2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Something something, Mock Draft, SEO, blah blah. Here’s some picks.

Hi Jimmy.

#1 Chicago Bears (F/CAR) – QB Caleb Williams, USC

Thank You, Next

#2 Washington Commanders – QB Drake Maye, UNC

Yea, I dunno, I’ve seen read-the-tea-leave conspiracies for why Washington will draft Maye and why they’ll draft Daniels. Daniel Jeremiah interpreted Washington sending Sam Howell to Seattle as a tip off that the Commanders are leaning toward Drake Maye as Howell and Maye are best friends from UNC and having them compete for the starting job would have been awkward. The Twittersphere thinks that by signing Marcus Mariota the Commanders tipped their hand that Jayden Daniels is the better system fit.

I personally think both moves are nothing to read into. Sure, you’d prefer to not have awkwardness in the QB room and for the ability to run your entire playbook with your backup quarterback, but this is the second pick of the draft we’re talking about. Washington is going to take whichever quarterback they believe is better, everything else be damned. I personally would take Maye, so this could literally be me just projecting onto Washington what it is that I’d do. I don’t think anyone knows Washington’s plans yet, I don’t even think Washington knows their plans yet. They’re taking QB2, it’s just a matter of which one.

#3 New England Patriots – QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Speaking of drafting QB X, it sure seems like the first three picks are going to be three quarterbacks.

Just think of the 2nd and 3rd picks as Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels in some order.

Since I don’t really need to explain the Patriots drafting a quarterback, here’s a tangental rant:

There’s this idea out there that the Vikings are preparing a “Godfather offer” that will vault them into the top three, at either 2 or 3, because they’re enamored with Drake Maye and you might as well order your Drake Maye Vikings jerseys now. While I’m sure they’re *trying* to get into the top three (or two) (them preemptively adding a second first rounder harkens to when Philly and Buffalo each moved up the board somewhat prior to moving up again for Carson Wentz and Josh Allen) it seems to go completely unaddressed that either the Commanders or Patriots will have to be WILLING to trade down. If both these teams believe that Maye and Jayden Daniels are franchise saviors then there simply is nothing the Vikings can possibly offer them to get them to move off the spot.

I remember in 2015 teams kept trying to trade for the second pick and on draft day the report was “The Titans want the earth, the moon, and the stars for the pick making it clear to teams they’re going to just draft Mariota and be done with it.” Sure, Mariota didn’t pan out, but the sentiment is going to remain when talking about a quarterback prospect. Minnesota could make a Godfather Trilogy offer and it might not matter.

#4 Arizona Cardinals – WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

I’m not explaining this. Here’s another tangental riff:

Speaking of the Vikings flying up the board to get a quarterback, here’s a story from the 2023 draft;

The part of the tweet that is getting chopped off by “Show more” reads “..to tango. Their trade partner thought they were going to be too good, and so they went elsewhere.”

Two important takeaways. First, it probably is the correct interpretation that Minnesota acquired a second first rounder because they’re loading up to go get a quarterback. If they were willing to sell the farm last year when they HAD Kirk Cousins, how desperate do you think they are now?

Second, their almost trade partner last year has to be the Cardinals. The Cardinals had the third pick and the Colts were lurking at four with a known interest in Richardson. If the Vikings wanted to make certain they got their guy, they needed to get all the way up to three after Bryce and Stroud were drafted. Plus, this means Richardson was still available, obviously. There’s no way these conversations were with the Panthers or Texans, or the Colts for that matter. If the Colts pulled the trigger on Richardson at 4 that means he was their dude and they wouldn’t have sold that pick for the world (see above). It literally has to be that this report is talking about the Cardinals.

So here we are, one year later, with the Vikings presumably willing to sell the farm for a rookie quarterback and the Cardinals are as high up the draft as the Vikings (probably) can get. I think the odds these two teams strike a deal this time around are decent. It’s just that quarterbacks have never gone 1, 2, 3, 4 (hey, there’s a first time for everything!) and since Arizona already has a second first it might be impossible to get them to pass on Marvin Harrison Jr.

Vikings Receive: #5
Chargers Receive: #11, #23, 2025 3rd Rounder, 2026 2nd Rounder
#5 Minnesota Vikings (F/LAC) – QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

The NFL often doesn’t know anything about itself, but for what it’s worth, this tweet exists. It’s also pretty clear the Vikings are loading up to go get someone, so it’s just a matter of if they think McCarthy is worth what it’ll take assuming they can’t get into the top three (or two).

I need to point out that four quarterbacks in the top six (or five) is Hollaback Girl levels of bananas. If I remember correctly (I’ve looked into this before but am too lazy to go back and check right now (sue me)) the most amount of quarterbacks going in the top of the draft was in 2018 when four quarterbacks went in the top 10. Four went top 11 in 2021 and four went top 12 in 2011. Even if the first THREE picks in 2024 are all quarterbacks it’ll be only the fourth time in the common draft era where that happened, joining the 2021, 1999, and 1971 draft classes.

