2024 All-Juice Team: Where this year's selections ended up during and after the NFL Draft

Editor’s note: We have updated this edition of the All-Juice Team with the players’ destinations during and after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Ten years ago, Terez Paylor coined the term “All-Juice Team,” setting forth a decade-long tradition that honored college football players for their combination of effort, attitude and performance. Amazingly, his first team didn’t have a quarterback.

The longest-running followers of this team are often surprised to hear that. But it’s true: When Terez first started his annual All-Juice Team at the Kansas City Star in 2015, it was merely a collection of 22 players he’d plucked from college football after watching endless strings of game tape and identifying something special about their game. It wasn’t until the second year of the team that Terez dialed it into a traditional format, choosing a full slate of offensive and defensive players and projecting them into where he believed they’d be selected in the NFL Draft.

Since this is a prominent anniversary for the team, we figured we’d honor Terez by making note of that first class from 2015. A squad that, despite its loose collection, featured a stunning 10 players who are still expected to be on NFL rosters in 2024. That’s 10 players out of his 22 selections who are expected to play in 10 NFL seasons. That kind of career in such a brutal league doesn’t just happen. It takes talent. It takes attitude. It takes performance.

In other words, it takes juice. And Terez’s first team had it.

And part of what is remarkable about that first collection of players who managed to stick for a decade? Only five were first-round draft picks: defensive tackle Leonard Williams, linebacker Dante Fowler, wideout Amari Cooper, and offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and Laken Tomlinson. The other five? It was comprised of three second-round linebackers — Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryman and Markus Golden — and two third-rounders in wideout Tyler Lockett and defensive back Steven Nelson.

Any talent evaluator who points to 22 draft prospects in a given year and finds 10 who last an entire decade — including five who weren’t taken on the first day of the draft — would be extremely proud of that record. Surely Terez would be. And we absolutely are happy to point it out.

He built his All-Juice Teams to last. And as we have carried out the tradition in his honor for the past four years — despite Terez changing the format dramatically — we continue to try our best to live up to his standard.

To recap Terez’s approach: The team is based on NFL evaluator and coaching staff feedback, choosing two players per “shelf,” building a full 22-man team (plus one priority free agent). The one extra player is a shoutout to an earlier edition of one of Terez’s All-Juice Teams where he added an extra defensive player to account for a nickel spot while also maintaining a traditional seven-man box. We have chosen to use the additional spot to add a preferred free agent who was put onto our radar by sources.

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With that in mind, enjoy the 10th annual All-Juice Team. As always, we hope Terez would have approved of the work. Here are the shelf breakdowns based on where each prospect was projected to go with their actual draft result listed below.

Top 10 — USC QB Caleb Williams and Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Nos. 11-20 — Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell and Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Nos. 21-32 — Georgia OT Amarius Mims and Penn State DE Chop Robinson

Top of second — Illinois DT Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton and Georgia WR Ladd McConkey

Bottom second — Houston OT Patrick Paul and West Virginia C Zach Frazier

Top third — Connecticut G Christian Haynes and Michigan CB Mike Sainristil

Bottom third — Oregon DT Brandon Dorlus and Michigan OG Zak Zinter

4th round — USC RB MarShawn Lloyd and Penn State LB Curtis Jacobs

5th round — UNC LB Cedric Gray and Wake Forest S Malik Mustapha

6th round — Florida State CB Jarrian Jones and Ohio State LB Tommy Eichenberg

7th round — Clemson DE Xavier Thomas and Ohio State S Josh Proctor

Priority Free Agent — Holy Cross WR Jalen Coker

Please help us keep the memory of our late friend and colleague Terez Paylor alive and pick up one of the updated All-Juice Team T-shirts or hoodies, with proceeds going to Howard University and the University of Missouri. The funds will support a scholarship for journalism students in Terez’s name, helping to provide some of the same opportunities that Terez had on his trek to becoming an influential NFL reporter in Kansas City and on the national stage.

The 2024 All-Juice Team offense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)The 2024 All-Juice Team offense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

The 2024 All-Juice Team offense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

We’ve been waiting on and staring at Williams since his breakout true freshman season at Oklahoma, and there’s little doubt that part of that overexposure has crept into his draft evaluation. As one longtime talent evaluator put it, “If you aren’t lazy and you watch all three years of his tape, he did everything and anything that any shotgun quarterback has ever done in college football, including Peyton Manning.”

