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2024 NFL mock draft ... with a twist! What every team SHOULD do in Round 1

I know, I know ... They'll let anyone do a mock draft these days. In truth, though, when it comes to this particular exercise, this isn't my first rodeo.

If you're new here, first, let me say, "Welcome!" More importantly, THIS ISN'T A PREDICTIVE MOCK. I don't play that unwinnable game. No disrespect to DJ, Bucky, Chad or any of my other esteemed colleagues -- it's just not my bag. Instead, what I do, as a resident know-it-all, is offer recommendations to organizations. Similar to those consultants in Office Space. Like back in April of 2022, when I told Jacksonville to take Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick. The Jaguars should've listened. Then again, in that same file, I advised spending the sixth overall pick on Malik Willis. So it's not like I'm batting 1.000.

And it's not like you're even still reading this intro; instead, you're already roasting me for the suggested picks below. So, let's just get started.

Chicago Bears
(via CAR)
Caleb Williams
USC · QB · Junior

Love what you're doing, Bears. I'm a fan. You went out and got a pair of proven playmakers in WR Keenan Allen and RB D'Andre Swift. And while I wish you would have provided similar support for Justin Fields, I'm not going to be like a lot of Bears Twitter and continue dwelling on a QB debate that is already over. I understand the reasoning behind your decision -- the allure of a rookie contract at the game's most important/expensive position is just too great to pass up -- so go grab the guy who's been the presumptive No. 1 pick in this draft for literal years. I don't care about the color of his phone. Dude can ball. It's a slam dunk.

But I swear, if you got rid of Justin Fields for smaller Justin Fields (Jayden Daniels), I'm out. I'll start a Rams podcast. I'm dead serious.

That's not gonna happen, though. Caleb is the choice. Ryan Poles was the director of college scouting in Kansas City when the Chiefs took Patrick Mahomes. Now the Bears general manager, Poles is poised to reverse the QB curse in Chicago.

Jayden Daniels
LSU · QB · Senior

Daniels should be the second player off the board. That's why I have him listed here. But I'm telling you, Commanders, you are not a quarterback away from seriously competing. You could be next year -- if you were to take multiple first-round picks from the Vikings in exchange for this selection. Or if the Broncos/Raiders were willing to give you a haul like the Panthers shelled out for the right to take Bryce Young one year ago. I know you saw the Texans take a quarterback at No. 2 overall last year, surge to the top of the division and win a playoff game. Now you think that's in the cards for you in 2024, huh? Well, I just don't see it like that.

However, I feel like there is no way of talking you out of sticking and picking a quarterback. So, yes, go with Daniels.

Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State · WR · Junior

You're in even worse shape than the Commanders, despite picking behind them. Don't reach for the quarterback here. I know you did pretty well with a Michigan man under center in the past, but that kind of thing never works a second time. Did you not even see Independence Day: Resurgence? Do NOT double down. Trade this pick if you can. Get the haul before the Cardinals do. If not, you can take Marvin Harrison Jr. And hey, given how many fits his father gave you, this could provide some catharsis.

Malik Nabers
LSU · WR · Junior

Again, if the Vikings, Broncos, Raiders, etc. are calling, answer the phone. A robust offer for this one pick could boost your draft currency for years to come. But if you ultimately stay put, you need to get a big-time playmaker for Kyler Murray. Marvin Harrison Jr. is an obvious choice if the Patriots go quarterback. And they very well might -- just not in this simulation. That said, my second receiver, Nabers, is a fantastic consolation prize. It's like ordering fries at Portillo's and they mistakenly give you the onion rings. That's a win.

Taliese Fuaga
Oregon State · OT · Senior

You probably don't want to go into the season with Quentin Johnston or Josh Palmer as your top receiver. But there is a lot of depth at that position in this draft class; you can use Pick No. 37 to address that need. And if you want to make Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman really happy, you build that offensive line. There are other ballyhooed linemen in this prospect crop, such as Notre Dame LT Joe Alt, who is probably the more familiar name to many of your fans. But Fuaga has played right tackle, which is exactly what the Chargers need, with Rashawn Slater already manning the blind side.

Joe Alt
Notre Dame · OT · Junior

You need a receiver. That's for sure. I wouldn't argue if you scooped one up here, especially with Rome Odunze still on the board. But look at the recent rise of the Lions, who built through the trenches. Remember back in 2021, when they took Penei Sewell in the top 10 and then addressed the receiver position later with Amon-Ra St. Brown? You could do a similar thing here, going with Alt and then using pick No. 47 on a wideout.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu
Penn State · OT · Junior (RS)

I'm assuming you still view Will Levis as your guy (shrug emoji). You gave Calvin Ridley the bag, though that doesn't necessarily preclude you from adding another receiver. Honestly, you can never have enough quality WRs in today's NFL. But again, there will be intriguing wideouts available later in this draft. Nabbing a difference maker like Fashanu to man the blind side would be a very positive step in the rebuild.

Dallas Turner
Alabama · Edge · Junior

Listen, Falcons: You have the chance to do one of the funniest things of all time right here and draft Brock Bowers. The fantasy dorks (like me) will cry for days if you do it. Honestly, I kind of want to see it.

Then again, we all know the problem you continue to encounter on an annual basis: You can't get to the quarterback. And since you already fortified the offense with Kirk Cousins, Rondale Moore and my guy Darnell Mooney, maybe address the defense here. The offense got a top-10 pick in each of the last three drafts -- time to share the wealth with the other side of the ball.

I mean, I'll always go for the laugh. But no, I want you to take Turner here.

Rome Odunze
Washington · WR · Senior

I know you're going to trade down for more picks. Or maybe even take an edge rusher to keep Matt Eberflus happy. However, as a totally rational Bears fan, I don't expect you to draft in the top 10 for the next decade, so you should really take advantage of picking this high one last time. Go ahead and throw one more pick at the offense to support Caleb. Odunze also gives you insurance if Keenan Allen walks next offseason. Too easy.

I also heard somebody talking about trading down and eventually just taking LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr. OK, I kind of dig that idea, if you can get somebody to bite. Maybe even convince the Jets to give you an extra pick to move up one spot. You know they are going to be super desperate -- hahahahahahaha.

Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU · WR · Junior

Hey, Jets: I was just kidding above. You guys are in a great shape. I know you could use an influx of talent at offensive tackle, especially in the long view. Morgan Moses and Tyron Smith aren't exactly spring chickens. That said, I think you actually need more help at receiver. Garrett Wilson is my dude. But Mike Williams is coming off a significant injury, while Allen Lazard is ... fine. I could see an argument for tight end Brock Bowers, but with a playoffs-or-bust season looming, I'd go wideout.

J.J. McCarthy
Michigan · QB · Junior

Listen Vikings, I wouldn't trade up for a quarterback. There is a good chance someone falls. I don't see QBs coming off the board with the first four picks. It's never happened before and won't happen now. In this scenario, you have your choice between Drake Maye and McCarthy. I don't know, but if seems like McCarthy is the most Vikings-like quarterback in this draft.

Drake Maye
North Carolina · QB · Sophomore (RS)

Hear me out, Broncos: You are not a quarterback away from competing. I would strongly suggest going another route -- maybe trading back, maybe taking Brock Bowers. I legit don't know. I just feel like you're going to take a quarterback because the only guys on the current depth chart are Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci. Starting the season with those two at QB would make you the most unserious franchise in football. I mean, you could sign Ryan Tannehill, but that's only if you want Brandon Perna to make a million dollars from his YouTube channel.

OK, I guess you should get your quarterback if he falls here after all. But man, you need so much help.

Brock Bowers
Georgia · TE · Junior

You might be tempted to go quarterback here. I get it. But I also believe you can get by with Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew. Hell, Minshew nearly led the Colts to the playoffs last season.

