2024 NFL Draft: Intriguing Names To Monitor
(4) PATRICK PAUL, LT, 6-foot-6, 310 lbs., SRr, Houston
Paul has garnered All-Conference honors in the AAC but is still not well-recognized nationally. He was only a low-rated two-star player out of high school, yet his play at left tackle has looked awfully good at times. With adequate size for the position, he has exhibited good footwork including an effective kick-slide in pass protection. Paul profiles as a mauler in the run game, all while playing the high priority blindside position.
The downside with the Houston lineman is that he has also exhibited some poor technique, which he has been working to improve. Now playing a Big 12 schedule in 2023, including Texas on Oct. 21, he could thrust himself into the top tackle conversation with continued improvement. Paul is a name to have on your early 2024 NFL Draft radar.
(5) XAVIER TRUSS, Guard, 6-foot-6, 320 lbs., SRr, Georgia
Truss started 14 of 15 games at left guard for the National Champion, Georgia Bulldogs. Unfortunately, he did not attain any All-Conference honors. Still, Truss proved to be a bruiser from the interior while also flexing promising sets and hand usage in pass blocking. Being 6-foot-6, he needs better knee bend to be a first- or second-round draft choice, but he and Landon Tengwall, another player on this list, are my two top guards heading into the 2023 season.
(6) LANDON TENGWALL, Guard, 6-foot-5, 314 lbs., SOr, Penn State
Tengwall is only a Redshirt Sophomore who started the first five games of 2022 before going down with a season-ending injury. This heralded high schooler looked excellent during his limited time in 2022, offering the fan base a glimpse of what could be. Tengwall displayed a good base, quick feet, flexibility, agility, power and anything else one would look for on the interior. If he regains that form in 2023, the Nittany Lion standout would be my highest-rated guard. Alas, it is doubtful that he declares for the 2024 NFL Draft with such limited tape under his belt in Happy Valley.
(7) SETH COLEMAN, OLB, 6-foot-5, 240 lbs., JRr, Illinois
Seth Coleman was somewhat overlooked in the Illinois defense, as ten of the eleven starters received All-Conference honors in one form or another in 2022. That defense included first-round pick Devon Witherspoon, second-round pick Jartavius Martin and third-round pick Sydney Brown, as well as a couple that will be early selections in 2024. But as to Coleman, he boasts ideal size at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. He contributed four-and-a-half sacks last season, along with six passes defended and ten quarterback hurries. The outside linebacker prospect can follow the footsteps of his former teammates at the 2024 NFL Draft by going inside of the first 100 picks.
(8) BRAIDEN McGREGOR, Edge, 6-foot-5, 261 lbs., JRr, Michigan
McGregor has been in a rotational role since arriving in Ann Arbor. Don’t let this fool you; coaches have high expectations, even stating that he has Aidan Hutchinson-like traits. The ascending pass rusher started to come around at the end of the 2022 season and Coach Harbaugh claims that “he is on the verge” of becoming a great player. A knee injury his senior year in high school somewhat limited McGregor physically and mentally.
This year also presents another problem for him with reps as Super-Sophomore Derrick Moore is also vying for playing time at his position. The coaches, however, feel that if McGregor can put it all together, he could approach the heights of an Aidan Hutchinson. This could be the highest riser at the 2024 NFL Draft — or a complete afterthought if he is buried on the depth chart.