2024 NFL Mock Draft: After Super Bowl LVIII, how could first three rounds look? – The Athletic

Nick BaumgardnerFeb 12, 2024

The Super Bowl’s over, fans are nursing hangovers and Monday is, officially, the start of NFL Draft season.

The 2024 NFL Draft, held this year in Detroit, is now two-and-a-half months away. So, without delay, let’s dive in.

For this, we’re going three rounds, no trades. Enjoy and have fun.

Round 1

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

In another year, the Justin Fields era probably rolls on. But it’s not another year. Since taking over in 2022, GM Ryan Poles has added talent via the draft and trades, so today’s reality is that Chicago’s roster is ready for Williams in ways it wasn’t for Fields in 2021. The offensive line is better, the defense is better — and there’s a chance to add more.


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

There’s a lot of work in front of first-year GM Adam Peters, and this is a great place to start. Washington really hasn’t had a consistent, full-time starting quarterback presence that’s lasted more than three straight years since Mark Rypien left in 1993. Maye, a big-armed, big-bodied (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) passer, has the arm to threaten the whole field and could be the guy to stop that trend.

3. New England Patriots: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Harrison could be the top-ranked player on a few boards come draft night. And while offensive tackle and quarterback also remain possibilities for New England, Harrison not only can make an entire offense better, he also can help a struggling quarterback. He’s a true game-changer and the best receiver in the draft — in a year full of great ones.


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4. Arizona Cardinals: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

As good as Harrison is, it’s tough to say Nabers is that far behind. The 6-foot, 200-pounder is a ball of explosion with second-level speed and a ton of burst in the open field. Nabers can do damage underneath, as a ball carrier or over the top. He can align as a Z, slot or even an X in the right situation.

Kyler Murray’s best days have come with a top-flight receiver on the roster. Nabers would qualify.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Is this too high for a tight end? Maybe. The better question, perhaps, is how far Bowers slides if the Chargers don’t go for him here. Los Angeles also could be in a trade-down situation. In the end, though, there might not be a better fit than Bowers for everything Jim Harbaugh’s about as a coach. He’d be a perfect starting piece for Harbaugh’s system.


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6. New York Giants: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Year two for Evan Neal was worse than year one, so though Rome Odunze feels tempting here, the goal is keeping the quarterback upright. If you draft a rookie QB here and don’t protect him, it’ll be a mess. Ask Chicago. Alt, a left tackle only at Notre Dame, has the ability to play RT opposite Andrew Thomas.


7. Tennessee Titans: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Similar situation as above: No matter what you think about the quarterback, it won’t matter if you can’t protect what you’ve got. Will Levis gave the Titans reasons to be hopeful. Fashanu, a mountain of a left tackle with the movement skills to erase speed rushers, would fill a huge need.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

This should be Daniels’ floor. A team could jump Atlanta via trade, while the Patriots or Giants also could be interested. Either way, from a roster standpoint, Atlanta is the most QB-desperate team — meaning it could be a QB away from making noise.

9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Totally possible Odunze doesn’t make it this far. The 6-3 prospect was college football’s best contested-catch man last season. Chicago could go CB or edge here, but an Odunze-Williams pairing feels too fun to pass on.

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

OT1 is hardly a closed conversation, but it’s easy to like what you get in Latham: a 21-year-old, 6-6, 360-pounder with terrific movement skills, outstanding length and the ability to play either tackle spot. This would be good for Aaron Rodgers — and the Jets’ future.


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11. Minnesota Vikings: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Danielle Hunter is about to hit free agency, so while Brian Flores did great work for the Vikings last year, he needs help. Turner (6-4, 252) is the most athletic edge in the draft with tons of twitch and burst — not dissimilar to Will Anderson Jr., his ex-Alabama teammate. QB also could be in play.

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

This could be too high for McCarthy. But a lot of teams need a quarterback, including Denver, which is low on capital. McCarthy’s 20, runs with great acceleration, has arm talent and is a great athlete. He has some ball-placement issues to overcome, but there are more positives than negatives.


He’s not the 12th-best player in this draft. He’s a first-round talent, though, and I’ve got him higher than Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. It’s hard to see QB4 (whoever it is) being on the board past No. 14.

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

The Raiders need a quarterback, but they need a lot of other stuff, too. They also have more draft capital than Denver and could be a trade-up candidate, if the new regime likes one of the top three QBs. If not, finding the draft’s best run-blocking OT is a great place to start for Antonio Pierce and Tom Telesco.

14. New Orleans Saints: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

The Saints could use offensive line help in a few spots — and Fautanu (6-4, 319) can play a few spots. A left tackle at Washington, he has enough length and more than enough athleticism to remain as a tackle in the NFL. But he also could be an effective guard. Either way, Fautanu comes with plenty of quickness and explosion.

This is yet another spot where QB can’t be ruled out.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Definitely possible this is too low for CB1, and Arnold probably won’t be a consensus choice at that slot. The 20-year-old Arnold is the full package, though. A physical presence at every level with enough speed and agility to run with top receivers, he is a problem for opposing offenses. He’s hard to block, hard to shake and harder to fool.

16. Seattle Seahawks: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Seattle has needs along the offensive interior and might be in position to trade back. But Mike Macdonald could get his regime started with an athletic, explosive three-down edge like Verse, who likely would’ve been a first-rounder last year had he declared. Though pressure packages are a big part of Macdonald’s system, so are twitchy edge defenders who can rush, cover and stop the run.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Jacksonville needs trench help on both sides of the ball, and Murphy was a huge problem for just about every team Texas faced last season. The 6-1, 308-pounder plays with outstanding explosion off the snap and has the grip strength/power to toss guards and centers. He’d make Jacksonville’s other young defensive pieces better.


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18. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The range on OTs will be fascinating — some very well could have Guyton as their top tackle in the class. He stands 6-7, 328 pounds with 34 2/8-inch arms (82 3/8 inch wingspan) and runs like a tight end. From burst to change of direction and recovery, Guyton has it all. Technically, however, he needs plenty of polish, notably with his hand consistency.


19. Los Angeles Rams: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

One of the best stories in the draft, Mitchell picked Toledo out of high school from a tiny town in Florida, then told most of the SEC “no thanks” so he could finish his career with the Rockets. An under-control press corner who understands how to use his length (17 forced incompletions, 14 PBUs last year), Mitchell has been clocked above 23 miles per hour on the GPS and could flirt with a 4.3 40 at the combine. He was the best defensive player at the Senior Bowl.


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

Jacksonville, at 17, could use a center, as could a few teams behind Pittsburgh (including Miami at 21).

The best offensive player at the Senior Bowl, Powers-Johnson will be position-limited in the NFL, but his athleticism, power and IQ — at just 21 years old — make him a candidate to walk in and start next year.

21. Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

The Dolphins could go a few different ways here, but they really need interior OL help. Barton, a college tackle, has the ability to play inside and to do so pretty quickly. He started five games at center in 2020 and could project over the ball in the NFL. The draft’s most versatile lineman.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

The Eagles need help at corner and safety, and DeJean can play both. Too many have fixated on moving the former Iowa star to safety, but he absolutely has speed and agility to stay at corner, and his 6-1, 200-pound frame makes him an asset outside and in run support. He’s an electric punt returner.

23. Houston Texans (from CLE): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

The LSU offense was good enough to score on any defense in the country last season. And while Daniels and Nabers got most of the publicity, Thomas was a huge factor. The 6-4, 205-pounder led all FBS WRs (min. 50 catches) in EPA/target last season at 1.03. Thomas, Nico Collins, Tank Dell and C.J. Stroud would make for a helluva party.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

One of the freakiest athletes in the draft, Mims (6-7, 340) has a reported 85-inch wingspan and runs like he weighs 240. Like Guyton, the range on Mims could be pretty wide. His gifts are incredibly rare, but he’s only started eight games and missed time with injury (tightrope ankle surgery in September). It could take time, but Mims has enough football IQ to surprise people.


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25. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Morgan, OL, Arizona

The Packers could use help at tackle and guard. Morgan, who played left tackle at Arizona, might be better off moving inside in the NFL. Either way, this pick would check a box for a young Green Bay squad that’s in great position with 11 draft picks.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Tabling QB here unless something strange happens with Baker Mayfield.


Latu has the most refined pass-rush arsenal of any edge in the class, and that might be enough for some to put him as the draft’s top rusher. The caveats are of a physical nature: Latu has subpar arm length (32 1/2 inches) and a problematic injury history. However, he’s a playmaker.

27. Arizona Cardinals (from HOU): Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

The 20-year-old Wiggins (6-2, 185) has length and explosion for days, along with great feet. He’s incredibly hard to get on top of vertically and has impressive burst out of his breaks. There are strength concerns here, but Wiggins is always around the ball. The Cardinals could have a huge draft.

28. Buffalo Bills: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Buffalo’s good enough to go in a few different directions, but receiver is definitely on the list. The range on Coleman could end up being wide, as the 6-4, 215-pounder will jump out of the building at the combine and probably surprise a few with his speed and explosion. He’s a freaky athlete.

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

The Lions are in dire need of CB help, although they also need to address the edge spot opposite Aidan Hutchinson. McKinstry, Arnold’s running mate at Alabama, was the higher-rated recruit due to his terrific combination of size (6-1, 195), length and athletic balance. A very patient player, McKinstry could help Detroit right away.

30. Baltimore Ravens: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

An intense, physical corner who likes to hit, Rakestraw can give up some ground with his deep speed but also can be a terror underneath. Health is a concern, though, and he missed the Senior Bowl with a core injury. Tackle or WR could be on the table for Baltimore, too.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

Another freaky athlete, Robinson (6-5, 286 pounds with 34 6/8-inch arms and an 84 4/8-inch wingspan) is long and fast enough to do damage just about anywhere up front, including off the edge.

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

Well, this would be fun. Mitchell is another big, long and explosive downfield target with enough speed to stretch people vertically. Though Mitchell only had one full year with a high workload, he’d be a terror with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.


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Round 2

33. Carolina Panthers: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

The Panthers need so many things that this should be a best-player-available situation. But Bryce Young also needs a friend, and McConkey’s the most QB-friendly receiver on the board.

34. New England Patriots: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

It’s possible Nix hears his name in Round 1. His week in Mobile earlier this month didn’t squash concerns about velocity or middle-of-the-field comfort,  but he’s a seasoned, smart, athletic player who would make things interesting while New England figures out what to do with Mac Jones.


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35. Arizona Cardinals: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
36. Washington Commanders: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia
38. Tennessee Titans: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
39. New York Giants: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
40. Washington Commanders (from CHI): Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State
41. Green Bay Packers (from NYJ): Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota
42. Minnesota Vikings: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

We’ll see what happens with Kirk Cousins. But the Vikings have too much talent on offense to waste more time with uncertainty at quarterback. Penix had a worse Senior Bowl week than Nix, frankly, but he was the most confident vertical passer in America last year and showed terrific toughness and perseverance throughout his college career.


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43. Atlanta Falcons: Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky
44. Las Vegas Raiders: T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
45. New Orleans Saints (from DEN): Bralen Trice, Edge, Washington
46. Indianapolis Colts: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington
47. New York Giants (from SEA): Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
48. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State
49. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
50. Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State
51. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State
52. Los Angeles Rams: Chris Braswell, Edge, Alabama
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
54. Cleveland Browns: Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale

The 6-5, 326-pound standout from the Ivy League, with his athleticism and 36 3/4-inch arms, is an incredibly interesting prospect. Don’t be shocked if he winds up going higher than this.

55. Miami Dolphins: Marshawn Kneeland, Edge, Western Michigan
56. Dallas Cowboys: Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M
57. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami
58. Green Bay Packers: Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas
59. Houston Texans: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
60. Buffalo Bills: Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan
61. Detroit Lions: Adisa Isaac, Edge, Penn State
62. Baltimore Ravens: Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

The Harbaugh-Michigan connection is no longer active, but it’s hardly dead. Wilson’s up there with McConkey on the “QB-friendly” list, and he plays with the type of edge and physicality required to be a Raven. The 2024 national champion Wolverines don’t have many first-round candidates — but they’re going to light up Friday, as evidenced by the run closing Round 2 here.


63. San Francisco 49ers: Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan
64. Kansas City Chiefs: Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

Round 3

65. Carolina Panthers: Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky
66. Arizona Cardinals: Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame
67. Washington Commanders: Calen Bullock, S, USC
68. New England Patriots: Dominick Puni, OL, Kansas
69. Los Angeles Chargers: Michael Hall Jr., DT, Ohio State
70. New York Giants: Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon
71. Arizona Cardinals (from TEN): Christian Haynes, G, UConn
72. New York Jets: Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina
73. Detroit Lions (from MIN): Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington
74. Atlanta Falcons: Kalen King, CB, Penn State
75. Chicago Bears: Javon Bullard, S, Georgia
76. Denver Broncos: Jonah Elliss, Edge, Utah
77. Las Vegas Raiders: Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

I’m old enough to remember scouts having first-round buzz on Rattler, back when Caleb Williams was his backup. The draft is fluid, though — and so are prospects’ trajectories. Rattler grew up at South Carolina, and though there are still hiccups to work through, his arm talent and athleticism are undeniable.

Rattler could use a team with a head coach who will wrap his arms around him and let him continue that growth.

78. Seattle Seahawks: Christian Mahogany, G, Boston College
79. Atlanta Falcons (from JAX): Brandon Dorlus, DL, Oregon
80. Cincinnati Bengals: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State
81. Seattle Seahawks (from NO): Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane

This is going to be a QB-heavy draft. Eight quarterbacks in the top 100 is illustrative of the talent in this year’s crop and the amount of unproven passers coming up in the 2025 class. The Seahawks don’t need to rush anyone, but — as Detroit did with Hendon Hooker last year — they’ll always look to the future.

82. Indianapolis Colts: Cole Bishop, S, Utah
83. Los Angeles Rams: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State
84. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina
85. Cleveland Browns: Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida
86. Houston Texans (from PHI): Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas
87. Dallas Cowboys: Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
88. Green Bay Packers: Zak Zinter, G, Michigan
89. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sedrick Van Pran, G/C, Georgia
90. Arizona Cardinals (from HOU): Javon Solomon, Edge, Troy
91. Green Bay Packers (from BUF): Jarvis Brownlee Jr., CB, Louisville
92. Detroit Lions: Mason McCormick, G, South Dakota State
93. Baltimore Ravens: Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin
94. San Francisco 49ers: Max Melton, CB, Rutgers
95. Kansas City Chiefs: Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri
96. Jacksonville Jaguars*: Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State
97. Philadelphia Eagles*: Payton Wilson, LB, NC State
98. San Francisco 49ers*: Brenden Rice, WR, USC

You think Jerry Rice would let his son wear No. 80? If nothing else, Brendan Rice — an explosive, powerful 6-foot-3 X-receiver with speed and a famous dad — would know his way around the area.

99. Buffalo Bills*: Tykee Smith, DB, Georgia
100. Los Angeles Rams*: Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State
101. Washington Commanders (from SF)*: Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State

(*Projected compensatory selections, via OvertheCap)

(Illustration: John Bradford / The Athletic; Photos: Ryan Kang, Joe Robbins / Getty Images; Ben Jackson / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Nick Baumgardner is a senior writer/NFL Draft analyst based in Michigan. He co-hosts “One of These Years,” a Detroit Lions podcast with Colton Pouncy. He joined The Athletic after stops at the Detroit Free Press, MLive Media Group and other newspapers in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. Follow Nick on Twitter @nickbaumgardner