2024 NFL Mock Draft: Connor Allen's 1.0

Feb 20, 2024
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Connor Allen's 1.0

With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, it’s time to start turning our attention to the NFL Draft. I focus a lot of time on betting on the NFL Draft, and my focus for these mock drafts is trying to craft the most accurate mock draft. Last year’s was above average relative to the rest of the industry, and while we had our worst year of draft betting in 2023, we crushed for multiple years prior.

If you want all of my official NFL Draft bets and join our NFL Draft Betting discord, you can get a 3-month betting subscription for just $5 with Vivid Picks, a whole year with BetMGM for just $10 or join for the regular price.

To be transparent off the rip, I value information significantly more than my own player takes and analysis. I watch tape of top prospects to understand how they play and their fit within teams but at the end of the day, I don’t work for an NFL team and am not in each team’s front office. When penciling in picks for mock drafts I try and put myself as a fly on the wall in the Draft Room and imagine what each GM is most likely to do, not what I would do.

My first mock draft is largely focused on team needs and player fits within those teams. We will have significantly more information to work with after the Combine and Free Agency, so things may move quickly. With that being said, here is my first 2024 NFL Mock Draft...

2024 NFL Mock Draft

1. Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams (QB, USC)

There has been an ongoing debate in the media about keeping Justin Fields vs drafting Caleb Williams. At the end of the day, when you consider the floor and ceiling of Fields and Caleb plus resetting the rookie contract, it becomes immediately clear in my mind that drafting Caleb is the right decision. His arm talent, accuracy, ability to extend plays, and mobility make him the closest thing to Patrick Mahomes we have seen. My only question is whether or not Caleb can consistently play quickly within structure, and I think the Bears' hiring of OC Shane Waldron is a slam-dunk in helping smooth that transition.

2. Washington Commanders - Drake Maye (QB, UNC)

I truly think it is 50/50 at this point between Drake Maye and Daniels for the second pick, as both have their own merits. Maye is a gunslinger with prototypical size and great arm strength. He was a bit inconsistent this past year, completing 3% fewer passes and two more interceptions on almost 100 fewer attempts. For what it’s worth, former GM Rick Spielman, who consults for the Washington Commanders and helped them choose their new front office, really likes Drake Maye and said in a show last week that would be his selection (H/T Hayden Winks).

3. New England Patriots - Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU)

Daniels is a late-bloomer who is coming off an insane, Heisman-winning season. He is an electric athlete who is also capable of making plays from the pocket. The Patriots have already been relatively vocal about wanting to take a quarterback. New HC Jerod Mayo essentially said they are going to take the best player at the most important position. That would be a quarterback, and at this point in this mock draft, that is Jayden Daniels. He is a lot different than any quarterback the Patriots have had recently, but with Mayo potentially open to making this look different, Daniels could be a fun fit in New England.

4. Arizona Cardinals - Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR, Ohio State)

The Cardinals have seemingly committed to Kyler Murray for at least one more year and need to surround him with some talent if he can have a real chance. Marvin Harrison Jr is the real deal. He posted back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons with 14 touchdowns a pop. He is a clear No. 1 wideout from Day 1 and would likely be very successful if Kyler Murray can regain any of his previous form.

5. Los Angeles Chargers - Joe Alt (OT, Notre Dame)

Brock Bowers is a popular pick here, and maybe that winds up being the case, but with Jim Harbaugh in town, I think they either focus on beefing up the offensive line or trade down and add a defensive player. On top of Harbaugh, the Chargers' new GM is a former player personnel executive from the Ravens (Joe Horitz), plus their new OC is Greg Roman, who has been one of the run-heaviest OCs in the league. An offensive lineman paired with a Day 2 running back would make a lot of sense for the new-look Chargers.

6. New York Giants - Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)

There is some discussion that Nabers is better than Marvin Harrison Jr. That’s not even a knock on MHJ as much as a compliment for Nabers. He can absolutely fly and will probably run in the 4.3’s at the NFL Combine. If that happens, he could easily be the next pick after Marvin Harrison Jr by the time draft day rolls around.

7. Tennessee Titans - Olumuyiwa Fashanu (OT, Penn State)

The Titans need help in a lot of areas, but I imagine they start in the trenches. Fashanu played really well in 2022 but wasn’t quite as good last season. There are multiple OL-needy teams here at the top, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see 4 or 5 go from picks 5-15.

8. Atlanta Falcons - J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)

The Falcons will almost certainly add to their quarterback room this offseason and are very much in play to trade for Justin Fields. If that happens, it changes the dynamic here a bit. If they don’t, I expect them to be aggressive in getting a quarterback here. All of the early hype has been that McCarthy is expected to be drafted much higher than people originally thought (late first-rounder).

9. Chicago Bears - Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)

The Bears would be pairing their shiny new QB, Caleb Williams, with Odunze here. Pairing those two along with D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet could instantly change the Bears passing game. Odunze could go a bit higher than this if he tests well at the combine, but he is coming off a 1600-yard season and put plenty on tape to inspire confidence he can be an instant contributor at a high level. The only marginal downside is he will be 22, which makes him a slightly older prospect.

10. New York Jets - J.C Latham (OT, Alabama)

The Jets are arguably a good offensive line away from being one of the best teams in the AFC if Rodgers can give them competent quarterback play. Latham is 6’6 and 330 pounds and a multi-year starter at Alabama.

11. Minnesota Vikings - Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)

The Vikings generating pressure on plays they don’t blitz could be a massive advantage for them in Brian Flores’ scheme that focuses so much on getting pressure. Turner is a great athlete who could develop into a force at the next level.

12. Denver Broncos - Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)

The slide for Bowers ends with the Broncos. Bowers is a fantastic prospect, but I'm having a tough time finding a landing spot that makes a ton of sense. He likely won’t be taken in the top 4 and won’t be selected by the Falcons or Vikings. I would also make a case against the Giants and Bears making much sense given their current tight end rooms. Bowers is an amazing talent at tight end and racked up 942 yards in 2022. He suffered what was expected to be a season-ending injury in 2023, but he returned anyway. His testing will be interesting to see. This is toward the back end of his range.

13. Las Vegas Raiders - Terrion Arnold (CB, Alabama)

The Raiders need help in a lot of spots, including corner. They also need a new quarterback, but the hiring of Luke Getsy signals it won’t be Justin Fields after the lackluster past few years. I could see them being aggressive to try and trade up and grab McCarthy, but in this mock, I have them standing pat and adding a potential cornerstone of their secondary in Terrion Arnold.

14. New Orleans Saints - Amarius Mims (OT, Georgia)

The Saints continue to bulk up their offensive line here. Mims was injured last season but played in 30 total games for the Bulldogs throughout his career, including a win over Ohio State in 2022. At 6'7 and 330 pounds, Mims is a behemoth and would be a great piece from Day 1.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB, Georgia)

McKinstry’s stock is all over the place in the early going and it’s looking like this is the top part of his range. Malik Nabers already said Kool-Aid was the best corner he matched up against all year, for what it’s worth. The Colts need to improve their defense, so addressing corner makes a ton of sense.

16. Seattle Seahawks - Jackson Powers-Johnson (C, Oregon)

The Seahawks' current center graded out as one of the worst starters in the league, and Powers-Johnson would be an immediate upgrade for them. They could look to add to the defensive line as well, but I think they go with a player in the trenches on either side here.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jared Verse (EDGE, Florida State)

Verse would be an absolute steal here for the Jaguars, who desperately need to add difference-making talent to their defense. I have seen Verse projected to go as high as the top-10.

18. Cincinnati Bengals - Brian Thomas Jr. (WR, LSU)

The Bengals are very likely to lose Tyler Boyd and may lose Tee Higgins in free agency, which means they are very much players to add a wideout in the first round. If Thomas is there, it’s a pretty natural fit. Two LSU wideouts are going to be selected in the first round this year, with Thomas almost certainly the second off the board. Thomas racked up 17 touchdowns on 68 receptions and 1,177 yards. He could improve his draft stock even more with a solid performance at the combine.

19. Los Angeles Rams - Cooper DeJean (CB, Iowa)

The Rams' defense truly had one of the worst “on-paper” units heading into the season littered with mid-round picks all getting their first lick at professional ball. They greatly outperformed expectations with minimal talent outside of Aaron Donald, so adding a few more strong pieces could make a world of difference. DeJean is the third corner of the board in this mock but could easily be the second.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Quinyon Mitchell (CB, Toledo)

The Steelers' defense needs to be less reliant on pressure. When T.J. Watt and company got home, they allowed the lowest completion rate in the league. When they didn’t, they were one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Adding talent to the secondary is a great place to start.

21. Miami Dolphins - Troy Fautanu (OT, Washington)

The Dolphins' offense was among the best in the league without a good offensive line. If the Dolphins can find a way to consistently buy Tua Tagovailoa time they will be in a much better position to continue growing the running game and expand their passing-game repertoire.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Nate Wiggins (CB, Clemson)

Eagles DC Sean Desai was fired mid-season, and their secondary was routinely burned by wideouts all year. Their 2022 dominance was mostly schedule-related, as they smothered JV quarterbacks. Adding a player like Wiggins would be a quick improvement.

23. Houston Texans - Taliese Fuaga (OT, Oregon State)

C.J. Stroud did the most with what he had up front, but even when healthy, their OL wasn’t a very good unit. Stroud has already shown he is a franchise quarterback, so keeping him upright needs to be the priority.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Guyton (OT, Oklahoma)

The Cowboys have Tyron Smith at LT, but Guyton plays right tackle, which is where the Cowboy's OL was weakest. Current RT Terrence Steele graded out as the 70th (of 81) best tackles in the league.

25. Green Bay Packers - Ennis Rakestraw (CB, Missouri)

The Packers' defense continues to look good on paper and then underperform. Jaire Alexander has played well, but the Packers haven’t been able to find another corner to pair with him in base packages.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Chop Robinson (EDGE, Penn State)

The Bucs could go in a variety of directions here but created pressures at the 8th-lowest rate last season. Chop ranks as one of the best pass-rushers in this class and could go much, much higher than this if a team in the teens likes him over some of the corners or offensive linemen.

27. Arizona Cardinals - Graham Barton (IOL, Duke)

The Cardinals continue to add on the offensive side here after adding Marvin Harrison Jr earlier. They could opt for a defensive player after drafting Paris Johnson Jr last year and defensive HC Jonathan Gannon leading the way, but he did a good job making something out of very little in 2023.

28. Buffalo Bills - Troy Franklin (WR, Oregon)

Gabe Davis will very likely not be on the Buffalo Bills next season, and Stefon Diggs did very little down the stretch last season. Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid both stepped up, but they still need an outside wideout capable of stretching defenses. They get exactly that here with Franklin, who is expected to perform well at the NFL Scouting Combine.

29. Detroit Lions - Byron Murphy (DL, Texas)

I am probably way too low on Byron Murphy here, but this would be a fun fit. The Detroit Lions' run defense played really well for most of last season but still has some holes up front. It wouldn’t surprise me if they drafted a corner or someone in the secondary, either.

30. Baltimore Ravens - Jer’Zhan Newton (DL, Illinois)

This one is less about need and more about including Newton in this range because he is an absolute force. Newton racked up 43 pressures last season, along with 8 sacks and 28 hurries, which is a massive number in the Big 10.

31. San Francisco 49ers - Jordan Morgan (OT, Arizona)

I’m not going to say that the script is out on how to beat Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense, but the Chiefs dared the 49ers to throw by playing a ton of man, cover-0, and blitzing a lot. Purdy couldn’t hang under the pressure consistently, and part of that was due to the offensive line. I'm not taking anything away from Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive game plan, but the Niners' offensive line was not as dominant as they had been in previous years. Outside of Trent Williams, this Niners OL could use upgrades.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Keon Coleman (WR, Florida State)

The Chiefs are once again the Champions despite trotting out some of the worst ancillary pass-catching options. Justin Watson, Marques Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney make up the saddest group of secondary pass-catchers we have seen in a while. Adding another option outside of blossoming rookie Rashee Rice and aging Travis Kelce should be a priority. The Combine will likely play a big part in which wideout sneaks into the first round.

Honorable mentions: Darius Robinson (EDGE, Missouri), Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas), Ladd McConkey (WR, Georgia), Bo Nix (QB, Oregon).

If you want all of my official NFL Draft bets and join our NFL Draft Betting discord, you can get a 3-month betting subscription for just $5 with Vivid Picks, a whole year with BetMGM for just $10 or join for the regular price.

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