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Jason Canlas

Jason Canlas

2024 NFL Mock Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is set to take place in Detroit for the city’s biggest event in the past decade. The Chicago Bears are on the clock first after acquiring the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft from the Carolina Panthers, who used Chicago’s No. 1 pick last year to draft QB Bryce Young. 

With Justin Fields gone, the Bears might have found themselves a new savior in Caleb Williams, who headlines a strong QB class. Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are trailing behind him, but what about J.J. McCarthy, the QB whose draft stock has suddenly risen dramatically? How will teams in need of a QB perceive him as the draft progresses? Will the Vikings or Broncos make a trade to grab one of the top QBs?

We find out tonight in the Motor City.

#1: Chicago Bears

QB Caleb Williams, USC

No time for debate here. Williams will be the new face of Chicago in 2024 after the Justin Fields experiment failed miserably. The USC product is a certified playmaker with tremendous arm talent and the ability to manipulate the pocket to create space for himself. He possesses Mahomes-like traits but sometimes, his out-of-structure play becomes a liability as he tends to play hero ball instead of making the easy plays right in front of him. 

He’ll fit right into this new-look offense under Shane Waldron with WRs DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, and a third receiver that can be found later in the draft. With two picks in the top 10, you couldn’t have scripted this any better for GM Ryan Poles. Williams is just the first step to this foundational rebuild in Chicago. 

#2: Washington Commanders

QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

After Williams, the biggest question remains who will Washington decide between Daniels or Maye? I’m leaning toward Daniels because of the dual-threat play that he provides. He’s an explosive runner with terrific deep-ball accuracy. Surprisingly, he was never put in a position to run many RPOs at LSU given his play style, but it taught him how to work through full-field progressions before taking off to run when the pocket breaks down. 

The biggest concern is that he takes too many hits on the run. If he can learn how to protect himself, he’ll have a lengthy career as one of the best dual-threat QBs in the NFL alongside names like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray. I believe the Commanders will go down this route and center their offensive scheme around Daniels after failing to find success with QBs in the past not named Kirk Cousins. Remember the last time they found success with a dual-threat QB?

#3: New England Patriots

QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

After the first two picks, the draft gets a lot tougher to predict. The Patriots are hitting the reset button and starting over with a new QB that they hope can lift their franchise back to the top. Maye is a prototypical new-age QB who doesn’t rely on one set of skills. He can operate well in the middle of the field, fit the ball into tight windows, and be a tough playmaker if needed. His playmaking ability can sometimes get the best of him in chaotic situations and that can lead to him making poor decisions in the pocket, but with great coaching, he’ll mature enough to overcome that issue.

New England doesn’t even have to rush him into the starting role. Having him learn behind a veteran like Jacoby Brissett will help speed up his development as the future franchise QB. The Patriots didn’t do enough in free agency to upgrade their roster so don’t expect crazy production from Maye anytime soon, but his high upside will be worth the investment in the future.

#4: Arizona Cardinals

WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

If you’re GM Monti Ossenfort, you cannot mess this one up. Just like his dad, Marvin Harrison Jr. is everything you want in a WR1. At 6’4″, he’s an outstanding route-runner with great hands and elite speed. His freakish athleticism combined with his humble personality is exactly the type of trait that NFL franchises look for.

After losing WRs Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore this offseason, Arizona desperately needs an answer on the offensive side of the ball. The Cardinals are in a fantastic spot considering how much leverage they hold with the No. 4 pick, but since their asking price for a potential trade out of that spot is too high, “MHJ” is easily the home-run pick.

#5: Minnesota Vikings (from LAC via mock trade)

QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

The LA Chargers are in a position to create some chaos. With the 5th pick, there isn’t one particular direction for them to take given their team needs. GM Joe Hortiz should be on the phone Thursday night about trading the pick. With the Vikings acquiring two first-round picks from the Falcons in the Kirk Cousins trade, they will execute the blockbuster move by dealing both picks to the Chargers to grab the ultimate wild card of the draft: J.J. McCarthy.

McCarthy has been the hottest story in the weeks leading up to the draft because of the unexpected rise of his draft stock. While he doesn’t have a strong arm, he can let it rip through the middle of the field with high-velocity throws (97 passing attempts between the hashes in 2023, 17th in FBS). He is also at his best when on the run where he can make throws and take off as a threat in the run game. In every game that Michigan fell behind, McCarthy made clutch plays that got them back in the game.

Fans have not been shy to voice their displeasure of McCarthy’s sudden rise, giving him the nickname “handoff merchant” considering the high volume of carries Michigan RB Blake Corum had in a run-heavy offense. It’s fair to wonder if McCarthy will be able to adjust to a new game plan from the one that made him successful at Michigan, where Jim Harbaugh relied on the foundation of a strong run game to win a national championship. 

This would be the best possible situation for any QB in this class to be in. McCarthy would have an offensive mastermind in HC Kevin O’Connell, a solid RB in Aaron Jones, and two pass-catchers who are both top-5 at their position (WR Justin Jefferson and TE T.J. Hockenson). The Vikings have done a phenomenal job keeping their high-powered offense intact even before and after Cousins left in free agency. McCarthy has been linked to Minnesota over the last month and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the route the Vikings end up taking.

#6: New York Giants

WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Joe Schoen knows this is arguably his most pivotal draft yet. QB Daniel Jones has not looked like every bit of the franchise QB that Giants fans hoped he would turn out to be and yet he was able to sign a 4-year, $160 million contract last year. If Schoen ends up waiting to take a QB in next year’s draft (or if he does believe in Daniel Jones moving forward), Nabers is the next best option. 

Nabers’ draft stock has risen to the point where some scouts view him as WR1 over Marvin Harrison Jr. With 0-60 acceleration, he has a Deebo Samuel-like element to his game: explosive off the line with quick bursts, elite after the catch, and tracks the ball well downfield. A lot of his traits also compare well to Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb, who had a similar scouting report coming out of Oklahoma. 

With RB Saquon Barkley leaving for the Eagles and WR Darius Slayton skipping voluntary workouts, the Giants can’t walk out of this draft knowing they passed on a highly-valued prospect that would provide a spark for this Giants offense. In an offensive-heavy draft filled with a loaded WR class, Nabers shouldn’t be falling past New York at six.

#7: New York Jets (from TEN via mock trade)

WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Most teams in the draft are looking into the future. The New York Jets are looking into the present.

Aaron Rodgers is turning 41 in December and coming off a season-ending Achilles injury. With the rest of the AFC East suddenly looking vulnerable heading into next season, GM Joe Douglas needs to come to the realization that this year may be the best chance for his Jets to win a Super Bowl. How do you help Rodgers now? You give him another weapon to work with. That would mean moving up three spots to grab that highly-valued weapon in Rome Odunze.

The All-American wideout led the nation in receiving yards last season (1,645) and played a huge role in Washington’s magical run to the national championship game. Odunze brings a lot of toughness and physicality to the table as an X receiver. He attacks the ball, runs routes fluidly, and uses his awareness to exploit holes in defensive coverages.

Rodgers having Garrett Wilson and Rome Odunze on the outside would be a recipe for success. The Jets haven’t had much success on offense with Zach Wilson at QB in recent years but the pairing here spells trouble for any defense.

#8: Atlanta Falcons

EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

It’s safe to assume Atlanta will be addressing the defensive line with Bud Dupree and Calais Campbell both becoming free agents this offseason. Even when they both played last season, the Falcons weren’t generating a ton of pressure on the defensive side of the ball (42 sacks, 21st in NFL). That’ll likely change under new HC Raheem Morris and DC Jimmy Lake, both of whom are defensive masterminds.

Latu is arguably the most skilled rusher in the draft. His menacing pass-rush approach is best defined as finding entry angles and taking advantage of openings by bullying his way through the interior of the offensive line with his hand strength. Latu can dominate blocking tight ends and drop back into short-area coverage on flats and mesh concepts. 

The neck injury he suffered in 2020 that kept him out for two seasons is a medical concern that teams should be cautious of. That being said, he can dominate in an odd-front scheme as a force on passing downs. The Falcons could opt to take Latu over Alabama DE Dallas Turner because of how undersized he is at the position. Former Falcons first-round pick Vic Beasley was also undersized and ended up having an underwhelming career (he recorded 15.5 sacks in 2016 but recorded a combined 22 sacks in his other five seasons). Latu can be a force in Atlanta.

#9: Indianapolis Colts (from CHI via mock trade)

TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

After taking QB Anthony Richardson with the 4th overall pick a year ago, the Colts are going to need another playmaker in this young offense. The Chicago Bears only have four picks in this draft and will likely move down to recoup draft capital. The Colts have the capital to make the move and they certainly should.

