Dynasty Player Spotlight: 2024 NFL Draft Prospects Preview
It's Never Too Early To Look Ahead
Welcome back to the Dynasty Player Spotlight series.
Each week, we’ll take a look at some key performances from NFL play and deliver actionable analysis that dynasty managers should use to their advantage.
We’d be remiss not to wish everyone a happy October. The leaves are soon to change colors, the air’s becoming crisp, and it’s getting spooky early for several dynasty squads.
Maybe you haven’t put much thought into your Halloween plans yet, but it’s reasonably evident at this point whether or not your team is a trick or a treat in your league.
Through four games of the 2023 season, it’s also fairly evident which NFL teams are wearing masks and scaring us into giving up on their players.
Even as good as QB Justin Fields looked vs. the Broncos, the Bears still managed to lose on Sunday. Between holding their own first-round pick and the one they acquired via the Panthers this offseason, they have an overwhelmingly likely chance at securing the #1 (and maybe the #2) overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Despite winning vs. the Panthers in Week 4, the Vikings are 1-3 and have their work carved out for them in replacing QB Kirk Cousins at the end of his contract while trying to maintain future winning ways with WR Justin Jefferson and TE T.J. Hockenson still in their primes.
It's Already Mock Draft SZN
Tracking the potential draft order will be a popular topic from here on out.
We're already seeing some early 2024 NFL Mock Drafts coming out from major publications. There's been enough college action and signs of what various NFL teams need that the pieces are starting to fall in place for what may happen come late April.
To keep in that spirit, we’ll be flipping the script a bit and talking about some of the top 2024 prospects this week.
This list of players and analysis of the profiles are far from definitive at this stage, and we’ll dive much deeper into more of these guys here at Draft Sharks once the winter and spring roll around.
But if you’re starting to think about selling off players and entering a rebuild mode, or you’re thinking about dealing away 2024 rookie draft picks, why not learn about some collegiate athletes on the cusp of going pro?
Let’s dive in:
Looking to cash out or buy up 2024 rookie draft picks?
Never make a deal without consulting our dynasty trade value charts.
Caleb Williams, USC
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is the betting favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, and whichever team ends up landing him will be thrilled.
Dynasty managers angling for the 1.01 ought to be pretty excited, too.
Williams ranks first in the FBS in passing TDs (21), 14th in adjusted completion percentage (80.2%), and eighth in Pro Football Focus (PFF) passing grade among QBs with at least 100 dropbacks through five games this season.
Among Williams’ most outstanding traits are his ability to withstand pressure, extend plays, and operate outside of structure to deliver big throws. There’s no shortage of highlights in which you’ll see him scramble around and whip a dart into the end zone.
Just watch Williams cook in this clip vs. Stanford this season:
It’s easy to see why some have compared the youngster to Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes with his calm and quick release.
Setting the bar for expectations that high may be a bit lofty, but go ahead and tune into some PAC-12 football this upcoming weekend and see the magic for yourself if you’re unfamiliar with Williams.
Drake Maye, North Carolina
As good as Williams is, North Carolina’s Drake Maye is a pretty awesome consolation prize for NFL teams and superflex dynasty managers alike.
Maye is a bit of a lanky character with his 6’4, 230-pound build, but his solid rushing ability and arm strength stand out on film.
His 2023 stats aren’t eye-popping. So far, through four games, he’s posted a 5-4 TD:INT ratio with 1,187 passing yards. But Maye’s jump from a 75.4% adjusted completion percentage in 2022 to 84.7% this year stands out, and he’s definitely part of the reason why the Tar Heels are the No. 14 team in the nation as of this writing.
He's Got The Tools
In the pocket, Maye delivers quality strikes downfield with precision. There are some concerns about his ability to operate out of structure, and his relative inexperience as a redshirt sophomore will be part of the conversation come NFL Draft time.
As far as positives go, just get a load of this guy running:
This highlight of Maye tossing a TD with his left hand vs. Pitt is pretty fun, too:
He reminds me a little bit of Chargers QB Justin Herbert coming out of Oregon. We’re talking ceiling comps here, but there’s plenty of reason to be excited about him.
Honorable QB Mentions:
- Bo Nix (Oregon)
- Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
- J.J. McCarthy (Michigan)
- Quinn Ewers (Texas)
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TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
The former No. 1 overall RB in the 2021 college recruiting class, Henderson immediately walked onto campus in Columbus and set the Ohio State freshman record for total TDs (19) with 1,248 rushing yards in 2021, ranking fourth in the Big 10.
Unfortunately, he suffered a broken bone in his foot that required surgery in 2022.
This injury limited Henderson to eight games as a sophomore and dealt a blow to his opportunity to capitalize on his debut success. Fortunately, he’s bounced back so far in 2023.
