2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Quarterbacks fly off the board in Round 1
Mock draft season is officially upon us! If your team is no longer in playoff contention, you have probably already shifted focus to the offseason, and if you are like me, it does not matter whether or not your team is in the playoff picture. There is never a bad time for a mock draft!
Mock draft 1.0 is always the most difficult mock draft to do, as many underclassmen have not yet made their decision as to whether or not they will declare for the draft. However, a mock draft this early is not done for specific projection purposes, but rather for the purpose of becoming familiarized with many of the top prospects as well as potential team needs.
This is my first year covering the draft here at SCN, but if you remember the format I used at BTSC, not much will change. Between now and late April, I will have five mock drafts. This mock will be just one round long, but we will expand them as the process unfolds. Typically, I make mocks 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 between 2-4 rounds long, while mock 5.0 is a full seven-round projection. For this mock, the draft order will be based on Tankathon’s projected draft order.
For clarification purposes, this mock draft is not predicated on what I want to happen, nor is it based on what I would do if I was the GM for each team. It is solely about projection. As the process unfolds, many of these picks will change from picks I think make sense to actual predictions that are based on rumors I am hearing within NFL circles.
With all the formalities out of the way, let’s dive in to mock 1.0!
1. Bears- Marvin Harrison, Jr. | WR | Ohio State
Many people think Caleb Williams is a lock to go number one overall, but I disagree. We will see where things stand in April, but as of now, I have a hard time believing the Bears would forego a generational receiver prospect for Williams, especially if Fields finishes the season strong. Despite inconsistent quarterback play at Ohio State this season, Harrison still managed to rack up over 1,200 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
2. Patriots- Caleb Williams | QB | USC
With rumors floating as it pertains to Bill Belichick’s future with the organization, the Patriots find themselves in an unusual position. Needless to say, major structural changes could be on the way. The one thing certain, however, is their need for a quarterback. Bailey Zappe has shown potential, but he is best suited as a strong backup. Maturity issues are prevalent for Williams as it pertains to attitude toward the game, but he is still an incredible talent who could easily become one of the best in the game in a short period of time.
3. Cardinals- Drake Maye | QB | North Carolina
Much uncertainty surrounds the current situation in Arizona, but Kyler Murray’s future with the team is perhaps the biggest question for the team to answer this offseason. If they decide to go a different direction, Maye could be an ideal fit. He would provide the Cardinals with prototypical size, a great arm, sound decision making, and above-average mobility. There are no safe options at quarterback, but Maye definitely looks the part.
4. Commanders- Dallas Turner | EDGE | Alabama
This may be a little high for Turner right now, but with a strong showing in the College Football Playoff, he could continue to surge up boards. Already having accumulated 9 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, Turner possesses an impressive blend of speed, twitchiness, and sound technique. After losing Montez Sweat and Chase Young, Washington needs to replace the talent they lost along the defensive line.
5. Bears- Olu Fashanu | OT | Penn State
The Bears struck gold with Darnell Wright last season, but the offensive line still needs improvement. Interior offensive line is a bigger need, but the team could still afford to upgrade left tackle, as Braxton Jones’ play has been up and down. If not for the dire need for quarterbacks, Fashanu would easily be a top three pick, if not the number one overall pick. His footwork in pass protection is nearly flawless, and his pad level and power in the run game are impressive.
6. Giants- Jayden Daniels | QB | LSU
The Giants have already implied they will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason, despite being stuck with Daniel Jones’ massive contract. Daniels is still raw, but I love his upside. He reminds me a lot of Justin Fields by the way he delivers the ball and moves around inside and outside the pocket.
7. Jets- Joe Alt | OT | Notre Dame
In case you have not figured out the trend, this draft figures to have an incredible group of offensive tackles. Despite a lengthy frame, Alt does a good job lowering the pads as a run blocker while also moving fluidly in pass protection. Protecting Aaron Rodgers has to be the number one priority this offseason.
8. Chargers- JC Latham | OT | Alabama
The Chargers have many things to fix, but finding a replacement for Trey Pipkins should be near the top of the list. Latham is a massive tackle who displays incredible mobility and agility despite his size. He is also a menace in the run game.
9. Titans- Brock Bowers | TE | Georgia
Tennessee appears to be ready to move forward with Will Levis, but they have to give him more help. Bowers is not going to provide much as a blocker, but he is an absolute matchup nightmare, and he is, by far, the best receiving tight end prospect to enter the draft in years. If he falls this far, it would be a no-brainer for the Titans.
10. Falcons- Rome Odunze | WR | Washington
Quarterback is definitely a need for Atlanta, but if the value does not match where they are picking, I could see them settling for a guy like Ryan Tannehill in free agency and getting an extra weapon in Round 1 instead. Kyle Pitts did not have the season many expected, and Drake London desperately needs another receiver to take some of the pressure off his shoulders. Odunze is a 50/50 ball monster who displays phenomenal body control down the field.
Packers receive Seahawks’ 1st, 3rd, and 2025 3rd round picks
11. Seahawks- J.J. McCarthy | QB | Michigan
Atlanta may not see the value in McCarthy, but if he falls outside the top ten, I could see a team like Seattle moving up for him. I love McCarthy’s fit in Seattle, as he would not be rushed into the starting lineup with Geno Smith still in town. The great corps of weapons also make it a great situation for McCarthy once he does see the field. I expect McCarthy to be the biggest riser at the quarterback position this spring.
12. Raiders- Michael Penix, Jr. | QB | Washington
I am a big fan of Aidan O’Connell, but I am not sure if he has done enough for the Raiders to make him their starter in 2024. Penix has major durability concerns, but his growth this season has been incredible to watch. He would be a great fit in Vegas.
13. Saints- Amarius Mims | OT | Georgia
Mims is still young and rather inexperienced, but he matured greatly from the beginning of the season to the end in 2023. His testing at the combine should be amongst the best at his position as well. If the Saints cannot upgrade the quarterback position, the next best thing would be to continue patching up what was once a strong offensive line.
14. Broncos- Malik Nabers | WR | LSU
With Jerry Jeudy’s future uncertain in Denver, wide receiver could most definitely be in play. Nabers possesses a strong build, but what separates him from other receivers in this class is his work over the middle of the field as well as after the catch.
15. Packers (projected from Seahawks)- Kool-Aid McKinstry | CB | Alabama
The Packers could afford to add to the offensive line, but the value with McKinstry is too good to pass on. At 6’1″, 188 pounds, McKinstry displays great awareness, instincts, and lateral quickness. Xavier Worthy has his moments against him, but nobody else had significant success against him this season.
16. Steelers- Taliese Fuaga | OT | Oregon State
Taking a PAC-12 player in Round 1 is not the norm for the Steelers, but the philosophy under Omar Khan and Andy Weidl may be different. We have already seen the value this front office places on the offensive and defensive lines, and there is definitely a need at right tackle. At 6’6″, 330 pounds, Fuaga was a big part of the success Oregon State saw on the ground this season, as his pure power and lower body strength was too much for PAC-12 defenders to handle.
17. Cardinals- Cooper DeJean | CB | Iowa
Arizona needs help along the offensive line, and if Kyler Murray is moved, quarterback is a major need as well. However, there is decent value at cornerback in the middle of Round 1, and Arizona’s secondary has multiple holes. I have Nate Wiggins rated higher personally, but DeJean’s versatility makes him a better fit for Jonathan Gannon’s scheme.
18. Bills- Jer’Zhan Newton | DT | Illinois
With uncertainty surrounding several of the Bills’ current defensive linemen and their future with the team, Newton could be an excellent find in the middle rounds. Newton combines his impressive get-off and motor with outstanding versatility.
19. Buccaneers- Keon Coleman | WR | Florida State
I love Coleman’s style of play, and his upside is through the roof. While there are many directions Tampa could go here, Mike Evans is a pending free agent. If he does leave, the Bucs will need to add more talent at the position.
20. Vikings- Bo Nix | QB | Oregon
This is a little high for Bo Nix, in my opinion, but I think we are going to see quarterbacks pushed up the board this year due to the dire need around the league. Josh Dobbs’ recent benching certainly suggests his departure is near, and there is no indication that Minnesota plans to bring back Kirk Cousins. Getting a guy with Nix’s experience will give them a potential starter right away.
21. Rams- Troy Fatuanu | OL | Washington
Fatuanu played a lot of tackle in college, but his best long-term fit in the NFL may be at guard. Either way, he could be an ideal fit for the Rams, who have a need at both tackle and guard. Fatuanu displays a consistent pad level and good balance, both as a pass blocker as well as a run blocker.
22. Colts- Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. | LB | Clemson
Following the serious regression and eventual release of Shaquille Leonard, the Colts now find themselves in need of another linebacker. Trotter, Jr. is a much different player than Leonard, but he is my number one off-ball linebacker in this draft. He has the speed, instincts, and pedigree that teams fall in love with.
23. Jaguars- Emeka Egbuka | WR | Ohio State
Despite having Calvin Ridley back in 2023, the Jaguars’ receiving corps has been a wobbly group. Egbuka has a knack for finding the soft spots in zone coverage as a route-runner, and he displays outstanding contact balance in the open field.
24. Bengals- Kingsley Suamataia | OT | BYU
The Bengals are not set long-term at offensive tackle, and protecting Joe Burrow from future injuries has to be the focal point moving forward. Suamataia is not a name you probably see much of in mock drafts, but I believe his outstanding athleticism will drive him up boards this spring. His explosiveness out of his stance may be unparalleled in this class.
25. Chiefs- Xavier Legette | WR | South Carolina
Legette is another name not getting enough first-round recognition, but his production this season warrants first-round consideration. Catching 71 passes for 1,255 yards and 7 touchdowns, Legette is a freak of nature. At 6’3″, 227 pounds, Legette was tracked at a high speed of 22.3 MPH on a touchdown reception against Mississippi State early in the season. The Chiefs have lacked a consistent threat at receiver since Tyreek Hill’s departure, and they must make wide receiver a position they upgrade this offseason.
26. Texans- Nate Wiggins | CB | Clemson
Derek Stingley, Jr. has been phenomenal this season, but with Steven Nelson headed to free agency, it is time to find another corner on the perimeter to pair with him. Wiggins was one of the biggest risers this past season, displaying outstanding awareness, speed, technique, and consistency.
27. Lions- Donovan Jackson | G | Ohio State
The key to Detroit’s success has been the offensive line, and there may be a spot opening up at guard. Jackson is a former five-star recruit who displays excellent power and good balance. Receiver and corner can wait until Day 2.
28. Eagles- Terrion Arnold | CB | Alabama
Philly is in desperate need of linebacker, but Howie Roseman has never been one for investing early-round draft capital in the position. Another position they could address is corner, as neither James Bradberry nor Darius Slay can be counted on forever. Kelee Ringo has shown promise, but adding a player with as much upside as Arnold could do wonders for the secondary moving forward.
Dolphins receive Giants 2nd and 3rd round picks
29. Giants- Maason Smith | DL | LSU
Smith had minimal production for the Tigers in 2023, but he did display more juice as the season progressed and as he was further removed from his 2022 ACL injury. Smith just has too much potential to pass up, and his build is unique compared to all other defensive linemen in this draft. He has the length and athleticism to be a true 3-4 defensive end, but he has enough versatility to play a 3-technique role in a 4-3 system as well. Moving up ahead of teams like Baltimore and Dallas may be necessary.
30. Cowboys- Quinyon Mitchell | CB | Toledo
Adding another pass-catching weapon, such as Texas’ Xavier Worthy, could be an option here, and Dallas could also use another piece along the interior of their offensive line, but the value at cornerback is too good here. Mitchell is one of my favorite non-Power 5 prospects, as he combines good size (6’0″, 200 pounds) with fantastic speed and quickness. Once people see this person prove himself during the pre-draft process, he will be a rapid riser.
31. 49ers- Sedrick Van Pran | C | Georgia
San Francisco has one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, but their long-term outlook along the offensive line is not that bright. I am far from giving a final grade on Van Pran, but my early evaluation is that he is one of the best center prospects I have ever evaluated. Getting him at this point would be a steal for the Niners.
Ravens receive Titans 2nd, 4th, and 2025 4th round picks
32. Titans- Chop Robinson | EDGE | Penn State
Jared Verse and Laiatu Latu are other popular names in the Round 1 conversation, but Robinson may offer the most upside. Tennessee’s pass rush has lacked excitement for multiple years now, and they desperately need to address it once again this offseason. If they want their pick of the litter, they will need to jump several of the teams picking in the early second round.