2024 NFL Draft

Mock draft has Ryan Poles trading No. 1 pick to Commanders

Bears general manager Ryan Poles commits to Justin Fields by trading the No. 1 pick in our latest mock draft

NBC Universal, Inc.

The time between the end of the college football season and the NFL Combine is increasingly becoming vital for draft prospects. There are several postseason bowl games (Hula / East-West Shrine / Senior) featuring standout players competing against one another.

Certainly, performing well in these bowl games matter, however it’s the week of preparation with NFL coaching staffs that truly enhance, or diminish prospects' draftability. 

This week’s mock displays some variance based on early dominance by players at these all-star bowl games. In addition, a few more liberal draft trades are included, imagining possible scenarios for day one of the draft. Enjoy.

1. Washington Commanders ((via Carolina) via Chicago): Caleb Williams, USC

Currently, the Commanders just found its “commander-in-chief” at the head coaching position, hiring former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. It’s possible new ownership wants to create enormous buzz for the 2024 season. Targeting an exceptional talent like Williams (2022 Heisman Trophy), who is also a native of the D.C. area, Washington could put together a trade package with Chicago that generates insane levels of fan enthusiasm.

Washington’s trade offer might include its second overall pick, along with the 67th (3rd), 100th (3rd), and next year’s second-round pick. In exchange, Chicago surrenders the number one pick, positioning themselves with options to either draft a quarterback, select a different position, or make another trade. 

2. Chicago Bears (via Washington): WR - Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

The Bears make a controversial trade with Washington by surrendering the first overall pick and moving just one slot down to number two. Fans expecting an enormous haul of picks are disappointed until they see who the Bears target with the second overall pick. In a potential trade with Washington, the Bears receive the number two pick, a couple of third-round picks (67th and 100th), and a second-round selection in 2025.

Using the number two pick they received in their trade with Washington, the Bears may focus on arguably the best player in the 2024 draft class, receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Targeting Marvin Harrison, an elite can’t-miss prospect, and pairing him with Justin Fields could expedite the fourth-year quarterback’s growth and make the Bears an immediate playoff contender.

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

The Patriots may decide to remain patient and avoid trading up for a talented quarterback, who would essentially fall into their lap. Drake Maye is a big, strong-armed, six-foot-four, 220-pound quarterback with good accuracy (64.9 percent career completion rate) and NFL-level instincts.

4. Arizona Cardinals: WR - Rome Odunze, Washington

If the Bears successfully manipulated a way to draft consensus All-American wideout Marvin Harrison, Arizona may then choose to take Odunze. The consensus All-American from Washington is a versatile receiver with size (6-3 215 lbs}, speed (4.3 40-time), and route running efficiency (81 receptions / 13 TDs) comparable to Harrison’s skill set and productivity.

5. Atlanta Falcons (via - LA Chargers): QB - Jayden Daniels, LSU

Atlanta may see a more viable trade avenue at the fifth overall position for a quarterback, as opposed to surrendering more assets for a top-three slot. Aggressively, Atlanta might offer running back Tyler Allgeier to the Chargers, plus its eighth spot, the 74th (3rd), and a third-rounder in 2025. The Chargers may be intrigued with Atlanta’s offer because their main running back, Austin Ekeler, is an aging free agent, so acquiring Allgeier helps fiscally and talent-wise. 

Atlanta would, in return, acquire Los Angeles’ fifth overall spot and a 2025 third-round slot. The Falcons' potential move-up could net them an athletic quarterback with tremendous upside. This past season Daniels passed for 3812 passing yards with 40 touchdown passes while running for 1134 rushing yards and 10 rushing scores.

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

Over the past several seasons, the Giants have struggled to establish a consistent and relevant passing attack. The need for a primary receiver to emerge as a focal point for New York’s offense may have inspired the drafting of Nabers. Nabers offers alignment 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 possesses uncommon athleticism and agility for a man his size (6’8”, 315 lbs). He is a fluid-moving blocker whose balanced movements, technique and wide base make him difficult to outmaneuver by defenders rushing the passer.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (via Atlanta): TE - Brock Bowers, Georgia

If the trade between Atlanta and the Chargers were to happen, it’s possible Los Angeles would still draft Brock Bowers, the player they might have originally taken fifth overall. Bowers possesses an enviable blend of size, power, athleticism, and seam-splitting speed that most defenses struggle game planning against. In this possible scenario, Los Angeles would have received Atlanta’s eighth pick, 74th (3rd), and 2025 third-round selection, plus running back Tyler Allgeier.

9. Chicago Bears: Edge - Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Standing at a robust six-foot-four and 265 pounds, Latu is a tremendous pass rusher with good acceleration and closing speed. He finished the 2023 campaign as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, having generated 21.5 tackles for loss along with 13 sacks.

10. New York Jets: OT - Olu Fashanu, Penn State

Fashanu can be a dominating force when blocking downfield and be just as effective anchoring against pass rushers. His unique athleticism and fluidity of movement separate him from many of his peers. Fashanu’s durability and football acumen should resonate with the Jets' current offensive schemes and rostered linemen.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Edge - Dallas Turner, Alabama

Minnesota’s decision-makers may have to negotiate with Cousins because there seems to be no plan in place to upgrade the quarterback position. Subsequently, unrestricted free agents at other positions may be replaced with younger, more affordable players. Turner, an uber-athletic game-changer, is talented enough to become a fixture as an edge rusher for the Vikings.

12. Denver Broncos: QB - Bo Nix, Oregon

The “Russell Wilson” era in Denver never flourished and may have left a bitter taste in front office types and fans alike. Nix, however, may be better suited to head coach Sean Payton’s precision-timed-based passing offense. He is extremely accurate (led the nation with 77.4 completion percentage), efficient (45 touchdowns to three interceptions) and athletic (six rushing scores).

13. Las Vegas Raiders: 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.

14. New Orleans Saints: OL - Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

According to PFF metrics, Fuaga is the second-highest-ranked offensive tackle, combining run and pass blocking for an 88.2 rating. In over 1500 plus snaps, Fuaga has never surrendered a sack and provides immediate impact as a run-blocking mauler. In addition, Saints’ interior offensive lineman James Hurst is a 32-year-old free agent.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Edge - Jared Verse, Florida State

Verse produced consistent numbers in his two seasons at Florida State. Having tallied 89 tackles with 18 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss, this explosive athlete displayed power and speed that are worthy of first-round consideration.

16. Houston Texans (via Seattle): DL - Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

The Texans struck gold last season when they maneuvered deftly within the draft and acquired C.J. Stroud (QB) and Will Anderson (Edge). There’s a chance they may trade up from their 23rd first-round spot to land a pivotal defensive lineman like Newton. To do so, Houston may have to exchange its 23rd pick, 85th (3rd), and a 2025 fourth-round selection. Should this trade happen, the Texans could select the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at the 16th overall spot.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: DB - Cooper DeJean, Iowa

DeJean flashes cornerback coverage skills with the surveying vision and physicality of a free safety. Targeting an alignment versatile defensive back like DeJean may create favorable matchup scenarios for Jacksonville’s young and ascending secondary unit.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: WR - Keon Coleman, Florida State

It’s no secret that Cincinnati wideouts Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are unrestricted free agents, suggesting it’s possible the frugal Bengals may only re-sign one of the two. An excellent pass catcher whose strength enables him to remain balanced through contact, Coleman’s physicality is rare from the receiver position. The Bengals may recognize his talent and affordability if they move on from their veteran wideouts. 

19. Los Angeles Rams: Edge - Demeioun “Chop” Robinson, Penn State

The Rams struggled to generate sacks (41), remaining statistically mired in the league’s lower third while only tallying an ineffective 46 quarterback knockdowns. Robinson is a quick-twitch athlete with elite speed for a pass rusher. The Rams could use the surge in pressure “Chop” generates off the edge.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB - Nate Wiggins, Clemson

The Steelers flashed renewed efficiency in their secondary this past season, ranking in the top half of the league with interceptions (16) and passing yards allowed (3860). In today’s pass-happy NFL, Wiggins’ length, sinewy strength, and football IQ make him a viable target for Pittsburgh’s defensive designs.

21. Miami Dolphins: OL - Troy Fautanu, Washington

Fautanu possesses the requisite NFL height (6’4”) and weight (317 lbs), but what sets him apart from his contemporaries is his explosiveness (32-inch vertical). His burst, agility, and overall quickness allow him to move rapidly into the second level of defense. Fautanu’s rugged physicality and relentless motor make him ideal in most pro schemes.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: CB - Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Mitchell is rapidly ascending scouts’ and pundits’ draft boards, especially after showing well during the weekly one-on-one battles during Senior Bowl practices. His smooth changes in direction while pacing receivers helps him mirror their movements with efficiency. Mitchell also exhibits an acute sense of timing when breaking up passes in man or zone coverages.

23. Seattle Seahawks ((via Cleveland (via Houston): Edge - Bralen Trice, Washington

Seattle may have welcomed a trade offer from the Texans to gain additional draft capital and still focus on a position of need. The possible offer from Houston (23rd overall pick / 85th / 2025 fourth round) would involve Seattle relinquishing its 16th spot in return. Seattle recently hired former Ravens’ defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to become its new head coach. A firm believer in applying defensive pressure onto quarterbacks, Seattle may target a local college star in Husky standout Bralen Trice.

24. Dallas Cowboys: OT - J.C. Latham, Alabama

Latham is a limber 326-pound pass protector whose knee-bending flexibility allows him to stay leveraged behind his pad level. He is an experienced lineman, having already logged over 1,500 snaps. Throughout the season, Latham improved overall as a blocker, helped stabilize an inexperienced offensive line, and significantly decreased the amount of penalties called against him.

25. Green Bay Packers: C - Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

Powers-Johnson may be the first and only center selected in the initial round of this draft. A frame-filling size of six-foot-three and 320 pounds, his ability to leverage interior defensive linemen repeatedly to the ground is impressive. He is another Senior Bowl participant whose competitive play during the week is making the right kind of positive noise for Powers-Johnson.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR - Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

An incredibly productive receiver in his own right, Thomas’ exploits were somewhat overshadowed by his teammate, Malik Nabers. Regardless, his ability to separate, power past smaller defensive backs and secure touchdown passes at a high rate (17 touchdowns on 68 receptions) makes Thomas ideal for most NFL teams. If the Buccaneers decide not to re-sign free agent receiver Mike Evans, then Thomas offers a viable option.

27. Arizona Cardinals: CB - Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

McKinstry excels in disrupting a receiver’s route tempo and negatively affecting the rhythm of any team’s passing attack. Like many of his Alabama predecessors at defensive back, McKinstry competes with a consistent physicality buoyed with solid coverage techniques. 

28. Buffalo Bills: S - Tyler Nubin, Minnesota

Tyler Nubin is the Gophers’ “Mr. Everything.” Standing at six-foot-two and 205 pounds, Nubin’s size plus his experience (48 games) and production (207 total tackles and 13 career interceptions) make him a viable option for a team like Buffalo.

29. Detroit Lions: CB - T.J. Tampa, Iowa State

One of the more physical defensive backs in this draft class, Tampa delivers forceful hits against receivers that invariably impact games. A big corner (6’2” - 190 lbs), Tampa is a committed tackler with 107 career tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 19 defended passes. Temperament and energy-wise he fits the Lions' current culture perfectly.

30. Baltimore Ravens: WR - Troy Franklin, Oregon

After losing defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to a head coaching position in Seattle, Baltimore might pursue drafting more difference-making receivers. However, more than just a deep threat (17.1 yards per reception in 2023), Franklin is also a dependable target, averaging approximately five (5.4) receptions a contest over the past two seasons.

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

Morgan plays like an experienced veteran and is rarely fooled or taken unaware by stunts and blitzes. An above-average athlete, he possesses the requisite height (6’5”), weight (325 lbs), and length to effectively stymie pass rushers. A quick puncher, Morgan tends to set an aggressive tone when pass-blocking and opening running lanes. 

32. San Francisco 49ers: S - Kamre Kinchens, Miami (FL)

Kitchens provides an immediate injection of athleticism and explosive game-breaking coverage skills. His ability to intercept passes and flip field position (averages 18.1 yards on interception returns) makes him a threat across the gridiron. He is exactly the type of versatile safety needed in the 49ers’ defensive schemes.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us