When it comes to No. 1 overall draft picks over the past 20 years, some evaluators put him at the top of a collection that includes Trevor Lawrence, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning. With an astronomically enticing blend of arm strength, playmaking ability and sheer will to compete, he has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. One AFC executive said he’s closer to a cross between Rodgers and Brett Favre, with the ability to be great in the pocket when he chooses to be disciplined, but also an off-the-charts gun-slinging mentality to create plays whenever he chooses.

We’re ignoring the overexposure about his personality and worries about him playing out of structure. He carried his teams from the moment he stepped on the field as a freshman and showcased a level of creativity and competitiveness that make him a set-it-and-forget-it pick.

MarShawn Lloyd is a running back for fans of the classic game. He’s a shorter, powerful back who can run you the hell over and run away from players as well. He’s a one-cut-and-get-downhill type of running back. He doesn’t have the most wiggle in the world, but he’s strong and fast — which always plays at the position. Lloyd has a problem with fumbles, but if he can get over that, he has a chance to be a heavy-usage running back.

The quintessential wide receiver prospect had to make the All-Juice Team. Harrison checks every box that a talent evaluator would want in a wide receiver. Size, speed, route running, contested catches, ability as a runner — he has it all.

Harrison is so damn good that he’s going to be an extremely high draft pick despite opting out of the NFL scouting combine and Ohio State’s pro day. He’s that good.

Even in a draft with players like Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze, Harrison’s talent shines. He has a chance to go nuclear as a rookie, especially if he lands with a quality quarterback. He is as no-brainer as it gets.

If Brock Bowers didn’t exist, McConkey’s numbers could have been among the most prolific wideouts in this class of receivers. Instead, talent evaluators raved about him doing a significant amount of heavy lifting with the mid and downfield routes for the Georgia Bulldogs. In that regard, a number of evaluators scoffed at the loafing interchangeable comparisons to whatever white slot receiver caught someone’s fancy in the NFL. Said one scout: “He’s not a slot in Georgia’s offense and I don’t think he has to be a slot in the NFL, either. He can be, but that’s not the only thing he can be. … He’s fast and agile and tactical, and sets up corners with his movement as well as any receiver in this class.”

Time will tell if McConkey gets the volume at the next level that can unlock his production, but the right team and scheme fit could unleash him.

A late-round project player who can come in and be a good special teams contributor as he develops his ability to run NFL routes against better competition than he faced in college. At 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, Coker checks the size and measurable boxes. His 4.57 speed and 42-inch vertical hints that there is some element of explosion to his game. He also has superb hands, and talent evaluators saw a willingness to relentlessly compete for catches in his tape. He’s a project with promise.

We have him tabbed as a high priority undrafted free agent, but enough personnel men raised Coker as a late-round player that he might get selected. Regardless, we’re adding him as our high-end undrafted free agent.

Bowers did a bit of everything for Georgia’s offense over the past few years — and he was good at doing everything for Georgia’s offense. He was one of the most explosive pass-catching weapons in college football, while showing off unbelievable athleticism with the ball in his hands. Bowers might not fit the most prototypical frame for a highly sought TE prospect, but he’s so dynamic that he should be able to overcome that in the NFL.

He’s comfortably the best tight end in this class and one of those rare prospects who can excel at the position from Day 1.

Mims is built like the Incredible Hulk and plays like it, too. He has fluid movement for a man that’s nearly 6-foot-8, 340 pounds and can vertical set like a Pro Bowl tackle. He’s a monster in the running game for a player of his stature and should immediately be a force for an offensive line.

The biggest knock on him is he didn’t play in many games during his college career, playing only 682 snaps over the past two seasons. If he can stay on the field, he has a chance to be dominant in the NFL.

Upside. Movement skills. Power. That’s the Christian Haynes guidebook. Haynes was a monster at guard for the Huskies, showing off the skills and flexibility to project as an NFL starter.

Haynes is automatic on reach blocks and moves well to the second level for a 320-pound guard. He’s also explosive enough to move defensive linemen off of the ball in heavier run situations. Haynes could be a guy who people look at in a few years and wonder how he didn’t go in the first round.

Frazier might end up being the top center in this draft class when it’s all said and done. He is scheme-diverse and tough, and has the one trait that every great center possesses: a brain.

