Final 2024 NFL Mock Draft Features One Blockbuster Trade & A Whole Lot Of Offense In The 1st Round

Drake Maye NFL draft
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The day has finally arrived! This fine Thursday night, the 2024 NFL Draft will open in Detroit, and the Chicago Bears will select USC quarterback Caleb Williams No. 1 overall. You can already hear Roger Goodell rattling off that pick in your head.

What happens from there is almost impossible to predict. And that’s the fun of mock drafts, too. Should I care about accuracy when it’s very rare to, in fact, be terribly accurate? I did well in 2022 by hitting each of the first seven picks, and more or less nailed the eighth. All told, I wound up 32nd in accuracy out of 1,247 mocks at NFL Mock Draft Database. BOOM!

It’s hard to do that year in and year out, though. More often than not, this exercise of playing GM should be about pure fun more than precision. Without further ado, you can find my final 2024 NFL Mock Draft below, and you can read my top 100 big board and breakdown of all the top QBs at the link in this sentence.

Roast me in the comments, I hate your favorite team, etc…

1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers) — Caleb Williams, QB, USC

It’s inevitable. Here comes Caleb Williams, who’s made it clear he’s chasing Tom Brady levels of greatness. Williams should be the best quarterback in Bears franchise history and it shouldn’t be close at all. He’s a special talent, and Chicago will need him to be in an NFC North division featuring Jordan Love in Green Bay, another top rookie QB likely headed to the Vikings, and the Jared Goff-led Lions. I love the competitive pettiness and edge Williams has to him, too. Meld that with his talent and polish as a prospect, and the Windy City should be ecstatic for his arrival.

2. Washington Commanders — Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

The controversy of Jayden Daniels’ agent being irked by Washington’s pre-draft process is overblown. I’m sure Daniels’ team did their best to patch things up. He could still be the pick. In my opinion, he should be. I will say, however: I see a world where the Commanders talk themselves into JJ McCarthy. His experience in a pro-style offense, tutelage under Jim Harbaugh, superb, underrated arm strength, and a lesser reliance on athleticism to make big plays are all major assets. It just seems like the smoke around Daniels to Washington is too intense to ignore.

3. New England Patriots — JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Feels like Drake Maye is getting a lot of buzz to New England. If I were the Patriots, JJ McCarthy is the better culture fit, and the flat-out better prospect. I spoke to some of his strengths in the previous blurb. He put aside his personal motivations to run Michigan’s offense the way that he needed to. His mental makeup, high-end talent, and shared Michigan status with Tom Brady make me feel like he’s destined for Foxborough. The question is: Will the Giants trade up for him? Because McCarthy spent the most time with the Giants and said he’s already very familiar with their scheme, per an interview with Rich Eisen.

4. TRADE: Minnesota Vikings (via Cardinals) — Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Drake Maye has ties to Vikings QB coach Josh McCown, who mentored him in high school. Minnesota has a solid bridge starter in place in Sam Darnold. Maye can take his time to develop, clean up his mechanics and footwork, and then be in a situation where he’s throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and TJ Hockenson. No better landing spot for any of these young field generals than the Vikings. It’d sting to fall and be the fourth QB drafted, yet it’d be such a blessing for Maye if it comes to pass.

5. Los Angeles Chargers — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Had this in my last mock, and it made more sense the more I thought about it. Harrison has stayed out of the spotlight leading up to the draft. No testing. No pro day workout. No nothing. That’s weird. Jim Harbaugh is weird. Harbaugh just watched Harrison up close and personal at Michigan for several years. If he’s on the board at No. 5, I’d expect Harbaugh to pound the table at the possibility of gifting Harrison to Justin Herbert.

6. New York Giants — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The raw explosiveness Nabers has in the open field is one area where he’s undeniably ahead of Harrison. Nabers is so elusive and savvy after the catch. Some recent “character” concerns have popped up for him, but I have my doubts those are well-founded. Maybe he has a bit of a diva personality to him. News flash: Lots of receivers are that way. This young man has the game to back up anything like that, and he’s tailor-made for the bright lights of New York. He’d be the Giants’ immediate WR1.

