What better way to kick off December than with a brand new, two-round mock draft? Technically, only one NFL team has been eliminated from playoff contention, but there are a number of fan bases already turning their attention to 2024 in Detroit.
With a loaded draft class at a number of key positions, this is a really fun exercise. It is a really good year to need a quarterback, wide receiver or offensive tackle. It’s not a great year to need a defensive tackle or a running back, at least not in the early rounds.
The draft order is according to Tankathon and I did not make any trades at this stage. Have at it.
1. Chicago Bears via Carolina Panthers (1-11) - Caleb Williams, QB, USC
This comes down to the Bears’ front office's willingness to commit to Fields long-term. They passed on a potential replacement once. After another uninspiring season, it is hard to imagine them doing it again. Williams is a magician with the football. I understand that he is not for everyone, but he is my top quarterback. He will take some time to get up to NFL speed, but he has the physical talent to raise the ceiling of this entire organization.
2. New England Patriots (2-10) - Drake Maye, QB, UNC
This is a no-brainer. Mac Jones is not the answer. Neither is Bailey Zappe. The whole organization needs a reset. Maye can be the poster child of a new era of football in New England. He has great size and arm strength, routinely fitting balls into tight windows. He has some head-scratching mistakes on film, so far from a perfect prospect, but he would be a massive upgrade over anyone the Patriots currently have on their entire offense.
3. Arizona Cardinals (3-10) - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
This would certainly be a popular trade spot for teams hoping to land Drake Maye. However, I’m not projecting trades just yet, so the Cardinals stay put and take the best player in the draft. Harrison is about as polished as they come, with great hands, an impressive frame, and unbelievable acceleration. Kyler Murray has shown some flashes of his pre-injury form. We saw what he could do with DeAndre Hopkins. Give him a true No. 1 receiver again.
4. Washington Commanders (4-9) - Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
The Commander's offensive line has played a little better of late, but it is still one of the worst units in the NFL. Fashanu has the potential to be a Day 1 starter in D.C. He is a fluid mover with great balance and poise. He has a ways to go as a run blocker, but Washington’s biggest issue right now is pass protection anyway. No matter what scheme this team ends up running under what will likely be a new coaching staff, Fashanu will be a welcome addition.
5. Chicago Bears (4-8) - Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
If you are going to take a new franchise quarterback, don’t make the same mistakes as the previous regime. Ryan Poles has made every effort to surround Justin Fields with playmakers, trading for D.J. Moore and Chase Claypool. Moore has been great. Claypool was shipped to Miami for a seventh-round pick. Nabers is a game-breaker with his speed. He has 34 catches this season that have gone for over 20 yards. He, Moore, and Williams in the same offense would be so much fun to watch in Chicago.
6. New York Giants (4-8) - Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
New York has caught some lightning in a bottle with Tommy Devito, pushing them out the range for one of the top quarterbacks in this class. However, no matter who is under center for the Giants next season, he will need more weapons on the outside to work with. This offense lacks a go-to target and needs help in the red zone. Coleman can solve both of those problems. He has a knack for highlight-reel grabs and will generally catch anything thrown in within his zip code. The Giants cannot pass that up.
7. New York Jets (4-8) - Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
This would be a dream scenario for the Jets. Poor play and a rash of injuries have plagued New York’s offensive line all season long. Landing a plug-and-play left tackle would go a long way to turning things around. Alt is a massive man with Notre Dame listing him at 6’8”. He is not quite as smooth and fluid as Fashanu, but he packs a punch. I know it seems Aaron Rodgers is running this organization at the moment, but I have a tough time believing this would not be a Rodgers-approved move.
8. Tennessee Titans (4-8) - Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
Even after drafting Peter Skoronski in the first round last year, the Titans still have one of the worst lines in the league. They rank dead last in run block win rate. Fuaga is a hulking right tackle with great power. The redshirt junior is in his second year as a starter and has flown up draft boards. He is light on his feet and uses his hands well in pass protection. As of now, he has only played right tackle, but there is the potential he can swing over the left side. Only time will tell. Giving Will Levis a real shot at quarterback is going to require investment in the pieces around him and this is a really good place to start.
9. New Orleans Saints (5-7) - Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
It seems like the Saints have one of the most unique approaches to roster building every single year. I debated going with an edge rusher here. New Orleans lost Marcus Davenport this offseason, but Carl Granderson has been a revelation and they spent a second-round pick on Isaiah Foskey in 2022. Instead, the Saints can hopefully inject some life into their anemic offense. I have Bowers much higher than this on my big board, but I think his positional value could see him slip out of the top 10. Putting him in this offense with Chris Olave, Alvin Kamara, and Rashid Shaheed would certainly make things more interesting.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) - Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
I know Verse has fallen off in the eyes of many evaluators, but I still believe in him. He showed in over the past two games what makes him such a special player. Tampa Bay is looking at a potential roster overhaul, so where they will go is a bit unclear. A pass rusher is just about always a need in the NFL though and Verse would definitely give that unit a boost.