A notable team of experts recently concluded a “Way Too Early” 12-round 2024 redraft mock draft. As would be expected, this mock didn’t include the 2024 rookies. With the NFL combine a month away and the NFL draft three months away, there’s simply too much mystery to accurately assess the values of this year’s incoming class.
But, that being said, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!
Early indications are that the 2024 rookie class is going to be a stellar collection of talent, with multiple highly-projected players at most of the positions. The one position getting little love is none other than running back, continuing a trend seen at the NFL level. That’s not to say there aren’t rookie difference-makers at the running back position, but a combination of injury and lack of dynamic depth limits the upside when compared to other positions. In fact, in my most recent dynasty rookie mock draft, produced prior to the NFL draft declaration deadline, I didn’t have the first running back (TreVeyon Henderson) coming off the board until 1.06, and he elected to return to school.
Simply put, 2024 is the year of the receiver. In fact, the talent is so great in comparison to other positions that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we will see nine receivers selected in the first 10 selections of dynasty rookie drafts. In most years, even a selection of six receivers in the fantasy first round is noteworthy.
My charge here is to forecast the NFL impact of those top names and slot them among their veteran counterparts to give you some idea just how early you will need to select the rookies if you’re looking to acquire them. There’s a fair amount of variability involved when trying to compare unproven rookies to veterans producing now. Making the exercise more difficult is that we’re forecasting rookies in a redraft format — never easy and fraught with risk! And being that this mock draft is only 12 rounds, the field will be narrowed further. In recent years, however, first-year players are producing out of the gate far more often than they have in the past.
If you’ve followed my work, you know that I’m a “known over unknown” dynasty manager, always overweighting what we already know over that of hype, hope or social influence. But I also spend a lot of time scouting rookie talent, so I’m prepared to give you my thoughts with the most recent mock draft as the backdrop for this exercise. Don’t fret dynasty players! In the coming weeks, we’ll be diving into the 2024 rookies purely for that format.
Before jumping in, just one quick note. You can find my Top 50 2024 dynasty rookies here, along with the other experts at www.dynastyleaguefootball.com, the internet’s oldest and most trusted dynasty resource.
Let’s get to it!
Here’s the mock draft as it went down:
The fantasy analyst in me wants to dive into a critique of this draft as I see a few interesting selections and trends forming. The one trend that I will highlight plays into the rookie angle. Wide receivers (blue) dominated the first four rounds of this draft, while running backs (green) continue to decline in value. The reasons for this need no explanation.
Looking deeper, quarterbacks begin coming off the board in Round 4, which is very typical. Patrick Mahomes is often a third-round redraft selection but his production regression in 2023 due to receiver quality has impacted his value. Two tight ends selected within the first three rounds is on-par, and I’ll note that Kyle Pitts (8.02) has appropriately fallen to Round 8, a value which seems fair.
Let’s take a look at my top 12 dynasty rookies:
1.01 Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
1.02 Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
1.03 Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
1.04 Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
1.05 Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
1.06 Brian Thomas, WR, LSU
1.07 Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
1.08 Tony Franklin, WR, Oregon
1.09 Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
1.10 Jonathan Brooks, RB, Texas
1.11 Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolins
1.12 Caleb Williams, QB, USC
When slotting rookies into a veteran mock draft, understanding where veteran players are selected is paramount. For example, rookie tight end phenom Sam LaPorta was selected at 3.01, after only Travis Kelce (1.12). For 2024, highly anticipated rookie phenom Brock Bowers must be assessed to Sam LaPorta to determine potential first-year production. At wide receiver, consensus top rookie Marvin Harrison Jr. will be the first choice in nearly all dynasty rookie drafts and could be an early redraft selection himself.
Using my rookie rankings above:
Marvin Harrison — As this year’s top prospect, when considering talent, size and drafted potential, my selection would appear in the mid-third round near 3.04, ahead of Keenan Allen. In this mock, I would have selected Tee Higgins immediately following Brandon Aiyuk, with Harrison following, likely after Isiah Pacheco (3.03) and James Cook (3.04). The risk here is Harrison Jr.’s frequently forecasted selection by the Patriots at NFL selection 1.03. Should that occur, Harrison Jr.’s 2024 redraft value should fall accordingly.
Rome Odunze — I can make a strong case for the top three rookie receivers being equally valued with drafted situation (quarterback quality) being the determinant for my post-draft rankings. Odunze has it all for a receiver at the next level and will be selected accordingly. In this mock draft, and considering drafted-situation risk, I’ll slot Odunze in the late fourth round, selected prior to Terry McLaurin (4.10), but after Nico Collins (4.07).
Malik Nabers — My 1C rookie receiver, Nabers projects favorably with Justin Jefferson (1.02) and Ja’Marr Chase (1.06), also out of LSU. Nabers doesn’t possess the size of Harrison Jr. or Odunze, which could limit first-year production, but he makes up for any size deficit in speed and route-intelligence/technique. I’m comfortable with a selection of Nabers, shortly after Odunze, in the late fourth round and into the middle of the fifth round, prior to Jordan Addison (5.05).
Brock Bowers — Given the redraft element, there’s a minor shift to my dynasty rankings, with Bowers selected ahead of Keon Coleman. Bowers, as this year’s top tight-end, and far more polished than Coleman as a receiver, could see first-year impact similar to Sam LaPorta (3.01). While I don’t expect to see Bowers selected ahead of LaPorta in drafts, the stage is set for an earlier selection. The question is his selection when compared to Trey McBride (5.04), Mark Andrews (5.07), T.J. Hockenson (6.07) and David Njoku (6.08). Even given Hockenson’s injury, I have to believe Bowers won’t overtake these four names for an earlier selection. I’ll risk a selection of Bowers at 6.11 as long as he’s selected in a relatively friendly tight end system.
Keon Coleman — After the top four rookies, things drop quickly and mocking the rookies into a veteran draft becomes dicey at best, nearly impossible at worst. Rookie development and drafted situation make it very difficult to slot a first-year player over most starting veterans. Coleman has immense physical talent and could be the best receiver in this class four years from now. Or, just another highly-selected rookie who never panned out. On upside alone, I’ll slot Coleman at the beginning of the Round 10, just after Josh Downs (10.02) and Dallas Goedert (10.03).
Brian Thomas — Like Coleman, Thomas’ size, hands and play-making ability should provide immediate upside. But he also played across from Malik Nabers and remains a very raw prospect. I simply can’t slot Thomas above most productive veterans in a redraft format. As such, give me Thomas at the end of Round 12, just after Curtis Samuel at 12.09.
I want to make a special note regarding Xavier Worthy, currently ranked as my dynasty 1.09 rookie. Similar in profile to Jordan Addison, should he be selected into an upside situation with a quality quarterback, I think he could be a redraft selection in Round 9. He’s a player to keep an eye on with regard to where he lands.
I hope you enjoyed this rookie redraft mock draft exercise. Look for more dynasty content to come in the coming weeks! Until then, be happy, be well and, most of all, be good to each other.
(Top photo of Marvin Harrison Jr.: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)