The moment has arrived: My 2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 is officially here, and the excitement is through the roof.
As we dive deep into the pre-draft frenzy, I felt compelled to share my inaugural mock draft predictions before the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine shakes up the scene. The combine is notorious for sending prospects soaring or tumbling on draft boards based on their performance, and we can anticipate a flurry of draft trades in its aftermath.
Lucas Oil Stadium is set to be the epicenter of networking for the league’s top decision-makers and coaching staff.
Hence, it’s crucial to present my projections now, before the draft landscape is turned upside down by the upcoming events. Sit back and enjoy!
2024 NFL Mock Draft
Please note that this mock draft reflects my predictions of the draft outcomes, rather than my personal choices for each team. Because who cares “what I would do” as we want to project what happens to take advantage in our fantasy football leagues and NFL Draft Betting Props.
1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams (QB – USC)
Currently listed at -900 odds to be the No. 1 overall pick, USC’s Caleb Williams looks like the next coming of Patrick Mahomes. The off-script playmaking ability is so apparent with Williams, and that makes him deadly when paired with his elite production from a clean pocket. This past season, Williams posted PFF’s highest grade without pressure.
If the Bears stay at No.1, they will draft Williams and trade Justin Fields.
Schefter with some flames on the show today.
– Believes the #Bears will “definitely” get a 2nd for Fields. Could even get a 1st.
– He believes that Chicago will stay at one & take Caleb Williams.
– Also pushed back again CW refusing to play for Chicago. https://t.co/zKBxNR3frf
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) February 6, 2024
2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye (QB – North Carolina)
The hiring of Kliff Kingsbury as the team’s new offensive coordinator has rumors flying that the Commanders will trade up to No.1 to select the USC quarterback. After all, Kingsbury recently worked with USC in 2023 as the team’s senior offensive analyst. I think QB is going to be the selection here regardless, but it’s no guarantee that Washington can seize the No. 1 pick from Chicago to select Williams. As a result, they take another QB.
A lot will be made about this potential QB’s fit in 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.
In 2017, the 49ers also held the No. 2 overall pick but were very active with trades. Don’t be surprised to see them potentially trade DOWN for more assets. They could also be in the running for selecting the best non-QB, and then getting involved in the Fields sweepstakes themselves.
But if they stay, they will select UNC’s Drake Maye. The former Tar Heel tied a bow on his collegiate career with 62 passing TDs and 16 interceptions. Even after taking a slight step backward in 2023 compared to his elite sophomore campaign, Maye shouldn’t wait very long to hear his name called with scouts comparing his outlook to franchise QBs like Justin Herbert and Josh Allen.
3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels (QB – LSU)
This pick is where the NFL Draft will get wild. Without an officially named GM and Jerod Mayo coming in as the new head coach, this deprived roster could go in any which direction. QB is the chalk pick (among the top names remaining), BPA on offense between WT/OL or a trade down – all cannot be ruled out.
The most logical candidates to have the most influence in the draft strategy will be a combination of Matt Groh and Eliot Wolf. Wolf’s tenure with the Browns suggests that he is analytical-driven and that strongly points in the direction of the QB position. If that position hits, it’s the biggest win for the roster overall. If not a QB, then I’d presume it’s a trade-down scenario where they look to draft another QB either later in Round 1 or the start of Round 2.
Given the state of the roster, 2023 Heisman Trophy Winner, Jayden Daniels is the selection. With his ability to add value as a rusher and experience with five years under his belt, he can withstand the growing pains of a rebuilding New England offense with major question marks surrounding him 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.
4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR – Ohio State)
The current betting odds have Marvin Harrison Jr. listed at -475 to be the first non-QB selected in the draft. That sets the stage for him to land in Arizona, as Kyler Murray‘s new No. 1 WR and replacement for 2024 free agent Marquise Brown. Harrison’s junior year further solidified his status as a premier talent, earning him a Heisman Trophy finalist nod-a rare feat for a wide receiver. He concluded the season with 67 receptions for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns, also contributing a rushing touchdown, underscoring his versatility and playmaking ability. That awarded him not only a 44% dominator rating (second-best mark in the class) but the 2023 Fred Biletnikoff Award bestowed to the best WR in college football.