Frazier plays with great eyes in the run game and can direct traffic as a pass blocker. He’s not the strongest lineman in the world, but he’s a high-floor player who can turn a good offensive line into a great unit.

If he hadn’t broken his leg late in Michigan’s season against Ohio State and missed all of the pre-draft work, multiple talent evaluators said he could have pushed himself into high second-round territory.

Zinter could present some value to an NFL team if he ends up slipping past the second round. A team captain and staple of three dominant offensive lines and running games for Michigan over the past three years, Zinter is seen as one of the underrated offensive cornerstones of Jim Harbaugh’s championship build. One evaluator called his tape “porn for offensive line geeks,” especially when he gets to the second level. Considering Michigan’s track record running the ball and dominating games from the line outward, we’ll take that all day in the third round.

Very big (6-foot-7 1/2, 331 pounds) and very long (86-inch+ wingspan), Paul is a premium pass blocking left tackle who has good strength above the waist and is a nice athlete with size. A staple left anchor for the Houston Cougars every time he stepped on the field, Paul started 39 games at the spot the past three seasons. According to Pro Football Reference data, Paul allowed only one sack in 470 pass block attempts in 2023. The one part of his game that needs work is his run blocking. That can be improved as he gains more lower body strength and refinement as his career goes along. For now, we’ll take the out-of-the-box pass blocker and hit the ground running.

The 2024 All-Juice Team defense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)The 2024 All-Juice Team defense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

The 2024 All-Juice Team defense. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

Dorlus is the type of “tweener” defensive lineman who can make it.

He’s not quite the biggest defensive tackle, but he’s big for a defensive end at 283 pounds. He can play on the inside because he has the strength and burst to beat interior offensive linemen. He also has the speed to do some damage off the edge and that speed translates to defensive tackle as well, where he can use that athleticism to get up the field.

Dorlus may not end up being a Pro Bowler, but he’s the type of do-it-all defensive lineman who can round out a unit.

There might not be a pass rusher in this entire class with the technical skill of Newton. He was a wrecking ball for Illinois and couldn’t be contained by any of the poor offensive linemen that had to go against him. Newton can win with speed from 3-technique, he can power through guards and dance around blockers to leave them grasping for something that isn’t there anymore.

After playing one season at Maryland, Robinson transferred to Penn State and immediately unlocked his considerable talent. Talent evaluators raved about the array of tools he has shown despite still being extremely young (he turned 21 in January), particularly his speed off the edge. One NFC evaluator called him “a freak and he hasn’t even scratched the surface,” while an AFC scout said Robinson’s size, speed and potential versatility in the right scheme could compare favorably to another Penn State great: Micah Parsons.

Said the AFC scout: “If he’d stayed another year and took the jump that he’s already kind of showing, he might be a top-five [draft] pick in that [2025] class. Now I think he’s a guy that five years from now we look back at this draft and maybe he ends up being the best defensive player on the board.”

The second pick for a pass rusher didn’t quite have the career he hoped to have when he hit the scene as a freshman for Clemson. Thomas looked to be the next great Clemson defensive lineman, but he suffered through a serious bout of COVID-19 that caused him to miss time. Still, in the late Day 3 range of the draft, he’s worth a dice roll to see if he can tap back into the potential he showed in 2018-2020. It’s tough to find high-upside chances on the defensive line in the late stages of the draft, but the 24-year-old Thomas has that potential.

It’s not a great linebacker class in general, but Jacobs had a very solid and productive four years at Penn State, including his last three seasons as a starter. One talent evaluator called him “an underrated lunch pail guy on good defensive teams who definitely got overshadowed by some of the better athletes on Penn State’s defenses.”

The upside for Jacobs is that he can come in and be a core special-teamer found in later rounds, and he adds versatility across the board after playing all three linebacker spots at Penn State. He’s not a flashy addition, but one who can help in multiple ways. Late in the process, some evaluators suggested flipping his draft round with Cedric Gray, but we’re going to stand pat.

Gray is a very productive linebacker who has downhill qualities against the run and an athletic profile that suggests he can play in coverage, too. There’s some argument between talent evaluators about how good he could be on third down in the NFL, but even his skeptics agree that his tape showcases a boom-or-bust quality that could easily land in his favor at the next level.