Cornerback is another position you could target, and the offensive line needs help. But I love Bowers in this spot as a top-10 talent going to a team that could use more playmakers. New Raiders OC Luke Getsy liked to use "12" personnel with the Bears last year; combining Bowers with Michael Mayer would be straight up fire, like Gordon Ramsay cooking something up in Hell's Kitchen.

Troy Fautanu
Washington · OT · Senior

What are we doing here, New Orleans? It seems like this team needs a lot of work, but you're not a complete disaster. 2022 first-round OT Trevor Penning has not been great, so it might be time to readdress the blind side with a stellar athlete like Fautanu. Maybe Penning can swing over to right tackle if Ryan Ramczyk's body continues to fail him. But protecting Derek Carr needs to be the priority here.

Adonai Mitchell
Texas · WR · Junior

Brock Bowers or Brian Thomas Jr. would make a lot of sense here for you guys if either one of them falls to you, but that's not the case here. You kept Michael Pittman Jr., which was great, but you still need more juice in the passing game. People think you could go corner here, and there are a couple of good ones on the board. But you gave a bunch of young CBs burn last season, and they could take a step forward in 2024.

So I'm going to pivot to Mitchell. I love the idea of adding a big, athletic, contested-catch specialist to help Anthony Richardson develop in Year 2. Is it a reach? Maybe? Will that matter when you're putting points on the board? Absolutely not.

Jared Verse
Florida State · Edge · Senior

Choose wisely, Seahawks. You next pick doesn't come until Pick No. 81. You folks could use an offensive lineman, sure, but if you get a chance to land a top-10 talent like Verse in this spot, I don't see how you pass that up. I mean, I could see it, but I wouldn't advise it.

Terrion Arnold
Alabama · CB · Sophomore (RS)

What a gift this would be if Arnold were to fall all the way down here. Like when Tony Khan was able to sign Will Ospreay, Okada and Mercedes Moné. You guys have talked all offseason about improving your cornerback room. This would be a great step in that process. Don't trip about his combine 40 time, either. Watch the film. This is the top cornerback available.

Byron Murphy II
Texas · DT · Junior

Hey y'all -- can we try to keep Joe Burrow healthy this year? That'd be great. Unfortunately, four OTs already came off the board. And I guess you did sign Trent Brown to fill the RT spot. So in this hypothetical world, you take Murphy to help replace free-agent departure D.J. Reader.

Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · CB · Senior

Oh, snap -- you need a defensive tackle to replace Aaron Donald, huh? Only one problem: You can't replace Aaron Donald. And in this simulation, Cincy just snatched up the top DT, Byron Murphy II. How about something in the back end of the defense? The Rams revamped the secondary with a series of savvy free-agent signings (Tre'Davious White, Darious Williams and Kamren Curl), but they've never shied away from taking the best player available. I mean, their defensive line was pretty stacked when they picked Donald. I don't think they could pass up Mitchell at this point in Round 1.

Jackson Powers-Johnson
Oregon · C · Junior

When pondering teams that could take a center in the first round, the Steelers top the list. I mean, that would be so on brand for you, Pittsburgh. Not to mention, Justin Fields always suffered in Chicago because there was a turnstile at the pivot. Get this right, and my guy Justin can be great for you. I really feel that.

Graham Barton
Duke · IOL · Senior

You guys lost Christian Wilkins, and then -- like a jilted lover going on a shopping spree -- you ended up signing like 30 defensive tackles. You actually did a nice job of filling holes in free agency, so no need is extremely pressing. Some enticing tackles remain available, but I'd opt for Barton, who can play inside and perhaps be an immediate starter.

Cooper DeJean
Iowa · CB · Junior

Graham Barton would have been a great choice for you, considering Cam Jurgens could kick over to play center. But no dice. Looking at the defensive side of the ball, you could stand to get younger at cornerback. DeJean is an athletic, versatile, playmaking cover man.

