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2024 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks & Predictions

2024 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks & Predictions

Now that the College Football and NFL seasons are a few weeks underway, it’s time to take another look at what the 2024 NFL Draft might look like if it were held today.

Rather than using the current draft order, this time, I used a somewhat modified version of current Super Bowl betting odds to determine the sequence. There are a few teams I expect to improve over the remainder of the season, while some teams that are currently performing relatively well might struggle to maintain their form the rest of the way. I also tweaked the end of the draft order to get a possible balance of AFC/NFC teams (i.e., no two AFC teams in the Super Bowl, for example).

As always, feel free to let me know what you think of your team’s pick via Twitter @draftexaminer!

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2024 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks & Predictions

1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams (QB – USC)

At this point, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Justin Fields experiment isn’t working out, with the Bears struggling to find any sort of offensive rhythm through three games. It’d be hard to pass on a No. 1 overall quarterback for the second straight year after trading down in 2023, so they go Caleb Williams here.

2. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR – Ohio State)

Would the Cardinals still move on from Kyler Murray if they didn’t have a chance to select Williams? I’m not sure I view the other quarterbacks in the class as being quite on the same level, so maybe Arizona would try one more season with Murray, adding an elite receiver prospect for him to throw the ball to.

3. Chicago Bears (from Panthers): Jared Verse (DE – Florida State)

Currently, Chicago’s top defensive ends are Yannick Ngakoue and DeMarcus Walker, but neither has made a major impact this season in terms of getting pressure. Ngakoue is also only on a one-year deal. Bringing in a high-end edge rusher would make a lot of sense, giving the Bears a defensive cornerstone.

4. Tennessee Titans: Olumuyiwa Fashanu (OT – Penn State)

I know the Titans just drafted Peter Skoronski and signed Andre Dillard, but the right tackle position is also a need, and they could potentially reshuffle the line a bit, sliding Dillard over to the right side. RT Nicholas Petit-Frere is currently on Injured Reserve (IR), and Chris Hubbard probably isn’t an ideal NFL starter there either.

5. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye (QB – North Carolina)

Do the Commanders like Sam Howell enough to pass on his successor at North Carolina, Drake Maye? After Howell’s meltdown this week, and if they are picking this high in the draft, I could imagine them deciding to invest their first-round pick in a passer. Washington currently ranks 24th in the league in passing.

6. Denver Broncos: Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB – Alabama)

Financially, the Broncos are committed to Russell Wilson until at least 2025. So, although they could take a quarterback a year early, it might be better to try to build around him. Denver currently has the league’s worst-ranked defense, so maybe going back to Alabama to find a complement for Patrick Surtain would work.

7. New York Giants: Brock Bowers (TE – Georgia)

In terms of points per game, the Giants currently rank 30th both offensively and defensively, so this could conceivably be just about anything. I also considered an edge, and I know they have Darren Waller on the roster, but maybe they could incorporate two TE sets to give Daniel Jones a high-end weapon to pass to.

8. New York Jets: Joe Alt (OT – Notre Dame)

This is obviously predicated to some extent on the assumption that Aaron Rodgers returns for at least one more season. If he does, they’ll need to get him some protection, as Duane Brown is ancient, and Mekhi Becton probably can’t be counted on either. Joe Alt has all the tools to develop into a quality starting tackle.

9. Arizona Cardinals (from Texans): Jer’Zhan Newton (DL – Illinois)

Players like Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje have stepped up to provide some pressure for the Cardinals this year, but they don’t exactly boast a star-studded defensive front. Unless those two drop off significantly, maybe the Cardinals would like to bolster the interior of their line with a disruptive, big-bodied player like Jer’Zhan Newton.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Shedeur Sanders (QB – Colorado)

This team could look quite different next year, with players like Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield and Devin White set to hit free agency, but surely they’d also be happy to draft a potential franchise quarterback. I’m not sure Shedeur Sanders’ stock is quite this high yet, but he is a gifted passer who has been mentored by Tom Brady.

11. Indianapolis Colts: Dallas Turner (DE – Alabama)

Granted, the Colts have a very solid pair of starting edge rushers in Kwity Paye and Samson Ebukam, but they’re also playing Dayo Odeyingbo quite a bit, so I think there’d be room for a third high-end player in the mix. Dallas Turner’s really broke out over the past two games, racking up sacks and generating plenty of pressure.

12. Los Angeles Rams: Laiatu Latu (DE – UCLA)

It looks like the Rams are back to being a competitive team this year, but they don’t have a great threat off the edge, as Michael Hoecht and Byron Young are currently leading their defense in snaps there. If Laiatu Latu’s medicals check out, bringing in the local prospect would give them a big, relentless pressure generator.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Kalen King (CB – Penn State)

This is around where I had Kalen King going in my last mock, and although he hasn’t made a ton of plays this year, he’s done a good job of limiting opposing receivers through four games (five catches allowed). Las Vegas signed Marcus Peters to start opposite Jakorian Bennett, but their pass defense has struggled mightily so far.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Quinn Ewers (QB – Texas)

Should the Vikings decide to move on from impending free agent Kirk Cousins, they’ll need to find a new quarterback of the future. Quinn Ewers has been a lot better this year, avoiding interceptions through his first four games and improving his accuracy. He’s currently averaging 9.1 yards per attempt vs. 7.3 back in 2022.

15. Atlanta Falcons: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

Malik Nabers has been a big problem for opponents this year, catching 71.1% of his targets and averaging over 130 yards per game through four contests. He’s a dynamic player after the catch and offers a different skillset from Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Currently, Mack Hollins has Atlanta’s second-most receiver snaps.

