2024 Mock Draft V3

published on 2/5/2024

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Round 1

Picks 1-16
1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 2

The Bears officially have the 1st overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Justin Fields isn’t an outright bust by any means, and is worth exploring for a franchise like Atlanta, Las Vegas or Denver, but he has certainly not warranted a lucrative contract extension. A change of scenery makes sense for all parties, as the Poles regime can “reset the clock” at the quarterback position with a high-ceiling, blue-chip prospect. I have my concerns about Caleb Williams’ on-script consistency, the amount of time he holds the ball and his ability to rise to occasion, but he has incredible arm talent, running ability, pocket evasiveness and a true franchise-QB skill-set. The Bears would be overthinking it if they opted to go with any other prospect, or keep Fields and get cute with trades.

2. Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 4

Out with one UNC quarterback, in with another. Although many (myself included) thought Howell may get a shot at keeping his job mid-season, he unraveled in the back half of the year. With a new regime, new coach, and hopefully a new identity for a previously historic team rotted to the core by corruptive ownership, it now seems almost inconceivable that Washington does not draft a QB here. It’s a pick ‘em right now for me between Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye, and in my heart I slightly prefer Daniels, but of the two, Maye is the more polished and developed. Various team sources have compared Maye to Goff. Maye does not have the mobility of the quarterback taken before or after him, but in the middle of the field Maye is clinical. He’s accurate, smart with the football and has high quality field vision.

3. Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 5

The Patriots have finally moved away with Bill Belichik via “mutual agreement”. Congratulations to Coach Belichik for the best pro coaching career of all time. Although an elite coach, Belichik’s utilization of draft capital was very poor in the latter years of his de-facto General Manager role, and the Patriots have a lot of holes they need to fill thanks to this degredation. This draft needs to focus on a complete overhaul for their putrid offense, starting with a franchise quarterback. Daniels would have been a Day 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but returned to school and developed tremendously. The multi-year starter is coming off a Heisman Trophy campaign and is compared to Lamar Jackson by teams with true NFL dual-QB ability, both as a dangerous runner and having elite passing potential. I have Daniels as QB3 objectively as he is less polished than both Williams and Maye, but he is a personal favorite of mine and it would not shock me if he ends up having the best career of the three.

4. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 1

The Cardinals appear all-in on Kyler Murray, who whilst not elite, is an above average starter who needs to be surrounded with talent. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the consensus best-non QB in this draft and the best WR prospect since Ja’Marr Chase - arguably even more promising than him. Size, ball skills, speed, route running, instincts; MHJ simply has it all and is a complete NFL No. 1 WR.

5. Chargers: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 6

I’m split 50/50 here between Malik Nabers and Brock Bowers. Although the Chargers drafted a wide-out in the 1st round last year, they could double dip here. Mike Williams has the constitution of sand. Keenan Allen is entering his mid-30’s and Quentin Johnson was appalling as a rookie. Even if the latter improves, Williams and/or Allen could be cap casualties under the next Chargers regime, and they need to load Herbert with receiving weapons during his prime. I think Nabers would be a top-5 candidate in any draft without Marvin Harrison Jr., and is an elite prospect in his own right. However, with the recent Harbaugh hiring, and Bowers being a (legitimate, not hyperbolic) generational Tight End prospect who can essentially be a WR1 in his own right, I’ll tip the cap that way - for now. High picks on Tight Ends is often criticized, but looking at the Championship games from this past weekend, the 4 tight ends were Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Sam LaPorta and Mark Andrews - all top of their positions, all instrumental to their offenses. Positional value be damned; do not underestimate what an elite pseudo-receiver Tight End can do for your offense. Bowers is absolutely that.

6. Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 3

Daniel Jones is not the answer for New York, but they are stuck between a rock and hard place contractually for 2024. If Jayden Daniels falls to No. 6, I think they deal with the contractual headache, but I’d be surprised if that happened - furthermore, JJ McCarthy or Bo Nix at No. 6 would be replicating the Jones reach that haunts East Rutherford to this day. The Giants OL isn’t good, but the regime seems intent to kick the tires further with the (struggling) Evan Neal at RT for one more year. With that being said, I have them giving Daniel Jones a No. 1 receiver for the first time in years. As aforementioned, Nabers may get overshadowed by Marvin Harrison Jr., but is an elite receiving prospect who would be WR1 in the majority of draft classes, and is getting elite grades from teams.

7. Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 8

I loved the Peter Skoronski pick last year, and think with time he could be an All-Pro guard for Tennessee. However, an argument could be made that Andre Dillard was the worst Left Tackle in football last year; Nick Petit-Frere has also not proven himself to be a capable starter. Receivers could be in play given the options available, but given they have their pick of the litter at tackle, I think the Titans go in that direction. Joe Alt is an exceptionally gifted tackle who has very few flaws to his game. He has great size, is athletic, has stellar technique, is very consistent and left/right side versatility. He has some stiffness, but that’s almost inevitable for his size. Alt appears to be a lock to go top-10 short of injury.

8. Falcons: Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 11

The Falcons are in an awkward spot to take a quarterback without trading up, and could look to Kirk Cousins, a trade for Justin Fields or a Day 2 quarterback. Presuming they don’t reach on Bo Nix or JJ McCarthy here, this regime typically prioritizes freakish-traits in the 1st (i.e. Pitts, London, Robinson). In this mock, however, it’s on the defensive side of the ball to help try and finally find Atlanta a true franchise pass-rusher. Dallas Turner was a menace in 2023 and has consolidated himself as a top-16 selection. I slightly prefer Latu, but with Turner’s athletic profile and balanced game, I think he could be in line to be EDGE 1.

9. Bears: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 10

I nearly mocked Rome Odunze here, as Caleb Williams cannot be left to die without receiving talent like Fields was prior to 2023. However, the Bears need another Defensive End in equal measure, and the depth at WR in the 3rd round (their next pick) is far deeper than this thin EDGE class. As a pure football player, Latu is my favorite defensive prospect in this class. He famously had to medically retire from Washington, transferring to UCLA. He’s been certifiably dominant since, but his medical will be critical to his draft stock. Until he’s red flagged medically, I believe Latu is an elite quarterback hunter who could be a double digit sack monster at the next level and worthy of a top-16 draft selection.

10. Jets: Taliese Fuaga, G/OT, Oregon State

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 21

The Jets seem to be all in on an Offensive Tackle in the 2024 draft per Charlie Campbell, and it makes sense. They are in “win now” mode with Aaron Rodgers, and their OL has struggled for years. Duane Brown will surely retire, and Mekhi Becton - once a promising rookie - has completely fallen off the wagon, playing terribly in 2023 and now a free agent. This pick reflects this “win-now” ethos. I personally have Amarius Mims, Tyler Guyton and Olu Fashanu higher than Taliese Fuaga; however, Rich Cimini and Tony Pauline reported that the Jets seem close to locked in to Fuaga at No. 10, and others believe he won’t last long if he slides past that spot. Daniel Jeremiah also mocked this pick, and is high on Fuaga. I’d be conflicted about this pick if true. Fuaga has a high floor and put on great tape in 2023, but has a limited ceiling versus other tackles available. Equally, he is a plug and play right tackle or guard who has allowed just 2 hits on pass pro snaps in 2023. Sounds like someone the Jets need, and would indicate they intend to try Alijah Vera-Tucker at Left Tackle.

11. Vikings: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 14

Stealing this pick from Daniel Jeremiah, because it makes so much sense. This is a potential spot for a Bo Nix or JJ McCarthy, but both are a bit rich this high still for me - I think the most likely scenario is that Cousins re-signs a 1-year deal, with the Vikings looking for a Day 2 QB. Meanwhile, the Vikings need several defensive upgrades, with so many departing free agents like Danielle Hunter, DJ Wonnum and Marcus Davenport on the edge, and a terrible interior defensive line. Based on my big board, I have Byron Murphy II slightly higher than Jared Verse, in a rarer, more coveted spot as an interior lineman with pass rushing upside. This might be slightly early for Murphy, but given their awkward draft positioning for their true biggest needs, this would be a solid choice. Murphy is ascending into clear DT1 territory, with Jer’Zhan Newton likely to slide to Late 1st/Early 2nd round consideration.

12. Broncos: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 26

I personally believe any QB not named Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels would be a reach in the top-20. Bo Nix and JJ McCarthy are most “range-worthy” in the 25-40 range in my opinion, and both belong in the early to mid 2nd round, much like Will Levis and Drew Lock. However, the Broncos clearly need to move on Russell Wilson, and seem the most likely team outside the top-10 to pull the trigger on a quarterback to get out of their god-awful trade for Russell Wilson. They don’t have a 2nd round pick, either. JJ McCarthy and Bo Nix are both a tier behind the 3 quarterbacks taken before him, but if Mac Jones, Daniel Jones and Kenny Pickett can all go Round 1, so can both of these prospects. Both McCarthy and Nix are adept game manager quarterbacks (which shouldn’t be seen as a criticism) who could be a good fit for Sean Payton and his offense. Some teams reportedly have starting grades on McCarthy and Nix, whilst others are less bullish and are split on 1st - 3rd grades for him. For me, McCarthy wins due to his physical skill-set and projection. He has great arm talent, and had some nice tape despite being in a very run-heavy offense. Candidly I don’t love mocking either this high, and may backtrack in the future, but given the position he plays, he has a shot at going on Thursday night.

13. Raiders: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 9

The Raiders are always a bit of an unknown in the draft, and that unknown will be compounded given yet another new regime will take the helm for the 2024 NFL Draft. Although they have huge needs at quarterback, defensive tackle and potentially wide receiver (if Davante Adams is traded), the Raiders also have holes on their OL. They have generally over-performed their personnel, but pre-free agency, they only have 4 OL under contract and only Kolton Miller is a true franchise option. New General Manager Tom Telesco poured resources into the Chargers OL his last 2-3 years there, and the Raiders would be prime candidates to take an Offensive Lineman in the 1st round in 2024, given the Day 2 depth at cornerback. Amarius Mims is amongst my favorite prospects of any position in this class with a top-5 physical skill-set; however, as any draft fan will know, he has minimal tape due to injury in 2023 and wasn’t a starter prior to then. Mims is raw but wasy dominant on the tape he did put out, and he's such a freakish athlete that he’s likely to go top-20 regardless of the question marks. Some teams believe he could even climb into the top-10 if his workouts are great, per Charlie Campbell.

14. Saints: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 7

The Saints need to improve on both sides of the trenches, but the value on Odunze here is just too good to pass up. He could justifiably go as high as No. 6 to the Giants, as Odunze built upon his 1st round resume entering the season, being extremely productive and proved himself as a mismatch bully with contested catches. Separation is a moderate concern, but I feel he is more likely to be the next Drake London than N’Keal Harry. I slightly prefer Brian Thomas Jr.’s upside, but as a NFL-ready receiver, Odunze would be the safer pick.

15. Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 12

I was split between Jared Verse, Brian Thomas Jr. and Terrion “Ghost” Arnold here. I think receiver becomes the least likely pick should Michael Pittman Jr. re-sign or get the franchise tag, which seems likely. Josh Downs was also good as a rookie and Alec Pierce has talent, despite dropping off a bit in 2023. Additionally, Jared Verse is getting Late 1st / Early 2nd round grades from teams so this is a fraction early. Thus, I went for Terrion Arnold. The Colts secondary is far from a disaster, and I liked their investment in JuJu Brents last year, but they are lacking a true shut-down CB1 and find themselves in a division with several promising young quarterbacks. Kenny Moore is also a free agent. Arnold can play boundary or in the slot, given the Colts versatility, and is my CB1 for this draft. He seems to have big fans in Daniel Jeremiah and Dane Brugler, and Arnold is unanimously viewed as the better pro prospect versus the grossly overhyped Kool-Aid McKinstry with teams (more on him later).

16. Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, G/OT, Washington

Big Board Rank (as of 1 Feb, 2024): 13

Cooper DeJean could be a nice pick here, but I instead have a guard to improve their struggling OL that can kick to tackle if Abe Lucas continues to miss time. Fautanu is a player who has risen in 2023 after an incredible season for Washington. He played LT in college, but profiles better inside in the pros due to arm length limitations. Fautanu could absolutely hang as an NFL tackle, but could project as an All-Pro caliber guard, which is where he’d play in Seattle.

Picks 1-16