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2024 NFL Draft: Why the first defensive player taken could be historically late in Round 1

Sports2024 NFL Draft: Why the first defensive player taken could be historically late in Round 1


The 2024 NFL Draft is going to be one for the books — in more ways than one. It is expected to break several records when it comes to offensive players selected in the first round, and quarterbacks potentially going with the first four picks. As for the defensive side of the ball, the draft could break records there as well.

Per the Associated Press, the latest a defensive player has ever been selected is No. 8 overall, which occurred in 2021. This year, that record could be matched, or even broken. Five of our six CBS Sports NFL Draft experts have the first defensive player being selected No. 8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, while one has the Tennessee Titans at No. 7 taking the first defensive player. Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner is expected to the be the first defender off the board.

The reason the 2024 NFL Draft could make history is because of the blue-chip talent at other positions. Four quarterbacks appear likely to go within the top 10 picks (and potentially the top 5), as do at least two wide receivers and one offensive lineman. That’s seven offensive players right there. And if QB-, WR- or OL-needy teams get aggressive and trade up, there’s a world in which a defensive player doesn’t go in the top 10 at all.

Over at Caesars Sportsbook, the Over/Under for total offensive players drafted in the first round is 21.5. Which means Vegas is expecting about 11 defensive players total to be selected next Thursday night.

Let’s take a look at the latest a defensive player has been selected in each of the last 10 drafts. 

Latest a defensive player has been selected in last 10 drafts

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at CBSSports.com, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects

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