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

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NFL Draft, Darius Robinson
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jelani Reid's 2024 NFL Mock Draft

1.01, Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC
After trading Justin Fields to Pittsburgh, Chicago can get a generational talent at the quarterback position. Not to mention, they've never had a 4,000-yard passer. The future is now with Caleb Williams.

1.02, Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
With the draft approaching, rumors about a “Daniels-to-Washington” scenario have gained more steam. A new face for a new era in D.C., shades of Robert Griffin III in 2012.

1.03, New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, UNC
At the top of this draft, quarterbacks will be flying off the board. Maye will attempt to be the true successor in the post-Brady and Belichick era in New England.

1.04, Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, OSU
Arizona will provide Kyler Murray with a weapon considered to be one of the best pure talents at receiver that we've seen in years.

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

The Chargers see Arizona take a receiver and do the same. Nabers arrives in Los Angeles after the departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams this offseason. Unless someone trades up here, Justin Herbert would approve of this selection.

TRADE: 11 and 23 with Giants
1.06, Minnesota Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

This may be considered to be a bit early for McCarthy to come off the board but Minnesota believes he’s their guy after Kirk Cousins moved on for Atlanta. The 2023-24 National Champion enters a situation with the likes of Justin Jefferson, Aaron Jones, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson.

1.07, Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

As Will Levis continues to develop it’ll be essential to have the proper protection for him moving forward, enter Joe Alt.

1.08, Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Although it’ll be enticing to take another offensive weapon in this spot, it makes sense to go with one of the premier defensive talents in this class. Especially given the fact they’ve already gone offense the last three drafts: Bijan Robinson (‘23), Drake London (‘22), and Kyle Pitts (‘21).

1.09, Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

More offense for Chicago. Odunze joining D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett, and DeAndre Swift among others on offense sounds threatening for opposing defenses. Caleb Williams is going to have a great time adjusting to the NFL level with all of this to work with.

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

If Chris Ballard wants to make Colts fans happy, he’ll trade up in the first round – something he’s never done. The two-time John Mackey Award winner has earned the right to be considered one of the top prospects this year. Houston has a lot of talent for C.J. Stroud, so do the same for Anthony Richardson.

1.11, New York Giants: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Giants trade down but secure a solid cornerback that could help plenty of teams in the league. They drafted Deonte Banks last year but, corner is still a team need. Arnold is a highly-coveted prospect who can add more skill to the back end of New York’s defense. This is surely a benefit when there are offensive powers like Philadelphia and Dallas in your division.

1.12, Denver Broncos: Jared Verse, EDGE, FSU

Does Denver think Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. is the answer for them? If not, they’ll try to address their pass rush instead by selecting the standout two-time First-Team All-American.

1.13, Las Vegas Raiders: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Vegas takes a gamble and selects Penix Jr. after picking up Gardner Minshew in free agency. Squaring off with Mahomes and Herbert twice a year, you can’t feature a team without a solid QB. So why not try bringing in a guy who has a strong arm and an ability to make highlight-worthy plays? The last passer they took in the first round was JaMarcus Russell first overall in 2007. But this won’t be a repeat of that!

1.14, New Orleans Saints: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Although New Orleans should take a look at adding talent on each level of the defense, it only makes sense to take Fashanu since Ryan Ramczyk has dealt with knee problems.

1.15, New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Fuaga who didn’t give up a sack in his collegiate career becomes insurance on the outside of the offensive line with aging vets like Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses.

1.16, Seattle Seahawks: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

Mike Macdonald arrives as the new head coach in Seattle. After being in charge of a defense that placed major emphasis on being physical at the point of attack and stopping the run, the Seahawks can add another piece to their defensive line puzzle by selecting Murphy. If he’s on the board, Seattle may take their chance.

1.17, Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Jacksonville takes Mitchell here to help their coverage against the talented young signal callers in the AFC South.

1.18, Cincinnati Bengals: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

The third Washington Husky off the board will be a future protector for Joe Burrow. Cincy has tried to keep Burrow upright and even though they brought in Trent Brown, he’s only on a one-year deal. If they move on from Brown after 2024, Fautanu takes over.

TRADE with Rams to get 28
1.19, Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Buffalo trades up following the departures of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Josh Allen could use one of the top receivers coming out this year and they’ll grab the one who led the FBS with 17 touchdowns last season.

1.20, Pittsburgh Steelers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Steelers add Mims who can keep the new signal callers, Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, off the ground. He’s got room to grow his overall skillset but his talent is off the charts.

1.21, Miami Dolphins: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

The Fins have an established tackle with Terron Armstead but his injury history is a concern. However, Christian Wilkins leaving the team was a massive blow, so Miami choses to reload the interior defensive line here.

1.22, Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Wiggins is one of the better corners in this class despite criticism for his slim frame (173 lbs). He provides the skill and depth that Philadelphia currently needs in the secondary. Wiggins features impressive speed in terms of his reactivity and good length at 6-foot-2.

1.23, New York Giants: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Giants take a receiver here to provide some spark on an offense where we’ve seen a lack of firepower from their air attack.

1.24, Dallas Cowboys: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Dallas should be doing “best player available” but if one area must be addressed immediately, it’ll be the offensive line. Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz are both gone. Supplementing the roster’s other holes will be done as the draft continues.

1.25, Green Bay Packers: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Green Bay gets DeJean named a unanimous All-American and awarded the best defensive back of the year in the Big 10 in 2023. Not only can he play on the outside and in the slot, but he can help in special teams as a punt returner too.

1.26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

Tampa Bay can use a center after the retirement of Ryan Jensen. Powers-Johnson will ultimately be his replacement.

1.27, Arizona Cardinals: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

After taking Marvin Harrison Jr. early on, Arizona goes to the other side of the ball by selecting a physical corner for their secondary.

1.28, Los Angeles Rams: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Aaron Donald retires as one of the greatest defensive players in league history. In other words, there’s a huge presence gone from this side of the ball. Latu won’t be asked to be Donald but he’ll help form a new era for the Rams, in a city where he also went to school.

1.29, Detroit Lions: Darius Robinson, DL, Mizzou

Detroit adds another disruptive player on defense. He says he models his game after the likes of Chris Jones and Maxx Crosby. Being able to play inside or on the outside of the defensive line at 6-foot-5, 280 Ibs, Robinson proves to be a solid option for the Lions.

1.30, Baltimore Ravens: Keon Coleman, WR, FSU

This is a contender in the AFC who chooses to add a dynamic player in the passing game for MVP Lamar Jackson. Coleman is a physical receiver who can be another target in the red zone and down the field in jump-ball situations.

1.31, San Francisco 49ers: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Brock Purdy will be protected even more with the First-Team All-SEC tackle. It also helps that he says his play is inspired by Trent Williams.

1.32, Kansas City Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Kansas City welcomes a new weapon for Patrick Mahomes. Worthy who ran a 4.21 40-yard dash at the combine becomes the pick here to insert additional speedy talent on the perimeter after we saw the Chiefs struggle to catch the ball last season despite going back-to-back.