Way Too Early 2024 NFL Mock Draft

Way Too Early 2024 NFL Mock Draft

This article is part of our NFL Draft series.

If you were to tell me that it's too early to do a 2024 NFL mock draft, I would probably laugh and spend half an hour attempting to convince you that it's not. We would both know that I'm lying. But hey, humor me anyways. 

That said, it's still a fascinating exercise. Using the inverse order of the Super Bowl odds from BetMGM, we can begin looking at what players have a chance of securing their spot in the first round of next year's NFL Draft. Whether you're looking to bet on Super Bowl odds or make some college football picks this season, you can sign up for the best betting apps using the top sportsbook promo codes

Let's dive in and see what players should be on your radar for next year's NFL draft in Detroit.

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16

1. Arizona Cardinals: Caleb Williams, QB, USC: 

As of right now, the Arizona Cardinals have the worst odds of winning the Super Bowl following the 2023 NFL season, and for good reason. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah borderline repeatedly buried the Cardinals by saying numerous times that he believes they have the worst roster in football. If they have the No. 1 overall pick, they shouldn't think twice about moving on from Kyler Murray and pressing the reset button with Heisman Trophy-winning Caleb Williams at quarterback. 

2. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans): Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

During this year's NFL Draft, the Houston Texans gave up the farm to trade for the Cardinals' third overall pick to take Alabama linebacker Will Anderson. In doing so, they gave up their 2024 1st. Based on the state of their roster, that was a bold choice. In this scenario, since we aren't mocking any trades, Arizona has the first two picks and drafts an elite wide receiver option in Marvin Harrison Jr., son of the Hall of Fame receiver with the same name. 

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Don't get it twisted – Drake Maye is a certified stud. In his first full season at quarterback for UNC, Maye threw for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. He has a prototypical QB build at 6'4" 220 lbs, has a cannon for an arm, has great toughness, and is a true dual-three quarterback as evidence by his 698 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground last season. He's a beast, and I'd bet he's a Heisman finalist this year. 

4. Indianapolis Colts: Olu Fashanu, LT, Penn State

Speaking of beasts, this scenario has the Colts drafting fourth overall for the second straight year and landing a hyper-athletic offensive tackle that has a higher ceiling than any offensive lineman drafted in 2023. Olu Fashanu, all 6'6" 321 lbs of him, is light on his feet, has incredible grip strength, and has plenty of speed and length. In 520 snaps in 2022, Fashanu did not allow a single sack. This is the "protect Anthony Richardson at all costs" pick.

5. Tennessee Titans: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

The Titans are one of the more fascinating teams in 2023. If they land in the top-5 and don't feel that they have their answer at quarterback, they could easily make that their focus with this pick, or in a potential trade-up (with the Cardinals, for instance). For now, I'll give head coach Mike Vrabel a dominant pass rusher in Dallas Turner, who will pick up the mantle that was left behind by Anderson going pro.

6. Washington Commanders: Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas

If the Commanders are picking this high, it means the Sam Howell expirement was a failure. There's no chance they would pass on Quinn Ewers if given the chance – assuming Ewers and his naturally gifted arm can take strides forward in his decision making in 2023. 

7. Los Angeles Rams: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The Rams have a lot of needs, but in 2022, they ranked 31st in quarterback sack percentage, allowing their quarterback to get sacked on 10% of all drop backs. Offensive line should be a major point of focus for this squad, and getting a long, tall offensive lineman in Joe Alt (6'7" 317) lbs to compliment the 2023 draft selection of IOL Steve Avila would be a smart choice as the team might begin looking towards life after Matthew Stafford.  

8. Las Vegas Raiders: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

What a name. Refreshing, even. Kool-Aid McKinstry is everything you want in a modern corner – he's long, he's fast, he's fluid, and he possesses great ball skills as evidenced by the 16 passes defended that he posted last year. It's entirely possible, if not likely, that opposing offenses will be staying away from him this fall, and considering the Raiders gave up the third-highest completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks in 2022, this fit would make too much sense. 

9. Atlanta Falcons: Maason Smith, DL, LSU

Maason Smith was expected to be a major name to watch throughout the 2022 season before tearing his ACL celebrating a defensive play on literally the first defensive drive of the year for LSU. Now entering his junior season, the expectations for Smith are to return to dominant form. The Falcons could land a cog on their interior defensive line.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State

A lot can change over the course of a year, but as of now, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, and James Pierre, all Steelers cornerbacks, are slated to be unrestricted free agents after the 2023 season. After adding Joey Porter Jr. in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers could go back to the secondary with Patrick Peterson getting long in the tooth and only being under contract through 2024. This might feel high for Burke, but I believe he can take a major step forward this season.

