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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown’s First-Round Picks & Predictions (2.0)

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown’s First-Round Picks & Predictions (2.0)

It’s good to be back with my second mock draft for the 2024 NFL Draft! In this one, we won’t be doing any trades but we will be talking in some detail about how some rosters are structured. In addition to that, we’ll go over some scenarios that potentially could happen in the coming weeks. For more NFL Draft content, drop me a follow on X @RussNFLDraft!

2024 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks & Predictions (2.0)

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

The main question around the Bears will be whether they keep quarterback Justin Fields or not. With the changes occurring to the offensive staff, it’s tough to picture the Bears retaining Fields. With that, the Bears trade Fields for additional draft capital and move forward with Williams. When watching Williams, there’s much to be desired due to his ability to create and operate outside of the pocket. He’s got a strong arm and can make high-level throws consistently due to that arm strength and his ability to throw on the run.

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels (QB – LSU)

It’ll be interesting to see how these quarterbacks fall this year. One that is certainly on the rise is Jayden Daniels from LSU. He’s got the desired mobility to extend plays beyond the pocket but he doesn’t always need to do that. There are plenty of throws on tape where he stands tall and looks confident as ever in the pocket. The ball really jumps out of his hand when throwing it deep and he showed that when he’s got NFL talent around him, he can deliver positive results on a high level. He’ll need to get stronger to withstand the contact he’ll see in the NFL but seeing him withstand two seasons in the SEC is a positive sign for NFL decision makers.

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

Certainly the Bears or Commanders could select Drake Maye but in this scenario, he falls to the Patriots. There’s much to be desired with Maye and it starts with the fact that he’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. With no concerns in his size, Maye displays great arm strength and is able to fit passes into tight windows consistently. Additionally, he can operate off-platform and has shown he can withstand contact consistently as a runner with over 1200 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in his career. Maye and Jerod Mayo could be an interesting and fun QB/HC pairing in New England.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR- Ohio State)

The best player in the 2024 NFL Draft is Marvin Harrison Jr., from Ohio State, so certainly there’s a chance he’s off the board already. Until the Bears commit to Justin Fields or another quarterback (trade or free agency) with the No. 1 overall pick, it’s hard to imagine Harrison Jr., going first overall. After all, the last time we saw a receiver go first overall was Keyshawn Johnson in the 1996 NFL Draft. That said, Harrison Jr., is one of the best receivers we’ve seen during the draft process. For a player that is 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, his speed, fluidity and acceleration is some of the best I’ve seen. He tracks the ball well and consistently catches the ball away from his body. As the Cardinals hit the reset button on a variety of positions, they seem likely to retain Kyler Murray and adding a true number one receiver would do wonders for him.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Olu Fashanu (OT – Penn State)

If there ends up being a quarterback falling down the board, this could be a spot where a team trades up for them. Not doing trade scenarios in this mock draft, the Chargers stay put and add to their offensive line. This time, they add a premier offensive tackle that can play the left or right side. Much of his success is due to his 6-foot-6 and 308 pound frame. He’s got quick movement skills with a thick lower half and great length for the position. Meanwhile, he’s incredibly strong and displays good body control consistency. Fashanu would provide the Chargers a day one starter at either tackle spot to protect quarterback Justin Herbert.

6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)

Certainly I could see a scenario where the Giants consider a quarterback in this spot. That said, they’ll add another weapon for their current quarterback Daniel Jones. The more I watched of Nabers, the more I liked him. By taking Nabers, this gives the Giants a potential No. 1 receiver that their offense desperately needs. Nabers can win at all three levels of the field due to his tracking ability, route running nuances and how explosive he is after-the-catch.

7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt: (OT – Notre Dame)

With the Titans moving on from head coach Mike Vrabel, all signs are pointing to the Titans preparing for a rebuild. They’ve got multiple positions to figure out but getting their offensive line fixed has to be a top priority. Also, with a new head coach, taking an offensive tackle would be a safer pick to help jumpstart a new regime. When watching Alt, there’s much to be desired with his size and athleticism. He can be an immediate starter due to his experience (33 consecutive starts) and consistency as a pass protector. Already a polished offensive tackle, teams should be intrigued by the tools they can work with by selecting Alt.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jer’Zhan Newton (IDL – Illinois)

One of the main questions surrounding the Falcons will be about who their next head coach will be in 2024. But another question will be if they even have this pick. There’s some speculation that they could use this pick to trade for Bears quarterback Justin Fields. For now, I think they look into adding more talent to their defensive line to pair with Grady Jarrett. Additionally, Jarrett is coming off a torn ACL and isn’t getting any younger. By selecting Newton, the Falcons get an active interior defender that has violently quick hands. His motor is always on the go and he’d be a spark plug for a Falcons defense that already has plenty of talent.