Bowers isn’t your ordinary tight end. At 6’3″ and 243 lbs, he is a matchup nightmare for any defense. He’s an excellent route-runner for a TE and can bully his way through defenders after the catch. He’ll need to work on sustaining run blocks in space, but his ability to line up inside, outside, or in the slot makes him an explosive hybrid athlete. Bowers had a lot of volume at Georgia, which is a good sign that can translate well to the pro level.

GM Chris Ballard has made it his mission to keep improving an offense that ranked middle of the pack in total yards per game last season. Adding Bowers to a pass-catching core that already includes Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Josh Downs gives Richardson a chance to make a lot of noise in his second year after he missed the majority of last season due to a shoulder injury.

#10: Tennessee Titans (from NYJ via mock trade)

OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

This pick sure feels like a lock. A year after drafting guard Peter Skoronski in the first round, Tennessee’s offensive line was a nightmare to watch, surrendering 64 sacks, tied for second-worst in the NFL. LT Andre Dillard was released after allowing the most sacks by any player (12) and 42 QB pressures.

Alt immediately fills a glaring hole at the left tackle position and rightfully so. At 6’9″, he has incredible arm extension and footwork that allows him to get to the second level and drive pass-rushers backward. He also struggles with too much waist-bending and forward lean to compensate for his height, but overall, the attributes he possesses for his size are too good to ignore. 

The Titans recently made a smart move by hiring former Browns OL coach Bill Callahan, one of the greatest offensive line coaches ever. The impact he’ll have on revamping this atrocious offensive line will be massive for this franchise. If that isn’t enough to convince the Titans to take an offensive lineman with their first pick, then I don’t know what will.

#11: Los Angeles Chargers (from MIN via mock trade)

OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Now that Los Angeles has two picks this round, Joe Hortiz has a little more wiggle room to work with. Wide receiver is an obvious need here but with the top four pass-catchers off the board, the value simply isn’t there at 11. Going O-line may be the better option considering how badly that unit struggled a year ago.

Fuaga would be a perfect fit for this unit. He is a massive tackle with active hand usage that allows him to disrupt his defender’s pass rush and keep him in front of him. Fuaga thrives in pass protection with fluid footwork and a large frame.

After starting 25 games at right tackle, which is where the Chargers lack the most, he’d be an instant plug-and-play starter with Rashawn Slater locking down the left side. The Chargers could also slide him to guard to boost the interior if needed, but he’s best suited at right tackle and will give QB Justin Herbert that extra layer of protection.

#12: Denver Broncos

EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Earlier this week, the Broncos traded for former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson to replace Russell Wilson. The team also stated that they’re still not ruling out the possibility of grabbing a QB by potentially trading up or down to get either J.J. McCarthy or Bo Nix. But if a premium edge rusher like Turner falls to them at 12, there’s no reason for them to pass that up.

Turner is all about speed and using quick bursts to get around the edge. Once he has space, he can build momentum at the turn and close out on quarterbacks quickly. He’s also a consistent finisher in the backfield on extended plays, using his secondary rush to chase down athletic quarterbacks. He ran a 4.46 at the combine and showed scouts why his speed can be valuable for any defensive coordinator who loves to drop an extra defender on heavy pressures in a base 3-4 scheme. 

Turner doesn’t exactly have the same type of frame and production as former Alabama DE Will Anderson Jr. coming out of college, but this is exactly the type of prospect DC Vance Joseph lives for. The Broncos have been struggling to get to the quarterback in recent years since the departures of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. With Patrick Mahomes dominating the division, Denver will need a pass rusher who can get to quarterbacks of his caliber. Turner is that guy.

#13: Las Vegas Raiders

CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

The Raiders are another team that desperately needs a QB and could easily make a move for one in Round 1. But the early run on quarterbacks will force them to stay put at 13 and take the best player available. Cornerback is another area of need with CBs Nate Hobbs and Brandon Facyson entering the final year of their contracts. New GM Tom Telesco also has a history of finding gems in the secondary in previous drafts (Desmond King II, Derwin James, Asante Samuel Jr.).

Mitchell brings in Sauce Gardner vibes mainly because of how highly productive he was during his time at a non-Power 5 school. He broke the Toledo school record with 46 career pass-breakups while earning second-team All-American in 2023. With a mixture of speed and physicality, Mitchell has the best ball skills out of any cornerback in the draft. He’s an outstanding tackler, physical at the catch point, and well-adapted to play in any coverage. His closing speed and excellent tackling make him a valuable asset on special teams, an area where the Raiders thrive.

As much as they want to address the QB position in Round 1, the Raiders should address their long-term concerns in the secondary by adding another young piece that can be a plug-and-play outside corner right from the start. 

#14: New Orleans Saints

OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State

For the Saints, no position is more glaring than the offensive line. C Erik McCoy, RG Cesar Ruiz, and RT Ryan Ramczyk are the only three returning OL starters with the latter’s NFL future in doubt due to a recurring knee injury. OT Trevor Penning is also off to a horrendous start in his young career. The need for a lineman can’t be emphasized enough, which is why Fashanu should be taken here.

After being a projected top-5 pick in this year’s draft months ago, Fashanu’s draft stock dropped significantly because of the average measurables he recorded at the Combine and his decision to stay an extra year at Penn State, which caused him to fall back a little in this loaded OL class. However, he has the prototypical build of a starting left tackle. His lower bend allows him to gain extra leverage against pass rushers. He possesses great balance and the ability to counteract inside moves and delayed pressures.

Unlike his size and length, his movement could use some work. Fashanu needs to work on his sliding and footwork because he often struggles at reaching back-side cutoffs and staying loose with his mechanics. With the right coaching, these issues can easily be fixed within the next two years as he works his way toward being an eventual solid left tackle at the pro level. He already shows a promising work ethic and drive to get better, which makes him an excellent fit for the Saints as he would immediately fill a glaring hole on the offensive line.

#15: Chicago Bears (from IND via mock trade)

DT Byron Murphy II, Texas

If the Bears do end up trading down, they’d be happy to have Murphy fall to them at 15.

The production doesn’t tell the full story. Murphy is a stud at the DT position. He’s a three-down defender who loves to shoot the gap by getting off the line with his first-step twitchiness and getting to the quarterback. Murphy is powerful enough to blow through double-teams and become a big-play disruptor. The increasing amount of double-teams that he could potentially draw as his career progresses could wear him out, but it shows how much of a force he is on the interior.

Chicago’s defense showed massive signs of improvement toward the end of last season and Murphy would be an absolute steal for them as they look to add another pass rusher to pair up with DE Montez Sweat and form a dangerous 1-2 punch along the defensive line.

#16: Philadelphia Eagles (from SEA via mock trade)

CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

We are getting to the point in the draft where DBs start to offer a lot of value. The Eagles can’t be too content with the current trajectory of their veteran secondary, which ranked 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game (252.7) and total TDs allowed (35). James Bradberry has gone into a downward spiral since arriving in Philly and Darius Slay is 33 years old. They need a young corner to repair that secondary. That could mean trading up to get Arnold.

While a bit undersized, Arnold plays with a different level of aggression. He excels in man coverage by pressing up on receivers at the line and competes hard in jarring balls loose. He can also help out in run support with his high-end speed and catch up to the fastest ball carriers. Arnold will often lose his positioning in zone coverage, but if you have him play man-to-man, he will be a difference-maker in that type of coverage.

Arnold is also two years younger than Mitchell and the cost of trading up to get him will likely be more manageable for the Eagles. This is a great spot for Howie Roseman to make a move to ensure Philly gets an excellent depth piece for a secondary that needs youth.

#17: Buffalo Bills (from JAX via mock trade)

WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

It’s been tough sledding for the Buffalo Bills franchise and their fanbase as of late. Losing WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis only added to the sourness of the previous lost seasons that ended in playoff heartbreak. If the season were to start today, Khalil Shakir would be Buffalo’s WR1. They need to find Diggs’ replacement quickly and it might come in the form of a massive trade, jumping 11 spots to select the other LSU wideout, Brian Thomas Jr.

While teammate Malik Nabers recorded the second-most receiving yards in the country last season, Thomas led the nation with 17 receiving TDs. He works supremely well against press coverage and often finds himself open on quick passes underneath. He also has the length and quick acceleration to generate separation on deep routes and track down overthrown passes. 

At 6-foot-3 with 4.3 speed and vertical athleticism, he simply checks all the boxes to be the Bills’ next great receiver. Combine all of that with Josh Allen’s cannon of an arm and you have a move that might just pay off big time.

