5 NFL teams who got better in 2024 Draft, and 4 who didn’t do enough

The 2024 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror and we’ve had some time to evaluate every class. This idea that “you can’t evaluate a draft for three years” is often parroted and holds some truth, but it’s an over-used phrase by fans of teams who had consensus terrible drafts to make them feel better about the weekend.

It didn’t take us three years to know Zach Wilson wasn’t it. It didn’t take us three years to know Mac Jones didn’t have the ceiling to be a long-term difference maker. It certainly didn’t take us three years to know that the 2022 quarterback class was a hot mess.

So, while it’s true that some players blossom over time and eventually reach their potential, more often than not the knee-jerk is at least a loose facsimile for how everything will end up.

In broad terms everyone got better in the draft. It goes without saying that any player additions will improve your team, but some teams managed to take a major step forward with their classes — while others are barely any different from the position they were in a week ago.

Teams that got much better

Chicago Bears

It goes without saying that you better hope you got damn better in the draft when you have the No. 1 overall pick, but it’s the total draft that pushes what Chicago did over the top.

Time will tell whether or not Caleb Williams really is a profound upgrade over Justin Fields or more of a lateral move, but the Bears also picked up one of my favorite players in the draft in Rome Odunze. He was the perfect receiver to be added to this new offense under Shane Waldron, and it’s a place where he can not only play an impact role in 2024, but also learn from a brilliant veteran in Keenan Allen.

An underrated pick from this class is DE Austin Booker, who Chicago picked up in the fifth round. He was tremendous value here, and honestly has a chance to make an impact in year one, with a very definite chance to become a long-term starting DE.

Philadelphia Eagles

When you don’t have a lot of needs it can be tricky to really improve your roster, but my goodness did the Eagles deliver. This is all because of their top two picks in Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean.

Going one-two on cornerbacks was a necessary move, and yet both picks ended up being steals at their relative picks in the draft. Philadelphia had one of the worst pass defenses in the league in 2023, and while it might take a year or two to get Mitchell and DeJean up to speed, the Eagles found two legitimate starters who can bolster their defense for the next five years.

When you take into account these two picks paired with their phenomenal drafting in recent years it’s laying the table for this team to be a dominant force in the NFC for a long time to come.

New England Patriots

There was nowhere to go but up for New England, and the Patriots delivered. Perhaps most importantly they didn’t get too cute with the process and ended up landing (who I believe is) the best quarterback in this class in Drake Maye.

Following up with Ja’Lynn Polk might have felt like a bit of a reach against the board, but Polk is a bonafide stud at WR who was largest overshadowed because of Rome Odunze. Make no mistake though, he’s a talent in his own right and can make an impact.

I’m not buying the idea that Maye will need to sit. I think he can start in year one and deliver impact plays that were impossible for Mac Jones to deliver.

Washington Commanders

Similar to the Patriots, there was nowhere to go but up. I personally didn’t love the Jayden Daniels pick and felt he was overhyped at No. 2 overall, but he is a very good fit for the Kliff Kingsbury offense. At the very least it should lead to a more dynamic offense that’s able to have more big play potential.

Where the Commanders really got better in 2024 is there next two picks. Jer’Zhan Newton was absolutely ridiculous value in the second round, and is the best defensive tackle in this draft. Team are now valuing pocket-collapsing DTs more than edge rushers, so to get someone like Newton where they did was a mammoth win. They then followed up with Mike Sainristril, a Michigan cornerback who is a prototype nickel at a time where teams are in dire need of having a true nickel who can match against the big slot receiver movement.

All in all the Commanders are still a year or two away from being truly competitive, but they took mammoth strides to lay the foundation and should take a leap forward immediately.

Kansas City Chiefs

Yes, the Super Bowl champions found a way to get much better. It’s absolutely ridiculous what they managed to pull off considering they started the draft selecting at No. 32.

Xavier Worthy needed a very specific team to select him. The record-breaking Texas speedster who ran a 4.21 in the 40 at the combine is lean, contact isn’t his friend, and he needs to be in open space to really have an impact. Now he lands in an Andy Reid offense that can turn him into a juggernaut. Kansas City has been focusing on defense, with the notion that Patrick Mahomes is good enough to win with anyone — and it’s worked, but Worthy is a massive weapon in the Tyreek Hill mold who can make an immediate impact.

Then they get Kingsley Suamataia in the second, and just wait for this kid. It’s unlikely he’ll be polished enough to play immediately, but the upside he possesses is so unreal that the Chiefs may have found their left tackle for the next decade if he continues to grow as a player.

From here the rest of the draft was just gravy. When you need almost nothing to become good and pull off these two picks — well, the NFL messed up.

Teams that didn’t do enough

Atlanta Falcons

We assumed the Falcons were in win-now mode with their sights set on a deep playoff run. Their actions in the draft were anything but. So much has been made of the decision to pick Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8, and yeah we need to discuss that again.

Essentially the Atlanta front office hedged against their own anxiety at the quarterback position by picking Penix, and instead of getting a player who can help them right now, the best case scenario is they got someone they can use in 2-3 years.

Okay, so push Penix to the side. It’s the second round. Surely the Falcons will get a player who can make an impact here. NOPE! Instead of getting a pass rusher they trade up, then reach for Ruke Orhorhoro. I actually like him as a run-stuffing DT, but that’s NOT what the Falcons needed. It’s another future planning pick.

There appeared to be a vision for the Falcons before the 1st round began. Now it’s unclear what the focus of this franchise is.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raider actually made some really great picks when it comes to players, but the fits are pretty nonsensical. Brock Bowers is a monster tight end, which is great if you didn’t select Michael Mayer a year ago to be your starting TE.

Jackson-Powers Johnson is a beast, but interior offensive line wasn’t a place that needed to be addressed immediately.

This was a solid class top to bottom, and it could play out a few years down the road — but there’s nothing Las Vegas did that makes them a dramatically better team out of the gate.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos had a bad draft. I’m not really sure what you think Bo Nix is going to give you. It requires a colossal leap in logic to assume that Nix can be like Drew Brees simple because they both had less-than-stellar arm strength out of college, but made good decisions with the ball.

In this class Nix should have been a second round pick. In any other class he’s a 4th or 5th round quarterback. Denver taking him at No. 12 reeks of desperation, and Sean Payton can giggle like the “got one over” on Minnesota by making them trade up for J.J. McCarthy, but they got the better quarterback.

Troy Franklin is the only bright spot to this class. There’s no reason to believe this team got drastically better in a draft where they needed to get better.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills draft was … fine. We had a lot of safe, sensible picks of solid football players — but almost no pop or upside. Keon Coleman deserves to become a fan favorite, because he’s an absolute delight, but he’s no replacement for Stefon Diggs.

If you look at the entire class this team landed 10 players, and it’s difficult to see how any of them help Buffalo get over the hump. This is magnified by the fact they helped the Chiefs get significantly better by trading with them so Kansas City could get Xavier Worthy, without hitting the Chiefs with a major “competitor tax.”

The class is fine, I just don’t think the Bills got better as a result.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top