NFL Draft 2024: 5 Worst value picks feat. two first-round QBs

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Michael Penix Jr Press Conference
NFL Draft 2024: 5 Worst value picks feat. two first-round QBs

On Saturday, the 2024 NFL draft in Detroit reached its conclusion after the 32 teams gathered to pick a total of 157 players on Day 3. They joined 100 other players who were picked in the first three rounds of the draft on Days 1 and 2, making it a total of 257 picks in three days.

While some players, like former USC Trojans star and the first overall pick, Caleb Williams, were taken off the board as quickly as widely expected, a few were drafted well above their projections. Teams either feared missing out on them or valued them too highly in their evaluations and took them off the board way earlier than expected. Some picks even came at the expense of players of the same position ranked higher on most draft boards.

While teams have reasons for spending a draft pick on a particular player, some are too inexplicable and defy logic. Here are five such picks from the 2024 NFL draft:

5 Worst Value Picks in the 2024 NFL Draft

#1 Michael Penix Jr., QB, Atlanta Falcons - Round 1, Pick 8

The biggest head-scratching decision on Day 1 of the draft was the Atlanta Falcons spending the eighth overall pick on quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The Falcons signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract in the offseason and have veteran Taylor Heinicke on the roster.

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Adding 23-year-old Penix to a quarterback room that boasts Cousins and Heinicke with a top-10 pick when the defense desperately needed a playmaker left everyone perplexed and wasn't a value pick.

#2 Bo Nix, QB, Denver Broncos - Round 1, Pick 12

Four picks after Penix, the Denver Broncos drafted Bo Nix with the 12th pick, making him the sixth player to be taken off the board. While Denver picking the former Oregon Ducks star wasn't surprising, the team spending their top pick on the quarterback left many scratching their heads.

The Broncos could've traded back and moved up in the later rounds or used the pick to bolster their defense and move up in the second round. They likely would've landed the quarterback in both instances, but instead, they picked him 12th overall, a massive reach.

#3 Ricky Pearsall, WR, San Francisco 49ers - Round 1, Pick 31

During the draft, reports emerged that the San Francisco 49ers were looking to trade either Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel to free up some cap room. The rumors gained momentum after they spent their first-round pick on wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. While it made sense to land a replacement for one of their star playmakers, their choice was questionable.

The former Florida Gators wideout was rated as low as 10th on some wide receiver rankings and the 49ers. Highly rated prospects like Adonai Mitchell, Troy Franklin, and Ladd McConkey were still on the board, making the 49ers' pick even more surprising.

#4 Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, New England Patriots - Round 2, Pick 37

Since the 2006 NFL draft, the New England Patriots have picked three wide receivers in one of the first two rounds and none made their mark with the franchise. The Patriots have whiffed on drafting a top wideout for almost two decades and Ja'Lynn Polk looks set to continue that tradition.

The Washington Huskies star wasn't his team's standout wide receiver as that spot belonged to Rome Odunze. He performed well in his role and was projected to be a late second-round to early third-round pick. However, the Patriots surprisingly made him the second receiver off the board on Day 2 and passed on better prospects like Mitchell and Franklin. Polk can be categorized as a low-value pick.

#5 Renardo Green, CB, San Francisco 49ers - Round 2, Pick 64

The 49ers whiffed in the first round and did not make amends in the second. They picked Florida State cornerback Renardo Green, who many projected as a late third-round pick at best.

At 5-foot-11-inches, Green isn't physically imposing, and while he's good in press coverage, there are limitations to his game and he did not warrant a second-round pick. The first two rounds proved to be a double whammy for the reigning NFC champions.

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