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2024 NFL Draft: 10 prospects who could rise during pre-draft process 

Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of this league, providing keen insight in his notebook. In today's installment, he clocks 10 prospects who could rise significantly between now and the 2024 NFL Draft ...

At the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, hundreds of prospects will be hoping to elevate their draft stock through impressive workouts and interviews. The week-long event is not supposed to make or break a prospect's draft status, but prospects will rise or fall throughout the entire pre-draft process as coaches and scouts finalize their film evaluations and background checks. As a result, my own list of the top five prospects at each position will undergo a few revisions as we move closer to the 2024 NFL Draft.

There are a handful of prospects poised to make a surge up the charts. With the combine kicking off in Indianapolis soon (tune into NFL Network or NFL+ for coverage from Tuesday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 3), this is the perfect time to identify a potential riser at each position. Here are 10 guys to watch:



J.J. McCarthy
Michigan · Junior

If quarterbacks are judged by their wins, McCarthy should move to the front of the line, thanks to his nearly perfect résumé as the leader of the Wolverines. The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder finished his career with a 27-1 record and a national title while managing an offense that featured a smash-mouth running game. Though he routinely played a complementary role, McCarthy flashes intriguing skills as a dual-threat playmaker with A-plus arm talent and evolving pocket-passing skills. The junior standout can make every throw in the book, but he needs more opportunities to show evaluators that he is deadly accurate and consistent with his ball placement. He's currently ranked No. 5 among QBs on my list of the top five prospects by position. Given his limited experience (28 career starts) and managerial approach with the Wolverines, McCarthy's stock will rise or fall based on his chalk-talk sessions and workouts leading up to the draft. 


Jaylen Wright
Tennessee · Junior

Yes, the running back position has been devalued in recent years, but scouts and coaches still love ball-carriers who can bring big-play potential to the backfield. Wright is a home-run hitter with speed to burn and an electric game that would perfectly suit an offense that specializes in creating space. As a former high school track standout with an impressive resume (Wright won a state indoor 55-meter dash title in North Dakota and clocked the fastest time in the event in the country in 2019), the 5-11 210-pounder is a threat to take it the distance from anywhere on the field whenever he touches the ball. Whether he's working on off-tackle runs or in space on swings and screens, Wright's big-play ability separates him from others. With a 1,000-yard season under his belt and fresh legs from a minimal workload as a collegian (he logged 368 career rushing attempts), Wright is an attractive option for a team looking to add a change-of-pace back to the rotation. Given that Wright missed the Senior Bowl due to a reported injury rehab, there will surely be many interested parties tracking his workouts, including at the combine in Indy.


Troy Franklin
Oregon · Junior

The Ducks' No. 1 receiver could vault into Day 1 consideration after scouts closely examine his game. Franklin's speed, explosiveness and big-play potential will intrigue teams looking to add a vertical threat. The 6-3, 187-pounder torched Pac-12 defenses over the past two seasons as Bo Nix's favorite target. Franklin's 23 touchdowns and yards-per-catch mark (16) in that span speak to his dominance on the perimeter -- and, moreover, suggest his speed could create problems for opponents that allow free access on the outside. As a long strider with "go get it" acceleration, the Oregon standout has the potential to run down deep balls and run away from defenders at the next level. Considering how explosive plays routinely lead to points, Franklin's big-play potential could send his stock soaring by the end of the pre-draft process.  


Dallin Holker
Colorado State · Senior

In today's NFL, quarterbacks must be able to attack the middle of the field, meaning athletic tight ends with sticky hands and crafty route-running skills are coveted at a premium. As a prolific playmaker with a silky-smooth game and outstanding ball skills, the transfer from BYU tallied 700-plus receiving yards and six scores on 64 catches at Colorado State in 2023, then put together a dominant week at the East-West Shrine Bowl. And he could creep up the charts further as more evaluators get to know him. The 6-3, 241-pounder is a natural fit as an H-Back/FLEX tight end in a multi-tight end offense with a "move" tight end and a traditional "Y" on the field. With Holker's athleticism and slick route-running skills creating matchup problems for linebackers and defensive backs in space, the first-team All-Mountain West Conference member could rank as a top sleeper in several meeting rooms around the league. 


