2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith's 2.0

Apr 01, 2024
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith's 2.0

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

Not much has changed in projecting Williams to the Bears. Rumors are that Washington is still holding out hope and making contingency plans should the window open for Williams to be available. While Washington may be holding out hope, no move that Chicago has made signals that they will make this pick available. Everything points to Williams being the future in Chicago.

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

J.J. McCarthy has risen throughout the draft process but I don’t buy that there is any tangible reason that he would be in consideration here over Daniels or Maye. I have been in the Maye camp and think he is the best fit for Washington, but there is a lot of smoke that signals that Daniels is the best choice. The Washington front office has been tight-lipped about their intentions and I don’t think that anyone has a solid grasp on which way they are leaning. There is a dynamic that separates Daniels from the others, and with a roster that's being rebuilt, Daniels's ability to make plays with his feet could cover some holes along the offensive line.

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

Two things that I have consistently heard throughout this process are that the Patriots plan on drafting a QB here at three and that Daniels is the top QB on their board. There is some information out there reporting that in this scenario that the Patriots may prefer McCarthy over Maye. Analysts seem to be very split on Maye, with many suggesting that Maye could need to sit for a year while ironing out some footwork issues. McCarthy, on the other hand, didn’t have to throw it a ton in college and was able to operate in a run-heavy scheme. I think Maye still has the highest ceiling, and after teams get to see him throw at his pro day, I think he will be the pick here.

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

It’s no secret that Arizona has shown heavy interest in Marvin Harrison Jr. They have also made it known that they are open for business should any number of teams want to move up for a QB. I lean towards the Cardinals making this pick, mainly due to them having another pick in the first round. It will be hard to add a WR with a similar level of talent later in the first round. The cut-off for the top-3 WRs in this draft seems to be around pick ten. The Cardinals need an identity on offense. I think adding a player with the pedigree of Harrison Jr. to go along with Kyler Murray makes the most sense.

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

There are rumors floating about suggesting that the Vikings have the framework in place with the Chargers for this trade to take place. I think there will be other teams vying to get to either pick four or five to select a QB but the Vikings have acquired assets that seem to put them in the lead to move up. There are connections that suggest that the Vikings want to select Drake Maye, but recent insight that I have received from a Minnesota insider believes that if both QBs were there, the Vikings would select McCarthy over Maye. I think Maye is the better prospect, and thus, he is already off the board, so if the information is correct, the Vikings get their guy here in McCarthy.

6. New York Giants - 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)

The Titans have made a decision to build this team around Will Levis. That means that they will either add weapons around him or bring in more protection. With the signing of Calvin Ridley, signs point towards this pick being an OT. Joe Alt is the most pro-ready tackle in this year’s draft, but some think he is already close to his ceiling. Olu Fashanu is a player that some think could have been the top OT selected in last year’s draft had he declared. There are multiple players in this draft that have RAS scores that would fit the past drafting history of Bill Callahan, but Joe Alt’s 9.92 score and fundamentally sound technique would make him a plug-and-play protector on day 1.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)

Turner to Atlanta has become the chalk-pick of the draft. Aside from Caleb Williams to Chicago, Turner is the second most matched player among mock drafts. It makes sense with Atlanta having a new defensive-minded HC and a defense that has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush over the years. While I won’t sway from consensus this go round, Quinyon Mitchell is a player that is gaining some steam that Atlanta is rumored to be interested in.

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

Chicago has made moves throughout free agency that gives them flexibility in the draft. Adding an edge rusher or offensive line help are in play for this pick considering the trade for Keena Allen. I still think there is a solid chance that Chicago adds another weapon for Caleb Williams. Odunze had an impressive college campaign at Washington and has continued to impress front offices throughout the draft process.

