2024 NFL Offseason Sleeper Picks

The 2024 NFL offseason has been a rollercoaster. We've seen big trades, huge signings, surprising draft picks, and record-breaking contract extensions. But while the headlines have been focused on the stars, there have been some quieter moves that could make a big difference. It's not just the superstars that build a championship team; many times, it's the smart, under-the-radar additions or late draft picks that end up being game-changers.

Think about the last offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs signed linebacker Drue Tranquill to a low-cost, one-year contract. He became a key player, helping the Chiefs win the Super Bowl. And who could forget Puka Nacua? The Rams picked him up in the fifth round, and he ended up setting the NFL's rookie receiving record. There's also the story of Baker Mayfield, who signed an inexpensive one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to simply compete with Kyle Trask. Mayfield ended up winning the starting job and then led the Bucs to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In this section, we're going to highlight some 2024 free-agent and draft pickups that people might be sleeping on. These players have the potential to play significant roles this season. We've looked at their past performance, how they fit with their new teams, their expected roles, and their potential upside.

1. Austin Booker, Edge, Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears made some big moves on draft night, but one name that might be flying under the radar is Austin Booker. Drafted in the fifth round with the 144th overall pick, Booker has the potential to be a future star.

He was highly regarded, ranking 85th on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's final draft board. Coming off an impressive eight-sack season at Kansas, Booker brings a lot of promise. Though he might start as a situational pass-rusher, his ability to complement Montez Sweat could be exactly what the Bears need to boost their defense.

With Booker's knack for getting to the quarterback, don't be surprised if he becomes a key player this season. Also, keep an eye on how his performance could influence the NFL odds for Bears games.

2. Parris Campbell, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles were very busy this offseason, making some big additions to their team. One move that might not get a lot of attention is signing wide receiver Parris Campbell. He signed a one-year deal for $1.3 million and could end up being an important part of the Eagles' offense.

Last year, the Eagles needed a solid third receiver to support A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Olamide Zaccheaus was the third-highest in yards among their wide receivers, with only 164 yards. Campbell's numbers from last season -- 20 catches for 104 yards with the New York Giants -- don't tell the whole story. He didn't have many chances to show what he could do and he played mostly with backup quarterbacks in New York since Daniel Jones was hurt.

Campbell also had injury problems in his first three NFL seasons. But in 2022, he played all 17 games for the Indianapolis Colts and racked up 63 catches for 623 yards and 3 touchdowns.

This season, Campbell won't need to carry the load by himself. With Brown, Smith, running back Saquon Barkley, and tight end Dallas Goedert, he can still be a productive third receiver. He also has Jalen Hurts throwing him the ball, an upgrade from what he has had in previous years. Additionally, he will provide veteran leadership while the Eagles develop their young rookies, Ainias Smith and Johnny Wilson.

3. Audric Estimé, RB, Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos have found themselves an exciting prospect in running back Audric Estimé, picked in the fifth round. Estimé, standing at 5'11" and weighing 227 pounds, is known for his powerful and physical running style. Denver struggled with their ground game last season, ranking 21st in yards per carry. Javonte Williams had a tough time returning to form after a torn ACL, and while Jaleel McLaughlin showed potential, consistency wasn't there.

Estimé could be the answer to those struggles. Coming off a strong season at Notre Dame with 210 carries, he has proven he can handle a heavy workload. Even though he might not be as talked about as the quarterbacks on the roster, Estimé has the potential to become a key player in Denver's offense. With the Broncos needing a dependable running back to support their new quarterback, Estimé could end up playing a significant role this season.

4. D'Onta Foreman, RB, Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns surprised many last season by making the playoffs despite dealing with several key injuries. The most notable was Nick Chubb's injury in Week 2, which left the Browns without their star running back. To fill the gap, they brought back Kareem Hunt and leaned on Jerome Ford.
While they finished 12th in rushing yards, their efficiency was lacking, ranking 26th in yards per carry. To be real contenders, they need a better ground game. Enter D'Onta Foreman, a largely overlooked offseason addition.

Foreman had a solid stint with the Chicago Bears, logging 502 scrimmage yards and 5 touchdowns in 9 games. He did even better in 2022 with the Carolina Panthers, rushing for 914 yards and averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

By pairing Foreman with Ford, the Browns should have a solid running back duo to rely on while Chubb recovers. Though Foreman is on a one-year, $1.3 million contract, he could be a key player this season, especially if injuries force him to see extra playing time.

5. Willie Gay Jr., LB, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints made a smart move by signing linebacker Willie Gay Jr. to a one-year, $3 million contract. Last year, the Saints finished with 9 wins, so they're definitely in the mix for the NFC South title. The addition of Gay could give their defense the boost it needs.

Gay comes from the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was a key player on defense. Over four seasons, he recorded 233 tackles, 5 sacks, 19 pass breakups, and 4 interceptions. He also kept opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of just 76.4.

Adding Gay to a defense that already has stars like Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, Tyrann Mathieu, and Marshon Lattimore could make the Saints' defense truly elite. His playoff experience and leadership skills are already making a difference in the locker room. Look for Gay to have a big impact this season.

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