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Mock Draft

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Eric Edholm 2024 NFL mock draft 2.0: J.J. McCarthy to Commanders; Cowboys target Brian Thomas Jr.

In my mind, Mock Draft 2.0 -- still almost a month away from the 2024 NFL Draft -- should be used to shoot your shot.

Take a few risks. Project some trades. Have a little fun, will ya?

So that's what I tried to do. Most of these trade projections come from what I think could possibly happen, not from specific reports or things I've heard directly from insiders. But there's often more activity in Round 1 than people anticipate, so I pulled the trigger on a bunch of deals to shake things up.

I might be a little more traditional with my final mock in April. But this one is all about the sizzle.

Check out NFL+ for coverage of Big 12 Pro Day at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, March 29.

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

This is starting to feel close to locked in. Taking Williams to dinner was just the first step, but also bringing him to Halas Hall for a visit is sort of the "meet the parents" phase of draft dating. They're getting serious, folks. At this point, hearing anyone else's name but Williams' in this spot would be a surprise to me and a lot of other folks.

J.J. McCarthy
Michigan · QB · Junior

A week ago, I went on DC radio and relayed how people around the league (not affiliated with the Commanders) thought Jayden Daniels might have a better shot of being the second pick than Drake Maye. Now I am pivoting again. The groundswell of McCarthy-to-Washington rumors has only grown in recent days. It won't surprise me if J.J. ends up being the culture changer GM Adam Peters is seeking.

Jayden Daniels
LSU · QB · Senior

Jerod Mayo commenting on Drake Maye being talented but raw at the Annual League Meeting's coaches breakfast might be the ultimate red herring. But for now, I am going with Daniels, who can give the Patriots a solid floor with his running and deep-ball passing abilities. Plus, he appears to be a charismatic leader who can weather a rebuild.

Drake Maye
North Carolina · QB · Sophomore (RS)


Adding a second first-rounder via trade was key for the Vikings, providing Minnesota with the currency to entice an Arizona team that is very much open for business, given that Monti Ossenfort and Co. have several needs to fill. The Vikes can still upgrade the offensive line, defense and wide receiver later in the draft, but in Round 1, they pounce on Maye, who might have the most upside of the entire QB bunch.

Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State · WR · Junior

Jim Harbaugh was forced to slash his receiver room for salary-cap reasons. Now he adds the draft's best all-around weapon, even if it means using his first pick on a Buckeye. Harbaugh was Marvin Harrison Sr.'s QB during the Hall of Fame wideout's first two seasons in Indianapolis, so the connection runs deep. And Justin Herbert has a No. 1 target again.

Malik Nabers
LSU · WR · Junior

I think a quarterback trade-up is possible; the Giants haven't exactly hidden their interest in the position, and now the owner has signed off on the idea. But they can also round out the receiver room with what it really needs: a big-play threat to bring it all together. Nabers is the best YAC weapon in the class and could pair well with Wan'Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Darren Waller (possibly) and the rest of Big Blue's pass-catching group.

Joe Alt
Notre Dame · OT · Junior

Tennessee went out in free agency and got young QB Will Levis a new go-to receiver (Calvin Ridley), a new center (Lloyd Cushenberry III) and a new running back (Tony Pollard). But the Titans still need better insulation up front. Alt and 2023 first-round pick Peter Skoronski could form a terrific duo up front, with the Notre Dame product patching a left tackle spot that was a turnstile last season.

Rome Odunze
Washington · WR · Senior


A year ago, GM Monti Ossenfort moved from No. 3 overall down to 12, then back up to 6 to acquire a much-needed bookend blocker (Paris Johnson Jr.). In this simulation, he pulls off a similar trick to target another big need: wide receiver. Jumping ahead of the Bears is the key here. Kyler Murray gets a promising WR1 candidate in Odunze, whom Daniel Jeremiah has compared to Larry Fitzgerald.

Jared Verse
Florida State · Edge · Senior

Why Verse over Dallas Turner? Just a gut feeling here, but GM Ryan Poles appears to like bulk and edge-setting ability in his pass rushers. Either would be a fine choice, but we'll pencil in Verse, whose effort and speed/power combination could comprise a nice bookend set with Montez Sweat.

Brock Bowers
Georgia · TE · Junior

GM Joe Douglas had a throwaway line the other day about the Jets having fixed the offensive line, and while I don't think he meant that as a finality, I also won't be shocked if they don't take one here after adding three OL vets in free agency. New York might not need a tight end (who might be a juiced-up version of Jeremy Ruckert), but Bowers strikes me as a Douglas kind of guy, one who could give Aaron Rodgers some intriguing 12-personnel possibilities.

Dallas Turner
Alabama · Edge · Junior


If Terry Fontenot can slide down and still grab either Turner or Jared Verse to rev up the pass rush, it will be a big win. The Falcons have come out like gangbusters this offseason, adding serious firepower to the offensive personnel, but now it's time for that defense to address its biggest need on the edge.

Bo Nix
Oregon · QB · Senior

It really will be interesting to see if it goes this way. Can the Broncos avoid a costly trade-up and still land a quarterback? Yes. But can Nix be the QB who can elevate Sean Payton's team? I'm less sure about that. But what other options are there at this point? I'd feel much better if Denver could move down and still get Nix.

Taliese Fuaga
Oregon State · OT · Senior

I think a quarterback is possible, either trading up for Jayden Daniels or maybe sticking and picking (if not trading down before taking) Michael Penix Jr. That said, addressing the offensive line remains a paramount need for Vegas. Both right guard and right tackle appear up for grabs, and the massive Fuaga could shore up the latter spot as a rookie.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu
Penn State · OT · Junior (RS)

The health status on Ryan Ramczyk doesn't sound great, and 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning hasn't panned out yet, so the Saints likely need a starting-caliber talent to play tackle. I'm a little worried about Fashanu's run blocking, but he's a facile pass protector who is just starting to reach his athletic peak.

Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · CB · Senior

The Colts could use another corner, and Mitchell's traits should prevent him from escaping the top 20. JuJu Brents likely will lock up one outside CB job, and Kenny Moore II will continue to man the nickel after re-signing on a three-year, $30 million deal. But Indianapolis still needs more help at the position in a division loaded with young QB talent.

Troy Fautanu
Washington · OL · Senior

Not just a geography pick; Fautanu would address a Seahawks need. Perhaps the Washington product would slide back out to tackle eventually, but he'd be a Day 1 starter at guard, which is suddenly a little thin in Seattle. It would be a nice development for new OC Ryan Grubb, who came over from UW. 

Terrion Arnold
Alabama · CB · Sophomore (RS)

Arnold's pro-day workout, which reportedly included a scalding three-cone time in the 6.6s, had to put NFL scouts more at ease with his projection. The Alabama cover man falls just below the ideal size benchmarks for the position, but I think he has all the goods to be a fine replacement for free-agent departure Darious Williams.

Byron Murphy II
Texas · DT · Junior

I thought long and hard here about an offensive tackle (even with Trent Brown in tow), but the DT class is much thinner -- and Murphy is one of the 15 best prospects in this class, I believe. Much like last year's selection of DE Myles Murphy (no relation), the Bengals could take his DT namesake with both the short and long term in mind.

Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU · WR · Junior


The Cowboys don't have a ton of extra picks laying around, but I could see them being aggressive with Thomas surprisingly still on the board at this juncture. Dallas really needs to add pass-catching threats and might have to trade up to ensure landing one like this LSU product. He's an explosive talent who can help shield CeeDee Lamb from seeing so many tricked-up coverages.

