Staff Picks: 2024 First Round NFL Mock Draft from Writers on the Staff

Which writer made YOUR favorite mock draft of the bunch?
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NFL Draft, Jayden Daniels
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Ryan McCrary's 2024 NFL Mock Draft

1.01, Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

After trading Justin Fields, the Bears need a quarterback, and this year’s class features a number of talented quarterbacks. Caleb Williams is the best quarterback prospect I’ve seen in recent memory and his arm talent, ability to extend plays, and underrated ability to operate within the pocket can change the Bears’ franchise for years to come.

1.02, Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

It seems that a lot of people are low on Drake Maye, but not me. Maye is a fantastic prospect who is a historically good deep ball thrower, a great decision-maker, and a very good runner. His sack avoidance is a bit underwhelming and his tendency to scramble too much is a concern, but he is well worth this pick and he can be a franchise quarterback in Washington.

1.03, New England Patriots: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The Patriots desperately need a quarterback, but they don’t have the pieces to support a rookie quarterback and I’m not sure Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy are capable of raising the performance of a sub-par supporting cast. Therefore, I would look at taking a blue chip prospect and Joe Alt is one of the best offensive tackle prospects I’ve seen in recent memory due to his size, age, athleticism, and dominance as a run blocker and pass protector.

1.04, Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, OSU

The Arizona Cardinals are in a tough spot because they have holes all over their roster. The top player available is Marvin Harrison Jr., a tall receiver with great hands and incredible route running, and he would give Kyler Murray a high-level WR1. This would be a homerun pick.

1.05, Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the weakest receiving cores in the league, so we’re gonna fix that by drafting Malik Nabers, an explosive wide receiver who can play inside and outside and is a terrific playmaker with the ball in his hands. Also, this move would make Justin Herbert’s life easier which is a huge plus.

1.06, New York Giants: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Giants ranked dead last in PFF pass block grade last season, which is unsurprising if you watched them play. Although it is extremely difficult to pass on a high-level X receiver like Rome Odunze, the Giants' offensive line is in shambles and I view Taliese Fuaga as an elite tackle prospect who has the skills and athleticism to be worth a top-ten selection.

1.07, Tennessee Titans: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The Tennessee Titans made some big moves during the offseason to give Will Levis a chance to succeed. This is great, but I worry that Levis’s poor decision-making and sack avoidance will keep him from being a viable starting quarterback in the long run. With the Titans likely being unable to get a top quarterback prospect next year, I would draft J.J. McCarthy, a young quarterback with a strong arm, great accuracy, and strong pocket presence.

1.08, Atlanta Falcons: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Falcons’ defense was quietly below average last season, ranking 24th in defensive DVOA and struggling in terms of pass rush and coverage. With A.J. Terrell needing an extension soon, there’s a chance the Falcons don’t bring him back so they need a cornerback badly. Quinyon Mitchell is one of the top defensive players in the draft and his speed and coverage ability would allow him to shine in Atlanta.

1.09, Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

This would be a dream scenario for the Bears as they get another high-level receiver to support their rookie quarterback, Caleb Williams. Rome Odunze is a big, athletic X receiver with great hands and a strong production profile with minimal weaknesses. If Odunze is your WR3, you have to feel great about your receiving core.

1.10, New York Jets: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

The Jets are trying to win now and they need a pass catcher or an offensive tackle. I considered Amarius Mims and JC Latham here, but I question what their role will be immediately and with job security being an issue with this franchise, I'm looking for a player who can contribute right away. With a win-now mindset, I’m picking Brock Bowers, a do-it-all tight end who is one of the best pass-catching tight ends we’ve seen in recent memory

1.11, Minnesota Vikings: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

The Vikings made a lot of moves this offseason to improve their pass rush so now they can improve their secondary. Cooper DeJean is a versatile and athletic defensive back who was extremely productive in every area in college and would fit nicely with the Vikings’ secondary.

1.12, Denver Broncos: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

The Broncos have a ton of holes to fill but are in a tough financial situation after cutting Russell Wilson. With a desperate need for an edge rusher, they get Laiatu Latu, an athletic pass rusher who just had one of the most productive seasons we’ve seen in the last decade.

1.13, Las Vegas Raiders: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Raiders have a big need at tackle and Amarius Mims is a very strong tackle prospect. He may be inexperienced relative to the other tackle prospects in this year’s class, but he is young, has excellent size and athleticism, and had historic production as a pass blocker at Georgia.

1.14, New Orleans Saints: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Saints are another team with a big need at tackle and JC Latham is the top tackle available. The fact that he didn’t do any athletic testing concerns me, but he’s still a great prospect with a strong all-around profile as a run blocker and pass protector.

1.15, Indianapolis Colts: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

The Colts could use a playmaker on offense or a cornerback but I don’t love any of the remaining players at those positions so I’m going with the best player available in Byron Murphy II. Murphy is an elite defensive tackle prospect who shines as a pass rusher while being above average against the run. Pairing him with DeForest Buckner will be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.

1.16, Seattle Seahawks: Jared Verse, EDGE, FSU

The Seahawks had a good pass rush last season, but they could use another edge rusher and Jared Verse is one of the top player available. Verse is a very strong edge rusher who produced at a very high level as a pass rusher while also being a suitable run defender. Players like him usually don’t last this long.

1.17, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

The Jaguars have to do a better job of supporting Trevor Lawrence and that starts here. While center is not a premium position, it is extremely important and I believe Jackson Powers-Johnson is one of the best interior offensive line prospects in recent memory. His production as a run blocker and pass protector was excellent at Oregon and puts him in the elite category for his position.

1.18, Cincinnati Bengals: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Bengals fans are probably begging for a good tackle to make it to pick 18 and that happens here as Olumuyiwa Fashanu falls outside the top fifteen picks. Fashanu fell due to his worrisome production as a run blocker, but he is an elite pass protector who can step in at left tackle on day one and shine immediately.

1.19, Los Angeles Rams: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Rams did a lot of work in the offseason to improve their secondary, but let’s add another cornerback in Terrion Arnold. Arnold is a young prospect with strong athletic testing who was wildly productive as a tackler and run defender. Unfortunately, his production in coverage was fairly average at Alabama, but he has such a strong all-around profile at such a young age that he’s worth this high of a pick.

1.20, Pittsburgh Steelers: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

After trading Diontae Johnson in the offseason, the Steelers give Russell Wilson a fantastic slot receiver with strong hands who can create separation and destroy zone coverage. Some people may view this as a reach, but I love McConkey’s skillset and think he can be very productive in the right role.

1.21, Miami Dolphins: Graham Barton, OT, Duke

Graham Barton is an interesting prospect as he has experience playing tackle and center. I like him more playing inside and the Dolphins could use a high-level center. This isn’t a sexy pick, but I like the idea of filling a very important position with a first-round quality prospect.

1.22, Philadelphia Eagles: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Kool-Aid McKinstry is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. He didn’t test as well as you’d like, but he has a very strong production profile and his coverage numbers were elite at Alabama. He could be a steal for the Eagles and I like his fit with their secondary.

1.23, Minnesota Vikings: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Although I am very low on Jayden Daniels and worry about his fit in Kevin O’Connell’s system, I’m fine taking a flyer on him at this point and testing whether or not I am wrong in my evaluation. While he has some major issues as a passer he is accurate and he limits turnover-worthy plays while being historically productive as a rusher. This could allow him to succeed in the right system and he would be surrounded by a great supporting cast in Minnesota.

1.24, Dallas Cowboys: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

After losing Tyron Smith during the offseason, the Cowboys need a tackle. While I don’t love Fautanu as much as the other tackles, he’s still a good prospect with good pass-blocking production and a strong athletic profile. His run-blocking numbers are sub-par, but I like what he brings to the table as a pass protector.

1.25, Green Bay Packers: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

There is a 0% chance the Packers would actually take Nate Wiggins, but I’m the GM now. Wiggins’ thin frame and inability to tackle or provide support in the run game scare me a lot. However, he’s extremely fast and one of the best man corners in the draft.

1.26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

One of the Buccaneers’ top needs is an edge rusher and luckily for them, there are a few good ones available. They go with Chop Robinson here, a young and athletic pass rush specialist who was extremely productive as a pass rusher at Penn State. He needs to get a lot better as a run defender, but his ability to rush the passer is already fantastic for his age.

1.27, Arizona Cardinals: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

While I am a lot lower on Dallas Turner than the consensus, I do see the value in his profile. He’s a young edge rusher with excellent athleticism who has decent pass-rushing production for his age. I think he leaves a lot to be desired as a run defender, but the foundation is intriguing and he’s worth picking in the mid to late first round.

1.28, Buffalo Bills: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

The Bills traded Stefon Diggs earlier this month, leaving a big hole in their wide receiver core. To fill that hole, the Bills draft Troy Franklin, a tall but slender receiver who can create separation and was extremely productive on intermediate and deep routes at Oregon. His thin frame is a concern, but his production profile is one of the best in this year’s receiving class.

1.29, Detroit Lions: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Let’s have some fun in Detroit! While wide receiver isn’t a huge need for the Lions, they could use another offensive weapon and Brian Thomas Jr. would give them a big outside receiver who excels as a deep threat. There are some red flags in Thomas’s profile, but there are also not many receivers with his combination of youth, size, athleticism, and deep ball production.

1.30, Baltimore Ravens: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

I am weary of Adonai Mitchell because his production profile is very poor for someone who seems just about guaranteed to be a first-round pick. However, he is a young prospect with elite athleticism and serious nuance as a route runner. The Ravens desperately need a high-level outside receiver and I’m hoping that Adonai Mitchell could potentially fill that role someday.

1.31, San Francisco 49ers: Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State

The 49ers’ offensive line had some serious issues in terms of pass protection last season. To fix this they pick Cooper Beebe, one of the top guards in this year’s draft who performed well as a run blocker and pass protector at Kansas State. This may seem like a reach, but I think it could be a great pick.

1.32, Kansas City Chiefs: Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon

There weren’t a ton of players that I liked in this spot, so I’m going with a sleeper cornerback in Khyree Jackson. Jackson is a big corner with solid speed who excels in man coverage and is quite effective as a tackler and run defender. With L’Jarius Sneed being traded during the offseason, Jackson will fill his role and possibly do it well.