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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Erickson’s First-Round Picks With Trades (4.0)

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Erickson’s First-Round Picks With Trades (4.0)

We are back: My 2024 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 is officially here, and the excitement is through the roof in my second post-free agency mock draft as the calendar has flipped to April. And with a new month, comes a new mock draft WITH TRADES.

As noted in my magnum opus: NFL Draft Needs for Every Team Post-Free Agency (2024 Fantasy Football), NFL teams’ needs have changed dramatically since the 2024 free agency period. And although it seems like NFL Free Agency will never actually come to an end, we must trudge forward with the release of my latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft with the initial free agency frenzy in the rearview.

Let’s dive in!

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Mock Draft

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

Now currently listed at -4000 to -5000 odds to be the No. 1 overall pick, USC’s Caleb Williams looks like the next coming of Patrick Mahomes. Friendly reminder that Bears GM, Ryan Poles, was the Chiefs former director of college scouting when KC drafted Mahomes in 2017.

The off-script playmaking ability is so apparent with the USC product, and that makes him deadly when paired with his elite production from a clean pocket. This past season, Williams posted PFF’s highest grade operating from a clean pocket.

With Justin Fields traded to the Steelers, the Bears can shift focus to their new franchise quarterback whom they will select No. 1 overall. And it’s hard to argue against Williams’ great landing spot with the weapons he has at his disposal between D.J. Moore, D’Andre Swift, Keenan Allen and Cole Kmet. And they might not be done, given their ties to some of the top WRs and OTs in this year’s class.

I listed Williams as one of my biggest fantasy football winners in free agency.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Caleb Williams 

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

A lot will be made about this potential rookie QB’s fit in new OC Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, but new GM Adam Peters will likely also have a large input on the future franchise QB. He’s referenced that his new home in Washington is eerily similar to his situation when he first landed in SF back in 2017 – citing the team needs to build through the draft.

All in all, Peters saw the disaster that was Trey Lance during his tenure in SF. He also benefitted greatly from the Brock Purdy selection, claiming that the tape and how well Purdy played the QB position pointed them in drafting the QB.

And although Lance’s rushing ability makes more sense in comparison to Jayden Daniels, I think Maye has more of the boom-or-bust profile that Peters would rather avoid. Injuries withstanding, Daniels offers more of an under-the-radar game manager with strong fundamentals, accuracy and decision-making. Maye has the arm and a size that offers ceilings like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. But that is accompanied by inconsistent play at times, like from what we saw from him in 2022 versus 2023.

The other thing that is overlooked about Daniels – is his experience. 5 seasons of college ball. 55 games. Purdy played 48 games at Iowa State. 2023 Heisman Trophy Winner, Jayden Daniels is the selection at No. 2. With his ability to add value as a rusher and experience with five years under his belt, he can thrive in a familiar Kingsbury system with underrated weapons already entrenched at the skill positions. In 55 games in college, Daniels rushed for over 3,300 yards – 60 rushing yards per game. Last year’s third quarterback selected, Anthony Richardson, also averaged 60 rushing yards per game in the college ranks.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Jayden Daniels 

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

New Pats GM Eliot Wolf could very much change the “Patriot way” into the “Packer way” with him now at the helm of the Patriots’ major personnel moves. That would include sitting a QB that might not be ready on Day 1 for long-term gain as the main goal.

Wolf has also been vocal about an updated grading system, citing it will be much closer to what was done in Green Bay. Less about ROLE, and how the Patriots can use said player and more about the actual VALUE of the pick/player etc. Music to my ears as a Patriots fan. Gone are the days of the Patriots “reaching” on a player who likely would have been available much later in the draft. Less overall “reaches” on players that would fit their scheme the best. Draft smarter, not harder.

The Patriots’ current staff features plenty of former Packers coaches from new OC Alex Van Pelt (also was with the Browns) and Ben McAdoo (the Patriots’ new senior assistant).

When it comes to Wolf’s specific influence on the QB atop the Patriots’ draft board, the patient QB approach suggests they won’t be overly concerned about waiting on a younger more inexperienced Drake Maye to be ready.

When asked what he’s looking for in a quarterback, Wolf emphasized intangibles like leadership and body language in addition to strong physical traits.

But even as a Patriots fan who would prefer the team to chase the ceiling of Maye while Jacoby Brissett starts in the meantime, I am much more open to the idea that J.J. McCarthy is in play at No. 3. He also checks off a lot of the same boxes as Maye. However, given Maye’s superior analytical profile, I ultimately side with Maye being the Patriots’ top QB target.

