NFL Draft Bold Predictions: Marvin Harrison Goes to the Cardinals But At Pick No. 5, Six Quarterbacks Get Taken in the First Round Thursday

By Garrick Hodge on April 25, 2024 at 8:35 am
Marvin Harrison Jr.

If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of reading your 5,000th NFL draft prediction piece and just want the damn thing to start already.

Well, there’s still time to kill before the draft begins, so what’s reading your 5,001st draft projection piece? 

This is my third year doing bold NFL Draft predictions for Eleven Warriors, and well, let’s just say I’ve missed much more than I’ve hit on these. But who cares, they’re called bold predictions, not milquetoast predictions, and anyone can write a piece “guessing” Caleb Williams is going to be the first pick on Thursday.  

As always, I try to keep these relatively Ohio State-centric since I do work for a website that covers the Buckeyes. That may be a tad harder this year with Marvin Harrison Jr. expected to be the only first-round pick and so many OSU players returning to school who were projected to be in the draft a year ago, but we’ll manage. 

If I get one of these right, we’ll call it a successful weekend. More likely, we’ll look back on this piece Saturday for a well-deserved roasting of me. 

Cardinals take Marvin Harrison Jr., but at pick five

A year ago, the Arizona Cardinals traded the third overall pick to the Houston Texans, then immediately turned around three picks later and traded back up to No. 6 for Paris Johnson Jr.

Well, I’m projecting the Cardinals are going to make two draft day trades that result in them taking a Buckeye for the second year in a row. Arizona is currently slotted to pick at No. 4, but there’s been no shortage of speculation that the Cardinals are receiving trade offers from quarterback-hungry teams to come up and secure a potential franchise quarterback. 

Depending on whether you believe the Giants admire J.J. McCarthy as much as reported, the Vikings, Broncos, Raiders or some other quarterback-needy team will have to come up to either No. 4 or No. 5 to land their man before New York picks at No. 6. 

In this scenario, we predict the Cardinals will find a deal that lets them cash in on the quarterback-crazed market. They’d have enough ammo to come back up and make a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers, who have been shopping pick No. 5, to draft Marvin Harrison Jr., the player they’d pick anyway at No. 4, and still have some newly acquired draft picks left over. 

Xavier Johnson gets drafted

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Xavier Johnson’s Ohio State tenure, it’s to never count the guy out.

Johnson came to Columbus as a walk-on and parlayed his hard work into a scholarship and an eventual featured role on the Buckeyes’ offense. As it stands now, Johnson is projected to go undrafted by most publications. 

But if there’s one thing most analysts agree on, it’s that the quality of this draft drops off a cliff starting around the middle of the fourth round with many players who would have been later-round picks instead staying in school thanks to NIL.

Once the seventh round hits, you’d think someone will gamble on Johnson, who can play both wide receiver and take handoffs in the backfield. A creative offensive coordinator could find ways for Johnson to help an NFL offense with his skill set and his versatility may be attractive for a pro franchise late in the draft.

If he goes undrafted, Johnson should have plenty of suitors as an undrafted free agent to latch on to an NFL team somewhere. But we’re projecting someone will use a draft pick on him rather than entering a free-agent bidding war.

Six quarterbacks get taken in round one

I’m far from the only one to predict six signal-callers will come off the board in round one, but if that happens, it would tie an NFL record for the most quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft and be the first time it’s happened since 1983. 

Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are likely to go in the draft’s first three picks. Whether you think it’s wise or asinine, J.J. McCarthy will also likely be a top-10 pick at worst. That leaves Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. The Broncos, Raiders and Vikings all have rosters screaming for a quarterback right now. Of those three, you’d imagine one of them will trade up for McCarthy. Taking Penix and Nix at picks 11, 12 or 13 might be a reach, but NFL teams are quarterback-crazed. 

A potentially fatal flaw in this projection is one quarterback always seemingly gets incredibly overmocked by NFL analysts in every draft cycle. Last year, it was Will Levis. In 2022, it was Malik Willis. You get the point. Perhaps Nix, Penix or both slip into Day 2, but there’s enough quarterback-needy teams to think they won’t take the chance of losing their top remaining target on their board in round one. Especially if you take a look at all three of those aforementioned teams’ quarterback rooms right now. 

Bengals trade either Tee Higgins or Trey Hendrickson

We’ll make the last projection of the day Ohio-centric. The good news for the Bengals is they have Joe Burrow on their team and the rest of the league does not. The bad news is Burrow is getting more expensive after his five-year, $275 million extension and that will make roster-building more challenging for the Bengals as they maneuver around the salary cap. 

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that two key Bengals players have already requested trades due to contract disputes in wide receiver Tee Higgins and defensive end Trey Hendrickson. 

Well, the best time to trade players if needed can be on draft night. It’s been rumored on the interwebs Cincinnati could have interest in trading up in the first round from pick No. 18. Depending on how high the Bengals want to go, having Higgins and Hendrickson on the block could be perfect trade ammo along with pick 18 to do just that.

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