2024 NFL Draft: Rounds 2 & 3 instant grades

2024 NFL Draft: Rounds 2 & 3 instant grades

The 2024 NFL Draft rolls on, and hoo boy did we have a lot of fun last night. A record 23 offensive players were selected, the most notable of them being Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 8th overall pick.

Day 2 is sure to see most of the top defenders start to fly off the board. Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean, Illinois DT Johnny Newton and Alabama corner Kool-Aid McKinstry remain available, although they may come off very early tonight. Another thing to watch is how quickly the receivers fly off the board. Texas’ AD Mitchell, Georgia’s Ladd McConkey and Florida State’s Keon Coleman all are rather high in my top 100 big board, and will be instant starters wherever they’re picked.

Once again, SB Nation will be doing live grades based on our top 100 big board of the best prospects in the draft this year.

33. Buffalo Bills (via Carolina Panthers) – Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Grade: A

The Bills were able to trade back and still land a receiver. Sounds good to everyone, right? Coleman is a strong, sure-handed receiver whose game speed is much, much faster than his 40 time and wins downfield on contested catches and after the catch. Buffalo’s offense is undergoing a bit of a schematic shift, going for more YAC and winning in the short to intermediate areas than the downfield offense we know them for, and Coleman fits them like a glove.

34. Los Angeles Chargers (via New England Patriots) – Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

Grade: A+

Now will everyone stop complaining about not picking a receiver at 5? McConkey is such a different type of receiver than Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston, and is a great fit in the Chargers’ offense. McConkey is an easy separator at every level of the field, despite maybe being more of a slot-only player. Johnston and Palmer can play outside, and McConkey’s efficiency and quickness as a route runner will be a major benefit to Justin Herbert.

35. Atlanta Falcons (via Arizona Cardinals) – Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

Grade: C-

Ok, now I’m confused why Illinois DT Johnny Newton is falling. Orhorhoro is a good athlete who is very strong against the run, but the Falcons don’t have any pass rush and are drafting a defensive tackle who is a limited pass rusher right now? Very confusing. Yet, Orhorhoro is a powerful run defender, who while is a rough pass rusher right now, is still growing. They better hope he’s giving them pass rush pop right away though.

36. Washington Commanders – Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

Grade: A+

This is a steal for the Commanders, getting a three-down defensive tackle with immediate pass rush upside. I understand the foot injury concerns but he’s such a dominant pass rusher that it makes so much sense for the Commanders to make this pick. This might mean Jonathan Allen is out of here, though.

37. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Chargers) – Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Grade: B+

Polk is just an all around good player, man. Incredible blocker, great catch radius and has some refined route running as well. While he’s not spectacular, he’s a really nice fit in New England with a bunch of slot receivers. Playing him outside frees up Kendrick Bourne and Pop Douglas. Really smart, but unspectacular pick.

38. Tennessee Titans – T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas

Grade: D+

Man, I don’t know. Sweat is a fantastic, mountain of a run defender who can improve the run defense immediately. However, this doesn’t make sense at all. Sweat is a very limited pass rusher and also doesn’t play a lot of snaps at 340 pounds. The Titans’ run defense is good, but Sweat seems like a major question mark.

39. Los Angeles Rams (via Carolina Panthers) – Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Grade: C-

I like Fiske, but wow. They traded a lot of picks to draft another undersized defensive tackle in the hopes that he’s Aaron Donald. While Fiske is a quick player with a high motor, I don’t like the fit in this defense at all. He’s a liability in the run game and is a historic outlier as a player. I just don’t get this pick at all, especially with Michigan DT Kris Jenkins Jr on the board.

40. Philadelphia Eagles (via Washington Commanders) – Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

Grade: A+

I’m not a big Howie Roseman advocate, but this is a really, really good first two days for Philadelphia. DeJean is a corner in my eyes, but his route recognition and quick trigger on the ball make him a good fit at corner or safety. Philadelphia needs help literally everywhere in the secondary, and DeJean can be more corner insurance if Bradberry’s trend of play comes down or plays safety next to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Love the pick.

41. New Orleans Saints (via Washington Commanders) – Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Grade: B

McKinstry is a really good fit in Dennis Allen’s defense with his ability in press coverage and patience when defending routes deep. The injury knocked him down the board, but he can bee a really good corner in that defense. What does this mean for the future of Marshon Lattimore?

