2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith's 3.0

Apr 19, 2024
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith's 3.0

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 - Drake Maye (QB, UNC)

Drake Maye has been my intuition from the outset of the draft process. There are multiple connections to Washington and its coaching staff. The elite of the industry and bookmakers alike have long signaled that the expected pick is going to be Jayden Daniels. While that still could be the case, recent whispers behind the scenes and now even the bookmakers are coming around and changing their stances in the lead-up to the draft. Some of the biggest media members are leaving themselves an out with their wording, while other reports signal that Daniel’s being selected by Washington is no sure thing. I think the Washington front office will finalize the pick by Monday. I lean that it will be Drake Maye due to Maye’s upside and other information I have gathered.

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

Robert Kraft will make the final decision here. Everything that has been reported is that it will be a QB and that trading back is not in the cards. Should Daniels make it to this point I would expect for multiple teams to come in and offer a king’s ransom for the pick. Ultimately I expect New England to stick and make the pick even though Eliot Wolf says they are open for business.

4. New York Giants (via ARI) - J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)

Multiple teams will be vying to move up for McCarthy. What makes the most sense for Arizona would be to move down with the Giants, where they will still be in striking distance for a top WR. In this scenario, the Giants move up to get a quarterback. They have made statements that Daniel Jones is the guy for this year, yet they have made moves that suggest otherwise.

5. Los Angeles Chargers - Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR, Ohio St.)

The Chargers are another team that has been heavily linked to trade back scenarios. If the draft falls this way, I think there is a solid chance they stick and just take the best WR in the draft. The Chargers have had a top-30 visit with Malik Nabers, who some feel would be a better fit. A trade-down would seemingly bring help along the offensive line. Help at right tackle may not be a value proposition this high.

6. Arizona Cardinals (via NYG) - Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)

The Giants have made inquiries with the top-4 teams and specifically the Patriots, to gauge the possibility of moving up for a QB. My understanding is that those talks didn’t produce a scenario that puts the Giants in a position to select one of the top QB prospects. Adding an elite WR prospect isn’t a bad consolation prize for a team that is lacking that on their roster. This is a situation where the talent and draft board match a priority need. Malik Nabers is the most explosive WR in this year’s draft and had production at LSU that rivals Justin Jefferson.

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

Alt has been the heavy chalk throughout the draft process. It makes sense on the surface but I don’t think many people have really thought through the process. Alt could certainly be the pick and I have him slotted here but I am also considering Rome Odunze. Recent rumors also suggest Brock Bowers to be in play as well.

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

Laiatu Latu is the top EDGE on many boards. The issue has always been the injury history. If his medicals check out, he will likely get drafted at a much higher rate than what has been projected. Latu has history and familiarity with the coaching staff that could put him at the top of the Falcons board. Another name to keep an eye on here is Byron Murphy.

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

The Bears would be ecstatic should Odunze drop into their laps here. Odunze would add another weapon for Caleb Williams and be in a great position to develop under the tutelage of Keenan Allen for a year. Should Odunze be gone at this point, the Bears will strongly consider Jared Verse, who is thought to be atop their board at EDGE.

10. New York Jets - Troy Fautanu (OG, Washington)

Fautanu is widely thought to be one of the most versatile linemen in the draft. His ability to play multiple positions would give the Jets the flexibility it has lacked should one of their aging tackles miss time. While most think the Jets will draft and offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers, protecting him may be more important.

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

Minnesota has been mocked to get a QB via trade-up nearly everywhere. In this scenario, they miss out on the opportunity and instead find themselves making a pick here at 11. Dallas Turner has been widely projected to be the first defensive player drafted.

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 - Taliese Fuaga (OT - Oregon St.)

The Raiders may heavily consider a QB with this selection. Michael Penix is thought to be high in the thoughts of Raiders decision makers. While this may seem too high, there is a thought process that the Raiders will have to select Penix before Seattle has a chance. I think this is much too high, and instead, have them linked to the OT position. Fuaga could come in and start immediately on the right side.

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. Now, with reports that Ryan Ramczyk may not be healthy enough to play in 2024 or ever again, that need has grown even more. 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 - Quinyon Mitchell (DB, Toledo)

DB has been highly considered throughout the mock draft season. There is some argument over who will be the first defensive back off the board. Terrion Arnold and recently surging Cooper DeJean have both been linked. Mitchell, however, fits the profile and has aced every part of the pre-draft process.

