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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Patriots pass on QB, but 4 still go in top 10; Cowboys protect Dak Prescott

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USC

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Chicago

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

The most popular opinion is the Bears will trade Justin Fields and use the first pick on a QB. I believe this to be the most likely scenario, too, but I’m not as sure the pick will be Caleb Williams. Williams is a tremendous prospect capable of making throws few others can. However, many of his flaws are the same ones the Bears have failed to iron out of Justin Fields’ game. Williams has shown an ability to read the entire field already, but he sometimes does so by holding onto the ball for far too long. He gets away with it a lot in college, but he’ll need to make quicker decisions in the NFL.

North Carolina

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 230 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

It was awkward when Maye and Sam Howell showed up to watch the North Carolina-Duke game together, wasn’t it? Anyway, I like Maye a lot. He has Justin Herbert’s build with Josh Allen’s aggressiveness downfield. He’s also an intelligent runner when it’s time to eject from the pocket. However, while he fires lasers across the field, most of North Carolina’s offense is built around deep throws. Maye needs to improve accuracy and touch on some of the shorter timing routes. All that said, he and Williams are on a tier far above any other QB in this class on my board.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

I’ve seen Jayden Daniels mocked here a lot, but I’m not nearly as confident he’s somebody who will go this early, even with the premium on QBs. Instead, I have New England adding a receiver in Marvin Harrison, who is as polished and talented as any receiver I’ve seen come out of college in a long time. He has a broader route tree than most college receivers and excellent footwork. It’s almost as if he was mentored by one of the greatest route-runners we’ve ever seen.

Penn State

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 317 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

Fashanu is not a perfect prospect. He can lose his balance and be overpowered when run-blocking. That said, I’m not drafting a left tackle for his run-blocking ability. As a pass-protector, Fashanu is a dream prospect for the position. He has some learning left to do, but Fashanu could be one of the best left tackles in the league for a decade.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 322 lbs

Jim Harbaugh wants tough, physical football teams, and that starts along the line of scrimmage. Brock Bowers or another receiver could be in play here, but I expect the first pick of the Harbaugh era to be on the offensive line. Alt isn’t as polished as Fashanu, but he’s huge, strong, and has great feet. The Chargers have their franchise QB, and Alt could be the franchise LT who protects his blind side.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I don’t know who the Giants QB will be a year or two from now, but whomever it is, they’ll be happy to have Malik Nabers to throw to. Nabers doesn’t have the route tree of Marvin Harrison or Rome Odunze, but he’s lightning-fast, has excellent hands, and is just as effective on the outside as in the slot. He’d be the most dangerous offensive weapon on the Giants the moment he stepped into the building.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 202 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

32nd

POSITION RNK

5th

My lone trade has Denver jumping in front of Atlanta to get the QB it wants in Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy didn’t throw in college nearly as often as the other QBs in this class, but he’s a tremendous athlete with a strong arm who can throw from multiple arm angles and gets through his progressions quickly. He’s the kind of QB Sean Payton will want to lead the Broncos.

LSU

• Sr

• 6’4″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Daniels got my Heisman vote for good reason in 2023, but while he took significant leaps forward as a QB, there are kinks to be ironed out when he moves to the next level. He has excellent accuracy down the field, but it drops off on the shorter throws. He’s also a bit too quick to take off and run, which is hard to blame him for because he’s absolutely electric in the open field. However, Daniels loves nothing more than jumping into tacklers. With his frame, he needs to learn how to get out of bounds or slide. I love the mentality behind it, but that extra yard is rarely worth the risk that comes with it.

Washington

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Chicago

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

2nd

What the Bears do with their second top-10 pick will depend on what they do in free agency, but here I have them pairing their brand new QB with one of the top receivers available. I have Harrison, Nabers, and Odunze as the top tier, but Odunze is slightly on top. He’s a proven winner at all levels of the field, can run every route you ask, and makes contested catches. Everything you need to do to be a successful NFL receiver.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 240 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

Bowers is one of the most talented tweeners to come out in a while. As an in-line blocker, it’s not a question of effort or strength as much as technique. Perhaps he’ll refine it on an NFL roster where he’s not the No. 1 offensive weapon. Even if he doesn’t, he’s a great weapon in the passing game, as he’s a mismatch for most defenders. Put a corner on him, and he can outmuscle them for the ball. Put a linebacker on him, and good luck keeping up with him on the shallow cross.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 252 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

1st

I don’t think this is a great class of edge rushers, but Turner is the highest on my board. He can line up in a two-, three- or four-point stance thanks to an explosive first step. He can be overpowered and lose leverage against the run, but I don’t know that there’s a better pure pass-rusher in the class. Might draw a roughing call or two, though.

Alabama

• Soph

• 6’0″

/ 196 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

1st

An all-around defender at the corner spot. Arnold was originally a safety who moved to corner, which shows in his ability to do a bit of everything. He’s smart and can diagnose what an offense is looking to do before the snap, which helps him make aggressive plays on the ball. He’s also strong and fearless enough to be a plus value against the run.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 207 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

22nd

POSITION RNK

4th

I have DeJean below Arnold on my board because I’d be more comfortable with Arnold in the slot and on the outside than I am with DeJean. DeJean is best suited for the outside, and while he’s not as strong in man as he is in zone, he’s capable of playing both well. Also a capable run defender.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 360 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Latham lined up at right tackle for Alabama last season, but I believe he has the ability to play left tackle, too. He has prototypical size and strength mixed with impressive athleticism and quick feet. Latham also has quick, powerful hands, and I sometimes worry he’ll accidentally punch a hole through a defender’s chest.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 185 lbs

Projected Team

Indianapolis

PROSPECT RNK

21st

POSITION RNK

3rd

Wiggins could be a perfect fit for Indianapolis’ zone-heavy defense, as he spent most of his time in cover 3 playing for Clemson. He’s also got the ideal build for it, as he’s a tall and long corner on the outside. If I’m going to knock him, he’s not a burner (though he certainly isn’t slow), and he isn’t great against the run, though it isn’t for lack of effort.

Illinois

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 295 lbs

Projected Team

Seattle

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

2nd

As an Illini fan, I’ve been hyping Newton for a few years. He’s a polarizing prospect due to his size, but he’s been one of the most disruptive forces on the interior in college the last couple of years. He uses his size to his advantage by winning the leverage war against his blocker and looks like an MMA fighter with his hands on the interior.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

4th

It’s easy to be overlooked when your offense has a Heisman winner at QB and a potential top-10 pick in Malik Nabers alongside you, but don’t sleep on LSU’s No. 2 WR. Thomas isn’t the all-around threat Nabers is, but he’s 6-foot-4 and can fly. He may be the most dangerous deep-ball threat in the class. His ceiling will be determined by how much better he gets running everything else.

Oregon State

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 334 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

4th

Everything the Bengals do should revolve around keeping Joe Burrow upright and on the field. Taliese Fuaga is a big, mean man who is a dominant run blocker at right tackle but also a strong enough pass-blocker for the position. He needs more consistency with his feet, as he is prone to oversetting in pass pro, leaving himself vulnerable to the inside.

Florida State

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

L.A. Rams

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

3rd

I had high hopes for Verse coming off an excellent 2022 season but was mostly underwhelmed by him early in the season. Perhaps he was dealing with an injury because the 2022 version showed up late in the year. He has an arsenal of pass-rush moves, a quick first step and a high motor. He does get swallowed up a bit in the run game, but that’s a common theme with the edge rushers in this class, so I don’t know if it’ll hurt his stock too much.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

5th

I won’t be surprised if the Steelers make a move for a QB in the first round, but based on how this mock went, I have them addressing their second-biggest need. McKinstry strikes me as a Pittsburgh Steeler. They may not want to use a first-rounder on another corner after taking Joey Porter Jr. to start the second round last season, but McKinstry fits what the Steelers like to do.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 340 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

5th

Mims dealt with nagging injuries for most of the 2023 season that limited his playing time, so it’s possible he’s not a Day 1 starter for the team that drafts him. However, the ability he displayed when on the field is why he shouldn’t fall past the first round. Mims played right tackle for Georgia, but he’s athletic enough and smart enough to play on the left one day.

Toledo

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 196 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Mitchell has been rising up boards the last few weeks due to his performance at the Senior Bowl. He showed good instincts in Mobile, and if you watch his tape at Toledo, he often plays like the pass is intended for him instead of the wide receiver. It’s great when it works, but it can also get him in trouble.

UCLA

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

2nd

I loved what Latu was able to do with the Bruins in 2023, but I’m not as high on his NFL potential as many others. Like the other edge rushers in this class, he struggles at the point of attack in rush defense, and his arms seem shorter than desired, which could cause problems. That said, while I don’t see an elite ceiling for Latu, his motor and an already developed pass-rush skill set mean he should be an effective pass-rusher at the next level, if not an outstanding one.

Arizona

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 325 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

61st

POSITION RNK

10th

I hope the Cowboys can resist the urge to make a splashy pick here and instead take the pragmatic approach. Tyron Smith is incredible at the left tackle spot, but Dallas needs to upgrade the right tackle position badly, and even though Morgan played LT at Arizona, he’s capable of playing both sides. Plus, Smith is 33 years old. He won’t be at LT forever.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 180 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

35th

POSITION RNK

7th

The Packers could go several different directions in this scenario, and it’d be smart to add Lassiter to their secondary. He’s inconsistent, which is why I won’t be surprised if he slips to Day 2, but Lassiter has the potential to be an All-Pro if he irons out the kinks. He’s fast, changes directions quickly, and is more physical than you might expect, judging by his size.

Penn State

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

4th

As I’ve said, I’m not overly high on this class of edge rushers, but if there’s one player flying “under the radar” who might end up being an absolute stud, it’s Chop Robinson. He’s off the ball so quickly that you sometimes think he jumped offsides, he never stops playing, and he can drop into coverage. He has to add more moves to his repertoire, but there’s so much to like and work with here.

Alabama

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 255 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

64th

POSITION RNK

6th

Braswell doesn’t get the same attention his teammate Dallas Turner does, but he’s a winning player. His lack of length will turn teams off, but he is strong as an ox. Braswell plays with a high motor, and while he’s not going to win any 40-yard dashes, he’s quick enough to beat a tackle off the snap. He’s also a strong player at the point of attack and can set an edge in the run game.

South Carolina

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 227 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

50th

POSITION RNK

8th

Here’s a player I’m much higher on than the industry consensus. Legette doesn’t have a ton of experience as a one-year starter with South Carolina, but he’s a big body who can win down the field and make contested catches. There’s a lot of learning left to do, but he would immediately fit as a downfield weapon in Buffalo and have the chance to become so much more.

Iowa State

• Sr

• 6’2″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

114th

POSITION RNK

15th

This might not be the ideal fit for Detroit, but whomever the Lions take here, I’d put money on it being a defensive back. As for Tampa, he’s a tall and long corner who is better in zone coverages right now than man. He showed excellent ball skills at Iowa State thanks to his ability to dissect routes quickly.

Texas

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 308 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

1st

Players who can collapse the pocket and pressure the QB from the interior are a wonderful thing to have, and Murphy is capable of doing it. Like Jer’Zhan Newton, there will be concerns about his size, but Murphy uses that size to his advantage by getting leverage. He possesses a great first step and often shoots the gap before his blocker can get his hands on him.

Oregon

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 187 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

51st

POSITION RNK

9th

Rashee Rice emerged as a weapon for the Chiefs as the season progressed, but they could use more playmakers at the position. Getting a player like Franklin late in the first would be a steal. He’s not Tyreek Hill, but Franklin can fly and would be the reliable vertical threat Kansas City has missed since Hill left.

Missouri

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 188 lbs

I like Rakestraw’s length and versatility. While he played most of his snaps on the outside, Rakestraw spent plenty of time in the slot the last few seasons, but there will be questions about his durability. Rakestraw missed time during the season with a groin injury and suffered a core muscle injury that cost him games at the end of the season and an appearance at the Senior Bowl. Depending on medical evaluations closer to the draft, what he put on tape during his time should warrant being a first-round selection.

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