2024 NFL mock draft: Vikings snag QB, Jets get a steal in April’s first-round projections

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Sportsnaut

With less than two weeks to go, our 2024 NFL mock draft is reaching the final stages. NFL free agency addressed the most immediate team needs, but now franchises need to build for the future. That’s exactly what the 2024 NFL Draft is for.

Recent signings, trades, and rumors have impacted a few decisions in our latest mock draft update since last week, and there are plenty more changes coming next week too.

Let’s dive into our latest 2024 NFL mock draft as we turn the calendar to the third week of April.

Related: Most underrated prospects in 2024 NFL Draft, including Michael Penix Jr.

NFL mock draft 2024: Round 1 predictions

1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

2024 NFL mock draft
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have long been locked into Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. After showcasing the playmaking ability to escape dangerous situations when the pocket breaks down while still keeping his eyes downfield and actually executing with an accurate throw, Williams will continue masking his team’s flaws in the pros too. With a superstar talent like Williams, it shouldn’t be long before the Bears become a threat.

Related: 2024 Chicago Bears mock draft

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Jayden Daniels
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders already have a strong structure for Jayden Daniels to thrive in thanks to the presence of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Austin Ekeler. While the offensive line still has questions, Daniels’ mobility makes him the perfect fit for the current Commanders. New OC Kliff Kingsbury has experience working with athletic quarterbacks, and Daniels’ arm makes him a threat through the air too, making him an early Rookie of the Year frontrunner.

Related: 2024 Washington Commanders mock draft

3. New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

NCAA Football: Duke at North Carolina
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of rumors suggesting the Patriots are still listening to offers to trade down, but passing on a potential Pro Bowl quarterback like Drake Maye doesn’t make sense for a team that needs a new identity, either. If the Patriots can surround him with a bit more receiver talent while reinforcing the offensive line, there’s no reason why a strong arm like Maye can’t thrive. He’s not a finished product, but most 21-year-old prospects aren’t. Simply put, the Patriots can’t afford to look past his upside because even three first-round picks aren’t worth a young star quarterback.

Related: Best NFL players of all time

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

marvin harrison jr.
Brooke LaValley / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’ve heard all the rumors of a team trading up for J.J. McCarthy here, and while we wouldn’t rule it out, the Arizona Cardinals might not get what they’re asking for in return. Why are they setting the price so high? Because Marvin Harrison Jr. might just be the best prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft class. With Harrison Jr. on board, Kyler Murray becomes a much more effective option, making the Cardinals an immediate threat. It’s either MHJ or start over at QB in the near future. We’re taking Harrison.

Related: 2024 Arizona Cardinals mock draft

5. Minnesota Vikings*: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

TRADE: Minnesota Vikings trade 11, 23, and 129 to Los Angeles Chargers for 5th pick, 69th pick

If rumors of Jim Harbaugh wanting to add another offensive lineman but not a left tackle are true, then the Chargers may be the perfect trade partner for the Vikings. Moving down to 11 still allows them to get either a top offensive line prospect or take the best receiver/tight end available and fill their other need at 23.

The Vikings have the most draft capital among QB-needy teams looking to trade up. They likely didn’t need to move up to five, but as mentioned, the Chargers may be the perfect trade partner if they’re interested in filling multiple key needs early on.

Getting their QB of the future without giving up a 2025 first-round pick allows the Vikings to keep surrounding J.J. McCarthy with young talent. If McCarthy can go from leading a run-heavy offense at Michigan to a high-scoring passing attack that prioritizes feeding Justin Jefferson the ball, then the Vikings can have immediate success.

Related: Florio Wonders if Vikings are Waiting for Pick-Swap Tampering Reward from Falcons

Related: Jim Harbaugh to Stay True to Roots in 2024 Draft, AFC Scout: O-Line Focus Won’t Change for Chargers

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

NCAA Football: Georgia St. at Louisiana State
Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

Moving down a bit and landing Rome Odunze could work wonders too, but if the Giants are allowed to select Marvin Harrison Jr. or Malik Nabers, then they shouldn’t hesitate to add either star receiver. Landing Nabers, one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL Draft, at six feels like a steal. Most importantly, the Giants would finally have a No. 1 wideout for their franchise quarterback.

See where Daniel Jones lands in Sportsnaut’s NFL QB Rankings

7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

joe alt
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Tennessee Titans were the third team to draft an offensive lineman, but this time, they can add the best OL prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. While there’s hope Peter Skoronski can take a second-year leap, Joe Alt should have a much smoother transition than the former Northwestern product. Widely considered the most polished offensive line prospect in the class, Alt will buy Will Levis a lot of extra time in the pocket.

Related: Tennessee Titans mock draft 2024

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After solving their biggest needs in free agency, the Falcons now need to turn to the next one by selecting the top edge rusher in the draft class. Dallas Turner has the ability to change Raheem Morris’ defense by blowing up plays in the backfield on a consistent basis, helping take pressure off the secondary too.

Related: 7-round Atlanta Falcons mock draft

9. Chicago Bears: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Laiatu Latu
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Adding Montez Sweat at last season’s trade deadline was the start of building an effective pass rush, but the Bears need to finish the job now with Laiatu Latu. This is a player who can do it all, whether it’s overpowering defenders with what’s been described as “Mensa-level” hand usage that allows him to wreak havoc in the backfield or even drop back into coverage to keep quarterbacks guessing on his next move. Latu’s stock may be impacted by past neck issues, but he’s racked up 23.5 sacks since those injury concerns arose; he can clearly play.

10. New York Jets: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Brock Bowers
Credit: Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

After adding Tyron Smith and Mike Williams in free agency, the New York Jets can focus on the best player available, which is clearly Brock Bowers. While adding future tackle depth or another receiver will be considered too, Bowers can be a Pro Bowl level player right away, helping Aaron Rodgers and Co. reach their goals now instead of building for later.

2024 NFL mock draft: Broncos get QB, Saints go WR

11. Los Angeles Chargers*: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

TRADE: Los Angeles Chargers trade 5th and 69th picks to Minnesota Vikings for 11th, 23rd, and 129th picks

If this outcome rings true on draft day, the Chargers would have to be thrilled with the results. Rome Odunze may be viewed as the third-best receiver prospect, but he has No. 1 wideout potential. Adding the 6-foot-3, 212-pound athlete with 4.45 speed gives Justin Herbert a fair replacement for Mike Williams, and there’s hope he can be even better.

Related: From Last to First? Ex-NFL QB Believes Los Angeles Chargers Can Topple Chiefs in AFC West

12. Denver Broncos: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

The Denver Broncos may not have gotten the perceived top-four quarterback prospects in the draft, but getting Michael Penix Jr., who some have suggested has the best arm in the talent pool, is still a win for Sean Payton. The Broncos may have the worst QB depth chart in the NFL as is, so it really doesn’t matter where they find their new starter, but getting him before the Raiders should make Denver’s front office happy. Penix isn’t a perfect prospect, but Coach Payton is confident in his process, and if he can harness Penix’s cannon arm while helping him become more consistent, the Broncos could end up with one of the best quarterbacks in the draft.

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

Missing out on the top quarterback prospects hurts, but the Las Vegas Raiders may have accepted their fate during free agency when signing Gardner Minshew III to compete with Aidan O’Connell in 2024. While they can still add a QB on Day 2, reinforcing the offensive line for whoever’s under center is still a top priority. Taliese Fuaga plays with an intensity that makes it seem like he’s a can’t-miss prospect. Whether he settles in at guard or tackle remains to be seen, but the Raiders could help in both areas, and Fuaga could be the perfect fit.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders mock draft 2024: Building the team and finding a QB

14. New Orleans Saints: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Reinforcing the offensive line has to be considered here, but adding a freakish weapon like Brian Thomas Jr. and a homegrown LSU one at that feels like a classic Saints move. Thomas Jr. could use refinement as a route-runner, but at 6-foot-3, with 4.33 speed, the Saints will take a chance on his sky-high potential.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

15. Indianapolis Colts: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Cornerback is the Indianapolis Colts’ biggest need, and there’s no better prospect than Cooper DeJean. He’s an athletic freak who could even help the Colts at safety if needed, but his coverage skills may be put to better use at corner. With plus ball skills plus the versatility to play anywhere in the secondary, DeJean is definitely an immediate starter.

Related: Indianapolis Colts mock draft 2024: Providing support for Anthony Richardson

16. Seattle Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

It really doesn’t matter what position he lands at in the pros; new Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb knows what Troy Fautanu is capable of from their time at Washington, and Seattle needs help at several positions along the line.

Related: Updated 2024 NFL power rankings

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

After allowing the 26th-most passing yards and 25th-most touchdowns allowed, it’s clear the Jacksonville Jaguars need an injection of talent in their secondary. Quinyon Mitchell has aced the pre-draft evaluation process, standing out at the Senior Bowl, blazing a 4.33-second 40-yard-dash, and that’s after receiving elite coverage grades from Pro Football Focus, forcing more incompletions than all other FBS cornerbacks in the past two seasons.

Related: NFL defense rankings 2024

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

At this point, the Bengals take the best player available in Byron Murphy II, but he also fills a key need after DJ Reader’s departure. Murphy is an explosive defensive tackle with phenomenal strength and impressive athleticism. Excellent as a pass-rusher or run-stuffer, Murphy can be an immediate star on all three downs as a rookie.

Related: 2024 Super Bowl odds

19. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

You could blindly throw a dart on defense and fill one of the Los Angeles Rams’ team needs. But after losing Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd in the past two offseasons, it’s time to get another pass-rushing threat. Jared Verse is extremely powerful off the line, but he also has rare quickness for a player his size (4.58 40 time). He can definitely be a game-wrecker in the NFL.

