The first of many 2024 Mock NFL Drafts from the award-winning mock draft FFM team. Follow along the NFL Draft season with unique scouting reports, Dynasty Rookie Draft projections, Prop betting on the draft and more this entire offseason at Fantasy Football Metrics.com...our 15th season covering the NFL Draft.
1) Chicago Bears - QB Caleb Williams, USC
I don’t see how Chicago could choose to keep Justin Fields at this point. He’s shown who he is…a athletic, talented playmaker but not a high-level passing QB. Fields is also up for his 5th year option which would be for $23.3 million. Are the Bears really going to pony up for another year of frustrating up and down play for that price when they can reset the pay scale and massively upgrade at the position? And forget any narratives that Drake Maye is better. He’s not. Jayden Daniels might be in the end, but that’s a whole other discussion and he’s not going #1 anyways.
Now while I’ve been consistent since last year that Williams was easily the best QB prospect in this class, I will admit that my opinion of him has gone down a little bit but not because of his play. He’s a fantastic football talent. What concerns me are intangible/makeup issues. I’m beginning to worry that he’s more Kyler Murray than Patrick Mahomes, a brilliant talent but one with some maturity issues. Regardless of his long-term success though, I think it’s nearly locked in stone that he will be the #1 overall pick come April.
2) Washington Commanders - OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
I’m not projecting it here, but I do believe there is a very good chance this pick is ultimately traded. That view, and the idea that Washington does not take a QB, goes against mainstream thinking at this time, but I believe I will be proven correct. This is not your grandmother’s Washington team anymore. New owner Josh Harris is already one of the best owners in the league in my humble opinion. By all accounts he is firmly committed to surrounding his team with the best and brightest and dedicated to a solid foundational rebuild no matter how long that takes. This isn’t going to be a David Tepper impatient mess. Harris is going to take his time and do this right. For evidence just look at their recent under the radar hire of San Francisco’s Adam Peters for the GM spot. Peters has been highly sought after for years, but refused to leave his team until the right spot came open. He is very likely the brains behind the personnel decisions in SF.
In addition, Harris has already completed a similar rebuilding job in basketball when he acquired the struggling 76’ers. The team tanked for years acquiring capital and draft picks before systematically rebuilding the roster. That is likely to be the plan for Washington as well, something akin to what the Texans just pulled off with Nick Caserio.
Having said all that, this team is nowhere near ready for a new QB. You would just be wasting that player’s prime years on a rookie contract if you even selected the right QB. And whatever you think of Sam Howell, you can at least get by with him for another year or so, and if not they can get Ryan Tannehill on rental for $10 million or so. I don’t think there’s any world where they are drafting a QB this year, not at #2 anyways. They will trade the pick if possible to a team that wants Maye or Daniels, and if that’s not possible they will simply sit in place and draft the best left tackle available which is what I have them doing here. It’s still early and I want to see combine data, but at this juncture I believe Joe Alt is the best tackle prospect in the draft. He’s big, athletic, polished…not perfect like Joe Thomas, but certainly worthy of being a top 10 pick.
3) New England Patriots - QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
Unlike Washington, the Patriots almost certainly will take a QB early. They are guaranteed one of the top 3, and I just don’t see a world where anyone in charge is willing to sit through another year of garbage play. Now this will be committing the crime of wasting a QB’s prime years that I highlighted above (it’s absolutely not what I would do), but I believe it’s what the Patriots will do. Gone are the highly rational ways of Bill Belichick. The Patriots are in treading dangerous new waters starting next year, and firing and missing on a top QB is certainly in their range of outcomes now. They are just like about 28 other teams now…slaves to their emotions, and their emotions are crying out for a shiny new QB toy to save them.
At the end of the day, assuming nobody trades up to 2, I believe Maye will be that QB. He’s got all the on-paper traits you could want. He’s big, athletic, smart, can read defenses, accurate, clean-cut, professional…he’ll be sold as the new Justin Herbert, just watch. In reality he’s more Trevor Lawrence and I do not mean that in the way many people will think. I do not, and have never, believed Lawrence was a generational QB. I think he is highly polished and competent enough but ultimately a B- or C+ level starter. That’s what I think Maye is as well. But that won’t stop the establishment from trying to jam him down our throats as “better than Caleb Williams.”
4) Arizona Cardinals - WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
Cardinals fans rejoice, you get your wish. Every year there is one prospect pushed by the media as a god-amongst-men sort of player, the generational prospect that every single team should sell their souls to get. Last year it was Bijan Robinson. 2022 was Kayvon Thibodeaux. 2021 was Lawrence. 2020 was Chase Young. This year it’s Marvin Harrison and I’ll bet you can guess why. Now don’t get me wrong, he is good. I just don’t think he’s as good as the media will hype him up to be. There will be lots of Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald talk and it’s all overblown in my opinion. I think he’s more CeeDee Lamb/Amari Cooper, maybe a bit better than those two. He’s good, very good…I’m just not convinced he’s the next-coming. Either way Arizona will run to the podium to select him if he’s still available at 4. Put that in ink.
5) Los Angeles Chargers - TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
This is the first pick I feel shaky on. The fifth overall pick feels too high for Bowers, but who else are you going to put here? The Chargers don’t need a tackle or an edge rusher. There’s no corner likely to be in play here. They definitely could use a new TE. There was a lot of talk of the team drafting one highly last year. They clearly need more weapons for Herbert, especially with Keenan Allen getting older and Mike Williams’s repeated injuries. If/when Jim Harbaugh is hired here it makes even more sense because he’s going to bring his power offensive scheme back and TE’s are a huge part of what he likes to do. Is Bowers worth the 5th overall pick? Not in my opinion. He’s good but maybe just a slightly better Sam LaPorta. I wouldn’t spend the 5th pick on that but you could do worse. We'll see if his position causes him to drop a little.
6) New York Giants - WR Malik Nabers, LSU
The million dollar question for the Giants…do you draft a QB at #6 if one is available or not? Many fans will say it’s a no-brainer, but I doubt the team feels that way. They have already announced that Daniel Jones is the starter once he is healthy again. Unfortunately they are still on the hook for at least 2024 anyways, so there’s still a chance he could rehab his image. Could they choose to keep Jones as the starter (at least to start the season) and draft a rookie highly anyways? Sure. They could also choose not to and I wouldn’t be surprised. It likely comes down to who is available and what grade they give those players.
In this scenario the decision is between Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabors. I suspect that Brian Daboll would prefer a prototypical pocket passer like Drake Maye over Daniels. That’s just my intuition. I think he is like Arthur Smith in that they would take a lesser QB that robotically runs their precious playbook over a dynamic athlete that thrives outside of structure. Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll find out more this spring. But if I had to bet right now I think Daboll and the Giants would take the silky smooth playmaking skills of Nabors to try and help Jones (and a rookie drafted on day 2) over trying to corral Jayden Daniels.
7) Tennessee Titans - OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn St
If there’s a good tackle available Tennessee almost has to take him. If Nabors was available you have to consider him as well given the state of their receivers, but since Ran Carthon is now running this team and comes from SF, I imagine he’ll try to get some good receivers between rounds 2 and 4. Tackle is by far the biggest weakness of this team and an absolute must to fix. Will Levis is a heck of a QB and a huge steal from last year but he needs time to throw and struggled to get that in 2023.
Fashanu is not my favorite tackle from my early previews, but I will acknowledge that he’s pretty good. The media is certainly overrating him at this point. Regardless, he still has a good chance to go in the top 10. He reminds me of Russell Okung as a player, good size, solid movement skills but not overwhelmingly powerful or smooth…and Okung went 6th overall in a relatively weak class. It would not shock me, however, if Fashanu “fell” closer to the 20th overall pick than the top 10.
