Most & Least Valuable 2024 NFL Draft Classes

Rather than grading draft classes, an exercise I enjoy doing and believe has some merit is evaluating draft classes based on a “wisdom of crowds” approach.

The methodology I like to use incorporates consensus mock drafts from Ben Robinson and consensus big boards assembled by Arif Hasan.

I lean more on consensus mock drafts to peg the first round and the big boards thereafter.

Assigning draft capital to each pick using those sources, we can compare the total draft capital used to draft a player at a particular point in the draft relative to what was expected.

The resulting metric is called DCOE, standing for Draft Capital Over Expectation, and measures expected capital used on a prospect vs. the actual capital used.

Based on this methodology, we can determine which teams reached the most to draft a player and which teams were able to get great value on players drafted later than expected.

These aren’t draft grades. There is no personal bias involved. But to answer a few questions about the methodology:

  • Looking at big boards does tend to predict the draft quite well.
  • While we don’t know how these prospects ultimately will transition to the NFL nor how strong their careers will be, that is not the point of this exercise.
  • The goal is to examine the teams who overdrafted or underdrafted.

Most Valuable 2024 NFL Draft Classes:

*Note: Lower draft capital over expected is better.

1Detroit Lions-1.53
2Miami Dolphins-1.47
3Kansas City Chiefs-1.22
4Pittsburgh Steelers-1.17
5Philadelphia Eagles-1.00
6New Orleans Saints-0.64
7Baltimore Ravens-0.63
8Denver Broncos-0.59
9Minnesota Vikings-0.33
10Los Angeles Rams-0.26
11Chicago Bears-0.11
12Seattle Seahawks-0.09
13Dallas Cowboys-0.07
14Las Vegas Raiders-0.01
15Los Angeles Chargers0.01
16Tampa Bay Buccaneers0.18
17New York Giants0.26
18Buffalo Bills0.38
19Cincinnati Bengals0.42
20New York Jets0.46
21Cleveland Browns0.53
22Tennessee Titans0.66
23Carolina Panthers0.72
24Houston Texans0.89
25Washington Commanders1.04
26Green Bay Packers1.16
27Indianapolis Colts1.25
28San Francisco 49ers1.48
29New England Patriots1.55
30Arizona Cardinals1.57
31Jacksonville Jaguars2.12
32Atlanta Falcons2.32

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Which NFL Team Had the Most Valuable 2024 NFL Draft?

The Detroit Lions had the most draft capital over expected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

NFL Teams With the Most Valuable 2024 NFL Drafts:

  1. Detroit Lions
  2. Miami Dolphins
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. Philadelphia Eagles

Which NFL Team Had the Least Valuable 2024 NFL Draft?

The Atlanta Falcons had the least draft capital over expected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

NFL Teams With the Least Valuable 2024 NFL Drafts:

  1. Atlanta Falcons
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. New England Patriots
  5. San Francisco 49ers

It should be noted I look at the top 250 draft picks in the draft and the top 300 big-board prospects.

Let’s examine a few teams one by one:

Detroit Lions

The Lions had the NFL’s best draft based on value, receiving substantial value in four of their six picks.

Both SEC cornerbacks they selected were values based on when they took them, and they closed out the draft in the sixth round by drafting two players at pick 189 or later who were expected to go 93 and 109.

The Lions traded up before making five of the six picks, but they knew value when they saw it and pounced.

Detroit landed the best total value of any team in the draft this year.

Miami Dolphins

Chris Grier‘s Miami Dolphins received the #2 best value of any team in the 2024 draft based on expectations.

Miami received substantial value when they drafted every one of their offensive players:

  • OT Patrick Paul of Houston (pick 55, expected 42)
  • RB Jaylen Wright of Tennessee (pick 120, expected 73)
  • WR Malik Washington of UVA (pick 184, expected 101)
  • WR Tahj Washington of USC (pick 241, expected 179)

EDGE Chop Robinson went a little earlier than expected in the first round but was a clear target for the Dolphins, and sixth-round S Patrick McMorris was not ranked on the consensus big board this year.

It was a great draft with some undervalued offensive firepower for the Dolphins.

Kansas City Chiefs

It doesn’t seem fair that the back-to-back Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs should have gained the third-most value of any team in the 2024 NFL Draft…but they did.

S Jaden Hicks (fourth round) was their biggest steal.

Out of 101 consensus big boards, Hicks was the 67th-best prospect in the draft. Despite a solid performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Hicks slid all the way to No. 133.

