CFB: The Ineligible Mock Draft
You’ve probably seen plenty of preseason Mock Drafts for 2024 by now, but how about something a little bit different. Why don’t we pretend the junior and senior classes don’t exist and pick only from draft ‘ineligible’ players. A fun activity to show us which guys are worth an early look at in the College Football season that lies ahead.
Bear in mind, this is purely speculation on what these players can become, especially considering some have yet to take a snap in College Football!
1. Arizona Cardinals
Harold Perkins, LB, LSU
If you are a Cards fan you’re probably fed up of seeing Caleb Williams in every mock draft. Here, I give you a player who has the potental to be the top defensive player in the nation. Long-term I see Perkins as an edge rusher, for now, he will be the versatile forefront of the LSU defense.
2. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston Texans)
Travis Hunter, CB, Colorado
Back-to-back defensive studs for Arizona. Or is it? Hunter has taken reps at wide receiver and the former no.1 recruit is threatening to play both sides of the ball, just like mentor Deion Sanders. He moves with Sanders to the Buffs to test himself against Power 5 competition this year.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Drew Allar, QB, Penn State
You can declare me the conductor of the Drew Allar hype train. He had limited playing time last year but will now lead a talented Penn State roster. I expect a breakout and for Allar to be QB1 in the 2025 draft class.
4. Washington Commanders
Arch Manning, QB, Texas
If you’re not convinced by Sam Howell as QB1 then how about a Manning for the Commanders? Peyton and Eli’s nephew will have to backup Quinn Ewers at Texas in year 1 but the 5-star recruit looks the real deal to follow on in the family business.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Mykel Williams, DL, Georgia
Georgia is the place to go if you are looking for defensive line talent. Next off the production line is Mykel Williams. He certainly made an impression as a freshman contributing 33 pressures, of which 6 were sacks.
6. Tennessee Titans
Kelvin Banks, OT, Texas
The Titans could have done more to protect their QB in the offseason. If Kelvin Banks continues to anchor the Texas o-line, the Titans would certainly have interest. A pass blocking grade of 77.9 as a freshman shows his promise.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Cade Klubnik, QB, Clemson
Another QB comes off the board and the Raiders take a stab at getting the face of their franchise. Klubnik stepped in for DJ Uiagalelei early last season and will now look to make the Clemson offense his own.
8. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers)
Quinshon Judkins, RB, Ole Miss
We saw Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs come off the board early this year. Showing NFL teams are still willing to to spend day 1 picks on the position. Judkins ran for 1,567 yards at 5.7 yards per attempt in 2022. That suggests he has the talent to go early also.
9. Los Angeles Rams
Jaheim Oatis, DT, Alabama
You can pretty much plug in any position on the defense for Rams’ mock drafts. I have opted for either an Aaron Donald replacement or a scary partner if Donald extends his NFL career. Oatis could become a dominant factor on the Alabama defensive front.
10. Atlanta Falcons
Anthony Lucas, Edge, USC
Lucas was part of the famous Texas A&M recruiting group last year. It didn’t click in year 1 but he is apparently causing a stir having transferred to USC. It’s no surprise at 6’5 and 265lbs. He has been moving all along the defensive front and even dropping into coverage. He will be a big part of the Trojans defensive overhaul.
11. Chicago Bears
Evan Stewart, WR, Texas A&M
Stewart had a steady start to his college year in 2022 but could explode this season. The Aggies now have Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator and freshman Conner Weigman will hope Stewart can be a reliable number 1.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyler Booker, OT, Alabama
Alabama have had a bit of a downturn with offensive line talent with a couple of five stars not working out. They will hope to buck that trend with Tyler Booker. Booker played both guard spots last year earning an 89.0 pass blocking grade and allowing 0 sacks. He will be a starter at left guard this year but his future should be at tackle.
13.New England Patriots
Malaki Starks, DB, Georgia
Malaki Starks had a varied role in Georgia’s National Championship-winning season. He played snaps in the slot and as a deep safety. After the Bulldogs lost a lot of talent to the NFL, Starks will be expected to step up and help lead this group. That versatility would play well in a Bill Belichick defense.
14. Green Bay Packers
Caleb Downs, S, Alabama
Safety Caleb Downs has done enough in spring to cause a stir in Alabama. He should go straight into the starting defense as a true freshman and looks to have bags of potential. It’s always difficult to get snaps ealy in your ‘Bama career so he is one to pay attention to.
15. New York Giants
Luther Burden, WR, Missouri
Burden surprised many when, as the no.2 receiver in the nation, he picked Missouri over Alabama and Georgia. Now in his second year, he is hoping to show off that talent as he moves into the slot full-time. His high-school pedigree suggests he can be a big-time player but does he have the surrounding talent to hit that ceiling?
16. Seattle Seahawks
Nico Iamaleava, QB, Tennessee
The $8million college quarterback. That’s what it is rumoured to have cost the Vols to secure a commitment from Nico Iamaleava. He will backup Joe Milton in year 1 and then hope to make the most of Josh Heupel’s productive offensive scheme. The heir to Geno Smith’s throne in this situation.
17. Denver Broncos
Walter Nolen, DL, Texas A&M
Walter Nolen was the highest ranked of Texas A&M’s 2022 commits and has the potential to be a dominant defensive tackle. Year 2 needs to be the one where he lives up to the hype and leads the Aggies.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Dante Moore, QB, UCLA
Another team that needs a long-term QB solution. The Vikings will need to find a Kirk Cousins replacement eventually, perhaps they look to the West Coast. Dante Moore is one of the few freshman expected to start in year 1. He will run the Chip Kelly offense and has the size (6’3) and arm talent to be elite.
19. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)
Duce Robinson, TE, USC
Another freaky athlete, Duce Robinson was a prize recruit for Lincoln Riley and the Trojans. Ar 6’6, 225lbs he projects to be the type of tight end the NFL covets. He will get his first glimpse of college football as a receiver where he can showcase his speed and ball skills.
20. New Orleans Saints
Bear Alexander, DT, USC
Back-to-back USC picks and another transfer. Bear Alexander arrives to fortify the defensive front and adds some bulk at 6’3, 300lbs. He gained some experience with over 150 snaps for the Bulldogs but will be an instant starter in Southern California.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Ben Morrison, CB, Notre Dame
Morrison was one of the most impressive defensive freshman in the country last year. He snaffled six interceptions, three coming against Boston College, and earned an 82.2 coverage grade from PFF. That production screams round 1 corner, should he continue to thrive.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
Will Campbell, OT, LSU
Will Campbell had a stellar freshman campaign. Stepping in and manning the left tackle spot for LSU immediately. He allowed only 2 sacks and has the length that appeals to NFL teams.
23. Miami Dolphins
Nick Singleton, RB, Penn State
How about another electirc playmaker for the Dolphins? Nick Singleton surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in his first year for the Nittany Lions and did so at 6.8 yards per carry. 18 of those carries went over 15 yards, showing his big-play ability.
24. Detroit Lions
Jackson Arnold, QB, Oklahoma
Is Jared Goff the answer for the Lions or just a placeholder? If they are looking to replace him in a couple of years they could do worse than Jackson Arnold. Oklahoma are bullish about their 5-star QB, who may end up pushing Dillon Gabriel for the starting spot.
25. Baltimore Ravens
Nyckoles Harbor, WR, South Carolina
Bruce Feldman’s no.1 freak on his annual ‘Freak List’. He is 6’5, 225lbs with electric pace. The Gamecocks didn’t know whether to play him as a defensive end or tight end. In the end his speed and catch radius meant they didn’t want to waste him inline. He will play as a wide receiver and will have SEC defenses worried before a snap is taken.
26. New York Jets
CJ Hicks, LB, Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker group is stacked. For now, the starters are the experienced Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers. Limited to special teams snaps in 2022, Hicks will get a chance to play the ‘Jack’ role this season. He will share snaps with Jack Sawyer but gets the chance to rush the passer and drop into coverage.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Josh Conerly Jr, OT, Oregon
As you can see from this mock draft, the future of the offensive tackle position looks bright. Josh Conerly Jr had to bide his time behind more experienced players at Oregon but now looks entrenched at left tackle. A spot he should dominate for the next two years at least.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Carnell Tate, WR, Ohio State
One way or another the Bengals will need to restock their receiver group eventually. How about going for something close to home. Ohio State’s Carnell Tate caught the eye in spring training and gets to develop under one of the best receiver coaches in the game, Brian Hartline.
29. San Francisco 49ers
Oscar Delp, TE, Georgia
Oscar Delp will have to spend another season stuck behind the top tight end in college football. Brock Bowers is a phenom and a great role model for Delp to develop behind. The former receiver looks to have similar athletic gifts to Bowers.
30. Buffalo Bills
Abdul Carter, Edge, Penn State
A lot of eyes will be on Penn State’s pass rush this season. Most of them will be on draft eligible Chop Robinson, but make sure you spare some time for speed rusher Abdul Carter. He had eight sacks last year, could he be a Von Miller replacement?
31. Philadelphia Eagles
Kadyn Proctor, OT, Alabama
The Eagles love stacking up picks in the trenches. Althogh it is a projection, picking an Alabama offensive tackle is usually a safeish bet. Proctor is a freshman and is in a battle with Elijah Pritchett for the left tackle job. He should get meaningful snaps before assuming a starting berth in 2024.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Zach Branch, WR, USC
Zach Branch’s playing time may be limited in his freshman year. Lincoln Riley has plenty of receiving options in Brenden Rice, Dorian Singer and Mario Williams. But, Branch has hit 26mph on the treadmill and it would be silly not to harness that speed and link up with Caleb Williams. Imagine going from Williams in college to Mahomes in the NFL!
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