16. Seattle Seahawks - Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)

This could be the floor for Byron Murphy. Whispers of Murphy being the first defensive player selected have persisted for weeks. New HC Mike McDonald would welcome the interior rush that Murphy brings. I think Murphy to be drafted as the first defensive player off the board is worth taking a stab at.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Terrion Arnold (DB, Alabama)

This is a spot that feels like it will either be a WR or a DB. Arnold offers the best value for a needed spot at this point in the draft. Arnold is in contention to be the top DB drafted. His skill set would bring a much-needed influx of talent on the backend of a defense that has invested heavily among the front seven. Brian Thomas Jr. is another player that could be considered here with the loss of Calvin Ridley.

18. Cincinnati Bengals - J.C. Latham (OT, Alabama)

The Bengals recently signed Trent Brown and while he projects to play RT, there is no guarantee that it will preclude them from drafting more offensive line help. Latham may fall in the first round due to scouts projecting him as an RT only. Latham is a massive man who has some movement concerns that could prohibit him from protecting the blindside. With that said, scouts project him as a rock-solid RT that could get selected as high as 13th.

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

No one really knows what to expect with Sean McVay making a first-round selection. Bets are that it will be on an offensive player. The Rams have done an excellent job at patching together decent protection for Matthew Stafford. The offensive line does need an upgrade in talent, and Mims would provide that. My dark horse pick for the Rams here is Xavier Worthy, should they not go this route.

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 need 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 - Cooper DeJean (DB, Iowa)

The thought process is that Howie Roseman will address either the offensive line or secondary. Lane Johnson is another year older, and ideally, the Eagles would like to have a replacement in-house when the time comes for him to move on. Secondary, however, was an Achilles heel for the Eagles in 2023. Cooper DeJean is surging in draft circles after his fast 40 time and workout after coming off injury. Reports are that the Eagle view him as a versatile corner that can cover multiple positions.

23. Minnesota Vikings (via HOU) - Nate Wiggins (DB, Clemson)

The Vikings could go in a number of directions here. Here, I think they infuse some much-needed talent in the secondary. Wiggins doesn’t have the ideal bulk you would like, but his speed would be even more accentuated on the turf in Minnesota.

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

The Cowboys are reportedly prioritizing the offensive line in the first round. Two players that they have been heavily interested in are Tyler Guyton and Jordan Morgan. There are some questions about whether Morgan projects to G or OT. I will lean in Guyton’s favor here, as it allows the Cowboys to keep Tyler Smith on the interior. Another option Dallas is high on includes Graham Barton, although I expect him to be off the board before the Cowboys pick

25. Green Bay Packers - Kool-Aid McKinstry (DB, ALABAMA)

McKinstry, at one time, was thought to be the top DB in this draft class. A foot injury discovered during the combine stopped McKinstry from showing scouts his capabilities. He was able to run his 40 with the fracture in his foot. That will be enough for some teams to be comfortable. McKinstry meets a lot of the criteria Green Bay usually looks for in prospects, and they have had him in for a top-30 visit.

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 - Chop Robinson (Edge, Penn State)

This is the Cardinals' second selection in the first round. If they are able to grab a WR early, I would expect them to address an edge rusher here. Chop Robinson has an explosive first step and would bring a dimension that the Arizona defense is currently missing. The offensive line is another position that could be considered at this spot.

28. Buffalo Bills - Brian Thomas Jr. (WR, LSU)

Medical concerns and reports that surgery is needed could cause Thomas to slide on draft day. If the reports are correct, Thomas has dealt with an injury during the draft process that will need to be addressed with surgery, which could hamper Thomas's immediate availability to any team that drafts him. That works out for Buffalo in this case, as they get his talent at a discount in this spot.

29. Detroit Lions - Darius Robinson (EDGE, Missouri)

Robinson is a fast-rising player due to his well-rounded play and ability to set an edge. Robinson doesn’t have the most explosive first step but his ability to play the run and rush from the multiple spots along the defensive line would be a welcomed addition to take attention off Aiden Hutchinson.

30. Baltimore Ravens - Jordan Morgan (OT, Arizona)

Baltimore is thought to heavily covet two OTs projected to be drafted in this range. While Morgan is viewed as a guard by some teams, Baltimore is thought to view Morgan as an OT and believe that he could replace Morgan Moses on the right side.

31. Las Vegas Raiders (via SF) - Michael Penix (QB, Washington)

Signals across the league link Michael Penix to the Raiders. With Las Vegas out of range to make a move for the top prospects at the position, the Raiders elect to trade up to select Penix here. Peter Schrager recently reported that the Raiders and Seahawks are teams strongly interested in Penix.

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

No change here from my previous mock draft. The Chiefs had a solid visit with Suamataia and he fits a need. Further intel still points in the direction of Kansas City passing on WR and targeting OT with this selection.

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