The replacements: Who will fill the shoes of those picked in the first round of the NFL draft?

The replacements: Who will fill the shoes of those picked in the first round of the NFL draft?

With the 2024 NFL draft in the rearview mirror, college football has officially waved goodbye to many of its top players.

Six quarterbacks were taken in the first round alone, including two Heisman Trophy winners. So who’s next?

Below you’ll find all 32 first-round picks from last Thursday’s NFL draft and who their likely successor will be according to ESPN’s college football staff.

Replacement: Miller Moss

Though Lincoln Riley has refused to officially name him the starter, longtime USC backup Miller Moss is slated to replace Williams — at least this season. Moss has been biding his time, refusing to transfer and instead hoping that his belief and talent will earn him the job. When given the opportunity in last year’s Holiday Bowl, Moss delivered, throwing for six touchdowns in the win. Riley said after this year’s spring game that Moss has the inside track on the job, but nothing is certain just yet. — Paolo Uggetti


Replacement: Garrett Nussmeier

The Tigers are undergoing a complete makeover on offense after Daniels, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and his two 1,000-yard receivers, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., were selected in the first round. Former LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock departed for Notre Dame as well. LSU coach Brian Kelly promoted quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan and receivers coach/passing game coordinator Cortez Hankton to co-offensive coordinators, with Sloan taking over the playcalling.

The good news? Quarterback Garrett Nussmeier is more than ready to take over. He waited three seasons behind Daniels and was MVP of the ReliaQuest Bowl after passing for 395 yards with three scores in a 35-31 victory over Wisconsin. — Mark Schlabach


Replacement: Max Johnson or Conner Harrell

Through 15 spring practices, North Carolina coach Mack Brown remains undecided about who will replace Maye. Johnson, who transferred in from Texas A&M, has far more starting and playing experience. But Harrell was in the offense last year as a backup to Maye.

Brown said in his post-spring news conference he just wants to see more consistency to help him make a decision. “I go back and forth,” Brown said. “One day, I’ll walk off and say, ‘God, he was great. The other one struggled a little bit.’ And then the next day, I’ll say, ‘That one had confidence. He had a hot hand, but I don’t know.’ So that’s the good and the bad of it. We just need to get one of them more consistent.” — Andrea Adelson


Replacement: Jeremiah Smith

Senior Emeka Egbuka reminded everyone in Ohio State’s spring game why he’ll be the Buckeyes’ No. 1 target next season with a series of impressive catches, including a one-handed grab along the sideline. But Smith, the No. 4 overall recruit in 2024, dazzled after enrolling early with his ball skills and big-play ability. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound wideout has the potential to follow in Harrison’s footsteps and be a top-five draft pick himself down the line. Once again, the Buckeyes appear to be loaded at wide receiver. — Jake Trotter


5. Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Replacement: Charles Jagusah

Alt sat out last season’s Sun Bowl, paving the way for Charles Jagusah to make the start in Notre Dame’s 40-8 win over Oregon State. Jagusah was the first Notre Dame freshman to start at left tackle since … Joe Alt. At 6-7, 330 pounds, Jagusah is an intimidating figure, and as a four-star recruit, he has the pedigree to be a top blocker at a position that’s become an incubator for NFL talent.

Each of the past five starting left tackles for the Irish has become either a first- or second-round draft pick, including three players taken in the top 10. In his lone start in the Sun Bowl, Jagusah had just one blown block — though it did lead to a sack. That’s as many sacks as Alt allowed all season. In other words, Jagusah has some very big shoes to fill. — David Hale


Replacement: CJ Daniels or Zavion Thomas

With Nabers and Thomas off to the NFL draft, the Tigers plucked CJ Daniels (Liberty) and Zavion Thomas (Mississippi State) from the transfer portal. Daniels was a second-team All-Conference USA selection after catching 55 passes for 1,067 yards with 10 touchdowns in 2023. He had seven 100-yard receiving games in 32 contests at Liberty.