7. Tennessee Titans — Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The easiest pick in the draft other than Caleb Williams in my opinion. There’s a chance the Chargers could scoop Alt up, in which case the Titans might as well draft one of the many high-end offensive tackles anyway. In this scenario, Alt is on the board, and they sprint the card in to select him. Tennessee needs a high-end blindside protector for Will Levis. Nobody fits the bill better than Alt.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Finally, a defensive player! And a bold one at that. Although I can argue that the Falcons need a pass-rusher, I’m bullish on Arnold Ebiketie’s future in that role. He had six sacks and 28 pressures last season on only 175 pass rushing snaps. That’s a 16% pressure rate. For context, Myles Garrett was at 17.2%. Anyway, that leads me to pick Quinyon Mitchell for Atlanta. He’s a freaky athlete and sticky cover corner who’d form an excellent tandem with Falcons lockdown artist A.J. Terrell.

9. Chicago Bears — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

With the aforementioned concerns about Nabers, I could see Odunze going even earlier than this. Either way, the Bears should do whatever they can to add another weapon for Williams to throw to. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers is an appealing option here as well, but in the end, a wide receiver trio of Rome Odunze, DJ Moore and Keenan Allen is too tempting for Chicago to shrug off.

10. New York Jets — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Since the Jets were proactive in addressing their offensive line in free agency, I see no reason not to take a best player available approach at No. 10. This team is the epitome of all-in. Bowers would unlock all kinds of new wrinkles to the Jets’ passing attack, and he’s also a great investment for the future once Aaron Rodgers retires. GM Joe Douglas seemed a little giddy whilst indirectly talking about Bowers in his pre-draft presser.

11. Arizona Cardinals (via Vikings) — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Beyond 2023 second-round pick BJ Ojulari and some experimentation with Zaven Collins playing out on the edge, Arizona’s depth at that spot is awful. I’m more confident in the Cardinals’ young secondary than anyone in their EDGE rotation beyond the two names I led this blurb with. Dallas Turner makes them so much better right away. I’d be stunned if this pick is anything other than EDGE or cornerback.

12. Denver Broncos — Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

This is more out of necessity than anything else. Bo Nix at 12th overall is a reach to me, but Sean Payton needs a QB, and Denver doesn’t have a second-round pick. Beggars can’t be choosers in such a situation. Nix has a wealth of college experience, and is the type of quick-game distributor Payton covets in his offense. Nix is a far different player than Drew Brees, with more off-schedule playmaking and athleticism in his arsenal. I can’t feel comfortable comparing Nix’s processing, footwork and pure accuracy with Brees at this point. Good luck to the Broncos in this unenviable spot. Still feeling the hit from eating Russell Wilson’s $85 million in dead money. Denver’s trade for Zach Wilson should have no bearing on this pick.

13. Las Vegas Raiders — Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

My QB3 finally comes off the board. Nerds who chart every throw might tell you that Michael Penix Jr. can’t hack it in the NFL. I think charting every throw is overrated and beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. Penix is a sensational downfield thrower, a better athlete than he ever gets credit for, and crucially, only took sacks on 7.6% of his pressures last season. Jayden Daniels was at 20.2% in that category despite his incredible running ability and renowned pocket presence. Alleged good pocket climber Drake Maye was at 19.6%. Daniels had a lower average depth of target than Penix and took more time to throw, too. Las Vegas needs a cannon-armed star like Penix to hang tough in the AFC West. Watching Penix rip back-shoulder throws to Davante Adams would be so much fun.

14. New Orleans Saints — Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Former first-rounder Trevor Penning hasn’t panned out. The best pure left tackle on the board to replace him is Olu Fashanu. I think we’ll see a run on wide receivers that could start here. However, as I’m thinking about the Saints, they seem like one of those teams who can get good value on a wideout on Day 2. Protecting Derek Carr should be the top priority, because New Orleans failed in that regard in 2023 with PFF’s seventh-worst pass blocking o-line.

