April 15, 2024

NFL Draft countdown: Focus on Cowboys’ first-round pick at No. 24

The 2024 NFL Draft is April 25-27 in Detroit. Last year, the Giants selected cornerback Deonte Banks 24th overall. This year, the Cowboys pick 24th. 

Here’s who the experts think they’ll take.

Pro Football Focus (Brad Spielberger): Laiatu Latu, Edge-rusher, UCLA

Latu would have been a top-10 pick if not for a preseason neck injury with Washington in 2020. A medical retirement kept him off the field for two years until UCLA doctors cleared him to play in 2022.

With the loss of defensive ends like Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr., the Cowboys could certainly use Latu. 

According to Spielberger: “Dallas replaces Dorance Armstrong Jr. right away and prepares for eventual life without Demarcus Lawrence, adding a stud opposite Micah Parsons, who will soon become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.”

Latu had 85 tackles and led the team with 23.5 sacks in two years as a Bruin. After posting an impressive 26.2 percent pass-rush win rate in 2023, the unanimous All-American became the first UCLA player to win the Lombardi Award as the best lineman in college football.

ESPN (Matt Miller): Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

At 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds, Mims has the size to give NFL linemen fits, but he has only eight starts in his college career. An ankle injury slowed him last year and he even pulled his hamstring running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

When healthy, Mims looks every bit like a first-round pick. According to Miller’s colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., Mims allowed zero sacks and just five total pressures across 372 career pass blocks. Just look at this combo-block with teammate Tate Ratledge against Tennessee: