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ESPN’s Field Yates drops first big board of 2024 alongside Mel Kiper Jr.

Let’s compare how the consensus draft board, Field Yates and Mel Kiper Jr.’s rankings differ as we begin draft season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship - Michigan vs Washington Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last month, as part of ESPN’s First Draft series, Mel Kiper Jr. dropped his 2024 draft board alongside Field Yates. On Friday, Yates got his opportunity to discuss his own top-25 rankings with Kiper on the show.

For the most part, Yates’ rankings were fairly chalk when compared to the consensus draft board. Dive into Yates’ rankings below, before we discuss where he diverged from public opinion:

Field Yates’ Draft Rankings

  1. Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
  3. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
  4. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  5. Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
  6. Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
  7. Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
  8. Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
  9. Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
  10. Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
  11. Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
  12. Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
  13. Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
  14. Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
  15. J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
  16. Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
  17. Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington
  18. Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma
  19. Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
  20. Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
  21. Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
  22. Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
  23. Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
  24. Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
  25. Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

Three players that Yates seems to be higher on than the consensus draft board are tackle Troy Fauatanu of Washington, receiver Adonai Mitchell of Texas and tackle Tyler Guyton of Oklahoma. Yates had Fauatanu ranked nine spots ahead of the consensus draft board, Mitchell ranked ahead by 12 spots and Guyton by a whopping 20.

For reference, neither Mitchell or Guyton were ranked in Kiper’s top 25 last month. Fauatanu, though, was Kiper’s second-ranked tackle at 14th overall — even higher than Yates had him ranked. With that being said, Guyton wasn’t one of the seven tackles that Kiper discussed in December.

For Packers fans, a deep tackle class will only serve them well. Green Bay has two question marks on the offensive line moving into 2024: left tackle and right guard. It’s uncertain what left tackle David Bakhtiari’s status will be next year, as he’s been unable to stay on the field since his extension. Rasheed Walker has been playing his best football lately, but the prospect of a first-round pick might entice the team to add some competition to the position.

At right guard, Jon Runyan Jr. is the 2023 starter, but he is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. If the team isn’t sold on Sean Rhyan, who is rotating in at the position, on being the long-term starter, don’t be surprised if the team ends up converting one of these tackles to play guard so that a young player can see the field immediately.

As far as the players that Yates is lower on than the consensus, cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry of Alabama is ranked 12th on the consensus draft board but just 21st on Yates’ board. Illinois interior defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton, who is 11th on the consensus draft board, didn’t make the cut for Yates’ top 25 at all. For what it’s worth, McKinstry was also Kiper’s 21st-ranked player, but Newton made his top 25 as the 18th player in the class last month.

Along with Newton, two other players who are ranked in the consensus draft board’s top 25 but weren’t featured by Yates are tackle Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State (21st) and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. of Washington (23rd). Fuaga was actually Kiper’s fourth-ranked tackle in December, earning nods over Amarius Mims, J.C. Latham, Jordan Morgan and Tyler Guyton. Penix was also left off of his big board.

Yates was higher on a few players that Kiper was lower on, though. Pass-rushers Chop Robinson of Penn State and Bralen Trice of Washington were both unranked by Kiper, but they were ranked 22nd and 25th by Yates, respectively.

If you want to check out the full 65-minute discussion between Yates and Kiper on the top 2024 draft picks, the video is linked down below: