The Way-Too-Early 2024 NFL Mock Draft
Obviously, much of this mock draft will change over the course of the next 12 months. Names will emerge that haven’t been considered yet, and others that are in this mock will fall out of the first round.
In short, there’s a 100% chance that this 2024 NFL mock draft is wrong, but getting the picks right isn’t what this is about right now. Instead, this is a preliminary exercise to get some of the prospects for next spring introduced to the world. So, with that in mind, here is the way-too-early 2024 mock draft. Note as well that the draft order is loosely based off the post-draft power rankings from last week.
1. Los Angeles Rams: QB Caleb Williams, USC
The Rams are on a fast-track towards the bottom of the league in 2023, and in doing so, they win the Caleb Williams lottery. Unless things take a turn this fall, Williams looks like the top QB in this draft class and should be the successor to Matthew Stafford if he lands in LA.
2. Arizona Cardinals (via HOU): QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
Arizona is in a bit of a funky spot this year. They just paid Kyler Murray, but he is probably going to miss most of the 2023 season. They haven’t found much success with him as their starter, either. With their pick from Houston, they take a chance on Drake Maye.
3. Arizona Cardinals: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
If the Cardinals are going to get a new quarterback, they might as well go get the most dominant wide receiver in the class as well. Had Marvin Harrison Jr. been eligible for the 2023 Draft, he likely would have gone within the top 10 as it is. Given another year of development at Ohio State, and he could turn into the best receiver to come out of that program in recent years.
4. Washington Commanders: QB Quinn Ewers, Texas
Quinn Ewers could either be the Tyler Van Dyke of the 2024 Draft, or the C.J. Stroud. There’s certainly a chance that a disappointing season this fall could cause him to tumble down draft boards. However, if he impresses in the Longhorns final season with the Big-12, Washington is as logical a landing spot as any.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington
This is my dark horse to get into the first round. Michael Penix Jr. is a southpaw QB, which could make things a little funky at the NFL level, but he’s got a strong arm and is another dynamic athlete at the position.
6. Las Vegas Raiders: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
Teams in the top-five may be wary of taking Brock Bowers after how things have gone for Kyle Pitts in Atlanta, but Bowers is another ‘sure-thing’ prospect at the position. With Darren Waller no longer around, the Raiders need to fill a void here.
7. Tennessee Titans: OT Oli Fashanu, Penn State
Tennessee landed Peter Skoronski in 2023, but they still could use another tackle opposite him for 2024. Because of that, they grab Oli Fashanu, one of the most talented prospects over the past couple years.
8. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State
Things look decent on the offensive side of the ball in Indianapolis, so they turn their focus to the defense in 2024. Jared Verse has recorded 36 pressures in each of the past two seasons, and he is poised to be one of the more athletic pass rushers in this class.
9. Chicago Bears: WR Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State
The Bears acquired D.J. Moore via trade this offseason and have a decent group of pass-catchers for Justin Fields, but they still don’t have a true No. 1 at the wide receiver position. Emeka Egbuka has been overshadowed a bit to this point in his Ohio State career, but 2023 will be his breakout season that helps propel him into the first round.
10. Houston Texans (via CLE): EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington
Will Anderson Jr. was acquired by the Texans with the third overall pick in 2023, and they add yet another pass rushing presence here with the selection of Bralen Trice out of Washington. Trice recorded a ridiculous 70 pressures for the Huskies in 2022, and if he keeps that up this upcoming season, there’s a chance he goes even higher than this.
11. Green Bay Packers: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
First off, it’s hard to beat a name like Kool-Aid McKinstry, so if nothing else, Green Bay is winning the name draft with this pick. However, McKinstry offers much more than just a name. He is a very talented defensive back in coverage, and he has ideal NFL size to jump into a starting lineup right away.
12. New Orleans Saints: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas
Michael Thomas seemed like he was on his way out of New Orleans for a good chunk of this offseason, and more injury troubles could officially end his time with the Saints. In that case, Xavier Worthy becomes a top candidate for this pick.
13. Denver Broncos: IDL Maason Smith, LSU
The Broncos did a great job of grabbing promising prospects for the back half of their defense during the 2023 Draft by taking Drew Sanders and JL Skinner. In 2024, they bring the focus back to the front by selecting Maason Smith out of LSU now that he’s fully healthy from his torn ACL suffered last season.
14. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama
The Falcons used their eighth overall pick on Bijan Robinson in the 2023 Draft, and their offense looks like it could be a well-oiled machine this season if Desmond Ridder takes the next step forward as a quarterback. If that is the case, it opens the door for Atlanta to begin focusing on their defense in 2024, and Dallas Turner has all the looks of the next great pass-rusher for the Crimson Tide.
15. New England Patriots: QB Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin
This is the dark horse selection of this first round. Luke Fickell is running the show for Wisconsin now, just two years after taking the Cincinnati Bearcats to the College Football Playoff. With the Badgers, he’s already done a great job of landing prospects and transfers, such as Mordecai, to help improve the offense.
