Four Prospects Could Wildly Change the 2024 NFL Draft

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) scores a touchdown during the second half of a NCAA college football game against Ole Miss in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Georgia won 52-17.

The 2024 NFL Draft is officially less than a month away.

As the event continues to inch closer, we’ve seen major changes on consensus big boards throughout the event. Many prospects have risen and fallen as a result of events like the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. When draft night officially arrives, things could get chaotic very quickly if some prospects end up going higher or lower than expected. Here are four prospects who could drastically change how the first round ends up.

TE Brock Bowers

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a NCAA college football game against Ole Miss in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Georgia won 52-17.

Brock Bowers might be the most complete tight end prospect ever. He came into the Georgia program in 2021 and immediately was a terrific contributor for back-to-back national championships.

Bowers has done a good job of filling out his 6’4″ frame, and while he could certainly add more weight, the 21-year-old has plenty of time to do so. He brought sub-4.5 speed, crisp route-running, and a nuanced blocking ability to Georgia’s offense for three years.

The top of the draft is about landing sure-thing prospects. The tight end position doesn’t exactly carry the same weight as a quarterback or wide receiver, but Bowers is about as ready for the NFL as any tight end prospect we’ve ever seen. The question is: will anyone be willing to go out on a limb and take him?

QB Michael Penix

Minnesota Reemerges
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

As of now, the consensus is that there is a “Big Four” at the QB position in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, what if there is a team out there that doesn’t view it that way? Michael Penix certainly has the talent to start in the NFL. He can rifle passes downfield with elite velocity and has sneaky athleticism in the pocket.

As a result of Penix’s ability to deliver accurate passes downfield, Washington built much of their offense around exactly that. During the 2023 season, Penix led all of the FBS in pass attempts of 20+ yards (117), per PFF. He completed 51 of them for 1787 yards, 16 TDs, and seven interceptions.

The major question with Penix revolves around his injury history, considering he suffered four season-ending ailments during his career at Indiana. However, he has since put together a pair of healthy seasons at Washington and had clean medicals come through at the combine. Is that enough for a team to take a chance on him higher in the draft than anyone expects?

QB J.J. McCarthy

2024 NFL Draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Even if Penix doesn’t go higher than expected, J.J. McCarthy is trending higher and higher by the day. In fact, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Monday that there is a belief among some league executives that the Washington Commanders could select him with the second overall pick.

Of course, nothing is set in stone based on simple words (remember, Will Levis was the heavy favorite to go to Houston with the No. 2 pick in 2023). However, if McCarthy does indeed land with Washington, that could create a frenzy to land players like Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye.

WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Nov 18, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) pushes off Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Devon Williams (9) as he runs down the field during the first half of their game on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at Ohio Stadium.

Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the most talented wide receiver prospects we’ve seen in recent years, even in an era where drafts have been chock-full of receiving talent. Harrison is capable of beating defenses at all three levels of the field and can contribute on the boundary with his 6’4″ frame or in the slot by utilizing effortless speed and athleticism.

On top of his receiving skills, Harrison is already a strong blocking presence at the position and is not afraid to mix things up to open up lanes for running backs or on screen passes to other receivers.

Teams at the top of the draft (Chicago, Washington, New England) certainly could simply go all-in on quarterback prospects in April, but again, the top of the draft is all about finding prospects who can help a team win immediately. It will be hard to pass up on a prospect like Harrison who is more than capable of doing that if they aren’t absolutely sold by QB prospects.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.