close
close
Posted in

10 Worst Values of 2024 NFL Draft Based on B/R Scouting Dept. Rankings

Value is a moving target regarding the NFL draft.

All 32 NFL teams don’t work off the same board to determine who the best value is for them. Typically, each organization’s rankings are pared down to much smaller than the size of the overall class and the public offerings from outside sources.

Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian used to tell his scouts, “When the talent line meets the need line, you usually have a good chance of hitting on the player.”

The reality is that teams still regularly miss on picks and pass on other talents that go on to be successful elsewhere.

The Bleacher Report Scouting Department attempts to operate like a third-party front office, with no specific ties to the any of the teams or the incoming talent. Its group of scouts spends months evaluating prospects. Ultimately, B/R’s talent evaluators piece together their own draft board.

Based purely on those rankings, let’s take a look at which draft picks can be viewed as the worst in slotted value (as indicated by the negative number next to the prospect’s name) and why. Everyone included heard their names called in the fifth round or earlier since this class experience a precipitous drop-off in talent during the sixth and seventh rounds.

Check back later this week when Bleacher Report breaks down the best value draft pick for every franchise.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that Michael Penix Jr.’s presence graces this list.

In arguably the most stunning draft pick of the last decade or more, the Atlanta Falcons chose the Washington quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick.

Not only was it bad process after the Falcons signed veteran Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million free-agent contract this very offseason and then not informing him much earlier of the possible move, but also Penix’s skill set doesn’t necessarily translate to a first-round pick, let alone a top-10 selection. That point doesn’t even take into account his significant injury history.

“Penix is largely unproven versus pressure,” Bleacher Report scout Derrik Klassen wrote. “Washington’s offensive line kept him as clean as any quarterback in the country, but he often struggled to find ways to get the ball out when he did get pressured. Penix is not a nimble, thoughtful mover in the pocket, and his low, clunky release makes it difficult to find unique throwing angles. Penix is not an impressive creator outside the pocket at this stage, either.

“Penix also has issues with accuracy, specifically adding touch to throws. Penix is a Will Levis-esque one-speed thrower. That serves him well in certain spots, but it hurts him greatly when he needs to layer throws and loft the ball over defenders.”

As for DeWayne Carter, his selection with the 95th overall pick to the Buffalo Bills didn’t reverberate around the sports landscape. Still, B/R’s Matt Holder identified a couple key areas that are worrisome when it comes to his transition to the professional game, specifically poor lateral agility and inconsistent hand placement. Though the Bills seem to like their big, physical and straight-line defensive linemen.

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Small-school draft selections are always a bit of a dart throw. NFL teams look at the traits while projecting whether the physical tools will translate consistently against a higher level of competition.

Houston Christian’s Jalyx Hunt did attend the Senior Bowl and didn’t look out of place before the Philadelphia Eagles selected him with the 94th pick. Still, Hunt’s physical traits require significant polish.

“Hunt does have a habit of losing contain when rushing the passer, and he needs a lot of work against the run,” Holder wrote in Hunt’s report. “But overall, he’s an intriguing prospect who put up some impressive testing numbers at the NFL combine that are worth taking a chance on, especially if he goes undrafted.”

The edge-defender certainly didn’t go undrafted. The FCS product lands in a defensive line friendly scheme where he can learn from longtime veteran Brandon Graham and present a similar skill set behind the free-agent addition of Bryce Huff.

C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Isaiah Davis is a natural and productive runner, but he was a perplexing pick by the New York Jets with the 173rd overall selection.

During the South Dakota State Jackrabbits’ back-to-back national championship runs, Davis led the way with 3,029 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns.

However, the Jets already feature Breece Hall and Israel Abanikanda in their backfield. Furthermore, general manager Joe Douglas chose Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen 39 picks earlier.

The 235-pound Allen is know as a big, talented back. Davis’ inclusion to the lineup seems redundant.

“Davis does not have a lot of pop to his game,” Klassen wrote. “He is sort of a lumbering runner who doesn’t bring much side-to-side mobility, and there is not much explosiveness to his movement. It’s rare for Davis to make someone miss in space. His long speed is average at best by NFL standards, too.”

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A toe injury muddied the evaluation for offensive lineman Matt Goncalves. The fifth-year senior suffered the season-ending malady during the Pittsburgh Panthers’ third contest against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Goncalves is a quality addition for the Indianapolis Colts based purely on the lack of quality offensive line depth the team fielded last season, with the squad’s three highest-paid blockers—Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith—each having their own injuries histories of note.

This year’s 79th overall pick can provide depth at both tackle and center, though the Colts shouldn’t expect significantly more, even after trading up for his services in the third round.

“Overall, Goncalves is a competent blocker due to his snap timing, positional leverage as a run-blocker and solid play strength,” Bleacher Report scout Brandon Thorn wrote. “But his mediocre quickness and agility will make it difficult for him to protect his edges consistently in the NFL, which suggests he’ll likely be a swing backup at either tackle or guard with upside as a spot starter.”

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Washington Commanders’ new tight end, Ben Sinnott, is the highest-drafted player to make this list. Washington chose him with the 53rd overall pick.

