The New England Patriots headed into Week 16 in the perfect position to snare their quarterback of the future in the upcoming NFL Draft. That changed thanks to a win over the Denver Broncos. New England fell from No. 2 to No. 4 in the order for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Arizona is still alive for the No. 1 overall pick. Carolina has the worst record in the NFL, but its top pick is going to the Chicago Bears. Arizona is just a game behind or ahead of the Panthers depending on whether you are a glass-is-half-full or half-empty type of person.
When looking at the NFL betting lines, USC’s Caleb Williams remains the clear choice to go first overall.
According to the NFL draft odds, Williams and fellow quarterback Drake Maye of North Carolina continue to have the top odds among draft prospects. Williams, Maye, and UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu are among the top draft prospects who have opted out of upcoming bowl games.
When looking at the top NFL players by position, Williams, receiver (+1800), offensive lineman Joe Alt (+4500), edge rusher J.T. Tuimoloau (+3500), interior defensive lineman Michael Hall Jr. (+4500), cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry (+7500), tight end Brock Bowers (+6000) and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (+10000) are the front-runners to go No. 1 overall at their respective position groups, according to the NFL Draft odds.
The 2024 NFL Draft is set for April 25-27 in Detroit.
Cardinals Still Alive for No. 1 Pick
No game played in Week 16 figured to have more of an impact on the NFL Draft order than the one between the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears.
Chicago won the game 27-16 after scoring the game’s first 21 points and the Bears now have the No. 8 overall pick.
It is not a total loss for the Bears. Thanks to the 2022 trade that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers, Chicago would have the top pick in the draft if the season ended today.
Arizona is just a game behind Carolina in the race for the worst record in the NFL so it is still alive for the top pick.
Carolina nearly made it two wins in a row. After topping Atlanta on a late field goal, Carolina rallied to tie the game against Green Bay thanks to a pair of Bryce Young to D.J. Chark touchdown passes. However, Green Bay drove 61 yards to get up the go-ahead field goal with 19 seconds to play.
D.J. Chark, do do do do do 🦈 pic.twitter.com/4ONpNOsycZ
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) December 24, 2023
Arizona and Washington both moved up a spot to No. 2 and 3 in the draft order after the New England Patriots topped Denver 26-23. Is that a win that will keep the Patriots from getting one of the top two quarterbacks in the upcoming draft?
When looking at the NFL odds this week, there are just three matchups between teams with losing records so keep an eye on the Atlanta Falcons-Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Chargers-Denver Broncos, and Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings contests.
Harrison to Fly High as a Cardinal?
When journeyman Greg Dortch has the longest catch of the game for a team, it is clear that an upgrade is needed at the receiving position.
Playing without an injured Marquise Brown, the lack of explosive options at the receiver position was pretty evident when the Cardinals took the field against the Chicago Bears.
It isn’t often that a receiver goes in the top two picks. Perhaps that will happen this year.
While Ohio State All-American Marvin Harrison Jr. hasn’t made his intentions clear and the possibility exists that he could return to the Buckeyes, it seems more likely that he will land in Arizona to become the No. 1 receiver for the Cardinals.
If Chicago stuns the NFL by passing on a quarterback with the top pick, there could be other options at receiver for the Cardinals. The LSU duo of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas as well as Washington’s Rome Odunze are options to land in Arizona.
Ready to Get Passing Grades
There is an obvious pecking order when it comes to the quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.
USC’s Caleb Williams is viewed as not only the best player available in this draft but the type of quarterback that can change the fortunes of a franchise.
If Eberflus gets fired, I think it is virtually a lock we draft Caleb Williams, which isn’t a bad thing.
Lining up the HC and QB together has never happened in #Bears history.
If Eberflus gets retained, I’d like to keep Fields, since we would repeat the cycle if we draft Caleb. pic.twitter.com/ZsILx5DpiD
— 🗽Sam (@FieldsIsHim) December 26, 2023
North Carolina’s Drake Maye appears to be the clear No. 2 quarterback.
After that things get interesting.
When looking at the Las Vegas odds, Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels of LSU has the third-best odds at +2000 to be the No. 3 quarterback taken followed by Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. at +2500.
The next two quarterbacks listed could return to college. Arkansas star K.J. Jefferson entered the transfer portal rather than declaring for the draft and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy showed up on early lists of top Heisman Trophy hopefuls for next season.
A Command Decision
Could the Washington Commanders hold the key to the 2024 NFL Draft?
If things stay the same, it would surprise nobody to see the Chicago Bears take USC’s Williams with the top pick followed by Harrison landing in Arizona.
In the ultimate irony, that would leave Washington in a position to grab North Carolina’s Drake Maye. So who is the current starting quarterback for the Commanders? Only Sam Howell, the player that Maye replaced as the starting QB with the Tar Heels.
“Sam Howell needs another year and a OL” really ? pic.twitter.com/Z6QJ5OT1Dn
— Coach Mitch 🏀 (@WorldwideHaven) December 24, 2023
This could be a valuable commodity for a Washington team in clear rebuild mode. Is there a team willing to move up to take Maye with the No. 3 pick because it seems unlikely he would get past the Patriots with the No. 4 selection?
The Chicago Bears used a recent first-round selection on quarterback Justin Fields and he could be sent packing for additional draft capital for the Bears.
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A Look at the Top 10
There are just two games left in the regular season. The Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and Los Angeles Chargers have been eliminated from playoff contention.
With three teams at 5-10 and two others at 6-9, there is still the possibility of teams jumping into or falling out of the top 10.
Seven teams with losing records are still mathematically alive for playoff spots. That could change by Sunday night
Top 10 Draft Order
- Chicago Bears (from Carolina 2-13)
- Arizona Cardinals (3-12)
- Washington Commanders (4-11)
- New England Patriots (4-11)
- New York Giants (5-10)
- Los Angeles Chargers (5-10)
- Tennessee Titans (5-10)
- Chicago Bears (6-9)
- New York Jets (6-9)
- Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
Questions of the Day
Which player has the best odds to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?
Southern California’s Caleb Williams is viewed as the top prospect available in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Which team currently holds the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?
Due to the trade that sent the top pick in last year’s draft to Carolina, and with Carolina having the worst record in the NFL, the No. 1 overall pick currently belongs to the Chicago Bears.