Mock Draft 3.0

Mock Draft 3.0

The NFL season has concluded with the crowning of the Kansas City Chiefs, who won their second straight Super Bowl, and third in five years, by edging the San Francisco 49ers in an overtime thriller, 25-22.


The Chiefs and 49ers now join the other 30 teams ready to improve their prospects for 2024 through free agency and the upcoming NFL draft. Nine teams in the NFL already started the reevaluation process by replacing their head coaches. Coming up at the end of February is the 2024 Indianapolis Combine, where hundreds of draft prospects will be timed, weighed, and measured, their backgrounds scrutinized within in an inch of their lives. These measurables, analytics, and profiles represents another building block for the April draft, which will be held in Detroit. 


I’ve been pretty conservative in the first two mock drafts posted already. Mock 3.0 takes into consideration some of the offseason moves teams may be compelled to make to stabilize their cap situation heading into free agency. Other moves will be based on the team's current draft capital, and what that leverage or lack thereof means in terms of landing an impact player in Detroit. 


Starting with the first overall pick, the Washington Commanders continue their facelift and, as did the Carolina Panthers last season, obtain the No. 1 overall pick from the Chicago Bears. And, like the Panthers a year ago, the Commanders select their next franchise quarterback. 


And that's how this Mock Draft 3.0 kicks off.



1. Washington Commanders (from Chicago): Caleb Williams, QB, USC



*Trade: Washington sends No. 2, No. 36, No. 67, and a 2025 first-round pick to the Chicago Bears. In return they receive the No. 1 and No. 75 selections in the 2024 draft.


Total Draft Picks: 9


RD 1: RD 2: 36, 40  RD 3: 67, 101 RD 4: 103  RD 5: 138  RD 6: 181  RD 7: 221 (Prior to projected trade)


Team Needs: The Washington Commanders come into the new season under new ownership with several ties to the West Coast. During their head coaching search they did get snubbed by top-flight offensive coordinators Ben Johnson (Detroit) and Bobby Slowik (Houston) who decided to keep their current positions with their respective teams. This paved the way for Washington to pull Dan Quinn away from NFC East rival Dallas to be the new regime's first head coach. They also hired offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury, who saw great success in college and his first couple of years as head coach in Arizona.


The Commanders comes into free agency with the most cap space of any NFL team, and they will be looking to bring in high-level defenders that fit the scheme Quinn used to more or less great success in Dallas (and before that Seattle). On the offensive side of the ball, they need to rebuild their offensive line and protect their newly acquired star of the future, Caleb Williams.


Caleb re-rooted to DC: Drafting Williams would be the perfect fit for Washington. As previously mentioned the new ownership team tapped into assets out west and do so again by taking the USC product. Bringing Williams back to his D.C. roots just makes sense. He is considered by many the prize prospect of this draft, drawing comparisons to Patrick Mahomes, though he likely will find it difficult to live up to those lofty expectations at the beginning of his career. He also brings with him a bit of a “diva” reputation after football-related incidents in 2023 had some questioning his discipline and leadership; whatever steller veterans the Commanders still have on the roster will be called upon help ensure Williams adopts the professional demeanor expected of an NFL quarterback. 



2. Chicago Bears (from Washington): Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State



*Trade: Bears receive No. 2, No. 36, No. 67, and a 2025 first-round pick from the Washington Commanders. In return they send the No. 1 and No. 75 selections in the 2024 draft to the Commanders.


Total Draft Picks: 5


RD 1: 1, 9  RD 2: none  RD 3: 75  RD 4: 111,123  RD 5: none  RD 6:  none RD 7:  none ( Prior to projected trade)


Team Needs: The Chicago Bears defense stepped up in the second half of the season after acquiring end Montez Sweat from Washington. That single trade and the eventual better play of QB Justin Fields helped Matt Eberflus’ retain his job as Chicago head coach. This upcoming combine will be the deciding factor on what the team is going to do with Fields, who in 2024 will be entering his fourth season. With a dearth of offensive weapons — outside of tight end Cole Kmet — for Fields to work with and a subpar offensive line to protect him, how would swapping Fields for a younger quarterback solve any of the team's problems on the offensive side of the ball? Yes, Fields does have issues with accuracy, but why not draft for him a wide receiver whose catch radius resembles the broad side of a barn?


MHJ in the Windy City: As with that of Caleb Williams, the presence of Harrison Jr.  in the NFL is eagerly awaited. Harrison Jr. has great size, speed, and the HOF pedigree of his father Marvin Harrison Sr. Whether or not the Bears decide to stick with Fields, they still need a big-bodied receiver who can move the chains, be a red-zone presence and make plays as a blocker. Also, he is only going to make last year's big get, DJ Moore, and other Chicago receivers better because of all the attention he will receive right from his very first game.



3. Denver Broncos (from New England) : Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

*Trade: New England receives Jerry Jeudy, Patrick Surtain II, the No. 12 overall pick and a conditional 2025 second-round draft pick that could potentially become a first-rounder. In return, the Pats send Denver the No. 3 and No. 68 selections in this year’s draft. Along with a 2025 third-round pick.


Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: 12  RD 2: none  RD 3: 81  RD 4: 122  RD 5: 144, 146  RD 6: 210  RD 7: 230 ( Prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: The Denver Broncos clearly need to solidify their quarterback position this offseason. The Russell Wilson experience has come to a crashing halt, and the Broncos still need to figure out the salary cap ramifications that comes with that failure. Sean Payton had great success with Drew Brees in New Orleans and needs to bring in a young gunslinger to shape and model if he is going to remain the head coach in Denver beyond 2024.


Mile High Maye: Drake Maye possesses the prototypical size and strength of an NFL quarterback. He may have to sit behind and learn from Russell Wilson in 2024 as the Broncos are likely unwilling to take the dead cap hit by moving on from the veteran QB this year. Wilson hanging around for another season could be a blessing in disguise, as some of the more successful quarterbacks in the league this past year (Mahomes) sat their rookie season or, in the case of Green Bay's Jordan Love, watched for a couple of years before taking over. 

4. Arizona Cardinals: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Total Draft Picks: 12

RD 1: 4, 27  RD 2: 35  RD 3: 66, 71, 90  RD 4: 105  RD 5: 137, 161  RD 6: 188  RD 7: 224, 241

Team Needs: The Cardinals come into this draft with plenty of draft capital. They extended quarterback Kyler Murray through 2028, thereby committing themselves to the former No. 1 overall pick. With receivers Greg Dortch and Marquise Brown hitting free agency, Arizona looks to bring in Nabers to play alongside Rondale Moore and promising 2023 draft selection Michael Wilson.


Won’t you be my Nabers: Nabers assisted his LSU Tiger teammate Jayden Daniels to the Heisman trophy last season. He is drawing comparisons to another former LSU Tiger, also selected No. 4 overall, Cincinnati's Ja'Marr Chase. If Nabers comes even remotely close to that level of play as a rookie, the Cardinals could enjoy a marked turnaround under second-year head coach Jonathan Gannon. Murray will also be grateful to have another big-play wide receiver after DeAndre Hopkins departed last season.



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

Total Draft Picks: 8

RD 1: RD 2:  37  RD 3: 69  RD 4: 106  RD 5: 139  RD 6: 183  RD 7: 223, 256

Team Needs: The Los Angeles Chargers have brought Jim Harbaugh back to the NFL and “Noooobody” utilizes the TE and FB more than the former Michigan coach. This team has six players occupying the majority of its cap space — defensive ends Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are each set to take $32 million-plus cap hits next season — so the Chargers, as part of a new youth movement, will be looking to unload some veteran contracts this offseason. 


Brockness Monster: Athleticism doesn’t fall far from the trunk of the Bowers family tree. Both parents and a sister had stellar collegiate athletic careers. The big tight end could be an immediate impact player for Los Angeles and a reliable middle-of-the-field target for QB Justin Herbert. He might also be the most dynamic big-play tight end Harbaugh has had since Vernon Davis a decade ago in San Francisco.



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

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: 6  RD 2: 39, 47  RD 3: 70  RD 4: 108  RD 5: 140  RD 6: 185  RD 7: none

Team Needs: The New York Giants have committed to Daniel Jones for at least this upcoming season and possibly 2025. This offense needs a complete overhaul as free agent RB Saquon Barkley is expected to go elsewhere, and multiple wide receivers might leave as well. The Giants have yet to develop a playmaker on the outside for Jones, and while they may try to nab a wide receiver in free agency, the failure of the Kenny Golladay signing in 2022 might make them gun shy.


Empire of Rome: We didn’t see a wide receiver run in last year's draft until the 20s. Now we have the third wide receiver being selected in the top six picks. Odunze brought elite big-play abilities to the Huskies as they made their CFP run this season, before losing to the Michigan Wolverines in the National Championship Game. Odunze led the NCAA in receiving yards (1,640) and set the single-season yardage record for the Huskies as well. He also had 100 yards receiving in 10 of 15 games, another team record and a giant temptation for a New York offense that went deep into 2023 before one of its receivers logged a 100-yard receiving game.

7. Tennessee Titans: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Total Draft Picks: 8

RD 1: RD 2: 38  RD 3: none  RD 4: 107  RD 5: 160  RD 6: 180, 194  RD 7: 219, 240

Team Needs: The Tennessee Titans found a new head coach in Brian Callahan and also finds itself with a ton of cap room heading into the offseason. As for the draft, the Titans would love to see any of the top three wide receivers fall into their laps; either would significantly help second-year stud Will Levis as he prepares for his first year as full-time starting QB. Though it makes sense to focus on the offense with an offensive-minded head coach, the Titans ranked right in the middle of the pack in nearly all defensive categories in 2023. The front office will be hard pressed to pass on a talent like Turner were he to make it this far down the board. 


Dallas in Nashville: Turner finished last season for the Crimson Tide with double-digit sacks and tackles for loss. The Titans will be looking for him to bring that fire and tenacity as they hope to fill the void left by the departure of LB Bud Dupree. 



8. Atlanta Falcons: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1:  8  RD 2:  43  RD 3:  74, 79  RD 4:  110  RD 5:  142  RD 6:  199 RD 7: none

Team Needs: On offense, the Falcons have one of the league's most explosive young talents in second-year back Bijan Robinson, who will be looking to build off the nearly 1,500 scrimmage yards he racked up as a rookie. The team needs to bolster its offensive line so as to both open holes for Robinson and pass-block for whomever takes over as its starting quarterback. That QB could be taken with this pick, but I'm inclined to think Atlanta will pursue a signal-caller through free agency, with Kirk Cousins or Sam Darnold being logical options.


With all this in mind, it would be wise for the Falcons to build around the veteran Jake Matthews, and Alt would be a terrific start. 


An ALT in the ATL: The former Fighting Irish All-American tremendous size and, when lined up opposite another 6-8 tackle Kaleb McGar, the Falcons' OL will boast twin tower on the edge. He is considered the most polished tackle prospect in the draft. Selecting Alt will also allow the veteran Matthews to move to guard, where he might more productive as his career winds down.



9. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

*Trade: The Las Vegas Raiders trade No. 13, No. 77, and No. 113 and Hunter Renfrow to the Chicago Bears. In return they receive No. 9 and No. 123.

Total Draft Picks: 9

RD 1: 13  RD 2: 44  RD 3: 77  RD 4:  13  RD 5: 147  RD 6: 209 RD 7: 222, 225, 227 (prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: The Las Vegas Raiders become real-life raiders by pillaging this pick from the Bears and stealing Daniels from either the Vikings or Patriots, who are picking 11th and 12th in this mock. Releasing Jimmy Garoppolo after June 1 will free up almost $25 million in cap space, and it seems a foregone conclusion that the Raiders will be looking to improve on last year's fourth-round selection, Aidan O’Connell. Depending on what Denver does with Russell Wilson, it may not be a terrible idea to replace veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer with Wilson to mentor the two young quarterbacks.   


J. McDaniels Out, J. Daniels IN: When you hear that Raiders will draft an LSU quarterback, it's hard not to think back to the 2007 draft, when the team, with the No. 1 overall pick, selected JaMarcus Russell, who turned out to be one of the biggest busts in league history. Daniels has all the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, so it would be a total surprise if history were to repeat itself. The Heisman-winning QB will no doubt be a must-see attraction in Sin City for years to come. 



10. New York Jets: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Total Draft Picks: 8  

RD 1:  10  RD 2:  none  RD 3:  72  RD 4:  112, 114  RD 5:  none  RD 6:  187 RD 7:  253, 254, 257

Team Needs: The New York Jets want to provide Aaron Rodgers with as much protection as possible next season as he looks to rebound from the disastrous Achilles injury that knocked him out for the full season. With several lineman hitting free agency, the Jets need to bring in young talent to bolster both the running and passing games. They need to move on from Mekhi Becton, the No.11 overall selection in the 2020 draft, who never fully lived up to his potential, having missed nearly two full seasons of football due to a knee injury. Even when he did get on the field he was a total liability to the offensive line. 


Fashanu Show: The selection of Fashanu allows the Jets to show Mekhi Becton the door. Fashanu isn't quite as refined as Joe Alt, but a number of observers love the big tackle's athleticism and upside. So will the Jets. 



11. Minnesota Vikings: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

Total Draft Picks: 8

RD 1: 11  RD 2: 42  RD 3: none  RD 4: 109, 130  RD 5: 156, 165  RD 6: 182, 195  RD 7: none

Team Needs: The Vikings could very well lose veteran quarterback Kirk Cousin this offseason, so bringing in a quarterback makes sense. But look for Minnesota to do that in free agency, targeting either Sam Darnold or Zach Wilson — former top three overall picks by the Jets — as Cousin’s replacement.


The picture on defense is what determines this pick. With veterans such as edge rusher Danielle Hunter set to hit free agency, and safety Harrison Smith a potential cap cut, the Vikings are staring at a defensive rebuild this offseason. 


Latu the Bruin in Minny: The biggest question mark surrounding Latu as the draft nears will be how his medicals check out. After taking a two-year medical leave in college because of a neck injury, Latu made his mark as a defensive force for UCLA last season. He can bring a much-needed pass rush to a Vikings defense looking to offset a leaky secondary.

12. New England Patriots (from Denver): Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

*Trade: Denver sends Jerry Jeudy, Patrick Surtain II, No. 12 and a conditional 2025 second-round draft pick that potentially becomes a first-rounder. In return, New England sends Denver the No. 3 and No. 68 selections in this year's draft and a conditional 2025 third-round selection. 

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: RD 2: 34  RD 3: 68  RD 4: 104  RD 5: 136  RD 6: 190  RD 7: 229 (Prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: Promoting Jared Mayo to head coach in theory brings stability — at least familiarity — to the New England sideline next season. On the surface, Mayo seems to have better interpersonal skills than his famed predecessor, but whether that positive energy has a positive effect on quarterbacks Bailey Zappe and former franchise QB Mac Jones remains to be seen. This team can ill afford to bring in another young quarterback if they want to stay relevant in the AFC East. Instead, look for New England to bring in a veteran, such as Jacoby Brissett to start next season.


Fuaga, the Samoan Patriot: Fuaga, has established himself as one of the premier run-blockers in this draft class. With nearly 1,600 snaps in his collegiate career, he already possesses the veteran mentality needed to do things the “Patriots Way." Considering the absence of receivers and consistent quarterback play, at least seeing the return in 2024 of a solid Pats' running would be a welcome sight for New England fans.



13. Chicago Bears (from Las Vegas): Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

*Trade: The Las Vegas Raiders trade No. 13, No. 77, and No. 113 and Hunter Renfrow to the Chicago Bears. In return, the Bears send the Raiders the No. 9 and No. 123 picks in this year’s draft.

Total Draft Picks: 6

RD 1: 1, 9  RD 2: none  RD 3: 75  RD 4: 111,123  RD 5: 143  RD 6:  none RD 7:  none ( Prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: The Chicago Bears already addressed the wide receiver position in this mock by first taking Marvin Harrison Jr. and then trading for Hunter Renfrow. They have enough cap room to resign Jaylon Johnson and keep him as a staple of the secondary. However, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to pair Johnson with another young dynamic cornerback.


Crimson Tide Red Arnold: The tandem of Arnold and Johnson locking down opposing team's wide receivers means Bears fans can put down their Billy Boy Arnold records, as they will no longer be singing the blues next season. Considering that 'Bama coach Nick Saban trusted Arnold to start for the Crimson Tide as a redshirt freshman speaks highly of the maturity and skill set this young playmaker brings to the NFL.



14. Arizona Cardinals (from New Orleans): Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

*Trade: The Arizona Cardinals send New Orleans No. 27, No 66, No 71. In return, the Saints send No. 14 and a 2025 fourth-round pick.

Total Draft Picks: 12

RD 1: 4, 27  RD 2: 35  RD 3: 66, 71, 90  RD 4: 105  RD 5: 137, 161  RD 6: 188  RD 7: 224, 241 (Prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: The Cardinals boosted their wide receiver corps with their first pick. Now they elect to spend their draft capital to move up a few spots to address the defensive side of the ball. 


May the Verse be with you: Head coach Jonathan Gannon is looking for a difference-maker on defense, and that is what Jared Verse will be from Day 1. Once he learns to play with more discipline against the run, Verse will be a force at the NFL level. 



15. Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo 

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1:  15  RD 2:  46  RD 3:  82  RD 4:  118  RD 5:  150  RD 6:  193  RD 7:  232

Team Needs: The Indianapolis Colts now find themselves in a division filled with young gunslingers — C.J. Stroud (Houston), Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville), and Will Levis (Tennessee) — and they will be looking to counter by bringing in a talented corner to play opposite their 2023 second-round pick, Julius Brents. That the aging Kenny Moore is set to enter free agency only intensifies the need to get better at the cornerback spot.


The Indy Rocket: Mitchell is moving up many draft boards in this year’s draft. Over his last two seasons at Toledo, he finished near the top of college football in pass breakups (30) and he recorded six INTs. Mitchell boasts exceptional top-end speed but needs to work on his tackling, especially in run support. 



16. Seattle Seahawks: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

Total Draft Picks: 6

RD 1: 16  RD 2: none  RD 3:  76. 78  RD 4: 119  RD 5: 151  RD 6: none   RD 7: 233

Team Needs: Mike Macdonald has been hired to succeed Pete Carroll as the Seahawks' head coach. As the former defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, Macdonald understands the importance of building up that side of the ball through the draft. He comes into a situation where the Seahawks already field a good young secondary, which includes potential stars Devon Witherspoon and Tariq Woolen. So, the new head coach will be looking to fortify his front seven. This quest begins with Newton, who can be a dominating interior lineman.


Jer’zhan of the Emerald City: Newton established himself with a great career playing for the Fighting Illini. He was a two-time All-American selection, and is coming off a 2023 season where he earned Big Ten defensive Player of the Year. He has the skill set to be a disruptive force both in stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.



17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State

Total Draft Picks: 9

RD 1: 17  RD 2: 48  RD 3: 96  RD 4: 115, 117  RD 5: 152  RD 6: 179, 211  RD 7: 234

Team Needs: Jacksonville is coming off a end-of-the-season collapse that cost them a division title and a trip to the playoffs. Several big name stars like Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, and K’Lavon Chaisson might hit free agency, and the Jaguars will be looking to replenish their defense through the draft.  


The Duuuuval Chop: The selection of Robinson will help the Jaguars keep in check the AFC South's young quarterback talent for several years to come. 


18. Cincinnati Bengals: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Total Draft Picks: 9

RD 1:  18  RD 2:  49  RD 3:  80  RD 4:  116  RD 5:  148, 175  RD 6:  196  RD 7:  235, 252

Team Needs: Locking down the right tackle position once and for all has been a glaring need for the Bengals for a long time. The Jonah Williams project didn’t work out, and Cincinnati has to make Joe Burrows' health a priority. It starts with this pick.


Welcome to the Jungle, Amarius: Mims is a mountain of a man. Right tackle seems like a natural fit for Mims, who has the size, power and ability to engulf defenders at the point of attack. The only worry is that Cincinnati may see the big tackle selected well before this spot. 



19. Los Angeles Rams: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Total Draft Picks: 11

RD 1: 19  RD 2: 52 RD 3: 83, 100  RD 4: none  RD 5: 153, 154  RD 6: 191, 212,  217, 218  RD 7: 237

Team Needs: After years of ridding themselves of draft picks in order to bring in veteran players, the Rams need to take the opposite approach this offseason. They could go in a number of directions with this pick, but their secondary, which struggled at times last year, should be an area of focus. 


“Nate the Great” in Hollywood: Wiggins will bring immediate stability to the secondary. Dabo Sweeney, his college coach, praised Wiggins for his impact as a player and a leader for the Tigers. In a best-case scenario, Wiggins could emerge as the lockdown corner the Rams lost when Jalen Ramsey left. 



20. Pittsburgh Steelers: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1:  20  RD 2:  51  RD 3:  84  RD 4:  120, 121  RD 5:  none  RD 6:  197  RD 7:  238

Team Needs: Pittsburgh continued its winning ways under Mike Tomlin in 2023, though the play of its offense was very up and down. Certainly, a better 2024 depends on whether QB Kenny Pickett fulfills his potential in what will be his third season. To help Pickett get to where he needs to go, the offensive line needs to improve. And Latham could play a major role in that improvement.


JC the Steeler: Latham displays all of the measurables and ability you want from an elite NFL offensive tackle. He has great size and length, but needs to be more consistent with his balance and in finishing off blocks. If he doesn’t, he could become an Andre Smith 2.0, a big-time college tackle who turned into an underachieving disappointment at the pro level. 


21. Miami Dolphins: Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL, Oregon

Total Draft Picks: 6

RD 1: 21  RD 2: 55  RD 3: none  RD 4: none  RD 5: 157  RD 6: 186, 200  RD 7: 239

Team Needs: The Dolphins enter the offseason with little capital at their disposal both in the draft and free agency. Miami is over the salary cap and has only six draft picks, a double whammy that will make it difficult address areas of need. One area this pick could address is the middle of the offensive line.


Miami Mauler: Powers-Johnson has solidified himself as the No.1 guard prospect, and the Dolphins are one team where his impact could be felt from the get-go. A great run blocker and an even better pass blocker, he'll help unleash the dynamic rushing duo of Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane while allowing Tua to step up in the pocket on pass plays.



22. Philadelphia Eagles: Graham Barton, IOL, Duke

Total Draft Picks: 10

RD 1: 22  RD 2: 50, 53  RD 3: 97 RD 5: 145, 170-71, 178  RD 6: 184, 189

Team Needs: The 11-6 Eagles started the season hot but finished 1-5 over its final six games before being bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Needless to say, they have some work to do this offseason. Philly has already addressed its coordinator positions by bringing in Kellen Moore and Vic Fangio to be their new OC and DC, respectively. 


But they will be looking to bring in some new players, as well. On offense, Philadelphia needs to a boost to its running game, which fell off in 2023 and made life difficult for QB Jalen Hurts. Rumors are circling about the Eagles shopping star receiver AJ Brown. Yet, the biggest question that drives this pick is whether or not center Jason Kelce is officially retiring from football.


Sir Barton of Brotherly Love: I'm moving forward with the assumption that Kelce is not coming back. Hurts is a prized asset and protecting him has to be the Eagles' top concern. Selecting Barton allows the coaches to move Landon Dickerson to center, a position he excelled at when playing for Alabama. 



23. Houston Texans: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Total Draft Picks:

RD 1: 23  RD 2: 59  RD 3: 86  RD 4: 124, 128  RD 5: none  RD 6: 202  RD 7: 245, 249

Team Needs: Demeco Ryans did exactly what he was hired to do, bringing legitimacy and stability to the Houston franchise. Last year's top rookies, quarterback C.J. Stroud and LB Will Anderson, became stars and major contributors to the Texans' transformation. The team will be looking to revamp its defensive line this offseason and won’t have to look very far to find the player who will help to do just that.


No Murphy's Law here: A common theme in this mock is the need for AFC South teams to defend against a bevy of talented quarterbacks within the division. Houston is no different. Based on his stats in college — six sacks and a remarkable 34 QB pressures — Murphy could really help improve the Texans' pass defense.


24. Dallas Cowboys: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: 24  RD 2: 56  RD 3: 87  RD 4: none  RD 5: 173  RD 6: 213  RD 7: 231, 242

Team Needs: The Cowboys come into the offseason over the salary cap, resulting in them possibly having to part ways with longtime left tackle Tyron Smith. So filling the void Smith's departure creates could be an option with this pick. They may also want to address their cornerback situation. Considering how this mock has played out, Dallas would be hard-pressed to pass on Fautanu, the best offensive tackle available. 


Agent Fautanu in Big D: Fautanu is an economics and real estate major at the University of Washington. He, more than most, should be aware that the left tackle position is prime real estate in the NFL, and that the Cowboys will be looking to find an economically friendly replacement for Smith. What Fantanu lacks in measurables, he makes up for in technique, athleticism, and tenacity. And he can close a sale on a duplex like no other prospect in the draft.



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

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: 25  RD 2: 41, 58  RD 3: 88, 91  RD 4: 127  RD 5: 168  RD 6: 204, 216  RD 7: 243, 251

Team Needs: The 2023 season may go down as the one that solidified Matt LaFleur as one of the NFL's top head coaches. He led not only an up-and-coming team to the playoffs, but did so with a quarterback in just his first season as an NFL starter and a group of young wide receivers that blossomed into a dangerous corps by season's end. So it stands to reason that the Pack will look to the other side of the ball with this selection.  


DeJean PepperJack Cheese: DeJean can electrify with his play at corner, and he's also a dynamic kick returner. The former Hawkeye's draft stock has stagnated as observers wait to see how well and how quickly DeJean recovers from a season-ending broken leg in November. As of this writing, he continues to rehab from that injury, which means that the prospect who, if healthy, would have been selected somewhere between picks 10–15 falls into the 20s.



26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Total Draft Picks: 7

RD 1: 26  RD 2: 57  RD 3: 89  RD 4: 126  RD 5: none RD 6: 203 RD 7: 244, 255

Team Needs: The Bucs received a revitalized Baker Mayfield in 2023, and he played himself into a soon-to-be contract extension. But Mayfield's 2024 will look less rosy if big-play wideout Mike Evans leaves the Bucs this offseason, as appears likely. If that happens in March, expect Tampa to look for Evans' replacement in April's draft. 


Spartan-Seminole-Buc: Keon Coleman has all the measurables and ability to fill Evans' shoes. He's an athletic, explosive player who's prone to making the spectactular contested catch — not unlike Evans. However, time will tell whether he can consistently produce at the NFL level like big No. 13 has done for a decade.


27. New Orleans Saints (from Arizona): J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

*Trade: The Arizona Cardinals send New Orleans No. 27, No 66, No 71. In return, the Saints send Arizona the No. 14 selection and a 2025 fourth-round pick.

Total Draft Picks:

RD 1: 14  RD 2: 45  RD 3: none  RD 4: none  RD 5: 149, 167, 169, 174  RD 6: 201  RD 7: none (prior to projected trade)

Team Needs: A "head-scratcher" is the term to describe a talented Saints team that seems incapable of getting a stranglehold on the NFL's weakest division. Last offseason, New Orleans invested heavily in veteran Derek Carr, signing the 11-year vet to a big contract that Carr needs to justify with a greatly improved 2024. But the Saints must prepare for more of the same and the likelihood that they will need a new quarterback to take control in 2025.


J.J. McMardi Gras: It’s Mock 3.0 and I have finally decided to find a way for J.J. McCarthy to be a first-round selection. The hesitation here is that the Wolverines never really rely on McCarthy to be highly productive — the team's march to the championship was based as much on defense and a dominant running game. Sure, McCarthy is a national championship-winning QB — and so was Mac Jones and A.J. McCarron. Will McCarthy be any different? Is he a game manager or a field general? Only time will tell.



28. Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Total Draft Picks: 11

RD 1: 28  RD 2: 60  RD 3: 99  RD 4: 129  RD 5: 143, 159, 162  RD 6: 192, 198, 206 RD 7:  246 

Team Needs: The Buffalo Bills are having to circle their wagons as salary cap woes have them surrounded. They might lose receiver Gabe Davis to free agency, and they are also going to have to make a decision on Stephon Diggs, who seems to be getting more and more disgruntled in Buffalo. He also carries a cap savings of $22 million if they can find a post-June 1 trade partner. A trio of Khalil Shakir, Dalton Kincaid, and Thomas Jr. would be a great set of pass-catchers for Josh Allen to throw to. 


It’s Brian, not Thurman: Thomas Jr., may be viewed as second fiddle to his Bayou brother Malik Nabers, but let’s not forget that recent LSU receiver tandems have seen great success at the NFL level. Nabors and Thomas Jr. could very well follow in the footsteps of Odell Beckham Jr.-Jarvis Landry and Justin Jefferson/Ja'Marr Chase.



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

Total Draft Picks: 7 picks

RD 1: 29  RD 2: 61  RD 3: 73, 92  RD 4: none  RD 5: 163  RD 6: 207  RD 7: 247

Team Needs: The Lions will likely leverage their cap health to lock up long term key players already on the roster. But two positions this team needs to address in this draft are defensive back and the interior of the D-line. After a tremendously successful 2023 draft, you can bet that whatever 2024 prospects GM Brad Holmes settles on will receive full-throated support from a revived Lions fanbase.


More Kool-Aid for Detroit: I had this pinpointed in mock draft 1.0 and I’m coming back to it now. I believe a couple of cornerbacks are going to set themselves apart during their combine workouts: Alabam's Terrion Arnold and Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell. As a result of their climb, McKinstry will tumble down the board, which does not take away from his talent and the ability he showed over the course of his Crimson Tide career. McKinstry should also be quality punt returner in the NFL, if his 15.8 yards-per-return average last season is any indication. 


30. Baltimore Ravens: Bralen Trice, DE, Washington

Total Draft Picks: 8 picks

RD 1: 30  RD 2: 62  RD 3: 93  RD 4: 131, 134  RD 5: 164 RD 6: none  RD 7:  226, 248


Team Needs: The Baltimore Ravens will be seeing veteran defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Von Noy parting ways via free agency. They might very well lose Patrick Queen, especially in the wake of the team committing a lot of money to his linebacker mate Roquan Smith. After going offense with yast year's first-round selection, the Ravens return to a defensive mindset for this year's first-round pick. 


Bralen to Baltimore: Trice's 2023 season led the Washington Huskies to the national championship game. The star DE is relentless and athletic, though he'll likely need to improve his technique to be a pass-rushing force in the NFL. Nonetheless, his combination of leadership and other intangibles make him a seamless fit for the Baltimore defense.


31. San Francisco 49ers: Darius Robinson, DE/DT, Missouri

Total Draft Picks: 8 picks

RD 1: 31 RD 2: 63 RD 3: 94, 98  RD 4: 124, 131  RD 5: 175  RD 6: 208, 213, 214 RD 7: 248

Team Needs: The 49ers need to mine up some cap space this offseason, or they will be losing some key pieces to their NFC championship squad. Multiple defensive linemen will be entering free agency, and San Francisco does not have the cap space to retain them. So bringing in a young and cheap developmental prospect makes sense. 


Canton-Mizzou-Bay Area: Continuing his quest west, Robinson has come a long way from his roots in Canton, MI. His workouts in the upcoming weeks will determine if he has solidified himself as a first-round selection or not. His versatility to play on the outside or inside might be what the 49ers need considering they will potentially be losing guys to free agency — Javon Kinlaw, Chase Young, Randy Gregory and Clelin Ferrell — from all along the defensive front. 


32. Kansas City Chiefs:  Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Total Draft Picks: 6 picks

RD 1:  32  RD 2:  64  RD 3:  95  RD 4: 132  RD 5: 157, 171  RD 6: none  RD 7: none

Team Needs: The Chiefs spent most of the season waiting for a wide receiver to become the playmaker that Mahomes could trust outside of Travis Kelce. Eventually, Rashee Rice, last year's second-round selection became just that. But the rest of receiving corps struggled with dropped passes for most of the season. With this pick, the Chiefs could think about bringing in another playmaker, such as Texas' Adonai Mitchell or Oregon's Troy Franklin with this pick. However, with the problems the offensive line had last season and left tackle Donovan Smith entering free agency, going with Smith's successor seems like a wise move.


Chief Guyton: Guyton found a home in Oklahoma after transferring from TCU in 2022. In 2022-23, Guyton emerged as stellar pass blocker playing right tackle for the Sooners. In those two seasons, he logged almost a thousand snaps but allowed just one sack and 11 quarterback hurries. 




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