Simon Carroll 2024 NFL Mock Draft

By Simon Carroll

Mock draft time. We’re close enough now, so I’ll allow it! As is now customary, here is my one and only mock of draft season – with plenty of trades. Love it, hate it, whatever; We’re all just guessing, we all know nothing. Let’s get into it…

Bears, Chicago Bears 2020

1. Chicago Bears

Caleb Williams, QB, USC

The worst-kept secret in draft history was totally and utterly exposed once the Bears traded Justin Fields to the Steelers for a pint and a packet of crisps (or chips, depending where you’re reading this). Caleb Williams has everything to suggest he could be a two-decade starter in the NFL. He might legitimately be Chicago’s first ever ‘franchise QB’.

2. Washington Commanders

Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

New ownership + new coaching staff = new quarterback. But which one? My gut says Daniels, who could possibly slip a bit if he doesn’t go here – his athleticism and creativity matched by a nervousness around the league in terms of durability. That said, Kliff Kingsbury is now OC in DC, and is very familiar working with mobile quarterbacks, even if he’s never really won with one. Daniels will enjoy a pair of talented receivers to work with in Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson – much like he had in Baton Rouge.

Patriots, New England Patriots

3. New England Patriots

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

It’s a new dawn in New England. After not having to worry about quarterback for 17 years, it’s now the biggest issue for this franchise. Mac Jones is out the door, and Jacoby Brissett currently sits atop the depth chart. That experience allows them to shoot for the moon with Drake Maye, a QB with an insane arm and a gunslinger mentality. No rush to start can help him transition to the league and work through some inconsistencies that come with having a 21 year old run your offense.

Vikings, Minnesota Vikings

4. Minnesota Vikings

Trade! The Minnesota Vikings send picks 11, 23 and a 2025 2nd rounder to the Arizona Cardinals to move up to 4

JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Minnesota’s not so subtle posturing to get into position to take a quarterback finally comes to fruition, giving a healthy package of picks to the Cards to go get JJ McCarthy. The former Michigan man has all the traits you look for, but maybe a lack of opportunity to show he can put a team on his back in Ann Arbor – the curse of privilege it would seem. And yet, Jim Harbaugh’s noise aside, he appears to have sold the NFL on his ability to be a starting QB in the league. I love the fit in Minnesota, sitting behind Darnold and working with Kevin O’Connell.

Los Angeles Chargers 2020

5. Los Angeles Chargers

Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State

Harbaugh’s masterplan of building up the JJ McCarthy hype works, and the best player in the draft falls to the Chargers at 5. There’s definitely a chance that this team builds the trenches first – it’s certainly the mantra of the new head coach. And this is a draft full of elite o-line talent. But how do you pass on Marvin Harrison when you’ve just lost Keenan Allen and Mike Williams? Harbaugh knows what this kid can do – go get Justin Herbert an elite weapon and crack on.

Giants, New York Giants 2020

6. New York Giants

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Rumour has it the Giants might be looking to move on from Daniel Jones, one offseason on from giving him the bag. That’s not a great look from Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen, and I don’t think they’d be willing to part with too much draft capital to make it happen. Instead, they try and make the best of a bad situation and give Jones an elite receiver to throw to. Nabers is always open, despite not being the perfect route runner – explosive and fluid, he just separates. Is he a little diva-ish? Maybe, or perhaps it’s just the draft machine running out of things to say. Regardless, the talent clearly outweighs any concerns. And we all saw what happened the last time Big Blue got themselves an LSU receiver with a similar profile…

Titans, Tennessee Titans 2020

7. Tennessee Titans

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

First draft pick of the post-Mike Vrabel Titans era is as Mike Vrabel as it comes. Tennessee have been active in free agency, and it’s evident they’re giving Will Levis everything they can to see if he’s the guy. Now they need to give him better protection; o-line was a big issue for this team last year. Andre Dillard failed at left tackle, and Joe Alt is the perfect man to replace him. Smooth, disciplined and plays with a controlled power, Alt should be a day one blindside protector. An o-line of Alt, Skoronski, Cushenberry, Radunz and Petit-Frere feels a whole lot healthier.

Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals 2020

8. Arizona Cardinals

Trade! After acquiring the #11 pick earlier, the Arizona Cardinals send it and pick 66 (3rd rounder) to the Atlanta Falcons to move up to 8

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Monti Ossenfort did the down-up board move last year, and I have him doing it again in this scenario. If he wants one of the three premiere receivers in this class, he’s going to have to – getting ahead of the Bears would improve their chances of landing Rome Odunze. Comp’d by many to Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald, Odunze has an all-round game that is hard to find holes in. Considering the depth chart at pass catcher in the desert, he becomes the defacto WR1 immediately.

