2024 NFL Draft: Mapping out the Top 5 Picks
Scenarios, rumors, and news on a wild top five for 2024
The 2024 draft class has been a fun one to study; and as the draft order finalizes over the next two weeks that fun will kick into overdrive as we can begin laying out real world scenarios for each NFL team.
Today we’re going to start that process by looking at the teams currently slotted in picks one through five. We’ll run through the front office and coaching situations, look at upcoming free agents, list the team needs, and give you the most realistic prospect for each team.
You aren’t getting this level of insight or detail anywhere else.
Current draft slot: No. 1 overall (from Carolina)
General manager: Ryan Poles, hired 2022
Head coach: Matt Eberflus, hired 2022
Poles was hired as the Bears’ new general manager in January of 2022. He quickly led a coaching search that landed on Eberflus, the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive coordinator. The two have a record of 9-23.
Intel around the league indicates that Poles’ job is safe, but the Bears’ struggles may lead to a coaching change despite a late-season charge that has Chicago’s record at 6-9.
Free Agents: CB Jaylon Johnson, WR Darnell Mooney, DE Yannick Ngakoue, DT Justin Jones, DE Rasheem Green, RB D’Onta Foreman, TE Robert Tonyan, G Dan Feeney, G Lucas Patrick
Johnson should be re-signed or given the franchise tag, as he’s emerged as one of the best young cornerbacks in football. No other player on this list is a priority to keep in Chicago. The Bears are projected via Spotrac to have $63M to spend this off-season.
Team Needs: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Pass-Rusher, Running Back, Interior Offensive Line
After trading for Montez Sweat and D.J. Moore, the Bears checked off two huge needs at premium positions. Some may argue for a left tackle, but second-year man Braxton Jones has played well enough to hold down that job for another year of development before moving on. Getting another pass-catcher and pass-rusher would round out the roster best before using middle-round picks on a running back and guard.
Biggest Question Mark: Justin Fields
Fields has been so inconsistent that it’s hard to have a firm opinion on him. There are high moments where he looks like the franchise’s answer at quarterback. And there are times when it looks like he can’t complete a five-yard out route on time. Given the status of Fields’ contract—the Bears would need to decide on his fifth-year option this summer—it’s most likely that Poles and Co. will attempt to trade Fields and restart at the position in a draft class with three viable QB1 options.
Most Likely Pick: QB Caleb Williams, USC
Williams is still the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall. There will be conversations about his style of play translating to the NFL—he loves to hold the ball in the pocket and look for home run balls—and if he will attempt an Eli Manning situation where he dictates his NFL landing spot, but it’s not time for those yet as they would be speculation only. On talent, Williams is the best quarterback in the draft and would instantly elevate an offense with Moore, tight end Cole Kmet, and potentially another young wide receiver via the team’s pick at No. 8 overall.