Mayo spoke on Maye’s elite leadership in the interview process and how he has ‘no ceiling.’ The Patriots swung and missed on a QB prospect with a Kirk Cousins-level ceiling the last time around. They won’t make the same mistake twice, even if it takes more patience.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Drake Maye 

4) Minnesota Vikings (via Arizona Cardinals): J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)

Whether it’s at pick 11 or as part of a trade-up package, there’s no denying the Vikings’ connection with J.J. McCarthy.  He’s currently +105 to be selected by Minnesota. We got the number at +500 back on March 7th in the 2024 NFL Draft Prop Bet Card.

The super-accurate QB posted the third-highest adjusted completion percentage in the nation (80%) in 2023. McCarthy’s throw air time below an expectation also ranked first in the class (-0.13). This is determined by throw distance and the quarterback’s footwork when throwing. Per Sports Info Solutions a lower number is better, because in that case throws of the same distance are taking less time to get to the target.

Given the analytics background of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, I am not surprised that Minnesota has been connected to quarterbacks Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy, both of whom are 21 years old. Age-adjusted production stands out in an analytical analysis.

The top trade-down candidates include the Patriots, Cardinals, Chargers and Falcons. From a betting perspective, the value is long gone with McCarthy to the Vikings. The value is matching players to teams that will trade back. I think it will be the Cardinals that ultimately trade back. In this exercise, Minnesota ships off it’s two firsts for the 4th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for J.J. McCarthy 

5) Los Angeles Chargers: Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR – Ohio State)

It’s a brand-new era in LA. New head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz (from Baltimore) are IN, as the decision-makers when it comes to personnel and shaping the roster heading into 2024. And as much as it pains Harbaugh to select an Ohio State Buckeye with his Michigan bloodlines, the talent is undeniable for a roster that needs WR juice.

And even though Harbaugh has voiced how important addressing the OL is, that’s not been apparent at all in his draft history. He’s drafted zero tackles in the first two rounds of the NFL draft during his four-year tenure with the 49ers.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Marvin Harrison Jr. 

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

Enough of the Giants drafting a QB nonsense in Round 1. The team has Daniel Jones under contract with an out in his contract in 2025. Should they be feeling “buyer’s remorse” they might draft a new QB with three picks inside the top 50. But the Jones’ contract has them in a bind for 2024.

I also think the narrative on Jones has gone way too far after a disastrous 2023 season. The guy played in just 6 games because of injuries.

I for one believe this is a total smokescreen to convince QB-needy teams to trade up so the WRs in the draft fall into the Giants’ laps.

The current odds for New York to draft a WR are at -175 per DraftKings Sportsbook. They so desperately need an alpha WR. Malik Nabers fits the bill.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Malik Nabers 

7) Tennessee Titans: Brock Bowers (TE – Georgia)

There’s no better tight end prospect than Brock Bowers in this class. Or perhaps ever as Bowers is regarded as the greatest college football tight end of all time.

The former Bulldog tight end broke out immediately in 2021, posting a 28% dominator rating in his first season as a true freshman with 13 TDs and 882 receiving yards.

Per Tony Pauline, the Chargers, Titans, Bears and Jets are all in on Bowers. Possibly he won’t make it past Denver at No. 12.

The Titans have been looking at Jaheim Bell as a later tight end option in this year’s draft, but it shows they are interested in the upgrading the tight end positon should Bowers be available.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Brock Bowers 

8) Arizona Cardinals (via Atlanta Falcons):  Rome Odunze (WR – Washington)

Washington’s Rome Odunze screams like that guy for Arizona in a trade-down/trade-up scenario. They send 11 and 27 to the Falcons to get the 8th and 43rd picks in this year’s draft.

Odunze‘s four-year career with the Huskies has been marked by consistent improvement, with his junior year in 2022 marking his status as one of college football’s best WRs: accumulating 75 catches for 1,145 yards, averaging 15.3 yards per reception, with 7 TDs.

The 2023 season saw further improvement, with the 6-foot-3 and 215-pound WR amassing 81 catches for 1,428 yards and 13 TDs, leading to a spot on the AP first-team among other awards en route to a career-high 33% dominator rating. And that was accomplished with him battling through a reported broken rib and punctured lung in late September. Odunze’s 42% deep route percentage ranked third-highest in the class.

Think he’s a perfect system fit as a newer younger version of DeAndre Hopkins – perfect for Kyler Murray.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Rome Odunze 

9) Chicago Bears:  Joe Alt (OT – Notre Dame)

The Bears get back to the basics with an future franchise offensive tackle, Joe Alt. Alt was PFF’s second-highest graded pass blocker in 2023 (91.2). He also tested like a true ANIMAL at the NFL Combine. 87th percentile 40-yard dash and 88th percentile broad jump.