Bears, Chicago Bears 2020

9. Chicago Bears

Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Were they gazumped by Arizona for Odunze? Maybe. But the addition of Keenan Allen means that the Bears don’t have to panic about getting a receiver this early in the draft anyway. Arguably, the bigger issue is at pass rusher – the team traded for and re-signed Montez Sweat, but there’s not much on the opposite side to get excited about. Matt Eberflus would love working with a talent like Verse, who can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up. His size and physicality make me think he’s more suitable to the Bears’ 4-3 than Dallas Turner – this Bears roster is really starting to take shape.

Jets, New York Jets

10. New York Jets

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Jets are all in on 2024. Both Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas know their P45’s are waiting for them if they don’t make the playoffs this year, and their approach to free agency has the air of urgency about it. If everyone can stay healthy this season, they have a chance to meet expectations, but relying on an injury prone 33-year old Tyron Smith to protect a 41 year old QB coming off a torn achilles seems like a recipe for disaster to me. Fashanu seems to have lost a bit of draft love the last month or so, but I would suggest he’s the most left-tackle ready prospect in this class not named Joe Alt.

Falcons, Atlanta Falcons 2020

11. Atlanta Falcons

Received from the Minnesota Vikings by way of the Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Turner, EDGE, Florida State

Franchise QB? Check. Run game? Check. Pass catchers? Check. The Falcons might have won the offseason in Raheem Morris’ first year in charge. The draft gives them the opportunity to patch up a defense that outperformed expectations in 2023 – and if they do that, they should walk the NFC South. Dallas Turner immediately upgrades this team’s pass rush – and should fit seamlessly into the 3-4 defense they operate in Atlanta. He’s the definition of explosive, and will kill blocks with his first step.

Broncos, Denver Broncos 2020

12. Denver Broncos

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Speaking candidly, the Broncos are in a right mess. A roster lacking in talent and depth, a salary cap dented by paying a quarterback $53m to go away, and a lack of draft capital thanks to trading for said QB along with a head coach. In the simplest of terms, Denver is screwed.

That said, if they landed Terrion Arnold here, they would have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. Vance Joseph would work wonders with a DB that has the man coverage skills Arnold possesses. Sure, they might want a little more length, but this kid glues himself to receivers. Pair him with fellow ‘Bama corner Patrick Surtain, and at least this team has one position covered.

Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers 2020

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

Trade! The Pittsburgh Steelers send picks 20 and 51 (2nd rounder) to the Las Vegas Raiders to move up to 13

JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Steelers desperately need offensive line help – and this is the draft to find it! I can see them being quite aggressive in identifying their guy, and in this scenario cleverly get ahead of the Saints to make sure they get their tackle of choice. JC Latham is a day one starter on the right side, allowing Tomlin to move last year’s first rounder Broderick Jones over to the left. Russell Wilson may or may not be the answer, but at least he has two pillars to work behind.

Saints, New Orleans Saints 2020

14. New Orleans Saints

Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

The concerning news surrounding Ryan Ramczyk and his long-term health puts the Saints in a bit of a bind on the offensive line. A cartilage defect in one of his knees leaves the team in limbo, not helped by the underwhelming play from Trevor Penning on the opposite side. How about grabbing an absolute animal that can play across the line? Troy Fautanu is one of my favourite prospects in this class, a real street fighter who will do whatever it takes to win a rep. He can deputise at tackle if needed, and kick inside should Ramczyk make a full recovery.

Colts, Indianapolis Colts 2020

15. Indianapolis Colts

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

God DAYUM I love Quinyon Mitchell. Not only does he hail from MAC country, but he also possesses the blend of size and athleticism that allows him to fit in pretty much any scheme. His tape is flawless, and he’s since backed it up with a solid Senior Bowl and stellar combine. The Colts come into the draft with an established secondary, but Mitchell elevates it to a real asset for this team. In a division with CJ Stroud and Trevor Lawrence, that’s a valuable commodity.

Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks 2020

16. Seattle Seahawks

Byron Murphy, IDL, Texas

Mike Macdonald built a Ravens defense that literally dominated the AFC last season, and at the heart of it was Justin Madubuike, the 3-tech who made a giant leap in his fourth year. Should Seattle switch to the 4-3 and replicate what their new head coach achieved in Baltimore, then Murphy is the perfect piece to slot into that interior role on the defensive front. His get-off is insane – and as a part of a group that also includes Leonard Williams, Jarran Reed and Dre’Mont Jones could thrive as an interior pass rusher. 

Jaguars, Jacksonville Jaguars 2020

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Brian Thomas, WR, LSU

The fraud that is Trent Baalke strikes again, this time sending draft capital to Atlanta for Calvin Ridley and failing to tie him down to a long-term deal. The Jaguars also have a big need at corner, but sit between tiers at that position in this draft. If Thomas falls to them I find it hard to see them passing on him – a blend of size and speed, he’s a little rusty as a route runner but gives Trevor Lawrence a big vertical threat to work with.

Cincinnati Bengals 2020

18. Cincinnati Bengals

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

The Cincinnati Bengals have not been shy when it comes to surrounding Joe Burrow with talent. Mike Gesicki may have comes over from New England, but I really don’t think that precludes them from entertaining Brock Bowers here. More of note is the loss of Tyler Boyd, as well as the potential departure of Tee Higgins. Bowers isn’t your average tight end, a ‘manufactured touch’ candidate who is lethal with the ball in his hands – and I think could be a revelation in a Zac Taylor offense.

Los Angeles Rams 2020

19. Los Angeles Rams

Johnny Newton, IDL, Illinois

Trying to replace Aaron Donald may be a fools errand, but if there’s one prospect in this draft class that gives you Donald vibes, it’s Johnny Newton. Lacking ideal size and length, Newton simply disregards his measurements to still win with power and urgency, displacing offensive linemen and living in the backfield. Newton has 13 sacks from the interior his last two seasons in Champaign, and as a 3-tech should thrive next to Bobby Brown.

Raiders, Las Vegas Raiders

20. Las Vegas Raiders

Received from the Pittsburgh Steelers

Michael Penix, QB, Washington

In an ideal world, I think the Las Vegas Raiders would have liked to have seen Jayden Daniels slip a little and trade up, not down. But with the Commanders taking their preferred choice, Tom Telesco does well to move back and still secure their QB for the future. The former Chargers GM has never been without a franchise quarterback under center, and despite the addition of Gardner Minshew, I can still see them grabbing a signal caller in round 1. Penix can be deadly but has an injury history to be wary of – there’s some boom or bust here, but isn’t that in the Raiders’ DNA?

Dolphins, Miami Dolphins 2020

21. Miami Dolphins

Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL, Oregon

I feel this is a destiny pick. Every draft has them, and for me, the Dolphins and Jackson Powers-Johnson are an engaged couple about to be married. Miami let Connor Williams leave in free agency, and replaced him with Aaron Brewer from Tennessee, who has developed into a capable center. But they also lost Robert Hunt who headed for a big payday in Carolina this offseason. That leaves a gap at right guard that Powers-Johnson can fill capably, with the potential to be the teams’ long term answer at center in the future. 

Eagles, Philadelphia Eagles 2020

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

The Eagles fell off a cliff in 2023, and a big part of that was the decline of their secondary. James Bradberry and Darius Slay both return but are also both on the wrong side of thirty. How about a cover corner who can play inside or out, and thrive in any scheme? Nate Wiggins has the size and length NFL teams covet at cornerback nowadays. and I can see Vic Fangio maximising his talents. Technically refined, Wiggins just needs a shot of aggression to take his game to the next level – Philly feels like the perfect environment to help with that.

Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals 2020

23. Arizona Cardinals

Received from the Minnesota Vikings

Kool-Aid McKinstrey, CB, Alabama

Having played the board, the Cardinals have ANOTHER first rounder to work with – and address a problem position at 23. Cornerback may have been this team’s biggest weakness last year. This offseason, Sean Murphy-Bunting has been brought in to occupy one side of the field, but they still need more. Starling Thomas showed some signs of talent as a UDFA in Detroit in 2023, but adding McKinstrey would give this defense a real upgrade in the back end. Like Murphy-Bunting, McKinstrey is your smaller brand of corner, but brings with him a polished game and professionalism a lot of prospects lack.

Lions, Detroit Lions 2020

24. Detroit Lions

Trade! The Detroit Lions send picks 29 and 73 (3rd rounder) to the Dallas Cowboys to move up to 24

Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Good old fashioned grit.

We know what the Lions prioritise when it comes to talent acquisition – and competitiveness is a non-negotiable. So what would be better than moving up the board, addressing a position of need with a prospect that possesses those qualities, AND doing a division rival dirty at the same time? Cooper DeJean is a born competitor who knows how to win. What he lacks in agility he makes up for in determination and ball skills. The Lions defense played more than 70% in zone coverage in 2023 under Aaron Glenn, which suits DeJean perfectly – he can also be used as a safety, and should provide special teams value as well.

Packers, Green Bay Packers

25. Green Bay Packers

Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

I’m not sure if the Packers were lining up Cooper DeJean before the Lions jumped them or not – I would argue that the secondary is probably a mid-term need in Green Bay and I’d be surprised if they don’t add to it this draft. I also think DeJean would have been a good fit too, although we know little about what Jeff Hafley intends to do his first season as defensive coordinator. Regardless, I do know the Packers need help on the offensive line. With David Bakhtiari released and Jon Runyan signing a big free agency deal with the Giants, there’s multiple positions to address. Fuaga is a huge bulldozer who can start immediately at right guard, and potentially offer a future solution at tackle. Jordan Love’s protection just got better.

Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

I’m not wild about this pick. Not because I don’t rate Latu – far from it. I just think the most obvious need for Tampa is in their secondary, and there aren’t enough first round DB’s to share amongst the teams that require one. That leaves the Bucs pivoting, and giving their pass rush a boost. Laiatu Latu likely goes a lot higher if it wasn’t for a medical history that saw him retire once already. Regardless, his talent is undeniable – explosive, aggressive and a backfield menace, he’s a perfect fit in Tampa’s 3-4 scheme.

Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals 2020

27. Arizona Cardinals

Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

I think pairing Chop Robinson with Jonathan Gannon is a match made in heaven. Gannon loves versatility when it comes to his front seven, and Robinson can pretty much play every position – as an edge rusher he’s incessant and a nightmare for linemen to deal with. He shoots off the snap like his hair is on fire, can attack from an odd or even front and will offer the perfect foil to an ascending Zaven Collins on the other side.

Odunze, McKinstrey, Robinson. Not a bad day’s work.

Chiefs, Kansas City Chiefs 2020

28. Kansas City Chiefs

Trade! The Kansas City Chiefs send picks 32 and 95 (3rd rounder) to the Buffalo Bills to move up to 28

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Chiefs decided to take two down years to get their house in order, trade away Tyreek Hill, and STILL won a pair of Super Bowls. Now, they’re as well set up for a dynasty run as any team in history – yep, even Belichick’s Patriots. That’s how good Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and co. are. 

So now is not time to take their foot off the gas. All those clamouring for a receiver should consider the draft board at this stage – there’s going to be a good choice of guys in round two. What KC ought to do is look for long-term solutions to help protect their star QB. Wanya Morris is currently slated to replace Donovan Smith at left tackle, but trading up for the raw but talented Amarius Mims makes sense for future years. Despite some inconsistency, Mims has the size and traits to be a pro bowl tackle in this league.

Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys 2020

29. Dallas Cowboys

Received from the Detroit Lions

Graham Barton, IOL, Duke

What was once a position of strength is now a decimated offensive line in Dallas. Tyron Smith, Connor McGovern, Connor Williams, La’el Collins have all departed in the last few years, leaving just Tyler Smith and Zach Martin as pillars of protection for Dak Prescott. Tyler Biadasz also left this offseason, leaving the undrafted Brock Hoffman to deputise. That’s not good enough, and Jerry Jones knows it – so it’s time to spend some draft capital at center. When all is said and done, Graham Barton might be the best pivot in this draft class, with the athleticism, technique and work ethic to thrive at one of the most important positions in the game.

Baltimore Ravens

30. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

It’s an interesting talent. But it always surprises me to see the Ravens pick late every year yet routinely land an elite prospect at a position of need. In this scenario, 2024 appears no different – with Morgan Moses and Kevin Zeitler both gone in free agency, the offensive line is in need of reinforcements. Then there’s also the issue of Ronnie Stanley, who despite his talents can’t seem to stay on the field. Tyler Guyton gives you right/left tackle versatility and a level of play that leads you to believe he can be a day one starter. The best bit? He’s nowhere near as good as he can be yet.

Broncos, Denver Broncos 2020

31. Bo Nix

Trade! The Denver Broncos send picks 76 (3rd rounder), 136 (5th rounder) and a 2025 2nd rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to move up to 31

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Falling asleep were you? Not any more. Now, cards on the table, I’m not sure if Denver has the capital to be able to get back in to the first round or not. But moving up significantly to take Bo Nix feels so Sean Payton I had to put it in here – and to be fair, they would benefit from the fifth year option if they were able to pick again on Day 1. Nix has his doubters as a six-year QB who only got good once he was surrounded by talent at Oregon. I think that’s a little harsh considering the zoo he left at Auburn, but there are definite questions. Regardless, Payton will see glimpses of both Drew Brees and Tony Romo in him, and has the self-confidence to back himself to make Nix a bonafide NFL quarterback.

Bills, Buffalo Bills 2020

32. Buffalo Bills

Received from the Kansas City Chiefs

AD Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Bills have had to pay the piper this offseason. An aging and expensive roster has seen a host of veterans depart, perhaps the biggest of them all Stefon Diggs. I can see Buffalo trying to get out of the first round entirely if they can, but maximising Josh Allen will always be a priority. Considering Gabe Davis left too, they will definitely consider a pass-catcher here. AD Mitchell is something of an enigma, a receiver with the measurables and ball skills that warrant a first round selection. But route running, consistency and technique are all unrefined. Depending on where you land, that’s bust potential or room for growth. I’m in the latter camp.

Mock Draft