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Monday, June 10, 2024

2024 NFL draft recap

Some of the biggest winners and losers of this year’s draft

By CAROLYN (CARI) FENN — sports@theaggie.org

Over three days and seven rounds, 257 names were called and given the chance to live out their dreams of playing in the National Football League (NFL). The NFL draft not only gave players the chance to possibly accomplish a dream but also helped the teams fill out their big needs. In the end, some general managers (GM) did better than others at creating a draft class that filled their team’s necessities.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

GM Howie Roseman has once again drafted a rather strong class of players for the Eagles franchise. Despite the Eagles entering the draft with only eight draft spots, they ended up with nine rookies thanks to Roseman’s trades throughout the three-day event. 

On the first day, they had the No. 22 pick in the draft and were able to fill the Eagles’ biggest need with Quinyon Mitchell, a cornerback from the University of Toledo. Mitchell was ranked as the best cornerback in the draft and was the No. 8 overall prospect. Additionally, he is the first round-one cornerback pick for the Eagles since Lito Sheppard in 2002. While it is surprising that Mitchell fell to the No. 22 pick, the quarterback-heavy first round worked in the Eagles’ favor. 

The Eagles effectively addressed their needs during days two and three of the draft with one of their best picks happening in the second round. Cornerback Cooper DeJean, who the Eagles selected No. 40 overall is viewed as being one of the top-10 steals of the NFL draft by ESPN. The Eagles knew they needed cornerbacks entering the draft and secured two of the best with DeJean and Mitchell. 

Overall, going into the draft the Eagles knew what spots they needed to fill and ended up succesfully filling those. Roseman has set up the Eagles for potential success for this upcoming season and the next with their new and future prospects.

Loser: Atlanta Falcons

The viral video of Falcons GM Terry Fontenot talking to team owner Arthur Blank after selecting University of Washington Quarterback (QB) Micheal Penix Jr. in the first round speaks volumes as to why the Atlanta Falcons are considered to be one of the least successful teams in the draft. 

  While drafting one of the best-ranked quarterbacks in the draft at No. 8 would seem like a great move for some, for the Falcons it is very odd because of their deal with QB Kirk Cousins. Just this offseason during free agency the Falcons signed Cousins to a four-year, $180 million deal. While Penix is a great QB and has the potential to be very successful in the NFL, obtaining a QB was far from needed for the Falcons with their recent multi-million deal with Cousins. The Falcons, who have not made it to the postseason since 2017, needed a cornerback and more defensive line players but instead wasted the No. 8 pick on a position they did not need this upcoming season. 

While the Falcons filled some of their needs with their second and third-round picks, they wasted a potential game changing first-round pick on a great quarterback that was not a necessity. If anything, the Falcon’s first-round pick makes fans wonder what is going to happen next between Cousins and Penix as they fight to be the starting QB. 

Winner: Chicago Bears

  With the Chicago Bears’ draft picks this year, it seems the Bears might be on track to transform their losing franchise into a winning one. In the first round alone, they had draft picks at the No. 1 and No. 9 spots and they did not disappoint with their selections. 

For their first pick, the Bears unsurprisingly selected University of Southern California QB Caleb Williams who is viewed to be the franchise-changing QB that the Bears have been searching for for years. Williams has been described by some as being a “generational talent” and one of the best QBs to come out of the draft in the last 10 years. While this is a bold statement to make, as the last 10 years have included players like Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, his college stats make the claim understandable.  

With the No. 9 pick, the Bears also selected University of Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze. While Odunze was ranked third among the wide receivers in the draft, it is believed that he and Williams will be a powerful duo for the Bears. 

Overall, the Bears GM Ryan Poles’ trade last year to give the Panthers the No. 1 pick for Wide Receiver DJ Moore and even more draft picks this year have worked out in their favor. While it is unclear if their two number-one picks will perform as highly as they are expected, the amazing draft decisions might turn the Bears franchise around.

Loser: Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders began the draft with a questionable first-round pick. For the 13th pick, the Raiders selected tight end Brock Bowers from the University of Georgia. Although Bowers was the best tight end available in the draft, filling that position was unessential for the Raiders as last season they selected tight end Michael Mayer in the second round. This year, the Raiders’ biggest needs were a quarterback, offensive tackle and cornerback. 

Over days two and three, the Raiders began to draft players that fit their needs such as offensive tackle Delmar Glaze from the University of Maryland at No. 77 overall and center back Decamerion Richardson from Mississippi State University at No. 112 overall. However, the team never addressed their need for a long-term quarterback as all six quarterbacks viewed as potential franchise saviors were taken before the Raiders’ 13th pick. 

Overall, even though the Raiders drafted players to help in positions they needed, they didn’t effectively use their top picks for positions they required, instead opting to wait for later rounds to fill their needs. While their draft class is solid, it is far from being the best of the 32 NFL teams. 

Although it is easy to look at a team’s draft class and claim that some teams “won” the draft and others “lost,” no one will truly know until all these players take the field. Some of the first-round picks become flops while some last-round picks become saviors of a franchise. Until these players take the field in the upcoming season in September 2024 we won’t know what picks will change the trajectory of a franchise for the better or worse. 

Written by: Carolyn (Cari) Fenn — sports@theaggie.org

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