Per Sports Info Solutions, Alt also posted the second-lowest blown block percentage (1%) among his classmates in 2023. Alt is listed on FanDuel Sportsbook as the favorite to be the first OL selected in the 2024 NFL Draft at -220.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Joe Alt 

10) New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga (OT – Oregon State)

Two words. Offensive line. Whoever the top OL remaining on the NFL Draft Board will inevitably be the Jets selection at No. 10 after they missed out on the top tier in last year’s class thanks to Bill Belichick. And this is even after they added during the free agency period with a few immediate band-aid fixes, as Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger. 33-year-old tackle Tyron Smith signed with the Jets in free agency. 1-year and $6.5 million. The definition of a band-aid fix.

Interestingly enough, the Jets also traded for OT Morgan Moses (also 33 years old). Moses was traded from the Ravens after finishing last season as PFF’s 10th-highest-graded tackle. He figures to slide in at the starting RT position. He played with the Jets back in 2021.

Still, rumor has it that GM Joe Douglas already has an affinity for the Oregon State tackle. This lines up with Douglas’ recent tendencies to draft players from Power Five schools. Taliese Fuaga was PFF’s second-highest graded tackle in 2023 lining up as the team’s starting right tackle the past two seasons. And given that he can also play guard, it makes sense for Fuaga as the selection over Olumuyiwa Fashanu.

Fuaga has the second-shortest odds of being the first OL selected.

Give me the Jets +145 to take an OL with their first pick.

Just how bad was the Jets’ O-Line last season? Alijah Vera-Tucker posted the highest PFF blocking grade in five games played. AVT is also entering the last year of his rookie deal (5th-year option withstanding). Tackle Mekhi Becton (who is a free agent) was their highest-graded pass-blocker (60.7). He ranked outside the top 60 tackles. Essentially the worst starting-caliber tackle in the NFL last season. OG Laken Tomlinson was released. Center Connor McGovern is also a free agent, but the Jets should be glad to move on. He was PFF’s 34th-graded center…out of 37 qualifiers. Expect 2023 second-rounder Joe Tippmann to be the starting center in 2024. They also signed IOL John Simpson from the Ravens.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Taliese Fuaga 

11) Atlanta Falcons (via Arizona Cardinals):  Byron Murphy II (DT – Texas)

This is where I feel strongest about the first defensive player being selected. With defensive head coach Raheem Morris taking over, he and GM Terry Fontenot might flip the script and likely look HARD at the highest-ranked defensive player on the board.

It’s going to come down to CB vs EDGE. And I wouldn’t even completely rule out an interior pass rusher as a contrarian pick for Atlanta.

Morris did so as much in 2 of the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as their previous head coach, with selections of game disruptors Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn. And as the Rams defensive coordinator this past season, LA’s defense ranked first in interior pass-rush win rate.

Simply put, aside from the QB selection in his first draft as an HC, every other selection Morris has made with the highest draft capital has been on a defensive lineman. Roy Miller, Brian Price, Kyle Moore and Da’Quan Bowers – were all drafted with some of the highest draft capital available to Morris.

It’s pretty overwhelming how hyper-focused Morris has been targeting the DL – specifically the interior – which puts some of my Falcons to draft a CB first and CBs Quinyon Mitchell/Terrion Arnold as the first defensive player off the board in doubt.

The betting markets favor Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner between -190 odds. But given that Turner isn’t a generational pass rusher, I think this is a bit of overconfidence by the betting markets. Again, betting “favorites” this far out isn’t the right approach. Still believe CB is strongly in play here between Quinyon Mitchell and Terrion Arnold. +300 for the Dirty Birds to select a CB with their first pick per DraftKings Sportsbook. (-250 for EDGE/DL). These odds should not be this stark given the need for both. Much closer to 50/50 in my estimation.

But the longshot bet I love is for them to take the top interior defender in Byron Murphy II.

The former Texas DT finished with the second-highest pass rush win rate (30%) on true pass sets in 2023 as an interior defender. Per PFF, he was the only interior defender to finish inside the top-10 in PFF pass-rush grade on true pass sets.

Per Mockdraftable.com, one of Byron Murphy’s closest comparisons on the DL is Kentavius Street. Street was just re-signed to the Falcons. Another one of his closest comps is Grady Jarrett. FantasyPros’ own Thor Nystrom compared Murphy to Justin Madubike.

Further bolsters the bet on Murphy II to potentially hearing his name called as the first defensive player off the board. That was one of my featured bets in my 2024 NFL Draft Prop Bet Card. The lines have dramatically shortened since I first placed the bet.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Byron Murphy II 

12) Denver Broncos: Olumuyiwa Fashanu (OT – Penn State)

The top QBs are gone. But the Broncos will not be swayed into over-drafting another based on need alone. In an ideal world, the Broncos trade back to collect picks and scoop up a quarterback later in Round 1 or early in Round 2, similar to what we have seen in recent years with Will Levis, Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and Drew Lock. Bo Nix is rumored to be viewed very highly by Payton and is the betting favorite to be a Bronco. But it might not be in Round 1.

They need to collect assets without second-round picks to work with.

But if they are “stuck” at No. 12, it has to be a pick in the trenches. I lean toward OL, given they have not drafted any tackles in the last three drafts. Tackle Garrett Bolles is in the final year of his deal with backup LT Cam Fleming already a FA.

They draft a future franchise in LT Olumuyiwa Fashanu. Fashanu earned the 4th-highest PFF pass-blocking grade in the class in 2023.

It could very well be one of the top CBs between Terrion Arnold and Quinyon Mitchell at this pick. Or a WR wildcard selection given Sean Payton’s track record.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Olumuyiwa Fashanu 

13) Las Vegas Raiders:  Amarius Mims (OT – Georgia)

Tom Telesco was the Chargers’ general manager since 2013 before being hired as the new Raiders GM in 2024. He struck gold by drafting Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert in 2020 and Rashawn Slater in 2021, but the roster still had too many holes that led to his firing in LA.

But he was not on the open market for long, getting quickly scooped up by the AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders.

During his stint with the Chargers, Telesco has drafted eight offensive linemen in the top three rounds — the most of any position.

That includes 2022’s first-rounder from Boston College, Zion Johnson. Even though they seem relatively set across their offensive line post-free agency – right guard and right tackle specifically – Telesco knows how important depth is upfront. With OL one of the team’s prominent needs (other than QB), I’d presume that’s how they approach Round 1.

Insert Amarius Mims who was Georgia’s starting RT the last two seasons, although he missed time with injuries in 2023. But in the 7 games he did play – he allowed just one pressure. The guy is an absolute mammoth, measuring 6-foot-8 at 340 pounds with 36 1/8-inch arms (97th percentile).

I was too low on Mims in past mock drafts, with the Steelers, Bengals and Raiders all “IN” on the former Bulldog tackle prospect. Note that he does come with inexperience, so he might be best fit for a team that already has two starting tackles in place, with Mims their plan for the future.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Amarius Mims 

14) New Orleans Saints:  JC Latham (OT – Alabama)

The Saints have had a bottom-10 PFF pass-blocking grade in back-to-back seasons. Trevor Penning has been a colossal bust as a former 2021 first-round pick. Andrus Peat (also declining) and Cameron Erving are gone. James Hurst took a pay cut to stay with the Saints. New Orleans should get back to the basics with an offensive tackle at the top of the draft.

Insert Alabama tackle JC Latham, who can slide seamlessly into the starting RT spot. Latham took a slight step back in 2023, as he was PFF’s second-highest graded pass-blocker in 2022. But that Crimson Tide pedigree suggests he comes with a high floor.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for JC Latham 

15) Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell (CB – Toledo)

Quinyon Mitchell from Toledo ran a 4.33 40-yard dash (second-fastest among all CBs) with a 38” vertical (75th percentile) and 122” broad jump (49th percentile) at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

He has finished as PFF’s highest-graded cornerback in back-to-back seasons. He also has the shortest odds per FanDuel Sportsbook of any CB to be the first defensive player selected in the NFL Draft (+460).

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Quinyon Mitchell

16) Seattle Seahawks: Dallas Turner (EDGE – Alabama)

Mike Macdonald is IN as the new head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, and there’s certainly credence to his defensive background influencing the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Last year’s defense struggled – specifically with rookie edge rusher and last year’s second-rounder, Derick Hall. They need to improve the pass rush across the defensive line in 2024. Their run defense was also a major liability.

Seattle’s made enough improvements on the OL that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go DL/EDGE in Round 1. There’s some value in Seattle taking a DL/EDGE player at +120 odds per DraftKings Sportsbook.

Alabama’s Dallas Turner comes to NFL ready from Nick Saban’s defense, which will help him create an instant impact for Seattle’s defensive line.

Turner tested off-the-charts at the NFL Combine posting 92nd percentile or better marks in the broad jump, vertical jump, and 40-yard dash with an 88th percentile wingspan.

Given the performance, I fully understand I might be too low on Turner, given his testing and current odds as the favorite to be the first defensive player drafted.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Dallas Turner 

17) Jacksonville Jaguars: Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)

The Jaguars select a cornerback from Clemson, Nate Wiggins. The 6-foot-2 and 173-pound CB (2nd percentile) allowed a 44.4 passer rating in coverage in 2023. He came in slightly underweight at the combine but delivered in the 40-yard dash with a 4.28 (98th percentile) before exiting with an injury.