Tyler Guyton
Oklahoma · Junior (RS)

The 6-7, 328-pounder is a freak athlete with the size, length and lateral quickness to develop into an elite blindside protector down the road. When evaluating the former H-back-turned-offensive tackle (he switched during his time at TCU), Guyton's balance, body control and agility jump off the tape. Though his technique remains raw and unpolished, the Oklahoma standout possesses the blue-chip athletic traits and prototypical dimensions that scouts covet at the position. With a strong series of workouts at the combine and Big 12 Pro Day, Guyton could soar up the charts as a franchise tackle prospect with tremendous upside. 



Chop Robinson
Penn State · Junior

The best pass rushers in the NFL routinely display elite first-step quickness and closing bursts. Robinson (whom I have ranked fourth among edge defenders) grades out as an A-plus athlete, with his cat-like quickness and explosive finishes jumping off the tape. Though Robinson's supreme athleticism did not translate into elite production as a collegian (he totaled 10.5 career sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in two seasons at Penn State and one at Maryland), the Penn State product is an intriguing developmental prospect, due to his explosiveness and non-stop motor. While his game has a "boom or bust" feel, the junior is one of the best athletes at his position, which could enhance his value in meeting rooms; his upside and potential could tempt a coach to take a chance on him.


Darius Robinson
Missouri · Senior

After he shined at the Senior Bowl, the buzz is building around Robinson's potential. The ultra-explosive frontline defender (No. 5 for me at his position) is an energetic playmaker with a knack for disrupting at the point of attack. Although Robinson's game is built on strength and power, the Missouri standout flashes enough speed and quickness to win as an inside or outside pass rusher. From his overwhelming "push-pull" maneuvers to his rugged bull rush, the 6-5, 286-pounder is a rare find as a power-based pass rusher who also has run-stopping skills. Robinson could be an intriguing option as a borderline Day 1 pick for a team looking to add a combo defender to the rotation. 


Payton Wilson
N.C. State · Senior

Teams looking for a high-IQ defender with a non-stop motor and elite tackling skills will fall in love with Wilson when they study his tape and sit down with him at an interview session. The N.C. State standout (ranked third among linebackers on my list of the top five prospects by position) boasts a pair of 100-tackle seasons on his resume; he's also collected 15 sacks and snagged seven interceptions as a designated playmaker on the second level. The five-year player can be deployed in various ways to create chaos for opponents unable to track his whereabouts before the snap. Teams are looking for defensive playmakers with game-changing potential, and Wilson's stock is poised to rise.


Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · Senior

Mitchell flew under the radar for most of the 2023 season -- then emerged as a CB1 candidate following a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. The Toledo standout (No. 4 among CBs on my list of top five prospects by position) has shown big-time talent while dominating blue-chip Power 5 prospects in one-on-ones and team drills. His size, athleticism and skills make him an intriguing option as a shutdown corner on the island. Whether playing nose-to-nose coverage in a man-to-man concept or shadowing wideouts from a distance in zone coverage, Mitchell's versatility and supreme talent could lift him to the No. 1 spot at his position by the end of the process.  


Calen Bullock
USC · Junior

In the NFL, it is imperative for elite defenses to feature a centerfielder type at the free safety spot. Bullock is a rangy defender with the speed, athleticism and anticipation to roam from the middle to the top of the numbers on deep balls. As a natural ballhawk who posted nine career interceptions in three seasons, he flashes the instincts and awareness to take the ball away and eliminate big plays. While Bullock's tackling skills need improvement, the USC product is a unique pass defender built for a league all about the passing game.  

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