2024 NFL Draft Missteps: Five Teams That Fumbled Their Picks

Exploring the major missteps of the NFL's latest draft.

by Nouman Rasool
2024 NFL Draft Missteps: Five Teams That Fumbled Their Picks
© Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is notoriously unpredictable. While a select few draftees transform into league stars, many more falter, failing to meet expectations or even make it onto an NFL field. Given this unpredictable nature, critiquing a team's draft performance immediately after its conclusion may seem premature.

However, glaring missteps are sometimes too significant to overlook. Among the teams, here are five that notably floundered in the 2024 NFL Draft:

Atlanta Falcons:

The Falcons made headlines with their first pick, selecting Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

eighth overall. This move raised eyebrows, especially since the team had just secured veteran Kirk Cousins with a four-year, $140 million contract. Falcons' General Manager Terry Fontenot suggested Penix might not start for "three or four years," an admission that sparked debates about the wisdom of using a top ten pick on a prospective backup.

Buffalo Bills:

The Bills aimed to bolster support for QB Josh Allen by drafting FSU wideout Keon Coleman early in the second round. Yet, they overlooked more seasoned prospects like Adonai Mitchell and speedster Xavier Worthy, the latter snagged by the Kansas City Chiefs after Buffalo traded down.

Coleman's slower combine speed further fueled skepticism regarding his immediate impact as a primary receiver, despite assurances from General Manager Brandon Beane that no further trades for established wide receivers were forthcoming.

Carolina Panthers:

In an effort to equip young QB Bryce Young, the Panthers focused on offense with their initial picks but arguably reached both times. They traded back to select wideout Xavier Legette from South Carolina at 32nd overall a player whose collegiate impact came late—and moved up to select Texas running back Jonathon Brooks, who is recovering from an ACL injury, with the 46th pick.

These choices, particularly in light of their 2-14 record last season, have been met with criticism for their perceived lack of value.

Denver Broncos:

Desperate for a quarterback, Denver appeared to reach for Bo Nix at the 12th pick after other top QBs were off the board.

Nix, taken as the sixth quarterback, might have been available later Spencer Rattler, another QB, wasn't chosen until the fifth round. Critics argue that Denver could have traded down to accrue additional assets while still securing their quarterback, casting doubt on their draft strategy given their sparse selection in the top 100 picks.

San Francisco 49ers:

Limited by their draft position, the 49ers still made questionable decisions. They chose wideout Ricky Pearsall from Florida with the 31st pick, a player many projected as a second-rounder. Their next pick involved trading back to select cornerback Renardo Green, seen by some as a day three talent.

Additionally, they delayed addressing their most pressing need, the offensive line, until the third round, which did little to quell concerns about their draft approach.