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2024 NFL mock draft: Cardinals make surprise decision, Patriots get QB, Round 1 projections after Thanksgiving

The 2023 NFL season is more than halfway over with the passing of Thanksgiving representing a critical point of the league’s calendar. As many get excited about the playoff race, it’s time to look ahead with another 2024 NFL mock draft.

Let’s dive into our 2024 NFL mock draft after Thanksgiving.

2024 NFL mock draft: Giants snag WR1, top 10 picks

1. Chicago Bears (via CAR): Caleb Williams, QB, USC

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California
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Justin Fields has flashed the ability to be a high-end starting quarterback, but he lacks consistency and there are only two seasons left on his rookie contract. The only option for the Chicago Bears is trading Fields and using those picks to build an even better team around Caleb Williams. — Andrew-Buller Russ

Related: NFL QB rankings

2. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State Buckeyes

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s a very compelling argument to take Drake Maye for the Arizona Cardinals in our 2024 NFL mock draft, especially with trade-downs not an option. However, Kyler Murray has proven he can be a franchise quarterback, he just needs players around him that maximize his talents. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best receiver prospect to enter the NFL Draft in decades and he could challenge for All-Pro honors in his rookie season. — Matt Johnson

Related: 2024 NFL Draft picks by team, team needs

3. New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Clemson
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the dream scenario for the New England Patriots. Whether or not Bill Belichick sticks around, this team needs a legitimate quarterback and the face of the franchise. There’s a growing sentiment around the league that Drake Maye might be the best quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’ll instantly bring new life to the Patriots’ offense and provide much-needed excitement. — ABR

Related: New England Patriots coaching candidates

4. Chicago Bears; Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

NCAA Football: Penn State at Maryland
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Williams is already in danger of having a high sack rate in the NFL and he doesn’t exactly have the frame to sustain the beating a quarterback like Sam Howell or Deshaun Watson took early in their careers. So, the Chicago Bears use their second pick atop the 2024 NFL Draft on a left tackle who has been labeled as a generational talent by scouts and general managers. Star Olu Fashanu at left tackle and either move Darnell Wright or Braxton Jones inside. — MJ

Related: Top NFL free agents 2024

5. New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU Tigers

Syndication: The Daily Advertiser

With the top quarterbacks off the board, the next best option for the New York Giants is adding a No. 1 receiver. Malik Nabers is approaching LSU receiving records this year and profiles as a No.1 weapon at the next level. If Daniel Jones can’t make it work with Nabers, then you find a new quarterback. — ABR

Related: NFL Defensive Player of the Year race

6. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
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The Tennessee Titans have had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in the last two years. It doesn’t matter who your play-caller or quarterback is if your offensive line allows pressure and sacks like turnstiles. Joe Alt isn’t just one of the best players in the 2024 NFL Draft, the left tackle comes from a program with a phenomenal track record in the trenches, with Alt – 2 penalties, 5 pressures allowed in 350 snaps (PFF) – one of their best in years. — MJ

Related: NFL kicker rankings

7. Washington Commanders: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Syndication: Online Athens

It might seem a bit early to draft a tight end, but Brock Bowers is that good of a player. We know Eric Bieniemy, a potential Washington Commanders head coach in 2024, loves using tight ends and they’ve also been a go-to target for Sam Howell. Bowers has All-Pro potential at the next level and could be a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie. — ABR

Related: Washington Commanders coaching candidates

8. Atlanta Falcons: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons added veteran edge rushers this offseason to improve their pass rush. Entering Week 12, Atlanta had the 10th-fewest sacks (21) and ranked 29th in pass-rush win rate (33%). Laiatu Latu, the best pass-rushing prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, has a 24.1 percent pass-rush win rate on his own this season. — MJ

Related: Atlanta Falcons coaching candidates

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

NCAA Football: Clemson at Miami
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary has been a total disaster this year, especially in the second half of the season. Enter Nate Wiggins, the best cornerback in college football who can immediately step in and start. In a division that features a lot of passing attacks and good receivers, Tampa Bay needs Wiggins. — ABR

10. New York Jets: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets wasted the 2023 season by failing to build a competent offensive line around Aaron Rodgers. Next year, they’ll have a 40-year-old quarterback coming off an Achilles tear. The only thing for New York to do with its top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is to bring in an offensive tackle. While JC Latham might be more of a top-15 prospect, he can start in Week 1. — MJ

2024 NFL Draft mock: Jayden Daniels to NFC North, Bills get WR2

11. Los Angeles Chargers: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Los Angeles Chargers defense should improve in 2024 with Brandon Staley out of the building, but there’s still a ton of work to be done. Kool-Aid McKinstry has been critical to Alabama’s success in the second half of the season and he’s only surrendered a 43 percent completion rate when targeted this fall. — ABR

Related: Los Angeles Chargers coaching candidates

12. Los Angeles Rams: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Aaron Donald isn’t hanging around for much longer and the Los Angeles Rams already have the seventh-lowest pressure rate in the NFL with the future Hall of Famer out there. Chop Robinson has dealt with an injury this year, but the standout edge rusher has dominated when on the field. If you want to know why J.J. McCarthy attempted under 10 passes versus Penn State, Robinson is responsible for that. — MJ

Related: UCLA coaching candidates

13. Green Bay Packers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Green Bay Packers need to support Jordan Love more with a better offensive line. While the receivers and tight ends are coming along, none of that matters if Love doesn’t have time to throw. Amarius Mims might not be the most polished tackle prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he has top-10 upside. — ABR

14. Las Vegas Raiders: Jer’Zahan Newton, iDL, Illinois

The Las Vegas Raiders should be set at edge rusher with Maxx Crosby and Tyree Wilson, but this team is still losing way too many battles in the trenches. Illinois Fighting Illini defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton (295 pounds) fits everything Las Vegas needs and he’ll help a defense that has been slowly improving since October. — MJ

Related: College Football Defense rankings

15. Indianapolis Colts: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs are nice, but the Indianapolis Colts also need to find some big-bodied receivers who can make contested catches. Keon Coleman was a phenomenal target for Jordan Travis this season at Florida State. With the Indianapolis Colts, he’d be an excellent vertical threat and a red-zone weapon. — ABR

Related: NFL MVP race

16. Denver Broncos: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Patrick Surtain is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, but he needs a boundarymate on the opposite side. Cooper DeJean shined in 2022, earning first-team All-Big Ten honor and Music City Bowl MVP. Now, the 6-foot-1 cornerback could be the final piece to create one of the best secondaries in the NFL with Surtain and Justin Simmons. — MJ

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

In this scenario, the Cincinnati Bengals place the franchise tag on Tee Higgins and trade him for premium draft capital. Joe Burrow has thrived having two No.1 receivers and Cincinnati would be recreating that for the next five-plus years by drafting Rome Odunze, who’s arguably a top-10 player in the 2024 NFL Draft. — ABR

Related: NFL expert picks

18. Buffalo Bills: Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State

The Buffalo Bills must find another reliable weapon for Josh Allen. Gabe Davis is nothing more than an occasional big-play threat, Allen needs someone who can get open underneath. Health has been an issue for Emeka Egbuka this year, but the Ohio State star had the 11th-most targets on intermediate routes (10-19 yards) in 2022 and would be the ideal complementary weapon to Stefon Diggs. — MJ

Related: Buffalo Bills coaching candidates

19. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

The New Orleans Saints started rebuilding their defense line in the 2023 NFL Draft and that trend continues here. While Dallas Turner isn’t on the level of a Will Anderson Jr., the 6-foot-4 edge rusher offers enticing strength, athleticism and the ability to win one-on-one. Plus, he’d be in a fantastic situation learning from Cameron Jordan and the Saints coaching staff. — ABR

Related: NFL coaching hot seat

20. Minnesota Vikings: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

With some of the top defensive options off the board, the Minnesota Vikings finally snag their quarterback of the future. There’s some risk in spending a first-round pick on breakout quarterbacks, but Jayden Daniels also flashed these skills at Arizona State and late last season with LSU. Daniels has made remarkable progress as a passer and with a year of development under Kevin O’Connell, he can thrive in Minnesota. — MJ