Thomas was one of the most explosive kick and punt returners in the SEC during his two seasons with the Bulldogs. He had 40 receptions for 503 yards with one touchdown in 2023, while adding 202 yards on six kickoff returns and 163 yards on 14 punt returns. He averaged 12.4 yards each time he touched the ball last season. Kyren Lacy was LSU’s No. 3 receiver last season, and he figures to become Nussmeier’s primary target in 2024. — Schlabach


Replacement: Elijah Pritchett

With Kadyn Proctor returning at left tackle after transferring to Iowa for a few months and then having a change of heart, Pritchett is the favorite to step in at right tackle and has the most experience. He battled with Proctor last season for a starting spot and played in 13 games. Alabama had only four scholarship tackles this spring and will need to create more depth at a position that has seen a wealth of talent over the years in Tuscaloosa. — Chris Low


Replacement: Will Rogers

Despite a short scare when Rogers — a Mississippi State transfer — reentered the transfer portal following the departure of Kalen DeBoer to Alabama, new head coach Jedd Fisch was able to keep Rogers in Seattle. The fifth-year senior threw for a total of 12,315 passing yards and 94 touchdowns over his four years in Starkville and has the potential to add to his résumé under Fisch’s typically explosive offensive scheme this upcoming season. — Uggetti


Replacement: Jeremiah Hunter

Hunter, a transfer from Cal, started 23 games over his four seasons in Berkeley, totaling 143 receptions, 2,056 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Hunter led Cal last year with 62 receptions, 703 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. He enrolled at UW in time to participate in spring ball. — Heather Dinich


Replacement: Alex Orji

Unless Michigan adds a quarterback in the portal, Orji will likely get the first chance to lead the defending national champions. Orji was an effective changeup quarterback in 2023, using his size (6-3, 236 pounds) and athletic ability to rush for 86 yards on 15 carries. But he didn’t attempt a pass and must show significant growth to replace McCarthy’s accuracy and efficiency.

Orji is working with a mostly new-look group of wide receivers, although he will benefit from having standout tight end Colston Loveland in the middle of the field. — Adam Rittenberg


Replacement: Drew Shelton

Shelton missed spring practice after undergoing an offseason surgery that required him to wear a sling. But during the combine, Fashanu praised his likely replacement, saying Shelton has a chance to “be a lot better than I ever was.” Shelton started five games at left tackle in 2022 after Fashanu suffered an injury and made another start at right tackle last season. Assuming he’s ready to go for the season, the 6-5, 306-pound Shelton is primed to finally step into a full-time starting role. — Trotter


12. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Replacement: Dillon Gabriel

This is Gabriel’s third school, having played at both UCF and more recently Oklahoma, which is why it’s no surprise the senior has the edge in experience over sophomore UCLA transfer Dante Moore. Coach Dan Lanning said both are quickly learning the system, “but certainly there’s an edge for Dillon with his experience and what he’s done at his previous stops.” Gabriel has 49 career starts and enters the year tied for fourth in NCAA history in career total touchdowns (152). — Dinich


Replacement: Oscar Delp or Benjamin Yurosek

The Bulldogs aren’t going to simply replace Bowers, who was the best tight end in program history. His route running and ability to pick up yards after the catch — as well as his willingness to block and do it well — was a rare combination. Junior Oscar Delp played a lot when Bowers was sidelined with an ankle injury in 2023. Delp becomes the top tight end after catching 24 passes for 284 yards with three touchdowns last season.

Former Stanford star Ben Yurosek was the top tight end in the transfer portal and will arrive in Athens, Georgia, this summer. He had 108 receptions for 1,342 yards in three seasons with the Cardinal, including leading Stanford with 658 receiving yards in 2021. As much as Georgia uses two-tight end sets, sophomore Lawson Luckie and freshmen Jaden Reddell and Colton Heinrich will have opportunities for early playing time as well. — Schlabach


Replacement: Grant Starck

Three players — Grant Starck, Jacob Strand and Nathan Elu — are all possibilities, but Starck, a senior, has the edge in experience. He played in 12 games last year after transferring from Nevada, where he was a starter in 2022. Strand and Elu are both redshirt sophomores who played in a combined eight games last year. Joshua Gray, the only returning starter up front, played opposite Fuaga last year but could be moving inside this season. — Dinich


Replacement: Collins Acheampong

The Bruins’ best player last season won’t be easy to replace, especially after one of the candidates to take his spot — Choe Bryant-Strother — recently entered the transfer portal. New head coach DeShaun Foster has already declared it a “portal position” and the Bruins brought in Collins Acheampong from Miami — a 6-7, 270-pound freshman who has plenty of raw potential — to see if he can fill the void. Foster & Co. also brought in Navy transfer Jacob Busic and converted Devin Aupiu to edge from defensive tackle in order to have multiple options. — Uggetti


Replacement: Alfred Collins

How loaded was Texas at defensive tackle last year? Alfred Collins was honorable mention All-Big 12 despite sharing the field with Murphy, a first-round pick, and Outland Trophy winner T’Vondre Sweat, a second-rounder. Collins, who opted to return for his super senior season, has appeared in 48 games with 12 starts in his career, including recording 22 tackles with 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 2 pass breakups last season. He showed his athletic ability in the spring game by snagging a tipped ball from Quinn Ewers and running it back for a pick-six. — Dave Wilson


Replacement: Quandarrius Robinson

The redshirt senior has waited his turn and saw most of his action on special teams last season. More than any other position under the new regime, the Crimson Tide need pass-rushers to emerge.

