NFL

2024 NFL Draft: A Final First Round Mock Draft

With most top NFL free agents accounted for, the draft is the last chance to rebuild before next season. How will it shake out?

April 22, 2024

The 2024 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 25. While NFL games are still months away, the one-two punch of the free agency and the draft will offer clues to which way bettors may think about futures bets as the season nears closer. The first-round mock draft below breaks down which prospects are likely to hear their names called Thursday, and the reasons why these teams may draft this way, based on team needs.

1. Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Williams is the consensus first overall pick, and the QB out of USC is expected to take over as Chicago’s franchise signal caller after the Bears pulled the plug on Justin Fields.

2. Washington Commanders – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

It’s between Daniels and Drake Maye here for the QB-needy Commanders. New offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury has a history of working with dual-threat players at the position, having recently paired with Kyler Murray in Arizona. Washington fans will be hoping the team doesn’t ruin Daniels like it did Robert Griffin III.

3. New England Patriots – Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Like the two teams above them, the Patriots need a QB. In a draft with one of the most promising quarterback classes in recent memory, there’s still an enticing option available for New England, even with a pair already off the board.

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

With 2019 first overall pick Kyler Murray locked in as the team’s QB and plenty of holes elsewhere on the roster, the Cardinals can afford to go best player available. Harrison Jr. is looking to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a first-round pick of the Colts in 1996 and went on to rack up 14,580 receiving yards in a Hall of Fame career.

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

Few teams have a more glaring need at a position than the Chargers at wide receiver after losing both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in the offseason. All signs point to the team becoming more run-heavy under new coach Jim Harbaugh, but Los Angeles needs to add weapons for QB Justin Herbert. Reinvesting at the position is painful after the team spent a 2023 first-round pick on Quentin Johnston, but Nabers will immediately become the most explosive player on the roster.

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

This draft will likely have massive fantasy football implications for years to come, with elite classes at both QB and WR. Odunze is the third-best WR prospect in this draft but he’s good enough to have been the top option in many other years. Not a bad get for a Giants team that hasn’t had a player reach 800 receiving yards since Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard both surpassed that threshold in 2018.

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

GM Ran Carthon has had a splashy offseason, signing WR Calvin Ridley and RB Tony Pollard in addition to trading for CB L’Jarius Sneed. It makes sense to complement that influx in skill by bolstering the team in the trenches with a much-needed addition along the offensive line.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Atlanta has an offense that’s stacked with the personnel to produce after signing QB Kirk Cousins in free agency. On the other hand, the pass rush is a glaring area of need on defense, and Turner would help address that need for a Falcons team that’s finally ready to go defense in the first round after picking an offensive player with six of its last seven first round picks.

9. Chicago Bears – Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

With their second top 10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears can afford to go for a position of need on defense after addressing the most important position on offense earlier in the draft. Chicago improved its pass rush by trading for Montez Sweat and bolstered its run defense by signing linebacker T.J. Edwards last offseason, but the interior of the defensive line still has substantial room for improvement.

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

An offensive lineman or wide receiver would also make sense here, but the Jets will almost certainly try to get Aaron Rodgers help on offense in one way or another. Bowers is a generational TE prospect who would have a realistic chance of immediately surpassing Mickey Shuler’s franchise tight end record of 879 receiving yards from the 1985 season.

11. Minnesota Vikings – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

New Vikings quarterback coach Josh McCown worked with McCarthy when the prospect was in high school, so he’ll be well positioned to advise the franchise on whether McCarthy will be a worthy successor to Kirk Cousins under center. Minnesota went 13-4 in 2022 and would have made the playoffs with better quarterback play after Cousins’ injury last season, so this is a roster ready to compete if McCarthy acclimates to the NFL quickly following a championship run at Michigan in 2023.

12. Denver Broncos – Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Loath to part with more future draft capital after giving up so much for the failed Russell Wilson experiment, the Broncos stay put at 12 in hopes of McCarthy dropping but get sniped by the Vikings. In desperate need of a QB of both the present and future following Wilson’s release, Denver goes with Nix over Michael Penix.

13. Las Vegas Raiders – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Raiders took on a smashmouth identity under coach Antonio Pierce. After retaining Pierce in the offseason, it would make sense for the franchise’s first draft pick of his tenure to be an offensive lineman, as Vegas is further along in the trenches on defense as compared to the offense.

14. New Orleans Saints – Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

The Saints benched 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning last season, and Andrus Peat — who replaced Penning at left tackle — is a free agent. Given that context, the offensive line is New Orleans’ most critical need.

15. Indianapolis Colts – Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Continuing the run on offensive linemen whose last name starts with F, Indianapolis grabs Fashanu. Between a run-heavy offense reliant on Jonathan Taylor and a young QB coming off an injury in Anthony Richardson, upgrading the O-line is a no-brainer for the Colts.

16. Seattle Seahawks – Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Speaking of no-brainers, Verse would be one for the Seahawks if he slides this far. The pass rusher out of Florida State is pretty much a lock to be a top 20 pick and is a borderline top 10 overall prospect in this draft after posting 18.0 sacks among his 29.5 tackles for loss over the past two years. He’d be the best player available at this point and also fill a need for Seattle’s lackluster pass rush.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Cornerback is probably the Jaguars’ biggest need, and Jacksonville could have its pick of prospects at the position at No. 17. Mitchell didn’t face the toughest competition at Toledo, but he has impressed in all facets of the pre-draft process.

