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The Sports Branch 2024 Co-op Mock Draft

Updated: Apr 24

With the NFL Draft just two days away, we are back with our official 2024 Co-op Mock Draft, which returns for the first time since 2022. For this mock draft we split up the Sports Branch team and select our picks for the first round based on what we think could happen, including trades. Wes will be representing the odd teams, while CJ will be making the selections for the even teams. Make sure to subscribe to the site and check out CJ on Instagram and TikTok.

 

1. Chicago Bears (Via CAR): Caleb Williams QB, USC

Did you expect anybody else here? Williams to Chicago has been all but guaranteed for quite some time now, but was officially cemented after the Bears traded Justin Fields to the Steelers in March. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, Williams is arguably the best QB prospect since Trevor Lawrence in 2021, or later. The Bears have built a great day-one situation around their new franchise Quarterback and start a new era with this pick.

2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

With Caleb Williams off the board, Washington looks toward North Carolina stud Drake Maye to be their quarterback of the future. Maye is very easily the most “NFL ready” prospect in the draft. He is sturdy, he makes good decisions when throwing the ball, and arguably has the best arm talent in the draft class. With new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsberry calling the shots and a revamped offensive line, I feel like Maye could shine at his new home.


3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels QB, LSU

The draft really starts at pick two with Washington, and New England’s pick is contingent upon what the Commanders do. With Maye being selected right before them, the Patriots opt to select 2023’s Heisman winner in Jayden Daniels. Daniels provides a unique dual-threat ability that New England hasn’t had in decades and showed off his abilities as a passer in his final season at LSU. The post Bill Belichick era begins with a new QB at the helm.


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

Arizona has been noted as a popular trade up spot for a QB needy team in this draft. I do not see a trade happening here as the best player in the draft falls right into their laps. Harrison Jr is a generational talent as he stands at 6’4”, 205 lbs. He has great footwork, sharp route running ability and unbelievable blow by speed for someone with his metrics. After a tremendous college career, he will look to make an instant impact on this young Arizona Cardinals team.


5. Minnesota Vikings (Via Mock trade with LAC): JJ McCarthy QB, Michigan

Here it is, the first trade in our co-op mock. It’s hard to believe that Minnesota traded for a mid-round pick in the first (No. 23 from Houston) to not package it and move up for a QB. It’s highly unlikely that one of the top four QBs will fall all the way to No.11, so I have the Vikings giving up No. 11 and 23 and other future picks to jump to No. 5. With this pick, they grab their QB for life after Kirk Cousins. McCarthy’s college stats won’t wow anybody, but his stock has been rising recently, with reports that he could even be the second QB off the board. NFL scouts seemingly love his potential, arm talent and decision making. He could be the day one starter in Minnesota if he beats out Sam Darnold for the job.


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

A lot of people have a QB as the Giants’ top need this offseason. But with a very pricey contract for Daniel Jones still on the books, I do not see them moving away from him this season. With that being said, the Giants grab Jones a top tier pass catcher in LSU’s Malik Nabers. Nabers showcased a lot of his skills during his breakout season with the Tigers, recording 89 catches, 1,569 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Last time the Giants drafted an LSU wide receiver in the 1st round of the NFL draft (Odell Beckham Jr), he won OROY. Will Nabers repeat this trend?


7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt OT, Notre Dame

It was really hard to pass on Rome Odunze here, but I ultimately think after signing Calvin Ridley, the Titans will improve their left tackle spot for Will Levis. Alt is the consensus top OT in the draft and could have been the No. 1 prospect if it wasn’t for the QB and WR talent in this class. Alt, a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, allowed just one sack in 2023 and only four in his entire career (PFF.com). The Titans selected Peter Skoronski in the first round last year, but as many expected, he’s played more at the guard spot than offensive tackle. Alt and Skoronski would give the Titans a young and powerful tandem to protect Levis’s blindside.


8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

New Atlanta Falcons head coach Raheem Morris has always been a big fan of the 3-4 defense during his time as defensive coordinator. Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner fits that play style to the tee. Turner is a great athlete with tons of upside. He possesses great finesse moves to quickly rush the passer. He is also a strong exterior run defender thanks to his speed (4.46) and size (6’4”, 252 lbs). I think Turner will help reestablish a pass rush in Atlanta that has been lacking for many years.