42. Houston Texans (via Minnesota Vikings) – Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Grade: A

This is a great fit for the Texans and Lassiter. The former Georgia Bulldog is physical (the best tackling corner in the draft), and plays really well on underneath routes. Houston already has Derek Stingley Jr., now they get him a good running mate in Lassiter.

43. Arizona Cardinals (via Atlanta Falcons) – Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

Grade: B-

This is a solid, if unspectacular pick by the Cardinals. Melton is a tough corner who really lit up the Combine. With the run on corners seemingly happening now, Arizona was smart to come up and get one.

44. Las Vegas Raiders – Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

Grade: C-

I like Powers-Johnson, but I really don’t understand why the Raiders would go center here. Andre James was re-signed, Cody Whitehair was brought in and Dylan Parham is still on the roster. You’ve now created a logjam on the interior when the Raiders still need defensive help and a real QB. No idea, man.

45. Green Bay Packers – Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M

Grade: B

Cooper is a fine linebacker who plays at his best in run and chase situations. I would’ve gone with Michigan LB Junior Colson here instead, but with holes on the spine of that defense, it makes sense for the Packers to take a linebacker. Cooper has potential to become a three-down impact player.

46. Carolina Panthers (via Indianapolis Colts) – Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas

Grade: C+

While I question trading up for Brooks, who’s coming off an ACL injury, I get why Brooks is the pick here. The Panthers are committed to running the ball under Dave Canales, and Brooks is one of the best backs of the class when he’s healthy. He’s got NFL size and great vision with agility, with enough breakaway speed. If he can get healthy, he’s got potential to be a lead back.

47. New York Giants – Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota

Grade: B+

While he wasn’t my top safety in the class, Nubin is a really good fit for the Giants’ defense and coordinator Shane Bowen. Nubin is instinctive and smart on the back end of the defense, and while he tends to go a little wild as a tackler, he fits right into where Xavier McKinney left.

48. Jacksonville Jaguars – Maason Smith, DT, LSU

Grade: C-

This is the most obvious Trent Baalke pick ever. Smith is a great athlete who has NFL size as a defensive tackle, but he’s still recovering from a lower body injury. I get why you take the swing with the athletic upside, but not at 48.

49. Cincinnati Bengals – Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan

Grade: B+

This is a good value pick for the Bengals, going for athletic upside and NFL size on the interior. Jenkins is smart on the inside and knows how to deconstruct blocks. He’s a powerful player and will win on the interior for the Bengals. Pass rush production is really limited.

50. Washington Commanders – Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan

Grade: A

Newton and Sainristil on the same day, the Commanders must’ve read the all-JP team. Despite his size, Sainristil has high level instincts and was always around the ball. Think Mike Hilton on the inside with Sainristil. Dan Quinn is going to unleash him.

51. Pittsburgh Steelers – Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia

Grade: A+

The Steelers are completely revamping their offensive line, first taking Troy Fautanu and now Frazier. A four time wrestling champion, Frazier’s grip strength and power immediately jump off the tape, and will fit in Pittsburgh like a glove. Love this pick.

52. Indianapolis Colts (via Carolina Panthers) – AD Mitchell, WR, Texas

Grade: A

The biggest questions on Mitchell are the character concerns and consistency of play. If he goes and plays to his potential in Indianapolis, this has the potential to be a major steal. Mitchell is big, fast and shows the ability to create separation downfield. If he’s locked in, the Colts receiver room is so much fun.

53. Washington Commanders – Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State

Grade: B-

Sinnott is such a fun player. Works his butt off as a blocker both off the ball and in-line (although his arm length kind of works against him). He’s also versatile enough to win after the catch and downfield. Interesting fit in Washington, however. Commanders head coach Kliff Kingsbury drafted Trey McBride, now he gets one in Washington with Sinnott.

54. Cleveland Browns – Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State

Grade: A-

Arguably the best defensive tackle left on the board, Hall is undersized but brings legit quickness and explosion on the interior. While the run defense is more gap penetration that gap control, he fits right in with what Jim Schwartz wants to be defensively.

55. Miami Dolphins – Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

Grade: B-

I understand the player and pick here. Terron Armstead might not have much left in the tank, and the depth of the Dolphins’ offensive line is poor. Paul is still an unfinished product, but has NFL length and power. He can grow into a fine tackle down the line.

56. Dallas Cowboys – Marshawn Kneeland, EDGE, Western Michigan

Grade: B+

I really did think they would draft a RB, namely Trey Benson, but Kneeland is a really good value pick. His pass rush production was limited, but he was playing out of position on the inside at Western Michigan. Now fully on the edge, Kneeland can showcase his power and motor. The Cowboys depth at EDGE is now depleted with Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler gone, and Kneeland can sit behind Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons.

57. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

Grade: A

I thought Braswell would go higher, but what a spot for him to fall. Braswell is a really powerful player who is rugged on the edge, something the Bucs really covet in their pass rushers. His pass rush plan can be wonky on occasions, but this pick is really fun.

58. Green Bay Packers – Javon Bullard, S, Georgia

Grade: A-

The Packers were going to address safety at some point in this draft, and I love the value they got with Bullard. He’s a versatile, instinctive safety who can also play nickel if need be. With the safety room looking really thin, Bullard comes in and has the versatility to start right away.

59. Houston Texans – Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame

Grade: B-

I’m surprised BYU OT Kingsley Suamataia or Washington OT Roger Rosengarten isn’t the pick here, but I understand why Fisher is the pick. Tytus Howard is moving to guard full time, and Fisher has the athletic tools to be effective in Bobby Slowik’s offense. I get the reason, just think more NFL-ready tackles were available.

60. Buffalo Bills – Cole Bishop, S, Utah

Grade: A-

This is a great value pick for the Bills, who needed to get younger on the back end. Bishop is a good athlete who can trigger downhill. He’s a good fit for the Bills defense, and while he might not become a superstar, he’ll be solid for the Bills.

61. Detroit Lions – Ennis Rakestraw Jr, Missouri

Grade: A

You can never have too many defensive backs, and the Lions have created a DB room full of tough, aggressive corners. Rakestraw plays a lot bigger than his size, and thrives in man coverage. This is a terrific pick by the Lions, who have completely revamped the corner room in one year.

62. Baltimore Ravens – Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington

Grade: C+

I like the player, really weird fit for Baltimore. Rosengarten is a really smooth mover who benefits from getting out in space. However, Baltimore is a primarily gap scheme team, which would be a weird fit for Rosengarten. Gonna be interesting to see.

63. Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco 49ers) – Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

Grade: A

Love this pick for the Chiefs, who get a long term potential left tackle in Suamataia. He’s a big player, but can really move and needs to work a bit in the passing game. Now, he gets to go to the Chiefs where he’ll learn under Andy Heck, Andy Reid and play with Patrick Mahomes. Solid plan.

64. San Francisco 49ers (via Kansas City Chiefs) – Renardo Green, CB, Florida State

Grade: A+

This has the potential to be a steal in a few years. Green is a physical corner who plays bigger than his 186-pound frame. The ball skills are there, and he goes to a defense that fits his skillset perfectly. Charvarius Ward is going to be a free agent in 2025, and Green can play nickel before sliding outside.

65. New York Jets (via Carolina Panthers) – Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky

Grade: B

This is an interesting player-team fit. Corley is not a super dynamic receiver downfield, but he’s a fun player with the ball in his hands. Get him in space on manufactured touches and let him cook. However, I don’t think Nathaniel Hackett is a very good coordinator, so we’ll see!

66. Arizona Cardinals – Trey Benson, RB, Florida State

Grade: B+

Fun player and pick here, with Benson going to Arizona. I think he’s better in a gap-scheme offense where he can use his vision and tackle breaking ability a lot better than in zone. With James Conner still taking a lot of carries, finding that next guy is important. Benson can be a solid backup before stepping into the lead role.

67. Washington Commanders – Brandon Coleman, OL, TCU

Grade: B+

Coleman is a big tackle with long arms, who could play guard or tackle in Washington. He could start immediately at left with, where he uses his hand strength to play well in the power game. If he’s playing guard, I wonder about the fit with the logjam on the interior.

68. New England Patriots – Caedan Wallace, OT, Penn State

Grade: F

Hey man…did the Pats let Bill Belichick back in the draft room?

69. Los Angeles Chargers – Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

Grade: A+

Colson was my top LB in the draft and a former Michigan Wolverine, so him going to Jim Harbaugh and Jesse Minter here is a steal. Colson is a big, versatile linebacker with an expanding game in pass coverage. He’s also good on simulated pressures and blitz packages. The Chargers are knocking this draft out of the park.

70. New York Giants – Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky

Grade: B

A solid pickup for the Giants, taking a nickel corner in Phillips. He’s a competitive corner who wants to make plays on the ball despite his size. The Giants needed a nickel, and he fits like a glove.

71. Arizona Cardinals – Isaiah Adams, OL, Illinois

Grade: D

I get the need here, but with much better players left on the board, this feels like a big reach. Adams is a good mover who will start in Arizona, but at 71? I’m not sure.

72. Carolina Panthers – Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky

Grade: B

This pick is a future investment at LB for the Panthers. Wallace is a great athlete who has a good feel for pass coverage. He can play special teams while sitting behind Josey Jewell and Shaq Thompson, and eventually take over as a starter.

73. Dallas Cowboys – Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State

Grade: A

The Cowboys are putting together a mean offensive line. Beebe is a guard, but will probably slide to center in Dallas, where he can use his knockout power in a phone booth to completely dislodge defenders. Pretty awesome pick.

74. Atlanta Falcons – Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

Grade: B

Trice is a powerful, high effort pass rusher who makes up for his lack of bend with a nonstop motor. He’s more than likely a solid number two pass rusher, but should raise the floor of a Falcons pass rush that is bad.

75. Chicago Bears – Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale

Grade: B+

Amegadjie is a long term investment at tackle, with the athletic tools to eventually become a starter. He might not see playing time in 2024, but with good coaching he can take over at left tackle in a couple of years.

76. Denver Broncos – Jonah Elliss, EDGE, Utah

Grade: B

Elliss is a highly productive pass rusher who wins with a lot of bend, and would’ve gone higher if it weren’t for injuries. He goes to Denver here, which is fine to juice up their pass rush, but it’s an incredibly small room.

77. Las Vegas Raiders – Delmar Glaze, OL, Maryland

Grade: F

Why would they create a problem for themselves at guard? Especially when Christian Haynes is available?

78. Houston Texans (via Philadelphia Eagles) – Calen Bullock, S, USC

Grade: C+

I still am wondering why Dadrion Taylor-Demerson is on the board, but Bullock is an interesting pick. He’s got range, but his tackling ability leaves a lot to be desired. Bullock probably takes over for Jimmie Ward next year, nice succession plan.

79. Indianapolis Colts (via Arizona Cardinals) – Matt Goncalves, OL, Pittsburgh

Grade: C+

I don’t know where Goncalves plays, but he’s a tough player on the interior who can be depth or start on the interior. Indy likes loading up on athletes, and Goncalves might fit there.

80. Cincinnati Bengals – Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama

Grade: B-

This feels like a risk for the Bengals given Burton’s off-field concerns, but if it works out, Burton can be a vertical threat with really nice ball tracking ability. He can play in the slot and provide a lot of speed downfield.

81. Seattle Seahawks – Christian Haynes, OG, UConn

Grade: A

Absolutely love Haynes’ game. He played in an outside zone scheme at UConn, but fits in a downhill run game where his physicality really shows up on tape. He steps in and immediately is the starting right guard.

82. Arizona Cardinals – Tip Reiman, TE, Illinois

Grade: C

I get the reason for picking TE here, but I wonder why Reiman is the pick. He’s a good blocker in-line and off the ball, but his route running prowess is very limited. He probably plays TE2 next to McBride, but with Theo Johnson on the board, I wonder why Reiman goes here.

83. Los Angeles Rams – Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Grade: C+

Look man, Corum has nice vision and can play between the tackles. But his skillset is very similar to Kyren Williams and the backfield still lacks true speed. The wear and tear on his body will come up, but the hope is he can be a solid second guy to Williams.

84. Pittsburgh Steelers – Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

Grade: A

Love this pick for the Steelers. Wilson is such a smart player who can create separation on in-breakers and has a good feel for zone coverage. He’s a reliable number 2 and will run the crap out of over routes.

85. Cleveland Browns – Zak Zinter, OG, Michigan

Grade: C+

Zinter is a physical run blocker who is going to be coming off an injury. I guess the point here is insurance on the inside if Wyatt Teller gets injured. I probably would’ve gone Dom Puni here but this is fine.