GM Trent Baalke loves targeting defensive backs. He used a third-round pick or better on a safety/cornerback in six of eight drafts. In 2021, the Jags drafted cornerback Tyson Campbell in Round 2 and defensive back Andre Cisco in Round 3. He also loves drafting players from Clemson and Florida.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Nate Wiggins 

18) Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)

Over 38 games in college, Brian Thomas Jr. showcased his ability to be a game-changer, culminating in a junior year where he exploded onto the scene with 68 receptions for 1,177 yards and an FBS-leading 17 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 17.3 yards per catch.

Thomas Jr. tested extremely well at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a 4.33 40-yard dash time (94th percentile) with a 1.5 10-yard split (87th percentile). He also jumped 38.5″ in the vertical (83rd percentile) and 126″ in the broad jump (80th percentile). One of Thomas’ closest comps per mockdraftable.com is former Clemson WR, Justyn Ross.

The Bengals’ director of player personnel Duke Tobin has been running the show as the team’s de facto general manager since as early as 2013. Over that time, he’s been no stranger to investing high-end draft capital into offensive linemen. Since 2015, the Bengals have drafted five offensive linemen (Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, Billy Price, Jonah Williams, and Jackson Carman) with first- or second-round picks.

But they’ve selected a wide receiver in the first round (John Ross and Ja’Marr Chase) twice. Their other recent highly drafted WRs have been second-rounders (Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins).

Bolstering OL and WR is something the Bengals are not shy about doing as they look to get back into Super Bowl contention, even if they appear set at each position post-free agency. They tagged Higgins and signed Trent Brown in free agency. But neither are long-term answers. They need to acquire a cheap player in this year’s draft at one of those premium positions. The last time the debate was between OL vs WR, WR came out victorious. And I’d bet these Bengals don’t change their stripes when it comes to this decision in 2024.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Brian Thomas Jr. 

19) Los Angeles Rams:  Terrion Arnold (CB – Alabama)

The Rams skated through last season with almost zero investment in their defense. No team had less money invested in their secondary than the Rams (or on defense overall). And that remains true even after the initial wave of 2024 free agency. Finishing 21st in pass defense DVOA with a no-name secondary unit is impressive, but there’s obvious room for growth – 32nd in PFF coverage grade.

I’d imagine they invest heavily in defensive backs in the NFL Draft. They have drafted more defensive backs in the first three rounds than any other position. In 2022, they drafted two cornerbacks and a safety with three of their first five selections. After completely foregoing any defensive back in last year’s draft, their draft strategy should normalize with secondary options.

In free agency, the only move they made was bringing back CB Darious Williams after his disappointing two-year stint in Jacksonville.

They get their CB1 in the form of Terrion Arnold. He was named All-American in 2023, alongside teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry. Arnold finished the 2023 season as PFF’s 4th-highest graded CB in the class, with the No. 1 grade as a run defender (90.6). Arnold also finished 3rd in the nation in pass breakups (13) and interceptions (5).

Arnold and Quinyon Mitchell are duking it out for CB1 alpha status. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Arnold is listed at +1700 to be the first defensive player drafted. Only Mitchell has shorter odds among CBs (+460).

I’d imagine the cornerback they draft offers a tackling skillset. The CB they selected late last season – Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson – was a sure tackler out of TCU. They also don’t seem to mind undersized CBs, with picks like Derion Kendrick, Cobie Durant and Robert Rochell in the last few couple drafts.

Among this year’s top CB class, Arnold, Cooper DeJean, Ennis Rakestraw Jr. have strengths as both run defenders and as tacklers.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Terrion Arnold 

20) Pittsburgh Steelers:  Troy Fautanu (OT – Washington)

The Steelers’ top priorities in the draft will likely come down between OL and WR. Incumbent left tackle starter Dan Moore Jr. is a 2025 free agent and is coming off a season as PFF’s 6th-lowest graded tackle. They can and should upgrade at LT. They already released OT Chukwuma Okorafor (who signed with the Patriots).

And even though all their OL starters should return from last season, they can upgrade everywhere. IOL and OT are both major needs after the Steelers posted the second-worst passing block grade in 2023 per PFF. Keep in mind they “upgraded” the OL last offseason.

The need for CB is lessened in favor of WR given the trade with the Panthers for Donte Jackson. The WR needs increases with Diontae Johnson now a Panther.

Troy Fautanu played LT at Washington but could likely kick inside to guard with his size at 6-foot-4 and 317 pounds. Finished the 2023 season as PFF’s 5th-highest graded pass-blocker while logging over 1,200 pass-blocking snaps the past two seasons. Over that span, just two sacks were allowed from his blocking. His stock is steadily on the rise after the NFL Scouting Combine, given that Fautanu posted an impressive 5.01 40-yard dash (90th percentile), 1.71 10-yard split (86th percentile), 32.5” vertical (91st percentile) and 113” broad jump (92nd percentile).