9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze WR, Washington

Recent reports have suggested that this pick could be a spot where Chicago trades back to get more future draft assets, but with Odunze still available, I have them staying put. The Bears acquired DJ Moore before the 2023 draft through their trade with Carolina and recently traded for six time Pro-Bowler Kennan Allen. But with Allen being 31 and a prospect like Odunze on the board, I think the Bears would be unable to resist. A finalist for the Biletnikoff this year, Odunze and Williams would give Chicago a dynamic QB-WR duo for years to come.


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

Despite how good Garrett Wilson has been, the Jets need another pass catcher. With Rome Odunze going to Chicago at pick No. 9, the most talented player in the draft is headed to East Rutherford, New Jersey. Brock Bowers’ athleticism and skill is undeniable; he plays more like a bulky wide receiver than he does a true tight end. Bowers has amazing hands and is good at making something happen after the catch. He can destroy pursuit angles from incoming defenders and navigate screen pass plays. He also has a great impact on run plays with his run blocking skills. Bowers will easily become one of Aaron Rodgers’ new favorite targets in the loaded Jets offense.


11. Los Angeles Chargers (Mock Trade with MIN): JC Latham OT, Alabama

After trading back from No. 5, the Chargers are finally on the clock. There’s large belief that Harbaugh will lean offensive tackle even at pick No. 5, although the team is slim at receiver. With Harbaugh’s style of offense prioritizing the run, the Chargers will want to improve their offensive line and do so with this pick. Latham is viewed by some as the best right tackle in the class and would be a perfect fit in LA. With Latham at right tackle and Slater at left, the Chargers would have an elite tackle tandem for years to come.


12. Denver Broncos: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Denver can go a ton of different ways with this pick. Some people say they should reach for a quarterback like Nix or Penix since they don’t have a second round pick, while others say they should try and fill a hole on defense. When the time comes, I think Sean Payton will pass on quarterback and take the best player available at the moment, which would be edge rusher Laiatu Latu. Yes it may sound like a head scratcher to most, but Latu was very underrated during his time at UCLA. During his last two seasons, Latu recorded 85 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. Latu will fill an instant need for this Denver team as he is a guy that can play multiple positions on defense (both on and off the ball).


13. Las Vegas Raiders: Olumuyiwa Fashanu OT, Penn State

I was torn between Fashanu and Taliese Fuaga here, but with a talented prospect like Fashanu available, I stuck with him. The Raiders are a team that’s rumored to be looking at trading up, particularly for Jayden Daniels. But with them being stuck at 13, the haul to move up to pick two or three would be too much for new GM Tom Telesco. Fashanu could slide over to right tackle, or the team could move veteran Kolton Miller to that spot with this pick. Edge rusher and cornerback could also be in play here.


14. New Orleans Saints: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Saints have been needing help on the offensive line for the last couple of seasons now. With that being said, they decide to throw another high draft pick into that project as they take Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga. Fuaga is a natural pass blocking right tackle who moves his feet with ease. His 6’6” frame and quick hands help make him one of the best offensive tackles in this entire class. The Saints could even play him at the interior parts of the offensive line if needed as he has some experience playing guard during his career. With the futures of Ryan Ramczyk and Trevor Penning up in the air, Fuaga will look to make an impact for the Saints early and often.


15. Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell CB, Toledo

The Colts desperately need more talent and depth at the cornerback position, so I believe they’ll either go with Mitchell or Alabama’s Terrion Arnold here. Mitchell has been flying up draft charts dating all the way back to the Senior Bowl due to his elite speed and ball production and many have him as the best corner in the class. Running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Mitchell has cemented himself as a top 15-20 pick in the draft.


16. Philadelphia Eagles (Mock Trade with SEA): Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Our second trade of the co-op mock has taken place and man is it a big one. The Philadelphia Eagles will jump up the board by sending picks No. 22, No. 53, and a 2025 6th rounder to Seattle in exchange for picks No. 16, No. 81 and a 2025 4th rounder. And with this pick, the Eagles take cornerback Terrion Arnold. James Bradberry and Darious Slay are getting a little bit on the older side, so Howie Roseman makes a move to snag one of the best DBs in the class. Arnold has great ability as a cover player. His instincts allow him to track the ball really well. While he may not be an outstanding athlete, he can tackle anything that comes his way.


17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jared Verse EDGE, Florida State

The Jaguars are in a great spot here. They have a few positional needs, mostly for depth, and there are still a ton of great prospects at those needed positions on the board. It was tempting to go with Brian Thomas Jr. here after the Jags lost Calvin Ridley in free agency, but with the receiver depth in this draft, I ultimately went with Verse. Jacksonville benefitted from a career-year by Josh Allen and a 10 sack season by former No. 1 pick Travon Walker, but still need some depth.


18. Cincinnati Bengals: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

With Jonah Williams off to Arizona, the Cincinnati Bengals use another 1st round pick on the offensive line as they select Washington's Troy Fautanu. Fautanu is the draft’s most versatile lineman as he can play all five positions on the offensive line. He is an explosive blocker with excellent length and a tone settling demeanor. He also has only allowed two sacks on 993 offensive snaps played during his time in college (sny.tv). Most people say he’d be a better guard because of his size (6’4”, 317 lbs), but I think he’ll make an excellent tackle to help protect Joe Burrow. Either way, his tools and skill set will land him a starting position right away.


19. Los Angeles Rams: Byron Murphy II DT, Texas

The Rams certainly can’t replace the presence of Aaron Donald with one selection–how could you–but they have to start somewhere. The Rams pass rush was towards the bottom of the league in sacks even with Donald playing in 16 games and totaling eight sacks. Rookie third-rounder Kobie Turner led the team with nine and had a standout season, but LA needs more depth and talent on the interior. With Murphy, they’d secure the best interior lineman in the class and a player that can really get after the Quarterback from the inside.


20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

With the arrival of Russel Wilson and Justin Fields, the Steelers will look to bolster the offensive line with offensive tackle Amarius Mims. Mims is a player with a strong frame and exciting NFL caliber features. He plays with good technique and is really smart with his hand placement. His size and athleticism allow him to make blocks on the move, which is a trait many offensive tackles lack. One major concern that a lot people have with the Joe Moore award finalist is that he only started 20 games in college. While he has the desirable traits, Mims could need to develop a bit more before becoming a star at the NFL level.


21. Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton OL, Duke

Barton played the majority of his snaps at Duke at tackle, but did play center as a freshman and many have him projected to play guard or center in the NFL. Miami lost starting center Connor Williams to free agency this offseason and have yet to re-sign him, with suffering a torn ACL in December likely why. If the season started today, undrafted veteran Aaron Brewer would be in line to start at center for Miami after leaving the Titans this offseason. Barton would be a day one starter and instant improvement for the Dolphins.


22. Seattle Seahawks (Mock trade with PHI): Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

After a trade back with the Packers and Graham Barton being taken by the Miami Dolphins, the Seattle Seahawks are still able to get one of the best centers in the class to help beef up that offensive line. Jackson Powers-Johnson, aka JPJ, is a 6’3”, 328lb All-American who was named the best center in college football this past season. His athleticism and movement are top notch, and allow him to make any block. Coming from Oregon, he has a ton of experience with gap-heavy run blocking and zone run schemes - something that the Seahawks like to do with Ken Walker. JPJ also has tremendous versatility and can play any position on the interior line and I feel like that will make him a high priority on Seattle’s draft board.


23. Los Angeles Chargers (Via CLE, from HOU, Mock trade with MIN): Brian Thomas Jr. WR, LSU

We’re back with the LA Chargers after their earlier trade with Minnesota. The Chargers elected to go offensive tackle with pick 11, but with the massive need for wide receiver and a talent like Thomas Jr. available, they can’t skip out at No. 23. Thomas’s range might be the widest of any prospect of the first round, so it’s been hard to find a landing spot for him in mock drafts. The No. 4 receiver by most analysts, the LSU product led the nation in receiving touchdowns a season ago (17) and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine.


24. Dallas Cowboys: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

With most of the best linemen off the board, the Dallas Cowboys turn towards the receiver room. They let go of wide receiver Michael Gallup this off season, so Adonai Mitchell will be the pick. Mitchell is a big body receiver with speed and ball skills to help him become a very good NFL caliber receiver. Mitchell can also beat press and win jump balls against any size defender. The one area that concerns a lot of people is his route running inconsistencies. In a similar manner to DK Metcalf, Mitchell struggles on in/out routes that feature sharp turns/cuts. But if he is willing to work on his craft, he will pair nicely in that Dallas offense opposite of CeeDee Lamb.


25. Green Bay Packers: Cooper DeJean CB/S, Iowa

DeJean to Green Bay has been a popular pick in mock drafts this offseason, and I’m sticking with it here. Offensive tackle and edge rusher were in play here and even receiver with Christian Watson having some injury troubles in 2023, but I think WR would ultimately be a stretch. Most view DeJean as a safety at the next level, although he played corner at Iowa. The Packers made a great signing with Xavier McKinney, but also lost safety Darnell Savage Jr. DeJean could step in and be the perfect replacement and provide more depth as a corner.