2024 NFL mock draft: Round 1 projections

21. Seattle Seahawks: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

The Seattle Seahawks defense still isn’t good enough at rushing the passer to become one of the best teams in the NFC. Bralen Trice has been an unsung hero for the Washington Huskies defense this season, recording over 40 hurries before November. The 6-foot-4 defensive end would complement Seattle’s front seven nicely and make life even easier for the young secondary. — ABR

Related: NFL power rankings

22. Arizona Cardinals (via HOU): Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Jonathan Gannon desperately needs more talent on his defense. The Arizona Cardinals have squeezed the most that they can out of the defensive line talent on their roster, but it’s not remotely good enough. While Jared Verse hasn’t played like a top-10 prospect this season, he’s a solid value midway through Round 1. — MJ

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Pittsburgh Steelers can’t repeat their mistake of reaching for a quarterback in Round 1, so building through the trenches becomes the most appealing option. Taliese Fuaga would fit perfectly at right tackle, creating a line that can help establish a more effective ground game and provide a clean pocket for whichever veteran quarterback Pittsburgh adds in free agency. — ABR

Related: Highest-paid NFL players

24. Houston Texans (via CLE): JT Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State

DeMeco Ryans witnessed the importance of having a lot of pass rushers with the San Francisco 49ers. While Will Anderson Jr. remains the guy on the Houston Texans defense, there’s always room to improve the consistency of a pass rush. Pair Tuimolau with Anderson Jr. in Ryans’ scheme and you could have a top-10 defense in 2024. — MJ

Related: Best NFL dynasties ever

25. Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton, OT, Duke

The Miami Dolphins have built the perfect system around Tua Tagovailoa and he has the offensive weapons to be a highly efficient quarterback. Of course, the big thing missing is consistent pass protection. Graham Barton could play right tackle as a rookie or even kick inside to guard, strengthening Miami’s pass protection before they have to pay Tagovailoa. — ABR

Related: NFL MVP race

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The play-calling might be the bigger problem right now for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it’s also been made abundantly clear that Trevor Lawrence needs more high-end wide receivers. Pairing Adonai Mitchell with Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk would give Jacksonville a chance at boasting a receiving corps that would allow it to get into shootouts with the Chiefs and Bills. — MJ

Related: NFL offense rankings

27. Dallas Cowboys: Leonard Taylor III, iDL, Miami (FL)

The Dallas Cowboys have the edge rushers to dominate, but there’s an ability to upgrade on the interior defensive line. Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III could be an excellent interior disruptor in Dan Quinn’s defense. — ABR

Related: Biggest NFL Draft busts ever

28: Detroit Lions: Kalen King, CB, Penn State

The Detroit Lions pass rush and secondary have become alarming problems since Week 7. So, the choice in our 2024 NFL mock draft comes down to cornerback or edge rusher. Kalen King is the best player available and he fits a mentality that Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn will love. — MJ

Related: NFL QB rankings

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

The failure to take the wide receiver position more seriously in 2023 might cost the Kansas City Chiefs the Super Bowl. This season will serve as a lesson for general manager Brett Veach, who needs to use his top pick on one of the fastest players in the 2024 NFL Draft. — ABR

Related: Fastest NFL players

30. San Francisco 49ers: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

The offensive line, especially at right tackle, has become a bit of an issue for the San Francisco 49ers. roy Fautanu has started at left tackle, protecting Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr. However, the fact that Penix Jr. is a left-handed quarterback could make Fautanu comfortable at right tackle. Plus, the Huskies have already used him at multiple positions. — MJ

31. Baltimore Ravens: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

For as great as the Baltimore Ravens defense has played this season, cornerback is a weakness on this roster. Baltimore’s front office has a great connection with the Alabama football program and the reviews from the coaching staff on Terrion Arnold could make this fit even better. — ABR

Related: NFL playoff predictions

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami (FL)

It’s the dream scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles to close out our 2024 NFL mock draft. Safety is one of the biggest needs on the Eagles’ defense and Kamren Kinchens is probably the top safety in the 2024 NFL Draft. Add him to Sean Deai’s unit and this could be a top-10 defense once again. — MJ

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