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Troy Fautanu 

21) Miami Dolphins:  Jared Verse (EDGE – Florida State)

On defense, Jaelan Phillips will also be up for a new contract at the end of the year. It comes at a really bad time with Miami’s DL missing guys like Andrew Van Dinkel (Vikings), Raekwon Davis (Colts) and Christian Wilkins (Raiders) all on new teams in 2024. To add legitimate insult to injury, Bradley Chubb‘s Week 17 torn ACL adds another wrinkle to the Dolphins’ pass rush woes into next season. The team also cut DE Emmanuel Ogbah to save close to $14M in cap space.

No team is spending less across the DL than the Miami Dolphins. Miami’s trenches on both sides are decimated. Although they threw more bodies on the defensive side by signing DT Jonathan Harris, DE Da’Shawn Hand, DT Benito Jones, DT Neville Gallimore and OLB Shaq Barrett. Hand and Barrett are the only two that could be actual difference makers, so I don’t think the DL is finished from a drafting perspective.

Chris Grier has shown a willingness to draft edge/DL high. In the last 5 drafts when Miami had a first-round pick, they drafted a DL/EDGE piece in 3 of those drafts. 4 of those drafts included a DL/EDGE in Rounds 1 or 2.

Miami has met with Laiatu Latu, Bralen Trice and Jared Verse.

Verse posted the 4th-most pressures in the nation on true pass sets in 2023, with 11 sacks. Came up huge versus Louisville with 10 total pressures and two sacks in his last game as a Seminole. Verse currently owns the third-shortest odds to be the first defender selected in the NFL Draft (+650).

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Jared Verse 

22) Philadelphia Eagles: Tyler Guyton (OT – Oklahoma)

The Eagles’ defense regressed in a major way in 2023, especially at cornerback, with their veteran starters playing way past their prime. They desperately need to rehaul their secondary entirely between cornerback and safety.

But this team loves to invest high-end draft picks into their OL more than any other position. Since 2019, Roseman has drafted an offensive lineman in the first four rounds in every single draft. Three of which have been a second-round selection or higher. Last year it was Tyler Steen at the top of the 3rd round.

And when in doubt, the Eagles usually just draft a player from Georgia.

Jason Kelce has retired, but the Eagles were ahead of this when they drafted Cam Jurgens and Tyler Steen in back-to-back drafts. Landon Dickerson was also entering the last year of his contract. but the Eagles are too keen on letting their OL pieces hit free agency. He signed a 4-year, $84 million extension.

The Eagles added additional depth across the OL with the signing of Matt Hennessy. The former Falcons IOL missed all of last season with a knee injury. He was PFF’s third-highest-graded run-blocker in 2021.

Sua Opeta (Buccaneers) and Jack Driscoll (Dolphins) are both gone, testing the depth of the Eagles’ IOL. Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger at age 34.

They re-invest in the OL with Tyler Guyton. The Oklahoma product posted the second-lowest blown block percentage in the OT class in 2023. And he is Lane Johnson’s protégé.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Tyler Guyton 

23) Arizona Cardinals (via Minnesota Vikings): Laiatu Latu (EDGE – UCLA)

The Cardinals drafted a No. 1 WR with their first pick, and balance out their first round with a selection on defense to improve Jonathan Gannon’s squad that ranked 32nd in expected points added in 2023. They need help everywhere defensively. They have to go with a pass-rusher which was part of the nucleus behind the Eagles’ defensive success under Gannon in past years.

Laiatu Latu has size at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds and pass-rushing production to fill the Cardinals’ pass-rush devoid. Latu led the nation in pass rush win rate (40%) on true pass sets in 2023 as PFF’s highest-graded pass-rusher. He comes with some scary injury red flags stemming from a neck injury in 2020 that almost ended his football career.

Per Sports Info Solutions, Latu finished first in the class in pressure rate over expectation (17.2%), true pressure rate (30%) and tackles for loss per game (2.2).

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Laiatu Latu 

24) Dallas Cowboys: Xavier Worthy (WR – Texas)

Dallas could go the “sexy” route in the NFL Draft and give Dak Prescott another WR weapon. WR is still a major area of need, given that there’s virtually no reliable depth behind CeeDee Lamb. Brandin Cooks is entering the last year of his deal. Michael Gallup has already been released as a salary cap casualty. Jalen Tolbert has shown nothing two years into his NFL career. Martavis Bryant? Perhaps a sign of the “type” WR they want to draft such as 6-foot-4, 200-plus pounds and 4.4 wheels. For now they draft the homegrown Texas product with the fastest 40-time in NFL Combine history.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Xavier Worthy 

25) Green Bay Packers: Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB – Alabama)

I’d envision the Packers either going IOL or CB with decent draft capital. Green Bay has also drafted a center/interior offensive lineman in four of the last five drafts – two of which have been selected inside the top 65. After foregoing IOL in 2023, look for the Pack to add more big bodies to bolster the inside of the line. Especially given their surplus of selections on Day 2 of the draft.

