In a little over two weeks, the lives of many will change after the 2024 NFL Draft. Some players will become instant millionaires (if they weren't already through NIL deals in college), while the teams that select them will be hopeful yet still curious if they made the right decision, knowing the future of their franchise is at stake.

Most of the 32 teams will have three days and seven rounds to choose from over 1,000 available players, with 257 overall picks to be made. Though it is life-changing for the prospects selected, it can be franchise-changing for the teams. We've seen how a draft class can alter a team's trajectory, either for the best or the worst, and this year will be no different.

Sure, the good teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions the last two seasons, can afford a mistake here or there. But a team like the Carolina Panthers, who continue to spiral downward, cannot afford to make any more mistakes if they hope to eventually turn their fortunes around.

The Panthers are just one of several teams that can't afford to blow their 2024 NFL Draft picks. Here are six teams that need to have a successful draft, as their futures depend upon it.

Chicago Bears

The Bears can't screw this one up, right? Well, they shouldn't with their No. 1 overall pick, which just so happened to fall to them thanks to a trade with the Panthers in last year's draft. It would seem that fortune, being able to select one of the best quarterback prospects in years in Caleb Williams, could be a sign that this team is in line to make a huge turnaround. But then again, this is the Bears we're talking about, who have only had two postseason appearances in the last 10 years.

This is a franchise that has never been known for its offensive prowess, voided of a true franchise quarterback for most of its entire history. They have a chance to do something special in the 2024 NFL Draft, however, because they'll have not just one but two first-round picks, with the other being the No. 9 pick. What the Bears do there is less certain as they could do anything from grabbing one of this year's top receivers, a pass rusher, or even trading down to gain more picks.

New England Patriots

Jerod Mayo, Robert Kraft, Patriots
© Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have eight total draft picks in this year's draft, with a selection in every round. And they still probably need more. This year's Patriots team likely has the possibility of being the worst in the AFC if not the league, which won't be the most welcoming season for new head coach Jerod Mayo.

At least some good news is they have the No. 3 overall pick, which should warrant a pick for the best available quarterback on the board. But then again, if you're the Patriots, you have to know this likely won't be a winning season, so maybe you should listen to offers for the No. 3 pick, that way you acquire more picks to fill some needs on the roster and perhaps even next year.

It's an interesting spot for Mayo and the Patriots, who even though they have a top 3 pick, perhaps not many teams envy their unique position, where every move they potentially make has the capability of being heavily critiqued.

Denver Broncos

After being rumored to go back toward the end of the regular season last year that the Broncos would cut Russell Wilson, eating large amounts of cash in the process, it became clear what the team needed. That need wasn't filled in free agency as currently, only Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci are the remaining quarterbacks on the roster. So now the Broncos have to look for a signal-caller in the draft.

The problem with this scenario is that the Broncos have the No. 12 overall pick, which puts them out of reach for most if not all of the top quarterbacks. They could either hope one falls in their lap, like Drake Maye, Michael Penix Jr., or Bo Nix. Or they could try to trade up, although they don't really have many means to do so. They definitely don't have a lot of high draft picks to offer from this year's draft, as they have just two picks in the top 120, not having a second-round pick.

Dallas Cowboys

After watching the way that the Cowboys once again blew it in the playoffs, and worse, getting blown out by a younger, somewhat less-talented team in the Green Bay Packers, Jerry Jones hasn't done much to make improvements to the team. The Cowboys have watched six starters walk away in free agency, another to retirement, all the while making just one free-agent signing. Oh, and then they have some of the biggest star players who they've declined to make extensions for, like Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, and CeeDee Lamb.

If you know anything about the Cowboys, they love their players and don't make any hard attempts at going after trades of free agents. That should have been obvious at last year's trade deadline. But exactly what is this team's real plan going into 2024? Nothing seems clear at this juncture.

They have seven total draft picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, but mostly none are at the top of each round, especially in the first three rounds. They need everything from running back, at least two more offensive linemen, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive tackle, and another cornerback wouldn't hurt either. That's likely not all to be filled in this year's draft. Whatever the Cowboys decide to do with their picks, they had better make them count.

Buffalo Bills

Remember when the Bills were Super Bowl favorites the last several years? Well, don't count on them being that this season, unless something major happens. The Bills at this point have just $4.2 million in cap space heading into the 2024 season, according to Spotrac. They attempted to amend that somewhat by ridding themselves of expensive players like Tre'Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and the latest, Stefon Diggs, trading him to the Houston Texans.

The problem is, especially with Diggs, he's still going to be a cap problem for the Bills this season, accounting for $31 million in dead cap money, the most for any non-quarterback player in the NFL. The Bills now, for sure, need a WR1, giving Josh Allen at least some kind of weapon to throw to, with just second-year tight end his only viable target remaining now.

The Bills may not want to admit it, but this is a very significant draft for them, one that hints at a major rebuild, even if it is a minor one. What they do starting from the No. 28 overall pick could determine a lot of people's future in 2024, namely head coach Sean McDermott.

Carolina Panthers

Panthers qb Bryce Young being tackled
© Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It's been six seasons since the Panthers have made the postseason, and in that time, they've gone through three new head coaches, with three interims. Last year, the team may have hit an all-time low, going 2-15. Normally, that would earn any team the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. But not this year. The Panthers wagered part of their future in last year's draft, trading to get the No. 1 pick to select Bryce Young as their next starting quarterback. The results so far have not been great.

The Panthers were one of the worst teams in the league in total offense last season, scoring just 13.9 points per game, according to Fox Sports stats. Young never got protection, not to mention did he not have any weapons to throw to. It was a complete and utter disaster that cost head coach Frank Reich his job within 11 games.

Now, the Panthers have to decide how they're going to fix some of last year's problems in the 2024 NFL Draft. Again, they won't be able to in the first round, as they'll start in the second round with the No. 33 overall pick. However, they'll then pick again just six picks later at No. 39, thanks to a trade with the New York Giants for defensive end Brian Burns. The Panthers desperately need a majority of their draft picks to hit.