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

Passing on Marvin Harrison Jr., won’t be easy for the Bears but they get their potential franchise quarterback and give him a Day 1 starter at wide receiver in this spot. Add in D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet and this Bears offense suddenly has the weapons needed to find success in this league. When watching Odunze, he’s a physical receiver with the desired size to withstand contact consistently from NFL defenders. Additionally, he’s very fluid and has run-after-the catch ability.

10. New York Jets: J.C. Latham (OT – Alabama)

Aaron Rodgers is coming back and there’s no chance the Jets can leave him unprotected again. By selecting Latham, the Jets ensure some much needed help up front. He’s got the ability to play tackle or guard but he’s primarily played right tackle for the Crimson Tide. Latham has a massive frame at 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds and his grip strength and overall power within his game is encouraging. There’s a chance he plays left tackle in the NFL but it wouldn’t be surprising if he stays on the right side for a team.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Dallas Turner (Edge – Alabama)

There’s obvious questions surrounding quarterback Kirk Cousins and how long he’ll remain the starter in Minnesota. Much of that is due to him coming off a torn achilles. With that, I still think this Vikings team should look to add more talent to their defense for coordinator Brian Flores. Having Turner on the board is a huge get for a Vikings defense that’s looking for additional pass-rush help. Turner has an intriguing frame with long arms at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds. Meanwhile, you can see that he looks a lot stronger than he did when he first arrived on the scene for Alabama. He’s an efficient pass-rusher that wins with his long strides, fluidity within his lower half and his hands remain active. Putting Turner in a defense led by Flores could pay big dividends for the Vikings.

12. Denver Broncos: Michael Penix Jr. (QB – Washington)

It’s hard to say what the Broncos are prepared to do at quarterback but this offseason will be all about figuring that out. Sitting in a position to potentially draft a quarterback, I think the Broncos will attempt a move up for Caleb Williams or they’ll land on Michael Penix Jr. from Washington. He’s got a big arm and the ball pops out of his hand with plenty of velocity. Additionally, his mobility is a big-plus as he can extend plays beyond the pocket. He’ll need to throw with more touch and find ways to become more efficient when attacking the middle of the field but under Sean Payton, it could happen. Health and age will be a concern for plenty of teams but the Broncos should be prepared to win now and Penix could help with that.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Jared Verse (EDGE – Florida State)

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jared Verse ends up going sooner than this but for now, he lands with the Raiders. We’ll see what happens with Antonio Pierce as the potential head coach and if that’s enough to keep Maxx Crosby from requesting a trade. Regardless, the Raiders need help opposite of Crosby and Verse would be a terrific fit. He gets after the quarterback quickly with active hands and explosive first steps. He has a good blend of power and speed to his game but his pass-rush is a bit one-dimensional. With how hard he’s worked from being unranked to transferring from Albany to Florida State, I wouldn’t doubt Verse and becoming the best version of himself in the NFL.

14. New Orleans Saints: Brock Bowers (TE – Georgia)

One of the 10 best players in the draft, Bowers has elite playmaking ability. Felt like whenever Georgia needed a play, they put the ball in his hands. He consistently catches the ball away from his body and he has superior run after the catch ability for the position. He ends up falling in this scenario but he’d be a good fit in the Saints offense that already features Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Laiatu Latu (Edge – UCLA)

Latu had a neck injury that forced him to briefly retire from football so that could scare a few teams. That being said, his tape screams first-rounder. Much of that is due to his long arms that help him turn speed-to-power while also having the fluidity needed to change direction. His motor is encouraging and it helps him make plays. He’ll need to play with more control, at times, but he’s a promising prospect if he can stay healthy

