Three 2024 NFL Draft storylines that more people should be talking about

three 2024 nfl draft storylines that more people should be talking about

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

A little over three weeks out from the 2024 NFL Draft, there are still many questions, for many teams, that need answering. Here are three storylines that should be getting more attention:

1. The competition to trade up for a QB is being undersold

There are three teams directly outside the top 10 who desperately need a quarterback — the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders.

Many draft gurus are mocking the Vikings to trade up with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 overall to grab Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, but what if the Broncos, whose only rostered QBs are Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, push all their chips to center and beat Minnesota to the punch?

Nobody knows just how truly desperate Broncos GM George Paton and head coach Sean Payton are to find Russell Wilson’s successor, and perhaps they’re more inclined to overpay to jump into the top five just so the Vikings don’t take their QB.

And also, who says McCarthy is even there at pick No. 4? Some scouts and draft experts have him rated higher than North Carolina’s Drake Maye, and there’s even been some smoke around McCarthy going second overall to Washington.

The Raiders just narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season, and they’re not exactly a team in full rebuild mode, so aggressively pursuing a passer makes a lot of sense.

Vegas’ offensive line is solid, and there’s a trio of talented pass-catchers in Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Michael Mayer. A decent QB could make the difference in making or missing the playoffs in 2024. Selling off future assets to land that quarterback may be a price the Raiders are willing to pay.

And finally, the Giants at No. 6 can’t be ruled out either as a possible trade-up candidate. The writing is on the wall for Daniel Jones, and if Maye falls past the third pick, who’s to say New York doesn’t move up a couple of spots to land the strong-armed 21-year-old?

2. The Arizona Cardinals are the draft’s true wild card

The Cardinals are in prime position to dictate how the first round shakes out more than any other team. They’ve gotten plenty of interest in their No. 4 overall pick, and it seems there’s a good chance they’ll move out of that pick for a QB-needy team looking to trade up.

But would it really surprise anyone if Arizona traded out of No. 4 and somehow came right back up to No. 5 to grab Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.? That kind of move has GM Monti Ossenfort written all over it. Last year, Ossenfort went from the third pick back to the 12th pick (acquiring an extra first-rounder this year), he then moved from No. 12 back up to No. 6 to pick Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.

A case could be made that Arizona could move back to the 11-13 range if the Vikings, Broncos or Raiders come up for a QB, and then the team could package that pick with either the No. 27 overall pick this year or a future first-rounder next year to move back up and get either Harrison Jr. or LSU receiver Malik Nabers.

3. Will a veteran player be moved on draft day?

There has been plenty of recent precedent to expect that a solid veteran player gets moved at some point during the draft. It happened the last two years with running back D’Andre Swift and receiver A.J. Brown both being dealt so their teams could usher in new stars, and it’s happened to several other players as well (Marquise Brown, Trent Williams, Randy Moss, Jerome Bettis, just to name a few).

This year, there are a few players who could be in play depending on how the draft board shakes out, particularly with Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk and Stefon Diggs all seemingly not happy with their current situations.

The Bengals hold the 18th selection. Perhaps they could package any picks they get back from trading Higgins to move up and land Washington’s Rome Odunze? Or if they stand pat and take either LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. or Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, it could make Higgins expendable and a trade could be worked out right on the draft floor.

The same can be said for Diggs too. Buffalo picks 28th, but perhaps GM Brandon Beane packages that pick and Diggs to move up for a top WR like Thomas Jr., Mitchell or Keon Coleman.

Aiyuk seems the least likely of the three to be traded, but if a team like Chicago (No. 9), the New York Jets (No. 10) or Jacksonville (No. 17) offer their first-round pick plus a sweetener, maybe the 49ers at least listen?

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