5 Bold 2024 NFL Draft Predictions: Malik Nabers WR1, Michael Penix Jr. Rises

2024 NFL Draft Bold Predictions
The 2024 NFL Draft will be a wild one.

We finally arrived at 2024 NFL Draft Day on the NFL equivalent of Christmas morning. With arguably the deepest group of quarterbacks and skill position players in recent memory, here are five bold-ish predictions for what to potentially expect on the NFL’s most exciting day outside of the Super Bowl.

MICHAEL PENIX JR. WILL BE DRAFTED INSIDE THE TOP 11

The boldest prediction on this list is that Michael Penix Jr. will be drafted inside the top 11 selections.  Typically, takes like this have a “top 10” label, but I am going with 11 since the QB-needy Minnesota Vikings are in this slot (as of the time of this writing, at least). 

After publishing his self-marketing essay earlier this week, an inspired organization ignores the injury history and selects MP9 in the early first.  My personal prediction is the New York Giants.  With the Daniel Jones experiment hardly a success, combined with his own injury/recovery questions, the Giants take a gamble on Penix.  His leadership qualities outweigh the injury concerns and catapult him to the top of the first.

RECORD-SETTING 1ST ROUND

This likely isn’t as “bold” of a prediction, but this draft should set the record for the number of offensive players taken in the first round.  Taking it a step further, wide receiver will also set a record for selections.  The current record for first-round pass catchers selected is seven, which Larry Fitzgerald headlined in the 2004 class. 

The 2024 class boasts locked-in names like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze but also has borderline prospects like Brian Thomas Jr., AD Mitchell, Xavier Worthy, and more. It’s a pass-happy league, and with receivers commanding large deals (look at you, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Brandon Aiyuk, and Justin Jefferson), it would behoove a team to land an elite talent on a rookie deal via the draft.

JJ MCCARTHY FALLS OUT OF THE TOP 20

With all the hype surrounding JJ McCarthy, I am planting my flag, saying he falls out of the top 20 picks.  With the first prediction on this list having Michael Penix land inside the top 10, this forces JJ down draft boards, similar to Will Levis’ free-fall last year. 

There’s always fireworks and surprises on draft day, and having JJ fall out of the top 20 would be the headliner.  Current Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh did his best marketing work for McCarthy early on in draft season, but it won’t be enough to have him leapfrog what Penix put on tape in the CFP.

MALIK NABERS WILL BE THE FIRST WR SELECTED

In another draft day shocker, Malik Nabers is the first wide receiver off the board before Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. 

Some say without the hype and pedigree of the “Harrison” name, Nabers would be the undisputed WR1 of this class.  Perhaps teams agree and have their draft board with Nabers’ name at the top of the position. Nabers will join Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in the league as yet another blue-chip LSU receiver.

NO TEAMS TRADE UP FOR A QB

Finally, no teams will move up to select a quarterback in the first round.  This would be quite a shocker, but with so much talent in this class, someone will fall into a team’s lap (see take 3, with JJ McCarthy) without any capital expenditure to move up.  This season of the NFL calendar is full of so many theories, scenarios, and “sources” reporting fake news, that it becomes white noise. 

I expect the top three quarterbacks to go where they have been slotted for months (Williams, Daniels, and Maye) while remaining names like McCarthy, Penix, and Bo Nix organically slot into a quarterback-needy franchise. Recent deals for Bryce Young and Trey Lance are also undoubtedly on the minds of several front offices in the league, making them reluctant to give up highly valued assets for an unknown at the NFL level. 

Grab your favorite snack and beverage, sit back, and get ready to yell at the television as your team trades out of the first round.  Enjoy draft day, outside of your own fantasy leagues’ draft, which is the most exciting day for us fantasy players. 

Cheers.

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