In a class with no clear-cut TE2 behind Georgia’s Brock Bowers, Sinnott was anointed that distinction.

Should he have been, though?

Sinnott is a tremendous testing athlete, particularly in straight-line events. However, that explosiveness didn’t regularly show itself on the field when more fluidity is required.

“Sinnott is a stiff mover,” Bleacher Report scout Derrik Klassen wrote. “His ability to change directions is uninspiring, and he has no explosiveness in the open field. He is not going to separate on sharp routes or make people miss in space.

“Additionally, Sinnott needs to show better ability to use his length and strength at the top of routes. He does not consistently create separation via physicality right now.”

The two-time first-team All-Big 12 performer will have an opportunity to learn from veteran Zach Ertz and possibly become a more polished receiving threat.

James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cornerbacks tend to go higher than expected based purely on need and positional value. As the cliche states, “You can never have too many good corners.”

It’s also why teams reach for talents to some degree. As a result, three of the top five options on this list are cornerbacks.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Florida Stat’s Jarrian Jones with this year’s 96th overall pick. Jones is an explosive athlete with a relative athletic score of 9.61, according to Pro Football Network’s Kent Lee Platte. But the bottom-right number is the interesting one in Platte’s layout.

The 6’0″, 190-pound defensive back is blazing fast in a straight line and capable of running with anyone down the field. However, he’s not as fluid in change-of-direction movements, as indicated by a 4.3-second short shuttle.

Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings noted two major weaknesses in Jones’ game: hip tightness and pad level. Both are indicators of a less fluid defensive back. Jones’ 30-inch arms don’t help matters, either.

David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Trust in technique can be a difficult thing for a young cornerback.

For years, many young cover corners can get away with their raw athletic tools and the rules allowing them to be handsier down the field. The NFL is different. Every wide receiver can run and break a defensive back off with their routes.

It’s imperative that a talented cornerback trusts what he sees and reacts appropriately.

For this year’s 64th overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers’ Renardo Green simply isn’t there yet.

“Green is a pure press-man corner who is very physical in coverage, though he panics with the ball in the air at times and becomes too handsy,” Giddings wrote. “Green does have great makeup speed and change of direction, which allows him to stay in phase and break well on routes.”

This is a case where needed development paired with some physical limitations, since Green is a sub-190-pound corner with 31¼-inch arms, downgraded the prospect a couple notches. The 49ers, meanwhile, are looking toward the future since Deommodore Lenoir and Charvarius Ward are free agents after this season.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

New Carolina Panthers linebacker Trevin Wallace is more an idea of what a linebacker can be instead of a polished prospect.

Wallace is a fantastic athlete. The 6’1″, 237-pound defender finished top four among linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine in 40-yard dash (4.51 seconds), vertical jump (37.5 inches) and broad jump (10’7″).

From a pure athleticism standpoint, the Panthers have a lot to work with as the coaching staff attempts to develop this year’s 72nd overall pick. He can contribute as a core-four special teamer as a rookie, learn from Shaq Thompson and Josey Jewell and possibly move into a starting role down the road.

The 21-year-old prospect has a huge runway, but he needs to show another gear.

“He’s soft at the point of attack and lacks the strength to hold ground against offensive linemen,” Holder wrote. “He likely will have a similar problem against blocking tight ends in the NFL.

“… He needs to be unblocked to make plays, making him very reliant on his instincts as a run defender.”

Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

One quote can adequately sum up exactly why new Dallas Cowboys linebacker Marist Liufau ranks so highly on this list.

“Lot of potential there. Gonna be a really good pro. He doesn’t make a ton of plays. He’s close to making them,” an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.

What did Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells used to say? Oh yeah.

“Potential means you haven’t done anything yet.”

To be fair, all incoming prospects are packed with potential. But some are further back on the developmental scale than others. The Cowboys spent the 87th overall pick on an off-ball linebacker who finished eighth on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last season in total tackles.

“Liufau’s biggest issue is a lack of functional strength, which shows up the most against the run,” Holder wrote. “He’s already about 240 pounds, which is big for a modern linebacker, and he doesn’t have much room for growth on his frame. In other words, he might already be tapped out in that area of his game.”

Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Giants’ selection of cornerback Andru Phillips with the 70th overall pick is understandable. He plays a premium position where the organization lacked quality depth. Phillips can immediately take some slot snaps away from Cor’Dale Flott. The incoming rookie is a good athlete, with strong change-of-direction skills.

The Giants also likely saw a couple quality cornerback prospects come off the board in the 60s to the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49s, so it became time to pull the trigger on Phillips. Obviously, Big Blue wanted to retool its secondary after selecting top safety Tyler Nubin in the second round.

What exactly knocked Phillips down nearly four rounds among the Bleacher Report rankings? Ability and execution aren’t one in the same.

“Phillips is slow transitioning at times, allowing too much separation and struggling to get out of his breaks,” Giddings wrote. “He often gambles in zone coverage, allowing his eyes to get him in trouble. When carrying receivers downfield, he often face-guards and can panic with the ball in the air. When playing the ball, he sometimes struggles to high-point and play with taller receivers.”

If the Giants can harness’ Phillips natural skills and refine his technique, then this selection can be looked back at as a solid addition instead of a massive reach.