10. New York Jets - Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)

Bowers has been a tough projection throughout the pre-draft process. Most draft analysts agree that Bowers is a top-end talent, but he plays a position that has not historically been valued as a priority. It’s also not a priority for most of the teams drafting in the top-15. The Jets could take Bowers here as another weapon to add to an offense expected to get Aaron Rodgers back this season. The Jets did a solid job of addressing an offensive line that was a weakness in 2023. They did so with veteran talent that has also had some injury history over the years. The Jets may still want to address the offensive line, but for now, Bowers is the projected pick. Another thing to keep an eye on is that the Jets may look to move out of this spot.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (via MIN) - Taliese Fuaga (OT, Oregon St.)

If Jim Harbaugh wants to build this roster through the trenches, there may not be a better player to start with than Fuaga. There is some dissention amongst evaluators as to whether Fuaga can play on the left side but that’s not an issue in Los Angeles that already has that side set. Fuaga can start at RT and has the versatility to play inside should the need arise.

12. Denver Broncos - Brian Thomas (WR, LSU)

The Broncos are in a conundrum at QB. They are seemingly in a situation that will require them to either overpay to move up or overdraft a QB at 12 that should be drafted later. In this scenario, the Broncos decided to address the WR position with rising LSU product Brian Thomas. There is a possibility that Denver would look to move down and acquire more draft capital, and draft a QB later in the first round. After sending Jerry Jeudy packing and other rumors suggesting that Courtland Sutton isn’t in long-term plans, Thomas would inject youth and athleticism into a questionable receiving room.

13. Las Vegas Raiders - Quinyon Mitchell (DB, Toledo)

While the Raiders would love to find themselves in a scenario where they could make a run at Jayden Daniels, it's hard to envision a situation in which that happens. There are strong feelings that this pick will either be a DB or offensive lineman. Here, the Raiders get Mitchell, who has aced every part of the draft process thus far.

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 maynot 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 ceiling amongst all draft eligible tackles.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Jared Verse (EDGE, Florida St.)

DB has been in high consideration throughout the mock draft season. Edge rusher should be in consideration as well. Some teams have been rumored to like Jared Verse over Dallas Turner. Here the Colts add a long limbed versatile pass rusher with hopes of addressing DB later in a deep draft. Verse would fit in nicely opposite Kwity Paye and give Indianapolis a pass rush they have often lacked.

16. Seattle Seahawks - Troy Fautanu (OT, Washington)

Fautanu to Seattle is picking up steam across the industry. The hiring of Ryan Grubb as OC makes Fautanu an instant fit along a young and improving offensive line. The Seahawks have two young running backs that would benefit from an improved offensive line. Fautanu should be a plug-and-play option from day one.

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.

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.

19. Los Angeles Rams - Byron Murphy (DL, Texas)

Future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald decided to retire in the offseason. While it’s hard to expect any rookie to fill his shoes, Byron Murphys seems like a solid prospect to replace him. Murphy projects to be the top DT in the draft and would fit along the interior of the Los Angeles defensive line.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Amarius Mims (OT, Georgia)

The Steelers have made significant moves at QB. With Russel Wilson projected to start and Justin Fields vying for playing time as well. Both QBs have done some of their best work when complimented by a strong running game. Adding a specimen like Mims on the right side would solidify an offensive line that already has a solid stable of RBs on the roster, along with a stout defense.

21. Miami Dolphins - Graham Barton (IOL, Duke)

The Dolphins have an offensive line that is in flux. Adding a player with the versatility to play all five positions along the offensive line could give Miami a sense a stability that they don't seem to have heading into the 2024 season Barton is projected to play along the interior and has flown up draft boards largely due to his utility at multiple positions. He would be a valuable piece to add to an offensive line lacking premium talent.

