Draft buzz: Wednesday, April 17th

April 17, 2024

With the start of the 2024 draft now just over 8 days away and counting, there does seem to be a bit of an uptick in the noise around next week’s event. On the one hand, more than one team out there is watching and waiting for a decision from the league on any possible resolution of the allegation that Atlanta tampered with free agent QB Kirk Cousins prior to signing him away from Minnesota when the new football year kicked off in March. There has been some speculation that if the Falcons were indeed found to be guilty of the alleged  transgression, the compensation could involve them being forced to flip the 8th and 11th picks in next week’s opening round with the Vikings. Needless, to say if that were to happen it would put Minnesota in that much better position to move up into the top 5 in order to acquire a QB. For its part, the league is simply saying at this point that the investigation is ‘ongoing.’ Some of the other stories that we’re following:

  • There appears to be a growing sense around the league that Tennessee would really like to trade down from the 7th pick in order to acquire another pick or two. The Titans do have 8 picks this year, but three of them are in the 7th round and they actually only have two selections within the first 100 picks having traded away their 3rd rounder. The Titans primary need in this year’s draft appears to be LT and they would likely miss out on a shot at Notre Dame’s John Alt if they did move down very far; however, OT also appears to be one of the 2024 draft’s strongest positions and Tennessee would have options at the position pretty much right thru the first round. And with top prospects like Alt, along with at least one of the top WRs, Georgia TE Brock Bowers, and Alabama ER Dallas Turner among others available at the 7th pick, Tennessee might not have all that much trouble finding someone willing to deal.
  • There also appears to be a similar story unfolding in Denver. The Broncos had been very much interested in the possibility of trading up into the top 5 in order to take one of the top QBs, but have reportedly backed away once they saw the cost of such a move. The Broncos could still sit where they are and hope to perhaps select Michael Penix or Bo Nix, the leading second-tier QB prospects at #12, but it sounds like if they had their druthers they would also consider trading down from the 12th selection to accumulate more picks. And lord knows the Broncos could use some picks after trading away a bunch in order to acquire QB Russell Wilson and head coach Sean Peyton . Like Tennessee, Denver also has 8 picks this year, but 5 of them are in the 5th and 6th rounds and they don’t have a second rounder.
  • New England threw out a bit of a curveball yesterday when the Patriots, who are widely expected to take either of QBs Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye with the 3rd pick overall, had Michael Penix in for a visit earlier this week. That set of some speculation that just maybe they might still be considering a trade down. The NY Giants did something of the same thing themselves this week when they had QBs Bo Nix and Spencer Rattler in for late visits. The Giants have been another team that has been talking to teams with top 5 picks about the possibility of trading up from the 6th pick, but like Denver may have balked at the price if any of the picks they were targeting were even actually in play and may now be thinking of pivoting to the position in the second or third round.
  • Every year it seems there is a highly-rated QB who lasts a lot longer on draft day than had been predicted. Last year, for example, Will Levis wasn’t selected until the second round, while Malik Willis lasted well into the third round the previous year. Of course, there’s no rule that has to happen every year, but there is a bit of a buzz that more than one team with an early pick and a big need at the position has started to ask themselves ‘tell me why is it we like this guy?’ about JJ McCarthy. Of course, McCarthy has been one of the more polarizing prospects this year literally from the moment he announced he was entering the draft after leading Michigan to the national championship. For a lot of teams, though, McCarthy’s great strengths have always been his intangibles rather than his physical tools and question whether he has the NFL arm to fit passes into the tight windows one has to fit them into in the pros. Time will tell!