Skip to main content

Draft Debate

Presented By

Most underrated NFL draft prospect in 2024 class? One QB among eight potential candidates

While judgments have already been made on nearly every NFL prospect ahead of this month's 2024 NFL Draft (April 25-27 in Detroit), there are many players who have flown under the radar. Whether they play in some of this class' deepest position groups or are recovering from injury, there are guys who deserve more attention. With that in mind, we ask:

Who is the most underrated player in this year's draft?

Jeffri Chadiha

PICK: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

More people would be talking about Thomas if this draft wasn't loaded with wide receivers. It's true that he's not on the same level as Marvin Harrison, Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers, his teammate at LSU. That doesn't mean he doesn't have star potential. Thomas has size (6-foot-3, 209 pounds), speed (he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine) and production (he led college football with 17 touchdown receptions last year). He might last until the second half of the first round, but somebody will be thrilled to grab him.

Eric Edholm

PICK: Marshawn Kneeland, Edge, Western Michigan

There’s some debate over just how athletic he is relative to his testing numbers, but Kneeland impressed me with his movement skills in space along with his momentum-stopping hitting ability. He’ll whiff on a few plays and might be overwhelmed by elite power blockers, but Kneeland has a hot motor, big production and a nose for the ball. I think top 50 isn’t out of the question.

Chad Reuter

PICK: Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama

Burton went a bit under the radar despite leading Alabama in receiving yards (898) and touchdowns (eight) because the Crimson Tide ranked just 68th in the FBS in passing offense. He was not credited with a drop, per PFF, maturing as a reliable short and intermediate route-runner to complement the speed he’s shown since his days at Georgia. Burton will be an Amon-Ra St. Brown-type bargain if available in the third or fourth round.

Maurice Jones-Drew

PICK: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

DeJean sustained a season-ending fibula injury in November, forcing him to miss the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, but he tested well at his private pro day on Monday. While he's still a likely first-round pick, if not for the injury, I believe the Iowa cornerback would be a sure-fire top-15 selection. He excels in man and zone coverage and has great ball skills with the ability to take it the distance -- thanks to his return ability. He’s a unicorn who will positively influence both the defense and special teams.

Scott Pioli

PICK: Jonah Elliss, Edge, Utah

There are a lot of players who fall under this category, but Elliss is the player I’m focusing on. Measuring 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, he is an undersized edge rusher who surprised a lot of people by entering the draft this year. Although he is a good, young player with major upside, he still has to develop to become a finish product. The son of two-time NFL Pro Bowler Luther Elliss, Jonah possesses good initial get-off, strong pass rush instincts and disruptive ability with a nonstop motor. 

Lance Zierlein

PICK: Renardo Green, CB, Florida State

Green did an incredible job of shadowing LSU's Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., and yet, he still flies under the radar somewhat. He has slightly below average size (6-foot, 186 pounds) to play outside, but he can really blanket targets over the first two levels in man coverage. I see him as a possible nickel cornerback and a future starter who should be in consideration in the second round, but will probably go a round or two later.

Marc Ross

PICK: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

Legette was a late bloomer for South Carolina but is a legit playmaker. The 6-foot-1, 221-pound wideout plays physical and fast (4.39-second 40-yard dash) with outstanding ball skills, and his kick return ability adds more value to his stock with the league’s new rules. To me, his talent is comparable with the better-known receivers who’ll get picked early in Round 1.

David Carr

PICK: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

I get that some teams might be concerned with Penix’s injury history, but I still believe Penix’s name should be among the elite in this year’s quarterback class. Instead, he’ll likely be the fifth -- maybe sixth – passer off the board at the end of this month. Penix has proven to be one of the best downfield passers in this class. He’s a natural thrower with great vision and processing skills, and he showed last season he can elevate an offense around him. Penix can do the same at the next level.

Related Content