Early on it seemed that he would be a great third-day value in a weak linebacker class, but some late assessments from evaluators following the Senior Bowl and getting better familiarity with his tape are suggestive that we put him far too low in this draft.

We’re going to keep him where we slotted him initially on Day 3, but with an admission that Gray could very easily be a high third-round pick and make us look stupid. Either way, he has a lot of the late juice in a shallow class.

An absolute tackle monster in 2022, Eichenberg’s stats receded a bit in 2023 despite him still being a core piece and emotional leader on Ohio State’s defense. There’s a reason we have him coming off the board late in weak class, and that’s largely due to a limited athletic profile.

Again, the All-Juice Team isn’t just an all-star team. We have to find contributing talent in all rounds, and Eichenberg can at least be a solid backup linebacker at the next level who adds something to the locker room and also becomes a good year-to-year piece on special teams. We also can’t deny that his 2022 tape had some flashes that looked promising, particularly his 12 tackles for a loss. He has the grit and physicality you want from an inside linebacker. If that 2022 season wasn’t an aberration, there’s a chance he can work his way into a starting role in the NFL and have a solid career.

He was an absolute rock star on the field at the Senior Bowl practices and saw his stock explode into potential first-cornerback-taken territory by the end of the week.

Mitchell’s overwhelming love in the talent evaluator community was reminiscent of safety Jalen Pitre’s popularity when we were putting together the 2022 All-Juice Team. After a week of calls, it started to feel like everyone was mentioning him as an ideal candidate. And it’s easy to see why. He checks off box after box for the cornerback position, starting with ideal size (6-foot and 195 pounds) and vapor-inducing speed (4.33 seconds in the 40). That gets blended with a very strong and physical player who attacks routes.

Mitchell actually spent the majority of his high school career as a wideout, too, so there’s still quite a bit of upside in his game.

Said one NFC evaluator, “He’s all business when you talk to him. He’s quiet, but then when you watch his play, [it] is so loud.” Added another evaluator, “He is a tough player and he has a Ferrari gear in coverage. He can turn and step on it with anyone.” We’ll take it all.

Evaluators in the Midwest were amped about the leadership that Sainristil brings to the table on top of his play. One league source with Michigan ties told Yahoo Sports that Sainristil was as responsible for the team’s championship success as quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum. “He’s a dog on the field and I’m telling you, if you asked the [Michigan] guys who get drafted, if you asked them to pick a teammate they’d draft into the league, I’m telling you Sainristil wins that vote,” the source said.

A player who transitioned from wide receiver to cornerback before the 2022 season, Sainristil is a high-level slot cornerback who should still have plenty of ceiling on the table as he continues to refine his game. He can handle explosive players off the line of scrimmage and is a very smart, plus-level player in zone coverage. And he showcases a willingness to play the run and blitz from the slot. He’s also one of former head coach Jim Harbaugh’s favorite players ever. Inject this into our All-Juice veins.

OK, we should get this out front. Like our slotting of Cedric Gray, we had a few talent evaluators raise a stink about theoretically plucking Jones so late in this draft. Especially after a scouting combine that saw him check in at 6-feet and 190 pounds, then run a 4.38 40-yard dash and post a highly athletic showcase in his drills. So like Gray, we’ll just take the egg on our face if Jones pops up as a strong third-round pick.

What evaluators liked about Jones was that he had some high-energy dog in his game competing in routes while also being a willing volunteer in run support. He’s still working on tackling consistency and using his speed and athleticism to recover from mistakes. In some ways, his detractors saw him as a gifted athlete who is still working out his mechanics. If he ends up going in this kind of a late-round projection, that’s why. But we love that it’s not his heart or motor that needs work, nor his natural skill. We’ll take him later in the draft and refine the mechanics and never look back.

In a weaker safety class, a solid all-round talent like Mustapha has a chance to separate himself once he hits the NFL. Mustapha is fearless and has no problem playing hard downhill and running into ball carriers at full speed. He’s not the rangiest player in coverage, but he has some man coverage skills that will help him not be a total liability there at the next level.

Even in the middling talent pool of this safety class, there are some guys who should find a role in the NFL and Proctor is one of them. As a six-year college player, Proctor has a lot of experience and played in a ton of games for the Buckeyes. Proctor has some range on the backend as a free safety and is a smart player with a high floor.

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