If Mordecai can maintain the production he saw at SMU and help the Badgers get back into the New Year’s Six picture, he could emerge as a top prospect, and he is the next QB for Bill Belichick.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers: S Javon Bullard, Georgia
The Steelers could still use some more playmakers in their secondary, and Javon Bullard began looking like that type of prospect in 2022. He recorded 5 pass breakups and a pair of pick-sixes with the Georgia Bulldogs last season.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon
The Chargers added Quentin Johnston this past season, but with uncertainty surrounding the futures of both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, wide receiver could be a need once again in 2024. Justin Herbert never played with Troy Franklin at Oregon, but the Ducks connection will become a reality in Los Angeles.
18. Minnesota Vikings: QB Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
The Vikings selected Jaren Hall in the fifth round of the 2023 Draft, and while he shows some promise, there isn’t much to go off of that suggests he will be much more than a fringe starter in a pinch. With a loaded QB class in 2024, the Vikings take a chance on Dillon Gabriel.
19. Chicago Bears (via CAR): CB Denzel Burke, Ohio State
The Bears have torn down their defense over the past few years, so they could certainly use a few more talented defensive backs on their roster. Over his career at Ohio State, Denzel Burke has allowed just 53 receptions on 103 targets. With another year under his belt, we could be looking at another outstanding cornerback prospect.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Kamarri Lassiter, Georgia
Back-to-back CBs go off the board here as yet another Georgia Bulldog hits the NFL as a first-round pick. Kamarri Lassiter went through a few growing pains in 2022, but if he cleans a few things up in coverage over this next year, the first round is not out of the question.
21. New York Giants: WR Rome Odunz, Washington
The New York Giants have done a great job of acquiring speed threats at the wide receiver position, but they are yet to find a big-bodied target to pair with all these prototypical slot receivers. That changes here as New York selects Rome Odunz out of Washington.
22. Miami Dolphins: TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
A second tight end comes off the board in the first round as the Miami Dolphins take Ja’Tavion Sanders out of Texas. With Mike Gesicki no longer on the team, the Dolphins no longer have a sure-fire starter at the tight end spot. Sanders changes that with his prowess both as a receiver and a blocker.
23. Seattle Seahawks: LB Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson
Playing next to Trenton Simpson certainly may have made things easier on Jeremiah Trotter, but he is a very talented linebacker in his own right. With Bobby Wagner getting older, the Seahawks opt to find their next star at the position.
24. New York Jets: OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
The Jets missed out on a top tackle prospect in 2023, so unless Mekhi Becton suddenly becomes healthy again, they desperately need to find a long-term solution at the position.
25. Detroit Lions: DL Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions have proven that they have a type when it comes to draft prospects. Jer’Zhan Newton fits into that mold as a burly defensive lineman who can help contribute both in the pass rush and as a run-stopper.
26. Baltimore Ravens: OT Zion Nelson, Miami
There is still some uncertainty around whether or not Zion Nelson will be ready to go for the start of the season after a knee injury took him out for much of 2022. However, if he can get back to his old 2021 form where he was one of the best tackles in college football, he’s a no-brainer for the Ravens here, who need some more help in the trenches.
27. Dallas Cowboys: OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU
After transferring from Oregon, Kingsley Suamataia thrived in his first season at BYU. With another year of progression, he could be considered a top draft prospect next spring, and the Dallas Cowboys need consistent offensive line help with injuries taking out Tyron Smith once again last year.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: DL J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State
Tight end could be on the list for Cincinnati as well, but with two already being taken in this draft, they opt for one of their other needs: the pass-rush. J.T. Tuimoloau is a powerful edge rusher and recorded 32 pressures over 14 games for Ohio State last year.
29. San Francisco 49ers: OT Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
The idea of Trent Williams retiring has to enter the mind as he enters his age-35 season in 2023. In preparation, the 49ers grab Cooper Beebe out of Kansas State, a prospect with virtually the same build and style as Williams.
30. Buffalo Bills: RB Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
At long last, Buffalo goes ahead and takes a running back in the first round of the draft. Braelon Allen has a chance to be another Jonathan Taylor-esque player at the NFL level with his combination of size and breakaway speed, so adding him to the Bills offense would make an already fearsome group look even scarier.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: DL Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia
The Eagles continue to stockpile Georgia defenders with the selection of Nazir Stackhouse here near the end of the first round. In the absence of Jordan Davis, he emerged as a big-time run stuffer during 2022 for the Bulldogs. Now, he re-joins his former college teammate.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
Kansas City is taking another stab at a running back here, ironically, in the same spot where they selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire back in 2020. Now, as he heads into free agency this offseason, the Chiefs add another quality RB prospect who, prior to an injury in 2022, was having an outstanding start to his career at Ohio State. If he gets healthy, there is absolutely a chance that he makes it into the first round.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.