16. New England Patriots: JC Latham (OT – Alabama)

Tackle was one position the Patriots could have theoretically addressed in the first round last season, but they wisely traded down and picked up a stud cornerback in Christian Gonzalez. However, if they have the chance to draft someone like JC Latham this year, it’d be hard to pass, given the lack of stability on the line so far.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kris Jenkins (DL – Michigan)

Missing Cameron Heyward has really hurt the Steelers so far, as they’re ranked 13th in run defense and 28th in defensive yards per game allowed. Keeanu Benton has flashed on the interior, but they have a lot of rotational types besides him, so I think a stout run defender like Kris Jenkins would be helpful here.

18. Los Angeles Chargers: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

This is the league’s worst-ranked defense pass defense that is also ranked second-to-last in overall defensive yardage allowed. So, look for the Chargers to prioritize players who could conceivably change that. Cooper DeJean is built like Patrick Peterson, and has only allowed 10 catches this season over four games. He’d replace J.C. Jackson.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Taylor III (DL – Miami)

This isn’t the worst defensive front by any means, but Jacksonville has recorded only five sacks so far this year, three of which came from Josh Allen. Since they’ll give Travon Walker more time to establish himself, how about a disruptive interior defender to start next to Roy Robertson-Harris, who is more of a run-stuffer type?

20. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Paul (OT – Houston)

New Orleans’ offensive line has been overwhelmed, leading to 12 sacks and a Derek Carr injury over three games. Perhaps they could consider moving on from 2020 first-round RG Cesar Ruiz and sliding 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning from the blindside over to guard, which may be better suited to his play style.

21. Green Bay Packers: Josh Newton (CB – TCU)

Typically, the Packers would probably go for someone with a crazy physical or athletic profile, but they could also go for a third cornerback who can step in quickly. Josh Newton has been one of the most consistent cover men in college football in recent years and has allowed just 44.4% of targets to be caught over four games.

22. Houston Texans (from Browns): Emeka Egbuka (WR – Ohio State)

The value on the interior of the defensive line might not be quite there at this point in the draft, so how about bringing in one of C.J. Stroud‘s favorite weapons from last year? Emeka Egbuka caught 74-1,151-10 for the Buckeyes in 2022 and would form a nice trio of young receivers when paired with Nico Collins and Tank Dell.

23. Baltimore Ravens: Keon Coleman (WR – Florida State)

Zay Flowers looks like a real find, but Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. have both missed considerable time in recent years. Plus, Beckham Jr. is only on a one-year deal. How about drafting a huge receiver with a big radius to help out Lamar Jackson, whose mechanics and ball placement appear inconsistent at times?

24. Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Nubin (DB – Minnesota)

Getting Riq Woolen back should help Seattle get its 31st-ranked pass defense back on track, but safety play has also been an issue so far this year. Thus, a highly consistent player like Tyler Nubin would be a good move for a team that is currently in the playoff mix. I also wouldn’t rule out a passer like local star Michael Penix Jr.

25. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Morgan (OT – Arizona)

At this point, I think it’s fair to wonder whether the Cowboys can rely on Tyron Smith, who’s played in just 19 games over the past four seasons. So perhaps they’d opt for a left tackle. Of the top tackles remaining at this point, Jordan Morgan is probably the smoothest, most fluid option and is already playing LT.

26. Detroit Lions: Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)

Finding out that Nate Wiggins didn’t damage any ligaments in his knee but instead suffered a bone bruise was good news for the first-round hopeful. He’s a lanky corner at 6’2″ and has allowed only three catches for 10 yards through four games so far this season. He’d be an upgrade over Jerry Jacobs in Aaron Glenn’s defense.

27. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE – Texas)

Having been heavily linked to the top tight ends in last year’s draft class, the Bengals opted to roll with Irv Smith Jr., who has looked like more of a journeyman so far in his career. I see a lot of similarities between Ja’Tavion Sanders and Michael Mayer and think adding a big, smooth target could help get the offense back on track.

28. Buffalo Bills: Rome Odunze (WR – Washington)

Gabe Davis is a serviceable, toolsy NFL receiver, but the chance to pair Rome Odunze with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs would be hard to pass on. Odunze has savvy releases at the line, a massive frame and reliable hands. He is showing the ability to climb the ladder and win in traffic this year, catching five of six such throws (PFF).

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Kingsley Suamataia (OT – BYU)

Few offensive tackle prospects have Kingsley Suamataia’s raw tools, and although he hasn’t been dominant in the run game so far this year, he’d likely be a big upgrade for the Chiefs at left tackle, replacing Donovan Smith. Andy Reid loves to build through the trenches, and this combines a major need with the team’s prior tendencies.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (LB – Clemson)

Drafting the son of an Eagles legend to replace impending free agent Zach Cunningham would be a nice move at this point. Personally, I have Jeremiah Trotter Jr. ranked higher than this, but it wouldn’t be shocking if linebackers fell in the draft, as they seem to have a tendency to do. He’d play with Nicholas Morrow and Nakobe Dean.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Chop Robinson (DE – Penn State)

Outside of ageless legend Trent Williams, San Francisco’s blocking hasn’t been as good as you’d expect from a Kyle Shanahan team, but I wasn’t sure there was an excellent value at guard here. Ditto for cornerback. Ultimately, I gave them another piece for their deep edge rotation, and an incredible value this late.

32. Miami Dolphins: Maason Smith (DL – LSU)

Miami doesn’t really have any major needs, but with Christian Wilkins set to hit free agency and the Dolphins having already extended Zach Sieler, it’s possible they’d opt for a more affordable interior lineman to replace him. Maason Smith hasn’t quite put it all together yet, but he has an incredible set of physical/athletic tools.

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