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Examining the Top Position Groups of the 2024 NFL Draft Class

Less than a month stands between the next class of top-ranked college prospects and the start of their NFL careers. Whether it was at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, their college's pro day, a scouting visit, top 30 visit or straight from the tape, football front offices and draft analysts have taken a close look at the available talent in this upcoming draft class (and will continue to do so over the next few weeks). Positions of strength look different each year, and that ultimately affects the draft strategies the 32 clubs will utilize during the selection process.

President of football operations and general manager John Lynch shared his take on this year's group of prospects at the combine in Indianapolis.

"There is a lot of depth, if you're just looking at it broadly... absent of some of the quarterbacks, the blue chip," Lynch said. "But, there is a lot of depth at positions that we see inviting right now. That's encouraging to us. We are going to have a full slate of picks, and it's nice to have. That's always an opportunity to improve your team.

"We look forward to it whether it's a first-round (pick) or a late-round (pick). A lot of these guys will go undrafted, and we've had a lot of success with those type of players. The evaluations are critical so you know each of them as well as you can and you can make good decisions."

Draft analysts from Pro Football Focus and the NFL Network identified the 2024 draft class' strongest position groups.

Top Three Position Groups:

Wide Receiver: A+

"This is an elite receiver class, even set in the context of a lot of recent very strong draft classes. The "Big-Three" of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze would each be the top receiver in most draft classes while the next wave is absurdly deep. There are 23 wideouts or tight ends in the consensus top 100 players, meaning almost a quarter of the best 100 players in this draft are pass catchers. The depth doesn't drop off after those early rounds and you can be deep into this group and still come away with receivers that can make an immediate NFL impact."

Offensive Tackle/Cornerback: A

"Unlike receiver, there have been very barren years at the tackle position since PFF has been grading college players. That is not the case this season, as several elite prospects are available as well as good depth following them. Joe Alt has had elite PFF grading throughout his college career and allowed fewer than 10 total pressures in each of his last two seasons. Olu Fashanu is one of the best pass-blockers we have seen enter the league in years, allowing only one knockdown of his quarterback and 16 hurries over the last three years. Taliese Fuaga is a run-blocking monster, Troy Fautanu is an elite athlete who could play tackle or guard, and there are several more potential first-round players as well as significant depth beyond.

"It might not quite be able to match the wide receiver class, but cornerback could be the second-biggest strength of this draft class. At the top, teams will be split on whether Terrion Arnold, Quinyon Mitchell or even Nate Wiggins are the top players available, but all three are top prospects. Cooper DeJean, Kool-Aid McKinstry and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. are also all vying to be selected in the first round, and there is depth for days in this class, with 15 total players in the top 100 of the consensus big board."

Quarterback: A-

"Caleb Williams is widely seen as a truly elite quarterback prospect, almost certain to be selected No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bears after the team traded away Justin Fields. Williams is generally seen as a prospect that rivals the top player available in most drafts and on his own, he would make this a solid quarterback class.

"Though the gap between Williams and the field may be widening as we approach the draft, there are four or five other quarterbacks with a legitimate chance to go in the first round, with the second and third players off the board overall likely to be Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels in some order.

"The only real question about this class is the day two and three options, but in a world of all-or-nothing quarterback dynamics, this is less relevant than it once was.

"South Carolina's Spencer Rattler is everybody's favorite mid-round option, a player whom many are projecting to have legitimate starting ability."

Offensive Tackle: First

"Aside from quarterback, offensive tackle is at the very top of the list as it pertains to issues with supply and demand. The position will likely be overdrafted due to demand, but this season's crop of tackles is strong both in high-end talent and depth when it comes to future quality starters. Teams' draft boards will vary, as there are several flavors of tackle to choose from, but we should see at least seven tackles picked in the first round with starters still to be found on Day 2 and quality depth lasting into the fifth round."

Wide Receiver: Second

"The top of the class -- Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze -- offers star-power potential, but many teams are excited about the impressive collection of future starters that could still be available on Day 2, including Ladd McConkey, Roman Wilson, Malachi Corley, Xavier Legette, Troy Franklin and Ricky Pearsall. Day 3 will feature some prospects that still need polishing, but the starting-caliber players teams can choose from inside the top 100 picks are driving this hype train."

Quarterback: Third

"Quarterbacks went back-to-back-to-back to start the draft in 2021, 1999 and 1971, but we've never seen quarterbacks chosen with each of the first four picks in the draft. We last saw four QBs picked in the top 10 in 2018. I expect we'll see four passers go in the top 10 again this year, and we might even see four selected within the first four picks. The draft is heavier on potential star power than usual (SEE: Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy) but there are also potential starters in Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. While there will be good depth within the first 50 picks, the pickings should get fairly slim for teams looking for a quality backup or developmental talent beyond the second round."

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