15. Indianapolis Colts — Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

It was dope to see Jayden Daniels launch deep bombs to Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. en route to a Heisman Trophy. Now, BTJ can hit the NFL and be that guy for Indy with Anthony Richardson chucking it to him. The raw athleticism and playmaking ability between Richardson, Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, and Thomas would be a lot for the rest of the AFC to handle. Colts coach Shane Steichen is one of the best play-callers in the league. He’d have a blast adding Thomas to the mix.

16. Seattle Seahawks — Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Whether he winds up at guard or tackle, Troy Fautanu is a local product who’d slot in and start for Seattle right away. There’s an even deeper connection here, too, as Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb served that same role for the Washington Huskies. He knows Fautanu well. I imagine he’ll advocate strongly for him. That’d help Fautanu hit the ground running in the pros. Geno Smith would sure appreciate the help up front.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars — Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

Jaguars GM Trent Baalke farted at the podium recently, but that wasn’t as offensive as his 2023 draft class. Looks like a whole lot of nothing burgers among those 13 rising second-year players. He better get it right this time around, because the rest of the AFC South is rising. Byron Murphy II feels like an upgrade over Roy Robertson-Harris to me. Sticking Murphy next to Arik Armstead, with Josh Allen and Travon Walker screaming in off the edge, gives the Jags a legitimately ferocious defensive front.

18. Cincinnati Bengals — Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

As a personal fan of this team, I get a little irked by their draft strategy at times. The Bengals love to think big-picture in the first round. I don’t see that changing. New starting right tackle Trent Brown only on a one-year deal. Mims hasn’t played that much football over the last three years, but when he has seen the field, he’s been dominant. The Georgia product still has lots of room to improve technique-wise. That’s a scary thought for anyone who passes on him for inexperience. He’s yielded only six hurries, zero QB hits and zero sacks in 402 pass blocking snaps since 2021.

19. Los Angeles Rams — Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

If it were me in charge of the draft, I’d have Latu going eighth overall to the Falcons, but I think his medical red flags will knock him down a ways. By that I mean, he literally retired from football, only to come back and be the most polished pass-rusher in this class. What better landing spot than staying in LA, being part of a great culture with the Rams, and helping them replace some of their lost production up front in the wake of Aaron Donald’s retirement? Pretty sweet scenario for Latu, even if it costs him some money on his rookie deal.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The nasty disposition that Fuaga brings to the gridiron fits well with the Steelers. Not only is he a road grader in the running game, but Fuaga is an exceptional pass blocker as well. Pittsburgh can move 2023 first-rounder Broderick Jones to left tackle and put Fuaga in his place on the right side. Feels like one of the safer, higher-floor selections the Steelers could make at this spot if Fuaga is indeed still available.

21. Miami Dolphins — Johnny Newton, DL, Illinois

Interior o-line is less of a need based on what Miami did in free agency. That same period didn’t yield a lot of great talent on the other side of the line of scrimmage. With Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips working back from season-ending injuries on the edge, the Dolphins need an exotic pass-rushing presence in the worst way. Enter: Johnny Newton, who produced 64 QB hurries and 12 sacks over the last two seasons, per PFF.

22. Philadelphia Eagles — Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

I’d consider DeJean a better option than any defensive back the Eagles have on their roster right now, save for maybe Darius Slay. Line up DeJean in the slot, at safety, or at outside cornerback, and in my opinion, he’s immediately at least the second-best player on Philly’s back end. The fact that he can pitch in as a return man on special teams should only boost DeJean’s draft stock. Can’t see him getting out of the first round.

23. Arizona Cardinals (via Vikings) — Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

Again, cornerback could be a real possibility here. I just think that, if the Cardinals pull off the trade with Minnesota, they’ll still have picks 27 and 35 to address that spot. In the meantime, they can nab an elite separator in Ladd McConkey to give Kyler Murray a different sort of pass-catcher to work with. Arizona could be looking mighty good with Trey McBride at tight end, Michael Wilson as a big-bodied contested catch guy on the outside, and McConkey exploiting favorable matchups underneath.

24. Dallas Cowboys — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

America’s Team could use help on their offensive front for a make-or-break Dak Prescott season. Ex-Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz fled to the rival Commanders in free agency. Barton can legitimately play anywhere up front for Dallas. I assume he’d slot in as the snapper. However, Tyler Smith is capable of playing left guard or left tackle, and Barton could fill the void at either of those spots relative to wherever Smith lines up.

