NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: PFF analysts name their favorite draft prospects

2RWB0B6 Houston offensive lineman Patrick Paul (76) lines up against TCU during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

• Patrick Paul ranks highly in several PFF categories: Analyst Mason Cameron taps Paul as his guy, with the Houston product ranking first in PFF grade on true pass sets.

• A loaded wide receiver class is well represented: Ladd McConkey, Ricky Pearsall, Troy Franklin and Johnny Wilson are some of PFF analysts' favorite prospects.

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The 2024 NFL Draft is finally here. In just a few days, the Chicago Bears will be on the clock and the first round will officially be underway.

This is PFF's annual “My Guys” list, in which each analyst selects their favorite prospects from the draft class.

Mason Cameron: T Patrick Paul, Houston

Big Board Rank: 101

Paul's massive size, complete with vines for arms, is more than enough reason to take a chance on him. While his hand and foot speed may be lacking, it's not entirely unexpected at his stature. His marked improvements to his pre- and post-snap posture in 2023 improved his balance and first step, allowing him to capture a number of PFF's top facet grades among offensive tackles in pass protection, including PFF's most stable pass-rush metric: grade on true pass sets.

Max Chadwick: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Big Board Rank: 26

McKinstry is rarely brought up as the top cornerback in the 2024 class despite having the tape to back up that claim. He was named a first-team PFF All-American in each of the past two seasons. In that span, his 26 forced incompletions in single coverage were tied for the most among all cornerbacks. While he’s only an above-average athlete, McKinstry has shown the ability to be a lockdown cornerback with his intelligence and ability to thrive in man or zone coverage.

Mark Chichester: QB Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

Big Board Rank: 77

Rattler has a mature game with fundamentals and pocket presence, in addition to good accuracy in and out of structure. His arm is adequate, but he needs to continue to improve at seeing additional coverage defenders post-snap. He projects as a Day 2 quarterback with starting potential.

Sean DiPinto: DI DeWayne Carter, Duke

Big Board Rank: 136

Carter has great size for an interior defender to go along with 33-inch arms (75th percentile). He also earned a 97th-percentile PFF Game Athleticism Score in 2023 and ranked in the 96th percentile in PFF Wins Above Average in 2022. Consistency has been key for Carter, whose PFF grade hovered around 70.0 or better in three straight seasons. Perhaps most importantly, he is a team-first guy, proven by being a three-time captain and his ability to add value on special teams.

Andrew Ites: TE Ben Sinnott, Kansas State

Big Board Rank: 105

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on who should be the second tight end off the board after Brock Bowers, and my vote goes to Kansas State‘s Ben Sinnott. The former Wildcat can line up all over the formation and proved to be a multi-faceted player in college, earning an 81.0 receiving grade and a 76.1 run-blocking grade last season. Sinnott also tore up the NFL scouting combine, clocking a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at 250 pounds with a 40-inch vertical and a 10-foot, 6-inch broad jump.

Mitch Kaiser: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Big Board Rank: 9

Mitchell was the highest-graded cornerback in college football for two seasons. That doesn't happen by accident. He possesses elite athletic traits and speed that set him apart from most Group of Five prospects, and he recorded the most pass breakups of any defensive back in college over the past two years (27).

John Kosko: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Big Board Rank: 32

McConkey is arguably the most natural athlete at wide receiver in this draft class. With a 1.52-second 10-yard split, the best short shuttle (3.97 seconds) and the second-best three-cone (6.72), McConkey has devastating quickness that shows on tape and is backed up by the numbers. He boasts the third-best missed tackle rate over the past two seasons, tops the class in receiving grade versus single coverage and ranks second in separation rate.

Josh Liskiewitz: IOL Mason McCormick, South Dakota State

Big Board Rank: 95

McCormick is one of the most underrated prospects in the draft class, as he clearly has NFL starter potential inside and presents the athletic and physical makeup to contribute at four of the five offensive line positions. South Dakota State loved getting him moving on pulls to take advantage of his quickness, lower-body agility and propensity to finish. He was also sensational in pass protection in 2023, surrendering just four pressures on the season with zero sacks or quarterback hits charged to him.

Bradley Locker: WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida

Big Board Rank: 45

If he weren't turning 24 in September, it would be really easy to pencil in Pearsall as a first-rounder. He's incredibly smooth on cuts and can run a multitude of routes. Pearsall is especially dynamic coming across the field, and his ball tracking is top-notch, having just two drops in 2023. He's also a very strong and willing blocker. While Pearsall never played less than 40% of snaps in the slot in a season and has below-average after-the-catch numbers (5.8 extra yards per reception), his other attributes make him one of the better Tier 2 prospects in a really good class.

