2024 NFL Draft: The Best Athletes at Each Position in This Draft Class

2024 NFL Draft: The Best Athletes at Each Position in This Draft Class article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Isaac Guerendo (left) and Chop Robinson (right).

The 2024 NFL Draft features world-class athletes at every position. Each year, I publish an All-Athlete team featuring the best of the best, and I’m excited to bring that to you again this year.

Unfortunately, some of the projected top athletes in this draft class didn’t participate in the NFL Combine, so we don’t have official metrics to utilize. Those players include Marvin Harrison Jr., Brock Bowers and Cooper DeJean. However, that means we have the opportunity to highlight some less-heralded players in this class, in addition to a handful of names you’ve likely never heard of.

I want to give a huge thank you to the creator of the Relative Athletic Score, Kent Lee Platte. You’ll see RAS cards for each player throughout this article. I also utilized the “Feldman’s Freaks” article, written by Bruce Feldman of the Athletic, as a vital resource. Further research was done via MockDraftable, Pro Football Focus and the NFL website.

Regarding roster buildup, I went with an 11-personnel lineup on offense: one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. On defense, I went with a nickel package of four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs.

Without further ado, let’s break down the best athletes in this year’s NFL Draft.

Quarterback – Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin

Tanner Mordecai RAS 2024

Tanner Mordecai’s lone season at Wisconsin didn’t go according to plan after impressive production at SMU, and he suffered a season-ending hand injury in October. However, Mordecai crushed his athletic testing, running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the Wisconsin pro day that would tie for the fifth-best mark of any quarterback since at least 1999, per MockDraftable. Mordecai also impressed with a 94th percentile 36 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Running Back – Isaac Guerendo, Louisville

Isaac Guerendo RAS 2024

Choosing just one running back in this year’s class was quite difficult, but I landed on Isaac Guerendo as a player I believe isn’t seeing enough love in the draft community. Guerendo set a career high in carries with 132 last season and was never a full-time running back at the college level. The converted wide receiver averaged around 50 carries per season.

However, Guerendo highlighted his explosive play-making ability last year, finishing in the top 25 in breakaway run rate and yards after contact per attempt. Guerendo weighed in at 220 pounds, on the bigger side for a running back, but that didn’t stop him from leading his class with a 4.33-second 40-yard dash. Along with that 98th percentile mark, he finished above the 95th percentile with a 129-inch broad jump and a 41 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Wide Receiver – Xavier Worthy, Texas

Xavier Worthy RAS 2024

This year’s NFL Combine hero, Xavier Worthy, made waves with a record-breaking 4.21-second 40-yard dash. Worthy’s track-and-field background was on full display in that performance.

Unfortunately, Worthy’s elite speed didn’t always translate to the field this past season, as he caught just six of his 23 deep-ball targets, per PFF. Still, there’s no denying his elite athleticism, as Worthy also posted a 95th percentile vertical jump (41 inches) and 92nd percentile broad jump (131 inches).

Wide Receiver – Johnny Wilson, Florida State

Johnny Wilson RAS 2024

If you’re looking for size at the wide receiver position, look no further than Johnny Wilson. The Florida State product is the second-tallest wide receiver to enter the draft since at least 1999, per MockDraftable’s database. He’s also in the 99th percentile with an 84 1/2-inch wingspan and 35 3/8-inch arms.

With that size profile, you might expect a plodding, contested-catch receiver, but Wilson is actually a fluid mover and reached a top speed of 21.3 mph in 2022, according to Bruce Feldman. Wilson also ran a 4.11-second short shuttle, the fourth-best mark in this draft class.