25. Green Bay Packers — Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Cheeseheads have so many picks and so much young talent on their roster already that I almost don’t know where to start when it comes to drafting for them. One seemingly obvious need is a viable CB2 to pair with Jaire Alexander. You could do a lot worse than Kool-Aid McKinstry, another star DB from Alabama’s NFL production line who’d endear himself to Green Bay on name alone. McKinstry is an excellent football player who ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, only to discover he had a Jones fracture in his foot afterwards.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon

Bucs center Ryan Jensen couldn’t stay healthy and recently retired. Jackson Powers-Johnson would be a serious step up from anyone Tampa Bay currently employs at the position. JPJ has experience at guard, too, so even if you liked someone else at center, he could slot in ahead of Cody Mauch at right guard. I don’t really like any of Tampa’s guards to be honest. Yeah. Baker Mayfield would love this pick.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans) — Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

A blazing fast, tremendous cover corner is just what the doctor ordered in the desert. Head coach Jonathan Gannon needs more pieces, nay, high-end talent to get this Cardinals defense rolling. Wiggins is lighter than you’d like for a boundary guy (173 lbs), but he has excellent play strength, and is competitive at the catch point. Those qualities are evident in Wiggins’ 19 pass breakups with three interceptions and two pick-sixes in his last two years at Clemson.

28. Buffalo Bills — Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Any knowledgeable draftnik will tell you that Adonai Mitchell’s tape is riddled with puzzling effort issues. If you can get this young man’s motor running hot all the time, he has the means to be truly special. One of the flat-out best athletic profiles at wide receiver the draft has ever seen. Going to an organization like the Bills and playing with Josh Allen would give Mitchell as good a chance as anywhere to self-actualize as a playmaker.

29. Detroit Lions — Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

My feeling is that Xavier Worthy’s record-setting 40-yard dash will inflate his stock. The rest of the NFL probably won’t want to see him slide this late into Round 1 and go to a contender with an explosive offense like Buffalo, Kansas City, San Francisco, Baltimore, or in this case, Detroit. If Lions GM Brad Holmes can somehow land Worthy, this passing attack would be downright silly. Worthy and Jameson Williams could be the fastest pair of wideouts this side of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Then, of course, Amon-Ra St. Brown will continue to feast as a possession receiver. Sam LaPorta is a matchup nightmare at tight end. Tailback Jahmyr Gibbs can cook as a pass-catcher, too. My lord. What a group!

30. Baltimore Ravens — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

The raw power Jared Verse brings to the line of scrimmage fits what the Ravens covet. He scrapped his way from an underdog story to an indomitable pass-rusher at Florida State. Can’t say I love Baltimore’s personnel on the edge. Odafe Oweh’s lack of sack production at Penn State has followed him to the pros. David Ojabo hasn’t shown much as of yet. Kyle Van Noy turned 33 last month. Verse could start right away over any and all of them. He’d be such a bargain at Pick 30.

31. San Francisco 49ers — JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Lots of mocks and projections have JC Latham going way higher. Maybe I’m still a little burned by Bama tackles since I was high on Evan Neal a couple years back (he’s been a disaster to date). Latham had 18 freaking penalties in his past two seasons in Tuscaloosa. That alone would give me pause about drafting him until the second round no matter his upside. Maybe I’m on an island. I don’t know. What I do know is, Latham would be hard-pressed to find a better combination of coach/system (Kyle Shanahan) and veteran mentor (Trent Williams) to help him along. If Latham goes in the teens as the consensus would suggest, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton is a realistic possibility for San Francisco.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

A wide receiver would be logical here, too, with Rashee Rice’s future up in the air. Since Patrick Mahomes still has Travis Kelce, and can make it work with seemingly anyone else Kansas City throws out there, I’d be more eager to shore up the tackle spot if I were in the Chiefs’ front office. I could see Patrick Paul or Arizona’s Jordan Morgan getting the call to cap off the first round. Paul seems to be gaining steam, and his pass blocking prowess should really appeal to Kansas City. Paul has much longer arms than Morgan, which only helps his case.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock