troy franklin

Navigating the First Round of Your 2024 Rookie Drafts

This 2024 class is shaping up to be one for the ages. But how do you know who to take after the tier break at the 1.08 spot? Should I take Brock Bowers or Rome Odunze at the 1.06-1.07 turn? Is Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels this year’s QB2? Finding the answers to these questions is pivotal to future fantasy success and gaining the most value from your rookie picks. Below, I have the first round broken into three tiers and some background information on each player.


Tier one (The elite of the elite)

  1.       Caleb Williams (QB-USC) 

Caleb has been a shoo-in for the number-one pick for quite some time now. We all caught a glimpse of how special he was when he took over for Spencer Rattler in 2021 at Oklahoma, finishing the year with 1,912 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, just four interceptions, and a QBR of 169.6. Let’s not forget to mention his 442 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. This was quite an impressive year for a true breakout freshman. He then followed it up with a 2022 Heisman trophy, where he went for a ridiculous 4,919 total yards, 52 total touchdowns to just five interceptions, and a QBR of 168.5. Yes, 2023 was a down year, but Caleb Williams possesses elite traits that set him above the rest of the other quarterbacks in this class. His elite arm strength and touch on the football to all levels of the field, pocket presence, and ability to play out of structure make him the shoo-in for the 1.01 in rookie drafts.

  1.       Marvin Harrison Jr (WR-Ohio State) 

MHJ has been my consensus 1.02 in rookie drafts for a while now. Marvin Harrison plays with a rare blend of speed, power, and finesse. In his sophomore and junior seasons at Ohio State, he combined for 144 catches, 2,474 receiving yards, and 28 touchdowns. Marvin Harrison Jr has an elite skill set NFL teams drool over. His ability to create separation from the line of scrimmage all the way through his route and the catch point is rare. His body control and ability to make adjustments on the football at the catch point stand out. Lastly, his ability to play in traffic and how comfortable he looks playing in traffic is second to none in this class. He’s an elite wide receiver prospect you’d be lucky to have on your dynasty rosters.

  1.       Malik Nabers (WR-LSU) 

You may have missed out on Marvin Harrison Jr, but Malik Nabers is more than just a consolation prize. It’s an impressive feat when you break LSU’s all-time receiving yards and receptions records. Nabers finished his LSU career with 189 catches, 3,003 receiving yards, and 21 receiving touchdowns. Malik Nabers has an uncanny ability to work after the catch; he’s a rare athlete with the ability to beat the defense in a multitude of ways, whether it be after a catch in the short area of the field and turning that into additional yardage, or the ability to beat you in the intermediate to deep areas of the field. There are genuinely no holes in his game; he’s a foundational wide receiver and one for your dynasty teams.

drake maye

Tier two (Elite prospects)

  1.       Drake Maye (QB-North Carolina) 

Maye has been my QB2 for some time now, which hasn’t changed going into draft season. His 2022 season at North Carolina should raise your eyebrows. A top-ten finish in the Heisman voting as a redshirt freshman is nothing to scoff at. Maye passed for 4,321 yards and accumulated 38 passing touchdowns to only seven interceptions, with a 157.9 QBR. He also rushed for 698 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. 2023 was a rough year regarding talent lost for the North Carolina football team, and Drake Maye did battle injuries down the stretch of the season. But Drake Maye still accumulated 3,608 passing yards, 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions, and a QBR of 149.0. He also added 449 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Maye has all the physical traits you want in a franchise QB: size, a giant arm, pocket presence, sneaky athleticism, and the ability to throw on the move.

  1.       Jayden Daniels (QB-LSU)

I’ll be honest: I had a tough time evaluating Jayden Daniels, the 5th-year senior who didn’t show me much in his tape from 2019-2021 at Arizona State. But then came 2022 -2023, when he transferred to LSU. It’s true when they say SEC lights shine brightest. Over his last two years at LSU, Jayden Daniels accumulated 6,725 passing yards, 57 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions, and a combined QBR of 176.25. On the ground, he combined for 2,019 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He capped off his illustrious season with a Heisman trophy in 2023. There are some red flags for me in Jayden Daniels’ overall profile, but when it comes to the improvement in his passing game mixed with his elite rushing upside, he has the tools to become an elite fantasy quarterback for years to come.

  1.       Brock Bowers (TE-Georgia) 

There’s not much to say about Brock Bowers other than he’s been destroying SEC competition since he was a freshman. He posted 882 receiving yards on 56 catches and 13 touchdowns, tacking on four carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Bowers followed up his legendary freshman season with 63 catches, 942 yards, and seven touchdowns, along with nine carries, 109 yards, and three touchdowns on the ground. An unfortunate injury his junior year cost him some time on the field, but he finished with 56 catches, 714 receiving yards, and six touchdowns while adding six carries, 28 yards, and a rushing touchdown. He had multiple PFF receiving grades of 90 plus and had a college career of 14.5 yards per catch in college. Bowers is a rare blend of size, speed, and high motor for the position. He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest tight-end prospects I’ve seen in my lifetime.

  1.       Rome Odunze (WR-Washington) 

Rome is a big-bodied outside prototype receiver who excels in body control, playing the 50/50 ball, and gaining leverage on the defense to put himself in situations to make a play on the football. Rome Odunze had a stellar career at the University of Washington, but his 2023 season truly stood out to me. Odunze posted 92 catches for 1,640 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, adding two carries for 37 rushing yards and one touchdown. What I love about his profile is not only that he can use his size and strength to manipulate the defense and win that way, but he is also very smooth and fluid with his movements and can beat you with his route-running ability. I reference Matt Harmon’s reception perception chart with this, as he had a 70-plus percent win rate on all routes run in 2023. The ceiling is high for Rome Odunze!


Tier 3 (Prospects with upside)

  1.       J.J. McCarthy (QB-Michigan) 

McCarthy’s overall passing volume was a question mark for me regarding the evaluation of J.J. McCarthy. But as I dove more into the tape, I noticed that so many things stand out as positives. First, I want to point out his leadership on the field. McCarthy is a natural-born leader on and off the field. The Michigan team rallied around JJ and won a national championship in 2023. No moment in his college career seemed too big. His ability to play under center is impressive. I loved his footwork on his 3-step, 5-step, and even 7-step drops. His ability to climb the pocket, whether a clean pocket or a collapsing one, truly stood out. He is one of the best quarterbacks in this class when it comes to playing outside of structure. His ability to escape pressure and throw on the run seems so natural. His arm strength doesn’t stand out as a huge positive, but he can make any throw on the field in any situation. I liked his ability to throw the 10-15 yard out routes to the boundaries. It may only be a 15-yard completion, but the ball travels over 25 yards on the throw. Lastly, I want to point out his touch on the football. Whether the ball needs some zip to fit it into a tight window or a touch pass to go over a defender, he has a natural touch on every football he throws.

  1.       Troy Franklin (WR-Oregon) 

This has been my wide receiver four in this class for quite some time now. Yes, he is a little undersized at 176 pounds, but what he does, he does very well. Franklin is a big play waiting to happen. He finished top ten in 2023 in catches (14), receiving yards (558), and touchdowns (7) on throws 20 plus yards downfield. But he isn’t just a one-trick pony. His advanced route-running ability also allows him to win in the short and intermediate areas of the field. Lastly, a staggering number that stood out to me was a 146.8 QBR when targeted. Troy Franklin is my number-one target at the wide receiver position once the top three wide receivers are off the board.

  1.       Brian Thomas Jr (WR-LSU) 

BTJ was a late bloomer in terms of when he started playing football. Brian Thomas Jr didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. Now, I will say that his 2021 and 2022 tape didn’t stand out as dominant. Playing behind Malik Nabers and Kayshon Boutte didn’t allow him much playing time. But fast forward to 2023, and the tape tells a different story. In 2023, Brian Thomas Jr had 68 catches, 1,177 receiving yards, and an FBS-leading 17 touchdowns. He did this all while averaging over 17.3 yards per catch. His size, speed, and ability to separate are elite. Most teams are looking for a tall receiver and a speed receiver, and Brian Thomas Jr offers both.

My first-round ADP Pre–NFL Draft

1.01- Caleb Williams QB-USC

1.02- Marvin Harrison Jr WR-Ohio State

1.03- Malik Nabers WR-LSU

1.04- Drake Maye QB-North Carolina

1.05- Jayden Daniels QB-LSU

1.06- Brock Bowers TE-Georgia

1.07- Rome Odunze WR-Washington

1.08- JJ McCarthy QB-Michigan

1.09- Troy Franklin WR-Oregon

1.10- Brian Thomas Jr WR-LSU

Thank you for taking time to read this article. Any thoughts or comments you have, you can reach me @FFChalmers on Twitter/X. #DFFArmy #AlwaysBeBuilding