It is time. 

The 2024 NFL Draft is a little over two months away, and it’s time to start analyzing team needs and potential landing spots for players. Gathering information and trying to predict the first round is one of my favorite exercises of the sports year. This season brings even more uncertainty, as there are as many as six quarterbacks that could be drafted in the first round, including at the first overall pick. 

 

On April 25, all of the rumors and predictions will become crystal clear as each NFL team will declare their intentions through actions, not words. After analyzing information from beat reporters, coach interviews, and reviewing a myriad of mock drafts, here is my first projection of Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 — First Round

1. Chicago Bears — Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Easy. Williams is widely considered the top overall quarterback prospect in this draft. 

2. Washington Commanders — Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Maye was a five-star recruit out of high school with the ability to throw a 100 mph fastball. His rocket arm and prototypical size (6-foot-4) secure him as a top-three overall pick. 

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

It’s a changing of the guard in New England, as the Patriots anchor their future to the dual-threat Heisman winner. 

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

Marvin Harrison 2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Logical landing spot for the best non-quarterback available in this draft. Superb route-runner, blocker and contested-catch receiver. 

5. Los Angeles Chargers — Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Jim Harbaugh prioritizes protecting his quarterback while featuring a strong running game. Alt is 6-foot-8, 315 pounds, and could easily move to right tackle serving as a bookend to left tackle Rashawn Slater

6. New York Giants — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU 

Head coach Brian Daboll would prefer to wait on selecting a wide receiver, but Nabers’ size and explosiveness separate him from other options at No. 6 overall. 

7. Tennessee Titans — Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Everything points to Tennessee selecting an offensive lineman here. The Titans have a young franchise quarterback in Will Levis and will feature a new rushing attack without All-Pro rusher Derrick Henry

8. Atlanta Falcons — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

New head coach Raheem Morris stays true to his defensive coordinator pedigree with Atlanta’s first overall pick. Verse’s draft stock has skyrocketed over the past two seasons after he transferred from Albany to Florida State. Strength and speed make Verse the first pass rusher off the board. 

9. Chicago Bears — Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Chicago ranked sixth overall in run defense DVOA, so the Bears choose to bolster their pass rush with the versatile and relentless Latu with the ninth-overall pick.

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

As soon as I can bet the positional selection for the Jets, I’m grabbing the offensive line selection. The Jets have tethered their immediate success to a 40-year-old Aaron Rodgers, making offensive line the clear priority at No. 10 overall. Latham’s pass-blocking ability gives him the edge here. 

11. Minnesota Vikings — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

I think Kirk Cousins returns to Minnesota, so the Vikings grab a potential replacement for defensive end Danielle Hunter in the explosive pass rusher from Alabama. 

12. Denver Broncos — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

JJ McCarthy 2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

I am buying the Sean Payton-J.J. McCarthy connection and wouldn’t be surprised to see Denver move up to draft the Michigan product. He has a very underrated arm, which was not on display in Michigan’s run-first offense. 

13. Las Vegas Raiders — Michael Penix Jr., Quarterback, Washington

The Raiders need a quarterback, especially in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Assuming the Broncos take McCarthy, how can the Raiders pass on Penix here? Can the Raiders really pass on a great deep ball thrower that led Washington to the National Championship game? 

14. New Orleans Saints — Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Saints still have a serviceable quarterback in 32-year-old Derek Carr, so New Orleans bolsters their offensive line with the draft’s best run-blocking offensive tackle. 

15. Indianapolis Colts — Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Colts have a franchise quarterback, solid offensive line, elite running back and solid receiving weapons. Time to bolster their secondary with the best defensive back in this draft class. 

16. Seattle Seahawks — Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon

The temptation is for new head coach Mike Macdonald to use his first draft pick on defense, but the Seahawks need to solidify the interior of their offensive line. Seattle will need to establish a strong ground game similar to Baltimore’s success with Macdonald now on staff. 

17. Jacksonville Jaguars — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

The Jaguars benefit from Odunze’s slide and replace Calvin Ridley with a fantastic receiving prospect in Odunze. 

18. Cincinnati Bengals — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Brock Bowers 2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

This seems like a more realistic spot for Bowers, who many project as a top-10 overall draft pick. He is a great receiving tight end, but teams should have learned from the Kyle Pitts selection that reaching at this position is a huge mistake. Joe Burrow adds another weapon to a loaded offense. 

19. Los Angeles Rams — Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

The Rams have a first-round draft pick for the first time since 2017 and select the 6-foot-4, 319-pound left tackle from Washington. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Pittsburgh hit on Joey Porter last year, so they pair the long and explosive Wiggins on the opposite side of the field. If the Steelers do, in fact, trade for Justin Fields, this is a legit AFC Championship contender. Stopping the pass remains the critical need in a conference with Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes

21. Miami Dolphins — Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The 6-foot-7, 328-pound Oklahoma product is a projected left tackle anchor for any NFL team. How many years does 32-year-old Terron Armstead have left? 

22. Philadelphia Eagles — Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

DeJean can play both cornerback or safety and is also an accomplished punt returner. The Eagles secondary struggled all season, and Philadelphia drafted DT, LB, and OL with the first three picks last season. 

23. Houston Texans — Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Houston was second in run defense DVOA, but just 23rd against the pass. Mitchell is a rare combination of strength and speed (4.35 40-yard dash). 

24. Dallas Cowboys — Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The textbook Dallas pick is offensive line. At 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds, Mims profiles very close to his former teammate Broderick Jones, who went 14th to Pittsburgh in last year’s draft. 

25. Green Bay Packers — Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

Completely agree with Jeff Ratcliffe on this pick. Green Bay’s offensive line foundation is built around David Bakhtiari, who has played just 13 total games the last three seasons. Paul stands 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds with 36-inch arms. 

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Tampa Bay doesn’t reach for a quarterback, taking elite Alabama cornerback McKinstry with their first overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. 

27. Arizona Cardinals — Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

Arizona needs defensive help everywhere, and with Newton they get an elite interior offensive lineman to bolster their front line. 

28. Buffalo Bills — Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan

Teams attacked the Bills on the ground, as Buffalo ranked just 17th in run defense DVOA. Jenkins fills Buffalo’s biggest need. 

29. Detroit Lions — Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Another strong fit with Rakestraw upgrading the Detroit secondary. The Missouri product brings length and explosiveness. 

30. Baltimore Ravens — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Baltimore mirrors Dallas by prioritizing the offensive line, nabbing a high-IQ interior lineman in Barton. 

31. San Francisco 49ers — Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

As a result of the volume of offensive linemen selected before this pick, San Francisco takes a pass rusher in Chop Robinson after potentially moving on from Chase Young

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

The more I watched Franklin at Oregon, the more I was impressed. Franklin stands 6-foot-2 with 4.4 speed, serving as the perfect complement to second-year wideout Rashee Rice