Minnesota Vikings
(via CLE through HOU)
Laiatu Latu
UCLA · Edge · Senior

This is assuming you still have this pick, Vikings. I know you could package this with No. 11 to move up for a quarterback, but I’m still confident you can stick on your first pick to get your signal-caller. And as a bonus, I see teams being a bit hesitant about Latu because of his medical history, so you get him at great value here. Latu might be risky for those picking in the top 10, but with this being your second first-round pick, I say you take a swing at the technically refined QB hunter.

JC Latham
Alabama · OT · Junior

I'll hand it to you, Cowboys. You do a really nice job of drafting. Especially linemen. I know you need a receiver to complement CeeDee Lamb, but go for the offensive tackle in Round 1. Latham is way too good to pass up at this point. You need to make this pick if available. Then you can address WR on Day 2.

Amarius Mims
Georgia · OT · Junior

Quarterback is the most obvious need here. Reset the quarterback clock, as they say, because it feels like you peaked last year.

Just kidding. You're in great position, Packer Backers. You have 11 picks and no obvious needs. No older players, either, because even though you have a franchise steeped in tradition, you have no sentimental value for anybody. (Bitter Bears fan speaking? Maybe.) I'd go with Mims here because he offers truly rare tools. He could eventually develop into a force in this league, and you have time to let that happen.

Chop Robinson
Penn State · Edge · Junior

I was about to say WR Xavier Worthy should be the pick here, but upon further thought, Trey Palmer showed enough in his rookie season to continuing playing the burner role. And with Shaq Barrett gone, you need to find somebody who can rush the quarterback. I'd be happy if you landed Robinson in this spot.

Arizona Cardinals
(via HOU)
Jer'Zhan Newton
Illinois · DT · Senior

You all have plenty of roster needs in Arizona. After supplying the offense with playmaking extraordinaire Malik Nabers at No. 4, I'd like to give the defense a game-wrecker up front. Newton's good value at this juncture.

Xavier Worthy
Texas · WR · Junior

Receiver's a glaring need in the wake of the Stefon Diggs trade. I would even flirt with the idea of climbing into the top 10 to try to draft one of the Big Three prospects at the position. I don't know if you have enough draft currency to do that -- because it'd be a huge climb -- but Worthy wouldn't be a bad fallback option. I don't believe he'll be a true WR1 in the NFL, but he can certainly run and would pair nicely with Josh Allen's cannon arm.

Ennis Rakestraw Jr.
Missouri · CB · Junior (RS)

You are a really good football team, but the defense has room for improvement. Aidan Hutchinson could use some help up front, but the top four edge rushers and top two defensive tackles are all gone. Regardless, Aaron Glenn's unit could certainly use a physical corner like Rakestraw, especially after the sudden release of Cameron Sutton.

Nate Wiggins
Clemson · CB · Junior

Offensive line could be a need here, especially on the interior, but I'm not sure the value lines up here. You'd do well to continue building around Kyle Hamilton out there in the secondary. This tall, rangy corner with exceptional speed would be a great addition.

Tyler Guyton
Oklahoma · OT · Junior (RS)

Last season, Colton McKivitz gave up nine sacks -- tied for fourth-most in the NFL, per PFF. He's the reason you lost the Super Bowl. All right, he's not. But it wouldn't hurt to look for an upgrade at right tackle. Not to mention, the left side of your line is getting up there in age, too. It's worth making this move for a developmental athlete with high upside.

Ladd McConkey
Georgia · WR · Junior (RS)

You should probably dump this pick to some team trying to trade up for quarterback Michael Penix Jr. But that team is probably the rival Raiders, so maybe you don't do that? However, if it's another team (like the Saints), maybe you can make that happen. If not, take this inside/outside stud from Georgia. Too many teams -- and fan bases -- are way too comfortable saying that you wait and take McConkey in the second round. But the Chiefs aren't scheduled to pick again until No. 64. And I don't believe Ladd will last nearly as long as some folks predict.

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