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The Sports Branch official 2024 Mock Draft

The NFL Draft is just hours away. With three QBs expected to go in the top three and a high demand at the position, we could see chaos begin early tonight. This year's draft is full of talent on the offensive line and at wide receiver, setting up for an offense heavy round one. Adding a new element this year, I usually don't include trades in my mock because of how hard they are to predict. But for the first time I decided to change that with two trades here in my official mock. If you haven't already, make sure to check out The Sports Branch Co-op Draft that was released on Tuesday. Here is my official mock for the 2024 Draft.

 

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

No surprises here yet again. Williams is a lock to be the first name called tonight and will be a day-one starter in Chicago. The Bears moved on from Justin Fields last month, cementing their decision and going all in on the top QB and 2022 Heisman winner. Williams is one of the best quarterback prospects we have ever seen. With elite arm talent and the ability to extend or make plays with his legs, he has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famer, Aaron Rodgers. 


2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels QB, LSU 

The constant debate this offseason at pick No. 2 has been Daniels vs. Maye. It sounds as if Washington has finally made its decision, as insiders around the league believe they will select the 2023 Heisman Trophy Winner. Similarly to Chicago, Washington traded its young starter away in March, clearing the way for a rookie QB. Daniels will be the first draft choice of the Dan Quinn era in Washington and could be an electrifying player right away in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Daniels threw 40 touchdowns last season and just four interceptions, while also adding over 1,100 yards and 10 scores on the ground. 


3. New England Patriots: Drake Maye QB, North Carolina

There’s a lot of talk about the Raiders (13) and Vikings (11, 23) looking to trade up to this spot and the Patriots’ willingness to listen to offers. However, I simply think the jump from the back end of the top ten or the early teens would require too much of a haul, and New England would rather stay put and draft Maye. New England still has not found an answer at QB since Tom Brady’s departure years ago, but hope to do so with Drake Maye. Maye has been consistently viewed as a top QB in this class going back to 2022 and was the favorite to be selected behind Williams before the ascension of Jayden Daniels. 


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

After the top three quarterbacks go flying off the board, Arizona stays put and lands the best wide receiver in the class and arguably the best receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson in 2007. Yes, Harrison is that good. Son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr., he has been one of the most coveted receiver prospects since his freshman year at Ohio State. The 2023 Biletnikoff winner has no weaknesses in his game, posting consecutive seasons with 1,200 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns. 


Mock Trade: Minnesota jumps the line to get its QB 

For the first time ever, I’m including trades in my official mock draft. If you read our co-op mock, then you saw this trade there as well. Kirk Cousins left Minnesota and signed with Atlanta this offseason, leaving a massive need for a new quarterback. I said it in the co-op mock and I’ll say it again here. I don’t believe that Minnesota gave up draft assets for No. 23 from Houston to do anything other than trade up for a QB. I think a deal here would require both picks 11 and 23 and a 2025 first-round pick from the Vikings. 


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

The post Kirk Cousins era begins with 2023 National Champion QB, JJ McCarthy. The Michigan prospect doesn’t have jaw-dropping stats or highlight plays all over his film. But evaluators love his arm talent and his ability to use his legs to extend plays or be a threat in the running game. McCarthy can turn into a talented NFL quarterback after time and reps, especially in Kevin O'Connell’s QB-friendly system. 


6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers WR, LSU

The Giants are a team that has been heavily involved in quarterback talks as well, even with the extension Daniel Jones received last offseason. With the top four passers off the board, I’ll go with the next-best player available and a spot where the Giants desperately need help. Malik Nabers would probably be the top pass catcher in almost every draft class, except this one which contains Marvin Harrison Jr. Nabers gave us a taste of his potential in 2022 and followed it up with an even better 2023. A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, Nabers hauled in 14 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards. His speed (4.35 40-yard dash) and run-after-the-catch ability make him a nightmare to cover on every snap. 


