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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0

By Justin Bales | 3/7/24 |

Caleb Williams

1.01 Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams, QB, USC

There are always rumors leading up to the NFL Draft, but I donít believe the top overall pick is difficult to predict this year. Williams has been the top prospect for quite some time, and people are now finding faults with him to try to create some buzz. Iím not buying into it, and I donít think you can trade away the first-overall pick two seasons in a row. Iím a Justin Fields fan, but Iíll be a fan of his wherever else (Atlanta) he goes. Simply put, you donít pass on the upside of Williams with this pick.

1.02 Washington Commanders - Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Speculation is starting to spread whether this is going to end up being Maye or Jayden Daniels. Iím sticking with the player that has been here all season. Maye has flashed tremendous upside, and he has all of the tools to be a franchise quarterback. He has ties to the Washington franchise already, and will help to get this franchise back on track.

1.03 New England Patriots - Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Daniels is coming off of an elite season for LSU, and itís impossible not to compare his rise to former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Heís a versatile quarterback who can change the game in several ways under the right scheme. New England finally has a changing of the guard in their staff, and they need someone that has promise under center.

1.04 Arizona Cardinals - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Harrison was seen as the best wide receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson prior to the season, but that changed a bit in 2023. He had sub-par quarterback play, which resulted in less than impressive results. Still, heís the top receiver in a loaded class, and heís going to be a WR1 in the NFL for years to come. Arizona needs help on the outside, and heíll make a great option with Marquise Brown if the Cardinals decide to re-sign him. The Cardinals will give Kyler Murray every chance to succeed this season, and Harrison will be a huge part of that plan.

1.05 Los Angeles Chargers - Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

This is where the draft starts getting interesting. Truthfully, this is probably a trade-up spot for someone like JJ McCarthy, Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze. The Chargers could go with a wide receiver to give Justin Herbert another weapon. They could also opt for Brock Bowers, but this feels a bit too high for a tight end. Instead, I believe Jim Harbaugh is going to bring in a running back and change the way this offense runs. This is a loaded offensive tackle class, and Alt is arguably the safest option. Look for Harbaugh to stay away from the flashy pick, and grab a player who will help in the trenches.

1.06 New York Giants - Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

There are so many bad reports about the Giants at the moment, but that seems to be the case whenever there is no hope on the horizon. They could opt for a quarterback or a wide receiver, but they need to help their offense in a different way. Fashanu should be able to step in at tackle, giving them protection they lacked last season. Thatís the first step toward getting the Giants back to the playoffs.

1.07 Tennessee Titans - Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

This pick is likely to go only one of two ways - Tennessee drafts an offensive tackle or wide receiver. There is a sector of people that are arguing Nabers is better than Marvin Harrison Jr., and that heís only ranked below him because of the latterís name. I donít necessarily believe that, but Nabers is an elite receiver prospect. He has the ability to completely change an offense, and heís likely the best way to help progress Will Levis in his second season.

1.08 Atlanta Falcons - Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

I have three more versions of this mock draft coming out leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25th, but Iím under the assumption that Atlanta is going to fix their quarterback with a trade or free agency. Thatís the main reason I donít have them taking one here. Instead, they shift to defense and get a player that can help immediately. Dallas Turner is a strong option here, but Verse is likely more NFL-ready, and Atlanta will be a potential playoff contender if they fix their quarterback spot.

1.09 Chicago Bears - Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Chicago got their quarterback of the future with the first overall pick, so they need to get him a weapon. Odunze looks the part of a WR1, and he enjoyed an elite season at Washington. He can immediately make the receiver group better, adding to the potential that Williams can find success early in his career. With Darnell Mooney an inconsistent option, pairing Odunze with Williams for the future is a no-brainer.

1.10 New York Jets - JC Latham, OT, Alabama

New York has a few different spots they can go with this pick, but Aaron Rodgers has to be at the front of their mind. Heís going to return this upcoming season, and they have to keep him upright in the pocket. The Jets need a ton of help along their offensive line, and Lantham is a player who can come in and help immediately.

1.11 Minnesota Vikings - Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Turner has the most upside of any edge in this draft but he isnít as safe as a player like Jared Verse. If he reaches his ceiling, he could become one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Minnesota needs help at the edge position, and thereís a reasonable drop-off after Turner.

1.12 Denver Broncos - JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

This is an odd spot because Minnesota could easily pull the trigger on McCarthy and if they donít, itís likely because McCarthy is already off the board. Itís likely heís going to be drafted higher as we know teams are more comfortable taking risks at the quarterback position. I believe the most likely scenario is that either Denver or Minnesota trades up for him, but Iím not projecting trades in this draft. McCarthy is a high-risk, high-reward option for the Broncos, and theyíre in desperate need of a new quarterback after moving on from the Russell Wilson debacle.

1.13 Las Vegas Raiders - Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Without a truly viable quarterback option here, Iím expecting Las Vegas to build around the offensive line position. Granted, they could have their pick of the cornerbacks, but they need to build a viable starting offensive line if any quarterback is going to find success for them. Fuaga is a player who can immediately start and help the unit.

1.14 New Orleans Saints - Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

The Saints could reach for an edge here, but itís more likely that they take an offensive lineman at this point in the draft. New Orleans didnít have success with Trevor Penning, and Fautanu can help them rearrange their offensive line. There are some who believe heís going to have to shift inside to guard in the NFL, but that isnít a given. If the Saints donít believe he can stay outside, Amarius Mims is another option.

1.15 Indianapolis Colts - Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The AFC South needs all the secondary help they can get with the Houston Texans taking the NFL by storm last season. Arnold is generally seen as the best cornerback in this draft, and he comes with tremendous upside as a player. He is a big play waiting to happen, and there are very few cornerbacks who can truly change the game the way Arnold may be able to in a couple of years.

1.16 Seattle Seahawks - Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

The Seahawks are sitting in a great spot. They have needs along the offensive and defensive line, and theyíre going to have their pick of who they want. There are great options at both interior offensive and defensive line along with offensive tackles and edge rushers. Iím opting for the edge rusher here, as Latu can contribute early in his career. He doesnít have the same upside as someone like Dallas Turner, but he makes a great pick mid-way through the first round.

1.17 Jacksonville Jaguars - Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

As I mentioned earlier in this mock draft, the AFC South needs to add to their secondary if they want to stick with the Houston Texansí offense. Wiggins comes with elite speed, and he has the upside to stick with WR1s in the NFL. Heís arguably the most talented option left in the secondary at this point.

1.18 Cincinnati Bengals - Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Bowers is drastically more talented than this pick would suggest, but thereís a chance he falls because of his position. The Bengals have a major need at tight end, and he can take an already elite offense to the next level. Bowers can also ease the pressure of Tee Higgins leaving next offseason if thatís the case.

1.19 Los Angeles Rams - Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

There are essentially three top options at the cornerback position (four if you include Kool-Aid McKinstry) and some would argue that Mitchell is the best of the bunch. The Rams could go with an edge rusher to help their pass defense, but I believe thereís a bit of a tier gap between Mitchell and the next pass rusher. The Rams need help at the position, and this is a player who can take over on their defense.

1.20 Pittsburgh Steelers - Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon

The Steelers can use more help along the offensive line, and Powers-Johnson is somewhat of a perfect option. Heís likely to play inside in the NFL, but there are some who believe he could potentially move to tackle. I donít expect that to be the case, and I do believe that heís going to be one of the top interior offensive linemen in the NFL in a few years. The Steelers are building a young foundation, and Powers-Johnson is a safer option.

1.21 Miami Dolphins - Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Mims is one of the more polarizing prospects in this draft. He strictly played right tackle at Georgia, which will worry some teams drafting earlier in the first round. There are mixed reviews on whether heíll be able to slide over to the left side in the NFL, but Miami is an offense that can use a player who is ready to start on the right side of the line. A win-now team is getting a player who can help them early in his career instead of waiting for him to develop.

1.22 Philadelphia Eagles - Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Eagles were exposed in the secondary last season, and they need immediate help. McKinstry was found to have a Jones fracture in his right foot at the NFL Combine, which stopped him from participating. That said, heís expected to be ready for the start of the season. There was a case to be made for him being the best cornerback in this draft at one point, and Philadelphia is getting a high-upside option here, even if he comes with some risk.

1.23 Houston Texans - Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

I donít fully understand the projection of a wide receiver here for Houston. Would it be fun? Absolutely. Is it the most pressing need? No chance. The Texans could use a pass rusher to help continue to progress their defense. Robinson isnít a player who is ready to play every down as a rookie, but he comes with tools that are unteachable. If Houston can develop him properly, he could be one of the biggest steals in the NFL Draft.

1.24 Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The Cowboys have the ability to solidify their tackle positions for years to come with this pick. They need help, and Guyton can pair with Tyler Smith as a great young tackle duo. Both players have the upside to play left tackle, so there is a bit of safety to having both on the team. This is a pick that comes with upside and a solid floor.

1.25 Green Bay Packers - Graham Barton, OL, Duke

The Packers have a few holes that they can plug with this pick. The biggest key here is that Barton is a player who is going to be able to play anywhere along the offensive line. He can be a swing tackle who can kick inside, and thatís something Green Bay loves doing with young players. Heíll immediately make their offensive line more versatile.

1.26 Tampa Bay Bucs - Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

The Bucs signed Mike Evans to an extension, so the wide receiver position isnít as pressing as it would have been. That said, they could still opt to draft his future replacement here. But Iím expecting them to move to the defensive side of the ball. They need help at cornerback, and Rakestraw is a player who can start on the outside immediately.

1.27 Arizona Cardinals - Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

The Cardinals took Marvin Harrison Jr. with their first overall pick, so they switch to the defensive side of the ball here. Robinson is a versatile option along the defensive line. Heís listed as an edge, but Iím not entirely sure that is the best way to list him. He could stay at end, using his power to rush the quarterback and set the edge. Thereís also a chance that he adds weight and moves inside. His versatility is what could be appealing for Arizona.

1.28 Buffalo Bills - Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Buffalo obviously needs help at the wide receiver position, and this is an elite draft for the position. Thomas has the potential to play anywhere on the field, and he can score from anywhere as well. Heís a player who will be able to help the Bills from day one, and he can take over as the WR1 once Stefon Diggs is out of town.

1.29 Detroit Lions - Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

The Lions could use some help in their secondary, and DeJean is an elite option at this point in the draft. He has all the tools to find success at cornerback, but some people believe he could be a better safety than corner. Detroit needs help at both positions, and the versatility is an added bonus.

1.30 Baltimore Ravens - Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

The Ravens are the type of team that finds a steal no matter where they draft. Thatís the case once again as Murphy comes with the ability to change the game from the defensive tackle position, and itís a position of need for Baltimore. Granted, they could find another wide receiver or cornerback here, but Murphy is too good to pass on at this point.

1.31 San Francisco 49ers - JeríZhan Newton, DT, Illinois

This pick is almost completely dependent on whether Javon Kinlaw leaves via free agency or not. If he does, Newton is a player who can immediately come in and make an impact in the run game. If Kinlaw comes back, they likely will go a different route with this pick. For the time being, Newton is a great option.

1.32 Kansas City Chiefs - Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Kansas City is in need of help with Travis Kelce aging and Rashee Rice being their only other promising option on the outside. Worthy recently broke the 40-yard-dash record (4.21) at the NFL Combine, and heíll be able to take the top off of defenses. Heís an elite fit to go along with Kelce and Riceís skillsets. He also has the versatility to develop into more than a downfield threat for the Chiefs.