11. New York Giants: J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State

The Giants are going to be looking to continue to boost their pass rush in a major way, considering they ranked 21st last year in sack percentage and only got 4.5 sacks out of the defensive end position in 2022. J.T. Tuimoloau registered 27 pressures last year, and is on his way to a major breakout if he can convert more of those into sacks this season.

12. New England Patriots: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Brock Bowers is the next one up in the line of ridiculous tight end prospects to be hitting the league in recent years. Bowers is a bit slight at 6'4" 230 lbs, but his ball skills are unmatched in this class. He broke out as a true freshman in 2021 with 882 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. The way Bill Belichick has gone after tight ends in recent years, I have a hard time believing that he would pass on Bowers if given the chance. 

13. Minnesota Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

I don't think there are quarterbacks in a better position to make a leap up draft boards this season than J.J. McCarthy, the Michigan quarterback that won the starting job last season. McCarthy is on the light side for his height at 6'3" 197 lbs, but his running ability and accuracy are calling cards that give him a good foundation to grow into. McCarthy had a 22/5 TD:INT ratio in 2022 and could skyrocket with a solid 2023 season in Ann Arbor.

14. Green Bay Packers: Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

The Packers were downright awful against the run in 2022 – they ranked 28th in opponents yards per carry at 5.0 – and they didn't do much to address it this offseason. They used their first round pick on DE Lukas Van Ness, then went all offense in an attempt to support Jordan Love in the post-Aaron Rodgers era. Jer'Zhan Newton is an athletic 3-technique that's solid in stopping the run. 

15. Chicago Bears: Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State

"I promise I'm not even a little bit biased," I say, while drinking from my water bottle that's covered in Chicago Bears stickers. After the 2023 season, the Bears will only have D.J. Moore, Velus Jones, and recently-drafted Tyler Scott under contract at wide receiver. Justin Fields will need a lot more than that. Go out and get him his former Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka, an explosive wide receiver that was the No. 1 recruit in the country out of high school. This move would be all gas, no brakes for Ryan Poles and the Bears. 

16. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers): Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

In trading down from the first overall pick in the 2023 draft, the Bears acquired the 2024 1st for the Panthers. Based on the current Super Bowl odds, it would land Chicago with back-to-back picks in the middle of the first round. This mock sees an incredibly athletic and productive edge rusher tumble a bit in Jared Verse, and he would be locked in at a direct position of need for Chicago. The Florida State edge compiled nine sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss last season. 

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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32

17. Seattle Seahawks: Leonard Taylor, DT, Miami

Seattle looks to be recreating a version of the Legion of Boom from ten years ago (how has it been ten years...) by adding cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth overall pick to complement last year's draft gem Tariq Woolen in the secondary. Next, they need to fix their interior defensive line to free up their linebackers to flow aggressively. Leonard Taylor can creat penetration on the interior and has untapped potential. Being more consistent at his ceiling this year will have him slotted in as a first-round prospect next year.

18. New Orleans Saints: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

The Saints brought in Derek Carr to throw passes to their standout second-year wide receiver Chris Olave, signed running back Jamaal Williams in free agency, and drafted running back Kendre Miller in the third round this year. Next year seems like the year that the Saints will look to add to their receiving corps, considering Michael Thomas hasn't been able to stay on the field over the lats few years. Rome Odunze out of Washington gives them a big-bodied boundary wide receiver to complement the smaller, speedier Olave. 

19. Denver Broncos: Donovan Jackson, G, Ohio State

Donovan Jackson might just be the best interior offensive lineman in the country if he increases his consistency this year in Columbus. Jackson has absurd reach and leverage for an interior offensive lineman, and is strong with his hands. He could make a leap into a dominant force in 2023 and secure his position in the first round. 

20. Miami Dolphins: Bralen Trice, DE, Washington

If you want a defensive end that can get to the quarterback (and what team doesn't), then Bralen Trice out of Washington is for you. Trice has plenty of bend, athleticism, and flexibility, and he led the country last season in total pressures at 67. He would rotate in on the Miami defensive line and help boost their ability to get after all the young stud quarterbacks in the AFC. 

21. Los Angeles Chargers: TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

It seems as though the Austin Ekeler days are coming to an end for the Chargers, with reports of contract unhappiness bubbling up this offseason. The Chargers added a first-round wide receiver to support Justin Herbert this year, and could look to secure one of, if not the, top running backs in next year's class. TreVeyon Henderson has a prototypical NFL running back build at 5'10" 214 lbs, is a three-down back, and has elite athleticism. Running backs do matter, and Henderson should continue the trend of first round running backs that we've seen in recent years. 

22. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Houston gave their own first round pick to the Arizona Cardinals as previously discussed, but they have the first round pick of the Cleveland Browns from the Deshaun Watson trade. Having selected CJ Stroud with their second overall pick, Houston uses this pick to support their young quarterback with a dynamic playmaker. Xavier Worthy has a slim build that will certainly scare off some teams, but he is poised for a massive junior season in a Texas offense that is expected to be one of the better units in the country. 

23. Jacksonville Jaguars: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Jacksonville shockingly doesn't have many needs, but the biggest glaring hole on their roster is at pass rush. Their offense took massive steps forward in 2022, their line play is good, their secondary is solid enough, but their pass rush generated the fourth-lowest sack percentage in the league last year. Laiatu Latu is coming off a 2022 season that saw him rack up 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Another season with similar or better production, and Latu can land in the first round in 2024.

24. Detroit Lions: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State 

Demeioun "Chop" Robinson is another promising pass rusher from the Big 10, but he needs to continue to reach his ceiling entering his third season of play. He's a super athletic edge that will gain buzz because of his traits, and he led all of FBS in 2022 with a 12.1% pass rush win rate.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The long-lasting saga of the Lamar Jackson contract situation is finally behind us. In this situation, one of the best wide receivers in the country, Malik Nabers, falls into their laps at 25th overall. Nabers had a great 2022 season with 1,017 receiving yards, but found the end zone only three times. He finished last season with back-to-back dominant performances against Georgia and Purdue, totaling 291 yards and two touchdowns in those games. He's a major breakout candidate in 2023. 

26. Dallas Cowboys: Raheim Sanders, RB, Arkansas

If you tell me that Jerry Jones has the opportunity to take a big, powerful running back that also happens to be from his alma mater of Arkansas, there's no chance that he wouldn't call that pick in. Raheim Sanders was a dominant force last year, compiling 1,442 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Sanders rumbles at 6'2" 227 pounds, and he would give the Dallas offense some thunder that it has lacked in recent years. 

27. Green Bay Packers (via New York Jets): Calen Bullock, S, USC 

We're assuming that this conditional pick, which goes to the Packers in the Aaron Rodgers trade if Rodgers plays over 65% of the offensive snaps for the Jets in 2023, will indeed happen if the pick is this late. Green Bay, who added a dominant defensive tackle with their earlier pick, would fill out a need in their secondary with safety Calen Bullock stepping in to replace the likes of Darnell Savage. 

28. San Francisco 49ers: Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State

San Francisco has arguably the best defense in the NFL and will be entering Brock Purdy's surprising second year at quarterback in 2023, but they still have glaring needs on the interior of their offensive line. Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford haven't exactly been a bright spot. Cooper Beebe out of Kansas State has size and would solidify their line tremendously – he gave up only one pressure across 418 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.

29. Cincinnati Bengals: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

The Bengals went out and made a splash in free agency by signing Orlando Brown to give Joe Burrow a top-tier offensive tackle. In 2024, Cincinnati would double down by using this pick on another massive offensive tackle – Suamataia stands at 6'6" 325 lbs, and would go a long ways to giving Burrow time to operate and get the ball to his stud wide receivers. 

30. Buffalo Bills: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Buffalo will have the opportunity to add strength on strength with almost any position they go after, but corner could be a need in the draft depending on how free agency goes next offseason. CB Dane Jackson has been sub-par in coverage and is a pending free agent. Cooper DeJean out of Iowa would give Buffalo another playmaking threat with great athleticism and instincts. 

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson

The Eagles could very well be in position to make a legacy draft pick in taking the son of Jeremiah Trotter, the longtime middle linebacker for the Eagles through the early 2000s. Like his dad, Jeremiah Trotter Jr. plays linebacker, and could be an option in the heart of the Eagles defense. Junior logged 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and two interceptions last year at Clemson, and his athleticism and instincts show up as a pro-ready linebacker.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jack Sawyer, OLB, Ohio State

Ohio State is going to have a lot of top-end talent in the 2024 NFL Draft, and Jack Sawyer is well deserving of being on that list. Like Tuimoloau listed earlier, Sawyer is a strong and versatile pass rusher capable of getting after the quarterback from a variety of positions. Kansas City doesn't have many needs, so they may as well throw another pass rusher into their mix to rotate in and keep legs fresh. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Helmkamp
Jon Helmkamp writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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