Wide Receiver – Ryan Flournoy, Southeast Missouri

Ryan Flournoy RAS 2024

After an impressive Senior Bowl showing, Ryan Flournoy lit up the NFL Combine with a remarkable 39 1/2-inch vertical jump and 132-inch broad jump, as well as a blazing fast 1.53-second 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash. After beginning his career at D-II Central Missouri, Flournoy spent time at Iowa Western Community College before arriving at Southeastern Missouri, where he recorded over 1,800 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Flournoy first popped up on my radar in Feldman’s Freaks article last summer, and Feldman cited his remarkable 3-cone drill time of 6.66 seconds. He didn’t run the 3-cone in this year’s Combine, but that time would be the second-best in this class. Flournoy also reportedly bench-pressed 350 pounds, power-cleaned 325 and squatted 510. His elite athleticism should make him an intriguing, high-upside late-round option.

Tight End – Theo Johnson, Penn State

Theo Johnson RAS 2024

I had planned on featuring Brock Bowers in the tight end spot this year, but he didn’t participate in the Combine. Instead, we get to feature the uber-athletic Theo Johnson. The Penn State product is a massive player, coming in at 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds with over an 80-inch wingspan. He also has 11-inch hands, tied for the second-largest at his position in the MockDraftable database.

While Johnson’s career-high in yardage was just 341 last year, his athletic testing indicates a high upside for more at the next level. Johnson came in at the 90th percentile or better with a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, 39 1/2-inch vertical jump and 125-inch broad jump.

Offensive Tackle – Kingsley Suamataia, BYU

Kingsley Suamataia RAS 2024

Kingsley Suamtaia — the third-ranked player on Feldman’s Freaks list last year — will have NFL talent evaluators salivating over his long-term potential because of his rare physical profile. In the Freaks article, BYU sports scientist Skyler Mayne said Suamataia is “faster than our linebackers” and “if he wanted to be a tight end or fullback because he’s so naturally gifted and he has the agility, he could.”

Suamataia ran a 5.04-second 40-yard dash at the Combine at 326 pounds, which wasn’t shocking; Feldman reported he hit 21.5 mph in 2022 as a 318-pound freshman. The BYU offensive tackle is on the shorter side at 6-foot-4, but he surpasses the 34-inch arm length threshold most teams have for a tackle. Penei Sewell’s cousin will hit the NFL with a world of upside due to his athletic traits.

Offensive Guard – Mason McCormick, South Dakota State

Mason McCormick RAS 2024

If you’re a fan of pancakes, hitting the local IHOP is always a solid move. However, turning on Mason McCormick’s tape works just as well; he majors in putting defensive linemen in the dirt.

McCormick plays with a mean streak, and rare athletic traits complement his punishing nature. The South Dakota State product finished with a 9.97 RAS, which ranks sixth out of 1,459 offensive guards since 1987. He also finished in the 98th percentile in the vertical and broad jumps.

Center – Dylan McMahon, NC State

Dylan McMahon RAS 2024

In an interview with the Draft Network, NC State’s Dylan McMahon said he knows he’s going to be the “most athletic offensive lineman on the field” at the next level. It’s hard to argue with him. McMahon’s 9.88 RAS was the eighth-best of 586 centers since 1987. This year, he ranked second among all offensive linemen with a 7.26-second 3-cone and a 4.33-second short shuttle. He also ranked in the 98th percentile with an 115-inch broad jump.

McMahon is undersized with a third percentile wingspan (75 1/8 inches) and 13th percentile arm length (31 3/4 inches) but his rare athletic traits will make him an enticing late-round option in the draft.

Offensive Guard – Cooper Beebe, Kansas State

A four-year starter at Kansas State, Cooper Beebe offers tantalizing potential at the next level. There will be questions about his size holding up in the NFL — his 31 1/2-inch arms are in the second percentile for the guard position — but all you have to do is turn on the tape to see him punish defenders in space. Beebe’s 5.03-second 40-yard dash ranked in the 93rd percentile, while his 109-inch broad jump ranked in the 86th percentile.

Beebe wasn’t even a top-1,300 recruit in On3’s rankings coming out of high school in 2019, but his elite athleticism and high-level production scream long-term starting potential in the NFL.