But teams don’t care. If they believe someone is truly the guy then they’re going to shoot their shot. And I am pro shooting your shot. I just want everyone to keep in mind the historical context of how insane this is should it come to fruition.

#6 New York Giants – WR Malik Nabers, LSU

The only thing I’m going to plug here is that there’s allegedly teams that have Nabers WR1 and I think that is absolutely bonkers. Harrison is the best receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson, so if you think Nabers is better than that you’re essentially calling him Calvin and, like, come on.

#7 Tennessee Titans – OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

If the first three picks are three quarterbacks then Tennessee is guaranteed one of the top three receivers or Joe Alt. I know they just signed Calvin but these receivers are so good if Alt is gone they have to take the one that is left. Plus it’s not like Hopkins is 26.

But in this scenario they get to choose between Alt and Odunze and go with Alt out of need.

#8 Atlanta Falcons – Edge Dallas Turner, Alabama

Obviously Atlanta expects Cousins to take London, Pitts, and Bijan and turn this into a top tier offense. However, I’d just take Odunze in this situation. Anyway, the Falcons do need pass rush juice and Turner is the best rusher in the draft.

#9 Chicago Bears – WR Rome Odunze, Washington

If the top three receivers are off the board I’d expect Ryan Poles to move down. The challenge, as always, is finding someone to come up, but Chicago only has four picks in this draft and they don’t pick again after this until 75.

However, with Rome available they just load up the offense for Caleb Williams.

#10 New York Jets – TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

I still think there’s a strong chance the Jets take an offensive tackle here as an insurance policy/long-term successor to Tyron Smith, who has had issues staying healthy lately. If one of the big three receivers gets here, you can just pre-order that jersey immediately. However, in this scenario, given that Saleh and Douglas have their jobs on the line this season, they take easily the best player on the board and someone who does add firepower to the offense, if even Aaron Rodgers is more allergic to throwing to tight ends than he is western medicine.

#11 Los Angeles Chargers (F/MIN) – OT JC Latham, Alabama

The Chargers do seem to be a prime trade down candidate. They have plenty of needs and a brand new regime just came in. The most likely positions they’re targeting at 5 are offensive tackle and wide receiver and those are the two deepest positions in the class.

Speaking of offensive tackle vs. wide receiver, at every opportunity Jim Harbaugh and Joe Horitz have said they’re going to protect Justin Herbert and run the football. When push came to shove to get under the salary cap they moved on from Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, and kept Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. Their priorities are clear; run the football, play defense, waste Justin Herbert’s prime.

Moving down means the Chargers miss out on Joe Alt but the (dumb) debate surrounding Alt at 5 is “well they already have Slater on the left side so do you really want to take a left tackle and flip him to the right side or should you just take a right tackle.” I am begging you, please, shut up.

Anyway, moving down solves this as Latham “is a right tackle.” He’s also enormous and a bully in the run game, which I’m assuming Harbaugh is going to love. I could also see them going with Fuaga because that dude is nasty in the run game but for now I’m giving the edge to Latham.

Dolphins Receive: #12
Broncos Receive: #21, #55, 2025 3rd
#12 Miami Dolphins (F/DEN) – OL Troy Fautanu, Washington

I really think the Broncos are going to look to bail out of 12. They don’t have a second rounder and 12 is too high for QB5. Granted, they could go full YOLO and shoot their shot on Nix or Penix at 12, but it’s wiser to just move down, add some picks, and take one of them later.

This also just seems like a Grier move, aka doing something stupid. Miami knows the financial clock is ticking on Tua and they need to win during his rookie contract. The Dolphins lost some offensive lineman in free agency and Fautanu provides positional flexibility so that Miami can just put their five best linemen out on the field.

#13 Las Vegas Raiders – CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

How on earth did Tom Telesco immediately get another general manager job? Lunacy.

Anyway, Telesco hasn’t shied from taking smaller corners before, drafting Jason Verrett in the first round of 2014 and Asante Samuel Jr. in the second round of 2021. Arnold isn’t tiny or anything at 5’11” 189lbs but he’s also not hulking. Alas, he may be the best run defending corner in the draft and he’s not afraid to be physical. I’d imagine Antonio Pierce is going to appreciate that.

#14 New Orleans Saints – Edge Jared Verse, Florida State

The Saints signed Chase Young but he’s spent most of his career injured and already has a neck thing and Cam Jordan can’t play forever. The Saints are in win-now mode (obviously) and Verse can contribute from day one.

#15 Indianapolis Colts – CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Chris Ballard is going to draft athletes and Quinyon Mitchell turned in an elite RAS at the combine. Unless the Colts end up pulling off this trade for Sneed, corner should be a primary target at 15.

