The 2024 NFL Draft is one for the record books, as six quarterbacks were taken with the first 12 picks -- an NFL record for how many quarterbacks were selected to start a draft (tying the record for most quarterbacks taken in the first round). The first defensive player to go off the board was at No. 15 overall, the latest a defensive player has ever been taken. 

As this unpredictable draft finally has a resolution, which of the biggest observations from Round 1 were an overreaction and which was a reality? There will be some spicy debate with a few of these players. 

Kirk Cousins won't be the Falcons quarterback in 2026 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Michael Penix Jr. is a great prospect and one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Why did the Falcons take him at No. 8 overall when they just paid Kirk Cousins $180 million over four seasons with a no-trade clause? Are the Falcons really going to move on from Cousins before the conclusion of his deal?

The answer is yes. Atlanta didn't draft a quarterback in the top 10 because the Falcons were going to sit him for four years. The Falcons can save $32.5 million in salary cap space by cutting Cousins in the 2026 offseason and handing the reins over to Penix.

Cousins has two years with the Falcons and will be 38 in 2026. The time will be right to move on to Penix. 

Vikings had the best draft in the first round

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

The Vikings actually traded up in this draft three times, once prior to the draft and twice in the actual draft. Only trading up one spot (from No. 11 to No. 10) to get J.J. McCarthy -- who was the fifth quarterback taken -- is a massive win for a franchise that was once thought to have to trade up into the top five to get their quarterback. 

The Vikings traded up again in the first round and landed one of the top defensive players in Dallas Turner, who should thrive in a high-pressure scheme with Brian Flores. 

The best draft, however, went to their NFC North rival in Chicago. The Bears were able to get Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall and Rome Odunze at No. 9. The Bears also have D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen at wide receiver with Odunze, while also having D'Andre Swift and Khalil Herbert at running back. 

Did the Bears address their offensive line? No, but Shane Waldron has the pieces to allow Williams to succeed right away. They're loaded at the skill positions. 

J.J. McCarthy is set up for a huge rookie season

Overreaction or reality: Reality

McCarthy has all the tools to succeed in Year 1. He has Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison as his top two wide receivers, along with T.J. Hockenson as his top tight end when he's healthy. Those are pass catchers rookie quarterbacks don't usually get to throw to in their rookie season, especially for insanely accurate quarterbacks. 

Of course, McCarthy has Aaron Jones at running back and Christian Darrisaw at left tackle. That's a great core to build with, especially for a young quarterback. 

Don't be surprised if McCarthy has immediate success in the NFL

Taking six QBs in the top 12 picks was justified

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

There are better football players than some of the quarterbacks who were taken in the top 12 of this draft. The top three players taken at quarterback were a foregone conclusion, especially with the Bears, Commanders and Patriots needs at the position. 

After Drake Maye was taken at No. 3, it appeared the quarterback picks stagnated. Then the Falcons took Michael Penix at No. 8 -- when they just gave Kirk Cousins $180 million! This changed the entire draft for multiple teams.

The Vikings got J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 and the Broncos took the last guy left at No. 12 in Bo Nix. There's easily a case to be made both McCarthy and Nix were overdrafted, and Penix was shockingly drafted before McCarthy. 

Denver didn't need to draft Nix at No. 12. There were better players on the board that would help a bad roster. The McCarthy pick made sense for the Vikings and Penix is immensely talented, but going to the Falcons was the surprise of it all. 

Giants hit a home run in selecting Malik Nabers

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Giants won by not forcing themselves into selecting a quarterback, even with J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix on the board. They made the wise choice in selecting Malik Nabers at No. 6 overall. 

New York didn't trade up to get Nabers, and gave Daniel Jones arguably the best wide receiver he's ever had. Nabers is the No. 1 wide receiver immediately for the Giants. His route running and ability to create yards after the catch will be massive for Jones as he fights to keep his job. 

The Giants can always get their franchise quarterback next year. They were smart not to force one on the roster this year. 

Quinyon Mitchell will start for the Eagles in Week 1

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

The Eagles don't necessarily have to start Mitchell this season, even with all the raw talent he possesses. His physicality stands out on tape and he can play on the outside. Mitchell has played mostly zone coverage and not enough man-to-man yet, so the Eagles will take their time with him.

Darius Slay is a starter at cornerback and James Bradberry is still on the roster for now. Mitchell will challenge for a starting role and will play special teams right away, but the Eagles will be patient with their newest corner early in his career -- especially on a roster full of them. 

Bills made a mistake letting Chiefs get Xavier Worthy 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Bills need a wide receiver after trading Stefon Diggs. They had an opportunity to land an impact player at No. 28. They passed on wide receiver not once, but twice, by trading down from No. 28 to No. 32 -- then trading down into the second round. 

The first trade was with the Chiefs, who selected Xavier Worthy with the pick. Worthy would have been the vertical presence the Bills needed in their offense, and now he's with Patrick mahomes and Kansas City. Good bet Worthy opens up things underneath for Marquise Brown, Rashee Rice and Travis Kelce

Buffalo passed on Xavier Legette at No. 32 and allowed the Panthers to trade up into the spot and get him for themselves. At the end of the day, the Chiefs got better on offense and the Bills traded out of Round 1 and stockpiled picks. 

That's a mistake letting an AFC rival get better, especially for a team that needs pass-catching help.