Stacked 2024 draft class makes you wonder about an NFL in the tank

Stacked 2024 draft class makes you wonder about an NFL in the tank

I’m an excessive amount of of a misanthrope to imagine in conspiracy theories. Pulling a quick one often requires some extent of competency. Have you ever watched TikTok?

Earlier this week a person in Florida tried to run throughout the Atlantic Ocean on a selfmade hamster wheel that used inflatable basketballs as flotation units. He made it farther than he did the final time, when he tried to run on water to New York Metropolis however ended up 30 miles south of his start line. However he by no means made it to London. The primary rule of operating in a hamster wheel throughout the ocean: It’s important to run sooner than the Coast Guard.

Reality is, we dwell in a world that has to depend the variety of days since the final time anyone died whereas staging a gender reveal video. The logical flaw with most conspiracy theories is that you’d by no means discover a number of human beings intelligent sufficient to execute them. Subsequent time anyone suggests a scheme that requires something greater than a primary stage of coordination, invite them to take a seat in on one in every of your organization’s Zoom conferences.

*Except you work for The Inquirer, the place the Zoom conferences are all the time productive and flawlessly run.

Factor is, conspiracy theories are enjoyable. Plus, they can assist you amass a substantial social media following and place you for a presidential run. I suppose I’d as properly share mine.

I name it the Stealth Tank. It entails near half of the NFL, and it’s why the Eagles have little to worry in this 12 months’s NFC.

The idea goes like this. Whereas doing their due diligence over the final couple of years, NFL groups have step by step come to the realization that the 2024 draft class will dwarf all of these round it. With a number of premium prospects at the sport’s most premium positions and some who may rank amongst the prime two or three in latest historical past, a number of NFL GMs and their bosses in possession suspect that their odds of touchdown a franchise-changer can be greater this April than they ever have been or can be once more. They aren’t explicitly rooting for the wheels to fall off. However they’ve deliberately left a couple of hex nuts unfastened.

We’ll begin naming names in a second. The den of thieves is way thicker than the Cardinals. However first, let’s have a look at the incentives.

It begins at quarterback, the place Caleb Williams enters his junior season trailing solely Andrew Luck and Trevor Lawrence as the finest quarterback prospects since Peyton Manning. These are the rarest of the uncommon, a distinct stage than even Joe Burrow, who solely exploded in his senior season and had tried solely 39 passes in his first three years out of highschool. Williams has been on NFL radars since 2021, when he was the No. 6 recruit at any place in the nation. He’s not Lawrence or Luck. However he’s a lot nearer to “can’t miss” than anyone else who has been drafted in the final decade.

Pretty much as good as Williams is, even an elite quarterback wouldn’t ordinarily warrant a full-scale tanking onslaught. In spite of everything, just one group can draft him. The NFL is fluky sufficient to scuttle even the stankest of tanks (see the Jets in 2020). That’s the place the 2024 class actually separates itself.

» READ MORE: On Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, and an Eagles roster that has lapped the competitors

This 12 months, anyone who misses out on Williams will nonetheless have an opportunity at a quantity gamers who’re potential franchise-changers. North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye is a surer factor than any of the quarterbacks chosen in the final two drafts. Georgia tight finish Brock Bowers is perhaps the finest prospect ever at the place, a two-way game-wrecker who may have Gronk-Kittle stage affect early in his profession.

After these three, you have a few potential plug-and-play anchors at sort out in Notre Dame’s Joe Alt and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu. Both might be the highest-drafted offensive lineman since the Chiefs took Eric Fisher No. 1 in 2013. The newest mock draft by Professional Soccer Focus has Fashanu going No. 3 and Alt going No. 4. They might be a part of Andrew Thomas (No. 4 in 2020) and Greg Robinson (No. 2 in 2014) as the solely linemen drafted in the prime 4 in the final 10 drafts and the first pair to go in the prime 4 since Fisher, Luke Joeckel (No. 2), and Lane Johnson (No. 4) in 2013.

That’s 5 gamers who’re the rarest of the uncommon, the variety who aren’t assured to be current in anybody draft. They’re outlier abilities at the recreation’s scarcest place. In the meantime, the finest particular person expertise is perhaps Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., a large receiver with the expertise and pedigree to be the finest prospect at that place since A.J. Inexperienced or Julio Jones.

Issue in the presence of not less than three different potential first-round quarterbacks — hold an eye on Duke’s Riley Leonard — plus a deep group of cornerbacks and 2024 affords loads of incentive to disregard 2023.

Which brings us again to the Stealth Tank.

I’m not saying that the Falcons and Packers selected Desmond Ridder and Jordan Love at quarterback as a result of they stink. I’m simply saying that it may find yourself being handy that they do, in truth, stink. I’m not saying the Raiders are rolling with a surgically repaired Jimmy Garoppolo as a result of they assume it’s going to result in them rolling with Brian Hoyer. I’m simply saying it will be awfully handy if it does result in that. I’m not saying that Matthew Stafford goes to retire midseason. I’m simply saying … you get the image.

From Sam Howell in Washington to Baker Mayfield in Tampa Bay to Justin Fields in Chicago, there are a complete bunch of groups which have set themselves up for a tough, fast pivot. Little doubt, a few of these groups are performing with the sincerest of intentions. Perhaps even most of them. However I can’t assist however assume that there are others who’ve constructed one thing else into their rosters.

They may name it optionality. I’d name it believable deniability.

At the least, that’s the idea.

The Eagles go to the New England Patriots in the season opener. Be a part of Eagles beat reporters Josh Tolentino, EJ Smith, and Olivia Reiner as they dissect the hottest story strains surrounding the group on Gameday Central, dwell from Foxborough.

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