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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown’s First-Round Picks & Predictions (1.0)

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown’s First-Round Picks & Predictions (1.0)

We are so back! It feels so good to be doing mock drafts again! Doing them can be tedious, but they’re such a fun exercise. At times, you can repeat the same players to the same teams, but trying to connect the dots is all part of the process. While I tend to hold off until after the NFL season to start this process, I couldn’t help myself but get started a little bit earlier.

The reason being that the trade deadline in the NFL has come and gone, and I think some teams have already shown their hands. In fact, the Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler. Whether teams begin to tank for Caleb Williams or not, we’ll see, but there’s an interesting discussion that needs to be had. That discussion is if the Cardinals move on from Kyler Murray and if the Bears move on from Justin Fields. While we try to figure all of that out, here’s my first mock draft for the 2024 NFL Draft!

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

It would be shocking to see the Cardinals pass on Caleb Williams if they had the first pick. However, they still have Kyler Murray. The next seven or eight games for the Cardinals will help determine if Murray is the Cardinals guy or not. If he’s not and the Cardinals have the first pick, it’ll be Williams. If they feel like Murray is their guy, they go with a generational talent at wide receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison Jr is incredibly fluid for a player who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. He’s a no-brainer if the team keeps Murray as their franchise quarterback.

2. Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams (QB – USC)

Similar to the Cardinals, the Bears will spend the rest of the season determining if Justin Fields is their franchise quarterback. If Caleb Williams ends up being available at this spot, I could see the Bears hit the reset button at the position. It feels like they’d be able to get more for Fields than the Cardinals would get for Murray. With that, the Bears get a quarterback that can really sling it. Additionally, he operates so well off-script that Williams could become a superstar at the position with how he plays.

3. Chicago Bears – Olumuyiwa Fashanu (OT – Penn State)

The Bears are likely to have two selections in the top five of the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s possible they follow the same plans the Texans rolled with last year by getting two premier positions (QB and EDGE). Another premier position is offensive tackle, and despite adding Darnell Wright last year, the Bears should look to add another one this year. Olu Fashanu is long and powerful. He has a strong anchor and has all the physical tools needed to be a franchise left tackle.

4. New York Giants – Joe Alt (OT – Notre Dame)

Could the Giants look at a quarterback with this pick? It’s possible, but with how the Daniel Jones contract is structured, they’d have far too much dead cap money if they moved on from him. With that, I think they could opt at looking for more offensive line help. As a close second to Olu Fashanu for the top tackle in the class, Joe Alt is a very talented pass protector. Listed at 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds, Alt moves very well for a player of his size. He’s got the ability to move defenders consistently while reach blocking. Despite the Giants having Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas, they could bring Alt to New York to play right tackle and look to move Neal inside to guard. Either way, protecting Jones or the next franchise quarterback has to become a priority for this team.

5. New England Patriots – Drake Maye (QB – North Carolina)

We’d have to assume that the Patriots are going to look at moving on from Mac Jones this off-season. Maybe they somehow get Kyler Murray or Justin Fields, but with the Patriots being in a position to land a top-five pick, I could see them doing their homework on North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. Maye can really sling it, and he’s got the desired mobility to extend plays beyond the pocket. That alone would be an upgrade over Mac Jones.

6. Green Bay Packers – Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB – Alabama)

I struggled with this selection, but going off what was done during the trade deadline, I could see the Packers being a team that’s interested in upgrading their secondary. With the team trading away Rasul Douglas, they could be in the market for adding a corner. If Kalen King wouldn’t have had a rough day at the office against Marvin Harrison Jr., I would have gone with him. However, Kool-Aid McKinstry is as solid and as consistent as they come for defensive backs in this class. He displays fluid hips and closes quickly to the football. Pairing him with Jaire Alexander could do wonders for the Packers’ pass defense.

7. Indianapolis Colts – Brock Bowers (TE – Georgia)

One of my favorite fits in this first round is Brock Bowers to the Colts. Despite the Colts having quite a few different players at the position, Bowers would provide an immediate impact on the roster. He’s a versatile playmaker who has the athletic ability to run after the catch and make terrific adjustments to the football. Adding Bowers to the mix of Taylor, Downs, Pittman, and Richardson gives the Colts one of the more fun offenses in the NFL.

8. Las Vegas Raiders – Jer’Zhan Newton (IDL – Illinois)

It’ll be interesting to see what direction the Raiders go after firing head coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler, but when you look at the Raiders’ defense, they’re one of the worst run defenses in the league. They’re reliant on players such as Bilal Nichols and John Jenkins on their interior defensive line, so they could use a player such as Jer’Zhan Newton from Illinois. He’s a spark plug for the interior part of a defensive line and is able to stop the run or generate pressure. Currently, Newton has 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, and he’d pair nicely with Maxx Crosby and Tyree Wilson.

9. Denver Broncos – Jared Verse (EDGE – Florida State)

There’s a chance that Jared Verse ends up being a top-five pick by the time we get to the 2024 NFL Draft. For now, he falls a little bit down the board, but he lands in a great spot in Denver where he could potentially replace Jonathon Cooper or Nik Bonitto off the edge. Verse is explosive, and he already has an established pass-rush plan with the moves he uses. This would be a home run pick for a Broncos defense that could use another weapon.

10. Los Angeles Rams – J.C. Latham (OT – Alabama)

Feels weird writing out a first round pick for the L.A. Rams. It feels like the last time they had a first round pick was when the Titanic had voyaged across the Atlantic (queue the “it’s been 84 years” GIF). With that, the Rams offensive line has been held together by spit and glue. This off-season, it should be a priority to find replacements at left and right tackle. For starters, J.C. Latham could be a plug-and-play starter for the Rams. Latham is patient and athletic, and his hands hit hard on the opposition. The flashes from Latham are there, and consistency will be key moving forward, but there’s potential for him to be a top-15 pick in April.

11. Washington Commanders – Dallas Turner (EDGE – Alabama)

After trading away Montez Sweat and Chase Young, the Commanders first round pick has to be obvious now, right? By selecting Turner, the Commanders get an edge rusher who is an elite athlete with good bend and fluidity to threaten the pocket. He’ll need to get stronger, but with the Commanders hitting the reset button for pass-rushers, this one appears to be a no-brainer.

12. Arizona Cardinals – Kalen King, CB, Penn State

During last year’s draft, the Cardinals desperately needed help at cornerback. They still need that help despite contributions from a sixth round pick in Kei’Trel Clark. By adding King, the Cardinals get a fluid and athletic corner that has shown to be a lockdown defender for much of the year. He plays aggressively and attacks the hands of receivers consistently. If King went to a place like Arizona, he’d have the potential to be their top cornerback.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Keon Coleman  (WR – Florida State)

It would be weird to see Mike Evans play for another NFL franchise, but it could be possible after this season. If Evans ends up leaving the Bucs, I could see them looking to a player such as Keon Coleman. With Coleman, he’s turned into a terrific player with the Seminoles. He’s much more than a big bodied receiver that has good 50/50 ball skills. Coleman is a good route runner and is able to win at all three levels of the field.

14. Los Angeles Chargers – Rome Odunze (WR – Washington)

There’s a chance the Chargers pass on selecting a receiver due to their selection of Quentin Johnston last year. However, Mike Williams is coming off a torn ACL, and Kennan Allen will be another year older. Continuously adding weapons around Justin Herbert should always be part of the plan for the Chargers. Odunze has gotten stronger, and with that, his frame allows him to consistently withstand contact from defenders. He’s an efficient route runner who wins with quick in-and-out breaking routes while also being able to threaten vertically with double moves.

15. Tennessee Titans – Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

I still can’t get over the Titans trading away A.J. Brown to replace him with Treylon Burks. This off-season, the Titans should look to build around Will Levis, and one way of doing that is getting a young playmaker to threaten defenses as a pass-catcher. Nabers can be just that and more. He’s one of the best deep threats in the country, and it’s been reported that he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, and he’s got a 38-inch vertical jump. In track and field, it’s reported that he owns a 23-second 200-meter dash time.

16. New Orleans Saints – Barrett Carter (LB – Clemson)

Over the years, the Saints have gotten great production from Demario Davis at linebacker. However, Davis is set to be a free agent after the 2024 season, so it would be wise for the Saints to start considering a future replacement. Selecting a player such as Carter gives them a year to develop him and determine where he’s best suited for their defense. On the field, Carter is an athletic defender who can run with slot receivers and tight ends. In addition to that, he’s aggressive when attacking downhill, so he’s an asset when stopping the run.

17. New York Jets – Kingsley Suamataia (OT – BYU)

I think the surprise name to move up draft boards is right here. Kingsley Suamataia is listed at 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, but he plays with his hair on fire. He’s aggressive and athletic and has shown the ability to move defenders consistently due to his strength. He’s got NFL bloodlines, with his cousins being Penei and Noah Sewell. This season, the Jets have been shuffling their offensive line around due to poor play and injuries but adding a player such as Suamataia could provide the consistency up front that they desperately need.

18. Cincinnati Bengals – Denzel Burke (CB – Ohio State)

The Bengals have spent consecutive drafts trying to add younger talent to their secondary. They’ve been successful with players such as Cam Taylor-Britt and Daxton Hill. However, adding more is never a bad thing. Especially with Mike Hilton approaching the age of 30 and an expiring contract after next season. There’s a lot of potential for Burke to become the top cornerback on some teams’ boards. After a dreadful year a season ago, he’s bounced back nicely for the Buckeyes and has consistently been in the hip pocket of receivers. Adding Burke into the mix of this secondary would be a positive for the Bengals.

19. Atlanta Falcons – Michael Penix Jr. (QB – Washington)

For the Falcons, it seems like their patience is running thin for quarterback Desmond Ridder. After losing to the Titans last week, they’re moving forward with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, it would be smart for Atlanta to consider drafting a quarterback. Nobody has done more for their draft stock than Penix Jr. out of Washington. He’s potentially going to win the Heisman if he can keep the Huskies perfect this season. When you put on the tape, you can see that Penix can really sling it, and he’s shown that he’s more than just a one-read quarterback. If his medicals come back clean, then he could be going much sooner by the time we get to April.

20. Minnesota Vikings – Laiatu Latu (EDGE – UCLA)

There have been rumors for months around the Vikings moving on from defensive end Danielle Hunter. Regardless, the Vikings need to continue to add defensive talent for defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Latu has first round talent written all over him with his 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks this season. By selecting him, the Vikings would get a versatile pass-rusher who has a terrific motor and a great blend of power and speed.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

Even though the Steelers added Joey Porter Jr. last year, they are in desperate need of more help in the secondary. Patrick Peterson will be entering the last year of his contract and is already 33 years old. Also, cornerback Levi Wallace is set to be a free agent at the end of the season. Even though they could take a liking to a player such as Nate Wiggins, I think Cooper DeJean would be a great addition to this roster. He would provide immediate help on special teams as a returner or even as a gunner, but most importantly, he’s been sticky in coverage. So far this season, he’s only allowed 20 receptions for 194 yards, and he’s already got two interceptions.

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

While I considered adding some help to the Texans’ offensive line with this selection, I couldn’t help but add a familiar face to pair with C.J. Stroud. Egbuka is a season removed from over 1100 receiving yards with Stroud at Ohio State, so the hope is that they can reignite that connection. Health is somewhat of a concern with Egbuka as he deals with an ankle injury, but when he’s healthy, he’s an efficient route runner and can be effective in the middle of the field for the Texans.

23. San Francisco 49ers – Kamren Kinchens (S – Miami (FL))

I’ll be interested to see how the 49ers structure their depth chart on the defensive line this off-season. They’ve got to figure out contracts for players such as Javon Kinlaw and Chase Young. In addition to that, they could lose free safety Tashaun Gipson, as he’s a free agent and will be 34 years old next season. With that, I think the best safety I’ve studied so far has been Kamren Kinchens from the Hurricanes. He’s a strong and physical defender who has the desired range to play as a single-high safety. I’d look for him to pair nicely with Talanoa Hufanga.

24. Buffalo Bills – Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (LB – Clemson)

I know the Bills like what they’ve seen from Terrel Bernard, and they’ve already shown that they’re invested in Matt Milano. That said, Milano has struggled to stay healthy, and it shows as the Bills allow the 11th most rushing yards in the NFL with 122 rushing yards per game. Trotter Jr will follow his father’s footsteps to the NFL, and the hope is that his career lasts as long. With that, Trotter Jr reads and reacts quickly in stopping the run. He’ll need to get stronger, but there’s potential for him to be a contributor early in his career.

25. Seattle Seahawks – Chop Robinson (EDGE – Penn State)

This just feels like a Seahawks type of pick. Continuously adding talent to their defensive line, the Seahawks could look to add another pass rusher to the mix. While Robinson has to become more consistent with taking on blocks, he’s an explosive pass-rusher who is relentless when threatening the pocket. He missed his last game due to a concussion, but he should be back in the lineup this weekend against Maryland. The tools are there for Robinson to get better in the NFL, and I think landing in a place like Seattle would do wonders for his young career.

26. Dallas Cowboys – Kris Abrams-Draine (CB – Missouri)

One of the players that should rise during the draft process will be Abrams-Draine. Much of that will be due to his tackling ability and ball skills. When you look at him on tape, he looks somewhat undersized, but the former high school receiver and quarterback plays strong and is always looking to make a play. Some would suggest that he’s destined to be a nickel corner in the NFL, but regardless, his talent would be too good to pass on.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars – Maason Smith (IDL – LSU)

As long as Trent Baalke remains the GM of the Jaguars, there will always be a conversation in regards to long and athletic defensive lineman going to his team. Much of that conversation will be had about Maason Smith. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, Smith is very fluid for a player of his size. Meanwhile, he’s shown that he can threaten the pocket consistently with his motor. There could be medical concerns with him as he did miss all but one quarter in 2022 due to a knee injury. That said, he’d be a fine addition to a Jaguars defensive line that already showcases Josh Allen and Travon Walker.

28. Baltimore Ravens – Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)

As I say, every draft cycle it’s a guessing game with the Ravens and what they might do. You could make the case for them doubling down and going with another pass-catcher, or you could say they need a running back. However, I look at their pending free agents for 2024, and they’ve got six cornerbacks set to hit the market. Sure, they won’t lose all of them, but there’s no guarantee they’ll get some of the top ones back. With that, I could see them looking at adding another cornerback through the draft. Wiggins is a long cornerback who thrives in press coverage. He’s only given up seven receptions this season and seems like a perfect fit for the Ravens’ defense.

29. Detroit Lions – Princely Umanmielen (EDGE – Florida)

When watching the Lions’ defense, it’s evident that they need another pass-rusher opposite of Aidan Hutchinson. At the trade deadline, it was rumored that they could be in the market for a pass-rusher, but they never made the deal. Wherever the Lions are drafting, they should have plenty of options to pick from in the first round. With Umanmielen, he’s got terrific length and power and has great get-off. His bend allows him to turn the corner and suffocate quarterbacks.

30. Miami Dolphins – Cooper Beebe (IOL – Kansas State)

It’s not unlikely that Cooper Beebe will last until the second day of the draft, but at the same time, his tape is so good. He’s physical and gets out in space better than just about any guard in the country. With how dynamic the Dolphins’ offense is, they could really utilize an interior offensive lineman who isn’t just solid as a pass protector but is also a plus blocker on running plays. With Connor Williams and Robert Hunt set to be unrestricted free agents, I could see the Dolphins looking to replace one of them through the draft.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Xavier Worthy (WR – Texas)

For how good the Chiefs have been at wide receiver over the years, they’ve struggled with consistent production from the group this year. Outside of Rashee Rice, I could see the team looking to move on from Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney. With that, Xavier Worthy is a perfect fit for an offense that is looking for speed and vertical playmakers. That’s exactly what Worthy is as a pass-catcher, and he’d be a great fit with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Donovan Jackson (IOL – Ohio State)

Every off-season, we wait for the decision from Jason Kelce on retirement. When he does, I’d expect Landon Dickerson to slide inside to center or potentially Cam Jurgens. Regardless, that would create a potential hole at guard, so with that, the Eagles are in position to draft one. Jackson is an experienced guard who has lived up to the hype as a top-15 prospect in the country. He’s strong at the point of attack and displays the desired grip strength to steer and redirect defenders.

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