The College Football Playoff has come to an end, and the NFL regular season is over.
While there is still plenty of time until the NFL Draft in April, examining future stars and predicting where they could land is still exciting.
Based on the current draft order, here is how the first round could shake out if things hold to form.
NFL Mock Draft Round 1 2024
|Chicago Bears (via CAR)
|New England Patriots
|Marvin Harrison Jr
|Los Angeles Chargers
|New York Giants
|New York Jets
|Las Vegas Raiders
|New Orleans Saints
|Michael Penix, Jr.
|Los Angeles Rams
|Houston Texans (via CLE)
|Green Bay Packers
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Arizona Cardinals (via HOU)
|Brian Thomas, Jr.
|San Francisco 49ers
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Byron Murphy II
NFL Mock Draft Round 1: Picks 1-10
1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers): Caleb Williams, QB, USC
The debate seems to have died down, and the reports are that a decision has been made. While Justin Fields still has a bright future, that future likely won’t be in Chicago.
Caleb Williams checks every box you could ask for from a quarterback prospect, and selecting him with four years of control on a rookie price tag allows the Bears to build and create a team capable of competing for the NFC North and possibly much more.
2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, UNC
After Sam Howell departed for the NFL, Drake Maye took over the helm at North Carolina. It looks like that Maye will continue that trend, replacing Howell in Washington.
An argument could be made that Howell got the short end of the stick this season, but the Commanders are fully invested in rebuilding, and finding the right quarterback can help accelerate that process. The decision should be easy with the second pick in this draft and the opportunity at a blue-chip passer.
3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
With Bill Belichick now gone, a new era begins in Foxboro. With that, the team likely wants a new face of the franchise under center. Luckily for them, this class features three very impressive quarterbacks, all worthy of being a top pick.
Getting Daniels as the first building block to revamp the offense in New England could be huge for them breaking into the next level of success. Daniels is a dual-threat player who can create with his arm and legs. The Patriots could stand to have a playmaker of that caliber.
4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Whether it’s a BPA approach or just addressing a big need, the Cardinals would be more than thrilled to acquire Marvin Harrison Jr. this offseason, as the 21-year-old wideout is viewed by many as the top player in this class and a Day 1 superstar in the NFL.
We’ve seen what a high-end wideout can do for an offense; Harrison Jr. and Kyler Murray should make for some exciting moments next season.
5. Los Angeles Chargers: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
The Los Angeles Chargers are in a weird spot this draft, as the wide receiver room is filled with notable names, but they could stand to get some long-term security in the passing game. The solution for that is to take the Georgia tight end, which is perfect for Greg Roman after his time spent with Mark Andrews when he was the offensive coordinator in Baltimore.
Justin Herbert is certainly the face of this team moving forward, so getting him a new favorite target could be extremely beneficial for the team’s future.
6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
There will be plenty of discussion surrounding Daniel Jones and the quarterback position. But regardless of who is under center next season, adding an elite pass-catching weapon could be huge for their chances at success.
Malik Nabers was one of the most productive receivers in college football and easily generated separation against the extremely difficult SEC schedule. The Giants have made moves like retaining Saquon Barkley and trading for Darren Waller, but drafting Nabers could be the final piece of the puzzle to take this offense to the next level.
7. Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Last year, the Titans drafted Peter Skoronski, but he seems to have found his home at left guard. So, the need for tackle remains, especially now that protecting Will Levis has become more of a priority.
Joe Alt is a pro-ready blocker with great length, technique, and pass-blocking chops that could easily elevate an offense. Giving that security to a young quarterback could be huge for the team’s chances of moving forward and is likely the direction they go.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Raheem Morris worked magic last year with the Los Angeles Rams defense, but he’d probably love to get some early assets in this year’s draft to help bolster the unit as he arrives in Atlanta. Dallas Turner is a burst defender with an excellent first step that should thrive in the 3-4 scheme that Morris loves to run.
There is a chance the team could look at players like Rome Odunze or one of the top cornerbacks. However, teams tend to emphasize the trenches, so adding Turner should be the call in April.
9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
On the clock for the second time today, the Chicago Bears can help completely transform the offense now with the addition of a second high-end receiver to this offense. Caleb Williams under center throwing to D.J. Moore, Cole Kmet, and Rome Odunze should be an easy setup for success.
The Chicago Bears rebuild isn’t over just yet, but these two top 10 picks could go a long way in their chances to make the push for playoffs, the NFC North, the NFC, and eventually, the Lombardi trophy.
10. New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Now that Aaron Rodgers should be back and healthy, the Jets are all in trying to capitalize on their contending window. The biggest way to go about that is by adding protection up front.