Three of the team’s ninth-highest draft picks have been on defensive backs since 2018.

Cornerback is a big issue, given that all the ones that played last year besides Jaire Alexander weren’t very good or were injured. Eric Stokes is going on the final year of his rookie deal after missing most of the 2023 season with injuries. Keisean Nixon was last year’s starting slot CB and re-signed for a 3-year deal worth $18 million. CB Corey Ballentine will also return on a one-year deal.

The two DBs they drafted late last season in Round 7 – Carrington Valentine and Anthony Johnson Jr. – shockingly didn’t pan out.

CB Kool-Aid McKinstry finished as PFF’s 4th-highest graded CB in the 2024 class in 2023, ahead of teammate Terrion Arnold. He allowed a sub-50% completion rate in coverage (49%) and the highest coverage snaps per target (11.7) – a strong indicator that teams were not throwing his way.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Kool-Aid McKinstry 

26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Jackson Powers-Johnson (IOL – Oregon)

On offense, the Buccaneers could not run block for a lick in 2023. They need to get better play from the interior of their offensive line. Last year’s second-rounder Cody Mauch needs to play much better in Year 2. Guard Aaron Stinne signed with the Giants and his backup Matt Feiler is still a free agent.

To finalize the interior OL rebuild process, they select Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Powers-Johnson finished the year as PFF’s second-highest graded run-blocker and third-highest graded pass-blocker among interior offensive linemen. He should be able to play both center and guard at the NFL level.

The Pewter Report has connected the Buccaneers with the following OL prospects during the pre-draft cycle: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL Graham Barton, OT Jordan Morgan, OL Taliese Fuaga, OL Blake Fisher, OL Troy Fautanu, G Christian Haynes, OL Tyler Guyton, G Cooper Beebe, and G Christian Mahogany

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Jackson Powers-Johnson 

27) Atlanta Falcons (via Arizona Cardinals): Chop Robinson (EDGE – Penn State)

Chop Robinson finished as PFF’s second-highest graded pass rusher in 2023 (92.3). The 6-foot 254-pounder edge rusher’s got all the intangibles from twitch to explosiveness that will have NFL draft rooms salivating, especially after he blew the doors off the testing at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He ran a 4.48-second 40 (98th percentile), leaped a 34.5-inch vertical (66th percentile) and jumped 128” broad jump (95th percentile). But he was not done. His 10-yard split at 1.54 seconds (98th percentile) was the fastest for any edge rusher over 250 pounds per the 33rd Team.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Chop Robinson 

28) Buffalo Bills:  Adonai Mitchell (WR – Texas)

The top need for Buffalo is easy to identify. WR. Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator in the second half of the 2023 season, and his approach with more WRs will be at the forefront, with Gabe Davis signing with the Jaguars in free agency. They already released Deonte Harty as well. Veteran Mack Hollins should slide in and take up the majority of cardio routes, while Curtis Samuel adds a speed element that the offense has been lacking.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills’ shortest odds are to select a WR with their first selection at -105, followed by DL/EDGE (+225), OL (+450) and CB (+500).

AD Mitchell is the pick with him cementing his status as a potential first-rounder after an impressive combine.

Mitchell measured at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and had a big day:

  • 34-second 40-yard dash (94th percentile)
  • 52-second 10-yard split (76th percentile)
  • 5” vertical jump (89th percentile)
  • 136” broad jump (98th percentile)

As a Longhorn, Mitchell posted a breakout season en route to a 32 percent dominator rating with 11 TD scores on 55 receptions. Standing at 6’2″ with a lanky frame at 204 pounds, Mitchell offers an ideal build for an outside receiver. Mitchell reminded me a lot of a lighter Michael Pittman Jr. while watching him on film.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Adonai Mitchell 

29) Detroit Lions: Jer’Zhan Newton (DT – Illinois)

The Lions revamped their secondary in free agency, making it less likely they draft a CB. And there’s no better way to accompany an improved secondary than with a strong pass rusher opposite the up-and-coming superstar, Aidan Hutchinson.

However, the Lions are still listed with +135 odds to draft a CB first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by OL (+275), and then DL (+300).

But Romeo Okwara is stepping away from football. They added DE Marcus Davenport after he got hurt last season. They bolstered the run defense though, with a massive addition of DT D.J. Reader. Still, they could use more DL help. Some of their DTs are in the final year of their contracts in 2024.

They’ve met with several EDGE/DT prospects that project to be picked at the end of Round 1 including Jer’Zhan Newton.