Related: Los Angeles Rams mock draft 2024

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

There’s consideration for a receiver, cornerback, and even a center here, but the Pittsburgh Steelers can’t go wrong with a potential franchise left tackle like Olu Fashanu. An impressive athlete with quick feet, Fashanu should have no trouble competing for a starting spot as a rookie.

2024 NFL Draft projections: Eagles and Cowboys retool

21. Miami Dolphins: JC Latham, OL, Alabama

Mike McDaniel understands the importance of building in the trenches, and JC Latham accomplishes that goal by bringing a versatile skillset that could work at guard or tackle for the Miami Dolphins. Already possessing great footwork and impressive upper-body strength, Latham looks like an immediate starter in the NFL.

Related: 10 most underrated free agent signings, including Russell Wilson

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Terrion Arnold may be the better player right now, but Nate Wiggins has a higher ceiling than the Alabama cornerback. Wiggins is an extreme athlete (4.28 40 time) who also brings a lengthy frame (6-foot-1) and impressive instincts. If he can become more consistent, the Eagles could have a shutdown cornerback.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles mock draft 2024

23. Los Angeles Chargers*: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

TRADE: Los Angeles Chargers trade 5th and 69th picks to Minnesota Vikings for 11th and 23rd pick

Getting a new WR1 plus a starting right tackle should make Jim Harbaugh a happy camper. With Rashawn Slater having the left tackle job locked down, the Chargers can afford to grab what might be the best pure right tackle prospect in the draft in Amarius Mims. A monstrous player (6-foot-7), Mims will make sure the Chargers are physical in the trenches.

Related: ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Reveals ‘Favorite Fit’ For Los Angeles Chargers, Jim Harbaugh

24. Dallas Cowboys: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

After losing two starters along the offensive line, the Dallas Cowboys need to make sure they don’t take a massive step back in the trenches after having the NFL’s top offense a season ago. Graham Barton played tackle at Duke, but he’s projected to be a starting-caliber center in the NFL. Yet, if there’s anyone who values versatility from their offensive linemen, it’s the Cowboys, and they’ll be happy to play Barton where he’s most effective.

25. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Now that Jordan Love has shown he’s the future at QB, the Green Bay Packers need to ensure their face of the franchise stays healthy by providing him with a strong offensive line. Despite being 6-foot-8, Tyler Guyton has the capability to play either tackle spot, where he projects to be one of the best pass protectors in the NFL.

Related: 2024 Green Bay Packers mock draft

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Getting better in the trenches has to be considered, but the Buccaneers have also lost multiple secondary starters over the past couple seasons. Terrion Arnold has a nose for the football and isn’t afraid to blow up plays as a run defender either. With his burst and agility, Arnold should be able to develop into a No. 1 cornerback in no time.

27. Arizona Cardinals: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Cardinals have several needs remaining, including on both sides of the trenches, and in the secondary. Sean Murphy-Bunting was brought on to be one of the team’s starting cornerbacks, but NFL teams need at least three reliable options, and Arizona isn’t there yet. Kool-Aid McKinstry has good ball skills, above average size, and the ability to excel in press coverage.

28. Buffalo Bills: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Buffalo Bills had no issues moving on from Stefon Diggs, but replacing his production won’t be done by Curtis Samuel. Adonai Mitchell, a 6-foot-2 receiver with 4.34 speed, will help Bills Mafia quickly move on from No. 14. As the kids say, Mitchell has ‘that dog’ in him, but he doesn’t always bring that passion to every down. Still, his ability to haul in passes that seem out of reach, combined with a toughness that won’t give in easily after the catch, can make Mitchell a star in Buffalo.

Related: NFL playoff predictions

29. Detroit Lions: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota

Adding a cornerback would be nice, but Brian Branch’s positional flexibility allows the Lions to still improve their secondary by adding a starting safety in Tyler Nubin instead. Nubin doesn’t possess top-end speed, but it doesn’t seem to matter, thanks to his excellent instincts that always place him near the ball. He could make an immediate impact in Detroit.

Related: Top NFL free agents in 2024

30. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

He may not be an immediate starter, but Darius Robinson has the power to make an early impact as a pass rusher in the NFL. The Ravens can line him anywhere on their defensive line or along the edge, where he uses an overpowering bull rush to get home with ease.

Related: NFL MVP odds 

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Morgan, OL, Arizona

The San Francisco 49ers need to find another starter along the offensive line, and Jordan Morgan could be the perfect fit. He played tackle in college, but he might actually be better at guard in the NFL. If so, he could compete for the starting left guard spot or possibly even at right tackle. If he can stick there, perhaps taking over for Trent Williams down the line isn’t out of the question.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

The Kansas City Chiefs could look to take a receiver or more offensive line help, but Jer’Zhan Newton is the best player available. Chris Jones is dominant in the trenches, but we’ve seen the Chiefs try drafting him some help in recent seasons, but none have developed into impact players quite yet. ‘Johnny’ Newton should be able to excel as a pass rusher and a run stopper with the Chiefs.

Related: 2024 Super Bowl odds

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