Eagles Receive: #16, #81
Seattle Receive: #22, #53
#16 Philadelphia Eagles (F/SEA) – CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

I honestly don’t even like the value of this trade for Philadelphia as they’re getting hosed but according to the idiotic Jimmy Johnson chart that the NFL inexplicably still uses this is kind of fair. Seattle doesn’t pick again after 16 until 81 and they’re light on picks this year by their standards (7 instead of 87). I know they’re not adding picks here but they’re jumping up 28 spots later to move down six in the opening frame.

So why would the Eagles do this? They have an extra second and Howie isn’t bashful about going and getting someone he wants. Philadelphia seems primed to be a contending team that wants to go get an immediate impact player and DeJean fits the bill. You can line him up almost anywhere and that versatility will help the Eagles match-up with opposing offenses.

#17 Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

We all know Trent Baalke is going to draft some insane athlete, an injured dude, or someone who is both. With Calvin Ridley gone the Jaguars may think they’re back to being thin at receiver. This may easily be a corner or offensive tackle, but with Brian Thomas blazing a 4.33 with a 1.52 10-split at 209lbs I don’t think Baalke will be able to help himself. And I’m sure Doug won’t be opposed.

#18 Cincinnati Bengals – Edge Laiatu Latu, UCLA

It wouldn’t shock me if the Bengals got aggressive and went up the board. Like Philly, they view themselves as a contending team who is picking higher than their roster indicates they should be. Armed with an extra three rounder they might go get someone if they believe they’re going to be an immediate impact contributor.

And to that point, assuming clean medicals, Latu is going to be the dude at this juncture of the draft that can provide Cincinnati with the most immediate impact.

#19 Los Angeles Rams – OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State

This is an incredible value to get the guy who is predominately viewed as the second best tackle in the class and the 11th best player on The Athletic Consensus Board at 19.

#20 Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

I don’t actually have to explain this, right?

#21 Denver Broncos (F/MIA) – QB Bo Nix, Oregon

As I said before, Denver might look to move down then take Nix or Penix later and they pull that off here. What TF is the Broncos’ plan at quarterback? I suppose they could punt until 2025 but does Sean Payton really want to do that? Bo Nix doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world but neither did Drew Brees. Bo Nix may be viewed as a system quarterback but he was really, really good at running that system and Payton may think he can system his way to being a contender.

#22 Seattle Seahawks (F/PHI) – Edge Chop Robinson, Penn State

Pete Carroll may be gone but John Schneider remains and we know two things about him; he trades down and he drafts freak athletes. Chop Robinson posting a 4.48 40 with a 1.53 10-split at 254lbs would presumably qualify (he doesn’t have the longest arms though).

#23 Los Angeles Chargers (F/MIN/HOU/CLE) – OL Graham Barton, Duke

Protect Herbert, run the ball. Barton conceivably has five position versatility so he can fit anywhere on the interior.

#24 Dallas Cowboys – OT Amarius Mims, Georgia

I imagine Dallas is going to kick Tyler Smith out to tackle but even still they need someone opposite him (sorry I don’t buy into Terence Steele). Mims is more an athlete than a tackle but Dallas just took a better athlete than tackle in Tyler Smith in 2022 and that worked out so.

#25 Green Bay Packers – OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

The Bakhtiari era is over.

#26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

This is great value.

#27 Arizona Cardinals (F/HOU) – CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Kool-Aid ran a 4.47 at his pro-day with a Jones fracture. Insane.

#28 Buffalo Bills – DT Byron Murphy, Texas

Yea, the Bills could use a corner and a receiver, but Byron Murphy is arguably the best player at his position in the draft and a pass rush of Von Miller, Ed Oliver, Byron Murphy, Greg Rousseau seems unstoppable.

#29 Detroit Lions – CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri

Detroit lost like half their secondary in free agency and Cam Sutton has a warrant out for his arrest.

#30 Baltimore Ravens – WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

They have their speed guy in Flowers, they just need their big bodied guy now.

#31 San Francisco 49ers – OL Jordan Morgan, Arizona

The 9ers could use help at tackle and guard. Morgan played tackle in college but may not have the length to stick there in the pros. Either way, the 9ers are getting a good player.

#32 Kansas City Chiefs – Edge Darius Robinson, Missouri

Kansas City doesn’t force needs (see 2022 when everyone on earth mocked them a receiver at one or both of their first round picks except for yours truly) and with the emergence of Rashee Rice and addition of Marquise Brown I don’t see this being a receiver unless Mitchell falls here and they say screw it. If they don’t go receiver I’d expect an offensive tackle, corner or an edge rusher here, and Robinson is simply better than the available tackles and at least for now Sneed is on the roster.

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