Edelman's 2024 Mock Draft 1.0

This first mock write up of mine tows the line between realism and what I would do. It features a handful of trades, some more surprising than others.
Texas A&M v LSU
Texas A&M v LSU / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

1. The Chicago Bears (via CAR) select Caleb Williams, QB USC

Caleb Williams is by all accounts going to be selected first overall by the Chicago Bears. Williams is one of the best QB prospects in recent memory and perfectly represents an NFL trending toward offense being predicated on big play potential and creativity. Quarterbacks selected first overall are not often dropped into a situation with as much supporting talent as Chicago, making it an obvious choice in a new era of NFC North Football.

2. The Washington Commanders select Drake Maye, QB UNC

The Commanders are turning over a new leaf in nearly every facet of the organization. With a new owner in Josh Harris, general manager in Adam Peters, and Head Coach in Dan Quinn, it only makes sense to pair this new regime with a top 5 rookie quarterback. Drake Maye has been and continues to be the clear second-best quarterback option in this year’s class, and no amount of Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy smoke is going to convince me otherwise.

3. The New England Patriots select Marvin Harrison Jr., WR Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best non-quarterback in the 2024 Draft Class. While a quarterback could be an option for New England here at three, I still believe that the offense is too far away from competency to expect a rookie quarterback to have any amount of success in the next few years. Harrison is the type of player who can immediately step in as the number one option, which is a role that Patriots desperately need filled. In a post-Belichick era, I believe the Patriots should and will capitalize on the best pass-catching talent in an elite pass-catching class. 

TRADE: MIN sends picks 11, 23, and 129 to ARZ for pick 4.

4. The Minnesota Vikings (via ARZ) select J.J. McCarthy, QB Michigan

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / CFP/GettyImages

After trading their 2024 and 2025 second-round picks to the Texans for 23 overall, it became abundantly evident that Minnesota was preparing to trade up for a quarterback. While I personally don’t see McCarthy as a top 5 worthy player, it appears that the NFL as a whole does. If there’s a team that makes sense to take him here, it’s the Minnesota Vikings. McCarthy is an above-average athlete at the position and has played successfully in a more pro-style offense than other quarterbacks in this class. The Vikings have a plethora of offensive talent, and with Sam Darnold already on the roster, there’s not a lot of pressure to have McCarthy on the field early in his rookie season. The Vikings get their guy.

TRADE: ARZ sends picks 11, 27 to LAC for pick 5.

5. The Arizona Cardinals (via LAC) select Malik Nabers, WR LSU

Surprise! The Cardinals did it again. Like last year, Monti Ossenfort takes his team out of the top 10, before moving back up in order to get their guy, accruing some value along the way. With Marvin Harrison Jr. off the board, the Cardinals select what should be an immediate injection of juice for their offense in Malik Nabers. Nabers is a walking big play machine, and has the potential to take house calls every time he touches the football. The Cardinals have already built a young stable pass-catching unit with Trey McBride, Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch, but Nabers brings an extra gear of speed and acceleration that their offense sorely needed outside of Kyler Murray.

6. The New York Giants select Rome Odunze, WR Washington

Just like that, all three of the top receivers are off the board. Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen are entering the second year of the Daniel Jones contract with increasingly warmer seats. While taking a rookie quarterback to develop behind Jones would be a smart potential decision, it doesn’t help them much at all in 2024. The Giants have struggled to equip themselves with offensive talent, outside of the recently departed Saquon Barkley, and Rome Odunze brings a flavor of receiver that they yet do not have on the roster. Odunze is a complete possession pass catcher who wins with physicality at the top of routes and at the catch point. He should be the number one option on day one for Daboll’s offense, and provide a floor that has been missing in New York since the days of Odell Beckham.

TRADE: LV sends picks 13,44, and a 2025 3rd to TEN for pick 7.

7. The Las Vegas Raiders (via TEN) select Jayden Daniels, QB LSU

Jayden Daniels finally finds a home here with former coach Antonio Pierce. The Raiders roster is in a uniquely weird position, balancing equal parts star players with massive holes at important position groups. Daniels is united with former Bears coordinator Luke Getsy, who worked with Justin Fields last season. In an offense with Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and a half-decent offensive line, Daniels should be in line to start early in his rookie season and bring hope to what has been an otherwise exhausted Raider Nation.

TRADE: NO sends picks 14, 150, and a 2025 second to ATL for pick 8.

8. The New Orleans Saints (via ATL) select Joe Alt, OT Notre Dame

Mickey Loomis gets his guys. In a scenario with Joe Alt falling past the Titans at 7, The Saints once again leverage their future for a specific first-round player. After missing badly with Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning in the 2022 Draft, and with Ryan Ramczyk’s injury concerns, tackle has become a glaring need for New Orleans. Alt is the clear top dog in a loaded tackle class, marrying an incredible 6’8” elite athletic build with great refinement at the position. Alt should immediately raise the floor for the Saints’ offense in 2024, helping maximize the window with Derek Carr under center.

9. The Chicago Bears select Jer’Zhan Newton, DT Illinois

Jer'Zhan Newton
Illinois v Minnesota / David Berding/GettyImages

The Bears are always tough to figure out when the top three pass catchers are unavailable, but I have them going with the best defensive lineman in the class, Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton. Even with the success of draft picks Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, Newton provides an extra gear in pass rush that they have yet to have outside of Montez Sweat. He is an incredible athlete at the position with impressive technique and block-shedding ability that should have him impacting all three downs in the NFL. He can also be moved out on the edge to compliment Sweat on true passing downs.

10. The New York Jets select Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT Penn State

The Jets, even going back to last draft season, have been consistently mocked offensive tackles in the first round. Even with the addition of Tyron Smith, it is imperative that they protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers entering his age 40 season with a recently torn achilles. Olumuyiwa Fashanu is a pass-protecting machine from Penn State and should be a great succession plan for Smith should he leave or get hurt. Though his tiny hands are a concern as a run blocker, I think starting the season behind a future Hall of Fame veteran could help his progression in the long run.

11. The Los Angeles Chargers (via MIN) select JC Latham, OT Alabama

Who’s got it better than the Chargers? Well, a lot of teams right now actually. The Chargers' entire roster is in need of some upgrades, hence their willingness to trade out of the 5th overall pick in order to collect another first-rounder in this year’s draft. The now-Harbaugh-led Bolts are looking to retool the offense in front of Justin Herbert and select their right tackle of the future. Latham is a great fit for the Greg Roman gap run scheme that Los Angeles is looking to lean on offensively. With Rashawn Slater on the left side, the Chargers are hoping to have locked down their tackle duo for the next 5-7 years.

12. The Denver Broncos select Brock Bowers, TE Georgia

The now Russell Wilson-less Broncos are in need of talent in a lot of different places. With all of the top quarterbacks off the board, I’d be a heavy proponent for them taking the best player available. In this case, that’s Brock Bowers. Bowers is less of a tight end and more of an offensive power slot weapon. He was the primary option on Georgia’s national championship offense and is an incredibly dynamic player after the catch. Payton’s past success with big slot receivers like Bowers gives me a lot of confidence in this fit. He could be the first of many foundational players in what looks to be a complete overhaul in Denver.

13. The Tennessee Titans (via LV) select Troy Fautanu, OT Washington

The Titans have been one of the biggest spenders this offseason, bringing in both Calvin Ridley and L’Jarius Sneed on big contracts among a plethora of other names. Here the Titans still maintain future flexibility with a trade down, but land a promising athletic freak at tackle in Troy Fautanu to protect Will Levis. He and Skoronksi on the left side would be an all-time duo of movement talent for offensive line coach Bill Callahan to work with. Though some see Fautanu as a guard, his 34.5-inch arms and technique proficiency give me confidence that he can thrive at tackle in the NFL.

14. The Atlanta Falcons (via NO) select Quinyon Mitchell, CB Toledo

Quinyon Mitchell
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

After trading out of 8th overall, the Falcons still get their pick of the lot at corner. Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell has been a draft process darling, showing out at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. The Falcons have yet to lock down young corner A.J. Terrell long-term, and with new defensive head coach Raheem Morris in the building, it will be important to ensure competence at that position if a deal fails to get done. Mitchell is an explosive athlete who played primarily in off-coverage in college but showed he can win with press in Mobile. With the signing of Kirk Cousins, Atlanta has officially entered a win-now window. Mitchell immediately fills the hole at CB2 and adds to what could be a very talented secondary in the NFC South.

15. The Indianapolis Colts select Dallas Turner, EDGE Alabama

If Colts’ GM Chris Ballard is known for one thing, it is drafting high-end athletes. Dallas Turner is exactly that. The 6’ 3”, 247-pound edge rusher has an 83-inch wingspan which is 88th percentile at the position and the expected length for a man 6' 11”. His 4.46 sec 40-yard dash, 40 ½ inch vertical and 127 inch broad jump are each above the 90th percentile. While edge is not a pressing need for the Colts, Turner’s potential as a pass rusher could reshape how they view their defense, and help maximize the winning window with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.

16. The Seattle Seahawks select Taliese Fuaga, OL Oregon State

The Seahawks are going to be a team to watch on that fateful day in late April, as we’ve yet to see a draft of theirs not headed by Pete Carroll since 2009. Taliese Fuaga was a dominant run-blocking right tackle for the Oregon State Beavers. The Seahawks have had issues on the right side with tackle Abraham Lucas missing consistent time last season. I believe Fuaga’s talents are best suited at guard in the NFL, but if needed I do think he can step in to play tackle. Taliese could be an immediate upgrade for Seattle’s right guard position, while also serving as a contingency plan if Lucas again misses time going forward.

17. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Terrion Arnold, CB Alabama

Chris Ballard’s less successful evil twin, Trent Baalke, is also a shoo-in to draft the most athletically gifted players left on the board, regardless of their play on the football field. After releasing corner Darius Williams in March, the Jaguars are again left with pressing needs in their secondary. Terrion Arnold from Alabama is a feisty physical corner with first-class change of direction skills and explosives. He would be an excellent fit alongside Tyson Campbell in that secondary and could make contributions in run support as well.

18. Cincinnati Bengals select Byron Murphy II, DT Texas

The Bengals have once again put themselves in a great position to take the best player available in the first round, having filled the roster with cheap floor pieces at positions of need in free agency. Here Cincinnati adds some help for their pass rush unit, in Byron Murphy II. The young defensive tackle from Texas is a seriously explosive athlete with a violently quick first step. His pass rush tool kit for a younger player is impressive and on an upward trajectory. The Bengals will be hoping that the combination of him, Sheldon Rankins and BJ Hill can fill the gap that D.J. Reader has left in the run game, and potentially add some juice rushing the passer down the line.

TRADE: PHI sends picks 22 and 120 to LAR for pick 19.

19. The Philadelphia Eagles (via LAR) select Amarius Mims, OT Georgia

Amarius Mims
Ball State v Georgia / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Here comes Howie. With a talent like Amarius Mims still on the board, the fighting Howie Roseman's strike to take what they hope will be a Lane Johnson replacement. Mims is everything you want in an offensive tackle prospect, at nearly 6 '8”/344 pounds, with tremendous length and movement ability. Mims missed time with ankle injuries in 2023 and has only started 8 games in college, which has kept him largely out of the top 10 on big boards. That said, he has the potential to be the best offensive tackle in the league, and at Jeff Stoutland University that dream could certainly be realized.

20. The Pittsburgh Steelers select Cooper DeJean, DB Iowa

The Steelers are playing an interesting game with both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields on 1-year rentals in 2024. While receiver or interior offensive line could certainly be argued here at 20, I believe the depth in this class at those positions is good enough to feel confident taking a great player fit in Iowa’s Cooper DeJean. DeJean is an excellent ball-hawking defensive back with outside corner, slot and safety versatility and should help fill in the gaps around Joey Porter Jr., and Minkah Fitzpatrick. The flexibility that both DeJean and Minkah offer is a defensive coordinator’s dream, and should allow the Steelers to be multiple in the ways that they deploy their personnel.

21. The Miami Dolphins select Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL Oregon

For what feels like the 5th year in a row, the Miami Dolphins' biggest need is still on the offensive line. Jackson Powers-Johnson is the best interior player in this class and dominated in his one and only year starting for the Oregon Ducks at center. He’s a high-end athlete who has tremendous play strength and scheme versatility and should instantly be one of the best five linemen on the roster in Miami. Even with the additions of Aaron Brewer, Isaiah Wynn and Jack Driscoll, Powers-Johnson’s positional flexibility and talent shouldn’t at all discourage the Dolphins from taking him in the first round.

22. The Los Angeles Rams (via PHI) select Laiatu Latu, EDGE UCLA

In this fictional scenario, the Rams were eyeing Byron Murphy II at 19 before the Bengals took him at the pick before them. After trading back a few spots, Los Angeles is still able to add a tremendous player on the defensive line. Latu was the most productive defender in college football in both 2022 and 2023, with 114 pressures and 26 sacks in the two years. His medical red flags and limited athleticism have kept him out of the top 15 conversations, but at twenty-two, a player with his magnitude of skill and dominance can no longer be left on the board. Though the Rams will undoubtedly be left reeling in the absence of Aaron Donald, Latu can help bring in a new era for defensive line play in LA.

23. The Arizona Cardinals (via CLE) select Jared Verse, EDGE Florida State

The Cardinals' wheeling and dealing brings them up from 27 to 23 in this mock, giving them an incredible opportunity to draft Florida State’s Jared Verse. Verse is a powerful edge rusher who wins through the chests of his opponents with an explosive lower half and heavy hands. The Cardinals lacked an identity on defense last year under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, and will certainly make use of a tone-setting player like Verse. While his ceiling as a pass rusher is somewhat limited by his flexibility, the floor is rock solid. Arizona is in need of good starters, and Jared Verse fits that bill.

24. The Dallas Cowboys select Graham Barton, OL Duke

With the departures of starting lineman Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz, and an eerily quiet offseason thus far, the Cowboys are left with two gaping holes on their offensive line. Graham Barton was an imposing starter at left tackle for the Duke Blue Devils, but looks to be an interior player in the NFL. I anticipate Tyler Smith kicking over to tackle, leaving Dallas' positions of need being left guard and center, both of which I believe can be played by Barton. In a make-or-break type of year for Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys need to hope that the existing question marks on the roster can be patched up through the draft, and Graham Barton could be a step in that direction.

25. The Green Bay Packers select Tyler Guyton, OT Oklahoma

The Packers are always an intriguing team come draft season, and this year is no exception. Many of Green Bay’s needs are positions that don’t line up super well with how the board is expected to fall. What we do know is that the Packers always invest heavily in offensive lineman who meet certain measurement  and athleticism thresholds, of which Tyler Guyton does. Guyton is an elite athletic tester, at nearly 6’ 8”, 322 pounds with 34 ⅛ inch arms. He is very underdeveloped in the run game but survived in pass protection with his movement talent. For a Packer team with few glaring needs, a project tackle with upper echelon starting potential could make a lot of sense.

26. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Chop Robinson, EDGE Penn State

Chop Robinson
Rutgers v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Chop Robinson sneaks in the backend of this mock for Tampa Bay. Robinson is a smaller twitchy edge rusher from Penn State with one of the fastest first steps that you’ll ever see from a prospect. He lacks the skill and nuance that you want to see from prospects taken in the top half of round one but has the tool kit to develop into a leading pass rusher in the NFL. The Buccaneers, like a lot of teams towards the back end of this first round, don’t have a ton of overwhelming needs. A young pass rusher with the upside is exactly the type of player that I see catching the eye of head coach Todd Bowles. With proper coaching and development, Robinson could be one of the biggest value picks of this first round in 3 years.

27. The Los Angeles Chargers (via HOU) select Nate Wiggins, CB Clemson

The Chargers go back to the well here in the first round, adding this time to the defensive side of the ball. Wiggins is one of, if not the best man coverage player in this class and has the tape and athletic testing to prove it. Los Angeles is extremely thin on the backend, and a player with the fluidity and speed like Wiggins could be an extremely valuable add this late here in the first round.

TRADE: CIN sends WR Tee Higgins to BUF for pick 28.

28. The Cincinnati Bengals (via BUF) select Brian Thomas Jr., WR LSU

Boo ya. The Buffalo Bills find their number one option of the future in Tee Higgins. Tee is a proven commodity in the NFL and should be extremely successful down the field with an aggressive quarterback like Josh Allen. There will have to be some heavy reworking done by Brandon Beane and the Bills’ front office in order to fit Tee’s franchise tag contract on the roster this season, but I think the rewards far outweigh the trouble. 

On the flip side, the Bengals effectively find a suitor for Higgins, even if it is an AFC Rival, and yield themselves a shot at a first round receiver. Brian Thomas Jr. would be an excellent fit in Zac Taylor’s offense alongside Ja’Marr Chase. The LSU speedster would bring a speed vertical element that Higgins did not, but still with the ball winning frame and potential. Hitting on a receiver like Thomas could seriously do numbers in helping the Bengals avoid the path that Bills have found themselves on this offseason.

29. The Detroit Lions select Zach Frazier, IOL West Virginia

Zach Frazier
TCU v West Virginia / G Fiume/GettyImages

The 2023 NFC North Winners are adding even more nastiness to their offensive front with interior offensive lineman Zach Frazier. With the future of center Frank Ragnow’s health uncertain, and the loss of guard Jonah Jackson to the Rams, there’s definitely a need for another athletic weapon on the offensive interior. Frazier should challenge for the starting right guard position in his rookie season as a violent but nimble player with excellent grip strength and block sustainability.

30. The Baltimore Ravens select Kingsley Suamataia, OT BYU

Coming off of an incredible season with a disappointing end, the Ravens here are bolstering their offensive line with another project tackle in Kingsley Suamataia. After losing two starters to the Jets in right tackle Morgan Moses and left guard John Simpson, there is some uncertainty regarding who their replacements will be. Suamataia played both right and left tackle for the Cougars and is a great athlete who flashed high-end pass protection skills throughout his final collegiate season. Kingsley could definitely see snaps in his rookie year and may be the long-term replacement for left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

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

San Francisco’s third corner position in nickel packages was a scab that was consistently picked at by opposing offenses this past season. Kool-Aid McKinstry is exactly the type of high-floor player that the Niners could benefit from adding. While there’s a bit to be desired athletically, Kool-Aid is about as complete of a corner prospect as there is. His 2022 season was so dominant that teams rarely even threw the ball in his direction this past fall. He should definitely see starting snaps as a rookie and could be an important upgrade for the Niners that helps them compete for another NFC Championship Title.

32. The Kansas City Chiefs select Adonai Mitchell, WR Texas

Even with the off-field issues regarding Rashee Rice, the Chiefs were always going to be entertaining a receiver early in this draft. Adonai ‘AD’ Mitchell is an imposing presence on the outside, and a jump ball winner extraordinaire. His athleticism shined at the combine posting a 9.99 RAS score per ras.football. His personality has been said to be an interesting factor for his draft stock, but the Chiefs have proven time and time again that they can manage big personas as long as the product on the field is what it needs to be.

33. Carolina Panthers select Ladd McConkey, WR Georgia

Missouri v Georgia
Missouri v Georgia / Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/GettyImages

And finally… with the first pick of the second round. The Panthers get Bryce Young a receiver who can get open in a myriad of different ways. Georgia’s Ladd McConkey is a phenomenal change-of-direction athlete and route-running savant. He should be an impact player on day one from the slot, and with the speed and agility could develop into a serious 1B NFL receiving option. Between him and the addition of Diontae Johnson, the Panthers could finally feel somewhat comfortable with the situation of pass catchers surrounding their former number-one pick quarterback.