2024 NFL Draft

Ryan Poles reracks move from 2023, adds another WR in latest mock draft

Bears GM Ryan Poles selects quarterback Caleb Williams and trades the No. 9 pick in our latest mock draft

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It’s officially “unofficial” that the Chicago Bears will draft 2022 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. Chicago’s general manager Ryan Poles traded Justin Fields, the Bears' beleaguered three-year starter, to Pittsburgh, clearing the runway for a new signal caller in the Windy City. 

Surprisingly, the Vikings maneuvered themselves into acquiring another first-round drafting spot (No. 23), potentially increasing their chances to select a top-notch quarterback. With approximately a little over a month before the draft, dominoes are being arranged to fall in a most interesting and unpredictable manner. 

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

The trading of Justin Fields clarifies the direction the Bears will take once the 2024 NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. on April 25th. Williams is a dynamic passing talent whose spontaneous creativity keeps defenses off-balance.

His ability to accurately pass on-the-move, manipulate throws from unorthodox angles and make plays with his feet set him apart from many of his peers. However, the first and most important victory Williams must attain if the Bears choose him, is winning over a locker room previously devoted to the departed Justin Fields.

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

2. Washington Commanders: QB - Jayden Daniels, LSU

Chicago trading quarterback Justin Fields likely diminishes any chance of Washington trading up for the aforementioned Williams. Fortunately for the Commanders, there’s another electrifying quarterback with elite athleticism and NFL passing talents. Daniels is a decisive triggerman with the ability to snap-throw deep passes with a quick flick of the wrist. In addition, he possesses Olympic-like speed to take the distance when pressured and chased out of the pocket.

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

Struggles at the quarterback position over the past couple of seasons, suggest New England will factor in the quarterback derby for this draft, too. Amazingly, this is a deep draft class especially at the quarterback position and Maye could be the answer for New England’s quarterbacking woes. Maye’s size (6’4” 230 lbs), ball placement and unassuming athleticism make him an ideal signal caller for an under-performing offense.

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

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

Should the draft play out as the Cardinals expect, it’s highly likely they take a truly generational talent in Harrison. The son of a Hall-of-Famer, Harrison competes with a veteran’s knowledge paired with exceptional athletic gifts. His blend of size, speed, body control and strength make him an instant mismatch anywhere on the field. 

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

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

The Vikings’ maneuverings pre-draft possibly position them to move up into the top five to select their quarterback of the future. Minnesota might offer the Chargers its 11th overall, along with the 180th pick (4th) and a fourth-rounder in 2025, in order to take McCarthy in the fifth spot. A national champion signal caller, McCarthy is a consistent decision-maker with above-average athleticism and a compact throwing motion.

6. New York Giants: WR - Rome Odunze, Washington

New York might look side-eyed at the Vikings contingent if Minnesota moves ahead of them to draft McCarthy. Regardless, the Giants have several need areas and securing a primary wideout has plagued the organization for years. Odunze is a high character, self-motivated athlete whose talent ceiling is matched by his continuous desire to improve. He possesses excellent hands, good deep ball tracking skills and the ability to raise his compete level in clutch moments.

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

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

Alt is an extremely talented blocking technician whose size (6’8”, 322 lbs) and balance make him a reliable blind-side pass blocker. Despite his staggering physique, Alt’s flexibility and nimble footwork surprise uninformed pass rushers who think they can outmaneuver the massive lineman.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Edge - Dallas Turner, Alabama

Having secured the services of veteran passer Kirk Cousins (four years /180 million), the Falcons are in a position to potentially draft the first defensive player off the board. Turner is a disruptive pass rusher who wins more with athleticism than technique. He’s a high-ceiling talent whose upside outweighs any technical deficiencies. 

9. Philadelphia Eagles (via Chicago): OL - Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Inexplicably, the Eagles, an organization that’s won 25 games and made a Super Bowl appearance in the last two years, are close to imploding as a team. Long-time center Jason Kelce recently retired, leaving a leadership and interior “toughness” void on the offensive line. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman’s philosophy of investing in the trenches may inspire a shrewd trade to acquire the unrelenting blocking talents of Fuaga

Fuaga never allowed a sack in his collegiate career, and his athletic brawling style of blocking would fit in nicely with Philadelphia’s offensive line. The Eagles possess two second-round picks (#50 and #53).  After swapping first-rounders (#22 for #9) with Chicago, Philadelphia might offer its 53rd (2nd), plus a 2025 third-round selection in order to draft Fuaga. 

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

It’s possible the Jets frown upon the Eagles potentially moving ahead of them to draft Fuaga, a player many pundits suspect New York highly values. However, this is a deep draft class for offensive linemen, and pivoting to select Fashanu could be a viable alternative. Fashanu’s athleticism and consistent ability to attack in space beyond the line of scrimmage make him an intriguing prospect.

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

11. Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota): WR - Malik Nabers, LSU

“Fortune favors the bold,” as the Chargers gamble on trading down from the fifth overall spot to the 11th and possibly find themselves in a position to draft Nabers. His ability to exploit defensive backs combined with executing precise angled cuts, makes Nabers a reliable option on any down. In addition to acquiring the elusive receiver, Los Angeles might have also received Minnesota’s 108th pick (4th) and a fourth-round selection in 2025.

12. Denver Broncos: QB - Bo Nix, Oregon

Having possibly missed out on several quarterbacks, the Broncos might overvalue Nix at an extreme position of need for the team. Denver does not own a second round selection and might feel Nix won’t last until its next pick at 76. Nix is an experienced (60 plus college games) precision passer having completed 77 percent of his passes for 4454 yards and 45 touchdowns.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: CB - Terrion Arnold, Alabama

The Raiders could take the first cornerback off the board and further arm themselves defensively to combat the divisional problem of AFC West, which is Patrick Mahomes. Arnold logged a productive season, registering 61 tackles with 11 passes defended and five interceptions for the Crimson Tide.

14. New Orleans Saints: DL - Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

The Saints are beginning to age on defense and require an infusion of younger talent with the audacity to succeed. The 2023 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year plays with a confident boldness, which fuels him with an indefatigable drive to defeat opposing offenses. Extremely quick and purposeful with his movements, Newton sheds blocks with efficiency and flows toward ball carriers on running plays.

15. Indianapolis Colts: TE - Brock Bowers, Georgia

Bowers possesses enough talent and ability to be a top-10 draft selection, so if he fell into the middle of the first round, he’d possibly be a steal for the Colts. An athletic pass catcher and powerful runner, he can also align anywhere on the field, leveraging his size against smaller pass defenders.

16. Seattle Seahawks: Edge - Jared Verse, Florida State

A speed-to-power pass rusher, Verse attacks with NFL-caliber strength and purposefulness that makes him difficult to block at the point of attack. He competes with a tenacity that matches his production over the past two seasons. His 29.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks illustrate how effective and impactful he can be for a defense.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: C - Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

Powers-Johnson might provide Jacksonville the type of physicality and leadership recently retired Jason Kelce supplied for the Eagles during his 13-year career in Philadelphia.  A frame-filling size of six-foot-three and 320 pounds, his ability to leverage interior defensive linemen repeatedly to the ground is impressive.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: CB - Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

The Bengals could stay within the state of Ohio and select Mitchell, a second-team All-American who amassed 37 passes defended and six interceptions over the past two seasons. Mitchell excels in zone coverages, where his anticipatory skills complement his knack for making plays downfield.

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

Much like the previous pick, the Rams wouldn’t have to go far in selecting Latu, an explosive edge rusher who finished his career in Los Angeles. After transferring from Washington to UCLA, Latu rebounded from a serious injury to eventually become the Pac-12’s last Defensive Player of the Year (21.5 tackles for loss /13 sacks).

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

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

Latham is a powerful blocker who, despite standing six-foot-six and 333 pounds, maintains excellent leverage by bending and staying beneath opponents’ pad levels. Over the past several seasons, the Steelers' bookend play performed below standards. Targeting Latham might be a step in the right direction for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

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.

22. Chicago Bears (via Philadelphia): WR - Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

The Bears are slowly developing a roster that may resemble an explosive unit, especially if they continue adding aerial weapons like Thomas for their new starting quarterback. Should Chicago trade down to the 22nd overall spot, they might also acquire Philadelphia’s 53rd pick (2nd) and a third-rounder in 2025. Based on Thomas’ exemplary 2023 season (68 receptions / 1177 receiving yards / 17 touchdowns), he is an amazing talent with unlimited upside.

23. Minnesota Vikings (via Cleveland): CB - Nate Wiggins, Clemson

In today’s pass-happy NFL, Wiggins’ length, sinewy strength, and football IQ make him a viable target for Minnesota’s defensive designs. The Vikings’ skill and depth in their secondary, especially the cornerback position, needs immediate improvement to seriously compete against the emerging receiving talent in the NFC North division.

24. Dallas Cowboys: OT - Amarius Mims, Georgia

Mims’ potential in the NFL is as high as he is massive. An enormous yet extremely athletic six-foot-seven, 340-pound wall of humanity, Mims plays to his size, utilizing his natural strength to dominate opponents.

25. Green Bay Packers: OL - Graham Barton, Duke

Over the past couple of seasons, the interior blocking for Green Bay 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 upgrade at either the guard or center position for the Packers.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DB - Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Having suffered a leg injury near the end of the 2023 college campaign, DeJean wasn’t healthy enough to compete at the NFL Combine and subsequently may have slid down draft boards. Despite possibly dropping in the first round, targeting an alignment versatile defensive back like DeJean, may create favorable matchup scenarios for the Bucs’ secondary unit.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston): CB - Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

McKinstry’s Jones fracture injury, which was discovered at the NFL Combine, may drop him into the second round. However, Arizona’s wealth of draft picks (13) affords it an opportunity to take calculated risks that may pay off down the line. Before the injury, McKinstry was rated as a solid first-round asset, so selecting him in the first round gives the Cardinals a fifth-year team option on his rookie contract.

28. Buffalo Bills: WR - Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Buffalo team evaluators may have liked former wideout Gabriel Davis, but letting the 24-year-old receiver walk via free agency strongly indicated they didn’t “love” him. Mitchell is basically the same size as Davis but discernibly more explosive, displaying an ability to maintain top speed for longer distances. Matching Mitchell’s speed to quarterback Josh Allen’s passing velocity could threaten to score from anywhere on the gridiron.

29. Detroit Lions: Edge - Demeioun “Chop” Robinson, Penn State

The Lions struggled to close out teams on defense last season, and their lack of a pass-rushing complement to Aidan Hutchinson meant he faced constant double teams. Robinson attacks with cobra-like quickness and pliable body contortions that confound blockers unaccustomed to his unique athleticism.

30. Baltimore Ravens: WR - Troy Franklin, Oregon

Baltimore should pursue drafting more difference-making receivers and continue evolving from being just an elite running team. 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. San Francisco 49ers: Edge - 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 aligned within the defensive interior.

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

Despite incurring a torn ACL injury in 2022, Morgan 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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