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2024 NFL Draft: Five takeaways from Daniel Jeremiah's conference call

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah answered questions for nearly two hours on Wednesday, previewing the 2024 NFL Draft (April 25-27) during a media conference call. He covered several of the spiciest topics in his discussion; below are five key takeaways from the call.

1) What is Washington's plan? If the Chicago Bears have settled on USC QB Caleb Williams with the first overall pick, then the 2024 NFL Draft really starts at No. 2 with the Washington Commanders. They also are likely to select a quarterback, Jeremiah agrees. It could be a franchise-shifting few days, given the team's possession of nine total picks, including six of the top 100, but nailing the QB choice at No. 2 is obviously the most important element of new general manager Adam Peters' maiden draft with the team.

"He's got a massive decision in front of him, starting with his very first pick," Jeremiah said of Peters. "That's a lot of pressure. That's difficult when you are just coming together, with a coach and a general manager -- not to mention new owner, new organization -- and trying to learn your existing roster.

"They were very aggressive in free agency in terms of bringing in a lot of guys. So trying to make all these pieces fit. Oh, by the way, right away you've got to make a call on the quarterback position and make sure that you get that right."

Jeremiah said he's talked to Peters about Washington's decision to bring in three top QB prospects -- Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy -- together for a simultaneous visit. Peters told Jeremiah it's something they'd done in the past when Peters was with the 49ers' staff. Jeremiah said that his own experience has taught him that hosting the QB prospects that way might allow a franchise's owner to meet all of them in one day.

As far as whom the Commanders favor at No. 2, Peters isn't talking. Jeremiah's initial instinct was to lean toward North Carolina's Maye, seeing some similar traits between Maye and new head coach Dan Quinn's former quarterback in Atlanta, Matt Ryan. But since then, Jeremiah's conversations around the rest of the league have given him a different sense of the Commanders' preference.

"In talking to coaches and executives around the league, they're like overwhelmingly convinced around the league that this is Jayden Daniels, that this is going to be the pick there at No. 2," Jeremiah said. "I like Jayden Daniels a lot. I like all these three quarterbacks. That seems to be the expectation from folks around the league, but again ... anybody that said they know exactly what Washington is doing is lying, because I don't think Adam is saying a word."

2) Who wants to make a deal? Jeremiah was asked about the trade action for this draft -- and he dug into the potential for movement by teams seeking help at positions outside of QB.

One might be the Commanders, who likely need to insulate their rookie QB (and anyone else who takes snaps for them) with better blocking. But securing that might require a move up after the QB selection is made.

The Commanders own two picks just outside Round 1, at Nos. 36 and 40 overall. Jeremiah imagined a scenario where they use one (or both?) of those selections to vault back into the first to take a starting-ready offensive tackle, given that there might not be one of those who lingers into the second-round range.

"I'm not loving the fact of sitting at 36 and 40," Jeremiah said. "I think they're a prime candidate to come back up and try and scoop up one of these tackles. Like if you've got (Georgia's) Amarius Mims, who's floating around there in the teens, they have plenty of ammunition to be aggressive and go get a starting offensive tackle.

"That to me is something I would keep an eye on. I don't see them standing pat and sticking in there at 36 and 40. I think you'll see them try and make a move and address the offensive line."

The division-rival Eagles are always a prime candidate to move. GM Howie Roseman didn't come to be known as "Trader Howie" by being a wallflower, and after an offseason of losing some pieces, they might be ready to make a big jump up for the right player -- perhaps one of the top two cornerbacks in this class, Alabama's Terrion Arnold or Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell.

"I never sleep on Howie Roseman as a potential (mover) to go north or south," Jeremiah said. "I always keep an eye on them. I think they have a pretty obvious need there at corner.

"You have somebody like Terrion Arnold or even Mitchell, if ... either those guys start to drift a little bit, I wouldn't sleep at all on the Eagles being an aggressive team and going up there and trying to get one of those corners."

One other team Jeremiah mentioned was one that has been a bit quiet this offseason: the Saints. Their history suggests they might be laying in wait for an aggressive move up come draft time, if the right offensive tackle is there.

"The Saints have historically in their DNA been an aggressive (draft) team," Jeremiah said. "They're in a position where they have a dire need at tackle. I think they could stay where they are at 14 and get a really good one, but they're always a candidate to try to move up and get a guy that they really love."

3) Will Jets jump at a pass catcher? When asked about the possible aggression of the Jets and GM Joe Douglas at the No. 10 slot, Jeremiah wasn't sure they'd be one of the more aggressive teams when it comes to moving up or down, in spite of his previous mock draft suggesting they could move up for Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

On the call, Jeremiah called that particular prognostication a "chaos" scenario. A more plausible move might be a shorter trade up if one of the other receivers falls. Jeremiah singled out Washington's Rome Odunze as a possible trade-up target for the Jets.

"If (Odunze) gets to eight, I could make a strong argument that the Jets could make an easy, painless flip with Atlanta, where Atlanta goes back to 10," Jeremiah said. "(The Jets) could leapfrog Chicago (at No. 9) and take Odunze, and it wouldn't cost them much."

But the Jets might also stay at 10 and go in a different direction -- with Georgia TE Brock Bowers or an offensive tackle, either Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga or Washington's Troy Fautanu, being very reasonable possibilities.

"My guess on the tackle front would be Fuaga. I mean, that would be Fuaga or Fautanu, one of those two guys," Jeremiah said, pointing to Ali Vera-Tucker as a successful pick by the Jets whose makeup and positional versatility coming out was similar to Fautanu as a prospect now.

Yet, Jeremiah thinks Bowers might be too tempting for Douglas to pass on in that scenario, ranking him as the first option if it unfolded that way, with Fuaga and Fautanu right behind him.

"My gut tells me I think they would take Bowers," he said. "I think (Douglas) comes from an organization ... in Baltimore where they had great tight ends, and they've always done a good job of drafting tight ends.

"I like their tight end room now. (Tyler) Conklin's a solid player. But [Bowers] would give [the Jets] a little something different there that they don't have."

4) Where will J.J. McCarthy land? The buzz around McCarthy has driven one of the biggest and most fascinating storylines of the pre-draft cycle, with the Michigan quarterback rising to the point where he's being mentioned with the top passers in the entire class -- or close to them, anyway.

Jeremiah believes the hype is real, at least in terms of teams' interest, which has ramped up significantly since the NFL Scouting Combine and Michigan's pro day. At the end of the day, Jeremiah doesn't think McCarthy will last very long next Thursday.

"If you tell me that J.J. McCarthy goes beyond the 12th pick, I'd be shocked," he said.

Twelve is where the Denver Broncos pick. One spot ahead of them at No. 11 overall are the Minnesota Vikings. They are the two teams Jeremiah mentioned when he was asked who most was connected to McCarthy.

The Vikings are in a better position to move up, owning two first-round selections (including No. 23 overall) and nine picks total. Denver owns eight selections, but six of them come after the 120th pick. The Broncos also lack a second-rounder this year.

McCarthy might even be in play inside the top five overall, depending on how aggressive the QB-needy teams get, and the Vikings likely will have the better shot of getting him with the stronger supply of ammunition.

"Everything's on the table," Jeremiah said. "Whether or not that's a trade up to 4, 5, whether that's a trade up just a couple spots, or whether those teams stand pat, I think all those options are in play."

Jeremiah also believes that out of all the teams most rumored to be in the quarterback business this draft, the Vikings present the best chance for a rookie QB to succeed early on.

"I would say if you gave truth serum to the quarterbacks and the agents of all the top guys, every single one of them would say they would love nothing more than to go to the Minnesota Vikings," Jeremiah said. "That would be the No. 1 choice.

"Of all these teams that are quarterback teams ... that is by far the best landing spot for any quarterback to go into. It's all set up, from the things that we talk about with the three Ps, with the play caller, the protection, the play makers, check, check, check."

Jeremiah believes having Sam Darnold also helps the Vikings, in the sense that they won't need to rush a rookie QB into the lineup. In his mind, it's a spot that's set up to help whichever QB ends up in Minnesota succeed.

"I can't think of a better situation for a young quarterback than the one that the Minnesota Vikings have," he said.

By contrast, Jeremiah called the Broncos' situation "functional" and "sustainable" for a rookie QB -- just not as attractive as what the Vikings can offer now.

"Look, it's not the Vikings, but look, I think it's set up to be functional," Jeremiah said. "You look at having the offensive mind/play caller there with Sean (Payton) and (Joe) Lombardi having been together forever."

"I put it this way. I think it's set up to be sustainable. You're not going to ruin the quarterback by throwing him out there with that group right now."

5) Who might join Byron Murphy as a potential riser into the top 10? There are always late draft risers and prospects who go higher than expected. Jeremiah was asked about a few of his favorites, and one name stuck out above the rest: Texas DT Byron Murphy.

One big reason, especially in a post-Aaron Donald NFL, is that top-tier defensive tackles are in such short supply.

"It's a league that has placed an ever-more premium on defensive tackles," Jeremiah said. "I was talking to a general manager ... and when you look around the league, and we ask, who are the true impact dominant defensive tackles, [there are] maybe seven or eight of them. Edge rushers, it goes a lot deeper than that."

Murphy's talent as a Donald-esque interior rusher, along with the dearth of DT talent, could combine to create a perfect storm that pushes Murphy up in Round 1, perhaps even in the top 10 overall.

"When you look at the draft to me, you know, there's some other interesting names you could go after outside the first round at the edge rusher position," Jeremiah said. "It falls off pretty quick at defensive tackle (after Murphy). Even though everybody's kind of looking at the sack issues they've had and them needing an edge rusher, I wouldn't just totally rule out Murphy there as somebody that (top-10 teams) could be at least interested in."

Jeremiah also singled out Penn State pass rusher Chop Robinson. Asked about how Robinson might fit with the 49ers, who pick 31st overall, Jeremiah said Robinson is a prospect who likely "won't make it that far" down the draft.

"Chop Robinson is [my No. 21 overall player]. If he went up 10 spots higher than that, it wouldn't shock me," Jeremiah said.

Two other sneaky dark-horse candidates for the late first round Jeremiah mentioned included Michigan LB Junior Colson (his "intangibles ... are off the charts," Jeremiah said) and South Carolina WR Xavier Legette. (Jeremiah: "He has some love. You see Buffalo mentioned as a potential spot for him in the bottom of the first round.")

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