2024 NFL Draft First Round Takeaways: Falcons Stun Everyone, Vikings Get Aggressive, and Corners Go Late

Michael Penix Jr. became the highest drafted Washington QB since Jake Locker in 2010.
Michael Penix Jr. became the highest drafted Washington QB since Jake Locker in 2010. / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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Vikings get aggressive, trade up twice in Round 1
Minnesota clearly liked the very top of this draft and was not a fan of its depth. For that matter, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and his staff seemed to be down on next year's draft as well. The Vikings traded up one spot to select J.J. McCarthy, parting with fourth and fifth-round picks this year, receiving a sixth rounder in the deal. Then, they traded up again from 23 to 17 to take Dallas Turner, sending another 2024 fifth-rounder along with 2025 third and fourth-round picks to Jacksonville to make the move. Minnesota added high upside players, but will make only one more pick until reaching the sixth round.

Dolphins keep drafting speedsters
We all know how much Mike McDaniel loves speed on offense. It's why the Dolphins have Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Devon Achane and Raheem Mostert. Miami now has a lot more speed on defense. Chop Robinson is a toolsy prospect with incredible burst. He ran a blazing 4.48 40-yard dash and a 1.54 10-yard split. He is a bit raw, without much of a pass-rush plan and limited college production, but Miami must believe that his athleticism will translate to disruption at the next level.

Cornerbacks slide
Quinyon Mitchell was the first cornerback selected in 2024, waiting all the way until pick 22. Mock drafts had Mitchell or Terrion Arnold going off the board as early as No. 8 to the Falcons. It seemed like the Raiders, Colts, Jaguars, Rams and Steelers all would be interested in this cornerback group as well, but they passed. Cooper DeJean, my No. 1 corner, slid out of the first round entirely. This is a talented corner class, especially at the top of the draft, so it was a bit of a surprise to see the league so much lower on them than the media.

Packers fool us all again
For weeks, the Packers have been linked to Graham Barton and Cooper DeJean. I wasn't sure that either would still be available at No. 25. Turns out both of them were there, and the Packers took neither of them. Instead, they took another college offensive tackle they will likely kick inside to play guard in the NFL. I think taking Jordan Morgan over Barton and DeJean was a mistake, but the Packers almost always know what they are doing in the draft.

Tyreek Hill 2.0?
The NFL loves speed. NFL fans love speed. There is a reason why the 40-yard dash is one of the biggest events of the offseason. Well the man who broke the record for the fastest 40-yard dash in NFL combine history is now a member of the defending champions. The Chiefs have been searching for a replacement for Tyreek Hill since trading him to the Dolphins in 2022. They are now banking on Xavier Worthy being the heir apparent to the fastest receiver in the league. Expecting Worthy to be Hill is unfair, but there will be comparisons. Worthy will step into a big role in this offense as well with Rashee Rice facing legal trouble and not many proven receivers on the roster. For what it is worth, the last time the Chiefs traded up in the first round with the Bills, they landed Patrick Mahomes, so this might work out great.

49ers looking to move Deebo or Aiyuk?
The 49ers drafted Ricky Pearsall at No. 31, passing on offensive line help or a potential starting corner in Cooper DeJean or Kool-Aid McKinstry. Diana Russini reported before the draft started that San Francisco is entertaining offers to trade Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk. Adding Pearsall would certainly soften the blow. I understand the logic, because paying both Samuel and Aiyuk will be very difficult from a roster-building stand point, but this is a Super Bowl contender. It seems like the front office should be focused on going all in rather than trying to move a star receiver for future cap relief.

Bills trade out of the first round
You would not know that the Bills are in a championship window with how they handled the first round on Thursday. Buffalo traded down twice, landing out of the first-round entirely. They let the Chiefs and Panthers draft receivers in the draft slots they vacated. The 49ers took a receiver as well. Just a reminder, the Bills desperately need receiver help after trading Stefon Diggs to Houston and letting Gabe Davis leave in free agency. This is a deep receiver draft and Buffalo certainly has more needs than just wide receiver, but this was a head-scratching approach to the first day of the draft. It will be interesting to see if Brandon Beane actually sticks at No. 33. It is a long time to be "on the clock" so there will be plenty of time for other teams to make offers to move up.

Best players available
Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
Jer'Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon
Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia