2024 NFL Mock Draft 3.0—FINAL VERSION

This is it, my final mock! Teams have done their homework, met with prospects, and spread rumors. We’ve all parsed through the smokescreens to try and figure out what on Earth is going to happen tonight. This is my best guess, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is simply that: a guess. It feels like this draft has more uncertainty than any in the last several years. Teams are holding their cards close to the vest, but that won’t stop me from taking a shot at predicting their picks. Sit back and enjoy the chaos, but before that, here’s my final 2024 NFL mock draft! See this link for the previous version.

1. Chicago Bears – QB Caleb Williams, USC

Unlike most of this draft, the #1 pick is something I’m confident in. Chicago has spent the entire offseason in preparation for Williams. They shipped Justin Fields out of town and brought in Keenan Allen while not trading this pick. Of all the QBs in this draft, I feel best about Williams. While not necessarily a generational talent, he’s a very good one, and he seems likely to be a good pro starter. You need a franchise QB in today’s league if you want to compete for Super Bowls. Williams could give the Bears their first since the earliest of the Jay Cutler years.

2. Washington Commanders – QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

As we get closer to draft day, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Daniels will be a Commander. New GM Adam Peters has listened to all his scouts, and while the choice is definitely not unanimous, there does appear to be consensus. Washington is inclined to swing for the fences, hoping that Daniels’ stellar Heisman campaign can some day transfer to the NFL. They have consistently turned down all trade offers for this pick, so OC Kliff Kingsbury will have a new mobile QB to groom. Hopefully it goes better for him than Kyler Murray did.

3. New England Patriots – QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Based on reports that the Patriots have declined offers for the 3rd pick, the team appears to be comfortable with whichever QB is available between Jayden Daniels and Maye. Along with Caleb Williams, Maye has been a QB destined to go in the top 5 basically since he arrived at UNC. He has all the physical tools that you want, but he needs to work on his accuracy and field vision. The Patriots are nowhere close to contending, so they can bring Maye along slowly. That would be advantageous for his long-term future, and New England’s rebuild can considerably accelerate if they hit on this pick.

4. Minnesota Vikings – QB JJ McCarthy, Michigan

TRADE! It actually happened: I’m including a trade in one of my mock drafts. I usually don’t even consider doing so even if a trade is moderately likely, but there’s just too much smoke here. Minnesota acquired the 23rd overall pick specifically for this move. The Chargers also are candidates to trade down, so getting ahead of their slot was imperative for the Vikings. Some outlets are even reporting that a trade may already be in place. The only reason to make such a leap up the board would be for a QB, and I have a hard time believing it would be done for Bo Nix or Michael Penix. Thus, McCarthy it is.

5. Los Angeles Chargers – WR Marvin Harrison Jr, Ohio State

New HC Jim Harbaugh wants a tackle, but GM Tom Telesco won’t want to pass on a sensational prospect like Harrison when his team desperately needs a WR. After jettisoning Keenan Allen and Mike Williams during the offseason, the Bolts have to give QB Justin Herbert some help. Quentin Johnston was drafted in round 1 last year, but he’s just 1 guy. Harrison is the best WR prospect we’ve had in a few years, and he’d instantly make the offense dangerous. Big and fast, he looks primed to be a 1000-yard receiver in year 1. LA needs some excitement, and a tackle simply won’t do the job.

6. New York Giants – WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Due to the Vikings’ trade up, the Giants now have 2 WR choices. Most team boards have Nabers ahead of Rome Odunze, and I believe that includes NYG. Daniel Jones is only getting another year as the starting QB because of his $40M guarantee for 2024. Regardless of who eventually plays the position, he’ll have to throw to someone. Since trading Odell Beckham Jr, the Giants have not possessed a #1 wideout. Nabers changes that. He runs great routes, plays with easy speed, and has good hands. I’m concerned about someone actually getting him the ball, but that has nothing to do with Nabers’ talent.

7. Tennessee Titans – OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

This pick hasn’t changed at all throughout mock draft season, and it still isn’t moving. The Titans addressed their WR issues with Calvin Ridley, and supporting QB Will Levis is the team’s priority. Their major weakness remains the offensive line, so it makes sense for them to target the draft’s best tackle. While not a Penei Sewell-level prospect, Alt is a safe bet to become a quality pro LT. Those are plenty hard to find, so don’t consider that a slight at Alt. I think of him as the type of player you plug in and forget about for the next 8-10 years. The top 10 is a place to find building blocks, and Alt would qualify.

8. Atlanta Falcons – OLB Dallas Turner, Alabama

Sorry if my Atlanta pick seems boring. Conventional wisdom suggests that they will indeed select the first defensive player in this draft due to their acute need for a pass rusher. I’ve had trouble with projecting the Falcons’ pick in years past, but I feel pretty strongly that if they keep their pick, they’re taking a DE. However, Atlanta messes with me every single year. This time, there’s talk about them taking Laiatu Latu. I can understand that, but I’m sticking with Turner, who has ridiculous upside. The fact that he’s already this good while being so raw should have new HC Raheem Morris, a defensive guy, absolutely giddy.

9. Chicago Bears – DE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

The reports surrounding the Bears seem to indicate that they’re interested in Rome Odunze. This feels like a classic smokescreen. Chicago has DJ Moore and Keenan Allen. Why would they take a WR at #9 overall? What they DO need is a pass rusher opposite Montez Sweat. Latu is a close second behind Dallas Turner among the edge rushers in this class, and many teams are clearing him medically. If he’s perfectly healthy, then he should go in the top 10. He’s a very polished rusher who led the Power 5 in sacks last year. Sometimes, not overthinking a pick works out best.

10. New York Jets – TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Supporting Aaron Rodgers is the prime objective here, and sources suggest that this pick will be either a tackle or Bowers. With the additions the Jets made in free agency and the depth of this tackle class, I have to believe that NY will go with the more scarce position. Bowers is the only TE prospect with a first-round grade, and he has a top-5 overall grade from yours truly. Rome Odunze is tempting, but with Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams at WR and absolutely nothing at TE, I think Bowers is the win-now pick a team like this needs for a Super Bowl push.

11. Arizona Cardinals – WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Odunze is hurt most by Arizona trading the #4 pick, dropping out of the top 10 entirely. The few teams above this slot don’t need WRs, so Arizona gets their extra draft capital AND one of the top 3 wideouts. If the board falls like this, GM Monti Ossenfort will be jumping for joy. I like Odunze even more than Malik Nabers, especially as a deep threat. He excels at contested catches, and he might possess the best hands in the draft. The Cardinals badly need a receiver, if not 3 of them, so in this perfect scenario, they grab an elite one and bonus picks.

12. Denver Broncos – DE Jared Verse, Florida State

Denver is another tricky team to figure out. Their possibilities range from taking a QB here to trading down. The latter I think is a possibility, as the Broncos are starved for draft capital. I wonder if the last premium pass rusher being available to them would sway their choice. Denver certainly needs pass rushing help, so Verse would be a great fit. The 2024 season is likely a lost year anyway, so stocking up on picks right now wouldn’t be prudent. Obtaining 2025 picks will be the priority, and choosing the best player available should be the tactic this year.

13. Las Vegas Raiders – CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

I’m really going against the grain on this one. An increasing number of people are projecting Michael Penix Jr to the Raiders at 13. I just can’t get the fact that Will Levis slid out of the first round entirely last year out of my head. The media is artificially inflating the value of some of these quarterbacks, and Penix strikes me as more of a round 2 guy due to his injury history. A CB is still a pressing need, which requires me to pick between Arnold and Quinyon Mitchell. I think Arnold is the safer option to become a good pro starter, so GM Tom Telesco might prefer him as his first LV pick.

14. New Orleans Saints – OT JC Latham, Alabama

Nobody knows how different teams rank the various first-round linemen in this class. Therefore, I’m giving the Saints the player I believe to be the best remaining tackle prospect. Capable of playing on either side of the line, Latham would upgrade whichever spot he fills. His stock has soared, as analysts have separated his tape from the rest of the line at Alabama, which was lackluster. The Crimson Tide always has a lineman or two to offer the NFL, and New Orleans is grateful. Ryan Ramczyk may or may not return to the field, and Trevor Penning has so far been a bust. Give Derek Carr and Alvin Kamara some protection!

15. Indianapolis Colts – CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Is it just me, or are the Colts kind of flying under the radar? I’ve seen very little discussion about them, but they’re here picking in the top 15. I get the sense that they’d take whichever of the top CBs makes it to their pick. In this case, Terrion Arnold is gone, but the close second is available. Mitchell has a ton of upside, and I love some MACtion. Smooth, fast, and in possession of excellent ball skills, Mitchell would go higher if he had played at a bigger school. As it stands, someone could earn a huge payoff if they develop him properly; there’s too much talent to waste.

16. Seattle Seahawks – OT/G Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

The chatter around the league is that the Seahawks have done a lot of homework on cornerbacks. Since they just took Devon Witherspoon #5 overall last year and he seems like a hit, I’m not buying those rumors. The offensive line remains Seattle’s biggest need, and it happens to be one of the deepest positions in this class. Fashanu can play at RT (with Abraham Lucas moved inside) or at guard, where the Seahawks lost their starters. Either way, Seattle wins and obtains a building block this low because Fashanu’s arms might be an inch too short for some scouts.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Wiggins has become the forgotten man among the draft’s CBs, but is there another more natural cover corner? Ever since he hurt himself at the Combine, Wiggins has merely lurked in the shadows instead of challenging for the title of CB1. Consistency wasn’t his strongest attribute at Clemson, but his peak performances were tantalizing. Long and fast with smooth hips, Wiggins has all the physical attributes that you’re looking for. More experience will help him improve his instincts, and that’s probably his biggest weakness right now. This is a bit of a boom-or-bust pick, but I like the value.

18. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

One side effect of having such a talented offensive line class is that a couple of players will slide for no apparent reason beyond positional surplus. That’s the case for Fuaga, who could go several picks higher without any complaints from me. A strong RT who is a power player in the run game, Fuaga would upgrade Cincinnati’s biggest offensive weakness. Jonah Williams held that role last year, but he left for Arizona without as much as an offer from the Bengals. There’s a reason for that. Fuaga would be so much better, and maybe Burrow could actually stay upright for a season.

19. Los Angeles Rams – DT Byron Murphy II, Texas

Defensive tackles aren’t getting the love they probably deserve (except for Chris Jones). LA, however, just lost Aaron Donald to retirement. They know EXACTLY what a stud DT can bring to the table. Murphy has risen to the top of his position group because he’s a complete player. He stops the run well while providing significant burst as an interior rusher. The Rams surprised people with their mid-round defensive ends last season, but the middle of the defensive line is barren. Murphy won’t replace Donald on his own. Nobody would. He’d be a great start though.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Amarius Mims, Georgia

My choice for the Steelers came down to Mims and Graham Barton. I admit that many rumors have Pittsburgh enamored with Barton. It would just be too hard to pass on Mims if he’s available in this slot. Despite all the tackles taken ahead of him, Mims has the highest ceiling. Had he started more than 1 season at Georgia, we might’ve seen that potential. Unfortunately for Mims, Georgia’s line is so good that he couldn’t break into the starting lineup until this past year. A massive human with surprisingly light feet, Mims would be the best tackle Russell Wilson has played with.

21. Miami Dolphins – OT/G Troy Fautanu, Washington

The other lineman to fall in this mock simply because of the depth of this class, Fautanu could definitely go higher than this. If he makes it to #21, Miami might sprint to hand in their draft card. A college tackle whose arm length and height have some teams fearing he’s an NFL guard, Fautanu is needed by the Dolphins at any position. He can replace one of the team’s guards who left in free agency, upgrade the right tackle spot, or maybe even succeed Terron Armstead in a year or two. The size concerns have Fautanu dropping to the 20s in this mock, but the right team won’t have an issue with him.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – CB/S Cooper DeJean, Iowa

I hesitate to leave Philly in this spot. Trader Howie Roseman is always looking to wheel and deal. In fact, he’s talking to Denver about leaping up to pick #12 as we speak. I think he’ll find the cost to do so to be prohibitively high. That’s doubly true since a great prospect at their desired position is here for the taking. DeJean tested better than expected, and we already knew that he has superb instincts. In my opinion, he can line up at any spot in the secondary, which is quite helpful for a team whose defensive backfield was a sieve in 2023.

23. Arizona Cardinals – CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

In the trade I projected at #4, I assumed that this pick was also part of the deal, so the Cardinals are now slotted here. I had Arizona taking a CB at 27, but now they can do so 4 picks earlier and snag a superior option. Unlike his teammate, Terrion Arnold, McKinstry is more athletic but a little less fundamentally sound. He has plenty of upside, but he won’t be able to coast on his raw talent like he did in college. I’d also like him to improve his ball skills. As a cover man though, he has excellent potential, and HC Jonathan Gannon can extract it. Somebody has to play CB for that defense.

24. Dallas Cowboys – C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

Powers-Johnson has watched his stock rise over the past month, and it’s easy to see why. Picks like him are anything but flashy, but they’re extremely likely to hit, and you want that out of a first-round selection. He was actually a defensive lineman earlier in his college career, but he returned to the offensive side and broke out. While some centers are smaller finesse players, Powers-Johnson (334 lbs) is a powerful bruiser who can stand up to large nose tackles or quicker rushers. Dallas lost Tyler Biadasz, but Powers-Johnson reminds me more of their previous center, Travis Frederick. That’s music to the ears of Cowboy fans.

25. Green Bay Packers – OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

Brian Thomas Jr is available, so will Green Bay finally grab a first-round receiver??? Of course not! I’m just messing with you. They’ll go with the much more boring but highly necessary tackle pick. Guyton has measurables that scouts drool over, with deceptively good agility for a 6’7″, 328-lb man. He plays with incredible power, but his hands aren’t always in the proper position. Guyton definitely needs some development, but the potential reward is worth the wait. A possible LT prospect, he could finally replace David Bakhtiari and take care of Jordan Love’s blind side.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State

I’m seeing a lot more love for Robinson than I thought I would given his lack of overall size. His skills as a pure pass rusher are shining through his tape, and the NFL is a QB-driven league. You want a quarterback, someone to protect a quarterback, or someone to hunt quarterbacks. Robinson falls into that last group, and he’s a wrecking ball on the field. Though that may sound chaotic, he’s actually a controlled player with good technique. Having just lost Shaq Barrett, Tampa really needs an edge rusher, and Robinson is the only one left who is worthy of a first-round selection.

27. Arizona Cardinals – G Graham Barton, Duke

On the clock for the 3rd time, Arizona can go in a number of directions. A second WR or CB would be more than justified, but the blocking up front is arguably the biggest need remaining. Barton played tackle at Duke but is going to be a guard at the next level. His job will be to stop the DTs that I have the Rams and Niners taking. A mauler with plug-and-play potential, he’ll elevate the whole unit and make the ground game more efficient. The incredibly fragile Kyler Murray needs as much protection as he can get, so the Cardinals would be wise to grab Barton.

28. Buffalo Bills – WR Brian Thomas Jr, LSU

The Bills are trying their hardest to trade up so that they can obtain Thomas, but in this particular universe, they can get him without moving an inch. Athleticism is Thomas’ game, as he’s a 6’4″ WR with great speed. He had a ton of production at LSU, but he’s not considered part of the top tier of wideouts because of some of the finer points of his game. Thomas needs to improve his footwork when running routes, and his hands could stand to be a little more consistent. I wonder if this is a focus issue, because if so, that can be fixed. His upside is an elite WR1, which Buffalo craves after trading Stefon Diggs away.

29. Detroit Lions – CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr, Missouri

I’ve consistently given the Lions a corner, but their likely preferred option (Kool-Aid McKinstry) is off the board. I had Rakestraw in round 1 of my first mock draft (I actually gave him to Detroit), but speed and size concerns caused some scouts to sour on him. I’ve decided that those concerns are overblown. Rakestraw is arguably the best press-man CB in the class, and he succeeded in the brutal SEC. The Lions are contenders, but their secondary probably cost them their chance in 2023. I have faith in Rakestraw to help solve that problem, assuming he gets some help.

30. Baltimore Ravens – OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Why does a high-end prospect who could theoretically have gone 5 picks earlier always end up falling to Baltimore? This seems to be a regular occurrence, and it would happen again if this mock is accurate. The Ravens saw their line get raided during free agency, and replacements are necessary. I hear questions about whether Morgan is “mean” enough. That sounds like nonsense from teams who want Morgan to fall to them. He’s big, athletic, and strong but a little raw. With another Morgan, Morgan Moses, out the door, this rookie can slot in at RT and blast open some rushing lanes for Derrick Henry.

31. San Francisco 49ers – DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

San Francisco still needs that RT that I had given them before, but due to Arizona’s trade, both Jordan Morgan and Tyler Guyton are off the board. I’m not sure the Niners are comfortable with anyone else this early, so they could opt to replace the departed Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead. Well, at least one of them. My favorite DT in this draft, Newton has incredible explosiveness as a rusher. He sometimes struggles against the run, but I think there’s room to grow there. Interior pass rushers are harder to find than run stuffers, so Newton is a highly desirable commodity.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU

As badly as the Chiefs need a receiver, I continue to hear that KC wants a tackle more than anything. Protecting Patrick Mahomes is always a good idea, and the team has a glaring hole at LT. I can see them opting for Suamataia, a player with left tackle potential despite some inconsistencies in his play. I like his 2022 tape more than his 2023 film, but he has shown us that he CAN be a stalwart blocker. With some good coaching, which we know the Chiefs have, Suamataia can reach his full potential. How much more motivation can a rookie have than being tasked with anchoring a 3-peat bid?

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