8) Atlanta Falcons - QB Jayden Daniels, LSU
I wrote back in November that Daniels would be a high first round pick (I mocked him 3rd overall to the Patriots) back when everyone in the media and scouting was saying he was a 2nd round pick. Of course Daniels won the Heisman and is already considered a virtual lock for the top 10. He looks like the second coming of Lamar Jackson except he’s a better passer and slightly lesser runner. I don’t think there’s any chance he falls the way Lamar did.
We have no idea who will be the coach of Atlanta right now (Belichick could change the equation), and it’s possible Daniels isn’t even on the board at 8. Someone could trade ahead of Atlanta or maybe Washington defies all logic and takes a QB. Who knows. But if he’s on the board when they are picking, Atlanta has to take him.
9) Chicago Bears - EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA
It’s early but I’m still routinely seeing Latu as the 2nd or 3rd edge rusher for most people. That seems bananas to me. He clearly seems like the top guy. Dallas Turner is fast but undersized and Jared Verse is a complete fraud and shouldn’t even go in the 1st round. I have to imagine by draft day that Latu will be the top edge rusher (and quite likely the top overall defender) selected. He makes a ton of sense for the Bears as a bookend to the newly acquired Montez Sweat.
10) New York Jets - OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon St
Last year everyone and their mother knew the Jets desperately wanted an offensive tackle in the 1st round to help protect Aaron Rodgers. The problem with it being so obvious is it makes you vulnerable to getting exploited and that’s precisely what the Steelers did, trading up in front of the Jets for Broderick Jones. This year has another loaded class of offensive tackles and the Jets sit a little higher at 10th overall. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to take a good one. Fuaga is already one of my favorite players to watch on tape. He’s big, explosive, and mean, routinely blowing defenders completely off the line. The thing that really pops on tape is how smoothly he moves in space for such a large man. Fuaga is getting a decent amount of hype already, usually being mocked in the early to mid 20’s, but I’ll bet he goes much higher on draft day. He reminds me of Tristan Wirfs.
11) Minnesota Vikings - EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama
Many Minnesota fans are going to be clamoring for a new QB, but I’m betting the team simply re-signs Kirk Cousins. It’s the easiest option to keep a competitive team and they absolutely can win with Kirk provided they give him a respectable defense (which he’s rarely had throughout his career). Don’t forget he was playing like a top 5 QB in 2023 before his injury. Fans can complain about him and how boring he is, but management doesn’t care. They just want to win. What’s the alternative if you don’t bring him back? You can’t guarantee a decent rookie unless you trade up and that takes a lot of resources and has proven time and time again to be a very poor strategy.
More likely they bring back Cousins and keep working to overhaul the defense. With so many pass rushers set to hit free agency, it stands to reason they can take a replacement at 11. Turner isn’t my favorite edge rusher ever, but he’s drawing comparisons to Brian Burns and that seems quite apt. You could do worse than taking Brian Burns 11th overall.
12) Denver Broncos - WR Rome Odunze, Washington
Yet another fan base that’s going to be crying for a new QB, although they have much more of a case. It seems as if a divorce with Russell Wilson is inevitable at this point. Sean Payton has barely been able to contain his disgust with Wilson. Unfortunately Denver is stuck in no man’s land in the draft at 12th overall. It’s too late to have any shot at the top 3 guys but far too early to reach on the next tier. Fans won’t like to hear it but Michael Penix should be a 2nd round pick and that’s before considering his multiple major injuries, JJ McCarthy is a taller Brock Purdy (no that’s not a compliment, Purdy is ok as I have said all along but put him on any team other than SF and he wouldn’t be nearly so good), and Bo Nix isn’t a real QB prospect. The next best option was Cam Ward and he went back to college.
I doubt Payton has the patience to develop a rookie QB anyways. He is notorious for demanding absolute perfection in knowledge of his playbook. I’m guessing he’ll bring in a couple of cheap veterans (Jameis Winston anybody?) and maybe take someone else later. To help juice up the offense instead he can take Odunze to be his new #1 receiver. Odunze isn’t my favorite receiver ever but he’s big, fast, and productive. Hard to argue with that. He shares some similar qualities with Robert Meachem, a receiver Payton took highly in New Orleans.
13) Las Vegas Raiders - OT JC Latham, Alabama
The third straight team that will be crying for a shiny new QB, yet again I think the team passes on any of the middling options available and just takes a solid player instead. I expect Champ Kelly and Antonio Pierce to be hired as the new GM and Head Coach respectively, likely tomorrow (as I’m writing this it is Wednesday January 17th) and I expect they will give Aidan O’Connell a chance to win the starting job, likely against some form of competition (but not a 1st round QB). Instead they can just take a big, powerful run blocking tackle to further improve their offensive line in the hopes of getting Josh Jacobs back to form and to help protect O’Connell or whoever the starting QB is. I’m not a big Latham fan at this point, but I acknowledge he’s at least polished the way all Alabama linemen are. I want to see his combine numbers, but it wouldn’t shock me if he went 10th to the Jets in the end.
14) New Orleans Saints - OT Amarius Mims, Georgia
The Saints have sold out the last couple of years thinking they were just a player or two away from a Superbowl and it’s gotten them absolutely nowhere. They again have cap issues, very few draft picks from moving up in previous years, and to top it all off they now have the oldest team in the league and several holes opening up all at once. This situation is looking uglier by the day.
By far the Saints biggest needs are on the offensive and defensive lines. They are going to have to bring in multiple players on both sides. I considered giving them Jared Verse here as he fits their typical “prototype” 1st round pick, but Verse is just nowhere close to being worth the 14th overall pick. I think he’ll go somewhere in the 20’s much like fellow Florida St alum Jermaine Johnson. That leaves them with taking the best offensive tackle still on the board. I’m not sold on Mims yet, but a lot of other people seem to like him in this range.
15) Indianapolis Colts - CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa
Indy doesn’t have any super obvious holes but corner is probably near the top of the list. Chris Ballard loves one thing above all others and that is athleticism and physical traits. DeJean has both in spades in addition to insane production. He’s going to test off the charts at 6’1”/205+ and is an excellent fit for Indy’s zone heavy scheme. He should be considered one of the top 2-3 corners, and possibly the best overall, but it’s possible he’ll drop a little for an obvious reason. In the end I do think he’ll get his due. He’s simply too good not to go highly.
16) Seattle Seahawks - OG Graham Barton, Duke
The Seahawks are going to have a brand new coach this year and many fans are excited for a fresh new approach. They are dreaming of a spicy new QB or a weapon at TE or an exciting pass rusher. What then would be the most Seahawks thing to do? Draft a guard of course. Fans always hate this kind of thing because it’s not sexy, but the Seahawks have had a bad offensive line for years and it’s routinely held them back. I could absolutely see John Schneider finally committing resources to fixing the problem.
Barton is a mauler in the run game and while he played tackle at Duke, his lack of length and elite athleticism likely warrant a move inside to guard in the NFL. Think of him like Peter Skoronski last year. It’s a solid, if unspectacular, pick for a solid but unspectacular team.
17) Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Tony Franklin, Oregon
Franklin isn’t getting much respect yet, but I’ll bet his name catches fire when he runs in the 4.3’s at the combine. The guy is a track and field sprint champion and it shows on the field. He’s a bit too linear for my tastes, but there’s no denying he’s dangerous and the defense has to respect him going deep. Reminds me of Jameson Williams coming out.
Jacksonville could go any number of directions, but WR has to be near the top of their list. Calvin Ridley was a disappointment overall and could be leaving and the rest of the corps are just mid-level guys. The argument will be that Lawrence needs a “real” weapon and then he’ll finally be good, no for real this time…Franklin also happens to be just the type of traits-y prospect Trent Baalke likes.
18) Cincinnati Bengals - DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
Newton is being a little overhyped by the media at the moment. He’s not Aaron Donald, not even close. He compares closer to Calijah Kancey in reality and Kancey went 19th overall, so this feels about right.
The Bengals are likely to lose DJ Reader this off-season and the team feels like they need more pass rush help up the middle. Unless a good tackle falls to them (unlikely), I think Cincy will jump at the chance to add Newton.