Jon Macri: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

Big Board Rank: 29

Weight and play strength concerns be damned. Franklin posted the best yards per route run figure versus single coverage (5.07) in this class — and the fourth-best since 2015 among qualifying Power Five wide receivers. He also posted a better YPRR figure for his career versus press coverage (2.45) than Rome Odunze (2.34) and Malik Nabers (2.23). He’s a great separator and a legitimate first-round talent as my WR4 in this year’s class.

Sam McGaw: WR Javon Baker, UCF

Big Board Rank: 78

Baker has enough speed to win deep, the agility to win in the quick game and the body control to make tough sideline catches. His 3.21 yards per route run ranks fifth in this year's class. He's more of a complete receiver than some of the higher-projected players.

Gordon McGuinness: WR Johnny Wilson, Florida State

Big Board Rank: 80

Wilson is the type of wide receiver I've been burned by before from a scouting perspective. His arms are huge, though, and he uses them well to get off press coverage and attack the ball. The biggest question is whether a player like him needs to have Calvin Johnson- or Mike Evans-level athleticism to make an impact at that size, but I think he has the chance to develop into a solid NFL player.

Click here to see Johnny Wilson's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Conor Redmond: T Nathan Thomas, Louisiana

Big Board Rank: 235

An uber-physical mauler in the run game with elite size at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, Thomas is a starting NFL guard with the potential to grow into a swing tackle. He may be available to teams in Round 6 or Round 7, and Louisiana has an excellent track record with interior offensive linemen in recent years, with Kevin Dotson, Robert Hunt and O'Cyrus Torrence dominating for the Cajuns before finding success in the NFL.

Austin Scott: DI Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

Big Board Rank: 11

Playing through a partial Jones fracture down the stretch in 2023, Newton was forced to miss the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, allowing other names to gain traction along the interior, all of whom are great players but lack Newton's pure game-wrecking ability in the run game and as a pass rusher. He led all interior players over the past two seasons in total pressures (102), quarterback knockdowns (12 sacks and 26 hits) and run stops (55), so it's hard to see a situation, barring injury, in which Newton isn't a high-impact pro.

Andrew Shaver: S Javon Bullard, Georgia

Big Board Rank: 47

Proven versatility is key for Bullard, whose physical play and coverage skills should allow him to come in and make an immediate impact in a secondary. He earned an 80.0-plus PFF grade in 2022 and 2023.

Ryan Smith: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Big Board Rank: 10

Latu is one of the most productive edge prospects of the past decade. He has a wide variety of pass-rush moves that will translate to the NFL level. Versatility is another plus for Latu, as he lined up on the left and right sides at a near-even split with a mix of two- and three-point stances. His medical history may scare some teams off, but no rookie has a higher pass-rushing ceiling than Latu.

Dave Sulfaro: CB Mike Sainristil, Michigan

Big Board Rank: 34

Sainristil is the personification of “The Michigan Way”: consistent, versatile, and dedicated. He recorded six interceptions and six forced incompletions while in coverage for the Wolverines in 2023, including the game-sealing interception in the national championship game against Washington.

In a scheme similar to Jesse Minter's, the former Michigan defensive coordinator who is now with the Los Angeles Chargers, Sainristil's roaming ability would be a weapon. Despite his smaller stature, Sainristil is still a solid tackler, although there were times on tape when he faltered in a one-on-one tackling opportunity.

Click here to see Mike Sainristil's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Bryson Vesnaver: CB Qwan'tez Stiggers, CFL

Big Board Rank: N/A

Only one player in this draft has professional football experience, and that’s Qwan’tez Stiggers of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. As a 21-year-old, he was the seventh-highest-graded defender in the CFL last year and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie. He backed that up with fantastic showings at the East-West Shrine Bowl and his Pro Day, where he tested as one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the draft. He’s strong and explosive with fantastic ball-tracking skills. If he’s drafted anywhere outside the top 50 picks, he’ll be a steal.

Dalton Wasserman: WR Malik Washington, Virginia

Big Board Rank: 90

Washington is an outlier at 5-foot-8, but he's elite from an analytical standpoint. He was an excellent college player for two, if not three, seasons and improved his grade to an elite 91.1 mark in 2023. I wouldn't be surprised if he were a top-five or top-six receiver in this class a few years from now.

Jim Wyman: EDGE Darius Robinson, Missouri

Big Board Rank: 61

Robinson primarily played as an interior defensive lineman for much of his career before kicking out wide for most of the 2023 season. The move paid off spectacularly, as he posted career highs in run-defense Grade (81.4), pass-rush grade (78.4) and PFF overall grade (83.1). Robinson also recorded a career-best 42 pressures, converting nine of them into sacks, which is made all the more impressive by the fact that he's 290 pounds, carrying much more weight than your typical edge defender. Robinson's role at the next level may be unclear, but a creative defensive coordinator should have a lot of fun with him.

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