Olu Fashanu is one of the premier prospects in this class, with excellent pass-blocking technique and athleticism. Bringing him in to protect Rodgers’ blindside will greatly improve the team’s chances of success this season.
NFL Mock Draft Round 1: Picks 11-20
11. Minnesota Vikings: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
This cornerback class is filled to the brim with talent, but the tea leaves seem to indicate that Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell continues to rise. Ultimately, the right choice here at 11 is whichever Brian Flores prefers, but the impact of a high-level cornerback could be a major benefit to this defense.
12. Denver Broncos: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
With the expected departure of Russell Wilson, quarterback is the top priority for the Denver Broncos this offseason. Based on reports, J.J. McCarthy has the heart of NFL evaluators and is expected to be an early-round draft pick.
For Sean Payton, who looks for his quarterback to stay in rhythm and stick to the script, a young but malleable passer like McCarthy could be the perfect pairing as the team turns a new leaf heading into next season.
13. Las Vegas Raiders: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
The Las Vegas Raiders adopted a new physical identity when Antonio Pierce took over as head coach. With a need for protection, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga is a perfect fit in that new persona as one of the best run-blockers in this class, and plenty of upside to be a long-term star at right tackle.
14. New Orleans Saints: JC Latham, OT, Alabama
Injuries have likely taken Ryan Ramczyk out of the picture for New Orleans, so now the team needs to capitalize on the talented offensive tackle class, and this time, it’s in the form of the powerful JC Latham. With his ability to steamroll defenders, they’ll be in good hands.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
The Indianapolis Colts are one of the more exciting teams next season, with Anthony Richardson back and healthy. However, they could stand to add some more bodies to the secondary. DeJean is a versatile and instinctual defender who is a perfect fit in Gus Bradley’s defense
16. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
With the hiring of Ryan Grubb, it’s easy to connect the dots with Penix and Seattle. The lefty is hyper-efficient over the middle of the field and is the perfect prospect for the Seahawks to turn to entering their next era.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon
Protecting Trevor Lawrence should be priority one this offseason, and getting someone on the interior like Powers-Johnson should accomplish that. With the Texans, Colts, and Titans all making promising improvements, the Jaguars can’t afford to miss with this pick and lose ground in the AFC South.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
Amarius Mims would likely be a lot higher draft pick if not for concerns over his durability and inexperience. However, the Bengals should absolutely take the gamble in drafting him because his upside rivals any other tackle in this class. Cincinnati has put emphasis on the trenches in recent years; with Jonah Williams departing, they’ll need to do it again this offseason.
19. Los Angeles Rams: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
For as solid as Ahkello Witherspoon was for the Rams this past season, finding someone who can step in and assume the top cornerback role of the defense could transcend the unit entirely. For Kool-Aid McKinstry, he was a top defender on a dominant Alabama defense and was rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks. He should be able to play at a high level from day one in the league.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
Joey Porter Jr. showed plenty of promise this past season, but the Steelers secondary is in need of additional assets. Insert Clemson’s Nate Wiggins, an extremely instinctual defender capable of easily crashing on and disrupting the football. The pairing of him and JPJ could quickly become one of the top duos in the league.
NFL Mock Draft Round 1: Picks 21-32
21. Miami Dolphins: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
Detrimental injuries will sideline both Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb for large parts of next year, and there is no guarantee they will play 100% when they return. Adding Verse into the rotation is a nice way of ensuring they get production from their pass-rush with a chance to have a menacing rotation come postseason.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
Darius Slay and James Bradberry are getting older, and they struggled as the season went on in 2023. With no depth behind them, the Eagles must emphasize cornerback this offseason. Terrion Arnold is a playmaking cornerback with impressive ball skills and a high upside. Learning under two veteran stars could quickly help him become a high-caliber defender.
23. Houston Texans (via Browns): Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
Jer’Zhan Newton falling to 23 would likely lead to Nick Caserio sprinting to the podium to submit the selection. However, someone slips more than expected each year, and this time, the Texans benefit. Adding Newton to the trenches could elevate this already impressive defense as they continue to build the roster to DeMeco Ryans’ liking.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
In the 2023 draft, the Cowboys were very close to selecting Matthew Bergeron, so the potential to address the offensive line is obviously a priority. Tyler Smith is now locked in at left guard, so grabbing the BYU product to be Tyron Smith’s predecessor should continue the Cowboys’ OL success for years to come.
25. Green Bay Packers: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
In the first half of the season, the Packers appeared to be a team with numerous weaknesses, but after a huge surge in the back half of the year, they have one of the more complete rosters in the league. So now, they get to draft with more future in mind, and Georgia’s Kamari Lassiter showcased great tools in coverage to be an elite defender at the next level.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
Todd Bowles is a big fan of generating pressure, and Chop Robinson is one of the ‘toolsiest’ defenders in this draft class. Currently, the Bucs edge group is rather pedestrian. Getting Robinson in there could help boost the unit as a whole. On top of that, it could help the overall pass defense.
27. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans): Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
Head coach Jonathan Gannon built his success in Philadelphia with a healthy rotation of pass rush. In Arizona, there is a severe lack of it. UCLA’s Laiatu Latu was one of college football’s most productive defenders, and assuming he passes his medical evaluation, he should be an instant impact player for whoever selects him.
28. Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
The Buffalo Bills managed to get their season back on track, but adding another weapon in the passing game could be the missing link for their team’s Super Bowl aspirations. Brian Thomas Jr. played off Malik Nabers extremely well and should fit like a glove alongside Stefon Diggs.
29. Detroit Lions: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
Aidan Hutchinson has proven to be a star defensive end, but the Lions could benefit from adding someone opposite of him to boost the pass rush. Bralen Trice is an extremely powerful defender with all the tools to be a dominant strong-side defender. Plus, he fits the Dan Campbell “football guy” archetype.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma
The Baltimore Ravens are never scared to gamble with draft picks, and Tyler Guyton is an intriguing tackle prospect to step into this offense at either side of the line. Opposite of Ronnie Stanley in 2024, the two could help elevate what was already an impressive offense this year.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Troy Fautanu, OG, Washington
As evidence of the Super Bowl, the 49ers need to make an effort to provide protection for Brock Purdy and this offense. Whether Troy Fautanu is placed at right tackle or on the interior, this team could benefit from having a powerful athlete like Fautanu somewhere in the trenches.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas
Regardless of whether Chris Jones returns to Kansas City this offseason, the Chiefs need to plan ahead with a limited defensive tackle group. Byron Murphy II played a pivotal role in one of the best defensive lines in college football this year. Adding him to the front seven could keep this dynasty rolling and continuing to find stars.
How to Create an NFL Mock Draft
If you are an avid fan of the NFL, chances are that you have stumbled upon NFL mock drafts. You may have even blindly created your own, which is fun.
But if you want to put your NFL general manager’s hat on, you must build your mock with a process.
Below, you will learn my process when it comes to building an NFL mock draft. This guide will highlight key hit-point factors, including the time of year, your player evaluations, a team’s needs, and so on.
Let this section intro lead into your headline points below about player evaluation, team needs, organizational direction, and any other factors that you consider important when you’re making your mock draft.
The time of the year is imperative when mock drafting.
Once the Super Bowl ends, the NFL offseason officially begins. If you are mock drafting before the start of NFL free agency, your mock will look different than it would after the initial wave of free agents sign.
There is only so much information to go off of when it comes to building an early mock draft. The best factors to consider when building an early mock are NFL news and rumors, team needs, and salary cap space ahead of free agency.
A team’s needs and salary cap space will come into play.
There are 32 teams in the NFL, but they are not created equally when it comes to needs and salary cap space. Some teams manage their player personnel and salary cap better than others.
If a team enters the offseason in the red (over the cap) and has a few glaring needs, they will more than likely address those needs in the NFL Draft since they don’t have the cap space to sign marquee free agents.
Sure, they may fill a need or two with bargain veterans or players to fall to the second wave of free agency, but you can be sure that one of those needs will be addressed in the first round of the draft.
What direction is a team going in?
A team’s organizational direction must be considered when mock drafting. If a team is rebuilding, then they will be targeting building block prospects that can help them win in the future.
However, if a team is just a piece or two away from competing for a Super Bowl, then you may see them shoot their shot and go for a luxury pick like a big-time running back, a play-making wide receiver, or a ball-hawking defensive back.
How you evaluate a player will determine where they go in your mock draft.
Scaling back to tip No. 1, the time of year will affect your player evaluations. Before the NFL Scouting Combine, all we have to go off of is game tape and Senior Bowl highlights.
But after the combine, your entire outlook on a player could change one way or another depending on how they perform.
More Tips for NFL Mock Drafts
As we get closer to the NFL Draft, our mocks could and should change. Once NFL free agency and the combine are behind us, we will have a better idea of which direction a team will go in the draft.
We will also have a lot more news and rumors to take into consideration as the draft approaches.
Have fun with your mocks, and don’t be discouraged if yours is totally off. Most of us don’t get these right, including NFL general managers.