Best PLayer-Team Fits In The First Round Of The 2024 NFL Draft

By Jack Brentnall

Some draft picks turn out to be steals. Others are simply the perfect match between the prospect and their new team’s scheme. There were a number of those in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Here are my three favourite player-team fits from day one.

Brock Bowers To The Raiders

This was perhaps one of the more surprising picks of the first round, but from a player-team fit perspective it is easily one of the best.

The reasoning is simple. Bowers is one of the best pure pass catchers in this draft class. He has size, speed, and some of the stickiest hands you’ll come across in a tight end. Yahoo’s Nate Tice has described Bowers as a “power slot” player who has the alignment versatility to move around the offensive formation and exploit favourable matchups at every spot. He’s also a willing and able blocker.

This will allow the Raiders to roll out multiple tight end sets, with Bowers lining up alongside Michael Mayer who is a more traditional in-line ‘Y’ tight end. That’s going to put defenses in all sorts of binds. The Raiders will have the size and physicality of 12 personnel, whilst also retaining the pass catching talent you would typically associate with 11 personnel. Deciding how to match up to that will give opposing coaches sleepless nights.

Byron Murphy To The Seahawks

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On the Go for 2 Podcast mock draft episode I had the Seahawks taking Byron Murphy at No. 16 overall and that proved to be exactly what they did. Unsurprisingly, I love this pick.

Murphy earned a reputation at Texas for being a disruptive interior presence who offers outstanding explosive ability alongside alignment versatility. That’s a recipe for success in the NFL, not least when your coach is Mike Macdonald.

Macdonald’s Ravens defense revolved around defensive tackle Justin Madubuike. He was the centrepiece of Baltimore’s pass rush in 2023 and it worked to devastating effect. In Murphy, Macdonald gets his own version of Madubuike in Seattle.

He also pairs perfectly with the players the Seahawks already have at defensive tackle like Leonard Williams and Jonathan Hankins, who are bigger and more physical types. That should free Murphy up to shoot gaps and wreak havoc in opposing backfields.

Brian Thomas Jr To The Jaguars

With the departure of Calvin Ridley, the Jaguars desperately needed to add more talent at wide receiver. They did just that with Thomas, who is a perfect fit for their offense.

For anyone who watched the Jaguars last season it was painfully apparent that this offense lacked a true X receiver. Doug Pederson and Press Taylor tried to shoehorn Calvin Ridley into the role, despite him showing during his time in Atlanta that he’s at his best as a Z receiver.

Thomas certainly gives this Jacksonville team a prototypical X. He’s got great size with legitimate deep speed to win outside the numbers and work all three levels of the field. Think back to Trevor Lawrence’s time at Clemson. He made a living throwing go balls and back shoulder fades to the likes of Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. Thomas gives him another similar weapon to work with.



Previously the founder of The Jet Sweep, Jack joined The Touchdown as head of Draft Content in 2024. A Scouting Academy alumnus, Jack has been Covering the NFL Draft since 2020. Follow him on Twitter @Jack_Brentnall.