And guess who gave the Chiefs pick No. 133?

The Buffalo Bills.

When the Chiefs wanted to trade up to draft Xavier Worthy at No 28 overall (a small reach for KC), Buffalo happily obliged, and the two teams traded a batch of picks which included the one the Chiefs used to steal Hicks.

Brett Veach was tied to OT Kingsley Suamataia in the first round if he stood pat at No. 32, but he was able to get the OT at pick No. 63 overall for his second-biggest steal of the draft.

The NFL’s two-time defending champs got scarier in the 2024 draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers absolutely destroyed the early rounds of the draft and finished with the #4 most valuable draft class.

Pittsburgh’s first four picks were all steals of varying degrees:

  • OT Troy Fautanu (expected at 18, taken at 20)
  • C Zach Frazier (expected at 38, taken at 51)
  • WR Roman Wilson (expected at 53, taken at 84)
  • LB Payton Wilson (expected at 47, taken at 98)

The only time Omar Khan reached for “his guys” was late in the draft, notably DT Logan Lee and CB Ryan Watts.

An outstanding draft full of huge early value for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Philadelphia Eagles

Howie Roseman’s Eagles received the #5 best value of the 2024 draft based on expectations.

Teasing us by stealing CBs Quinyon Mitchell (pick No. 22, expected at No. 15) and Cooper DeJean (pick No. 40, expected at 24) in the first two rounds, Howie didn’t stop on the final day of the draft.

6-foot-6, 231-pound FSU WR Johnny Wilson was the consensus 107th-best prospect in the draft, but the Eagles got him in the sixth round (pick No. 185).

LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. followed his father to Philly and did so much later than expected despite ranking as the fourth-best linebacker over the last two seasons per PFF with the fourth-best coverage grade last year.

The Eagles delivered another highly valuable draft class in 2024.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons shook up the first round by taking Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall.

But what if I told you they drafted five more players who were significantly larger reaches than Penix?

It’s not the worst thing to reach for a late-round pick you evaluated differently than your peers or the consensus, but to make it a habit for all four picks from the fifth round on is surprising.

Atlanta’s draft board was clearly very different than the 31 other NFL teams and 101 other big boards.

That’s almost never a good thing, and the Falcons’ 2024 NFL draft delivered the most reaches and the least value of any team based on this methodology.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars 2024 draft was full of reach after reach…until the seventh round when they received solid value drafting Myles Cole.

Far too often, the Jaguars reached for needs and routinely drafted players 40 to 90 picks higher than expected.

This was especially the case when drafting CBs Jarrian Jones (drafted at No. 96, projected No. 145) and Deantre Prince (drafted at No. 153, projected No. 242).

Last year, by this same evaluation methodology, the Jaguars had a top-10 draft.

But this year, they were lucky the Falcons did what they did or the #31 ranked draft class of the Jaguars would have been dead last in value.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals ranked #30 in draft value.

After entering the draft with the #1 most draft capital, the Cardinals made the no-brainer (and expected) selection of WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

From there, with all the extra capital, it was more reaches than steals, although Arizona did have their share of a few solid steals including OT Christian Jones and, to a far lesser degree, RB Trey Benson.

Perhaps explaining some of the draft value issues was the hiring of new DC Nick Rallis from the Eagles to run the defense and the second year of former Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon wanting to shape the defense.

The Cardinals drafted three cornerbacks and two defensive ends.

All 5 were considered reaches based on the consensus big board.

Gannon went out and got his guys on his side of the ball, regardless of where they were projected…now he has to coach them up and make the moves pay off.

New England Patriots

the Patriots ranked #29 in draft value in 2024 after a subpar 2023 draft class which ranked #27 in this metric.

New England’s QB decisions were fine, but they once again reached for offensive linemen, much like they did in 2023 with all of:

  • OG Atonio Mafi (drafted 76 spots earlier than expected)
  • OG Sidy Sow (drafted 81 spots earlier than expected)
  • C Jake Andrews (drafted 130 spots earlier than expected)

This year, they went with:

  • OT Caedan Wallace at No. 68 (ranked 118 spots later at No. 186)
  • OG Layden Robinson at No. 103 (ranked 72 spots later at No. 175)

The Patriots shocked the NFL by drafting Chattanooga’s Cole Strange in the first round of the 2022 draft.

Ever since, they’ve been drafting their offensive linemen in a vastly different manner than the rest of the NFL.

2024 Most Valuable Draft Classes Infographics: