2024 NFL Draft

Ryan Poles commits to Caleb Williams in big way in latest mock draft

Bears general manager Ryan Poles goes all-in on offense in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft in our lastest mock

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The NFL Draft is less than 48 hours away, and the anticipation surrounding this Thursday's event is palpable. This draft class is highly regarded as one of the deepest talent-wise, showcasing athletes with day-one starting potential even into the fifth round. 

Quarterbacks, wide receivers, offensive linemen, and edge rushers are the star prospects and are considered “sexy” selections. However, there are quality linebackers, defensive backs, and talented running backs throughout this draft class. The Motor City (Detroit) plays host to this year’s draft, and the Second City (Chicago) picks first, with the Bears taking…?

1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina): QB - Caleb Williams, USC

The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner will be the first overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, and Bears’ fans are eagerly awaiting the best quarterbacking prospect in team history to deliver on his promise. Williams is a hyper-focused competitor whose spontaneity, passing acumen, and NFL-caliber athleticism suggest he’ll have the Bears competing for a playoff position in 2024.

Learn more about Caleb Williams here: Players that Bear watching: USC QB Caleb Williams

2. Washington Commanders: QB - Jayden Daniels, LSU

Copy and paste for the Commanders, as they replicate what the Chicago Bears did a pick earlier by drafting their own Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Daniels is a true dual-threat quarterback posting video game numbers last season at LSU. He completed 72 percent of his passes for 3812 yards and 40 aerial scores, along with 1134 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

3. New England Patriots: QB - Drake Maye, North Carolina

It’s possible the Patriots entertain the idea of drafting wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. with the third overall pick. Unfortunately, New England doesn’t currently employ a highly-regarded quarterback to throw to him. So, the Patriots may decide pragmatically to select Maye, an athletic six-foot-four, 223-pound passer with elite talent.

Learn more about Drake Maye here: Players that Bear watching: North Carolina QB Drake Maye

4. Arizona Cardinals: WR - Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Arizona will probably field many trade scenarios for the fourth draft slot, but it’s likely the Cardinals eschew all offers for arguably the best prospect from this draft class. Harrison is a true generational talent (father is a Hall-of-Fame wideout) whose pedigree matched his production. The six-foot-three, 209-pound wideout posted back-to-back 1200-plus receiving yards and exactly 14 touchdown catches in each of the past two seasons.

Learn more about Marvin Harrison Jr. here: Players that Bear watching: Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

5. Minnesota Vikings (via Chargers): QB - J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Trade: Minnesota sends #11(Rd. 1), #23(Rd. 1), 2025 (Rd. 4) to Chargers for #5(Rd. 1)                         

The Vikings’ maneuverings pre-draft possibly position them to move up into the top five to select their quarterback of the future.  McCarthy is an accurate short to intermediate passer with above-average athleticism and exceptional leadership traits. He led Michigan to an undefeated National Championship while personally completing a college career with a 27-1 record as a starter. 

6. New York Giants: WR - Malik Nabers, LSU

The need for a primary receiver to emerge as a focal point for New York’s offense may inspire the drafting of Nabers. Nabers offers inside/outside versatility and an elite route-running element any NFL team could utilize. He is arguably the most efficient route-runner in this extremely deep and talented draft class.

7. Tennessee Titans: OT - Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Alt is another son of a former NFL standout (John Alt - Kansas City Chiefs), playing and excelling at the same position his father manned during his pro career. According to PFF, the massive Alt (6-8, 322 lbs) earned a pass-blocking grade of 90.7, and an overall blocking metric of 91.2 by the end of the 2023 campaign.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Edge - Dallas Turner, Alabama

In lieu of recent chatter revolving around the Falcons' “alleged” tampering in the signing of former free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, Atlanta should retain its eight overall slots. The league has yet to administer a judgment against the Falcons and may not do so until next year’s draft. If Atlanta maintains its eighth pick, then Turner may become the first defensive player taken in 2024. A balanced pass-rushing talent, Turner is effective at blitzing the passer, setting the edge against perimeter runs, and dropping into underneath coverage zones.

9. Chicago Bears: WR - Rome Odunze, Washington

Bears general manager Ryan Poles believes in acquiring “blue-chip” players, and Odunze is a premium talent with intangibles that may exceed his elite physical attributes. If good karma exists, then a plane ride with presumptive number one pick, Caleb Williams and Odunze, sharing the same fight might be the portentous omen Chicago needs to make the former Husky the ninth overall pick.

Learn more about Rome Odunze here: Players that Bear watching: Washington WR Rome Odunze

10. New York Jets: OL - Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Fuaga’s elite blend of size, mobility, strength, and physicality make him, in many scouts and pundits’ eyes, the best offensive lineman in this draft class. The Jets are in serious need of talented blockers, especially with 40-year-old, future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers returning from an Achilles injury.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota): TE - Brock Bowers, Georgia

Trade: LA Chargers received Minnesota’s #11(R1), #23(R1), 2025 (Rnd 4) in exchange for #5(R1)

The receiving talent in this class is about three rounds deep, so new head coach Jim Harbaugh might lean towards taking the highest-rated tight end off the board. Historically, the Chargers have drafted and developed some of the best tight ends over the last half century (Kellen Winslow - HOF, Antonio Gates team’s all-time leading receiver) Bowers is a matchup conundrum who athletically can also align anywhere on the field.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Denver): Edge - Jared Verse, Florida State

Trade: Philadelphia sends #22(R1), #53(R2), and 2025(R3) to Denver for #12(R1)

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman traditionally maneuvers throughout the various rounds in any given draft. He has never moved up to select a defensive back in the first round, so expect this potential trade to target an edge rusher. Entering the 2024 season, both of Philadelphia’s starting edge rushers will be in the final year of their contracts. Drafting a consistently productive pass rusher like Verse (18 sacks in 25 games) could ease the loss of either veteran should the Eagles decide to move on for financial reasons. 

13. Las Vegas Raiders: QB - Michael Pennix Jr., Washington

Simply put, Pennix can spin the football with style, consistency and productivity. During his tenure at Washington, the former Husky completed 65 percent of his passes for 67 touchdowns and a National Championship appearance this past season.

14. New Orleans Saints: OT - Olu Fashanu, Penn State

At the start of the 2023 college football season, Fashanu was considered a certifiable top-ten selection with the possibility of ascending even higher. Taking Fashanu might hint at a “drafting the best player available” strategy instead of addressing one specific area of need. His athleticism, easy knee bend, and consistent footwork create enough flexibility to play either on the interior or exterior of the offensive line.

Learn more about Olu Fashanu here: Players that Bear watching: Penn State OT Olumuyiwa “Olu” Fashanu

15. Indianapolis Colts: CB - Terrion Arnold, Alabama

Arnold logged a productive season, registering 61 tackles with 11 passes defended and five interceptions for the Crimson Tide. Having learned under Nick Saban, arguably the best college coach of all time and defensive specialist, Arnold is NFL-ready and a potential day-one starter.

16. Seattle Seahawks: OL - Troy Fautanu, Washington

Seattle’s new offensive coordinator, Ryan Grubb, served in the same capacity the past two seasons at the University of Washington. If anyone knows how to employ the skills and alignment versatility Fautanu possesses, it will probably be the prospect’s former college coach. Fautanu’s rugged physicality and relentless motor make him ideal in most pro schemes.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR - Brain Thomas Jr., LSU

Based on Thomas’ exemplary 2023 season (68 receptions / 1177 receiving yards / 17 touchdowns), he is an amazing talent with unlimited upside. The Jaguars need a deep threat option with the speed to command defensive coordinators' attention and secondary defenders' respect.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: CB - Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Toledo’s all-time leader in pass breakups (46), Mitchell excelled in obscurity on a national level even though he once recorded four interceptions in a single game (2022 vs NIU). Mitchell thrives in zone coverages where his anticipatory skills complement his knack for making plays downfield.

19. Los Angeles Rams: Edge - Laiatu Latu, UCLA

An inspirational player who admittedly plays every snap like it’s his last, the 2023 Pac-12 Defensive player of the Year could stay in LA for his pro career. More quick than fast, Latu creatively sheds blocks and possesses an innate ability to efficiently maneuver between offensive linemen, invariably creating havoc behind the line of scrimmage.

Learn more about Laiatu Latu here: Players that Bear watching: UCLA Edge Laiatu Latu

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT - J.C. Latham, Alabama

Latham allowed only two sacks and nine hurries this season and performed at an above-average rate (81.9) according to PFF. He is a limber 326-pound pass protector whose knee-bending flexibility allows him to stay leveraged behind his pad level.  An experienced lineman having already logged over 1,500 snaps, his astute awareness could help improve Pittsburgh’s anemic 186.1 passing yards per game totals from last season.

21. Miami Dolphins: DL - Byron Murphy, Texas

A stout, compact athlete with first-step quickness, Murphy competes with efficiency and decisiveness when attacking blockers at the line of scrimmage. His ability to quickly disrupt plays makes him a better run defender than most suspect and an effective interior pass rusher on any down.

22. Denver Broncos [via - Philadelphia): QB - Bo Nix, Oregon

Trade: Broncos received Philadelphia’s #22(R1), #53(R1) and 2025(Rnd3) in exchange for #12(R1)

Denver could benefit from trading down to acquire a second-round pick and some additional draft capital. Between playing at Auburn and Oregon, Nix competed in over 60 games in college. While at Oregon, he completed 74.9 percent of his passes for over 8,000 yards and scored 74 aerial points. Broncos head coach Sean Payton may see a taller, bigger and more athletic Drew Brees in Nix.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (via Cleveland (via Minnesota)): OT - Amarius Mims, Georgia

Trade: LA Chargers received Minnesota’s #11(R1), #23(R1) and 2025 (Rnd4) in exchange for #5(R1)

New head coach Jim Harbaugh believes in building dominant offensive lines, and Mims is a massive six-foot-eight, 340-pound behemoth of a man whose physical traits are attention-getting. He plays to his size, showcasing an unapologetic mean streak backed with powerful arms and a balanced base. 

24. Dallas Cowboys: C - Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

The Cowboys, under Jerry Jones’ ownership, have a long history of drafting offensive linemen in the first round. Powers-Johnson might provide the Cowboys needed physicality and leadership the recently departed free agent center Tyler Biadez supplied during his tenure in Dallas. A frame-filling size of six-foot-three and 320 pounds, his ability to leverage interior defensive linemen repeatedly to the ground is impressive.

25. Green Bay Packers: DB - Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Extremely versatile and skilled, DeJean is an athletic defensive back who could literally play any secondary position and be a difference-maker (7 career interceptions). Green Bay’s skill and depth in its secondary, especially the cornerback position, needs an upgrade to seriously compete against the improving receiving talent in the NFC.  

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OL - Graham Barton, Duke

Over the past couple of seasons, the interior blocking for Tampa has been inconsistent and ineffective in both the run and passing game. Barton is a flexible, well-balanced drive blocker with solid spatial awareness and above-average lateral quickness. He would be an immediate upgrade within the interior of the offensive line for the Bucs.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston): CB - Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Wiggins excels in disrupting a receiver’s route tempo and negatively affecting the rhythm of any team’s passing attack. The Cardinals played hard defensively yet were ineffective when forcing interceptions (11 picks in 17 games) and struggled to make impact plays. Both of Wiggins’ career interceptions resulted in defensive returns for scores. His length, sinewy strength, and football IQ make him a viable target for Arizona’s future defensive designs.

28. Buffalo Bills: WR - Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Mitchell is basically the same size as former Bills receiver Gabriel Davis but discernibly more explosive, displaying an ability to maintain top speed for longer distances. He ran one of the fastest top five 40 times (4.34) at the combine and broad-jumped over 11 feet. An incredible athlete with the ability to beat press coverage may intrigue Bills’ scouts and pass-game coordinators.

29. Detroit Lions: CB - Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Detroit's front office executives have made bold and unconventional selections in the recent past. So, taking a chance on an injured (Jones Fracture - foot) but highly rated first-round prospect like McKinstry seems like something the Lions might strongly consider.

30. Baltimore Ravens: WR - Ladd McConkey, Georgia

McConkey possesses sub-4.40 speed and is an excellent route-runner who has a knack for creating organic separation from pass defenders. His ability to accelerate and de-accelerate fuels his elite change-of-pace maneuvers. An elusive pass catcher with elite hand-eye coordination, McConkey is zooming up draft boards into strong first-round consideration.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Edge/DL - Darius Robinson, Missouri

A disruptive element along the line of scrimmage, Robinson’s alignment versatility is a key factor in his ascension up draft boards. Robinson is surprisingly elusive for a six-foot-five, 285-pound defensive lineman, displaying a flexible bendability when rushing the passer. In addition, his girth helps anchor him against the run when situated within the defensive interior.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: OT - Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Despite standout receiver Rashee Rice’s legal issues and potential league suspension, the Chiefs may still focus on improving pass protection for All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Morgan incurred a torn ACL injury in 2022 but regained the flexibility, fluidity, and bendability that set him apart from many of his peers. A solid technician, his blocking style could seamlessly complement the offensive schemes Kansas City employed on a weekly basis.

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