Four Prospects Could Cause the 2024 NFL Draft to Go in an Unexpected Direction

Apr 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) sprints down the side of the field during the first quarter of the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game at Ohio Stadium on Saturday morning. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Scheller-The Columbus Dispatch Football Ceb Osufb Spring Game Ohio State At Ohio State

It’s mid-February and NFL Draft talks have inevitably begun to heat up.

Every analyst in the draft community is trying to predict the directions that teams will take in the 2024 NFL Draft as well as the exact prospects that they will select. However, the draft is still more than two months away, and a lot can change between now and April 25th. Here is a look at four prospects who could completely flip the NFL Draft script in the next couple months.

WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Apr 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) points a finger to the sky after a successful catch during the first quarter of the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game at Ohio Stadium on Saturday morning. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Scheller-The Columbus Dispatch

Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the most talented wide receiver prospects we’ve seen in recent years, even in an era where drafts have been chock-full of receiving talent. Harrison is capable of beating defenses at all three levels of the field and can contribute on the boundary with his 6’4″ frame or in the slot by utilizing effortless speed and athleticism.

On top of his receiving skills, Harrison is already a strong blocking presence at the position and is not afraid to mix things up to open up lanes for running backs or on screen passes to other receivers.

Teams at the top of the draft (Chicago, Washington, New England) certainly could simply go all-in on quarterback prospects in April, but the draft, especially at the top, is all about finding prospects that can help a team win immediately. It will be hard to pass up on a prospect like Harrison who is more than capable of doing that.

TE Brock Bowers

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis.

On top of Harrison at the receiver spot, Brock Bowers might be the most complete tight end prospect ever. He came into the Georgia program in 2021 and immediately was a terrific contributor for back-to-back national championships.

Bowers has done a good job of filling out his 6’4″ frame, and while he could certainly add more weight, the 21-year-old has plenty of time to do so. He brought sub-4.5 speed, crisp route-running, and a nuanced blocking ability to Georgia’s offense for three years.

Again, the top of the draft is about landing sure-thing prospects. The tight end position doesn’t exactly carry the same weight as a quarterback or wide receiver, but Bowers is about as ready for the NFL as any tight end prospect over the years.

QB J.J. McCarthy

Four Prospects
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While much of the focus throughout January was on QB prospects like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, a new QB prospect has entered the fold in recent weeks. That quarterback is J.J. McCarthy, who helped lead the Michigan Wolverines to a national championship this past season.

Benjamin Allbright, a Denver Broncos insider, tweeted the following: “League is definitely higher on McCarthy (top 10) and lower on Nix/Penix (day2/3) than media/fans according to the people I talk to.”

Overall, it would make sense for teams to be higher on McCarthy, despite the fact that Michigan implemented a run-first offense throughout his two seasons as a starter. He is extremely young at 21 years old and is a very sound passer for his age. There is great potential in McCarthy, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him go in the top end of the first round.

OT Joe Alt

Oct 28, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Joe Alt (76) leaves the field following the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Because of all the talent at QB and WR in this draft class, the offensive tackle position has gone a bit overlooked. It shouldn’t be. This is a very talented tackle class with loads of immediate contributors at the top of the list.

It is entirely possible that teams like New England or Washington simply aren’t sold on the quarterbacks in this class, and they could go after a top offensive tackle. I listed Joe Alt here simply because I believe the 6’8″ behemoth is the most talented of the group, but this selection could be substituted with Olu Fashanu or Taliese Fuaga.


Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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