#18: Cincinnati Bengals

DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

Brian Thomas Jr. is off the board and now the Bengals can afford to wait until Round 2 to take a wideout in this loaded class. As for defense, they may need to address the defensive tackle position. They let DT DJ Reader walk in free agency and given how expensive DT signings have gotten in recent years, their best bet is to find one here in the draft. This draft lacks talent at the DT position, but Newton should certainly fall to them at 18.

The size doesn’t really stand out, but he plays like a defensive end who can finesse his way through interior blockers. No one can get off blocks better than Newton can. His quickness and variety of pass-rush moves and counters make him a tough defender to guard inside. He’s a reliable run defender by shooting the gap rather than holding the line. In 2022, he led Illinois with 14 tackles for loss and then went on to lead the team with 7.5 sacks in 2023 while earning first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

The production and the unique play style he brings as a defensive tackle ultimately make him the best choice available for Cincinnati here in the late 20s, especially with the Bengals potentially losing another key piece on the defensive line after the latest news regarding DE Trey Hendrickson’s trade request. 

#19: Los Angeles Rams

EDGE Jared Verse, Rams

What a massive steal this would be. If the Bengals were to address their biggest need at defensive tackle, then the path is clear for the Rams to go “best player available.” How do you not take Verse at this point in the draft?

A second-team All-American, Verse possesses the traits of an energetic, high-impact pass rusher. His instincts allow him to fully recognize the play and use his first-step quickness to gain a step on outside tackles before driving them deep into the pocket. He understands how to counter his opponent at the point of attack by navigating different rush routes and using crafty handwork to get around the edge. Aaron Donald played a similar style on the interior, except his power and speed were simply not human to the point where teams had to start playing around him rather than upfront with him.

Verse has the potential to have that type of impact if he can start racking up his production early at the pro level and force teams to start game-planning for him the way they did with Donald. The Rams could use a game-changing talent on the edge to improve their pass rush and maintain the aura that Donald left behind.

#20: Pittsburgh Steelers

IOL Graham Barton, Duke

Whether it’s Justin Fields or Russell Wilson, the Steelers will need to upgrade the trenches for their starter if they want to make a giant leap on offense next season. With center Mason Cole gone, Barton would be the ideal choice to replace him at the position.

The Duke product is built to be a center at the pro level after playing 95% of his collegiate career at left tackle because of his short arms. What he lacks in length, he makes up for it with good body control and technique to drive defenders to the second level. Barton also does a nice job getting out into space and creating paths for ball carriers on screen plays. 

He would be a great fit for the Steelers O-line and should easily be the top center available because of the high upside he brings as an eventual starter at the position.

#21: Miami Dolphins

OT JC Latham, Alabama

Dolphins GM Chris Grier has always emphasized building the trenches and that’s exactly what he does here. Will it be Latham or Fautanu? You can’t go wrong with either, but Latham might be the better pick because of the versatility he provides. He has the potential to be a Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle, but he could also slide to guard.

With long arms and a big frame, Latham can mirror defenders effectively and use his grip strength to save blocks that start slipping away. He is an elite drive-blocker, especially when it comes to blocking at the second level. He will instantly elevate a team’s ground attack as he virtually fits in any run scheme.

Latham will need to learn how to get comfortable blocking at different angles as he tends to let himself sink too deep into the pocket at times. But if you want to establish an identity in the run game, he’s the guy you’ll need. Miami’s offense is already explosive in the passing game, but bringing a guy like Latham in will be even more beneficial for the dynamic backfield duo of Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane.

#22: Seattle Seahawks (from PHI via mock trade)

OT Troy Fautanu, Washington

Seattle is continuing to build upon their young and inexperienced offensive line. The future looks bright with Charles Cross and Abe Lucas holding down the fort, but the Seahawks shouldn’t stop there. Fautanu would be an amazing pick for them if he fell to them in a trade-back.

Fautanu deserves a lot of credit for being Michael Penix Jr’s lead protector and a massive reason why Washington had the nation’s best offensive line. He has excellent lateral quickness and firm footwork that allows him to stay balanced and pick up zone blocks. He has also shown the ability to be an effective pull guard in the run game. Fautanu needs to work on his hand placement against interior guards, but otherwise, he’s a well-coached talent with experience at left tackle and guard.

Lucas is dealing with a knee injury at the moment and Fautanu would instantly fill the starting spot, giving the Seahawks more young talent to develop along the offensive line as they are expected to find their next franchise QB sooner than later. 

