NFL Draft Notebook: Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams among teams who had the best draft

Which teams had the best draft 2024 NFL Draft, and which teams made questionable calls with their picks.
Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze
Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

With the 2024 NFL Draft concluded, let’s delve into how teams performed—spotting the winners and those who might have missed the mark. While it's premature to assess draft classes before the rookies hit the field, it's intriguing to gauge which teams seemed to make the most of their picks.

In this week’s NFL Draft Notebook, we explore the winners and losers of the 2024 NFL Draft, highlighting standout players who proved to be steals on the second and third days of the draft, and much more.

2024 NFL Draft winners

Chicago Bears: Any time a team can come away with two of the top three players on my board, they had a great draft. The Chicago Bears did that when they took USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first pick and Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze with the ninth pick. They followed that up by taking the top special teams player in the 2024 NFL Draft Tory Taylor, who will consistently pin the Bears' opponents inside the 10-yard line. The only pick they made that I didn’t care for was when they took Yale offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie in the fourth round.

Los Angeles Rams: For the second consecutive year one of the biggest winners of this year’s NFL Draft is the Los Angeles Rams. While the picks of Byron Young and Puka Nacua stood out to me last season, this season I love the defensive linemen the Rams took. Their draft started when they took Jared Verse with the 19th pick, and he should make a significant impact next season. The team also added defensive tackle Braden Fiske in the second round and Brennan Jackson in the fifth round and I had both players rated among the top five players at their position.

2024 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Rams selections Braden Fiske, Jared Verse
Rams' Jared Verse and Braden Fiske. / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

Philadelphia Eagles: Another team that seems to have a similar draft board to mine is the Philadelphia Eagles, as I consider them to have one of the best drafts yet again this season. The team got an absolute steal when they took Cooper DeJean with the 40th pick. DeJean should be able to play either safety or cornerback for the Eagles along with returning kicks. Another great value for the Eagles is when they took Jeremiah Trotter Jr. in the fifth round. I had Trotter rated as my top inside linebacker in the 2024 NFL Draft, and the highest-rated player on my board going into the fifth round.

Miami Dolphins: Miami did a great job of adding pass rushers in the 2024 NFL Draft. In the first round, they took my top defensive end Chop Robinson with the 21st pick. Robinson has the quickest burst off the ball in the 2024 NFL Draft, and with more refined hand use he should be able to develop into an All-Pro defensive end. They also added another dynamic pass rusher in the fifth round with the selection of Mohamed Kamara who accounted for 13 sacks this season.

2024 NFL Draft losers

Atlanta Falcons: The most questionable move in the 2024 NFL Draft is when the Falcons took Michael Penix Jr with the eighth pick after signing Kirk Cousins to a big deal this offseason. In addition to him likely being a backup for the next couple of years he also does not do a great job when asked to create plays, and has a long history of injuries. On the positive side, the Falcons did get good value in the mid-rounds when they took Bralen Trice, Brandon Dorlus, and JD Bertrand.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers got little impact from their rookie class last year, and I expect the same to happen from this year’s class. The team started by taking Ricky Pearsall in the first round over guys like Keon Coleman and Adonai Mitchell. They followed that up with the selection of Renardo Green who I had a sixth-round grade on. One pick I did like is that of Arizona wide receiver Jacob Cowing in the fourth round.

New England Patriots: While I think the Patriots made a couple of good picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, they also reached on a couple of picks. One of those picks is when they took Penn State offensive tackle Caedan Wallace with the 68th overall pick. I had Wallace rated as the 210 best player in the draft in part due to his limited athletic ability which saw him have his share of trouble with Big Ten pass rushers. I also was not sold on the pick of Javon Baker, mainly due to his questionable hands that saw him drop too many passes.

NFL Draft news and notes

The right move: The Buffalo Bills got plenty of heat on Thursday by trading down twice to teams that ended up taking wide receivers. However, this ended up being the right move as the team was able to come away with Keon Coleman who was the fifth rated receiver on my board. Meanwhile, the Cheifs moved up to take Xavier Worthy who was my seventh-rated receiver and the Panthers moved up one spot to take Xavier Legette who I had rated as the 13th-best wide out.

Character concerns: A player who went way higher than I thought he would is Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat. While Sweat is a massive defensive tackle coming in at 366 pounds and is a good run stuffer he has several concerns that would have prevented me from taking him before the third round. The first one is that he has character concerns having been arrested for a DWI in April, and also having questions about work ethic. He also is a limited pass rusher who may be limited to being just a first and second-down defender. The Titans likely would have been better off picking Braden Fiske with the 38th overall selection.

Day two steal: The best pick of the second round is when the New Orleans Saints took Kool-Aid McKinstry who was my number one cornerback with the 41st overall pick. The reason I had him rated so high is his play on the field, which saw him consistently shut down his side of the field. I look for him to see significant playing time next year in New Orleans and would not be surprised if he ended up developing into a Pro Bowler in a couple of years.

Day three steal: The Chiefs got great value when they took TCU tight end Jared Wiley with the 131st pick. Wiley who was the 3rd tight end and 48th best player on my board is one of the more complete tight ends in the class. As a blocker, he uses his enormous size and aggressive style of play to knock his man off the ball. When it comes to helping out in the passing game he is a load to take down after the catch and shows surprising speed for someone his size.

Most overrated player: The Dallas Cowboys took the most overrated player in the draft when they took Western Michigan defensive end Marshawn Kneeland in the second. Kneeland had average production in the MAC recording just 4.5 sacks this season and only has 13 career sacks in five years. He also posted very average testing numbers including running the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds and only getting 21 reps on the bench press. Look for him to be like the Cowboy's first-round pick from last Mazi Smith and make little impact as a rookie.

NFL Draft stats of the week

67: The first player drafted that I didn’t have a draftable grade on was TCU offensive tackle Brandon Coleman who was the 67th pick

138: The number of picks between when we saw the seventh quarterback Spencer Rattler taken at pick 150 from when we saw where the sixth quarterback Bo Nix was selected.

75: The first FCS player was taken at pick 75 when the Bears took Yale offensive tackle Kiran Amegadjie

122: The first specialist to be drafted was Iowa punter Tory Taylor who the Chicago Bears took with the 122nd pick.

12,413: The number of picks ESPN has covered in their 45 years of covering the draft.

82%: Of the 216 players to make my final draft board 82% were drafted

12: The number of FCS players drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft

13: Michigan led all schools with 13 players being drafted.