By Andy Davies

Another NFL Draft is in the books, as the 2024 version came to end on Saturday night.

There were trades, shocks, and plenty of entertainment, but who came out of the 2024 NFL draft in a good or bad way?

Here are some winners and losers from the 2024 NFL Draft.

Winners: Chicago Bears

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS - APRIL 26: Rome Odunze #15 and Caleb Williams #18 of the Chicago Bears pose for a photo during their introductory press conference at Halas Hall on April 26, 2024 in Lake Forest, Illinois. Caleb Williams was selected first overall and Rome Odunze was selected ninth overall in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft Thursday. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears have had quite the offseason makeover. During their Week One loss to the Green Bay Packers last season, there roster on offense had Justin Fields at quarterback and Khalil Herbert at running back.

Along with tight end Cole Kmet, their offensive weapons included a wide receiver room of DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, and Darnell Mooney. Fast forward to today, and their offense is completely different.

Caleb Williams was drafted first overall on Thursday night, with wide receiver Rome Odunze taken ninth overall on the same evening. Along with Moore and offseason addition Keenan Allen, this is now one of the best receiver rooms in the entire NFL. Add in Kmet, who had 719 yards and six touchdowns in 2023, and Williams will not be short of options to throw to and will be heavily favoured to win Rookie of the Year.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Williams and Odunze will work out in the NFL. However, you could not help feeling when both came onto the stage to be presented with a Bears jersey, that this will be looked back on in years to come as a pivotal moment in the history of the franchise.

NFL in the UK and Ireland

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 27: Travis Clayton waves after being picked by the Buffalo Bills during round seven of the 2024 NFL draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza on April 27, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

It was a great time to be a British or Irish NFL fan over the weekend.

There had already been great strides made by the UK and Ireland scene this offseason, with Louis Rees-Zammit and Charlie Smyth joining the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints respectively. Things got a whole lot better in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Firstly, there were several draft picks made from across the pond. Ireland was heavily involved, with three picks made on Irish soil.  The 114th overall pick, which was made by the Jaguars. This was announced in Abbotstown from a competition winner named Stephen Howlin. GAA player Paudie Clifford, who plays for Kerry, also made a pick as he announced one made by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Love Island’s Greg O’Shea announced a New York Jets draft pick from Gravity Bar in Dublin.

As well as this, there were also draft picks announced by British NFL fans on the stage in Detroit. International fans of the year James Gowers, Daniel Hanbridge and Ryan Fardon all announcing selections made by their beloved Bears, Packers, and Lions.

Finally, the icing on the cake was in the seventh round when the Buffalo Bills selected IPP player Travis Clayton, a Basingstoke native. He walked onto the stage with a union jack on his back, a special moment for British NFL fans.

The city of Detroit

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 25: Fans gather prior to the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza on April 25, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

What a night for the city of Detroit. Not only was it their first time hosting an NFL Draft, but it was the first big NFL event to take place in Michigan since Super Bowl XL in February 2006.

The city of Detroit has been long ridiculed. It is not seen as a tourist destination unlike places such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston.

The Detroit Lions has also not been seen as a destination for players in the past either, with the team struggling for years and years. Before the 2023 season, they had not won a playoff game since their 1991 campaign. In the 30+ years that have followed, they have had just eleven winning seasons and nine consecutive playoff game losses.

They had eleven straight seasons without a playoff appearance. They had just eight combined wins across 2008, 2009 and 2010. This included going 0-16 in 2008.

However, Dan Campbell and this Lions team have turned a corner in the past eighteen months. They are now seen as one of the best teams in the NFL, let alone the NFC. They went out and got one of the top players in the entire college class in a real area of need. This is yet another example of some excellent front office decisions. This has been the theme of Brad Holmes’ time as Lions GM.

The city also broke the record for the highest attendance in NFL Draft, with over 775,000 fans in attendance. With Eminem, Calvin Johnson, and Barry Sanders all on stage at points during the night, it felt like a moment for the ages in this city. Whether it was the Lions’ first round pick Terrion Arnold appearing on stage or any Michigan players being drafted, there was a deafening noise.

The feel-good factor is back in the Motor City.

Losers: Atlanta Falcons

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 25: The Atlanta Falcons get their pick in during Day 1 of the NFL Draft on April 25, 2024 at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in Detroit, MI. (Photo by John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There is only one place to start when it comes to who lost out most from the NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons

After previous stints at the Washington Commanders (back then the Redskins) and Vikings, Cousins signed a four-year deal with the Falcons for $184 million. No one was even thinking about them taking a quarterback in the NFL Draft, let along eighth overall.

Prior to the draft, the Falcons three biggest needs were safety, cornerback, and edge. The draft set a record with 14 straight offensive players picked to kickstart round one. This meant that Atlanta had the pick of the bunch when it came to players to choose from.

With Turner available and taken by the Falcons in many mock drafts, it seemed a lock. Instead, they took Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr, much to the shock of everyone.

Everyone is comparing this to the Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love situation. However, Rodgers in 2020 and 2021 was twice the quarterback Cousins ever has been. Penix is also three years older than Love was when he was drafted. When the 2024 season starts, Penix will be 28 years old.  Cousins could also play on longer than the four years, which albeit is unlikely given the fact he is 35.

Penix had injury concerns whilst in college but he is ready to play straight away. He does not need to sit behind a quarterback and learn.

Of course, Cousins could go down and Penix take his place but Cousins is a good (albeit not elite) quarterback. After years of mediocre play under centre, from an ageing Matt Ryan to Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke, they finally had this position addressed. It just begs the question why the felt they needed to take Penix Jr.

The Falcons did not even consult Cousins about the decision to draft Penix Jr. It would not be a shock if he were to request a trade after this.

Michael Mayer

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: Michael Mayer #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs the ball after a catch to score a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

When the Las Vegas Raiders were on the clock, not many had them taking Brock Bowers.

There was offensive lineman such as Taliese Fuaga, Amarius Mims and Troy Fautanu available, as well as defensive studs such as Turner, Jared Verse, Byron Murphy and Laiatu Latu.  Instead, they went for the “best player available” approach and took tight end Brock Bowers, who had 2,538 yards and 26 touchdowns during his three years with Georgia.

2023 starting tight end Michael Mayer was picked a year ago and showed a lot of promise during his rookie campaign. This included a 75-yard performance against the New England Patriots. However, he only had 27 receptions in 2023. With Bowers now in Vegas, you have to wonder where this leaves Mayer.

After all, he was taken in the second round, 35th overall as opposed to Bowers’ first round selection. With neither head coach Antonio Pierce or general manager Tom Telesco drafting him, unless Pierce goes for a two tight end set, Mayer may find opportunities more limited in 2024.

Feature Image Credit: LA Times