Offensive Tackle – Troy Fautanu, Washington

Troy Fautanu RAS 2024

One of the best players on Washington’s Pac-12 winning team last season, Troy Fautanu surrendered just two sacks in 28 career starts with the Huskies, per PFF. His lightning-quick first step is highlighted in his exceptional 1.7-second 10-yard split. At 6-foot-3 3/4, Fautanu has third-percentile height and will be one of the shorter starting offensive tackles in the league. However, he makes up for it with unreal athletic traits; his 32 1/2-inch vertical and 113-inch broad jump were both above the 90th percentile.

With incredible coordination, lateral agility and a wicked first step, Fautanu has all the traits teams look for in a tackle.

Edge – Chop Robinson, Penn State

Chop Robinson RAS 2024

Edge rushers with 10 career sacks over three seasons don’t typically go in the first round, but edge rushers are not typically built like Chop Robinson. Nicknamed “Pork Chop” after being born as a staggering 14-pound infant, Robinson’s size didn’t catch up to his moniker; he’s rather undersized at 6-foot-2, 254 pounds. However, Robinson makes up for it with absurd athletic traits.

Robinson ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and his 1.54-second 10-yard split was the fastest of all time for an edge over 250 pounds. He also jumped 128-inch in the broad jump, which ranked in the 95th percentile. NFL teams always bet on traits in the draft, and Robinson’s are as good as it gets.

Defensive Tackle – Braden Fiske, Florida State

Braden Fiske RAS 2024

Braden Fiske had just two offers as a three-star recruit in 2018, but he never stopped betting on himself, and you can see it when you turn on the film – he plays like his hair is on fire on every snap. Fiske ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash, which is in the 97th percentile for a defensive tackle, and jumped 117 inches in the broad jump, which is in the 96th percentile. His 9.89 RAS ranked 19th out of 1,668 defensive tackles since 1987, and he has taken advantage of every stage of the pre-draft process.

Defensive Tackle – Byron Murphy, Texas

Byron Murphy RAS 2024

At 6-feet and 1/2 inch, Byron Murphy will be one of the shortest defensive tackles in the NFL, and he lacks elite length, ranking in the 14th percentile with a 77-inch wingspan. However, Murphy makes up for that with elite strength.

Featured on the Feldman’s Freaks list last year, Murphy reportedly lifted 455 pounds on the front squat and power-cleaned 375 pounds. Murphy pairs his remarkable core strength and lower-half anchor with massive hands, measuring 11 inches, which is in the 97th percentile at the position. Murphy also ran a 4.87-second 40-yard dash (91st percentile) and has an electric first step off the line of scrimmage.

Edge – Myles Cole, Texas Tech

Myles Cole RAS 2024

Texas Tech is sending an edge to the NFL with ridiculous height and length for the second straight season. Like his former teammate Tyree Wilson, Myles Cole is a pterodactyl at defensive end.

Standing 6-foot-6, Cole possesses an 86 1/4-inch wingspan with 36 7/8-inch arms — both are the second longest of any edge in the MockDraftable database dating back to at least 1999. Cole also posted a 4.67-second 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical jump and 120-inch broad jump, all of which were 70th percentile or better. His 9.92 RAS is the 14th best of 1,685 edge defenders since 1987.

Linebacker – Payton Wilson, NC State

Payton Wilson RAS 2024

A former standout lacrosse player and state-champion wrestler, Payton Wilson has an impressive athletic background. That much was evident at the Combine, where he ran a blazing fast 4.43-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile) at 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds. According to Feldman’s Freaks article, he also bench-pressed a whopping 390 pounds.

Wilson is undersized with 30 1/2-inch arms (sixth percentile) and 9-inch hands (eighth percentile), and he has a concerning injury history. However, his remarkable athletic attributes and relentless pursuit on the field will make him an enticing option for linebacker-needy teams in the draft.

Linebacker – Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

Trevin Wallace RAS 2024

A former high school track star, Trevin Wallace once jumped 23-4 1/4 inches to break his school’s long jump record that had stood for 44 years. He won the state weightlifting title with a 335-pound power clean, and according to Bruce Feldman, he was power cleaning 380 pounds and squatting almost 600 pounds last year.

