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2024 NFL mock draft | Nick Jacobs' final 1st round predictions

NFL Draft Football
Posted at 9:43 PM, Apr 24, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This is my first and only attempt at predicting the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

This year’s draft appears to be even more unpredictable than in prior years because of the shift in league priorities.

Teams now need a quarterback that can keep up with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Brock Purdy and Jalen Hurts.

The next big priority for teams are offensive linemen that can give those quarterbacks time to make plays or for pass rushers that can stymie those quarterbacks.

For other teams and schemes, it has now come down to where on their rosters they can raise the skill levels of players to cover their weaknesses at quarterback.

There will be no trades in this mock draft, even though there could be more than 10 in this draft.

I’m attempting to put players with the team I think they end up with. Hopefully, I get more than one this year.

1. Chicago Bears — QB Caleb Williams, USC
The Bears take the top quarterback on the board. Williams gives them a chance to compete again in an NFC North that has a more open path to a division championship.

2. Washington Commanders — QB Jayden Daniels, LSU
Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury likes athletic quarterbacks that can create plays with their feet. Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner brings that ability behind an improved, but makeshift, offensive line.

3. New England Patriots — QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
The Patriots start a new era after the departure of legendary head coach, Bill Belichick. Maye will need a coaching staff that is willing to work on his footwork so he can reach his potential as a quarterback. The ownership likely wants a quarterback that can put fans in the stands with the man in the hoodie gone.

4. Arizona Cardinals — WR Marvin Harrison, Ohio State
This is the spot that will be hot for a trade. The Cardinals need to provide a quality weapon for Kyler Murray if they elect not to trade down. Harrison gives them arguably one of the best pure receivers they’ve had a shot at in quite sometime.

5. Los Angeles Chargers — OT J.C. Latham, Alabama
This is where a trade should be considered by the Chargers. New head coach Jim Harbaugh will likely want to build his offensive and defensive lines. Multiple picks would allow him the chance to help both sides of the ball. An offensive tackle at the right tackle spot and a defensive tackle to pair with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa would help a great deal.

6. New York Giants — TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
The Giants need help at quarterback and along the offensive line. A potential retirement by Darren Waller gives the Giants a chance to add a premium athlete at tight end if they miss out on a quarterback.

7. Tennessee Titans — WR Malik Nabers, LSU
The Titans are a team that need help at offensive tackle and wide receiver. It would make sense to pencil in offensive tackle Joe Alt at the spot. Head Coach Brian Callahan strikes me as someone who wants to add a dynamic receiver similar to Jamaar Chase in his head coaching debut. The Titans might have De’Andre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley, but what made Callahan’s scheme work in Cincinnati was the trio of Ja’marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.

8. Atlanta Falcons — OLB Dallas Turner, Alabama
Head Coach Raheem Morris needs a premium pass rusher for their defensive scheme, along with an infusion of speed on defense. Turner provides them with an athletic prospect that knows how to get around the corner quickly.

9. Chicago Bears — WR Rome Odunze, Washington
The Bears could use Joe Alt here to play on the left side of their offensive line, but the opportunity to pair their new quarterback with Odunze, DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and Tyler Scott would be tough to pass up. Both options make sense. Chicago should listen to offers so they can add some additional picks in the second and third round, whether this year or next.

10. New York Jets — OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
Alt’s landing spots are expected to be anywhere from the Chargers to the Jets. Without using any trades, this is where his slide would end.

11. Minnesota Vikings — QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
The Vikings have an offense that is ready to go. They just need a quarterback to pair with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and Aaron Jones. They may not be willing to give up the 23rd overall pick to pair with this selection, but if they don’t the Broncos likely will.

12. Denver Broncos — QB Bo Nix, Oregon
Head coach Sean Payton needs to find his quarterback. The organization is a rudderless ship until they do. I wouldn’t be stunned to see Payton trade up for J.J. McCarthy and risk it all for his guy.

13. Las Vegas Raiders — DT Byron Murphy, Texas
The Raiders could use a quarterback, but the sneaky thing head coach Antonio Pierce can do is have a front four featuring Maxx Crosby, Christian Wilkins, Tyree Wilson and Murphy. If he wants to build on his victory over the Chiefs on Christmas Day, this is the move to make.

14. New Orleans Saints — OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State
The Saints could go a number of directions with necessary additions to the offensive line or defensive end spot. Fashanu gives them a left tackle for Derek Carr’s blindside and allows them to move Trevor Penning to a more natural position at right tackle.

15. Indianapolis Colts — CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
The Colts could use additional help at wide receiver with Brian Thomas on the board. Quarterback Anthony Richardson can use all the help he can get. They go with the other need at cornerback this round with a receiver-rich draft.

16. Seattle Seahawks — DE Jared Verse, Florida State
New head coach Mike Macdonald has an offense that can score points. The team lacks a long-term quarterback and a dominant defense like Macdonald oversaw with the Baltimore Ravens. Verse gives him that first draft pick to build his next dominant defense.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars — WR Brian Thomas, LSU
The Jaguars could use help at wide receiver, defensive tackle and cornerback. The loss of Calvin Ridley puts Brian Thomas and Xavier Worthy on the draft day table. Adding Thomas would give the Jaguars an athletic receiver to go with a group that features Gabe Davis, Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Devin Duvernay.

18. Cincinnati Bengals — WR Xavier Worthy, Texas
The Bengals have Orlando Brown Jr and Trent Brown as their book ends on the offensive line. Someone like Tailese Fuaga makes a ton of sense if they want to have someone in waiting. The Bengals could also use help with their pass rush. Worthy gives them a little bit of wiggle room with the loss of Tyler Boyd and the contract dispute with Tee Higgins. Worthy’s speed could give Ja’Marr Chase more wiggle room.

19. Los Angeles Rams — OLB Laiatu Latu, UCLA
Latu gives the Rams a potential immediate impact player for defensive coordinator Chris Shula. The team currently has Byron Young and Michael Hecht to use off the edges at outside linebacker.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — OL Graham Barton, Duke
The Steelers need offensive line help. Barton can play at tackle, guard and ideally, center. Barton gives the team the necessary versatility they need.

21. Miami Dolphins — DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
New defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver needs help along the defensive line. Newton could give them another athletic rotational piece for their front three.

22. Philadelphia Eagles — CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson
The secondary had been an issue for the Eagles before Super Bowl LVII. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could immediately use a corner with the athletic ability of Wiggins.

23. Minnesota Vikings — CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama
This pick might be on the move from an earlier trade, but for now the Vikings add an additional cornerback to go with Byron Murphy and Akayleb Evans.

24. Dallas Cowboys — OT Tailese Fuaga, Oregon State
It is too early for the Cowboys to take a running back. They could throw a curveball and pick a quarterback. They take an athletic offensive tackle that could have been off the board in the teens.

25. Green Bay Packers — OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma
The Packers could use offensive tackle help. Guyton gives them an athletic book end. The team currently has Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom on the edges with Andre Dillard as an insurance policy.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — OL Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
The Buccaneers need help on their interior offensive line. Powers-Johnson gives them a building block at center.

27. Arizona Cardinals — CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
Head coach Jonathan Gannon needs help in his secondary. McKinstry would bring great closing speed at cornerback and a player comfortable in off coverage.

28. Buffalo Bills — DE Demeioun “Chop” Robinson, Penn State
The Bills have been routinely attached to wide receivers in the first round. The reality is they need an infusion of fast and youthful players on defense. A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau and Von Miller don’t have the speed that a player like Chop Robinson could immediately provide for their opponents in the AFC East and in the playoffs. There are more wide receivers they can add later. The speed of Robinson likely means he won’t be there then.

29. Detroit Lions — DL Darius Robinson, Missouri
Back-to-back Robinsons, likely a rare occurrence in the draft. Robinson gives the Lions a versatile pass rusher that can rotate down the line to pair with DJ Reader and Aidan Hutchinson. It also helps the Lions avoid putting all their eggs in the Marcus Davenport basket.

30 . Baltimore Ravens — OT Amarius Mims, Georgia
The Ravens need help at offensive tackle. Ronnie Staley is hitting the back nine of his career when it comes to his health. Mims would give them a powerful offensive tackle that they have time to develop.

31. San Fransisco 49ers — WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia
The 49ers have Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings, but the contract issue with Aiyuk is likely going to linger and they will need an escape hatch. McConkey would provide the 49ers a reliable receiver that helps them weather the storm.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU
The Chiefs will likely need to trade up if they want a wide receiver or another offensive tackle that will likely be off the board at their pick. Suamataia gives them an offensive tackle who has a good punch and can lock defenders up. He has some flaws to his game that offensive line coach Andy Heck will need to correct, but the size and power are there.

The NFL Draft is set to kickoff with the first round on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Rounds two and three will take place on Friday at 6:00 p.m. The 2024 draft will conclude with rounds four through seven on Saturday.