#23: Los Angeles Chargers (from MIN via mock trade)

WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

After taking an offensive tackle with their first pick, this is where the Chargers could find their Keenan Allen replacement. Mitchell’s stock has been ascending draft boards in recent weeks and rightfully so. 

He possesses a lot of traits that already translate well to the pro level. He has the ridiculous ability to make catches outside his frame from different directions. Mitchell isn’t the most polished route runner, but he’s flashy in terms of shifting in and out of routes. Unlike most college receivers, he was already using the NFL’s two-foot rule when it comes to catches on the boundary. That is a valuable trait to have for any receiver entering the draft.

Chargers fans might be disappointed the team passed up a top-3 receiver to trade down, but if Fuaga or Mitchell were the two picks that ended up on the Chargers roster, that would be an even better alternative.

#24: Dallas Cowboys

IOL Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

It’s frustrating for the Cowboys fanbase to know that their team doesn’t have any clear direction for where they want to go in the draft. Dallas lost two starters on the offensive line and will be entering the 2024-25 season with one of the worst units in the league. Here’s a pick that would instantly fill a need.

Powers-Johnson came out of high school as one of the best centers in the country. He won the Rimington Trophy (nation’s best center) and earned first-team All-American in 2023. He’s a prototypical center with the ability to toss opponents around with his upper-body power. He also plays with a rugged attitude while managing to stay disciplined and avoid unnecessary penalties. The inexperience as a full-time starter might be concerning (27 starts across three seasons at Oregon), but Powers-Johnson has all the elements to be an elite center in the NFL.

The Cowboys have had their rough moments as of late, but selecting Powers-Johnson would give them a boost at center in the long term.

#25: Green Bay Packers

CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

If the board falls the way it does in this mock draft, Packers fans might have their wish come true. CDJ is one of the most unique prospects in recent memory. He’s a versatile defensive back who can fit in multiple schemes as a lockdown corner or a free-flying safety. DeJean is a hard-hitting defender with the ball skills of a wide receiver (seven career INTs, three returned for TDs). He struggles when the ball is traveling behind him on deep routes, but he’s instinctive in zone coverages and reads the quarterback’s eyes like a hawk, allowing him to have that quick burst and jump the route. Oh, and he provides a lot of value on special teams as a gunner or even a kick returner.

The hype train is real around this guy. DeJean will be the first white cornerback to start in the NFL since Kevin Kaesviharn in 2001. The CB room in Green Bay is looking uncertain at the moment. Jaire Alexander looks nowhere like the All-Pro player he once was and Eric Stokes is struggling to stay on the field. DeJean would provide a much-needed spark in the secondary and become an immediate impact player no matter what position he plays on the field.

#26: Detroit Lions (from TB via mock trade)

CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Speaking of dreams coming true, the Lions also want to make sure their fans get their wish. After signing OT Penei Sewell and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown to long-term deals this past week, GM Brad Holmes keeps his foot on the gas pedal and moves up three spots to take Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry.

The former five-star prospect might be the best pure cover man in the draft. He matches outside releases, reads the receiver’s eyes, and knows exactly where to be in coverage at all times. McKinstry also displays high-end acceleration to close out on crossing routes, making up for his lack of full-area speed. He’ll often tug at receivers on route breaks and risk committing penalties downfield, but he’s confident to handle one-on-one matchups without any need for help on the backside. Like DeJean, he also provides value on special teams as a punt returner. 

Detroit has competition at the CB position with Carlton Davis, Amik Robertson, and Emmanuel Moseley, but none of them are signed through 2025. The Lions could bring in a young corner to help fill another spot in the secondary and improve a defense that ranked 27th in passing yards allowed per game last season (247.4). Kool-Aid McKinstry has elite cover skills and an elite name.

#27: Arizona Cardinals

CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Watch out for a few prospects that could potentially fall to the end of the round. Wiggins is easily one of them. The Clemson CB is projected to be drafted somewhere in the early-20s range.

Wiggins is the fastest corner in the draft — he ran a 4.28 40-yard dash — and his range is limitless. He’s a playmaker who recognizes routes very well and has elite bursts to the ball. Wiggins is natural in Cover 3 and backpedals smoothly down the field without having to worry about feeling off-balance. His size is a major concern (173 lbs.) and he doesn’t help out in run support, but once he puts on more weight and learns to help out in run support, he’ll be a standout corner sooner rather than later.

Arizona brought in Sean Murphy-Bunting to fill in the right CB spot, but they’ll need another young corner to pair up with him on the left side. Wiggins might be the best choice because of the value at 27 if he were to fall. 