18. Cincinnati Bengals – JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The offensive line has been a weak point for the Bengals throughout the Joe Burrow era. Adding Latham could help Cincinnati fix that weakness on a team that can go toe-to-toe with anyone when healthy.

19. Los Angeles Rams – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Rams don’t need to find the next Jalen Ramsey to improve their secondary, which was a weak point on a surprisingly competitive team last season. There’s no shortage of skilled playmakers on the Rams’ offense, and Arnold would give LA a much-needed addition on defense.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Brian Thomas, WR, LSU

The Steelers have a history of hitting on early wide receiver picks, and Thomas is the consensus WR4 in this draft class after Harrison, Thomas’ former LSU teammate Nabers, and Odunze. A receiver here makes sense after Pittsburgh traded Diontae Johnson to Carolina earlier in the offseason.

21. Miami Dolphins – Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Latu can develop into a key pass rusher for Miami down the road and could also be asked to contribute significantly out of the gate if one or both of Jaelen Phillips (Achilles) or Bradley Chubb (knee) need additional time to recover from the season-ending injuries they suffered in 2023.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Philadelphia bucks its recent trend of drafting Georgia Bulldogs but turns to another blue-chip football program to address a glaring need in the secondary. Wiggins showcased a mix of reliability and big-play ability at Clemson, breaking up 19 passes over the past two years and taking two of his three interceptions over that span to the house.

23. Minnesota Vikings – Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Having acquired this pick from the Texans and already addressed the quarterback position without needing to trade up in this scenario, Minnesota can comfortably go defense at No. 23 overall. You have to go back to 2019 to find the last time Minnesota wasn’t among the 10 most generous defenses in terms of passing yards allowed, so drafting McKinstry could help address the team’s weakness in the secondary.

24. Dallas Cowboys – Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Cowboys have a recent history of hitting on first-round picks due in part to eschewing need for going BPA. If Dallas views Mitchell as the top player on the board, it won’t hesitate to put their need along the offensive line on the backburner. The Cowboys also need a running back after Tony Pollard went to Tennessee to replace Derrick Henry, but there isn’t a prospect worthy of a first round pick at that position in this draft class. Mitchell could be a difference-maker right away given Dallas’ lack of WR depth behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks.

25. Green Bay Packers – Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Whether he sticks at cornerback or slides to safety at the NFL level, DeJean’s playmaking fills a need for the Packers, and the South Dakota native who went to college in Iowa would fit right into Green Bay’s midwestern culture. After trading Rasul Douglas to Buffalo last season, the Packers could use some help in the secondary.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

Ryan Jensen officially announced his retirement in February, so it’s time for the Buccaneers to find a long-term replacement for the center, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury. Powers-Johnson won the Rimington Trophy as the top center in college football last season, and the second half of the first round is typically when you see top center prospects come off the board.

27. Arizona Cardinals – Graham Barton, IOL, Duke

The Cardinals could use help at a lot of spots, including the interior of the offensive line. Barton can fill one of those holes right away, be it at center or guard. Kyler Murray and coach Jonathan Gannon would both walk away happy at the end of the first round if Arizona adds both playmaking and protection on offense in the first round with Harrison and Barton.

28. Buffalo Bills – Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

The Bills are right up there with the Chargers as the two teams with the most glaring need for a wide receiver in this draft. Buffalo let Gabe Davis leave in free agency, then traded Stefon Diggs. Khalil Shakir emerged as a reliable possession receiver in the second half of last season, and the speedy Worthy offers a complementary skill set as a deep threat. Worthy set an NFL Combine record with a 4.21-second 40-yard dash, so Josh Allen can just throw it as far as his massive arm allows and this guy can go get it.

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29. Detroit Lions – Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

One more timely sack against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game could have earned the Lions their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Detroit has a promising young roster heading into the 2024 season and Robinson would give the team another pass-rushing threat opposite 2022 second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson.

30. Baltimore Ravens – Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Baltimore has arguably the NFL’s most complete roster top to bottom, but the offensive line could use some help after the team traded right tackle Morgan Moses and let guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson leave in free agency. Guyton could slide into Moses’ spot right away and move over to Lamar Jackson’s blind side should anything happen to 30-year-old left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Trent Williams turns 36 in July, so the best left tackle of this era may not have many NFL seasons left in him. Mims is a raw but exciting prospect whom the 49ers can groom as Williams’ replacement at left tackle and/or plug in at other spots in the meantime. Mims started only eight games during his time in Georgia, but his ceiling is as high as any offensive lineman in this draft class given Mims’ impressive mix of power and agility in a 6-8, 340-pound frame.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Ennis Rakestraw, CB, Missouri

After trading L’Jarius Sneed in the offseason, the Chiefs have a hole to fill at cornerback. Rakestraw could be one of the top cover corners in this class, which is exactly what Steve Spagnuolo’s defense needs given how often Patrick Mahomes and the offense put the reigning Super Bowl champs ahead, forcing opponents to pass.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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