Winners and losers from Round 1 of 2024 NFL Draft: Eagles find their CB, Kirk Cousins gets slighted

Winners and losers from Round 1 of 2024 NFL Draft: Eagles find their CB, Kirk Cousins gets slighted

By Oghale Apr29,2024

At long last, the NFL Draft finally has gotten underway from the city of Detroit.

The first round is officially in the books, and each of the 32 selections bring a renewed sense of hope to the franchises that made those picks. But plenty of work remains. Rounds 2 and 3 take place Friday night, and then Saturday features Rounds 4 through 7.

It’ll take some time to see how these picks pan out, but that won’t stop us from reacting and analyzing.

We’re taking a look at the winners and losers of the first round.

Winners

Quarterbacks — Quarterbacks flew off the board Thursday night with six of them going in the first 12 selections. Caleb Williams (Bears, first), Jayden Daniels (Commanders, second), Drake Maye (Patriots, third), Michael Penix Jr. (Falcons, eighth), J.J. McCarthy (Vikings, 10th) and Bo Nix (Broncos, 12th) combined to tie the historic 1983 QB draft class for the most taken in the first round. But never have six gone off the board as fast as they did Thursday night. Some of these quarterbacks will likely start right away. Others may sit for a bit. But for now, they serve as symbols of hope of brighter days ahead for their new franchises.

Offensive players — Each draft reflects a different trend, and this year has a strong offensive flavor to it because it took 14 picks before the first defensive player came off the board. That player was UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu, who went 15th to Indianapolis. In all, 23 offensive players went in the first round while only nine defensive players were drafted.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

NFL Draft opens with record 14 straight offensive picks

Kyler Murray The Arizona Cardinals quarterback last season made his comeback from reconstructive knee surgery but returned to an offense short on game-changing talent. But Cardinals officials used the fourth pick of the draft to acquire Marvin Harrison Jr., who is regarded by many as the best wideout in the draft. Harrison gives Murray and the Cardinals a polished route runner that also boasts good size and speed.

Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles needed cornerback help, and they even made calls about potentially moving up in the draft so they could better position themselves to take the corner of their liking. But none of the teams ahead of them had a pressing need at corner and Quinyon Mitchell landed in their laps at No. 22 without Philly having to part with additional assets.

Daniel Jones The New York Giants did a lot of homework on the quarterbacks in the draft. There was talk that they could have used the sixth pick on a passer, which could have signaled the end for Jones, who has largely disappointed since New York drafted him sixth in 2019. However, the Giants instead used the sixth pick on LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, and that means Jones will likely get another chance to establish himself.

LSU wideouts — First Nabers at sixth, and then Brian Thomas Jr. went 23rd to Jacksonville. It’s the first time that LSU has had two first-round wide receivers. Now, Nabers and Thomas will look to join Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, D.J. Chark and Odell Beckham as the next great wide receivers from LSU. It was a big night as a whole for wide receivers as a total of seven came off the board in the first round.


(Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

Losers

Kirk Cousins Just months after they signed him to a four-year, $180 million contract, the Atlanta Falcons stunned Kirk Cousins by drafting Penix. Cousins, who didn’t learn of the team’s plans until the Falcons were on the clock, is coming off of a torn Achilles, but his recovery from surgery is going well, and he was looking forward to making Atlanta home. But now, Cousins could be looking for another opportunity sooner than he anticipated (most of the guaranteed money in his deal is in the first two seasons). Penix will likely sit and learn this year, and if Cousins falters in 2025, the Falcons could turn things over to the kid.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Cousins stunned Falcons drafted Penix Jr. in first round

Las Vegas RaidersThe Raiders needed to find their long-term answer at quarterback and were believed to have interest in moving up in the draft to ensure they were in position to take one. Well, the Raiders didn’t manage to move up, and by the time they got on the board at No. 13, all six of the quarterbacks viewed as potential franchise saviors had been taken. For now, Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew remain the Raiders’ only options at quarterback. They could look for a passer in the second or third round, but such a player would likely be a project.

Zach Wilson The Broncos took Wilson off of the Jets’ hands just a few days ago, and it looked as if Wilson might have a chance to reset, learn from Sean Payton and potentially salvage his career in Denver. But then the Broncos used the 12th pick to draft Nix. Now, the best Wilson can hope for is a slow learning process for Nix and struggles from Jarrett Stidham, who started two games in Denver last season, so he can somehow work his way on the field. Otherwise, his practice reps and playing opportunities will be severely limited.

Defensive backs — Cornerbacks endured a long wait Thursday night as 21 players came off the board before Mitchell went to the Eagles. Mitchell, a Toledo product, does land in a good spot on a defense with a strong front. But he could’ve done without the wait. Mitchell’s wait wasn’t the longest, however. Two picks later, Alabama corner Terrion Arnold finally got the call as the Lions traded up to take him 24th. It was the longest cornerback wait endured since 1995 when Tyrone Poole went 22nd to Carolina and Ty Law 23rd to New England.

Buffalo Bills Buffalo brass delivered a head-scratcher as they moved back in the first round after a trade of picks with the Chiefs. Kansas City used that pick to draft the speedy Texas wideout Xavier Worthy. Buffalo needs help at wide receiver, and the Chiefs are the one team Buffalo can never figure out how to beat in the playoffs. So, to pass up on a chance to help themselves, and then to help strengthen a chief adversary could really come back to haunt the Bills. Then, to make matters worse, the Bills turned around and traded out of the 32nd pick, moving back to 33rd. The Panthers, who moved into that spot, used that pick to take South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette — another player that really could have helped Buffalo.

Required reading

(Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

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