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2024 NFL Mock Draft: First & Second Round Picks

2024 NFL Mock Draft: First & Second Round Picks

The 2023-24 college football season isn’t even officially on ice yet, and we’re mock drafting, baby! This first version comes before final evaluations of prospects for me, and with this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, I’ll instead focus on landing spots with consideration to early personal thoughts and general buzz on these prospects, as well as the teams predicted to draft them. Let’s take a look at my picks and predictions for the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Note: Only one trade included in this version, and only because it seems extremely possible that Washington would put Pick 2 on the market should they finish in that spot.

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2024 NFL Mock Draft Picks & Predictions

Round 1 Picks

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

Justin Fields has had his moments across three seasons in Chicago, and he hasn’t exactly earned himself “bust” status yet, but it’s a no-brainer for the Bears to seek a long-term upgrade at the position with this pick gift-wrapped to them by the Panthers in last year’s trade for Bryce Young. It’s too early in the process for me to place my stake in the Williams v. Maye debate for QB1, so for now I’ll side with the 2022 Heisman winner.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (Trade w/ WSH): Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR – Ohio State)

With Caleb Williams going wire-to-wire as the odds-on favorite for the first overall pick, that turns Pick 2 into the sweepstakes pick of the Draft. Yes, Washington could certainly stay and take Marvin Harrison Jr. themselves in this spot; I’m tempted to say they would take DC’s local Caleb Williams should he be on the board in this scenario. Sam Howell has arguably displayed enough in his first season as a starter to avoid an outright replacement for next season. I imagine Washington might set up a QB battle between Howell and a veteran option – whether that’s Russell Wilson, Jacoby Brissett again, or somebody else. More than anything, though, this roster isn’t a QB away.

Assuming Washington wouldn’t be willing to move too far back in this Draft, that leaves the trade-up competition between only a couple of teams. Total speculation, but if Washington does entertain trading down, they might follow the recent trend of requiring a “win now” piece on top of bonus draft picks. The Patriots, Cardinals, and Giants don’t exactly have a roster surplus; the Chargers do, however. The state of affairs with LA’s second most popular team is dismal. They have probably been the most disappointing team of the 2023 season, enough so to get the GM and Head Coach fired, and their salary cap situation moving forward is dreadful. They require drastic action to sort things out, so trading one of their massive veteran contracts – Joey Bosa‘s stands out – as well as future pick(s) could actually help them out financially. Let’s just use the framework of last year’s CAR/CHI swap in this case – admittedly an overpay, but that’s probably what it will take for the Commanders to move off Harrison Jr with other teams dialing them up for Drake Maye, too.

Chargers get: Pick 1.2

Commanders get: Joey Bosa (2 yr/$47mil remaining on contract), Pick 1.6, Pick 2.37, 2025 Round 1 pick

Landing the most complete wide receiver prospect of the last decade-plus wouldn’t hurt for the Chargers, either. They have roster holes more glaring than wide receiver, especially with Keenan Allen still playing at the top of his game, but Mike Williams might be a cap casualty and this team’s quickest path back towards contention is a fireworks show on offense.

  1. New England Patriots: Drake Maye (QB – UNC)

Home run outcome for New England, who tallied enough late-season wins to take themselves out of the Top 2 but still land themselves Drake Maye, UNC’s uber-toolsy gunslinger who would be the QB1 in most draft classes. Maye is young and can stand to improve his processing, but he’d instantly provide credibility to the Patriots’ offense with massive long-term potential.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Olu Fashanu (OT – Penn State)

I’m sure it would sting for the Cardinals to have Marvin Harrison Jr.– the possible heir apparent to Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona – go ahead of them, but Olu Fashanu would be quite the consolation prize. Fashanu might have been the OT1 in last year’s class had he declared, and he’s special enough to be another cornerstone of the rebuild in the desert. Last year’s top pick, Paris Johnson Jr. could kick over to LT, and Fashanu has the tools to dominate on the right side of the line.

