NFL News & Analysis

Biggest reaches of the 2024 NFL Draft: Michael Penix Jr., Maason Smith and more

2RX9FC7 Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. looks for a receiver during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against California on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Now that the 2024 NFL Draft has come to a close, it’s time for some review. Though these prospects haven’t stepped onto a field with their new teams yet, we wanted to identify some draft picks that could be considered “reaches” due to where they were selected versus where we had them on PFF’s final big board.

Here are 15 of the biggest reaches from the 2024 NFL Draft.


T JC Latham, Tennessee Titans

There was some buzz that Latham would be the Chargers’ pick at No. 5 overall, which would have made him the first tackle off the board. However, that was ultimately a smokescreen, as the Chargers went with the consensus top tackle in Joe Alt.

Still, the idea that Latham would go much higher than expected turned out to be true, as the Titans selected the Alabama product at No. 7 overall.

While Latham put up a quality 81.9 PFF grade last season, he was the OT5 on the PFF big board and the 18th-ranked player overall.

Tackles such as Taliese Fuaga, Olu Fashanu and Troy Fautanu were still available and ranked higher than Latham on the big board.

QB Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta Falcons

In the first major shock of the draft, the Falcons selected former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8, even though they just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year $180 million contract this offseason.

While Penix was very productive in 2023, his 43 big-time throws ranking first in the nation by a distance, he has an extensive injury history and will be 24 years old when the 2024 season starts.

Given that Kirk Cousins is set to be paid $90 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, Penix likely won’t see the field until he’s 26 years old — at the earliest. On top of that, Penix was QB6 on the PFF big board, behind J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix, who were still available when Penix was selected.

QB Bo Nix, Denver Broncos

This reach felt more out of desperation than anything. The Broncos probably would have preferred to trade down (they now won’t pick again until 76th overall) and selected Nix a little later. After the run on quarterbacks preceding this pick, though, the Broncos couldn’t afford to trade down, with the quarterback-needy division-rival Raiders sitting right behind them.

Nix is a good fit for Sean Payton’s West Coast system, though, and this was a common pairing in many mock drafts.

EDGE Chop Robinson, Miami Dolphins

We were lower on Robinson than most, as we actually didn’t even have him as the top edge defender on his own team (Adisa Isaac was 38th on our big board, while Robinson came in at 40th).

Miami lost Andrew Van Ginkel to free agency, and Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb suffered lower-body injuries late in the 2023 season, so the need for an edge defender was there. We just felt that Miami could have potentially traded down and accumulated picks yet still been able to get Robinson a little later.

EDGE Darius Robinson, Arizona Cardinals

Calling Robinson a reach hurts me to write, as he was my selection for PFF's “My Guys” article. However, Robinson came in as the 61st overall player on the big board, and by that standard, he’s a reach at Pick 27.

Robinson is a tweener, as he weighs about 290 pounds and lines up both as an interior defender and on the edge. He was very productive as an edge rusher last season, converting nine of his 42 pressures into sacks. It will be interesting to see how he fits in at the next level.

WR Xavier Worthy, Kansas City Chiefs

Xavier Worthy put the league on notice when he set the NFL scouting combine’s 40-yard dash record at 4.21 seconds. However, he arguably wasn’t even the best receiver on his own team, as Adonai Mitchell ranked 47 spots above him on the big board. Worthy was the WR14 on our board, yet he was the sixth taken in the first round.


DI T’Vondre Sweat, Tennessee Titans

Sweat was a candidate to slide down the board heading into the night. While he already had concerns over his weight (he played at around 360 pounds) and conditioning, he was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated three weeks before the draft. Yet, the 122nd player on PFF's big board was still selected 38th overall. Sweat is a space-eater, but 38th felt very rich for him.

DI Maason Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars

Smith is a very talented, albeit raw, interior defender for the Jaguars, who must have been enthralled by his size and athleticism to make him the 48th pick in the draft despite his 140th overall ranking on PFF's big board. He has a lot technically that he needs to clean up, but the Jaguars did have a big need along the defensive line. If Smith develops the way they hope, this reach could pay huge dividends.

TE Ben Sinnott, Washington Commanders

Sinnott is a jack-of-all-trades type of tight end who can line up almost anywhere. The problem is that he isn’t overly impressive at any one thing. On top of that, Ja'Tavion Sanders was still available when the Commanders made this selection. Sanders outranked Sinnott by 62 spots (43 versus 105) on the PFF big board when the Commanders made Sinnott the 53rd pick.

Click here to see Ben Sinnott's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

S Cole Bishop, Buffalo Bills

Buffalo was hurting for secondary depth after having to make a lot of sacrifices this offseason to become compliant with the salary cap. While safety was a position of need, Bishop was the 132rd-ranked on PFF's big board player when the Bills selected him at Pick No. 60. He was also PFF’s ninth-ranked safety yet was the third one off the board.

T Caedan Wallace, New England Patriots

The Patriots risked a big run on tackles when they selected a receiver at the top of the second round instead of trying to find a replacement for Trent Brown, and the result was them settling for PFF’s 19th-ranked tackle and 142nd overall prospect at Pick No. 68. As the other tackle on a strong Penn State offensive line, Wallace steadily improved in each of the past three years, but that peak was just a 68.8 overall grade this past season.

T/G Isaiah Adams, Arizona Cardinals

Adams split time between tackle and guard over the past two seasons at Illinois and will likely stay inside at the next level. While he was a solid run blocker, he struggled mightily as a pass blocker, giving up 13 sacks over the past two seasons. Adams was the 137th player on PFF's big board and was taken 71st.

LB Trevin Wallace, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers took a flier on a very athletic, albeit unproductive, linebacker from Kentucky in Wallace. Wallace ranked 168th overall as a prospect and will likely begin his career as a special teamer with the potential to develop into a rotational linebacker.

Click here to see Trevin Wallace's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

T Delmar Glaze, Las Vegas Raiders

This was the biggest reach of the draft so far based on big boards. Glaze was the 77th pick in the draft, but he ranked 257th on PFF's big board, a projected late seventh-rounder or an undrafted free agent. Glaze’s production at Maryland was very consistent, as he graded out in the low 70s in each of the past three seasons, but his athleticism leaves a lot to be desired and his future may be at guard rather than tackle.

LB Ty’Ron Hopper, Green Bay Packers

The Packers doubled up on linebackers in the draft, and while Edgerrin Cooper’s value was about right, possibly even a steal, Hopper was a big reach, going 100 spots ahead of his big board ranking at 91st overall. Hopper graded out very poorly in 2023, as his 51.5 PFF grade was brought down by an abysmal 39.6 coverage grade.


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