19) Los Angeles Rams - CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
I love Mitchell and think he and DeJean are the top 2 corners, but we’ll see if the NFL agrees. Mitchell has it all, great size, very athletic, and off the charts production. He’s a can’t-miss prospect to me and just the type of overlooked guy the Rams love to snatch up. They need a lot of help in the secondary.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson
My choice right now for third best cornerback, Wiggins is long, lean, and fast with incredible range. He can be a little lazy at times, probably a product of having been a top prospect since high school, but the talent is undeniable. Pittsburgh is the perfect place to get the best out of him. They need another corner to play opposite of Joey Porter and Wiggins perfectly fits their new profile of big and fast corners.
21) Miami Dolphins - WR Keon Coleman, Florida St
It may look absurd to many to give the Dolphins another WR when that is easily the strongest position on the team, but hear me out. First, teams do this kind of thing all the time. It shouldn’t be a surprise when it happens. If you have one totally unstoppable aspect of your team it can make up for a lot of other flaws. Second, Coleman may be a receiver but he is a very different kind of receiver from what they already have. Where Tyreek and Waddle are diminutive speedsters, Coleman is huge and physical (but still very athletic and explosive). I’m still not totally sold on his professional chances, but I think the NFL is going to love him because of his physical profile. He reminds me of Allen Robinson as a pure athlete but lacks Robinson’s college production. The reason I could see Miami going this route is because the Chiefs exposed a huge problem with the current corps…they are small and can’t get off of jams at the line. Coleman would fix that problem and give Mike McDaniel another toy to torment defenses with.
22) Philadelphia Eagles - EDGE Chris Braswell, Alabama
The “other” Alabama pass rusher. I don’t know that Braswell will go this high, but I think there’s a chance as teams are desperate for pass rushers and this is not a good class overall. Braswell is big and physical, the kind of edge rusher that Belichick or the Ravens would love. Will other teams? Maybe. Edge rusher is going to be high on Howie Roseman’s wish list this draft as he’s got several contracts coming up after the 2024 season and always looks to stock up a year ahead of time to get guys ready.
23) Houston Texans - OT Troy Fautanu, Washington
The Texans have patched a lot of holes over the last two drafts, but they still need to work on their offensive line. Protecting Stroud has to be the most important thing now, and outside of Laremy Tunsil the entire line could use a revamp.
Fautanu isn’t overly athletic but he’s technically sound and polished as a blocker. That sounds exactly like the type of tackle that Nick Caserio loves.
24) Dallas Cowboys - OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma
Somehow it seems like Dallas needs offensive line help every single year in the draft despite consistently having one of the best lines in football. There’s a good chance Tyron Smith will be leaving the team, and they could improve the most by replacing him with a real tackle so that Tyler Smith can stay at guard where he’s a better fit. Guyton is big and a smooth mover at his size. He’s still learning the position and has room to get better as a blocker. He’s not the most polished and ready to go tackle in this draft, but he has one of the higher ceilings.
25) Green Bay Packers - S Kamren Kinchens, Miami
Some people are going to slam this pick for a few reasons. 1) They think safeties are overrated as a position. 2) They see some inconsistent moments from Kinchens on tape, some mental lapses and lackadaisical movement, and assume he’s lazy or not that good. And 3) Assume the Packers have other greater needs than another safety.
My counter to those arguments: 1) The NFL has repeatedly shown that they still value safeties higher than the media and fans. It’s not uncommon for a pair of safeties to come off the board much higher (around 17th to 20th overall) than expected. 2) Yes, Kinchens has some moments that are worth questioning but so did Earl Thomas in college. At the end of the day he’s still a highly athletic, highly instinctual, and highly productive player and he’s going to be drafted highly. And 3) Green Bay in particular has shown over the years that they value safeties higher than most other teams and they definitely need an upgrade/replacement for Darnell Savage. There is a long list of safeties they have drafted in the first and second rounds. Kinchens is exactly the type of athletic, productive player they love to draft. He’s a steal at 25th overall.
26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington
I could see Tampa going for a receiver if they lose Mike Evans, but I could also see them trying (again) to beef up their pass rush with another big-bodied rusher. I don’t like Trice at all and think he’s far too stiff, but he’s relatively highly rated at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a 2nd round pick in April but the NFL loves their edge rushers so I’ll put him here for the time being.
27) Arizona Cardinals - CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama
Right now the media is still trying to make Arnold’s teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry the top overall corner, but he’s not even the best corner on his own team…Arnold is and will be drafted higher, mark my words. Arnold isn’t the greatest overall prospect but he’s respectable. Good size and length, fast, polished, but a little too grabby overall for my tastes. The Cardinals desperately need secondary help to make Jonathan Gannon’s scheme work.
28) Buffalo Bills - LB Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson
Currently no linebacker is consistently projected to go in the 1st round, and the most common name I see is Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper. But much like safety, there’s almost always at least one backer that goes much higher than expected. The Bills very much need a new linebacker. That was their most widely mocked position last year before the Lions sniped Jack Campbell from them. Maybe this year they can rectify that miss.
I’ve watched Edgerrin Cooper a good bit and I don’t get the hype around him at all. I never see him actually do anything productive. Trotter on the other hand is always around the ball and making plays. He’s not perfect, but linebacker is a very difficult position to play consistently these days. There are simply too many things to defend not to get caught out of position on occasion. I can live with some misses for a player that causes as much trouble as Trotter.
29) Detroit Lions - EDGE Demeioun “Chop” Robinson, Penn St
I expect the Lions to continue adding to their defense in 2024. They could really use help in the secondary, but all the best players are off the board here and another way to help the secondary is by harassing the QB. They could use some help opposite of Aidan Hutchinson (since they refuse to use James Houston for some reason). The NFL is going to love Robinson a lot more than I do. He’s a freak athlete (like so many other Penn St edge rushers before him) but I have to wonder why he doesn’t get more sacks if he’s so great. Reminds me of Odafe Oweh who went in this range.
30) Baltimore Ravens - CB Kalen King, Penn St
Some people love King but I don’t see it. He was getting some heat as a top 20 pick at one time but has since fallen down a bit. It’s possible he still sneaks into the first round, but it would have to be a team like the Ravens that doesn’t care about size because King is very small. He could be a nice nickel corner for them, a position they have desperately needed help at.
31) Kansas City Chiefs - DT Byron Murphy, Texas
Literally everyone is going to mock a receiver to the Chiefs in the first round yet again. It makes sense considering how much they have struggled to get the offense going this year. It’s obviously a distinct possibility, but a few things prevent me from doing so here. First, the growth of Rashee Rice and his integration into the offense makes it less likely. He is the future of this offense and I think tonight’s (Sunday the 21st) game against the Bills could make that clear to the mainstream. And second, this is a highly rated class of receivers and they are going to be in demand. Much like the 2022 draft, I’m not sure KC will be in position to grab one of them.
What could they do instead? Defensive line could use some help. Chris Jones is the only real pass rush threat up the middle and there’s no telling how much longer he’ll be with the team. Of the three possible DT’s here (Leonard Taylor, Kris Jenkins, and Byron Murphy), I think Murphy is the most likely to crack the 1st round.
32) San Francisco 49’ers - OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona
If this pick is anything but a tackle the fans might revolt (even coming off a Superbowl win). Would be such a Shanahan move to take a running back or something else stupid here though. I’m actually hoping for that just to see the chaos.
I actually think Morgan could go much higher than this. I absolutely love his tape and how fluid he is at his size. He’s not as physical as Fuaga but he has that same easy movement that’s so necessary in the NFL. I’d take Morgan over Fashanu, Latham, Mims, and Fautanu personally, but others seem to find fault with Morgan. He’s a steal at 32 and locks down the SF right tackle spot until Trent Williams retires at which point he can move over to his natural left tackle spot.