In addition to that incredible strength, Wallace was tracked at a top speed of 22 mph on the GPS and ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, which is in the 93rd percentile. Wallace played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and returner in high school, and he’s still putting it together on the field. However, with athletic traits like his, he’s guaranteed a role as a core special teams player off the jump in the NFL.

Cornerback – Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Quinyon Mitchell RAS 2024

The fastest riser on defense in this year’s pre-draft process is Quinyon Mitchell. The Toledo product had offers to transfer to bigger programs last year but stayed in the MAC and produced yet another stellar season. Charles Davis, a former defensive back and NFL Draft analyst called him a “true apex predator” due to his remarkable ball-hawking abilities; he has 27 pass-breakups in the last two seasons at Toledo, per PFF. With 10-inch hands (95th percentile), it’s easy to see why.

Mitchell ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, which also ranked in the 95th percentile. According to Feldman’s Freaks, he was recorded at a top speed of 23.58 mph on the GPS last summer. Mitchell also led this year’s cornerback class with 20 reps on the bench press.

Cornerback – Nate Wiggins, Clemson

If you’re looking for speed at the cornerback position, Nate Wiggins is your man. According to MockDraftable, his 4.28-second 40-yard dash is the eighth-fastest of any cornerback dating back to 1999. In a league full of wide receivers with track star-type speed, there’s no doubt Wiggins’ speed will play. The real question is his size.

At the Combine, he weighed in at 173 pounds, which would be in the second percentile, but he was able to bump that up to 182 pounds at Clemson’s pro day. After Emmanuel Forbes went 16th overall last year with a similar size and speed profile, it will be fascinating to see how the NFL values Wiggins.

Cornerback – Max Melton, Rutgers

A significant riser in the pre-draft process, Max Melton lit up the Combine. He posted a 136-inch broad jump, which tied for the fourth highest of any cornerback dating back to 1999. He also posted a 91st-percentile 40 1/2-inch vertical jump and an 83rd-percentile 4.39-second 40-yard dash.

At 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, there will be questions about Melton’s ability to hold up in a scheme that covets press-heavy man coverage. Melton primarily played on the boundary at Rutgers, but I believe his explosiveness, speed and tenacity in run defense translate well to the slot at the next level.

Safety – Cole Bishop, Utah

Cole Bishop RAS 2024

A superstar for an elite Utah defense, Cole Bishop’s 9.86 RAS ranked 15th out of 1,000 free safeties since 1987. He finished in the 84th percentile or better with a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical jump. Bishop also stands at 6-foot-2 with massive 10-inch hands. He lined up all over the field for Utah, and his blend of size, strength and speed will make him a valuable chess piece in the NFL.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out Sione Vaki, Cole Bishop’s teammate, in this spot. One of my favorite players in college football last season, Vaki made Feldman’s Freaks list last year with remarkable weight-lifting numbers; he benched 400 pounds and squatted 520. Vaki’s 39 1/2-inch vertical jump was in the 89th percentile at the Combine, and he improved a lackluster 40-yard dash time on his pro day. Vaki spent time at running back as well as safety for Utah last season.

Safety – Tyler Owens, Texas Tech

While he made headlines for saying he doesn’t believe in space or other planets, Tyler Owens also stole the show in the athletic testing drills at the Combine. Owens recorded a 146-inch broad jump, the second-longest in Combine history, and posted a 41-inch vertical jump, ranked in the 95th percentile. He also ranks in the 90th percentile or better with a height of 6-foot-2 and 3/8 inches, wingspan of 79 1/8 inches and arm length of 33 3/8 inches.

Unfortunately, Owens pulled up on his 40-yard dash, so we didn’t get an official time. However, Owens is a track phenom who owns a remarkable personal best 100-meter dash time of 10.35 seconds. According to Bruce Feldman, he was also logged at over 23 mph in a game. Only Raheem Mostert has been clocked at over 23 mph as a ball carrier in the NFL since 2018.

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