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NFL Draft Prospects With the Most to Prove

Beyond the big names in the first round of the draft, there are a handful of NFL prospects who come into the draft with much to prove.
Draft Prospects

The 2024 NFL Draft is headlined with prospects who have a chance to change a franchise. Beyond the elite prospects, there is a handful of prospects who have a lot to prove heading into the draft.

These Prospects Enter the NFL Draft With Much to Prove

Michael Penix Jr.

At the top of this list is the former Washington quarterback who lit up college football in 2023. Penix is a draft prospect with polarizing opinions around the league. There are questions about his injury history, for starters. Penix is a left-handed thrower, which is uncommon in the NFL. Scouts are right to wonder if the pass-heavy offense at Washington will translate to the next level. He played behind a stellar offensive line last season and put up gaudy numbers while throwing to a group of NFL-bound receivers. Can Penix succeed without the right pieces around him?

On the flip side, Penix also plays a premium position. Scouting quarterbacks is an inexact science. If teams had the process nailed down, there would be fewer trades involving premium draft capital just for a chance to land a franchise quarterback. Landing one of those players requires both a bit of luck and a lot of skill from the scouting department. It also takes conviction. So where does that leave Penix?

As one of the best pure passers in the NFL Draft, Penix has tremendous upside as a prospect. His ability to thread the needle on deep throws is one reason why scouts have him as one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Josh Allen had accuracy concerns coming into the NFL but enticed scouts with his raw talents. Penix is more refined as a passer and can navigate the pocket well under pressure. His game against Michigan was a stark contrast to his performance against Texas. The team that ultimately takes a chance on Penix will be banking on his durability not being an issue. The Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks stand out as good fits for Penix, given their need for a future quarterback and draft positions. With a few big questions to his game but plenty of upside, Penix is one of the prospects in the draft with the most to prove.

Best Team Fit: Las Vegas Raiders

Xavier Legette

The South Carolina star has sleeper potential in the draft. Legette is coming off a breakout year in 2023 and has all the attributes of an NFL receiver. His imposing frame and breakaway speed amount to an enticing set of tools at the next level. Comparisons have been made to Deebo Samuel since both attended South Carolina and can do damage in the open space. While it took Legette a few years to get rolling, last season showed what can happen when he is a focal point of the offense. Playing with Spencer Rattler, another draft sleeper, should help Legette’s transition to the next level.

Nearly every team around the league would be happy to land a player who can step in and contribute right away, leaving Legette’s landing spot hard to peg. Teams will be banking on the 2023 season not being a one-hit-wonder for Legette. There are also concerns if he can create enough separation at the next level to succeed. It’s up to Legette to prove he can be an impact player in the NFL.

Best Team Fit: Carolina Panthers

Erick All

Injuries shortened All’s 2023 at Iowa. In limited action, he produced on the field. His versatility helped him contribute in many ways on offense. At Iowa, he lined up at fullback as well as tight end. Under certain offensive minds in the NFL, All could find a home. His skill set would fit a team like the Los Angeles Chargers. Under Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh, All’s receiving skills out of the backfield could make him an asset to the Chargers offense. He’s sufficient as a blocker but would be most valuable as a receiving tight end in the NFL. All has injury questions that will push him down some boards, but he enters the NFL draft with much to prove.

Main Photo: David Yeazell – USA Today Sports


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