Newton works from the defensive interior but provides a pass rush that is not easily replicated. Led the nation in pass-rush snaps, with 8 sacks and a top-10 pass-rush win rate %. Per Sports Info Solutions, he led all DTs in pressure rate above expectation (8%), true pressure rate (15%) and pressure share (30%). The 6-foot-2 and 304-pound DT has timeshares in opposing backfields.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Jer’Zhan Newton 

30) Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Morgan (OT – Arizona State)

The Ravens have impending FAs across the OL this season – John Simpson (Jets), Kevin Zeitler (Lions) – and next season – Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, and Morgan Moses. Moses was traded to the Jets. Massive need now at OL.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is under contract for two more seasons but has gone through ups and downs since his injuries started piling up. If the Ravens see an opportunity to upgrade from Stanley, don’t think they won’t pull the trigger to do so. The front office is not happy they are paying him like a top-5 LT. If they see a future franchise tackle on the draft board, they will pull the trigger.

Hence, the Ravens are listed with heavy juice (-210) to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+400), and then WR (+400).

Insert OT Jordan Morgan. 3-year starter at Arizona State with 2,400 snaps under his belt as a left tackle. The perfect replacement for Morgan Moses.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Jordan Morgan 

31) San Francisco 49ers: Graham Barton (IOL – Duke)

OL makes a ton of sense as the 49ers’ other top need, given that two of their starters last season – Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford – were well below league average at center and right guard. Jon Feliciano re-signed as the team’s starting guard/center (only one-year deal). Aaron Banks will be a free agent at the end of 2024. Colton McKivitz re-signed a 1-year extension with the 49ers.

However, the drafting of OL for the 49ers doesn’t necessarily scream that OL is always the top priority, especially when you believe in the offensive scheme making top linemen less of a priority. Still, hard to ignore the interest they have had in top offensive line pieces this draft cycle, given the talent in the class.

They’ve met with Graham Barton, Amarius Mims, Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia and JC Latham. From 2017-2022 with the 49ers, the team’s highest tackle was Mike McGlinchey at ninth overall. They also drafted Aaron Banks in the second round.

But they drafted three WRs inside the top 45 between Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. If the Aiyuk trade rumors are true, don’t be shocked to see him replaced by a rookie WR in the draft.

Duke’s Graham Barton has spent the last three seasons at left tackle for the Blue Devils, but he could also kick inside for the 49ers if he is needed on the offensive interior. Per SIS, Barton finished the 2023 season with the highest positive run-behind block percentage among the OG class.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Graham Barton 

32) Kansas City Chiefs: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

I have to imagine that the KC Chiefs invest heavily in surrounding Patrick Mahomes with more weapons. With Rashee Rice entrenched as the possession receiver, they still could add a speedy rookie like Oregon’s Troy Franklin or Texas’ Xavier Worthy as another (and reliable) big-play threat to Mahomes’ arsenal. Note that they only signed Marquise Brown to a one-year deal worth $7 million. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is gone. Justin Watson and Kadarius Toney are all free agents at the end of the season. Mecole Hardman and Richie James are free agents this offseason.

Rice is also dealing with some potential legal issues. This isn’t the first time the Chiefs have had to deal with a WR breaking the law with the potential to face discipline from the NFL. It happened with Tyreek Hill back in 2019. The first selection the Chiefs made in that draft was Hardman (56th overall).

If they feel that Rice might miss time due to a suspension, look for KC to be more aggressive going after a WR in the draft.  In addition to Hardman in Round 2, they have also drafted a WR in Round 2 in the last two drafts (Skyy Moore 54th overall, Rice). Seems like they might prefer Round 2 rather than Round 1 for WRs.

CB Trent McDuffie at 21st overall is the highest they have drafted a defensive back. That’s the highest draft capital that Veach has spent on any selection besides Patrick Mahomes in his tenure as the Chiefs GM. They’ve met with lesser-known WRs in the class like Anthony Gould and Javon Baker in the pre-draft process.

After they traded away L’Jarius Sneed to the Titans, the time might be now to re-invest highly into the CB position by drafting CB Cooper DeJean.

DeJean allowed a sub-40 passer rating and zero TDs when targeted last season for the Hawkeyes’ top-tier defense. DeJean is a super versatile player with experience at safety, linebacker, and special teams returner. He was also a three-sport athlete with an extensive track background. The Chiefs really could use an improved slot CB/S after losing Sneed to the Titans. DeJean’s versatility can offer a diverse skill set for KC’s defense.

Check out our full 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report for Cooper DeJean 

Just Missed the Cut

More 2024 NFL Mock Drafts

Here are a few early predictions for the 2024 NFL Draft. We’ll continue to add our 2024 NFL Mock Drafts leading up to the start of Round 1.

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