2024 NFL Draft: Midseason strengths, weaknesses for the top prospect at every offensive position

2RXXR0K CHAMPAIGN, IL - SEPTEMBER 16: Penn State Nittany Lions Offensive Lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) during the college football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Illinois Fighting Illini on September 16, 2023, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Caleb Williams has shown some cracks in 2023: Still the clear No. 1 quarterback on the PFF big board, Williams has struggled at times under pressure this season.

• Duke's Graham Barton may be headed for an interior role in the NFL: The offensive tackle currently lacks the size and length to play there at the next level.

• Check out PFF's 2024 NFL Draft big board: Click here to see 200 of the top draft prospects that college football has to offer.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes


Entering the final month of the 2023 college football regular season, let's update the strengths and weaknesses for the top prospects at each offensive position on PFF's 2024 big board


QB: CALEB WILLIAMS, USC

Strength: Arm Talent

The draft community's perception of Williams is all over the place right now due to recent ups and downs in his play. But what remains a constant is his overall arm talent. Regardless of what needs to be cleaned up in his play (we’ll get to that), his ability to throw the ball with velocity and accuracy from all sorts of odd bases and arm angles remains special. Doing what few other quarterbacks can is the anchor of what keeps him atop the 2024 PFF big board.

Weakness: Play Under Pressure/Time To Throw

We’re seeing Williams struggle — or just not look like Superman — for the first time in his college career. Because of this, his negatives, which have always existed, are emphasized. A surprising one is his play under pressure. Last season, Williams was the best quarterback in the FBS under pressure, earning a 79.5 passing grade in such situations. This season, he is tied for the 156th passing grade under pressure in the FBS (32.8). Williams' 14 turnover-worthy plays under pressure are the most in that group, as well.

Another area of concern is his time to throw. His 3.33-second time-to-throw average ranks fourth highest in the FBS when removing quick passes and screens. Only one quarterback in the NFL had an average time to throw above 3.0 seconds in the 2022 season, and that was Justin Fields. Williams' process must be quicker.


RB: JONATHON BROOKS, TEXAS

Strength: Forcing Missed Tackles

Brooks is new to the RB1 title on the 2024 PFF big board because of the fantastic body of work he is putting together this year. Most impressive about him this year is his missed tackles forced per attempt figure, which currently sits at 0.40. The NFL will gravitate toward his ability to make guys miss and bounce off tacklers while measuring 6 feet and 207 pounds.

Weakness: Experience

This negative could also be seen as a positive. Brooks is just a redshirt sophomore, and because he was behind Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson on the depth chart the past few years, his career high in carries in a single season before this year was just 30. That inexperience shows up, at times, with how he sees the field and his feel for coverage when going out for passes. But, it also means he doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear, which is a consistent talking point for running backs and how early teams draft them. 


WR: MARVIN HARRISON JR., OHIO STATE

Strength: Wisdom

It was a somewhat slow start to the year for the unquestioned WR1 going into the season, but Harrison has been on a tear lately with four straight 100-yard games and five touchdowns in those outings. You don’t want to call a wide receiver perfect, but it’s hard to find holes in Harrison’s game. His releases off the line are NFL caliber, his separation athletic ability is great and his length and catch radius are ideal. Plus, he brings that all together by playing the position with a degree of wisdom and experience that is well beyond his years as a college junior. 

Weakness: Yards After Catch (Kind Of? But Not Really)

While Harrison has improved his after-the-catch ability this season, it was the only big area of his game lagging behind elite status entering the year. He’s averaging 6.9 yards after catch per reception, which is up from 4.2 last season. But his average depth of target isn’t much different — 14.4 yards last season compared to 13.8 this season. 


TE: BROCK BOWERS, GEORGIA

Strength: Balance Through Contact

We might not see Bowers again this season, as he underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain. But even if that’s the case, he’s given us plenty to be excited about from a draft perspective over his three years at Georgia. Of all the amazing things Bowers does, his balance after contact is his most impressive trait. When catching through contact, Bowers has hauled in 22 of 36 contested catch targets over the past three seasons. He also has 653 yards after contact in his college career. 

Weakness: Size?

Bowers is listed at only 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. If those measurements hold, they will rank in the 38th and 6th percentiles, respectively, for the tight end position. But if you compared those numbers to wide receivers, he’d be in the 91st and 98th percentiles, respectively. Over the past three years, Bowers has played 1,015 snaps as a wide receiver and 842 as an inline tight end. His size might be a concern as an inline tight end but not as a pass-catcher.   


IOL: GRAHAM BARTON, DUKE

Strength: Grip Strength

Barton is Duke’s left tackle, but his measurables likely hint that he’s going to be seen as more of an interior player in the NFL. His movement skills are good for a left tackle, and that should remain a plus even with added weight if he kicks inside. What I love about his game, though, is his grip strength. When he gets his hands on a defender, he rarely lets go. You can see defensive linemen try to push-pull him and he’ll just hang on, readjust and stay in front of his guys.

Weakness: Length/Weight

Length and overall weight for anchoring is, at times, an issue for Barton. The length concerns won’t be as glaring if he’s an interior player, but if he moves inside, he’ll need to gain some weight to be sure he can anchor against bigger NFL interior defensive linemen. 


OT: OLU FASHANU, PENN STATE

Strength: Movement Skills

At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, Fashanu boasts excellent movement skills. His ability to cover so much ground in his kick slide in pass protection and his balance when taking contact have yielded some very impressive pass-protection numbers. Across 548 pass-blocking snaps, he has not posted a season pass-blocking grade below 84.0. In 2023, he has yet to give up a sack and has allowed only eight pressures.

Weakness: Strength

The lowest-graded pass-blocking game of Fashanu’s career came a few weeks ago against Ohio State. The film shows the Buckeyes’ game plan against Fashanu was to just go straight at his chest with power. It proved to be quite successful, as Fashanu yielded six pressures and earned a 46.0 pass-blocking grade. He must get stronger and learn to better anchor against power before entering the NFL. 

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