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2024 NFL mock draft: Broncos, Vikings get QBs, projecting J.J. McCarthy’s landing spot

2024 NFL mock draft
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Now that the bulk of NFL free agency is over, team needs have changed drastically ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. How have the recent NFL trades and signings impacted the first round of Sportsnaut’s latest 2024 NFL mock draft?

Let’s dive into our latest 2024 NFL mock draft as April draws near.

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NFL mock draft 2024: Round 1 predictions

1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

2024 NFL mock draft
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Caleb Williams is undoubtedly worth the No. 1 overall pick. What’s more exciting is that the Chicago Bears have planned ahead by surrounding their new franchise quarterback with complementary pieces he can win with right away. There’s still more work needed on offense, but Williams has enough magic to create when plays break down, suddenly giving the Bears a very high ceiling.

Related: 2024 Chicago Bears mock draft

2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

NCAA Football: Duke at North Carolina
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike Wiliams and Daniels, Drake Maye didn’t get to play with elite talent at North Carolina. Yet, Maye’s arm talent has always been obvious. With the strength to make every throw, he’ll have to become more consistent with his decision-making and accuracy in the pros. Yet, Washington has a strong foundation with Kliff Kingsbury providing feedback while Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson help Maye shine as a rookie.

Related: 2024 Washington Commanders mock draft

3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Jayden Daniels
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots could be tempted by a ‘godfather’ offer from a team that feels more desperate to grab a QB, but that only seems plausible if their front office has a poor grade on Jayden Daniels. If we’re the Patriots, we’re taking a chance on the best dual-threat QB in the NFL draft class. If the Heisman winner’s arm talent and speed translate to the pros, the Patriots could have one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. That’s a risk worth taking.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State

marvin harrison jr.
Credit: Brooke LaValley / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Arizona Cardinals already have their franchise quarterback, but they haven’t been able to pair Kyler Murray with a gamebreaking threat on the outside. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the solution the Cardinals have long been waiting for, which makes it hard to see a trade happening here. The Cardinals could slide back and still get a receiver later, but their odds of getting someone with All-Pro potential like MHJ diminish greatly.

Related: 2024 Arizona Cardinals mock draft

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

NCAA Football: Georgia St. at Louisiana State
Credit: Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

After getting rid of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, the Los Angeles Chargers don’t have much of a choice but to replenish the treasure chest for Justin Herbert. Landing Malik Nabers, who some say has the chance to be just as good, if not better than Harrison Jr., should be viewed as a big win for Coach Harbaugh. Described as a separation specialist, Nabers can become an instant star in LA.

Related: Think The Los Angeles Chargers Will Definitely Draft A WR With Pick 5? Think Again.

6. New York Giants: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

2024 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings, Rome Odunze
Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

A team could move up for a QB, but what’s the urgency? The next few teams don’t need a QB, and many would argue the Giants already have one, or at least they thought they did last year when committing to a $160M contract with Daniel Jones. What they don’t have is a top-flight wide receiver, and the 6-foot-3 Rome Odunze has a chance to be special. A smooth route-runner with more than adequate speed, Odunze will immediately become the top option in an offense desperate for playmakers after Saquon Barkley’s departure.

See where Daniel Jones lands in Sportsnaut’s NFL QB Rankings

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

joe alt
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans could entertain trade offers, but passing up on the best left tackle prospect in the draft is hard to do. They’ve prioritized getting Will Levis more playmakers, now it’s time to get him better protection. Joe Alt is not only massive (6-foot-8), he’s smart, strong and has great footwork. He’ll provide an immediate boost to Brian Callahan’s offense.

Related: Tennessee Titans mock draft 2024

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons addressed their biggest offensive needs in free agency, but they couldn’t get every item on their shopping list. Luckily, their next biggest need can be solved by drafting the best edge rusher in the draft. Dallas Turner can be an impact player right away, and has double-digit sack potential in Atlanta.

Related: 7-round Atlanta Falcons mock draft

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

9. Denver Broncos*: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

TRADE: Denver Broncos trade 12, 76, 2025 3rd to Chicago Bears for 9th pick

If the draft board falls this way, the Denver Broncos may still be able to snag J.J. McCarthy if they covet him more than anyone else. While others like the Minnesota Vikings may have more draft capital, and have been tied to McCarthy, there’s no guarantee he’s their guy. If the Broncos can get a potential QB of the future in McCarthy without parting with a future first, it would be a massive win. McCarthy has all the traits teams covet, the only question is how much better can Sean Payton help him become?