7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt OT, Notre Dame

Not the flashiest pick of the draft, but Alt is the clear No. 1 offensive lineman in the class and would have an argument for being the best prospect if it wasn’t for the quarterback and wide receiver talent in this draft. Rome Odunze was tempting here, but all reports coming out of Tennessee are suggesting that the Titans want an offensive tackle. Alt was a two-time All-American at Notre Dame and gave up just four sacks in three seasons. This pick would allow Tennessee’s 2021 selection Peter Skoronski to move over to left guard permanently, a spot where he had success last season and was expected to play coming out of college. 


8. Atlanta Falcons: Laiatu Latu EDGE, UCLA

This pick is a bit of a surprise, as most expect Alabama’s Dallas Turner to go to Atlanta and be the first defensive player off the board. But in the last few days, Latu to the Falcons has gained a lot of momentum and I think he will end up being the pick. The UCLA prospect is viewed as a top-two pass rusher in the class and some have given him the edge over Turner. There were originally some medical concerns with Latu due to him medically retiring from football because of a neck injury before he returned to the field in 2022. However, teams around the league do not seem to be very concerned with his health heading into the draft. In his two seasons with the Bruins, Latu totaled 23.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.


9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze WR, Washington 

All signs are pointing to the Bears possibly trading out of this pick, considering that after the first round, they just have two more draft selections. A player like Odunze on the board though, makes that decision much harder. Chicago acquired DJ Moore last offseason in its trade with Carolina and brought in All-Pro Keenan Allen this offseason after a trade with the Chargers, but Allen will be a free agent after this upcoming season. Some have Odunze as their No.2 wideout and being selected as high as pick-six, his talent is off the charts. A Biletnikoff finalist–there’s a theme here with the top 3 WRs–Odunze’s contested catch ability and skill at using his body to keep defenders away is one of his top traits. He could spend his rookie season as the number three option in Chicago before stepping into a bigger role in 2025. 


10. New York Jets: Brock Bowers TE, Georgia 

It’s been hard to find a landing spot for Bowers based on the positional value of tight ends–Most teams would prefer investing in a different position this early in the draft. But it doesn’t sound like the two-time Mackey winner will make it out of the top ten. The Jets make the most sense for Bowers, especially after their upgrades at both tackle positions this offseason. With Aaron Rodgers returning from an Achilles injury and looking toward the end of his career, the Jets are looking to win right now. Bowers would instantly be Rodgers’ second option behind Garrett Wilson and would give them an element this offense simply doesn’t have in Tyler Conklin. 


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

The Chargers are finally on the clock after their trade with Minnesota, moving them just outside of the top ten. Regardless of if they do end up staying at five, or trade back, the expectation is that Los Angeles will begin the Harbaugh regime by selecting a tackle. Although Latham might not be this high on certain draft boards, the position–right tackle–and player make sense based on Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s style. Latham stands at 6 '6”, 342 pounds, and plays with power on the right side, a perfect fit for a potential run-heavy offense in 2024. The Chargers took LT Rashawn Slater in the first round of the 2021 draft, and despite the season-ending injury in 2022, Slater was an All-Pro as a rookie. The tandem of Slater and Latham would give LA a cornerstone on the offensive line for the future. 


12. Denver Broncos: Dallas Turner EDGE, Alabama

Considered the top pass-rusher by most, Turner slides a little bit after Atlanta elects to go with Latu. The Broncos were a tempting trade-down candidate, specifically with the Eagles who are rumored to be looking at making a trade for No. 12. To make it even more enticing, the Broncos don’t have a second-round pick. With Turner still available though, I don’t think Denver would be able to pass. The Broncos were towards the bottom of the league in sacks last season (42) and passer rating (98.0), Turner would help add to their rebuild right away after a 10-sack season at Alabama. 


13. Las Vegas Raiders: Taliese Fuaga OT, Oregon State

Las Vegas has been a hot name in trade rumors for weeks now, desiring to trade up to pick two or three for Jayden Daniels. It sounds almost guaranteed that won’t happen though. At No. 13, I was tempted to go with Alabama’s Terrion Arnold or Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell, but I think in this draft it’ll be easier to find a productive corner in round two, compared to a right tackle. Fuaga would take over the starting spot instantly over 2022 seventh-round pick, Thayer Munford Jr. Fuaga’s physicality matches Antonio Pierce’s style perfectly and he’d make a great tackle opposite of Kolton Miller. 


14. New Orleans Saints: Olu Fashanu OT, Penn State

Dennis Allen’s team really needs some help on the outside of their offensive line. Ryan Ramczyk’s status is up in the air due to injury and 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning has not panned out as of now. The Saints could move Penning to guard, but it doesn’t sound as if they’re ready to do that just yet. Earlier in the draft process, Fashanu was being selected over Joe Alt at times and was mocked to go as high as No. 7. Closer to the draft however, it appears that the range for Fashanu is likely somewhere between the end of the top ten and the mid-teens. A consensus All-American in 2023, Fashanu would challenge Penning for the starting spot on day one, or could build a solid rotation between the two first-rounders. 


15. Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell CB, Toledo 

Chris Ballard has been aggressive in trying to trade up leading to draft night, either for a pass catcher or a defensive back. What we also know is that Chris Ballard is a fan of guys with elite athleticism and physical traits. We saw it last year with their selection of Anthony Richardson. Mitchell is in the same category and fills a huge need for a secondary that was picked apart last season. Mitchell continued to rise draft boards towards the end of the season and at the Senior Bowl, before pushing himself even higher with an impressive showing at the NFL Combine. Recording a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine, teams love his speed and ball production. The Toledo corner totaled six interceptions and 37 pass breakups in his final two seasons of college. 


Mock Trade: The Eagles move in front of the Jaguars for a corner

We went from traditionally having zero trades in these mock drafts to having two in the same draft. Yes, I know they’re the same two trades from the co-op mock, but they make the most sense. Reports from the NFL say that the Eagles are expected to try and move up in the first round for a corner or wide receiver. Howie Roseman has traded up in the first round in four of the last five drafts, and with two second-round picks and other capital this year, they’re poised to do so again. The deal works out perfectly for Seattle as well. The Seahawks are currently without a second-round pick due to their trade for Leonard Williams.  


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

Philadelphia’s secondary was one of the worst in the NFL in 2023. With both corners on the plus-side of 30 and James Bradberry in particular struggling, the Eagles have to come out of the draft with some help at the position. Arnold is the best corner available here and a consensus top-two player at the position. Arnold’s physicality is one of his best traits, meeting receivers at the line of scrimmage and altering their routes. A first-team All-American in 2023, Arnold brought in five interceptions. He would provide a much-needed boost of talent and youth in the Eagles’ secondary. 


17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr. WR, LSU

Thomas Jr and Texas’s Xavier Worthy are the two names in competition for being the fourth wide receiver taken in the first round, but finding their range has been difficult. I like Thomas Jr. over Worthy and think this is around the spot where he will be selected, as the Jags need another wide receiver. Calvin Ridley’s single season in Jacksonville had its highs and lows, but he’s no longer with the team after signing with the Titans. Ridley’s departure leaves Christian Kirk, newly acquired Gabe Davis and Zay Jones as the team’s top three wideouts. Thomas would be a true number two option opposite of Kirk and a lethal deep threat, even though he has WR1 talent. Thomas led the nation in receiving touchdowns a season ago with 17 and averaged over 15 yards per catch. 


18. Cincinnati Bengals: Byron Murphy II DT, Texas 

The Bengals are reportedly a team that wants to move up in the draft, and with Tee Higgins and Trey Hendrickson both requesting trades, one of those two could be used to do so. However, the Bengals have shut down any possibility of trading either player as of now. The Bengals’ defense was simply average last year but was weak in certain areas like affecting the quarterback. To make matters worse, standout defensive tackle DJ Reader signed with the Lions in free agency, leaving a hole up front defensively. Murphy would be a plug-and-play replacement, as he’s the best interior defensive lineman in the draft. Murphy posted five sacks and 29 total tackles in 2023 to help lead Texas to the College Football Playoff and has been rising up draft boards as of late. Some even believe Murphy could be a top-ten pick and the first defensive player selected. If he slides because of the “positional value” excuse, it’d be hard to believe Cincinnati wouldn't pounce on the opportunity.   


19. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Verse EDGE, Florida State

The Rams are one of several teams in the mid-late teens that want to trade up according to league sources. But with having them stay put here, I think they’ll lean either pass rush or offensive line. Future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald recently announced his retirement, and although one player replacing his production is nearly impossible, they have to start from somewhere. The Rams saw promising production from rookies Kobie Turner and Byron Young in 2023, combining for 17 sacks. But LA still could use depth and young talent on defense. Verse could have been a top ten or fifteen pick if he chose to enter the 2023 Draft, but he returned to Florida State, where he had a quality season despite dealing with some injury issues. 


20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amarius Mims OT, Georgia 

Pittsburgh will be another team in this range to keep an eye on tonight. They could go many different ways–WR, CB, OL–or this pick could be traded in a possible deal for Broncos WR, Courtland Sutton. I think it’s too early to bet on the Broncos trading Sutton, so I’ve got the Steelers staying put and selecting Amarius Mims. Mims has been a question mark in the draft process because of his limited time as a starter, even though he played key snaps for the Bulldogs over and over in his three years at Georgia. Mike Tomlin and crew went with Mims’ teammate Broderick Jones a year ago, and he’s worked out at right tackle. But taking Mims at 20 would allow them to move Jones back over to his natural position on the left and continue to build the line. 


21. Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton OL, Duke

The interior of Miami’s offensive line is in rough shape as starting center Connor Williams remains unsigned after an ACL injury and Robert Hunt signed with Carolina in free agency. Barton played his three seasons at left tackle but has experience from his freshman year at center. The Duke prospect is expected to play guard or center early in his NFL career, making him a perfect fit for several teams in this range. Regardless of if the Dolphins were to put him at center or guard, he would be an immediate starter. Barton could also shift to left tackle after Terron Armstead (32) eventually retires. 


22. Seattle Seahawks (Via Mock Trade with PHI): Troy Fautanu OT/G, Washington

Seattle is finally on the clock after their mock trade with the Eagles and the prospect they wanted all along is still available. Fautanu to Seattle has been a very popular prediction during draft season. I’m sticking with it here. The Seahawks need to upgrade the guard spot and help out Geno Smith and the offense, which Fautanu can do. A left tackle in college, NFL evaluators see him as more of a guard in the league and someone who can develop into an elite guard at that. During his time at Washington, Fautanu allowed just three sacks in as many seasons. 


23. Los Angeles Chargers (Via CLE, from HOU, through mock trade with MIN): Xavier Worthy WR, Texas

Jim Harbaugh’s team is back on the clock with their second pick after their trade with Minnesota. After going with Latham at 11, it’s time for them to finally address their wide receiver unit. Mike Williams was a cap casualty this offseason after missing most of the year with an injury and long-time Charger Kennan Allen was also traded for cap space reasons. LA currently has four WRs on the depth chart, its number one being Joshua Palmer. They desperately need better pass catchers for Justin Herbert. Worthy would be a great deep threat for their franchise QB and could even offer some explosives as a return man. After breaking the 40-yard dash record at the NFL combine (4.21), Worthy cemented himself as a first-round pick. The speedy wideout from Texas led the Longhorns in receptions and yards in 2023. 


24. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Guyton OT, Oklahoma 

The Cowboys have been hurt badly by free-agency departures, especially on the offensive line. Veteran left tackle Tyron Smith signed with the Jets, opening up a spot on the left side. Many have questioned if they’ll move Tyler Smith over from left guard, even with the success he’s had at the guard spot. Reporters around the league are also hearing that the Cowboys are very high on Guyton and he could be the choice given the dropoff in interior lineman after Graham Barton. If the Cowboys were to draft Guyton, he’d likely move to left tackle, which shouldn’t be an issue given his athleticism. 


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

Offensive tackle and defensive line are very much in play here for the Packers after longtime left tackle David Bakhtiari was released this offseason. Green Bay also lost safety Darnell Savage in free agency, leaving 2023 seventh-rounder Anthony Johnson Jr as one of the team’s starting safeties right now. DeJean had a very productive season for Iowa, even after missing the back end due to a leg injury. His ball production in college is possibly the best in the class with seven interceptions–three returned for touchdowns–in his last two seasons. Most expect DeJean to play safety in the NFL, but having played corner in college, he can give the Packers some flexibility in the secondary. 


26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chop Robinson EDGE, Penn State

Robinson has been moving up boards since the NFL combine and is now expected to go late in the first round, potentially earlier than this pick. All reports are suggesting that Tampa is all in on Chop Robinson if he were to fall to them. Tampa hasn’t gotten much production from their younger pass rushers and lost some veterans as well in the offseason, making this an easy pick. Robinson’s production at Penn State won’t overwhelm anyone, but he consistently created pressure on the quarterback even without racking up high sack numbers. 


27. Arizona Cardinals (Via HOU): Nate Wiggins CB, Clemson

Arizona is back on the clock with their second pick in the first round and a ton of positional needs. After securing the draft’s best receiver, they absolutely have to address their defense. Wiggins may go much earlier than this, but regardless of whether he is or not, they should take the best defensive player available. The Cardinals were maybe the worst defense in the NFL last season at all three levels, making improvements to the pass rush or secondary is a must. Wiggins is widely considered the third-best corner in the class and could create a cornerback duo for the future in Arizona, opposite of Sean Murphy-Bunting. 


28. Buffalo Bills: Adonai Mitchell WR, Texas

Buffalo is another team that has been battered with free agency departures this offseason. On top of that, they made one of the most shocking moves of the offseason by trading Stefon Diggs to Houston. The move leaves them with either Curtis Samuel or Khalil Shakir as their WR1, less than ideal to say the least. Buffalo has to grab one or maybe even two receivers in this draft, especially with the depth in this class. Mitchell would be a great addition for Josh Allen with the speed and run-after-catch ability he possesses. He led Texas in touchdown receptions last season with 11. 


29. Detroit Lions: Darius Robinson EDGE, Missouri

The Lions were a second-half collapse away from playing in the Super Bowl and part of why they were unable to get the job done was their defense. Dan Campbell’s defense ranked toward the bottom of the league in sacks, passer rating and yards per game. Outside of Aidan Hutchinson, they didn’t receive much pass-rush production from last year’s team. Robinson is now expected to be a late first-round selection and would be a perfect fit for Detroit. An even better story, Robinson grew up in Detroit and has been a Lions fan all his life. 


30. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Morgan OT, Arizona

Cornerback is a possibility here for Baltimore, but with a lot of talented corners left going into round two, I think they’d be more likely to upgrade the offensive line. The Ravens lost starting right tackle Morgan Moses, right guard Kevin Zeitler and left guard John Simpson, so they need help upfront badly. Morgan is the best tackle available at this point of the draft and although he played on the left side at Arizona, he could transition to the right in the league. Morgan would be a great addition to the league’s best rushing offense from 2023. 


31. San Francisco 49ers: Kool-Aid McKinstry CB, Alabama

The 49ers had probably the most talented roster in the NFL in 2023, but couldn’t get past the Chiefs once again, falling in the Super Bowl. Pass rush and offensive line were in consideration here, especially with the struggles of right tackle Colton McKivitz. But everything suggests that San Francisco will draft the best player available regardless of position. I think at this point it’s Kool-Aid McKinstry, which works perfectly for the 49ers who need more players in the secondary. Corner is more of a depth need for Kyle Shanahan’s team and McKinstry gives them that and more. This is about his range, as his stock has dropped a little bit due to a foot injury that was discovered in the pre-draft process. 


32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kingsley Suamataia OT, BYU

Everyone is expecting Kansas City to select a wide receiver here. They led the NFL in drops last year and now could be without Rashee Rice for a few games next season due to legal issues. But I think if they want a first-round graded receiver they’ll have to trade up and if not they’ll pivot to their other biggest need, offensive tackle. The addition of Marquise Brown this offseason makes it even more possible for them to wait for round two on a receiver. League insiders have been reporting that the Chiefs are high on Suamataia, who has over 600 total snaps at both left and right tackle in college (PFF). With 2023 starter Donovan Smith still unsigned, Suamataia could replace him or even rotate with him if he returns to the Chiefs. 



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

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