Defensive coordinator Kane Wommack said he liked the way Robinson and some of his mates adjusted to the new scheme this spring. A breakout season for the 6-5, 231-pound Robinson would be huge for Alabama, which lost 25 of its 39 sacks last season to the NFL among the trio of Chris Braswell, Justin Eboigbe and Turner. Redshirt junior Keanu Koht and redshirt freshman Qua Russaw are two others to watch at the edge positions. — Low


Replacement: Earnest Greene and Xavier Truss

Georgia’s offensive line should be among the best in the FBS once again. The Bulldogs bring back both starting tackles, Earnest Greene and Xavier Truss, from a unit that led the SEC and ranked seventh in the FBS in sacks allowed (0.93 per game) in 2023. Truss has started 28 games at Georgia; Greene started all 14 as a redshirt freshman. Jamal Meriweather and Monroe Freeling were the top tackle backups in the spring. — Schlabach


19. Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Replacement: Patrick Payton, Sione Lolohea or Marvin Jones Jr.

Verse, a transfer from Albany, excelled with the Seminoles. To find his replacement, coach Mike Norvell also turns to a transfer — but this one was a lot more known coming out of high school. Marvin Jones Jr. might have an even higher ceiling. He was a consensus five-star recruit and the No. 2 edge rusher in the country coming out of high school, but his first two seasons at Georgia offered minimal results. He transferred to FSU in January and was among the Seminoles’ most improved players in spring ball. He’s currently behind Patrick Payton and Oregon State transfer Sione Lolohea on the depth chart, but Jones still figures to play a key role in a fierce rotation at edge rusher this season. — Hale


Replacement: Soane Faasolo

Fautanu played both left guard and left tackle at Washington, but he started 15 games last season at the latter. Spring practices in Seattle have indicated that redshirt freshman Soane Faasolo is in the driver’s seat for that position while true freshman Paki Finau has spent ample time as the first-team left tackle. Both aren’t exactly swimming in experience, and there’s a good chance the Huskies look to the portal for more help on the line as a whole. — Uggetti


Replacement: Dani Dennis-Sutton

Dennis-Sutton was a third-team All-Big Ten selection last year despite starting in only three games. He finished his sophomore season with 3.5 sacks, 6 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles.

Before that, he was an ESPN true freshman All-American. Penn State coach James Franklin predicted this spring that the 6-5, 270-pound Dennis-Sutton is “going to have a really big year for us” as the team’s top returning pass-rusher. “We need him to take a step this year … and from everything we’ve seen so far, I think he will.” — Trotter


Replacement: Avery Smith

Toledo not only loses Mitchell but Chris McDonald, a third-team All-MAC cornerback, and RJ Delancy, who transferred to Wisconsin. Smith has appeared in 25 games during the past two seasons as a reserve corner, recording 27 tackles. Another name to note is incoming transfer Jadarrius Perkins, who appeared in 23 games at Florida and had 40 tackles, an interception and three pass breakups. — Rittenberg


Replacement: Kyren Lacy

He’s LSU’s top returning wide receiver, having played in 27 games (12 starts) in his past two seasons with the Tigers. He started the final nine games of 2023 and finished third on the team in yards (558) and touchdown receptions (seven) and fourth in receptions (30). Following his redshirt freshman season, Lacy transferred from Louisiana-Lafayette, where he caught 50 passes for 668 yards and 10 touchdowns. — Dinich


Replacement: Domani Jackson

After two seasons at USC, Jackson was one of Alabama’s most important transfers this offseason and immediately steps in as a starter at cornerback. Nick Saban recruited the five-star prospect hard out of high school before the San Diego product decided to stay in California and play for the Trojans. Jackson, who suffered a knee injury as a senior in high school, has elite speed and excellent coverage skills. His experience will be especially valuable in an Alabama cornerback room that will be extremely young in 2024. — Low


Replacement: Raymond Pulido

Morgan — a first-round pick by the Packers — leaves behind big shoes to fill at left tackle, and the question of his replacement will be crucial to the Wildcats’ 2024 season. In the Alamo Bowl, 6-6, 335-pound sophomore Raymond Pulido manned the left tackle position. Pulido, a true freshman who started on the line in 2023, is young but has shown great potential, though he didn’t play in Arizona’s spring game due to an injury. There will still likely be more shuffling on the Wildcats’ line all the way up to the fall, and their lack of depth in the unit might even involve a transfer portal addition or two. — Uggetti