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

Brock Bowers
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After shoring up their offensive line issues in free agency, the New York Jets can use the top of the draft to get Aaron Rodgers more weapons. Getting Brock Bowers with the 10th pick is an absolute steal, and he could quickly develop into one of the team’s top targets.

2024 NFL mock draft: Vikings still get their QB

11. Minnesota Vikings: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Michael Penix Jr. becoming an early first-round selection, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with his big arm. Everything else is in place for a success in Minnesota. If the Vikings feel like Kevin O’Connell and Josh McCown can help Penix clean up his mechanics, they could have one of the best pure passers of the draft class.

Related: 2024 Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft – 3.0 w/Two First-Round Picks

12. Chicago Bears*: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

TRADE: Chicago Bears trade 9th pick to Denver Broncos for 12, 76, 2025 3rd-round pick

A big theme this offseason has been setting up the offense for a young QB to succeed in but without strong protection, even their best playmakers can be hindered by the perfect pass rush. The Bears can continue their effort by drafting Taliese Fuaga, who GM Ryan Poles, as a former lineman, has to appreciate. Fuaga plays the trenches like a bully, overpowering opponents whenever he gets a chance.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Fixing the offense is a must, but without a quarterback worth taking available, the Las Vegas Raiders will focus on drafting the best player available. Cooper DeJean is a versatile defender who can help Antonio Pierce improve the run and pass defense in Vegas for years to come.

14. New Orleans Saints: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

With Michael Thomas no longer around, the New Orleans Saints will need another big playmaker to complement Chris Olave. There’s no better option than Louisiana native Brian Thomas Jr. The 6-foot-3 receiver was one of the fastest players at the NFL Combine (4.33 40-yard dash) and can provide instant production when paired with Derek Carr.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Cornerback is arguably one of the biggest Indianapolis Colts team needs that must be addressed. While there were rumors about the Colts’ interest in a L’Jarius Sneed trade, they can solve the position much easier by drafting a long-term solution that won’t require a massive extension right away. Quinyon Mitchell is a tantalizing prospect thanks to his elite speed and athleticism that suggests he can be a shutdown cornerback.

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16. Seattle Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb has familiarity with Troy Fautanu from his days at Washington, where he realized the 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman could likely handle all five spots ont he offensive line. With few spots locked in for the long run, adding a versatile athlete like Fautanu makes a lot of sense for the Seahawks.

Related: NFL defense rankings 2024

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

While the Jacksonville Jaguars have added Ronald Darby and Darnell Savage, they won’t fix a defense that ranked 26th in passing yards allowed. A long-term solution like Nate Wiggins, who could quickly develop into the No. 1 cornerback while reminding fans of Jalen Ramsey, feels like the best pick for the Jaguars at 17.

Related: 10 worst moves in NFL free agency 2024, including Las Vegas Raiders’ overpay

18. Cincinnati Bengals: JC Latham, OL, Alabama

Trent Brown’s arrival has the potential to be significant for a team that has seen Joe Burrow end his season too early twice in just four seasons. But he’s not a long-term solution and the interior still needs work. JC Latham’s best position in the NFL is still uncertain, but he has the flexibility and strength to play guard or tackle. With the Bengals likely to play their best five in the trenches, Latham will find a way to earn a spot.

Related: 2024 Super Bowl odds

19. Los Angeles Rams: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Losing Aaron Donald leaves the Los Angeles Rams defense with a massive crater to fill. Kobie Turner started the process, but Byron Murphy can help them finish it. He’s the best interior defender in the draft class, using an undersized frame to generate pressure. This should sound familiar to fans who’ve watched No. 99 dominate in LA.

