Pro Football Focus (PFF) published their “Way-Too-Early 2024 NFL Mock Draft” on Monday and, yes, it’s WAY TOO EARLY . . . but it’s also sort of amusing, interesting, surprising, and downright nauseating from a Seahawks perspective.
Let’s address each of those feelings individually . . .
There are a few things that I find amusing about PFF’s Way-Too-Early Mock Draft:
ONE. Way-too-early seems like an understatement.
TWO. I’m not sure what’s funnier: the fact that PFF thinks that the Los Angeles Rams will use their native R1 next year or the fact that the last time the Rams used an R1 was when they selected QB Jared Goff at No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
THREE. PFF says that the draft order is based on Super Bowl 58 odds yet they have the Seahawks picking at No. 11 overall which means that they think 21 teams have better odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next year.
I call bullshit on that!
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, for instance, has the Seahawks with the 13th-best odds (+3,000) which means Seattle should be selecting at No. 19.
No. 19 still seems high to me, but not nearly as high as PFF’s nonsensical No. 11.
FOUR. The Los Angeles Rams take a cornerback from Alabama at No. 7.
Yes, the Rams picking at No. 7 is amusing, but the more amusing part is the nom de plume of the player they select at No. 7: Kool-Aid.
Much like Sauce Gardner though, Kool-Aid McKinstry (real name Ga’Quincy) is no laughing matter.
Kool-Aid was a first-team All-American in 2022 and tied for 2nd nationwide with 18 pass breakups. Kool-Aid also led all Power Five players last year with 332 punt return yards.
His name his very amusing though.
And, yes, he signed a Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) deal with Kool-Aid during his freshman season at Alabama.
Thanks, Grandma! (She gave him the nickname when he was born because “he came out smiling like the Kool-Aid man”.)
Obviously, the most interesting thing in any mock draft is who the Seahawks take with their selection(s), and PFF’s Way-Too-Early Mock Draft is no exception.
A year after heading into the draft with the defensive line as the No. 1 need, John Schneider and Pete Carroll select . . .
Michigan Running Back Blake Corum.
With the 11th selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive Tackle Jer’Zhan Newton from the University of Illinois.
Here’s what PFF said about Jer’Zahn Newton:
In an exclusive interview with PFF, Newton revealed that he returned to Illinois partly because he wanted to be a first-round pick. He was the most valuable Power Five interior defensive lineman this past season and led that same group with 59 pressures. His 13 tackles for loss/no-gain were tied for the most among FBS interior defensive linemen as well.
Of moderate interest . . .
Twenty-seven of the 32 selections in PFF’s Way-Too-Early Mock Draft are among the first 32 players on PFF’s 2024 Big Board.
The players who missed out were:
- UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu (No. 16)
- Georgia CB Javon Bullard (No. 23)
- Michigan RB Blake Corum (No. 24) - No RBs were selected in Round 1
- Oregon QB Bo Nix (No. 29)
- Texas WR Adonai Mitchell (No. 32)
These are the players who were selected in their place:
- No. 18: Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders (Chargers) - No. 66 on PFF’s Big Board
- No. 22: Duke OT Graham Barton (Dolphins) - No. 55
- No. 24: Ohio State IDL Michael Hall (Ravens) - No. 40
- No. 29: USC OT Jonah Monheim (49ers) - No. 83
- No. 32: U-Dub WR Rome Odunze (Chiefs) - No. 38
Note: As a 12, it’s nice to see Santa Clara make the biggest reach on Day One!
USC QB Caleb Williams and North Carolina QB Drake Maye are currently 1-2 on PFF’s 2024 Big Board, and that’s not expected to change between now and next April.
It could, of course, but it’s not expected to.
PFF has them being drafted at Number One and Number Five in their Way-Too-Early Mock Draft.
In and of itself, that isn’t terribly surprising since not all of the top teams in PFF’s Way-Too-Early Mock Draft “need” a quarterback. For example, the Indianapolis Colts (No. 3) and Tennessee Titans (No. 4) took QBs this year, at No. 4 and No. 33 respectively.
Here’s where where it gets truly surprising though . . .
There is an 8-spot difference between where the University of Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. is ranked on the PFF Big Board (No. 21 overall) and where he is selected in their way-too-early mock draft.
I would argue that the difference should be even larger.
The Washington Commanders are sitting at No. 6, the Green Bay Packers are at No. 8, and the Atlanta Falcons at No. 9. A year from now each of those teams may be viewed as QB-needy. Heck, two of the three were viewed that way this year.
Note: PFF has the Raiders taking Penix with the justification being that Jimmy G. isn’t the long-term answer, and Penix had an insane number of yards last year (4,641) with a turnover-worthy-plays rate of 1.3% which was the 5th-lowest nationwide.
Turning our Penix attention to the Seahawks . . .
Depending on how the 2023 season goes, the Seahawks might also be a logical landing spot for the local QB.
If so, John and Pete and Seattle’s team of scouts will have had plenty of opportunities to catch Penix in action since Husky Stadium is only about 25 minutes away from Seahawks HQ (maybe an hour in traffic).
As noted earlier, the selection order in PFF’s Way-Too-Early Mock Draft is based on what they consider to be the current Super Bowl 58 odds.
Naturally, that means that Houston lands the No. 1 pick and the Cardinals land the No. 2 pick . . . or vice versa since DraftKings currently has both teams at +20,000 to win Super Bowl LVIII.
Of course, as we all know (because it just happened a few days ago), the Cardinals own the Texans’ first round pick next year.
That means that the Cardinals are currently expected to have both the Number One AND the Number Two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Even worse, PFF has them taking USC QB Caleb Williams at No. 1 and Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 2.
The only thing that’s keeping the bile down right now is knowing how onerous Kyler Murray’s contract will be for the Cardinals to get out of before 2025.
They sort of painted themselves into the corner there.
I doubt they’ll mind though.
Not if they’re able to draft the best QB and the best wideout in next year’s draft and both players turn out to be TRULY special.
For those of us that like learning about players via mock draft simulators, and those of us who just like mock drafts in general, PFF’s 2024 NFL Mock Draft Simulator is already live - although I’ve been told it’s behind a paywall (at least partially).
The good news is that PFN’s 2024 Mock Draft Simulator (with free trades) is also live.
Have fun, and GO HAWKS!