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"My brain has gone crazy all year thinking about the million different scenarios." Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus, and Kevin Warren held their end-of-year press conferences following the firing of Luke Getsy, and the quarterback decision was a hot topic. This specific question was a response to drafting a quarterback and keeping Justin Fields on the roster, and Poles spoke about the uniqueness of this situation.
Last week, I dove into the trade-back scenario for the first overall pick. It's what makes the most sense to me from a teambuilding perspective, despite Caleb Williams' upside and potential at the NFL level. But as Poles described, there are a million different scenarios at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft. Today, we'll take a look at a different scenario to see how the rest of the board falls. Thank you to Tankathon for providing the most updated draft order.
Check out all the NFL mock drafts at Footballguys:
1. Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams (QB - USC)
The Justin Fields trade details: ATL sends a 2025 conditional second-round pick with performance-based incentives that could upgrade the pick to a first-rounder, a 2026 fourth-round pick, and a 2026 seventh-round pick for Justin Fields and a 2025 fifth-round pick.
Moving forward with a rookie quarterback, especially one as talented as Caleb Williams, is a viable path for the Bears. The Bears get a fine haul for their former signal-caller, giving them assets to continue building a contender during Williams' rookie deal.
2. Washington Commanders - Drake Maye (QB - North Carolina)
Bringing Caleb Williams home to the D.C. area and pairing him with a talented play-caller (Ben Johnson?) at head coach is the aggressiveness many should expect from new owner Josh Harris. That doesn't happen here, but Maye is a fantastic consolation prize to bring in a new era of Commanders football.
3. New England Patriots - Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR - Ohio State)
The Patriots are far from a quarterback away, and building out the roster, getting a stop-gap, and dropping a rookie quarterback a year or two from now is a more feasible path to team building. Marvin Harrison Jr. is a great start, as he's one of the best receiver prospects in the last decade. Under Bill Belichick, first-round skill position picks didn't pan out. Bringing in the new era with Harrison Jr. could set a new tone.
4. Arizona Cardinals - Joe Alt (OT - Notre Dame)
The Cardinals selected Paris Johnson Jr. in the 2023 NFL Draft, and his reps mostly came at right tackle. D.J. Humphries played fine at left tackle but has an out in his contract that saves the team $15.99M. Joe Alt is a young alternative with immense upside, as he is a day-one starter with the most well-rounded film at the position.
5. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Nabers (WR - LSU)
A new era of Chargers football is here, but getting out of the current salary cap restraints is essential. Moving on from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams can save the team more than $40M against the cap, and moving on from Williams seems inevitable. Quentin Johnston is still a work in progress, and Josh Palmer's rookie contract ends after 2024. Insert the player who would be the clear No. 1 at his position in most years, giving Justin Herbert a dangerous playmaker.
6. New York Giants - Jayden Daniels (QB - LSU)
Daniel Jones' remaining contract is a one-year, $47M deal if the Giants exercise the option to move on after 2024, and Brian Daboll is unlikely to hitch his coaching future to Jones long-term. The Giants can get a talented, dual-threat quarterback with a big arm on a rookie deal with a higher upside than Jones. They choose that path here.
7. Tennessee Titans - Olu Fashanu (OT - Penn State)
It's too early to lock in position-to-team fits, but the Titans and a tackle are the closest. Evaluating Will Levis requires better pass protection, and Olu Fashanu is an immediate impact player, allowing the team to discover if they have a franchise quarterback. Fashanu isn't a perfect prospect and struggles as a run blocker, but a new era suggests more pass attempts are on the horizon.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Rome Odunze (WR - Washington)
After adding Justin Fields, the opportunity to have the most explosive offense in the NFL is there for the taking, and adding Rome Odunze to the group of Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson is taking advantage of that opportunity. With a creative play-caller, the Falcons would be NFC South favorites with this assortment of weapons.
9. Chicago Bears - Jared Verse (EDGE - Florida State)
Jared Verse plays like Montez Sweat, and pairing the two would be a terrifying reality for opposing offensive lines. While adding weapons for their new franchise quarterback is necessary, the big three wideouts coming off the board ahead of them make them pivot to a glaring need on the defensive side.
10. New York Jets - JC Latham (OT - Alabama)
Upgrades at pass-catcher are necessary, but nothing is more important than keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy. Latham is inconsistent in pass protection but has as much upside as any tackle in the class, has positional versatility, and would fit the Jets' mold of offensive linemen.
11. Minnesota Vikings - Dallas Turner (EDGE - Alabama)
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is an analytically driven general manager who invests high capital in young players with upside at premium positions. Dallas Turner fits that mold, as he won't turn 21 until next month, flashed elite upside, and might be the most well-rounded edge rusher in the class.
12. Indianapolis Colts - Terrion Arnold (CB - Alabama)
Trade details: Indianapolis sends No. 15, No. 82, and No. 193 to Denver for No. 12 and No. 233.
While Terrion Arnold is more of a man coverage corner, his instincts and ball skills are a great fit in the Gus Bradley defensive scheme. The Colts could look to upgrade at wide receiver, but Josh Downs, Michael Pittman Jr, and Alec Pierce did enough to run it back. Cornerback is the most significant need, and they send some picks to move up and get the best one here.
13. Las Vegas Raiders - Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB - Alabama)
Teammates go back-to-back here as the Raiders add an island corner to a secondary that needs it. Teams may question McKinstry's tackling and pursuit efforts, but his ability to mirror, change direction, and keep up with elite athletes is unquestioned. The Raiders continue building out behind a talented defensive line.
14. New Orleans Saints - Laiatu Latu (EDGE - UCLA)
The only questions Laiatu Latu must answer through the pre-draft process are regarding his injuries, as he's the most technically refined edge rusher in the class. He might not bend as well as others, but his hand technique indicates he'll be a long-term starter with an upside for double-digit sack production and 70+ pressure seasons. The Saints desperately need to add to their defensive line.
15. Denver Broncos - Brock Bowers (TE - Georgia)
The Broncos need to improve the defense, but surrounding their next franchise quarterback - whoever that may be - with cheap weapons is essential to competing, especially in the AFC. Brock Bowers is a versatile tight end prospect who can immediately impact the run and pass games.
16. Seattle Seahawks - Byron Murphy II (DT - Texas)
Byron Murphy II had an outstanding 2023 next to fellow top-100 pick T'Vondre Sweat, and his work as a pass-rusher would give the Seahawks a versatile down lineman to rotate in and generate pressure. Murphy holds up well against the run, giving him a three-down upside.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Brian Thomas Jr. (WR - LSU)
The Jaguars were terrible in pass protection in 2023, but it's difficult to imagine they'll move on from Anton Harrison so quickly. They desperately need more effective pass catchers, and Brian Thomas Jr. provides them with that. With strong hands, especially in contested catch situations, Thomas would be a more reliable target than anyone Lawrence has thrown to early in his career.
18. Cincinnati Bengals - Taliese Fuaga (OT - Oregon State)
The Bengals will likely lose Jonah Williams this offseason, creating a hole at the tackle position. Taliese Fuaga is a day-one starter with great motor, size, and technique, specifically as a run blocker. The depth of the wide receiver class eases the blow of likely losing Tyler Boyd to free agency.
19. Los Angeles Rams - Jonah Elliss (EDGE - Utah)
Jonah Elliss accumulated twelve sacks as a true junior in 2023, and his play strength is a big reason why. Eliss won't turn 21 until April, indicating that his growth over his three years is far from his ceiling. The Rams passing on their future quarterback isn't a far-fetched reality, as Matthew Stafford looks like he has a few more good years, and the competing window might remain open for now.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Amarius Mims (OT - Georgia)
Pairing the massive tackle duo from Georgia's 2022 team is a good plan, as a left tackle upgrade is necessary. Flipping Broderick Jones back to his natural position while drafting a toolsy, upside tackle for the other side seems like a good plan for the future.
21. Miami Dolphins - Chris Braswell (EDGE - Alabama)
While the first Alabama stud edge rusher is off the board, the Dolphins reinforce their defensive line with a powerful, high-motor edge whose draft stock is set to soar over the next few months. Putting talent next to Jaelan Phillips for the foreseeable future would help the team continue to contend for the division championship.
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Tyler Guyton (OT - Oklahoma)
The Eagles need cornerbacks and safeties, but they don't draft them in the first round. Tyler Guyton, a high-upside, raw, athletic tackle is more their style. Guyton is one of the most athletic tackles in the class. He could sit behind Lane Johnson and learn the technical aspects of playing tackle, with Cam Jurgens sliding inside to replace the freshly retired Jason Kelce.
23. New England Patriots (via HOU) - J.J. McCarthy (QB - Michigan)
Trade details: NE sends No. 34, No. 68, and a 2025 sixth-round pick to HOU for No. 23 and a 2025 seventh-round pick.
After passing on Jayden Daniels, the Patriots return to the first round to select their new franchise quarterback. McCarthy is a decisive, accurate thrower whose best days are ahead. McCarthy is young and should sit as he refines his understanding of touch throws and coverages, so bringing a stop-gap veteran in would be wise.
24. Dallas Cowboys - Keon Coleman (WR - Florida State)
The Cowboys have few needs (despite the playoff performance), but adding a young wideout to pair with CeeDee Lamb is an intelligent decision moving forward. Keon Coleman is raw as a route runner, but his explosiveness after the catch and contested catch ability give him a massive upside to be an impact player.
25. Green Bay Packers - Cooper DeJean (CB - Iowa)
Joe Barry may have done enough to salvage his role as defensive coordinator over the last few weeks, meaning the Packers desperately need cornerback help in a zone-heavy scheme. Cooper DeJean is one of the best in the class in zone coverage, and his elite athleticism should check out well for Brian Gutekunst and company.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (via TB) - Troy Franklin (WR - Oregon)
Trade details: KC sends No. 28 and No. 129 to TB for No. 26.
The Chiefs have a wide receiver problem beyond Rashee Rice, and a reliable deep threat could open the offense back up. Troy Franklin possesses elite speed, crafty route running, and a fantastic ability to gain yards after the catch.
27. Arizona Cardinals (via HOU) - Adonai Mitchell (WR - Texas)
Adonai Mitchell performed exceptionally in the College Football Playoff, par for the course in 2023. Mitchell is an elite athlete with great size and movement ability. He flashes solid hands and the ability to high point, and he'd give Kyler Murray another weapon in Arizona.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Nate Wiggins (CB - Clemson)
The 2024 cornerback class is a pick-your-flavor group, and Nate Wiggins is a perfect fit for only a few defenses. Still, with Jamel Dean performing at elite levels and Carlton Davis needing a bounce-back in 2024, Wiggins is a perfect fit to continue the cornerback play in Tampa Bay.
29. Buffalo Bills - Jer'Zhan Newton (DT - Illinois)
The Jer'Zhan Newton slide concludes with Buffalo. Newton is an incredible pass-rusher from the interior but lacks size, creating questions about his ability to play all three downs. While Ed Oliver is still a fantastic option, the laws of best player available take over here.
30. Detroit Lions - Quinyon Mitchell (CB - Toledo)
Quinyon Mitchell is a fantastic click-and-close, instinctual cornerback who operates zone coverage well and has outstanding ball skills. The Lions' cornerback room desperately needs assistance, and Mitchell has the skills to compete for the No. 1 role immediately.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Jordan Morgan (OT - Arizona)
Colton McKivitz has been a liability in pass protection on the right side, and Trent Williams turns 36 this summer. The 49ers need a tackle despite some positive signs from swing tackle Jaylon Moore in limited action. Jordan Morgan is a fantastic athlete who fits the 49ers scheme perfectly; he can get out and move. As the seventh tackle, this selection would tie the NFL record for most offensive tackles in the first round.
32. Washington Commanders (via BAL) - Jackson Powers-Johnson (C - Oregon)
WAS sends No. 36 and No. 103 to BAL for No. 32 and No. 135.
Nick Gates played well at times in 2023, but adding an elite talent like Jackson Powers-Johnson would be a massive improvement, especially with a rookie quarterback. Powers-Johnson is in the Tyler Linderbaum and Creed Humphrey tier of nasty, flying all over the field, finishing blocks, and performing remarkably in pass protection. Pairing him with Drake Maye would vastly increase the offense's success in year one under the new head coach.