HomeSportsBest draft suits NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

Best draft suits NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

A week. Can you feel it in the air? The 2024 NFL Draft is just around the corner, filling NFL fans with hope and the idea that their team is about to select a franchise cornerstone.

This is a strong draft class at the top, with a few players who can make an immediate impact and potentially take home hardware after the season ends. Here are a few team/player combinations that could maximize the skills of some talented rookies this season.

Los Angeles, CA - March 20: USC quarterback Caleb Williams at Pro Day at USC on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

Chicago Bears — Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Williams finds himself in a situation that most No. 1 picks dream of.

In a normal year, the worst team in the league has the top pick for a multitude of reasons, usually because it’s a poorly built team that doesn’t have the talent or identity to stack up wins. That’s not the case for the Bears, who have a strong foundation and appear ready to take the next step toward becoming a playoff team.

Williams will face an offense that requires a few investments along the offensive line, including last year’s top-10 pick Darnell Wright, two Pro Bowl wide receivers, a solid tight end in Cole Kmet and a veteran running back in D’Andre Swift. That’s a blessing! Most quarterbacks who pick first overall have to play a year or two in a cash-strapped situation without any hope of winning. Health aside, Williams will even be playing with a defense that has the potential to be a top-10 unit in 2024.

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It’s an incredibly friendly situation for a rookie, who will undoubtedly need time to adjust to playing in the NFL. Still, Williams has the talent and situation around him where he can make a huge impact in Year 1. He will most likely be the odds-on favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year after the draft, and for good reason.

Arizona Cardinals – Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

If Harrison gets to play with a quarterback who has had success in the NFL, he has the talent to put together a monster rookie season. He’s so good. In a class that includes Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze, Harrison is largely viewed as the undisputed top in the draft. Harrison has essentially skipped the draft process aside from interviews and scouting group weigh-ins, and no one expects him to fall on the draft board.

Placing Harrison with Kyler Murray is something Cardinals fans should be immediately excited about — and they need him. Marquise Brown is headed to the Chiefs, Rondale Moore is with the Falcons and the best wideout on their roster is likely second-year wide receiver Michael Wilson, who shows promise but doesn’t appear to be as dominant as Harrison.

It seems like the only thing that could keep the Cardinals from landing Harrison would be a team trading with New England to snatch him from their grasp. Hopefully the Cardinals can land Harrison, because with a true quarterback, he can have a rookie season that everyone will remember for years to come.

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OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - SEPTEMBER 30: Wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.  #11 of the LSU Tigers catches a pass for a touchdown to cornerback Deantre Prince #7 of the Mississippi Rebels during the first half of play at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September January 30, 2023 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - SEPTEMBER 30: Wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.  #11 of the LSU Tigers catches a pass for a touchdown to cornerback Deantre Prince #7 of the Mississippi Rebels during the first half of play at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September January 30, 2023 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
The skills of Brian Thomas Jr. would fit in well as Josh Allen’s No. 1 wideout in Buffalo. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills – Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Buffalo has a huge need for a wide receiver, but the Bills don’t pick until the later parts of the first round. The 28th pick is way too far to get someone like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, but it power be a place where they can land a prospect like Thomas.

Like Nabers, Thomas is a big threat who can do enormous damage on the field. Thomas scored 17 touchdowns on just 68 receptions in 2023 while averaging nearly 18 yards per reception. Now throw a six-footer with a velocity of 4.33 and a vert of 38.5 inches? That’s a profile that shows great potential in the NFL.

That also sounds like the type of receiver Josh Allen would have a lot of success with. If Thomas can be a better version of Gabe Davis for the Bills (in a world where he’s drafted by Buffalo, of course), he could be a monster from a production standpoint as a rookie as he gets used to the ropes. an NFL receiver. All with a true deep threat would allow Buffalo to still have a credible passing game while reshaping its roster. If it worked well enough, Thomas could get some Rookie of the Year votes.

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This is probably the dream scenario for Bowers as things stand right now – assuming Aaron Rodgers can get close to an MVP-level quarterback again. The Jets already have an emerging superstar at wide receiver in Garrett Wilson, a strong No. 2 wideout in Mike Williams and a star running back in Breece Hall. A dynamic tight end could take this offense to the next level in a season where they are trying to win the Super Bowl.

Bowers did everything for the Bulldogs’ offense. From traditional tight end duties to playing in the slot, outside wide receiver and even running the ball, Georgia trusted him with everything. Throwing him into what appears to be an extremely talented Jets offense could be the secret sauce New York needs to launch its first playoff run since 2011.

Mitchell checks so many boxes for a smaller school prospect. Excellent on-ball production for a cornerback, strong performances at the Senior Bowl and elite athleticism at the NFL scouting combine should ease talent evaluators’ concerns about his ability to translate to the next level. A realistic landing spot for Mitchell where he could have a Rookie of the Year level impact is with the Raiders, due to the large free agent addition they made this offseason.

It will be difficult to find many duos along the defensive line that can cause disruption in the way Christian Wilkins and Maxx Crosby are expected to do. They have a potential three-headed monster up front if Tyree Wilson can take the next steps to stardom in his second season. That’s every cornerback’s dream: a large number of pass rushers who can cause quarterbacks to make bad throws. Mitchell already has the ability to make plays on the ball, but by using this defensive line he can become a real weapon that could put him in the defensive Rookie of the Year race.

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