COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Big 12 Championship Game - Texas vs Oklahoma State
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On Thursday night, commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed 32 new members of the NFL family in Detroit during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. As expected, Round 1 had plenty of surprises, with draft records being broken in regards to quarterbacks and wide receivers flying off the board, and defensive players doing just the opposite. 

Some of these players will be instant contributors and franchise-altering talents, while others will struggle with the learning curve that comes with the next level. Here are five bold predictions centered around the first-round draft picks from the 2024 NFL Draft. 

5. Bo Nix instant upgrade over Russell Wilson

With the No. 12 overall pick, the Denver Broncos took the sixth quarterback of the draft in Oregon's Bo Nix. Nix was seen as a borderline first-round pick, but he did set the FBS record for single-season completion percentage last season (77.4%). Nix wasn't some stud during his time at Auburn, but his two years in Eugene were historic. He became one of just four quarterbacks since 2000 to record 8,000 passing yards, 70 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns in a two-season span, joining a short list headlined by Patrick Mahomes

Nix joins a quarterback room that includes Zach Wilson, Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci. Some will assume a quarterback battle will take place, but Sean Payton's No. 1 goal this offseason after the Russell Wilson fiasco was to find the quarterback he feels comfortable running his offense through. That player is Nix. 

My bold prediction is that Nix steps in, and inspires optimism among the Broncos faithful. Despite being a polarizing pick, Nix will be an instant upgrade over Wilson.

4. Amarius Mims shows he belongs in NFL

Keeping Joe Burrow upright is important if the Cincinnati Bengals want to contend, which is why the franchise selected former Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims at No. 18 overall. Mims is an interesting prospect because he only made eight starts in 30 collegiate games played, but allowed zero sacks on 377 pass-blocking snaps. 

Mims was a first-round pick because of his potential, and he's 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds. The Bengals probably aren't expecting Mims to be an instant contributor with the big-bodied Orlando Brown Jr. and Trent Brown holding down the tackle spots, but my bold prediction is that he actually will be. One of Cincinnati's tackles could struggle or be injured, opening the door for Mims to come storming through, and he quickly shows he belongs in this league.

3. Quinyon Mitchell is a rookie Pro Bowler

In what was a big surprise, the first cornerback of the draft was taken at No. 22 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell is considered to be one of the best defensive players in this class, and he recorded the most passes defensed in the FBS over the past two seasons with 37. My prediction is that under the guidance of Vic Fangio and new cornerbacks coach Roy Anderson, Mitchell will not only be an instant starter, but a Pro Bowler as a rookie. 

2. Xavier Worthy X-factor in Chiefs three-peat

The Buffalo Bills may have facilitated the rival Chiefs landing their next Tyreek Hill, as Buffalo traded down from No. 28 and allowed Kansas City to select Texas speedster Xavier Worthy. Worthy broke the 40-yard dash record at the NFL Combine this year with a 4.21 time, and he couldn't have found a better landing spot than with Andy Reid.

Worthy isn't Josh Ross. He's a more "complete" player, if you will. Worthy was named First Team All-Big 12 twice, and also led the conference in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns during his college career. My prediction is that the Chiefs do indeed pull off the first three-peat in NFL history this upcoming season, and Worthy is an X-factor in Mahomes' offense.

1. J.J. McCarthy wins Offensive Rookie of the Year

Not many expected Michigan's McCarthy to fall to No. 10 overall, but the Minnesota Vikings may be the most ideal landing spot for any rookie quarterback. McCarthy gets to throw the ball to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, be supported by Aaron Jones out of the backfield and receive guidance from the offensive-minded Kevin O'Connell. I don't think McCarthy is the best quarterback in this class, but he's in a great situation. My bold prediction is that he wins Offensive Rookie of the Year thanks to what's around him.