2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
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The 2024 NFL Draft is officially upon us, and it is undoubtedly the most crucial event of the entire offseason. Not only is this where true contenders are built, but we will also see trades that involve players, and teams be aggressive in acquiring their quarterbacks of the future. Then, there's the both entertaining and unrelenting rumor mill that continues to churn. Remember, it is talking season, if you will.

Teams put out information in an attempt to shake up the draft board, and agents spread information on their clients in an attempt to boost their stocks. These are all things that happen, but what rumors are real and which have no merit to them? That's what we are here to discover.

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook

Rumor: Six quarterbacks will go in the first round

The 2024 NFL Draft could match a draft record if six quarterbacks are selected in the first round. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are assumed to be the first three names off the board, then J.J. McCarthy looks like a first-round lock. But what about Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix?

Both signal-callers are "older" players, with Nix even being the most experienced quarterback in FBS history. Could both players be selected in the top 32? Remember, if they are, their new teams will hold the valuable fifth-year options on their rookie contracts.

Penix Jr. is an intriguing prospect that suffered through four season-ending injuries in a row before recording two massive campaigns with the Washington Huskies. He led the FBS in passing yards last season with 4,903, and also became the first player since Patrick Mahomes to register multiple seasons of 4,500+ passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns. ESPN's Matt Miller reported that the Las Vegas Raiders really like Penix, and could select him at No. 13 overall. In my opinion, it's a lock five quarterbacks will be selected on Thursday night. Caesars Sportsbook even split the difference with their line on quarterbacks taken in the first round, setting the Over/Under at 4.5, with the Over juiced up to -260. 

Now, what about Nix? Pro Football Talk reported that, "based on discussions with multiple sources with knowledge of the manner in which the first round is likely to unfold," Nix is the quarterback that could fall out of the first round. Still, it is absolutely possible a team could trade up into the late stages of the first round to nab the efficient Oregon Duck. Nix set the FBS record for single-season completion percentage last year (77.4%), while the Ducks went 11-1 and earned a Pac-12 Championship berth.  

My bet is that five quarterbacks are selected in the first round, with Nix going early Day 2, much like Will Levis last year. 

Verdict: Sell

Rumor: J.J. McCarthy is a top three pick

No quarterback has seen their stock soar like Michigan's McCarthy through the pre-draft process. On one hand, he was the undefeated quarterback of the National Champion Wolverines, and ranked in the top 10 in completion rate (63%), yards per attempt (9.5) and pass efficiency (168.2) when pressured last year, as pointed out in Douglas Clawson's comprehensive piece on the 21-year-old. McCarthy is also underrated as an athlete, but are you going to take a player who was not the focal point of his offense in the top three of the draft? 

McCarthy's 2,991 passing yards last year ranked 35th nationally, and his 22 passing touchdowns tied for 37th. I'm not using stats in an effort to argue McCarthy won't be a star at the next level, but he was a quarterback supported by a solid ground game, and a great defense that allowed just 9.5 points per game. Thursday, he will likely become the first quarterback to be selected in the top 10 without registering a 3,000-yard passing season, or 500-yard rushing season in college since Joey Harrington back in 2002. 

Does McCarthy have potential at the next level? Sure. And that's why he probably will be selected in the top 10. Despite what some mock drafts say, I don't see McCarthy going in the top three. Another interesting tidbit to consider is that money appears to be coming in on the Over on McCarthy's draft position of 5.5. The juice is now down to +120 for him to go No. 6 or later. Can we even say he's a lock for the top five?

Verdict: Sell

Rumor: The New England Patriots will trade the No. 3 pick

Jerod Mayo's Patriots are looking for a new quarterback after the franchise dealt Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this offseason, but the problem is that New England will have to take the third quarterback behind the selections of the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders. What if the Patriots aren't sold on Maye or McCarthy?

Patriots director of scouting, Eliot Wolf, said that they are "open for business" with the third pick, per ESPN. However, they would need a Godfather offer to move down, especially considering the fact that, again, New England needs a quarterback. Drafting the reigning Heisman Trophy winner or Maye would not be a bad move.

The Athletic reports that the Patriots are indeed taking calls from teams interested in moving up to No. 3 overall, but I say the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 or the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5 are probably the teams to look at when it comes to the first trade of the night. 

Verdict: Sell

Rumor: First defensive player will be selected historically late

According to the Associated Press, the latest a defensive player has ever been drafted is No. 8 overall, which occurred in 2021. Just one of our six CBS Sports NFL Draft experts currently have the first defensive player going in the top seven, while most have the Atlanta Falcons taking the first defensive player at No. 8 overall. 

Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner is the favorite to be selected at No. 8 overall (+150), but it's no lock. Depending on what happens in the top seven with the quarterbacks and wide receivers, Atlanta could be a team that finds the opportunity to trade down. However, it does appear history could be matched. 

The top three teams in the order need quarterbacks, the Cardinals will have a great opportunity to take the first receiver in the draft to boost a room that lost Hollywood Brown, the Chargers at five could allow a quarterback-needy team to move up or maybe even select offensive tackle Joe Alt, the New York Giants at six are in the market for a new receiver or quarterback and then the Tennessee Titans at seven need a new left tackle -- or could take a wideout for Brian Callahan's new-look offense should an attractive one fall. I'm buying that we could see the first defensive player selected historically late. 

Verdict: Buy

Rumor: Malik Nabers will be selected over Marvin Harrison Jr.

It has been reported that some teams, and certainly some analysts, have LSU's Malik Nabers as the WR1 in this class over Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. Nabers caught 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Tigers in 2023. His 1,569 receiving yards ranked second just behind Washington's Rome Odunze. In three seasons in Baton Rouge, Nabers recorded the most receptions (189) and receiving yards (3,003) in program history.

Nabers is CBS Sports' No. 3 prospect in this class, regardless of position. As for Harrison? He's above him at No. 2. Harrison of course is the son of Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison, and at Ohio State, he recorded the most receiving yards (2,474) and receiving touchdowns (28) in a two-year span in program history. No player caught more touchdowns than Harrison over the past two years. 

I don't refer to sportsbooks' lines as gospel when it comes to the NFL draft, but they have never wavered in believing Harrison will be the first wideout drafted. In fact, he's now more favored to go ahead of Nabers than he ever has been (-1200). 

Verdict: Sell

Rumor: Brandon Aiyuk will be traded during the draft

There's been plenty of noise surrounding Aiyuk this offseason. He's been vocal about wanting a lucrative long-term extension, and even unfollowed the San Francisco 49ers on social media. However, his agent has maintained that Aiyuk has not asked for a trade, and general manager John Lynch has been consistent in saying that they anticipate the star wideout being in San Francisco for years to come. He even said they've had "good talks," per NFL Media

"Our wish is he is here for the rest of his career," Lynch said Monday. "We are working through that."   

Reports indicate that teams have reached out to the 49ers concerning Aiyuk, but it doesn't appear the 49ers want to part ways with their former No. 25 overall pick. I don't see Aiyuk being traded this week, but he's not the only player with an uncertain future who could impact the first round Thursday night. 

Verdict: Sell