Related: Los Angeles Rams mock draft 2024

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon

There’s a temptation to pick a receiver like Adonai Mitchell or Xavier Worthy here, but the Steelers have a knack for identifying talent on Day Two, and George Pickens is the real star in Pittsburgh. Still, the Steelers could do wonders for Russell Wilson and their rushing offense by strengthening the interior with Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Related: 10 most underrated free agent signings, including Russell Wilson

2024 NFL Draft projections: Dolphins, Eagles, and Cowboys add key pieces

21. Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

After losing multiple offensive linemen in free agency, the Miami Dolphins have to find a way to rebuild the wall around Tua Tagovailoa to avoid another mid-season disaster. Mike McDaniel understands how winning in the trenches can help both aspects of Miami’s scoring attack and Graham Barton can get the job done in the run game and in pass protection.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

After allowing the second-most passing yards in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles will want to start planning for long-term replacements for Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Both are on the wrong side of 30, and teams can never have too many elite cornerbacks. Terrion Arnold needs a bit of refinement, but his positional flexibility should still earn him a role early on.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles mock draft 2024

23. Minnesota Vikings: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

With a quarterback selected first, now the Vikings team needs focus on solving the defense, which has been a big theme of the offseason in Minnesota. Jer’Zhan Newton isn’t the pass-rushing menace that Byron Murphy II is, but he’s already effective at stopping the run, and his quick get-off could lead to more pressures as he develops more moves.

Related: Which Teams Are Most Likely to Steal the Vikings’ Top QB Target in NFL Draft?

Related: Houston Texans mock draft 2024

24. Dallas Cowboys: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

After some shifting along the offensive line, the Dallas Cowboys can’t afford to allow their protection to suffer after having the NFL’s top scoring offense. Olu Fashanu is far from a finished product, but his advanced footwork is incredible for a 6-foot-6 lineman who’s still just 21. He’s ready to start now, and could even develop into a franchise left tackle in time.

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

It’s hard to ignore offensive tackle for a team that no longer has David Bakhtiari and has a very bright future ahead as long as they can supply Jordan Love with a strong enough foundation. There’s no better way to do that than by shoring up the protection by drafting the Amarius Mims here. He’s not quite the pass protector that fits best at left tackle, but his massive 6-foot-7 frame will open up holes in the run game and will still be a tough beat in pass pro too.

Related: Green Bay Packers mock draft 2024

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

There’s no better way to jumpstart a defense than injecting an elite pass rusher who can consistently get home into the front seven. Having recorded 27 sacks across the past three seasons, Jared Verse has shown he knows how to use his powerful frame to win, but getting more coaching at the next level can turn him into a superstar.

27. Arizona Cardinals: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

After securing a top-notch receiver early on, it’s time to get Jonathan Gannon a piece on defense. Laiatu Latu can rush from multiple spots along the edge and defensive interior, and if he can improve as a run defender, the Cardinals may have an elite talent that helps in all facets.

28. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota

Adding a freakish receiver is very tempting, but the Buffalo Bills may not be able to ignore their secondary after losing Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde. Tyler Nubin can’t replace two All-Pro talents, but he could provide Pro Bowl level production, even as a rookie thanks to being all over the field. Good against the run and in pass coverage, Nubin feels like a can’t-miss prospect.

Related: NFL playoff predictions

29. Detroit Lions: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Cam Sutton got released, and while it seems like the Lions were preparing for such a move by adding Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson, there’s no long-term solution here. Kool-Aid McKinstry can take time to sharpen his skills, but the traits are there for him to develop into the playmaking cornerback Detroit needs.

Related: Top NFL free agents in 2024

30. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Guyton, OL, Oklahoma

While we’re enamored with the idea of getting the 2x MVP another offensive weapon, a bigger need is rebuiling an offensive line that’s lost two starters. Daniel Faalele and Patrick Mekari may be prepared to handle right tackle, but neither have the ceiling that Tyler Guyton has in pass protection.

Related: NFL MVP odds 

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Unless Brandon Aiyuk gets traded, rebuilding the trenches, and preparing for the inevitable Trent Williams departure is a must in San Francisco. Jordan Morgan may shift to guard, or he could stay and compete at tackle, and, he has the feet and IQ to win the job at either spot as a rookie.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Kansas City Chiefs’ biggest need is at offensive tackle, but they can’t control who falls down the draft board. If a potential star like Adonai Mitchell slips, it would be hard to ignore the 6-foot-2 receiver with 4.34 speed. Already a decent route-runner, if he could become more efficient, the Chiefs may have their next 1,000-yard receiver to pair with Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice.

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