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

The Eagles struggled defensively in the secondary last year. Adding secondary help should be a top priority in the draft and would go a long way in helping take pressure off the offense. Wiggins measured in smaller than expected but, fortunately, ran well. The Eagles struggled in the secondary in 2023, and adding a DB with the speed of Wiggins could give them coverage on the back end to complement their overhauled pass rush.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (via MIN) - Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas)

The Chargers missed out on Marvin Harrison Jr. earlier in the round. After addressing the offensive line, with the pick of Fuaga, Jim Harbaugh turns his attention to rising WR Adonai Mitchell. The departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have left the Chargers with holes to fill in their WR corp. Josh Palmer has been solid, but the play of 2023 draft pick Quentin Johnston left a lot to be desired. Mitchell’s 4.34 speed, along with his solid route running, would fit well in Los Angeles and give Justin Herbert another weapon to help his development.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Jordan Morgan (OT, Arizona)

The Tyron Smith era has come to a close, leaving the Cowboys looking to fill the vacancy. Jordan Morgan is a player who is rising up draft boards that the Cowboys have shown interest in. Morgan would be a solid selection to solidify the offensive line. Another player in consideration that the Cowboys have shown a lot of attention is LB Edgerrin Cooper. He would be an option if the Cowboys decide to move Tyler Smith to LT permanently.

25. Green Bay Packers - Cooper DeJean (DB, Iowa)

The Packers have needs at both safety and nickel positions, and DeJean could seemingly fill both, giving Green Bay flexibility on defense. DeJean has been unable to work out during the draft process due to injury but will likely do so closer to the draft. OT is another position that will be heavily mocked to the Packers and was a strong consideration 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 - 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 edge rusher here. Chop Robinson has an explosive first step and would bring a dimension that the Arizona defense is currently missing. Offensive line is another position that could be in consideration at this spot.

28. Buffalo Bills - Kool-Aid McKinstry (DB, Alabama)

Buffalo has had some salary cap casualties thus far in the offseason. Chief among them has been Tre’Davious White. Replacing White will be difficult to do but McKinstry was once thought to be in the running to be the top defensive back drafted. Unfortunately, medical testing revealed a fracture in his foot, which has been the reason for dropping in most mocks. If evaluations project McKinstry to be ready for the start of the season, he would be a solid selection for a Buffalo team that needs secondary help.

29. Detroit Lions - Laiatu Latu (EDGE, UCLA)

Latu is a player that should likely go higher. There are major concerns about his medicals, and that is information that we don’t have access to. I will err on the cautious side and drop him down due to medicals. In this situation, his refinement as a rusher would fit in Detroit opposite Aiden Hutchinson. It will be hard to project Latu until we get closer to the draft due to his medicals, so he could certainly go much higher than I have him here.

30. Baltimore Ravens - Tyler Guyton (OT, Oklahoma)

Baltimore is thought to heavily covet two OT’s projected to be drafted in this range. Guyton is one of those players and projects similarly to the recently traded Morgan Moses. The Ravens have a habit of letting the board fall to them where they then scoop up talented players that should not have fallen to them. In this scenario, Guyton fills a need and fits the scheme.

31. Denver Broncos (via SF) - Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)

Sean Payton and the Broncos struck out on moving up for a QB early and, instead, traded into the first round to select Bo Nix. Nix is a player who should fit Sean Payton’s scheme and have the ability to stay disciplined in what the Broncos want to do. I have heard from multiple sources that front offices are higher on Nix than fans and media understand. He reportedly interviewed well with multiple teams and has been linked to Denver as a fallback option. Picking Nix at 12 may be too much for Denver to stomach but giving up future picks for the opportunity to select him here fits with Payton’s past history.

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

The Chiefs addressed the WR position during free agency by bringing in Hollywood Brown. Recent news brings about more concerns with 2023 rookie standout Rashee Rice possibly being involved in a hit-and-run accident. That situation will have to work itself out as more information comes about. For now, I think Kansas City will address the offensive line. Suamataia is a name that has been linked to Kansas City throughout the draft process. Tony Pauline has even reported that if Suamataia is on the board, it will be hard for the Chiefs to pass on him. Other reports back up this sentiment.

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