86. San Francisco 49ers (via Philadelphia Eagles) – Dominick Puni, OL, Kansas

Grade: B+

Really interesting and fun fit for the Niners. Puni is extremely versatile and can play tackle, guard or center in the NFL. The Niners need interior line help, and he can play guard for them immediately.

87. Dallas Cowboys – Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame

Grade: C+

I get why the Cowboys would Liufau. He plays with his hair on fire and comes downhill really hard. However, I think there were many linebackers available that were better, and probably better fits for this defense. This is a bet on Mike Zimmer and his ability to develop linebackers, which has worked out for the most part.

88. Green Bay Packers – MarShawn Lloyd, RB, USC

Grade: B

Lloyd is a shifty, speedy back who can win on third downs and be a nice change of pace to a bigger back. That fits perfectly with Josh Jacobs, and will probably contribute early on third downs.

89. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tykee Smith, S, Georgia

Grade: B-

I still think that Taylor-Demerson being on the board is stunning, but Smith is a smooth nickel who was really productive for Georgia’s defense. Todd Bowles is going to have a field day with him.

90. Arizona Cardinals – Elijah Jones, CB, Boston College

Grade: B-

Extremely quick corner who has a lot of ball skills, Jones will compete right away for starting time on the outside. He has a lot of skills that Jonathan Gannon would love in his defense. Kinda surprised Cam Hart isn’t off the board yet, however.

91. Green Bay Packers – Ty’Ron Hopper, LB, Missouri

Grade: D+

Hopper is a fun player, but he’s small and is coming off a shoulder injury. The Packers taking two LBs on Day 2 is really interesting, but helps fill out the depth of their spine. Yet, it feels like a reach because better LBs were available.

92. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jalen McMillian, WR, Washington

Grade: A-

This is really good value for McMillian, who can play the slot and be a jack-of-all-trades. McMillian has nice ability after the catch and played more in the slot in Washington. Now he can grow and be a more well rounded receiver.

93. Baltimore Ravens – Adisa Isaac, EDGE, Penn State

Grade: B+

Isaac is really nice value here for the Ravens. He’s an athletic EDGE defender who is still growing as a pass rusher, but is so quick off the ball that he disrupts everything in the run game. Not many places better to go as a pass rusher than Baltimore.

94. Philadelphia Eagles – Jalyx Hunt, EDGE, Houston Christian

Grade: B-

Hunt can eventually become a well rounded EDGE defender with his athletic potential. A former safety, Hunt transferred to Houston Christian and added a lot of weight. Hunt has a lot of burst as a pass rusher and is extremely fluid in coverage. Eventually, he can be a good EDGE.

95. Buffalo Bills – DeWayne Carter, DT, Duke

Grade: B-

I like the player and fit for the Bills and Carter, but I feel like better players were on the board. Carter is experienced and can provide interior push, something the Bills lack depth in right now.

96. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State

Grade: B+

Jones has a lot of good ball skills and played a lot of man coverage at Florida State, which will translate to the NFL and the Jaguars’ man-heavy approach. Jones can play nickel or outside. The Jaguars lacked a lot of depth at corner, and this is a great way to get some.

97. Cincinnati Bengals – McKinnley Jackson, DT, Texas A&M

Grade: C+

Jackson is a fine pick as a pocket pusher from the nose spot. But I wonder how many players are going to go before Brandon Dorlus gets called. Either way, Jackson will provide a lot of depth up front for the Bengals.

98. Pittsburgh Steelers – Payton Wilson, LB, NC State

Grade: B+

Despite the medicals being all out of whack, Wilson can be a true three down LB if he’s healthy. He’s got instincts and has the versatility to blitz and finds himself around the ball. If he’s healthy, the Steelers got a really interesting LB here.

99. Los Angeles Rams – Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

Grade: B

Kinchens is a very solid player. While he’s not the fastest or rangiest player, Kinchens is incredibly productive and has shown the ability to find the ball. In LA he can play top down in a quarters defense for a Rams team that needs the help.

100. Washington Commanders – Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice

Grade: D

I’m gonna be honest—didn’t think McCaffrey was going to go Day 2, but here we are! He’s a solid slot receiver who has pretty good ball skills, but going McCaffrey over Javon Baker and Troy Franklin is really interesting.

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