Before we close up shop for the summer at Draft Countdown, we thought it would be good to get everyone prepared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Shane P Hallam, the animal that he is, already has a 2024 Mock and Big Board ready to go. I am no such beast. There are still a ton of soon-to-be third-year prospects I have put any work into yet. As always, feel free to check out NFL odds here.
Today, I am going to look at ten 2024 NFL Draft prospects that I will be doing a deep dive into this summer. I have chosen one from each position group.
Ten 2024 NFL Draft Prospects I Am Watching This Summer
So, we are cheating a little bit right off the bat. I have watched both of these passers casually over the last two years, but now I am anxious to do a full-on deep dive. Caleb Williams is the overwhelming preseason favorite to be selected first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Williams started as a true freshman at Oklahoma, usurping the starting gig from Spencer Rattler (now at South Carolina). He followed head coach Lincoln Riley out to Hollywood where he proceeded to win the Heisman trophy last year. Williams threw 42 TDs to 5 INTs in 2022. He is a career 66% passer. He makes insane throws look routine.
Drake Maye is also a career 66% thrower. He is built like a prototype NFL QB and has drawn comparisons to Justin Herbert. Maye threw 38 TDs last year with 4321 yards. He threw seven picks but also rushed for seven scores. Maye will almost have an entirely new set of receivers to throw to in 2023. So, that is something that bears monitoring.
Carson Steele, UCLA
Carson Steele has been a dominant force in the MAC for the last two years while plying his trade at Ball State. Now he moves out west to play in Chip Kelly’s running back-friendly offense. Steele accumulated 2770 scrimmage yards during his time in Muncie with 22 touchdowns. Can he handle the higher level of competition? I am curious to find out.
Several people have said that Marvin Harrison Jr would have been the first WR taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. After a modest freshman campaign, Harrison dominated the competition in 2022 with 77 catches for 1263 yards and 14 scores. Ohio State probably beats Georgia in the CFP semifinal if he doesn’t get hurt. It never hurts to have Hall-of-Fame genes either.
His teammate, Emeka Egbuka, will try to become the fifth Buckeye wide receiver to be selected in round one over the last three years. This is of course assuming MHJ does in fact get selected there next year. Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxson Smith-Njigba have already been taken in round one. Egbuka should see plenty of open looks in 2023. he caught 74 passes for 1151 yards and 10 scores in 2022.
Brock Bowers, Georgia
Since entering college football in 2021, you could argue that no tight end has been better than Brock Bowers. He has accounted for 24 touchdowns in that time with 1989 scrimmage yards. Bowers is set to be the highest-drafted TE since Kyle Pitts and may end up a higher-thought-of prospect.
Joe Alt, Notre Dame
Alt is a former tight end that has bulked up and made the move to offensive tackle. Listed at 6’8″ and 315 pounds, Alt has the frame and seemingly has the athleticism to challenge Olu Fashanu as the first OT off the board next year. He has started 21 straight games at left tackle for the Irish.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE
Javion Cohen, Miami (FL)
Rarely do you see a starting offensive lineman as good as Javion Cohen leave Alabama. But that is the case here. Cohen transferred to Miami to play with Canes head coach Mario Cristobal. Cohen started 24 games at guard for the Tide. I am anxious to see how things go with the U.
Bralen Trice, Washington
Washington is going to be a fun team to watch in 2023 and Bralen Trice is part of that reason. Trice is listed at 6’4″ and 260 pounds. He enters his fourth year on campus coming off of a nine-sack season. I want to see how he performs this year with a target on his back.
Maason Smith, LSU
With a nickname like “Amazon”, I would expect him to be huge. Smith is 6’6″ and 292 pounds. However, he has struggled with injuries. Smith only played seven games in 2021 (5 TFL, 4 sacks) and one game in 2022. Smith has all of the potential in the world. We will need to see it for an entire season in 2023.
Jeremiah Trotter Jr, Clemson
Another offspring of an NFL legend is Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. JTJ is a little undersized at 6’1″ and 210 pounds. But he can run and cover and that is what he will need to continue to show to be selected high and a position that isn’t highly coveted any longer.
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
I generally frown upon using nicknames for players instead of their given names but that doesn’t appear to be an option here. McKinstry started games as a freshman at Bama before fully taking on the role last year. He has two career INTs and defended a ridiculous 15 balls last year. McKinstry also averaged nearly 16 yards per punt return in 2022.