2024 NFL Draft Round 1 winners and losers: Falcons, QBs draw headlines

Six quarterbacks were taken within the first 12 picks, but not all of them were received well.

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The opening round of the 2024 NFL Draft is in the books.

It was a round dominated by quarterback discourse, particularly within the first 12 picks.

Six signal callers were chosen in that span, ranging from Caleb Williams to the Chicago Bears with the first overall pick to Bo Nix to the Denver Broncos at No. 12.

But not all of the picks were well received, specifically one in the top 10.

Let's dive into the Round 1 winners and losers of the 2024 NFL Draft:

WINNER: Quarterbacks

It's a good time to be a quarterback. With the quality in the position not so high across the league, you can see the logic behind some needy teams hoping to land a gem early on. These are the signal callers who went in the first round:

  • Caleb Williams, Chicago Bears (No. 1 overall)
  • Jayden Daniels, Washington Commanders (No. 2 overall)
  • Drake Maye, New England Patriots (No. 3 overall)
  • Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta Falcons (No. 8 overall)
  • J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings (No. 10 overall)
  • Bo Nix, Denver Broncos (No. 12 overall)

Will they all pan out? Probably not. But teams can't win the Super Bowl without a star quarterback, so the onus shifts to the respective franchises to properly develop their new players.

LOSER: Atlanta Falcons

But there's also the cases of drafting a player too early -- especially a quarterback if a team just handed a lucrative contract to one in free agency.

Such was the case with the Falcons, who picked Washington's Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall. The Falcons under newly hired head coach Raheem Morris have several holes to fill on defense, but they instead opted for a 24-year-old quarterback who will have to sit behind soon-to-be 36-year-old Kirk Cousins.

Cousins, who is coming off an Achilles tear, signed a four-year, $180 million deal with Atlanta in free agency. The news of Penix Jr. being drafted reportedly left Cousins "a bit stunned." So, he doesn't like that?

WINNER: Chicago Bears

The Bears had their two first-round picks fall right into their laps, but at least they didn't mess it up. Williams has been the obvious choice at No. 1 overall since Justin Fields' trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers, then came Washington wideout Rome Odunze at No. 9 overall.

Field must be somewhere fuming given Williams is entering a much better situation than him, especially considering star wideout D.J. Moore is already on the roster.

It may take some time for Williams to lead Chicago to title contention (or, at least, away from mediocrity), but there's no doubt the foundation has been laid for its next era.

LOSER: Defenders

While offensive players dominated the early stages, defenders had to feel neglected. It essentially took half of the first round for a defender to come off the board.

UCLA edge Laiatu Latu went to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 15 overall to finally break the trend. The wait set the record for the most offensive players to be drafted at the start of the event. That was set at seven players in 2021 before the 2024 draft doubled it.

Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell was the first defensive back taken when the Philadelphia Eagles called him at No. 22 overall.

Defense wins championships, but stocking up on the best talent wasn't the thought process this time.

WINNER: Kansas City Chiefs

All the talk throughout the 2023 season was Kansas City's lack of receiving talent beyond tight end Travis Kelce. The criticisms were right, as Patrick Mahomes and the offense struggled more often than not in the regular season, but the emergence of then-rookie Rashee Rice opened things up.

Then, somehow, the Chiefs turned their struggles into a Vince Lombardi Trophy, their third in five years. And now they have a young, talented wideout to give Mahomes extra help: Texas' Xavier Worthy.

Worthy recorded the fastest ever 40-yard dash time at the combine at 4.21, so he'll supply Tyreek Hill-esque dynamism in Andy Reid's offense. The Chiefs just got scarier.

Honorable mention:

Las Vegas Raiders: Sometimes draft picks are straightforward, sometimes they aren't. The Raiders have a history of making confusing picks that eventually don't pan out, but the new era with Antonio Pierce is off to an intriguing start. The Raiders picked Georgie tight end Brock Bowers at No. 13, the best player in his position. He was essentially the best pick available there, so the Raiders come out as winners from Round 1.

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