26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Tampa stays put and lands one of the top defensive backs in the class in Nate Wiggins. Wiggins is regarded as CB1 or CB2 on most people’s boards, but we had him, amongst other CBs, falling in our mock. He is a defensive coordinator's dream. Wiggins’ combination of coverage talent and athletic ability allow him to make a ton of plays. He can easily squeeze tighter and play hard man-to-man, while his range as a Cover 3 guy makes him a dangerous option to throw near. Did I also mention that he casually ran a 4.28 40 yard dash at the combine? Tampa Bay shipped off Carlton Davis earlier this offseason, but I think that they found a perfect - if not better - replacement for him.


27. Arizona Cardinals (Via HOU): Jer’Zhan Newton DT, Illinois

CJ has the Cardinals picking up Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 4, a great pick for Kyler Murray and the offense, but their defense needs a lot of upgrades. Defensive back could definitely be the move here for Arizona, but with a lot of talented corners expected to be available in round two, I think they’ll elect to improve the defensive line. Newton is another interesting prospect to predict due to the positional value of a defensive tackle and the dropoff at the position after Byron Murphy. But with the Cardinals having one of the worst defensive lines in the league last year–3rd fewest sacks in the NFL–Arizona desperately needs to improve the line of scrimmage.


28. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota

I can hear people saying “what is this pick?? The Bills need a wide receiver more than anything! Guess you think Josh Allen will be okay throwing to a hot dog vendor.” Yes, all of you are right, but think about it. Buffalo has a lot of holes to fill during this draft. Yes, they lost their top two receiving options in Steffon Diggs and Gabe Davis, but they also lost 6 out of their 11 starters on defense (4 of which were in the secondary). I know it may not be the flashy pick, but I think Buffalo will address the receiver room later in the draft or trade for 49ers star Brandon Aiyuk during the draft. Tyler Nubin has good size, versatility, and a ballhawk’s instinct to create turnovers. More than that, he is smart and instinctive. His pre snap communication allows him to help his teammates out by reading plays before they happen. Even though he is coming off a meniscus injury, I think that Nubin will pair well with Taylor Rapp to create a new, young safety tandem in Buffalo.


29. Detroit Lions: Kool-Aid McKinstry CB, Alabama

Detroit spent a lot of cap space to improve the secondary in the 2023 offseason and had some mixed results defensively during the season. They were able to retain Emmanuel Moseley but lost safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles. Although they traded for Tampa Bay’s Carlton Davis, they need more talent at corner, especially after the team released Cam Sutton due to an ongoing legal issue. McKinstry, who allowed one touchdown in the last two seasons as the nearest defender (ESPN’s Mel Kiper) would be a day one starter and a huge upgrade.


30. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The Baltimore Ravens need help at the tackle spot and are lucky enough to land Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton. Guyton is an ascending tackle prospect on many analyst draft boards and rightfully so. Guyton is a great pass blocker whose feet and body control allow him to become a roadblock to any oncoming edge rusher. He also has great leverage and hand strikes that help him support his smaller frame. The one thing that concerns me the most is his injury history. He never played a full season during his college tenure - missing 9 games over 3 seasons. But if can stay healthy and develop well, Guyton will have a bright future as a high-level pass protector in one of the league's best offenses.


31. San Francisco 49ers: Chop Robinson EDGE, Penn State

The 49ers had probably the most talented roster in the NFL last season, but came up just short once again to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The 49ers brought back the majority of 2023’s team, but need some more depth in the trenches to stay atop the NFC. Offensive tackle was tempting here–Guyton was the pick before CJ sniped him–but with the way the board shaped out, I elected to go with some pass rush depth. Kyle Shanahan’s defense could use some more talent off the edge behind Nick Bosa and newly acquired Leonard Floyd, and Robinson could be one of the steals of the draft.


32. Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

With the last pick in the NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select the fastest player in combine history, Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy. Worthy had himself a solid final season in college as he put up 1,014 yards on 75 catches along with 5 touchdowns. But where he shined the most was at both his pro day and the NFL combine where he was able to show his elite speed (4.21) and agility. He is a little undersized standing at 5’9” and that is part of the reason why I have him falling this far in the draft. A lot of people have concerns with Worthy as many other players who dominantly specialize in speed, do not pan out in the NFL. But with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, we could be looking at another Tyreek Hill type player.


All stats were received from ESPN Stats & Info., PFF.com and TeamRankings.com


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