Who are the winners and losers from the NFL Draft?

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It was a record NFL Draft in Detroit with teams going quarterback crazy, some big shock selections and a real international flavor coming through.

The big question though, as ever, is who won the draft?

The 2024 NFL season is still several months away, with kickoff scheduled for September. While some teams, like the Chicago Bears, have the summer to build hope for the upcoming season, the Atlanta Falcons are already facing pressure to justify their perplexing draft pick.

Here are our big winners and losers from the draft.

Who won the NFL Draft?

Rome Odunze (L) with Caleb Williams (R) of the Chicago Bears
Rome Odunze (L) with Caleb Williams (R) of the Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears Bolster Offense with Top Picks

The Chicago Bears entered the 2024 NFL Draft with two premium picks – the 1st and 9th overall selections. General Manager Ryan Poles seized the opportunity to transform the Bears’ offense, selecting a pair of offensive stars.

With the first overall pick, the Bears chose Caleb Williams, the dynamic quarterback out of USC. Williams, widely regarded as a generational talent, brings an electrifying skill set and magnetic personality that has already energized the Bears’ fanbase. His record-breaking Fanatics sales on draft night underscored the excitement surrounding his arrival in the Windy City.

To further bolster their passing attack, the Bears used the 9th pick to add wide receiver Rome Odunze from Washington. Odunze’s combination of size, speed, and playmaking ability will provide an elite receiving option for Williams to target.

Coupled with the recent free agent signing of veteran wideout Keenan Allen, the Bears have assembled an offensive arsenal that has their long-suffering fans eagerly anticipating the upcoming season.

Vikings Wheel and Deal for Quarterback and Defensive Standout

The Minnesota Vikings were active on draft night, maneuvering to address key needs on both sides of the ball.

First, the Vikings traded up to secure the services of quarterback JJ McCarthy from Michigan. While not the flashiest prospect, McCarthy’s proven track record of winning, including a national championship, made him an appealing target for head coach Kevin O’Connell.

At pick 17, the Vikings then landed a potential steal in edge rusher Dallas Turner from Alabama. Despite being a highly touted prospect, Turner slid down the board, allowing the Vikings to add a potentially dominant defensive playmaker.

The Vikings’ savvy draft-day decisions have positioned them to compete in the NFC North, pairing a reliable quarterback in McCarthy with a defense bolstered by the addition of Turner.

NFL Embraces Global Talent

The 2024 NFL Draft showcased the league’s continued efforts to expand its international reach.

Most notably, the Buffalo Bills selected English rugby union player Travis Clayton, who had never played American football before. Clayton’s selection highlights the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, which has now placed five players on active rosters.

Additionally, the draft featured pick announcements from Ireland, Australia, and even Spain, courtesy of former soccer star Fernando Torres. These global connections demonstrate the growing appeal of the NFL worldwide.

As the league continues to attract talent from diverse backgrounds, the 2024 draft class represents the NFL’s commitment to fostering a truly international game.

Chiefs Acquire Another Offensive Weapon

The Buffalo Bills, haunted by their 2017 trade that allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to select Patrick Mahomes, found themselves in a familiar position. Once again, they traded with their AFC rivals, this time to allow the Chiefs to draft wide receiver Xavier Worthy.

Worthy, who set the NFL Combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash time, is the latest speedster to join Mahomes’ arsenal of offensive weapons. The Chiefs’ quarterback has a proven affinity for targeting elite receivers, and Worthy’s blazing speed is sure to create headaches for opposing defenses.

While the Bills may come to regret this trade in the years to come, the Chiefs have further strengthened their potent offense with the addition of the lightning-fast Worthy

Who lost the NFL Draft?

Michael Penix Jr was a surprise pick by the Atlanta Falcons
Michael Penix Jr was a surprise pick by the Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Fans Perplexed by Penix Pick

The Atlanta Falcons’ decision to use their 8th overall pick on quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has left many fans scratching their heads. This comes just months after the team signed veteran QB Kirk Cousins to a lucrative $180 million contract, with $100 million guaranteed.

Penix, who turns 24 in May, is no raw prospect – he started 48 games in college. Falcons GM Terry Fontenot tried to downplay the pick, saying that having Penix sit for “four or five years” would be a “great problem to have.” However, many view this as an odd move that could unsettle their new $100 million man, Cousins.

With such a valuable pick, the Falcons could have addressed other needs, rather than potentially creating a quarterback controversy. Cousins was reportedly only informed of the Penix selection at the last minute, leaving some to wonder if he would have signed with Atlanta had he known their plans.

Goodell’s Gingerly Greeting

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared a bit more cautious with his traditional draft day hugs this year, likely due to recent back surgery. One player who didn’t get the memo was Tennessee Titans’ pick JC Latham, who gave Goodell a massive bear hug on stage. Goodell took it in stride, but was seen walking gingerly off the stage afterwards.

Offense Dominates Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft saw a record 14 consecutive first-round picks spent on offensive players, highlighting the league’s insatiable appetite for elite quarterback talent. The previous longest streak of offensive picks to start a draft was 8. This emphasis on offense over defense underscores just how pivotal the quarterback position has become in today’s NFL.

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