Skip to main content

2024 NFL Draft: Strongest position group? Weakest?

Which position group in the 2024 NFL Draft is the strongest? The weakest?

Everyone loves a highly touted quarterback class. Quarterbacks bring hope to QB-needy squads and provide intrigue for all of us as teams look to find their future face of the franchise. Folks, I can confirm we have a very impressive quarterback class in 2024.

Now, what good is a strong quarterback draft if we don't have players to protect the passers and talented targets for them to throw to? Well, this year's draft has a lot to offer in those categories, as well. Don't we need a draft deep with pass rushers who can disrupt quarterbacks around the league? I have good news on that front: The 2024 draft has those players, too.

Before we dive into my ranking of the 11 position groups in this year's draft, it's important for you to understand the criteria I used. In assessing each position, I identified star-caliber players, future starters and overall depth. Generally speaking, I concentrated on prospects who are most likely to be drafted in Rounds 1 through 5. I weighed star players and future starters twice as heavily as overall depth and my ranking scale ranged from 10 to 30 points. Here is how I stack the position groups, from strongest to weakest.

Tune in to NFL Network for an LSU Pro Day Special at 8 p.m. ET on March 27 and coverage of Big 12 Pro Day at 8 p.m. ET on March 28 and March 29. Check out NFL+ for live coverage of LSU pro day on March 27 and North Carolina pro day on March 28.

1) Offensive tackle (26 points)

Aside from quarterback, offensive tackle is at the very top of the list as it pertains to issues with supply and demand. The position will likely be overdrafted due to demand, but this season's crop of tackles is strong both in high-end talent and depth when it comes to future quality starters. Teams' draft boards will vary, as there are several flavors of tackle to choose from, but we should see at least seven tackles picked in the first round with starters still to be found on Day 2 and quality depth lasting into the fifth round.

2) Wide receiver (24.5 points)

The top of the class -- Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze -- offers star-power potential, but many teams are excited about the impressive collection of future starters that could still be available on Day 2, including Ladd McConkey, Roman Wilson, Malachi Corley, Xavier Legette, Troy Franklin and Ricky Pearsall. Day 3 will feature some prospects that still need polishing, but the starting-caliber players teams can choose from inside the top 100 picks are driving this hype train.

3) Quarterback (22.5 points)

Quarterbacks went back-to-back-to-back to start the draft in 2021, 1999 and 1971, but we've never seen quarterbacks chosen with each of the first four picks in the draft. We last saw four QBs picked in the top 10 in 2018. I expect we'll see four passers go in the top 10 again this year, and we might even see four selected within the first four picks. The draft is heavier on potential star power than usual (SEE: Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy) but there are also potential starters in Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. While there will be good depth within the first 50 picks, the pickings should get fairly slim for teams looking for a quality backup or developmental talent beyond the second round.

4) Edge defender (22 points)

This group has legitimate potential star power with Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu and Chop Robinson all offering distinct traits and talents for evaluators to prioritize. However, the edge rusher class is a little lighter when shifting to the future starter category beyond the "big four." I'm a fan of Austin Booker as an inexperienced wild card, while other draft analysts might favor Marshawn Kneeland or Adisa Isaac. All three could be picked on Day 2, and the drop-off in quality on Day 3 will be steep.

T-5) Cornerback (17 points)

I don't know if I consider the top of the cornerback class to be "superstar" caliber, but there will be at least two or three very good starters from the group. Players who could go late on Day 1 or early on Day 2 -- like Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Cooper DeJean and Kool-Aid McKinstry -- will go a long way in determining how we view the strength of the '24 CB class a few years from now. There is some solid Day 2 depth, with Renardo Green standing out to me. The interesting development here is that this is an unusually light cornerback class from a weight perspective. There will be talented corners getting looks inside the top 100 picks with weights in the 170s and low 180s, which are typically outliers for consideration in the first three rounds. Still, the coverage group is solid.

T-5) Interior defensive line (17 points)

When I look at this position, I see Byron Murphy II atop the class and then there's a gap before we get to the next-best player. Jer’Zhan Newton is a potential first-rounder. I believe the relentless motor of Braden Fiske, the dominant run stopping of T’Vondre Sweat and the wicked rush quickness of Michael Hall Jr. will all be compelling in the second round. On Day 3, Fabien Lovett Sr., Jordan Jefferson and Tyler Davis could become consistent rotational run-stoppers in the NFL.

7) Interior offensive line (16.5 points)

The strength of the interior O-line class would be drastically altered if a team were to move one of the top tackles inside, but for now, I can't assume that will happen. I expect to see Graham Barton and Jackson Powers-Johnson come off the board in the first round as centers who can also play guard, but teams will be able to go into the fourth round and maybe even Round 5 to find future starting centers this year. There may be a couple of true guards going in the second or third round, but overall, there will be more depth-level players than future starters at that spot.

T-8) Running back (14 points)

Most of this year's backs are going to be complementary pieces rather than fantasy football studs who stack up big production. Jonathon Brooks and Jaylen Wright are my top two backs, but Brooks is returning from an ACL tear, which could muddy his draft positioning. I believe we'll see as many as six backs go inside the top 100 picks, but with no star power and average backup depth, this RB class isn't a sexy one.

T-8) Tight end (14 points)

After last year's tight end class featured multiple standouts and excellent depth, there was never a doubt this year's class would pale in comparison. If it weren't for Brock Bowers and my own favorable opinions about the pass-catching potential of Ja’Tavion Sanders, this position would have fallen below safety. After Bowers and Sanders, Cade Stover is the only other tight end who earned a solid starting grade from me. There is adequate middle-round depth available, but it won't run as deep as teams might like and there are more question marks than usual with tight ends this year.

10) Safety (13 points)

Tyler Nubin should be the consensus top safety in the class, coming off the board in the early stages of Round 2, but there may not be any star-level safeties in this year's draft. I like Dadrion Taylor-Demerson and Cole Bishop to eventually become starters. Javon Bullard is more of a big nickel than a safety, so I included him with the cornerbacks in this exercise. It's going to be interesting to see where some of the bigger-bodied players and mega testers like Dominique Hampton, Ryan Watts and Tyler Owens end up going. Prospects that are big, explosive and fast tend to get pushed up the board.

11) Linebacker (11 points)

Last year, only one off-ball linebacker went in the first round and we didn't see another picked until Round 3. This year, I believe it's unlikely we'll see a linebacker taken in the top 40 picks. I gave Junior Colson, Edgerrin Cooper, Payton Wilson and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. future-starter grades, but after that group, teams will be looking at good-to-average backups. Wilson's production and testing could make him the top pick at the position, but given his injury history, teams' medical evaluations could play a big part in where he ends up.

Related Content