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

Odell Beckham the Giants’ only 1,000-yard receiver of the last decade, so this might be surprising to see a different position of pass catcher slated to the GMen – especially with blue-chip wideout prospects still on the board. And maybe I’m wrong, but with the incredible depth of this WR class and New York having two Round 2 picks – along with signs of promise from both Wan’Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt – Bowers might be the elite weapon that fits better into this offense. Yes, he’s a tight end and the Giants employ Darren Waller, but Bowers is more prototypical and brings far more YAC ability to the table. This would somewhat fairly elicit “Kyle Pitts over Ja’Marr Chase” flashbacks but, 1) Marvin Harrison off the board. 2) Brock Bowers is way more Deebo Samuel/Cooper Kupp than Kyle Pitts was Calvin Johnson/Julio Jones.

  1. Washington Commanders (Trade w/ ARZ): Joe Alt (OT – Notre Dame)

I teased it earlier, but if Washington is trading down then they shouldn’t slide more than a few slots; they should aim to ensure themselves one of Fashanu or Joe Alt. Alt is another true OT1 type who has the clear look and tape of a franchise left tackle – something sorely missed in Washington since they traded away Trent Williams.

  1. Tennessee Titans: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

This wouldn’t be the best outcome for the Titans, who desperately need a premier left tackle. However, this would make for a fairly easy transition to their draft strategy, because Malik Nabers could transform their offense under Will Levis. DeAndre Hopkins has been solid in his first season in Nashville, and the Titans took Treylon Burks in Round 1 two years ago, but Nabers would round out and eventually lead that receiving corps – as early as the 2024 season. Nabers is explosion personified; Tennessee doesn’t have a player like him and won’t find one elsewhere.

  1. New York Jets: Tyler Guyton (OT – Oklahoma)

This is the first “wild card” entry of this mock draft, but there’s at least one rocket ship prospect every year and my four-months-early pick for one of them is Guyton. His athleticism is obvious and should lead to a massive Combine performance, and he’s participating in the Senior Bowl too. Guyton just has the makings of a player who dominates the pre-Draft cycle, not unlike Darnell Wright last year – who climbed all the way to Pick 10. The Jets just need one capable Day 1 OT with this pick.

  1. Atlanta Falcons: Jayden Daniels (QB – LSU)

Assuming the Falcons don’t stumble into an NFC South title and remain in the Draft lottery, this pick needs to be a quarterback. They are too talented elsewhere and cannot waste the rookie contract years of Drake London and Bijan Robinson. (And Kyle Pitts too, I guess.) We might need to chill with the Lamar Jackson comparisons for Daniels, but this is a reasonable landing spot for the reigning Heisman winner.

  1. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze (WR – Washington)

Depending on Odunze’s performance in the College Football Playoff, this area of the Draft might be his floor. He’s a total freak show athlete with massive production across two years at Washington; it’s more of a “how high?” than “will he go high?” case for Odunze; I heavily considered him for the Giants at Pick 5. Pairing him with DJ Moore in a Caleb Williams-led offense would be an overnight transformation for the Bears.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders: J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)

JJ McCarthy’s stats don’t scream “first-round QB,” and he doesn’t exactly pass the “off the bus” test, either; McCarthy definitely needs to add some weight in the pros. But McCarthy is hyper-efficient, accurate, and extremely underrated as a pure athlete. There’s a reason behind all of the buzz of the NFL liking him a lot more than college football fans. Yes, this is the same QB who recently threw 51 passes combined across a three-game span, but McCarthy is a proven distributor from the pocket who can move the chains with his legs too. A certain khaki-wearing college coach taking the Raiders job would advance the rumors of this pairing too…

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Dallas Turner (EDGE – Alabama)

The Vikings’ defense has been an awesome surprise under Brian Flores – awesome enough to the point of him possibly not being a defensive coordinator again next year – though they stand to lose top pass-rusher Danielle Hunter in free agency. Dallas Turner won’t step right onto a pro field and post a 15-sack campaign like Hunter has this season, but he’s a similar mold of a relentless hunter (pun intended) flying off the edge.

  1. New Orleans Saints: Laiatu Latu (EDGE – UCLA)

The Saints could go in multiple directions with this pick; I considered just about every offensive position outside of running back for their uninspiring offense. Their front seven just completely lacks juice these days though, and Latu would be a plug-and-play starter across from Cameron Jordan before eventually replacing him.

  1. Denver Broncos: Keon Coleman (WR – Florida State)

If you’re not familiar with Keon Coleman‘s game, he can do this:

The Broncos might have bigger needs than wide receiver, but Jerry Jeudy‘s days in Denver are numbered and Courtland Sutton isn’t getting any younger. Coleman could make a Marques Colston type of impact in Sean Payton’s offense.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Jer’Zhan Newton (DT – Illinois)

Seattle has assembled a good amount of talent up front – especially if they can convince Leonard Williams to stick around – but they are deeper at EDGE than DT and could use another every-down presence in the trenches. I’m sure Seattle got a good look at Newton, the consensus DT1 in this class, while scouting Devon Witherspoon last year. His disruption is hard to miss on tape.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Emeka Egbuka (WR – Ohio State)

It might seem odd to use this high of a draft pick on a player who wasn’t the top option on his own college team, nor a very flashy player, but Emeka Egbuka is rock solid with NFL size and maybe the best YAC ability among first-round caliber wideouts in this class. He’d make an instant impact for a Bengals team set to move on from Tyler Boyd and then Tee Higgins shortly after.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Jared Verse (EDGE – Florida State)

Even if Jared Verse didn’t raise his stock after making the surprising decision to return to Florida State for his senior season, it didn’t exactly drop, either. He’s still an exciting and powerful EDGE who can play with his hand in the dirt – a presence the Cardinals don’t have whatsoever on their roster. If Jonathan Gannon is looking for his version of Brandon Graham, this is it.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: JC Latham (OT – Alabama)

Pittsburgh just took an offensive tackle in Round 1 last year, Broderick Jones, but he can move back to his natural LT position starting next season. The Steelers would then need a natural Day 1 fill-in ready at RT in that case. Latham, Alabama’s behemoth 360-pounder who has started at RT for two straight seasons, fits that bill.

  1. Green Bay Packers: Cooper DeJean (DB – Iowa)

For a team that could end up drafting in lottery pick territory, the Packers don’t have many roster holes. They are somewhat thin in the secondary though, especially if Jaire Alexander has one foot out of Green Bay already. They could use extra star power on defense regardless of Alexander’s future with the team, and DeJean is an electrifying, versatile, hard hitter who would fit in perfectly.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chop Robinson (EDGE – Penn State)

Tampa loves juiced-up pass rushers coming from all angles of their defense surrounding Vita Vea in the middle; see last year’s Round 1 selection of Calijah Kancey. Chop Robinson isn’t a finished product yet, but he has rare burst and will be freshly 21 years old at the time of the Draft. He’d be a perfect protege for Shaq Barrett.

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Taliese Fuaga (OT – Oregon State)

Things got pretty grim for the once-great Colts’ offensive line ahead of the 2023 season, but a unit of Bernhard Raimann/Quenton Nelson/Ryan Kelly/Taliese Fuaga/Braden Smith would put them right back on track. Fuaga is a bulldozer who could slot at RG before kicking out to RT at the end of Smith’s contract in 2025. Anthony Richardson running behind a full-steam Fuaga would make for an incredible watch in Indy.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)

The current Jags’ front five has a case as the worst in the league; they cannot continue to fail Trevor Lawrence. So, while the mission for the Jaguars heading into next offseason should be “offensive line, no matter what,” another way for the Jags to avoid failing Lawrence would be to give him a sure-handed X receiver not named Zay Jones. Brian Thomas Jr. a 6’4 true junior who led FBS with 15 TD receptions in 2023, could step right into that role for Jacksonville – and possibly even become the WR1 of their not-so-distant future with Calvin Ridley set to enter free agency. (Don’t worry, my next pick for them actually is OL.)

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Terrion Arnold (CB – Alabama)

This healthy version of the resurgent Rams offense is young and deep enough to have their top pick go towards the defensive side of the ball. After seemingly hitting on a couple of linemen in the 2023 Draft, the Rams can focus on the secondary. Terrion Arnold is only a redshirt sophomore and was recruited to Alabama as a safety, but he’s now a long, productive (5 INTs, 11 PDs in 2023) and active tackler who’s improving by the game at the cornerback position. The Rams like their CBs ultra aggressive, so they take Arnold over his Crimson Tide teammate, Kool-Aid McKinstry.

  1. Buffalo Bills: JT Tuimoloau (EDGE – Ohio State)

Even though it feels like Buffalo is always restocking their EDGE group, AJ Epenesa and Leonard Floyd are both hitting free agency and Von Miller has crash-and-burned as of late. The Bills need a fellow presence opposite Greg Rousseau, and JT Tuimoloau is the type of big, pocket-crashing DE that Brandon Beane typically targets. Even if Tuimoloau didn’t produce with expected consistency at Ohio State given his five-star pedigree, he flashed enough and played hard enough to still warrant Round 1 consideration.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Legette (WR – South Carolina)

The Chiefs aren’t perfect drafters, but they are one of the best teams at not overthinking it. Last year, Rashee Rice was still on the board at Pick 55 with six wideouts already taken (including Jonathan Mingo, oops), despite Rice putting up a stat line of 96 rec / 1,355 yds / 10 TD then posting over 90th percentile 10-yard split and vertical jump measurements at the Combine. Xavier Legette, South Carolina’s size/speed cyborg, might be a similar case in this year’s class. He might not be the most refined wideout – which I don’t mean to undervalue – but he is 6’3, 227 lbs with serious speed and posted 1,255 receiving yards in the SEC this year.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB – Alabama)

I’m not one to ignore draft history, even for a way-too-early mock draft like this – and especially for a team with a GM who definitely has Google Alerts set for himself. It’s well documented that the Eagles haven’t drafted a DB in Round 1 since 2002, but the secondary has become a paramount concern for Philly with the cornerback duo of Darius Slay and James Bradberry showing major cracks. I have a hunch that the Eagles might be willing to make an exception for a DB from Alabama or Georgia; also, they have taken a bunch of Day 2 DBs over the last two decades, so it’s not like they have totally devalued the position. McKinstry would be an easy selection at this point of the Draft. With his size, tools, and production, he has a good case as the cleanest cornerback prospect in this class.

  1. Detroit Lions: Bralen Trice (EDGE – Washington)

For a team that made a real push at the top seed in the NFC this season, the Lions actually have some roster holes – especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have more glaring needs in the secondary than up front, but they also have plenty of cap space and might be better off finding an instant impact cornerback through free agency. Detroit is desperately lacking an every-down EDGE after Aidan Hutchinson on their defensive line. John Cominsky and Josh Paschal are run stuffers who have combined for 3 sacks in 27 joint games this season, and James Houston is more of a situational pass rusher who will be coming off a major injury in 2024. Bralen Trice has the size and juice that the Lions need.

  1. Houston Texans: Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)

The Texans’ rebuilding plans on offense have been put into hyperdrive with CJ Stroud‘s spectacular rookie season and the emergence of Nico Collins and Tank Dell, so instead DeMeco Ryans gets another piece for his defense here. Nate Wiggins, Clemson’s long and competitive top cornerback, is atop many pre-draft boards for his position. Wiggins with Derek Stingley would give Houston one of the best young CB tandems in the league.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Troy Fautanu (OG – Washington)

It’s scary to think that the Dolphins’ run game has been so good this season with much room for improvement along their offensive line. Troy Fautanu plays left tackle on Washington’s award-winning offensive line, but it’s a near certainty that he’ll kick inside to guard at the next level. He could develop into a potentially dominant player if constantly put on the move in the right scheme – yeah, Miami would work for that.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: Graham Barton (OC – Duke)

I probably wrote something similar in last year’s mock drafts too, but Dallas always targets “the best player in the Draft at [X] position” with its top picks; CeeDee Lamb at WR in 2020, Micah Parsons at LB in 2021, Tyler Smith at OG in 2022, Mazi Smith at NT in 2023 (this one isn’t looking good). Graham Barton, despite most recently playing left tackle for Duke, has the makeup and experience to be an above-average center in the NFL. With Tyler Biadasz set to cash in as a free agent following this season, Barton could step right into the middle of the Cowboys’ offense.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Quinyon Mitchell (CB – Toledo)

Only one player in the history of Toledo football has gone in the first round of the NFL Draft, but Quinyon Mitchell can change that. Mitchell, who dominated the MAC and is athletic to the degree of cracking Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List, is almost certainly going to be selected within the Top 50 picks. With a big enough pre-draft process, including the Senior Bowl, he can crack Round 1.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: Amarius Mims (OT – Georgia)

This is about as late as you might find Amarius Mims, the huge-yet-nimble former five-star recruit, in mock drafts at this time of year. I get it, and perhaps I’m off, but Mims just hasn’t played much football (8 career starts) and injuries have already been a concern for him. The recent history of highly-touted, mammoth OT prospects (Evan Neal, Mekhi Becton) in the NFL hasn’t been great, either. Mims has massive potential and was a strong player when on the field for the Bulldogs, and the Ravens would be a great fit for Mims’ eased development. Injuries have taken a toll on Ronnie Stanley, and Morgan Moses will turn 33 ahead of next season.

Round 2 Picks

  1. Carolina Panthers: Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE, Texas)
  2. New England Patriots: Patrick Paul (OT, Houston)
  3. Arizona Cardinals: Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)
  4. Washington Commanders: Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas)
  5. Washington Commanders (Trade w/ LAC): Kamari Lassiter (CB, Georgia)
  6. Tennessee Titans: Kingsley Suamataia (OT, BYU)
  7. New York Giants: Michael Penix Jr.(QB, Washington)
  8. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Morgan (OT, Arizona)
  9. Washington Commanders: Chris Braswell (EDGE, Alabama)
  10. Las Vegas Raiders: Ruke Orhorhoro (DT, Clemson)
  11. Minnesota Vikings: Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)
  12. Atlanta Falcons: Troy Franklin (WR, Oregon)
  13. New Orleans Saints: Jeremiah Trotter Jr.(LB, Clemson)
  14. New York Giants: Ja’Lynn Polk (WR, Washington)
  15. Cincinnati Bengals: Kris Jenkins (DT, Michigan)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles: Ladd McConkey (WR, Georgia)
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavier Worthy (WR, Texas)
  18. Houston Texans: Edgerrin Cooper (LB, Texas A&M)
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tez Walker (WR, UNC)
  20. Green Bay Packers: Trey Benson (RB, Florida State)
  21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Zach Frazier (OC, West Virginia)
  22. Los Angeles Rams: Malachi Corley (WR, Western Kentucky)
  23. Indianapolis Colts: TJ Tampa (CB, Iowa State)
  24. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Nubin (S, Minnesota)
  25. Kansas City Chiefs: Denzel Burke (CB, Ohio State)
  26. Detroit Lions: Rod Moore (S, Michigan)
  27. Cleveland Browns: Jack Sawyer (EDGE, Ohio State)
  28. Philadelphia Eagles: Leonard Taylor (DT, Miami)
  29. Dallas Cowboys: Payton Wilson (LB, NC State)
  30. Miami Dolphins: Kam Kinchens (S, Miami)
  31. San Francisco 49ers: Calen Bullock (S, USC)
  32. Baltimore Ravens: Kalen King (CB, Penn State)

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