16. Seattle Seahawks: Terrion Arnold (CB – Alabama)

Even though it’s hard to separate some of the top corners in this draft, it’s becoming clear for me that Arnold is at the top of my rankings. He’s a physical corner at 6-foot and 195 pounds with a strong presence felt when stopping the run. He has the desired strength needed to press receivers and he’s shown improved ball skills with 12 pass deflections and five interceptions this season. His short area quickness is promising when dealing with more nuanced route runners or for being able to close on the football while in zone coverage.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Graham Barton (IOL – Duke)

Look no further than Graham Barton as being one of the safest picks in this year’s draft. He’s a physical and versatile offensive lineman that has shown he can play just about anywhere. Whether it be guard, tackle or even center, Barton has found success. He’s physical in the run game and consistently looks to finish his blocks. Meanwhile, he’s got the desired strength to anchor and steer defenders when pass blocking. With Cam Robinsion on the final year of his contract, this seems like a no-brainer for a Jaguars team that should continue to build around quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Adonai Mitchell (WR – Texas)

It’s possible that the Bengals bring back wide receiver Tee Higgins on a new deal; but if they don’t, I think it would be wise to add another pass-catcher into the mix for Joe Burrow. One of the fastest risers up draft boards should be Mitchell from Texas. He’s a fluid receiver with good size, body control and long arms. Only 21-years old as a prospect, there’s potential that he blossoms into a stud next to Ja’Marr Chase and with Burrow throwing him the football.

19. Los Angeles Rams: Troy Fautanu (OT – Washington)

The Rams did a terrific job this season with developing their draft prospects but they need help along their offensive line. Additionally, they should prepare for life after Matthew Stafford since he’s not getting any younger. There’s a chance the Rams look into J.J. McCarthy from Michigan in this spot. For now, I think they look at finding an upgrade at left tackle. When watching Fautanu, he’s got a flexible lower half with long arms and plays well in space. His hands can become inconsistent and he does open his hips too early but there’s potential for him to develop into a very good starter with guard and tackle flexibility.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)

It’s possible for the Steelers to double-down and take a cornerback in consecutive drafts. Much of that is due to the age of Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace set to hit the free agent market. One player that could be a potential fit is Nate Wiggins out of Clemson. Much like Joey Porter Jr., Wiggins has terrific length and he uses his long arms consistently to play through the hands of receivers or jam receivers. He’s fluid and patient but just rough around the edges due to his lack of experience. He’s only 20-years old and only has 18 career starts but I think he’d develop nicely in Pittsburgh.

21. Miami Dolphins: Chris Braswell (Edge – Alabama)

Easily becoming one of my favorites in this class is Chris Braswell from Alabama. Right now, he appears to be highly underrated and it wouldn’t be surprising if he moves up draft boards quickly and is one of the first edge rushers off the board. He’s a 6-foot-3 and 255 pound edge rusher that plays with more power than speed but he’s strong in the trenches. Additionally, he uses a long-arm technique consistently but flashes a fluid counter with an inside rip or arm-over move to pressure the opposition. Putting Braswell in a Dolphins defense that was plagued by injuries would be beneficial.

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

This one is simple, folks. The Eagles look destined to be blowing up some pieces on defense but no matter what they do, they need secondary help. Adding a player such as McKinstry would do wonders for a secondary that desperately needs a spark. He’s a fluid mover in space and shows the ability to flip his hips and change direction with receivers. He’ll need to become more consistent as a tackler but he doesn’t shy away from contact. Add in his return ability and there’s much to be desired from defense to special teams. It wouldn’t be surprising if he starts right away for a team.

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23. Houston Texans (via CLE): Taliese Fuaga (OT – Oregon State)

There’s a chance for the Texans to select another pass-catcher for C.J. Stroud but I think it would be wise to select someone that can protect him with this pick. Fuaga would be a great fit in the Texans offense as a right tackle and he’s an experienced tackle with 25 career starts on the right side. He plays with raw power and appears to be a solid athlete for his 6-foot-6 and 330 pound frame. He’ll need to become more efficient when transitioning his weight from his post foot to his set foot but overall, he plays square and drives defenders clear from the football.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Keon Coleman (WR – Florida State)

Even though the Cowboys have one of the best receivers in football with CeeDee Lamb, it still feels like they need another pass-catcher in their offense. Brandin Cooks is only on a one-year deal in Dallas and while they have Michael Gallup locked up on a long-term deal, he’s had three consecutive seasons with limited production. Adding a player such as Coleman gives them a well-built receiver that can play anywhere in their offense. He’s got very good ball skills and is able to run after-the-catch. Earning a borderline first round grade for me, it would be somewhat surprising if he didn’t end up somewhere in the first round.