#28: Jacksonville Jaguars (from BUF via mock trade)

WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

Wide receiver is a big need in Jacksonville with the departure of Calvin Ridley to division rival Tennessee. While corner is also the ideal need, the value simply isn’t there at 28 and they could find one later in the draft. The Jaguars could make some noise with this pick. Worthy is a prospect worth evaluating.

The speed is off the charts (4.21 40-yard dash, fastest ever in the combine). He creates a ton of separation on simple routes and becomes a major problem for defenses after the catch. His deep speed will force defenses to drop back and loosen coverage underneath. Worthy’s small frame holds him back from making contested catches and getting physical at the catch point to fight for the ball, but that speed could be the difference between him getting drafted late in the first round or early on Day 2.

Jacksonville needs a legit field stretcher that can be used all over the field and Worthy would do just that for them.

#29: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from DET via mock trade)

IOL Zach Frazier, West Virginia

Expect a few surprises this late in the round. Tampa regains some draft capital but misses out on the top two centers in the draft. Instead of grabbing an edge rusher like Chop Robinson or Darius Robinson, GM Jason Licht opts to get the next best center in the draft in Zach Frazier.

Frazier earned first-team All-Big 12 Conference in 2022 and 2023 as arguably the best center in the conference. He doesn’t have the ideal arm length that evaluators value, but he has immense power to open up run lanes and drive his defender into the ground. He also has the most experience at the center position compared to Barton and Powers-Johnson (37 starts at center).

Tampa could easily go another route and address a need on the defensive side of the ball, but after starting center Ryan Jensen’s retirement, they might find his replacement early in the draft. Frazier could be the next man up for them.

#30: Baltimore Ravens

OT Amarius Mims, Georgia

GM Eric DeCosta would immediately take Mims if he was available. The Ravens would love to fortify the right side of the offensive line, especially with the way tackle Ronnie Stanley has been struggling over the last few years. OC Todd Monken already has an immediate connection with Mims from his time at Georgia and would admire this pick.

There’s plenty to love about Mims. He has the frame of an NFL-ready lineman at 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds. He has excellent knee-bend, power, and length to overpower his defenders. When comparing other tackles in terms of hand placement, Mims is easily ahead in that category. He knows exactly how to block different types of rushers with his two-hand punch.

The biggest factor in why he could drop to the later part of the round is inexperience. Mims only had eight career starts at Georgia, which might temper evaluators’ expectations a bit. With the right coaching, his development could lead him to a high ceiling in the NFL. The Ravens shouldn’t waste this opportunity and take Mims to give QB Lamar Jackson a talented blocker on his throwing side.

#31: San Francisco 49ers

OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU

The 49ers are still reeling from their Super Bowl 58 loss to the Chiefs two months ago, but with that now in the rearview mirror, they need to start looking at their offensive line situation. LT Trent Williams is turning 36 in July and three other starters on the offensive line are playing on contract years. Suamataia could be one of those offensive linemen to sneak into the first round.

The former five-star recruit has good size and strength to hold up against bull rushers. Suamataia also works best as a pulling tackle in outside-zone runs and space. His hand placement needs improvement, but he can redirect hand counters and swim moves at an efficient rate. He’s well-suited at right tackle where he has the most experience and could be a great depth piece for the future once Williams is gone.

#32: Kansas City Chiefs

WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina

For the second consecutive year, the Kansas City Chiefs will be closing out the first round of the NFL Draft. They could essentially go in any direction here, but they may have their sights set on bringing in another pass-catcher with Rashee Rice suspended and the newly-signed Marquise Brown needing some help on the outside (and no, Kadarius Toney will not give you help). 

Legette is an interesting prospect to scout. He’s a guy that could easily sneak into the first round or be taken early in Round 2. He’s a reliable big-body receiver who loves to go up to make tough catches in one-on-one battles. While he’s not the most flashy route-runner, Legette can create vertical separation downfield as a deep-ball threat with sneaky-good acceleration from the jump and does a phenomenal job of securing the ball.

Teams should heavily consider the production he had at South Carolina; he didn’t have his breakout year until 2023. That could be a major cause for concern as most 5th-year breakout players often get labeled as the “one-year wonder” tag. He might be raw, but the ball skills he possesses and the potential he showed in 2023 could be worth the investment for Kansas City considering how thin their WR room currently looks in the long term. 

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