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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper

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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper

The Beacon

2024 NFL Mock Draft (Pre-Combine Edition)

2024 NFL Mock Draft (Pre-Combine Edition)

1. Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Nothing changes here as Caleb Williams is still considered to be the best quarterback in this class, and the Bears just hand the card in as it’s probably been written for months.

2. Washington Commanders – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

The first change comes here with the Commanders opting to take Daniels over Maye. Daniels’ out of this world athleticism just pushes him over the top and gives the Commanders their hopeful franchise QB.

3. New York Giants (via NE) – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

I’m doing trades in this mock and the first one comes early with the Giants moving up with the Patriots to select Drake Maye. Daniel Jones is clearly not the answer, and Maye has franchise QB potential.

4. Arizona Cardinals – Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

This remains the same as I had it in my previous mock, this is a case of taking the best player available (potentially the best player in the class). 

5. Los Angeles Chargers – Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Jim Harbuagh loves his offensive linemen, and when the opportunity to select the best one in the class arises, I don’t think he’s going to shy away from it. 

6. Atlanta Falcons (via NE) – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Another trade up for a quarterback, here I have the Falcons trading up with the Patriots (who acquired the 6th pick from the Giants) for them to take who they believe can be their quarterback of the future in NCAA National Champion, J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy was left out of the first round of my last mock but is getting a ton of hype right now, and I think it’s for good reason. He can make all the throws, has the frame, the athleticism, and has a quick release. I think whatever team gets McCarthy is getting a future franchise guy.

7. Tennessee Titans – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

New head coach Brian Callahan is going to take a look at this Titans roster, see the lack of offensive firepower, and want to address it. With Tee Higgins going back to Cincinnati on the franchise tag, Callahan will probably want to try and replicate the magic that Ja’Marr Chase produced in his rookie year with another dynamic receiver from LSU in Nabers.

8. New England Patriots – Rome Odunze (via ATL), WR, Washington

The Patriots finally stay put and decide to take wide receiver Rome Odunze out of Washington here. Definitely has an argument for being the second best receiver in the class, and he’s someone who I can see fitting in really well in New England.

9. Chicago Bears – Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Trading for Montez Sweat at the deadline worked out well for Chicago, but you can never have too many quality pass rushers in the NFL and Jared Verse translates as a sturdy player that every team would want on their team. He is a bit on the older side at 23, but I don’t think that hurts him all that much.

10. New York Jets – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

This pick stays the same from my last mock, Fuaga is a perfect fit with the Jets.

11. Minnesota Vikings – Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

The Vikings still need pass rush help with their three best edge rushers about to hit the open market. Dallas Turner is young and tenacious which makes a good player to have for years to come.

12Cincinnati Bengals (via DEN) – Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

The Bengals haven’t really had a mainstay at tight end since the Tyler Eifert days, and even he scarcely played consistently due to injury. So they opt to trade up to select Brock Bowers, a borderline generational prospect at the position, to give Burrow another great weapon to work with.

13. Las Vegas Raiders – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Terrion Arnold seems like a perfect fit for the Raiders, which is why I have him going here again in this mock draft.

14. New Orleans Saints – Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

I have the saints still addressing offensive tackle but in this mock, they luck into Olu Fashanu falling to them. Young with a great pass blocking game, he should be their cornerstone left tackle.

15. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Another pick that remains the same in this mock but the fit is perfect. Nate Wiggins is a big corner who’s also an athletic freak, which, if we go by recent draft history, is what the Colts love to have on their team.

16. Seattle Seahawks – Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Laiatu Latu has the potential to be the best pass rusher in this class with his technical ability. He’s not projected to test very well at the combine and his medicals will most certainly raise some red flags with teams, but Seattle just can’t resist the potential to add his talent to their room in this mock.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

Here I have the Jaguars opting to take the versatile DeJean. He can play a lot of different roles in the secondary and I can see new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen having a lot of fun with a player like DeJean in his secondary.

18. Denver Broncos (via CIN) – Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

The Broncos are a team that needs to build through the trenches on either side of the ball. With the salary cap increase, it could lead to Garrett Bolles remaining on the team after a solid year. They opt to trade down here and take the best lineman on either side of the ball still available and that’s Byron Murphy out of Texas, who’s one of if not the best pass rushing interior guys in the class.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (via LAR) – Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The last trade of this mock involves the Philadelphia Eagles trading up with the Rams to find a boundary corner, and they get their guy in the MAC product Quinyon Mitchell

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon

Continuing their newfound development of taking offensive linemen in the first round with one of the top guys on the interior in Powers-Johnson. Should be a day 1 starter at center for the Steelers

21. Miami Dolphins – Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Dolphins plan on releasing Xavien Howard at the start of the new league year, so why not bring in his replacement? McKinstry would be a great replacement based on both age and contract value.

22. Los Angeles Rams (via PHI) – J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

After trading with the Eagles, the Rams find themselves taking the freak athlete offensive lineman in Latham. Pairing him up with Steve Avila is a good idea for establishing your offensive line.

23. Houston Texans – Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

Adding Newton gives Houston another quality pass rusher on the line so that Will Anderson isn’t getting all the attention. Newton has the chance to really boost that Houston defense.

24. Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

With Tyron Smith being a free agent, the time is now to get a replacement in. Whether they re-sign Smith or not, having Guyton there to either develop or start right away would be smart thinking on the Cowboys’ behalf. Not to mention he’s projected to test well at the combine.

25. Green Bay Packers – Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Continuing the idea of replacing offensive linemen who are consistently injured, Amarius Mims is selected by the Packers here to replace David Bakhtiari either down the line should the Packers choose to keep him, or right now should they cut or trade him. There’s a world of possibilities regarding Bakhtiari, and it never hurts to be prepared for all of them while also bringing in a quality player.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Same pick as last mock, Fautanu will likely be a guard in the NFL, the Buccaneers need a guard. Sometimes simplicity just works the best.

27. Arizona Cardinals – Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Robinson was another prospect I left out of my last mock, but with the combine coming up, I think he has a chance to boost his stock big time with his athletic testing numbers. The Cardinals need a boost of athleticism and talent on the defensive side of the ball and I think Robinson fits that bill perfectly.

28. Buffalo Bills – Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

The Bills need depth at receiver behind Stefon Diggs. Gabe Davis isn’t consistent and we haven’t seen a large sample size of Khalil Shakir just yet. I gave them Keon Coleman last time, but Brian Thomas Jr. falls to them here so they pull the trigger on taking him instead.

29. Detroit Lions – Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri

The last player who was left out of my last mock, Darius Robinson was a big riser during the Senior Bowl. He can play most of the defensive line techniques (had his most success as a 5 tech) and even has the ability to play on the edge. For a team that needed to give star pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson something else to work with, I think he’s a perfect fit.

30. Baltimore Ravens – Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Troy Franklin falls to the Ravens and it feels like a match made in heaven. Letting Franklin be on the receiving end of some of those Lamar Jackson deep balls sounds like a recipe for success.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

I keep going back to this pick, and it just makes sense. Trent Williams is 35 years old, you need a plan for when he retires.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

To finish the first round I have the Chiefs taking Keon Coleman here. He falls to them at 32 and the Chiefs are waiting with anticipation to get a big body receiver who is projected to run a mid 4.4 40-yard dash with some of the best deep ball tracking skills in the class AND the ability to consistently make plays after the catch. It’s a shame how he was used at Florida State, but I trust the Chiefs to utilize his skill set to the fullest.

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