25. Green Bay Packers: Kamari Lassiter (CB – Georgia)

Injuries to Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander have been less than ideal for the Packers’ secondary. They’ve been forced to play rookies such as Carrington Valentine, but he’s shown some promise for them. With that, they still could use more talent in that secondary and adding a player such as Lassiter would provide a boost. Despite being undersized, Lassiter is a physical defender that isn’t afraid to make big hits or make plays on the football. Whether he plays inside or outside, there’s much to be desired with the 6-foot and 180 pound defender.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Morgan (OT – Arizona)

It’s possible that the Bucs look to upgrade their right tackle position despite taking Luke Goedeke to be their right tackle just two years ago. If they do, I think Morgan would be a no-brainer for the Bucs as they seem to have found a potential franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield. When looking at Morgan, you’ll see a player that is quick out of his stance and shows the strength needed to move defenders with ease. Despite tearing his ACL in the fall of 2022, he was ready to go for the start of 2023 and it helped him make 35+ starts at left tackle for the Wildcats. His experience, toughness and overall athletic profile could win a team over in the first round.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via HOU): Bralen Trice (Edge – Washington)

This season and in previous ones, there were glimpses where Trice was physically dominant. He’s got the power and speed within his 6-foot-4 and 275-pound frame to become a force along a defensive line. That said, there are inconsistencies between plays and the stiffness in his lower body could limit him as a pass-rusher. His size, physicality and ability to transition speed-to-power will win scouts over. He’d be a good fit for a Cardinals defense that is in search of a pass-rusher.

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

It feels like every year we talk about adding a pass-catcher to the Chiefs offense but this time they really need it. Rashee Rice has turned into a talented player for them as a rookie but Patrick Mahomes and this offense needs more. After the Senior Bowl, it wouldn’t be surprising if Xavier Legette shoots up draft boards. He’s a physical pass-catcher at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds with a skill-set that’s good enough to become an ‘X’ receiver. He adjusts well to the football and shows the body control needed to make contested catches on a consistent basis. He doesn’t change direction like other receivers so that could push him out of the first round but deep threat and red-zone ability makes him intriguing.

29. Buffalo Bills: Kamren Kinchens (S – Miami (Fla.))

As the Bills secondary continues to get older with players such as Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made a move for some youth at safety. One of the top safeties in the class is Kam Kinchens of the Hurricanes. He attacks downhill quickly and is physical in the run game. When dropping into coverage, he shows good recognition as the post safety and versatile enough to be positioned anywhere. His pursuit angles will need some improvement but he’s a promising prospect that chooses violence consistently.

30. Detroit Lions: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

It’s evident that the Lions need help in the secondary. Particularly on the perimeter as Cameron Sutton is only one person. With this pick, the Lions go back to the well they’ve found at Iowa. As the Lions shift into more zone coverage under Aaron Glenn, they’d make a great addition with DeJean. Is a terrific athlete that has the speed to run with receivers consistently. He closes to the football consistently and is able to attack downhill in the run game. It felt like whenever the Hawkeyes needed some type of spark this past season, it was DeJean providing it. He could do the same for the Lions defense at the cornerback position.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Kingsley Suamataia (OT – BYU)

With this pick, they add an experienced tackle but is still somewhat raw as a player. He’s got to improve his hands and needs to play with more control but there’s plenty to like within his game. He’s got strong hands and is able to execute a snatch-trap technique consistently. The ability for him to climb to the second level is an added bonus in the run game and it feels like he would thrive in this spot. This just feels like a 49ers type pick.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Byron Murphy (IDL – Texas)

The Ravens re-signed DT Michael Pierce to a two-year contract, but the Ravens should still be intrigued with the idea of adding depth to their defensive line. Murphy would provide that and some due to his strong lower half and versatility. He flashes a consistent push-pull move and there’s plenty of power behind his hands. As a freakish athlete, he should provide a spark to any defense he joins but putting him with the Ravens just seems right.

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