Replacement: Justin Pickett or Brian Parker II

Though Barton projects as a center in the NFL, he started at left tackle at Duke the past three seasons and leaves big shoes to fill as a two-time All-ACC first-team selection. Duke was stretched thin this spring on the offensive line and had only five healthy linemen for its spring game. This is an area of need in the portal, but Duke has options to replace Graham currently on the roster. Pickett and Parker both played for the Blue Devils last season. — Adelson


Replacement: Joe Moore

Missouri loses a lot up front beyond Robinson, as there are some interior holes to fill, too. Johnny Walker Jr. returns at one starting spot after recording 5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and 9 quarterback hurries, and Moore is set to play opposite him in Robinson’s spot. Moore had a sack and 13 tackles in a reserve role last season and saw extensive field time with the starting defense this spring. The Arizona State transfer had two sacks, a forced fumble and 24 tackles for the Sun Devils in 2022. Missouri also added transfers Darris Smith (Georgia) and Zion Young (Michigan State) to fortify the edge. — Rittenberg


Replacement: Isaiah Bond, Ryan Wingo or Matthew Golden

The Longhorns got speedster Isaiah Bond out of the portal from Alabama with an eye on replacing Worthy after Bond caught 48 passes for 668 yards last season. He might claim the job, but he’ll have to fend off 6-2, 208-pound star freshman Ryan Wingo, who put on a show at the spring game with a 58-yard TD catch and another 3-yard red zone grab, and Houston transfer Matthew Golden, who’s recovering from a foot injury last year but is a dynamic playmaker and kick returner. Sophomore Johntay Cook II, who appeared in all 14 games last year and flashed his big-play potential with a 51-yard catch against Baylor, will also be looking to force his way onto the field somewhere. — Wilson


Replacement: Jake Taylor or Spencer Brown

The search for a replacement for Guyton, who played right tackle to protect left-handed QB Dillon Gabriel’s blind side, will likely include a battle between sophomore Jake Taylor, who has made appearances at both right tackle and right guard in two seasons in Norman, and Michigan State transfer Spencer Brown, who made 23 starts, mostly at right tackle, for the Spartans. Taylor got the start for the spring game, with junior Jacob Sexton, who started the past four games of last year at right tackle, playing left guard. — Wilson


Replacement: Avieon Terrell

Clemson hasn’t exactly earned a reputation as DBU (LSU and Ohio State have that title on lockdown), but Wiggins became the sixth Tigers defensive back drafted in the first two rounds in the past decade. Perhaps the best of the bunch thus far is 2020 first-rounder A.J. Terrell, who has blossomed into a Pro Bowl performer with the Falcons, and whose younger brother, Avieon, could be the next star corner for the Tigers.

Avieon Terrell started five games last season as a true freshman, making 19 tackles and picking off a pass in a win over Georgia Tech. His role will be far bigger this year, as he’ll team with former five-star recruit Jeadyn Lukas to anchor Clemson’s secondary. The Tigers are loaded in the front seven, so the development of Terrell and Lukas might be the key to a playoff push for a defense that finished last season leading the nation in success rate. — Hale


Replacement: Chimere Dike

There’s no question the Gators are going to miss Pearsall’s production. He led the team with 65 receptions and 965 receiving yards with 6 total touchdowns in 2023. The former Arizona State transfer was especially reliable on third downs — 41% of his catches were for first downs last season.

Gators coach Billy Napier grabbed Wisconsin receiver Chimere Dike out of the transfer portal to help. Dike should have good chemistry with quarterback Graham Mertz, another former Badgers starter. Dike led Wisconsin with 47 catches for 689 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2022. Eugene Wilson III (61 catches for 538 with 6 touchdowns) and Kahleil Jackson (22 for 251) are also back. Napier praised young receivers Marcus Burke and Aidan Mizell during the spring. — Schlabach


Replacement: Gage Larvadain

Several players could help fill Legette’s role, including two transfers in Larvadain (Miami of Ohio) and Jared Brown (Coastal Carolina). Larvadain led Miami in 2023 with 42 catches for 679 yards and 6 touchdowns, helping the team to a MAC title. He has 138 receptions for 1,931 yards and 13 touchdowns in three seasons at Miami and FCS Southeastern Louisiana. Brown had 107 receptions for 1,529 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past two seasons at Coastal Carolina. Young wideouts Tyshawn Russell and Mazeo Bennett also flashed this spring. — Rittenberg

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