Getty Images

For as much as is uncertain with every NFL Draft, one thing is for sure -- there will be a small collection of "surprise" selections late in the first round. It's a yearly tradition unlike any other. And in almost every one of those instances, those surprising picks are freaky athletes. The NFL values traits.

These picks are rarely used on prospects who are amazing football players already, but these players possess physical attributes that are often too tantalizing to pass up for quality teams with late first-round picks. 

These are the 2024 prospects who tested themselves into Round 1. Last year, I went with five prospects and clearly only the Lions listened, because Jack Campbell and Jahmyr Gibbs ultimately went in the first round. The others I pinpointed were Rashee Rice, who had a strong rookie campaign, Adetomiwa Adebawore, who went in Round 2 and had a subpar rookie campaign, and Sydney Brown, an eventual third-round selection by the Eagles

Because of my 40% hit rate in 2023, I've decided to reduce by selections down to three this year. Well, for that reason, and the fact I really don't believe anyone realistically tested themselves into the first round of the 2024 draft. 

Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Measurements: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds 
Workout (position rank):

  • 40-yard dash: 4.34 seconds (third among WRs) 
  • Vertical: 39.5 inches (T-seventh)
  • Broad: 11-foot-4 (first)

Mitchell may be the most enigmatic receiver in the 2024 class. He was a three-star recruit who, somehow, amidst the plethora of five stars, popped instantly at Georgia, got hurt, then transferred to Texas and recorded 55 grabs for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns as a true junior in 2023. His collegiate career famously featured five touchdown catches in five College Football Playoff games. 

But it was really only one highly productive season for Mitchell, and he's only been able to legally drink since October. But now we know that he's a ridiculous first-round-caliber athlete at traditional boundary receiver size. On film, he's as smooth as they come as a route runner, and 4.34 speed with the explosion indicated by his jumps hints at an eventual first-round selection, even if Mitchell isn't finished a product. In fact, some teams may love that Mitchell's best football is in front of him.

Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Measurements: 6-foot-4, 292 pounds
Workout (position rank):

  • 40-yard dash: 4.78 seconds (first among DTs)
  • Vertical: 33.5 inches (first)
  • 10-yard split: 1.68 seconds (third)

Fiske is a first-round prospect. All the way. Well except for the fact that he's already 24 years old and has arms normally reserved for nickel cornerbacks. Everything else about his skill set and athletic profile screams "first. round. pick." For as much as defensive tackle is not a glamour, high-value position, the serious interior pass rushers are those at that position who garner serious Round 1 attention. 

Fiske's pressure-creation rate in 2023 was 10.6%. Anything above 10% is awesome for a defensive tackle, and he staked his claim as the most explosive defensive tackle in this class. Oh, and by the way, it's a thin defensive tackle class. Texas' Byron Murphy II and maybe Illinois' Johnny Newton might be picked in front of him, but Fiske tested himself into the first round. 

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Measurements: 5-foot-11, 165 pounds 

Workout (position rank):

  • 40-yard dash: 4.21 (first among all combine participants...ever)
  • 10-yard split: 1.49 (first)
  • Vertical: 41 inches (fourth)
  • Broad: 10-foot-1 (fifth)

So not every 4.20 receiver goes in the first round. Marquise Goodwin -- another Longhorn! -- third-round pick. Same with Toledo literal Rocket Dri Archer. Recently, in 2021, Anthony Schwartz from Auburn went in the third round, too. 

But Worthy was teetering on first-round status before the combine. No one was quite sure how small he'd be and how fast he'd run. While 165 pounds is about as light as we've seen -- but not lighter than Tank Dell a year go -- the 4.21 would be bolded in size 72 font if Worthy were to create a pre-draft resume for himself. 

Certainly, Worthy isn't a total well-rounded, do-everything wideout. But it's not as if he can't make a defender miss -- he forced 31 missed tackles on 196 career catches at Texas -- and of course can teleport down the field. The first round is often more about measurables and athletic gifts than anything else. And with many teams less concerned about minimal weight at the receiver position than ever before, along with Worthy's record-setting speed, I'll be stunned if he's available at pick No. 33 on the last Friday in April.