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Ranking the Top 10 Prospects Eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft

Alex Kay

The 2024 NFL draft may be nearly a year away, but it's hardly too early to start identifying the top prospects in the class are. These players will be on every team's radar as they head into what will likely be their final collegiate campaigns while trending toward becoming first-round picks next April.

While it's far from guaranteed these players will remain the absolute best draft-eligible talents the college football world has to offer, they've already done enough to warrant a lofty selection. Almost all of them would have been Day 1 picks had they been available this year.

With that in mind, here is a ranked list—based on a player's projectable size, strengths and skills in addition to projected future pro contributions—of the top 10 prospects to keep an eye on for 2024.

10. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson

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Pro football fans should be familiar with this name, as Jeremiah Trotter Jr.'s namesake father is a former All-Pro linebacker who played 12 seasons in the league. While Trotter is following in his dad's footsteps as a linebacker, he's already begun making a name of his own at Clemson and could end up being remembered as the better NFL player when all is said and done.

Trotter was a breakout force as a sophomore with the Tigers last year, notching 89 tackles—13.5 for loss—to go with 6.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions. He's shown to be a versatile asset with great athleticism and a high football IQ, qualities that minimize the negative impact that his smaller six-foot, 230-pound stature can have on his game.

While he may not be the biggest player at his position, Trotter is still a capable defender who hits extremely hard. He's able to defend against the run with great effect and can drop into coverage and hold his own there with ease. There's still plenty of room for growth here, but Trotter is ready emerge as the best overall linebacker in the nation during the 2023 season thanks his immense talent, upside and pedigree.

9. Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

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Before he elected to return to Florida State for another season, Jared Verse was considered one of the better defensive linemen who would potentially be available in the 2023 class. He was rated as the No. 25 overall prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's end-of-season big board and was the fifth-highest edge-defender, only slightly behind a trio of eventual first-round talents (Will Anderson Jr., Myles Murphy and Nolan Smith) and an early Day 2 pick (BJ Ojulari).

Verse revealed to ESPN's Andrea Adelson that he was given feedback from the league that indicated he would have been a top-20 selection had he opted to turn pro, but the 22-year-old believes another year with the Seminoles will make him a better player. He highlighted his decision-making as the main area he wants to improve during his second season in Tallahassee.

While Verse will surely benefit from working on his craft, he has little left to prove after a standout year. He earned all-ACC honors after racking up 48 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks despite missing a game with injury and being limited by that ailment in several other contests. If he can stay healthy, the defensive lineman should have no issue improving upon those figures and boosting his draft stock further.

Verse may be one of the older prospects by the time he enters the 2024 draft, but that shouldn't deter teams from pouncing on a pro-ready edge-defender who can contribute immediately in the NFL. The FSU star is shaping up to be a top-10 pick and a Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite if he continues on his current trajectory.

8. Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

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Dallas Turner may not have been a focal point for Alabama's defense over the past two years, but he's still notched an impressive 67 tackles—including 18 for loss—and 12.5 sacks in that span. He began in a rotational role as true freshman in 2021, performing well enough to cinch up a starting spot last year. Regardless of how and where Turner has been utilized, he's consistently managed to terrorize SEC quarterbacks.

With Turner no longer playing in the shadow of Will Anderson Jr.—the No. 3 overall pick in 2023—he should step up and become the Crimson Tide's top sack-maker during the upcoming campaign. The 6'4", 243-pound edge-rusher possesses great hands, using them to shed blockers and execute counters with ease. Factor in a quick closing burst, immense strength for his size, flexibility, balance, coverage skills and good knowledge of the game, and you have a near-complete package whose game leaves little to be desired.

Any team coming out of the 2023 NFL season with a need to bolster its pass-rushing capabilities will be keeping tabs on Turner. The edge-rusher has been contributing to Alabama's vaunted defense since he first stepped foot on campus in Tuscaloosa in 2021, and his best is still yet to come.

7. Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

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Olumuyiwa Fashanu was a rather unheralded recruit when he committed to Penn State ahead of the 2021 season, but he's now looking like he may eventually become one of the first players off the board in the 2024 NFL draft. Fashanu elevated to that status following a breakout 2022 season as the Nittany Lions' left tackle.

The 6'6", 321-pounder has only participated in 12 collegiate games thus far, but he's been brilliant in nearly all of them. He's coming off a season in which he didn't allow a single sack and only gave up a single quarterback hit according to PFF. Given how well he's played despite a limited amount of reps, Fashanu has the upside of becoming a superstar tackle as he gains more experience.

While the 20-year-old isn't without his flaws—his footwork needs to be cleaned up and his balance could be improved—he has already displayed a great understanding of angles and leverage. He uses his long arms to his advantage and has flashed his strength despite having plenty of room to pack more power onto his frame. He plays hard with good work ethic and displays the type of mean streak that NFL teams covet in their offensive linemen.

Considering Fashanu was the top tackle on the B/R Scouting Department's big board before he opted for a return to Happy Valley, there's every reason to believe he will have his most successful season yet followed by an early selection in 2024.

6. Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

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Joe Alt is the best offensive line talent in the 2024 class and should be a top-five pick when he enters next year's draft. The Notre Dame product is another NFL legacy prospect, following in the footsteps of his father, John, who played 13 years with the Kansas City Chiefs after being selected in Round 1 of the 1984 draft.

Alt's been a regular contributor for the Fighting Irish since his true freshman season in 2021 and has steadily improved heading into his upcoming junior campaign. He's participated in 23 games—mostly at left tackle—and became a true force last year, giving up just six hurries and two quarterback hits with zero sacks conceded across 406 pass-blocking snaps according to PFF (h/t SI.com). He offers immense value in the ground game as well, grading out as the No. 1 run-blocking offensive tackle in the FBS last year.

Alt should be a shoo-in top-five pick because of his hulking 6'7", 317-pound frame, elite athleticism, fluid movement abilities, refined skill set and unlimited potential. He has all the makings of a perennial Pro Bowler who can anchor an offensive line for years to come.

5. Kool-Aid McKinstry, DB, Alabama

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Alabama star Kool-Aid McKinstry has the skills to match his flashy nickname, and he's been living up to the hype ever since he arrived on campus as one of the top prospects in the nation.

According to NFLDraftBuzz, McKinstry logged nearly 500 snaps at corner as a true freshman in Nick Saban's defense. While his stats didn't jump off the page, he was reliable—79.7 QB rating when targeted—and able to hold his own against older, more developed wideouts across the SEC. The 20-year-old built on that impressive debut last season, staying on the field for almost 800 snaps while only allowing opposing passers to earn a meager 59.0 QB rating when testing him in coverage.

There's not much to knock in McKinstry's game. He's already played well enough to be considered the No. 1 defensive back for 2024 by a good margin, and he's only going to get better as he earns more reps and spends more time in the weight room. He has prototypical size for a modern NFL cornerback at 6'1", 188 pounds and is a superb athlete who should have no issues dominating in any defensive scheme.

4. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

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Drake Maye is one of the prized prospects teams desperate for help under center will be hoping to land in 2024. He has the makeup of a franchise quarterback and will be drafted as such, likely becoming one of the first players to hear his name called come next April.

The North Carolina standout put his name on the map as a redshirt freshman last season, eclipsing the 4,000-yard passing mark while racking up an incredible 34 touchdowns. He completed two-thirds of his 482 passing attempts and flashed noteworthy rushing skills as well, amassing almost 700 yards and scoring seven times on 184 totes.

Maye simply looks like an NFL signal-caller, measuring 6'4" and weighing 220 pounds. He's able to make all the throws and can push the ball downfield with his cannon of an arm, but he's also not bound to the pocket thanks to above-average athleticism and speed. Those traits fit well in the modern game and will allow his NFL team to truly open up the playbook when he's on the field.

While many experts have Maye as the No. 2 signal-caller in this class, there's still a chance he can climb to the top spot by building upon what was a spectacular first year as the Tar Heels' starter.

3. Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

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Despite arriving at Georgia just two years ago, Brock Bowers has already put his stamp on the program and become a driving force behind a pair of national championships. The Bulldogs tight end has shown he is downright special, tallying up an eye-popping 1,824 yards and 20 touchdowns on 119 receptions in that span.

It's clear from the numbers that Bowers is an amazing pass-catcher, but he's also one of the best blockers, too. He was the only tight end in the country who played at least 810 snaps last year that earned a run-blocking grade of 70.0 or higher from PFF (h/t SaturdayDownSouth). He's contributed in other ways as well, including ripping off a ridiculous 75-yard run to open a game against Kent State.

Although he may not be the most impressive tight end in terms of his stature, there's little that the 6'4", 230-pound Bowers can't do. He's quick enough to get off the line against defensive backs and flies down the field once he springs free, a trait that has allowed him to create home-run plays. He's powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with linebackers and break tackles, an asset that helps him pick up big yardage after a catch. While he has had a few drops during his tenure at Georgia, those merely represent a minor flaw in his game.

It's not often that a tight end prospect is as highly regarded as Bowers. Depending on how the draft order shakes out and if he continues to dominate, he'll have a real shot at edging out 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts to become the highest-drafted tight end in league history.

2. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

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Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the crown jewels of the 2024 class. The son of a well-known NFL Hall of Famer, the Ohio State star is on a path to becoming just as impactful of a receiver as his father was for the Indianapolis Colts in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Harrison is shaping up to be the best wideout prospect to enter the league in a long time. He got off to a relatively slow start after joining a loaded Buckeyes squad as part of their 2021 recruiting class, but he still found his way onto the field enough as a freshman to score three times in five contests. He left zero doubts about his potential to become a superstar after catching fire last year to the tune of 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 scores.

While Harrison seems to have inherited the elite hands and crisp route-running capabilities of his father, he's much larger than the elder Harrison. Standing at a whopping 6'4", 205 pounds, Harrison may already be giving NFL defensive coordinators nightmares as they try to think of ways they can limit the jumbo-sized playmaker.

Considering Harrison possesses better speed and acceleration than most wideouts of his size, it's going to be tough for NFL defensive backs to keep up with the 20-year-old—let alone the collegiate ones he'll be torching during the 2023 campaign. Harrison has already shown a special ability to make contested grabs and strong ball-tracking skills on downfield plays, so he should absolutely feast this season and cement his status as a top-five pick next year.

1. Caleb Williams, QB, USC

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Caleb Williams is the type of quarterback teams dream about and would gladly mortgage the farm to acquire. ESPN's Jordan Reid theorized that several teams punted on taking a passer in 2023 as they were eyeing Williams as their future quarterback. ESPN's Matt Miller concurred, noting that "so many scouts are already enamored" with the USC product.

It's not difficult to see why Williams is already emerging as the consensus No. 1 overall pick in 2024. He began his collegiate career as a backup but played his way onto the field for Oklahoma as a freshman in 2021. He connected on 136 of 211 throws for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions that year. Those numbers improved markedly after he transferred to USC along with head coach Lincoln Riley for the 2022 campaign. Williams went 333-of-500 on his passing attempts for a borderline absurd 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns against five interceptions in his first Pac-12 season.

While Williams isn't sized like a prototypical pro-style quarterback at 6'1", 215 pounds, there should be no concerns about his arm strength after reviewing the tape. He's able to make all the throws and has little trouble putting them on target, even when his feet aren't set or he's off-balance with defenders draped on him. He has a knack for theatrics and has consistently created big plays in key moments, making him the type of passer a team could rally behind.

Williams can use his legs to both extend plays and create offense at will. While he's not a run-first quarterback, he's already tallied up 824 yards and 16 scores on 192 carries in his first two seasons. Even after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the Pac-12 title game, the Heisman winner showed his resilience by returning in time for the Trojans' Cotton Bowl appearance just over one month later.

His intelligence, decision-making and leadership are all intangible qualities that make him a great player and will translate to the next level. Williams is already close to a lock to be the first player drafted in 2024, and he has a great career in front of him regardless of where he lands.


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