5. Los Angeles Chargers: Brock Bowers (TE – Georgia)
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. It’s hard to ignore a tight end of Brock Bowers‘ caliber slipping through Harbaugh’s grasp. Per PFF, only Iowa has targeted its tight ends more than Harbaugh’s Michigan teams among the entire FBS. Ergo, it’s an important position to Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy, and there’s no better prospect than 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.
6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers (WR – LSU)
New York was connected to several of last year’s top WRs throughout the draft process but ultimately went the defensive route in Round 1 with Deonte Banks. They drafted Jalin Hyatt in Round 3, but that will not dissuade them from doubling down on an obvious area of weakness in one of the strongest WR classes in recent years. The Giants finished 32nd in total PFF receiving grade in 2023.
During my introductory rookie WR research to put together my Top Dynasty Rookie Wide Receivers (2024 Fantasy Football), my closest comparison to Malik Nabers was Stefon Diggs. If I can see that on tape, you better believe Brian Daboll also will.
7. Tennessee Titans: Rome Odunze (WR – Washington)
The Titans have expressed faith that Will Levis can be their future franchise QB. They brought in an offensive-minded head coach Brian Callahan, to aid in the development of their second-year QB in the post-Mike Vrabel era. OL seems like the obvious choice here, but I am going to head in a different direction. They selected an OL in the top-10 last season and finished close to average in adjusted line yards. Although they were a bottom-10 graded pass-blocking unit. However, their 31st-ranked adjusted sack rate can be attributed to their QBs’ propensity to take sacks – 22% sack-to-pressure rate ranked 12th last season. With Brian’s father Bill Callahan joining as the OL coach, there’s credence to believing that he can “coach up” the existing OL pieces, while also adding a more favorable offensive scheme to get the ball out of Levis’s hands quicker.
It’s a classic scenario that Callahan saw firsthand when the Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase over Peni Sewell back in 2021.
The new head coach also had some interesting comments about OL vs WR in an offseason interview.
“I tend to lean to the position that can score touchdowns because if you play the quarterback position well and if you are playing it right, you can negate some of the issues you have in pass protection.”
Washington’s Rome 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.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Byron Murphy II (DT – Texas)
It’s been three straight seasons that the Falcons have drafted a skill position player within the top-10 picks of the NFL Draft. With defensive head coach Raheem Morris taking over, he and GM Terry Fontenot flip the script and take the highest-ranked interior defensive player on the board. Morris did so as much in 2 of the 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.
But at 308 pounds, the Falcons cannot resist the immense size and pass-rush from Murphy at No. 8 overall. He finished with the second-highest pass rush win rate (30%) on true pass sets in 2023 as an interior defender.
Could also see this selection being UCLA’s Laiatu Latu given the connection he was after playing for new Falcons DC Jimmy Lake (formerly with Washington in 2019-2020).
9. Chicago Bears: Jared Verse (EDGE – Florida State)
The Bears finished with second-fewest sacks and PFF’s 32nd-ranked pass rush grade. Pass rush is what they need defensively, with their franchise QB already selected. Jared Vearse 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 second-shortest odds to be the first non-QB selected in the NFL Draft (+500).
10. New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga (OT – Oregon State)
Two words. Offensive line. Whoever the top tackle remaining on the 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. 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.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Laiatu Latu (EDGE – UCLA)
The Vikings generated PFF’s second-worst pass rush grade in 2023 despite blitzing at the highest rate in the NFL (51.5%). Simply put, Brian Flores’ scheme is trying to make up for the lack of sheer talent across the barren defensive line. They address the glaring issue by investing in a premier pass rusher.
Laiatu Latu has size at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds similar to Marcus Davenport (6-foot-6, 265 pounds), who Minnesota signed in FA last offseason to fill their 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.
NEWS: #Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah uses PFF to help select which players he wants on his team.
“I use Pro Football Focus to teach myself things that frankly, I didn’t know. PFF really allows somebody to go deep and study that for themselves”
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) February 6, 2024
But as I have learned studying the tendencies from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s drafts as GM include his willingness to have no fear of targeting players that come with injury red flags at a suppressed price. He also apparently loves PFF, who grades Latu extremely highly.
12. Denver Broncos: Michael Penix Jr. (QB – Washington)
Russell Wilson is as good as gone in Denver, slating the team to select its next signal caller of the future with the 12th overall pick. This team is tied to Sean Payton, and he will undoubtedly have the final say when it comes to selecting his future QB over GM George Paton.
Payton elects to select Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. The 2023 Heisman Trophy runner-up led the NCAA in passing yards with 4,903 yards. He is viewed as one of the most accurate passers in the draft class – boasting the fourth-highest completion percentage on intermediate throws (10-19 yards) in the draft class last season. He also had the third-lowest pressure-to-sack rate (7%) which further highlights his playmaking abilities.
Penix is currently listed with the 4th-longest betting odds to be the 1st quarterback selected in this year’s draft.
13. Las Vegas Raiders: J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)
Aidan O’Connell flashed at times as a rookie, but he hardly has a vice grip on the QB1 job in Las Vegas. The team has discussed bringing in QB competition for him, and that comes in the form of Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. The super-accurate QB posted the third-highest adjusted completion percentage in the nation (80%) in 2023.
14. New Orleans Saints: Joe Alt (OT – Notre Dame)
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, Cameron Erving and James Hurst are all slated to hit free agency. New Orleans gets back to the basics with offensive tackle in Joe Alt. Alt was PFF’s second-highest graded pass blocker in 2023 (91.2).
15. Indianapolis Colts: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)
The Colts best cornerback, Kenny Moore, is an impending free agent. They need to shore up the back end after selecting two CBs later in the draft last season. Indianapolis has a track record – no pun intended – of selecting athletic players with ideal size and speed. That fits Iowa’s Cooper DeJean to a tee. 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.
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. Alabama’s Dallas Turner comes NFL-ready from Nick Saban’s defense, which will help him create an instant impact for Seattle’s defensive line. Wouldn’t rule them selecting Illinois’ DT Jer’Zhan Newton in this spot either… given the success they saw from drafting Devon Witherspoon from Illinois in last year’s draft.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nate Wiggins (CB – Clemson)
The Jaguars are in an interesting position here at 17th overall because the odds are in their favor that they can get a solid CB or tackle option to solve their team’s most obvious needs after a disastrous second half of the 2023 season. But given they went OL in Round 1 last year, they pivot to defense with long-armed cornerback from Clemson, Nate Wiggins. The 6-foot-2 and 185-pound CB allowed a 44.4 passer rating in coverage in 2023.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: JC Latham (OT – Alabama)
The Bengals will most likely lose RT Jonah Williams in free agency, setting the stage for Cincy to draft his replacement in the 2024 NFL Draft. Insert another Alabama tackle in JC Latham, who can slide seamlessly into the starting RT spot with Orlando Brown Jr. operating at LT. 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.
19. Los Angeles Rams: Terrion Arnold (CB – Alabama)
The Rams got by last season with almost zero investment in their defense. No team has less money invested in their secondary than the Rams. 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. They address the weakness by drafting Alabama’s Terrion Arnold. He was named All-American, alongside teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Olumuyiwa Fashanu (OT – Penn State)
This pick will likely come down between OL and CB. Same situation as last season. 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 draft another Penn State product with a top pick for the second straight season.
21. Miami Dolphins: Troy Fautanu (OT – Washington)
Miami could go in plenty of different directions with the 21st overall pick, with needs ranging from WR, OL, TE, or EDGE. But ultimately, I side with their OL. They have a boatload of interior guys hitting free agency, and the tackles have been inconsistent. 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.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Amarius Mims (OT – Georgia)
The Eagles’ defense regressed in a major way in 2023, especially at cornerback, with their veteran starters playing way past their prime. But this team also loves to invest high-end draft picks into their OL. And when in doubt, the Eagles usually just draft a player from Georgia.
Amarius Mims 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 at 6-foot-7 at 340 pounds.
23. Houston Texans: Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB – Alabama)
The Texans hold the 23rd pick as part of the trade compensation from the Deshaun Watson trade. Arizona has the Texans’ 2024 first-round pick as part of the trade at the beginning of last year’s draft. Houston has a ton of impending free agents ranging from OT, DT, DE and CB so take this selection with a grain of salt. Their “needs” will change after March.
GM Nick Caserio loves drafting guys from Alabama, so that’s always something to keep in mind. That, and guys that test well in the 3-cone drill.
Early in the process, I do lean toward them going defensively to start and that leads me to CB Kool-Aid McKinstry. Another Alabama product lands in Houston.
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.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Morgan (OT – Arizona)
What Houston does at pick No. 23 will likely influence the Cowboys’ selection at No. 24. They have overlapping needs across OL, CB and DL – but those could change depending on how the team addresses revamping the roster in free agency. Dallas could also go the “sexy” route and give Dak Prescott another WR weapon. But for now, they will make the “boring” selection with OT Jordan Morgan. 3-year starter at Arizona State with 2,400 snaps under his belt as a left tackle. The perfect replacement for a 33-year-old, Tyron Smtih.
25. Green Bay Packers: Jackson Powers-Johnson (IOL – Oregon)
I’d envision the Packers either going IOL or CB with the 25th overall pick. Center Jackson 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.
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.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinyon Mitchell (CB – Toledo)
The Buccaneers look like they are going to bring back Baker Mayfield in free agency, putting them outside the Round 1 QB market. Instead, Tampa looks to bolster their secondary that was gashed for the fourth-most passing yards per game in 2023. They draft the freakish Quinyon Mitchell from Toledo, who reportedly can run a sub 4.40 and bench press 225 over 20 times per Bruce Feldman’s Freak List. He has finished as PFF’s highest-graded cornerback in back-to-back seasons.
27. Arizona Cardinals: Chop Robinson (EDGE – Penn State)
The Cardinals drafted a No. 1 WR with their first pick, and balance out the 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. Chop Robinson finished as PFF’s second-highest graded pass rusher in 2023 (92.3). He’s got all the intangibles from twitch to explosiveness that will have NFL draft rooms salivating, especially after he tests at the NFL Scouting Combine.
28. Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)
This one is easy. 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 hitting free agency. LSU’s WR Brian Thomas Jr. Over 38 games in college, he 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 FBS-leading 17 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 17.3 yards per catch.
29. Detroit Lions: Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (CB – Missouri)
The Lions’ Achilles heal on defense showed up at the worst time in 2023, with their secondary getting shredded by opposing offenses. Cornerback is a MUST in this spot as they look to align their strong run defense in the backend. Ennis Rakestraw Jr. has been highlighted by scouts due to his toughness, further cementing his status as the perfect Round 1 pick for head coach Dan Campbell.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Jer’Zhan Newton (DT – Illinois)
Interior offensive line, DL and/or edge seem like the top needs for the Ravens to get back to the AFC Championship Game in 2023. Jer’Zhan 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 %. The 6-foot-2 and 295-pound DT has timeshares in opposing backfields.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Darius Robinson (DE – Missouri)
The 49ers have gone defensive with their first selection in five of the last seven drafts. It’s truly a BPA approach, and therefore the selection is Darius Robinson. Yet another first-rounder DL to the 49ers.
Robinson played previously under Steve Wilks at Missouri in 2021.
Robinson turned heads at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama, so his draft stock is on the rise. Built like a house for an edge rusher at 6-foot-5 and 296 pounds with chops as both as a pass-rusher and run defender. Totaled 9 sacks and 42 pressures in just 12 games played his final year at Missouri. Also posted a top-10 PFF run defense grade.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Troy Franklin (WR – Oregon)
I have to imagine that the Chiefs invest heavily in surrounding Patrick Mahomes with more weapons. With Rashee Rice entrenched as the possession receiver, they add the speedy Troy Franklin to add another (and reliable) big-play threat to Mahomes’ arsenal. Franklin’s strengths lie in his elite speed, with a 40-yard dash time of 4.35 seconds, making him a formidable deep threat with 14 catches of 20-plus air yards and the third-highest yards per route run (3.32) in the 2024 draft class. Former speed receivers that remind me of Franklin include Jalin Hyatt, Tyquan Thornton, and DJ Chark Jr. on the lower end. Admittedly, I was more impressed with his game AFTER watching him. I went in thinking I’d get a one-trick pony, but I felt he offered more than that. And maybe it was the green 11 he was wearing, but I felt like I was watching just a lighter, faster version of A.J. Brown. I’ve also seen comparisons to a faster, more explosive Calvin Ridley.
Just missed the Round 1 cut
More 2024 NFL Mock Drafts
Here are a few more 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.