2024 Rookie Bust Mock Draft (Pre-Draft Edition): Round Two

Ken Kelly

The rookie bust mock drafts are one of our favorite things to do at DLF each year, so why not make them even weirder this off-season!?! These unique drafts are usually designed to show who we think has the highest likelihood to bust due to their landing spot, draft capital, or ADP. Today, we’re going to start a series looking at this 2024 rookie class prior to the NFL Draft. One player was drafted at a time based on their risk of being a bust due to their likely draft capital or ADP in an upcoming dynasty rookie draft. The top selection was the player in the top 36 who could carry the single greatest amount of risk. In other words, they have the highest likelihood to bust due to their future draft capital or ADP. The last player taken is the safest and the first carries the most risk. All players had to be taken off our list of the top 36 rookies, so that’s as follows:

Marvin Harrison, Jr
Malik Nabers
Rome Odunze
Brock Bowers
Brian Thomas
Xavier Worthy
Adonai Mitchell
Troy Franklin
Caleb Williams
Ladd McConkey
Trey Benson
Keon Coleman
Jonathan Brooks
Jayden Daniels
Drake Maye
Jaylen Wright
Braelon Allen
Ja’Tavion Sanders
Blake Corum
Xavier Legette
Ja’Lynn Polk
Malachai Corley
Ricky Pearsall
Roman Wilson
Devontez Walker
MarShawn Lloyd
Jalen McMillan
Will Shipley
JJ McCarthy
Bucky Irving
Audric Estime
Bo Nix
Michael Penix
Ray Davis
Isaac Guerendo
Brenden Rice

Make sure you check out round one here. This round is always the toughest to post.  These players aren’t the safest of the bunch but they also aren’t exactly in the “high risk” category. The math on rookie picks is pretty simple – the further down you go, the higher the bust rate. While the top picks are never “sure things,” we certainly see hit rates within that group a lot higher than we do in the second round, where it seems to be full of landmines each and every year.

2.01 = Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE TEX

I really like his upside and think he could be a great player. However, much like Bowers (who you’ll likely need to take in the top six), the draft capital you need to use to secure his services is going to be extreme. If you have the 2.01, that’s a pick you may be able to use to secure a future first round pick or an established tight end with much lower risk. Again, this is all about risk tolerance. Sanders has the athletic profile to be a dominant force but he’s also far from a sure thing.

2.02 = Ray Davis. RB Kentucky

Sometimes our hearts tend to outweigh our minds and Davis could be one of those prospects who you root so hard for that you force yourself to pick him. After all, this is a player who was homeless once and has 14 different siblings. He played at three different school in order to make his way to this point and he’s about as “Rudy” as they come. However, Davis scored poorly at the NFL Combine in terms of athleticism and looks like he lacks some instincts to be a truly creative runner. You won’t have to use a lot of draft capital to get him but he’s certainly a player who could disappoint, no matter how hard you want to root for him.

2.03 = Drake Maye, QB UNC

It seems inevitable Maye is going to be taken in the top five. However, there are some real questions about how good he really is. His Senior year was fine as he posted 3,608 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions on a 63.3% completion rate but all those numbers were a real step back from his Junior year. He can make all the throws in a workout but it’s fair to wonder if he can overcome a roster that may not be very talented, something he’s sure to find as a top-5 pick.  Maye is clearly a high ceiling, low floor player.

2.04 = Braelon Allen, RB WISC

The good thing about the top running backs this year is the quality of the wide receiver position is going to push them down into the range where there just won’t be as much risk as usual. The challenge I see with Allen is while he was good (and scored better at the NFL Combine), he just never seemed to truly maximize his potential. If he couldn’t do that in college, how is he going to do that in the NFL? I’m also pretty concerned about his usage as a pass catcher and think he may be best served as a committee back instead of a true workhorse.

2.05 = Will Shipley, RB Clemson

Shipley is one of the toughest players to really evaluate in this year’s class. On the plus side, his athleticism score and pre-draft performances simply can’t be ignored as he looks like a top-5 running back based on his workouts. The challenge with him is the fact his production just hasn’t matched what he looks like he should be able to do on paper. The real question with him is going to be his landing spot. If he’s going to be used as a change-of-pace back, a lot of the shine is going to fade.

2.06 = Xavier Legette, WR South Carolina

After catching 42 passes in his first four seasons at South Carolina, Legette broke out for a 71/1,255/7 year.  The big question here is clearly if he’s simply a one-hit wonder or if he just truly figured things out. It’s a question NFL teams are trying to answer and rookie drafters are going to need to do the same. The list of late bloomers who succeed in the NFL is long but so is the list of those who have totally busted.

2.07 = Brenden Rice, WR USC

This one is easy. The Bronny James of the NFL Draft arrives in the form of Brenden, son of Jerry. He’s a true touchdown maker, as indicated by a score every 5.8 catches. However, it really does look like he tests out faster than he actually plays. There’s also a real chance he’s taken in rookie drafts too highly just because of who his Father is. Much like Davis, Rice is a player easy to root for, though for very different reasons.

2.08 = Brian Thomas, WR LSU

I have Thomas right here in the middle of the pack. He seems relatively safe but the draft capital you’ll need to use on him will be extreme as he’s a sure-fire top ten rookie pick (possibly top five) in conventional formats, making it a riskier pick no matter who you select. There are some concerns about him being a one-year wonder but the tape on him is pretty extraordinary.

2.09 = Ja’Lynn Polk,WR WASH

At his price tag, Polk seems pretty safe. He’s not in the elite category this year but there’s also a lot to like here. While he’s overshadowed by his teammate Rome Odunze, Polk routinely made plays at Washington and the price tag of a late second round pick seems more than fair at this point. A 69/1,159/9 season is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you’re not even the top wide receiver target on your own team.

2.10 = Bo Nix, QB ORE

I like Nix as a player just fine but like his potential price tag a lot better. While players like Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy are in danger of being overdrafted in fantasy and reality, Nix looks like a player who could be a bit of a bargain based on his ADP. While everything could change if a team takes him in the top 15, I like the risk/reward here with him. I honestly think he’s a little better than most people think.

2.11 = Malachai Corley, WR Western Kentucky

I know he played against inferior opponents at Western Kentucky. I know he had a better year last year than this one. I know. I know. I know. However, a late second or early third round price for Corley seems like a bit of a bargain and certainly more safe than dangerous. He’s big and physical and I think his game translates to the next level. If he was on a big-time school roster, he’d be more of a household name.

2.12 = Jaylen Wright, RB TEN

Wright is a really interesting case as his production doesn’t really match what we see in pre-draft workouts. He was flat-out dominant at the NFL Combine, posting a 93 in terms of an athleticism score (2nd overall at the position) and a total score of 79 (4th). However, he’s looking like a second round pick in rookie drafts at the moment – that kind of draft capital shouldn’t scare folks off based on his talent.

2024 draft coverage

ken kelly