2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith’s Final

Apr 25, 2024
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith’s Final

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

Caleb Williams has always been the pick for the Bears. Every move and action reflects this to be the case. Books have lined this appropriately without variance. Williams only had one top-30 visit, and every media member is aligned. This is what a sure thing looks like.

2. Washington Commanders - Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU)

This hasn’t been the smoothest evaluation process for the Commanders or Jayden Daniels, but at last, here we are. Washington may not be Daniels's first or even second landing preference, but it is seemingly the one most pundits agree is the best fit.

3. New England Patriots - Drake Maye (QB, UNC)

Robert Kraft will make the final decision here. Ultimately, I don’t think the Patriots get the haul they want to move off of this spot. New England may be the most equipped to handle Maye if he does end up needing a red-shirt year to develop. Jacoby Brissett will be a solid mentor and bridge as the Patriots add talent around Maye.

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

The Cardinals are in a position to move down and acquire even more picks from whichever team attempts to move up for a QB. With another first-round pick in tow, I think they will stick and make the pick. At some point, you have to add elite talent. Arizona is one of the teams that are rumored to rank Nabers above Harrison. Some tuned-in Cardinals reporters expect it to be Nabers or a trade-down, but I am sticking with my gut and taking Harrison here.

5. Minnesota Vikings - J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)

The Chargers are thought to be interested in an OT and trading down. I think Minnesota calls the bluff on Arizona’s asking price and makes the deal with Los Angeles. McCarthy is the QB left on the board here and while some think Maye is the target for the Vikings, I think it will be hard for the Patriots to pass on him at pick three. McCarthy lands here with the Vikings in what could be the best spot for any of the QBs in this draft to succeed.

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

I think the Giants have strong feelings towards Maye. If the Patriots do indeed take McCarthy instead of Maye, that would open up the door for the Giants to move up with the Cardinals. While that move was heavily considered here, I think the Giants stick and select Nabers to infuse some talent into their WR corps. Odunze has been thought to be a cleaner prospect, and there are some rumblings that he could also be the pick.

7. Tennessee Titans - Joe Alt (OT, Notre Dame)

The thought is that this pick comes down to two players. Alt has been the heavy favorite to be the first offensive lineman off the board throughout the pre-draft process. J.C. Latham however, has made a late push in circles and could also be in consideration here. I’m sticking with the chalk and tagging Alt to Tennessee.

8. Atlanta Falcons (via NYJ) - Laiatu Latu (EDGE, UCLA)

Dallas Turner has been the heavy favorite throughout the process but there is info out there that Atlanta likes Latu more. There are obvious connections to the Atlanta coaching staff that could make this pick happen. Concerns with Latu’s medicals have him sliding down the board in many mock drafts. If his medicals check out, I think he is the pick here. If not, it will probably be Turner. I also suspect this could be a trade-down spot for a team that wants Rome Odunze.

9. Chicago Bears - Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)

The Bears would be ecstatic should Odunze drop into their laps. Unfortunately I think a team will jump ahead of them to keep that from happening. Byron Murphy is thought to be a top-10 player and could be the first defensive player off the board. Late steam from book makers would support this idea.

10. New York Jets (via ATL) - Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)

This is a tricky spot because multiple players have been linked to the Jets here. Another thought process believes that they want to trade out of this spot to acquire a pick to replace the capital they lost in the Aaron Rodgers trade. Two players, Brock Bowers and Rome Odunze are both weapons and thought to be among the cleanest prospects in the draft. I think the Jets add one of the two, and in this case, it’s Odunze. I think it’s also a possibility that they could trade up to make it happen.

11. Los Angeles Chargers - J.C. Latham (OT, Alabama)

Harbaugh makes the deal and moves down to add more picks and a mauling OT. Latham has picked up steam, and this makes sense for multiple reasons. First, Harbaugh gets to put his college QB in a solid situation to succeed. Second, he adds picks and gets to mold the team in his image of how he wants to play football. It’s a win on all fronts.

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

Sean Payton is desperate to make a move to get a QB. Unfortunately, the draft capital is lacking, and trading future picks would not make a ton of sense for a roster that isn’t exactly built to win now. Payton goes best player available and gets an offensive weapon to move around the offense.

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

There has been a ton of smoke connecting Michael Penix to the Raiders here at pick 13. I just can’t come to place that value on Penix in this range. Instead, the Raiders add the top CB in the draft, and Arnold moves in as an immediate starter in Las Vegas.

14. New Orleans Saints - Olu Fashanu (OT, Penn St.)

The Saints are already projected to have OT as a high priority coming into the offseason. It’s hard to envision a scenario where Mickey Loomis doesn’t draft an offensive lineman in April. Here they get Fashanu, who projects to have one of the highest ceilings amongst all draft-eligible tackles.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Brian Thomas Jr. (WR, LSU)

The Colts are thought to want to add an athletic pass catcher with their pick. After missing out on Brock Bowers they could be looking to move off of this pick. If they stay here or explore trade down options, Brian Thomas Jr. could be their guy. I reported weeks ago that there are concerns about Thomas’ shoulder. While that could scare off some teams or drop his value in the draft, the Colts seem like a good fit for his talents.

16. Seattle Seahawks - Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)

The slide for Turner ends here. New HC Mike McDonald will certainly have a vision for how to use the athletic edge. A trade-down is also in play for any team that may want an OT of CB. With it being hard to pin down a partner, Turner is the pick here.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kool-Aid McKinstry (DB, Alabama)

While a Jones fracture derailed the pre-draft process for McKinstry, he is thought to be headed in the direction of being ready for training camp. McKinstry is a battle-tested CB with SEC pedigree. The Jaguars have a tendency of targeting power-5 players, and McKinstry fits a need in the secondary.

18. Cincinnati Bengals - Taliese Fuaga (OT - Oregon St.)

The Bengals have been hard to peg in this draft. They could go a number of directions but protecting Joe Burrow is paramount. In this scenario, Fuaga slides a bit and offers versatility to play guard or tackle along a questionable front in Cincinnati.

19. Los Angeles Rams - Amarius Mims (OT - Georgia)

The Rams need to add talent along the offensive line. Mims is a somewhat polarizing prospect due to his lack of experience, but he checks many other boxes. An interesting note is that both Daniel Jeremiah and Peter Schrager had the Rams trading out of the first round, with both teams that traded into this position selecting Mims.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Graham Barton (IOL, Duke)

Offensive line seems to be the priority for the Steelers in the first round this year. WR could be in consideration but the Steelers have done a terrific job of drafting the position outside of the first round. Graham Barton has been a steady riser throughout the draft process. The Steelers are thought to be interested in both Barton and Mims at this spot, and with Mims off the board, the selection here is an easy one.

21. Miami Dolphins - Jared Verse (EDGE, Florida St.)

Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips both suffered season ending injuries that have their early season availability in question. Add in the loss of Christian Wilkins via free agency and the Dolphins are in need of pass rush help. The Florida State product would bring some relief to a team that has lost talent on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Quinton Mitchell (DB, Toledo)

The Eagles are rumored to want to trade up, but there is little clarity on whether it’s for an OT or a DB. I lean in the direction of DB being more of a need at this point. Mitchell could be a target if they move up or, in this scenario, if he is still on the board here at 22.

23. Minnesota Vikings (via HOU) - Chop Robinson (Edge, Penn State)

It’s hard to project which team will be making this pick. I left Minnesota here even though I have them trading with the Chargers. Whether it’s the Chargers or the Cardinals, Robinson is a player that could make sense for either of those teams or Minnesota should they keep the pick.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Troy Fautanu (OG, Washington)

It’s hard to mock Fautanu after hearing that there may be medical concerns with his knee. It’s difficult to know the extent to which the injury will affect his draft stock. The slide stops here with Dallas. Not only did they have him in for multiple visits, but his versatility and play might just remind them of Zach Martin.

25. Green Bay Packers - Tyler Guyton (OT, Oklahoma)

The Packers need help along the offensive line. Guyton would bring that and likely allow Zach Tom to move back inside to his more natural position at guard. Cooper DeJean is another player who will be considered here.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jackson Powers-Johnson (IOL, Oregon)

Information has continued to come out suggesting that NFL front offices are not as high on Powers-Johnson as media and fans perceive. Powers-Johnson is a bit larger than traditional centers and may project better to guard at the pro level. Powers-Johnson has had formal meetings with the Buccaneers and would project nicely to replace Ryan Jensen.

27. Arizona Cardinals - Darius Robinson (EDGE, Missouri)

The Cardinals need an influx of talent along the defensive line. Robinson’s ability to play multiple positions should be valued in this draft, and I predict it will attract him to multiple teams. Here he lands in Arizona, who could have multiple picks in this range should they trade at 4.

28. Buffalo Bills - Xavier Worthy (WR, Texas)

Xavier Worthy broke the 40-yard dash record at the combine. Some teams will look at that and salivate over the thought of being able to use that speed. There is no secret that Buffalo urgently wants to add WR talent in this draft. While they may trade up to do so, some speculate that they may not want to part with the draft capital it may require. Here I have them selecting Worthy, although Brian Thomas Jr. could also be in play should his medical concerns see him slide.

29. Detroit Lions - Cooper DeJean (DB, Iowa)

There’s some concern about whether DeJean is a safety or a cornerback. What he is, however, is a football player and one that I could see Dan Campbell appreciating. The coaching staff in Detroit is smart and should be able to find a way to make the most of DeJean’s skill set.

30. Las Vegas Raiders (via BAL) - Michael Penix (QB, Washington)

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I didn’t feel comfortable with Penix being the selection at 13, but this spot would make more sense. Baltimore’s GM suggested they would be willing to move down should the right deal present itself. With the desperation that has been coming from Las Vegas, that deal may just come.

31. San Fransisco 49ers - Jer’Zhan Newton (DT, Illinois

Newton is a disruptor along the interior of the defensive line. His presence alongside Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrove could cause fits for opposing offenses. I considered pairing Newton with teams earlier in the round and feel he will hear his name called at some point on Thursday night.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Kingsley Suamataia (OT, BYU)

Strong sources link Kansas City to draft a tackle on Thursday night. There are a few options still available, but I understand that Suamataia had a good visit and workout with the Chiefs. Andy Reid has a connection to BYU players and Suamataia being paired with Reid and a QB the caliber of Mahomes could be the motivation Suamataia needs to reach his potential at the next level.

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