See It To Believe It
Henderson’s numbers in the box scores from this season don’t explode off of the page because the Buckeyes have a stable of complementary backs (including Miyan Williams, an under-the-radar name that’ll pop up during the draft process) that help to shoulder the load.
Even so, Henderson looks great on film.
He’s not the largest back in the world (5’10, 212 pounds), but Henderson possesses a stout frame to go along with a high motor and ability to accelerate:
Perhaps it’s just the recent memory and the fact that they both went to the same college in my head, but Henderson feels a lot like what managers had hoped for out of J.K. Dobbins.
Dynasty managers should keep tabs on his name throughout the rest of the college season.
Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
Those who tend to go for physical backs are going to like Allen a lot.
He’s a 6’2, 245-pound workhorse who’s dominated the workload since arriving as a freshman in Wisconsin in 2021. Allen has recorded 1,200+ rushing yards in his first two seasons and is the type of player you look at and say, “Whoa!”
More Than Meets The Eye?
Allen isn’t the fastest guy in the world, but he’s a solid runner with his frame while being fleet of foot in open space:
He profiles strongly as a bruiser, but Allen is a little more than that. This player presents sneaky agility that should profile as a strong 1A-type back in a primary gap-rushing scheme.
We’re talking about a player akin to Steven Jackson or perhaps a David Montgomery on the lower end.
The lazy Derrick Henry comp isn't going to fly for obvious reasons, so let’s just cut it down the middle and say that Allen is the high-end RB2 type that dynasty managers should be very excited to have.
Honorable RB Mentions:
- Trey Benson (Florida State)
- Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
- Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards (Michigan)
- Audric Estime (Notre Dame)
- Will Shipley (Clamson)
Never overlook value in your leagues.
Stay up-to-date with our dynasty rankings here at Draft Sharks.
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
Maybe you’ve heard of his father?
The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Colts WR Marvin Harrison definitely got “it” from his daddy.
Among 96 WRs who saw at least 80 targets in 2022, Harrison Jr. ranked first in PFF receiving grade, third in yards per route run (3.15), and third in receiving TDs (12) as a 20-year-old true sophomore.
He’s struggled a little bit in 2023 as Ohio State transitions toward the future with Harrison Jr.’s high school QB Kyle McCord under center in Columbus, but that early breakout season is too much to ignore.
Don't Make Me Say It...
There’s a reasonably high chance that Harrison Jr. is a top-five NFL Draft pick, if not the No. 2 overall pick behind QB Caleb Williams.
Just watch this clip and see for yourself:
Harrison Jr. has drawn comparisons from NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, among others, to former Bengals WR A.J. Green. Given how strong his catch radius is and Harrison Jr.’s ability to contort his body in the air, I see a little CeeDee Lamb in his profile as well.
The term “generational” has become bastardized and overused at this point, but if there were any collegiate WR prospect to deserve that moniker truly, it would be him.
Harrison Jr. is likely to be the 1.01 in non-superflex rookie drafts come summertime.
Honorable WR Mentions:
- Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU)
- Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State)
- Keon Coleman (Florida State)
- Rome Odunze (Washington)
- Troy Franklin (Oregon)
- Adonai Mitchell and Xaiver Worthy (Texas)
Brock Bowers, Georgia
Bowers has played like a man amongst boys since he was an 18-year-old freshman at Georgia.
He led the Bulldogs in receiving with 56 receptions, 882 yards, and a record-setting 13 receiving TDs in 2021 and hasn’t slowed down since.
Bowers was named the winner of the John Mackey Award (college’s top TE) and a first-team All-American as a sophomore with 63 catches and 943 yards.
On top of that, he’s used in the rushing game sometimes. Through 35 career games, he’s seen 16 carries for 172 rushing yards and 6 TDs.
The Ultimate Prototype
At 6’4, 240 pounds, he looks so comically large in his uniform to the point that if alien life contacted Earth and said, “Show us a football player,” we’d be doing these extraterrestrial beings a disservice by not introducing them to Bowers.
It’s not difficult to draw an immediate comparison to George Kittle on film:
Because Bowers is also such a good blocker, he’s the type of player who isn’t likely to be rotated out in specific game situations. That’s the type of goodness managers love to see.
I’m not a huge proponent of using first-round rookie draft picks on TEs, but Bowers is the type of player who is the exception that proves the rule. He’s not just a dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands. This is a complete TE who isn’t just a big WR like Kyle Pitts and should do well for fantasy purposes relatively quickly.
Honorable TE Mentions:
- Ja’Tavion Sanders (Texas)
- Jaheim Bell (Florida State)
- Cade Stover (Ohio State)
More Dynasty Fantasy Football Strategy
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