling if teams saw him as worth that level of investment, locking themselves in for at least two years in all likelihood. In which case, you have to chase the ceiling here.
Winning championships in dynasty football is about managing risk, and part of managing that means, sometimes, you have to take your shots. Because the riskiest thing in leagues where only one team wins is not taking any chances at all. Go for the upside-rushing quarterback.
1.03 – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
Maye is a special talent. He ranked 2nd in yardage gained from passes targeted 20+ yards down the field in all of college football. Works extremely well from a clean pocket. Shows off prototypical arm talent capable of making off-platform throws.
Maye also kept his turnover-worthy plays percentage at a tidy 1.9%, good for a tie at 11th. This is actually much better than Caleb Williams at 3.6%, in spite of the fact that Maye threw four more interceptions.
Oh, and just toss in that Maye is a rushing threat with nine rushing touchdowns last year. Do you get how much I like Jayden Daniels?
1.04 -Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
What’s left to be said? This is a dangerous deep threat that will likely be the first non-quarterback taken in the NFL draft.
That said, there are just so many potential first-round wide receivers this year. If you’re picking in the top three, there’s a decent chance one could swing back around to you in the second round.
With that potential value in mind, Harrison Jr. falls behind the quarterbacks. But make no mistake. This is an explosive talent that could immediately challenge for best in the NFL even with so many other young studs in the league.
1.05 – Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
This is splitting hairs between Bowers and Malik Nabers who’s coming up next. If your league has a tight-end premium, then Bowers is the obvious pick. Absent that, I’d still go with him here due to positional scarcity, but it’s close.
Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, and even Kyle Pitts a few years back all had excellent rookie seasons. This paves the way to expect more immediate success from Bowers.
However, with the emergence of these players, Tucker Kraft, and potentially a more healthy Pitts next year, the position could start to see a revolution. This would mean Bowers could become less valuable by comparison, which is worth considering before passing on Nabers.
1.06 – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
And, as promised, here we are with PFF’s highest-graded wide receiver last year in Nabers. While former Atlanta Falcons great Roddy White once famously noted that the “big boys play on the outside,” production these days comes from all over the field.
With Nabers’ fantastic feel for route running, expect him to dominate out of the slot, potentially catching passes from short-pass enthusiast Justin Herbert.
1.07 – Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
As mentioned before, imagine Odunze acting as the Jaylen Waddle to D.J. Moore’s Tyreek Hill act. Even missing three games, Waddle still eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.
Now remember that, though Odunze reportedly also runs his forty in the 4.3s like Waddle and Hill, he is five inches taller than both of them. At 6’3″, this is a scary player who should be blowing the tops off defenses wherever he goes.
1.08 – Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
That’s right, it’s time for another quarterback as Penix is also rising in mock draft season. He’s been tabbed often as a potential top-10 pick.
The security that kind of investment provides would certainly raise his stock. And given how well Penix performed last year, particularly with the deep ball ahead of even Maye in yardage, don’t be surprised if he makes a successful leap into the NFL.
1.09 – Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Three Tigers in the first round? Why not. You don’t win the Heisman like Daniels did without good help. His route running showed improvement as his career went on and he burns corners with the best of them.
1.10 – Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
Coleman is raw. There is not much to write home about his separation skills and his numbers do not scream Pro Bowler.
That said, he looks the part of a prototypical X, and that is what we’re ultimately looking for when chasing the ceiling on wide receivers. At this stage in the draft, this is good a shot as any to try to land a CeeDee Lamb.
1.11 – Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
Franklin is another player whose route running improved during their career. While he’s a little light at 189 lbs. for his height of 6’3″ this is probably the end of the run on wide receivers who have consensus support as a first-round receiver for the NFL Draft.
1.12 – Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas
While Brooks likely won’t be a first-round pick, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him taken early in the second. While landing spot will determine a lot for these running backs, Brooks has the size and long speed to maximize his production at the next level. By talent and health, this is RB1.