Jackson Powers-Johnson
Oregon · OL · Junior

Did Mike Tomlin tip his hand on the Steelers' plans here when he casually mentioned the lack of depth at center? This certainly feels like one of the more natural connections in Round 1, especially after Tomlin had a front-row seat for JPJ at the Senior Bowl.

JC Latham
Alabama · OT · Junior

The Dolphins' starting tackles appear set, although depth is needed. They also could cross-train Latham at guard and have him take over at tackle down the road. He's a worthy prospect in this spot and good value for Miami's first first-rounder since Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips in 2021.

Nate Wiggins
Clemson · CB · Junior

Philadelphia needs corners, and Wiggins checks off all the athletic numbers you'd want at the position, even if his lean frame (173 pounds) is a concern. Still, the Eagles have gambled on high-end talents in unusual frames before, with recent first-rounders DeVonta Smith and Jordan Davis on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Arizona Cardinals
(via CLE through HOU)
Cooper DeJean
Iowa · CB · Junior


The second first-rounder Arizona would receive in my mock trade from above could be used on defensive help. Jonathan Gannon would love to add a multi-use piece in the secondary such as DeJean, who also could give the punt-return unit some juice. DeJean's season-ending injury means he won't work out until April 15, which leaves his projection a bit unclear right now.

Laiatu Latu
UCLA · Edge · Senior


In lieu of trying to replace Aaron Donald, which isn't possible, the Rams might look to address the pass-rush unit in other ways. Latu's injury history is worrisome for a Round 1 pick, but his effort and technical savvy could make him a great value if he stays on the field.

Graham Barton
Duke · OL · Senior

The Packers have a history of seeking versatility in their OL draft picks, especially those who have played tackle in college. Barton primarily manned left tackle at Duke, but he projects to center (where he played almost 500 snaps as a college freshman) or guard in the NFL. He fits a similar athletic profile to the departed Jon Runyan but with a higher ceiling as a player.

Chop Robinson
Penn State · Edge · Junior

The loss of Shaq Barrett opens a hole at pass rusher, and Robinson could jump right into the mix with Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and YaYa Diaby to create some great third-down potential. The Bucs also ask their ends to work from a two-point stance and drop into coverage; Chop has the athleticism to do that.

Amarius Mims
Georgia · OT · Junior


The Commanders have two early second-round picks that they could use to move up for one of two big needs: pass-rush talent or an offensive tackle. In this exercise, they give new quarterback J.J. McCarthy some blocking help up front with Mims, who remains raw but could be an elite tackle in time. Washington is building gradually.

Adonai Mitchell
Texas · WR · Junior

The Bills could use one more weapon outside after losing Gabe Davis, and they have to start planning for life after Stefon Diggs. Mitchell has length, toughness and vertical ability to be a perfect splash player in Year 1 and a standout down the road.

Xavier Worthy
Texas · WR · Junior


If the Panthers are willing to fork over a fourth-rounder (which Detroit currently lacks) to move up from early in Round 2, they could snag the draft's best speedball in this range. Worthy would add some life to the team's pass-catching unit, giving Bryce Young a Jaylen Waddle type of talent. Carolina needs weapons and might be itchy to move up in Dan Morgan's maiden draft as GM.

Tyler Guyton
Oklahoma · OT · Junior (RS)

Every year, the draft just seems to fall into place for Baltimore, which needs help at tackle. Guyton would allow the Ravens to not have to lean on Patrick Mekari or Daniel Faalele too much and possibly give them their right tackle for the next several seasons.

Jordan Morgan
Arizona · OL · Senior

The 49ers might be wise to add to their OL depth. Morgan was a left tackle in college and might one day play there in the NFL, even if his shorter frame has a lot of teams projecting him inside. There's a need there in San Francisco.

Kingsley Suamataia
BYU · OT · Sophomore (RS)

I could see a receiver coming off the board here, but the need at tackle feels bigger to me right now. Andy Reid can dip into his former school's talent to land the massive, gifted Suamataia, whose tape is good but slightly underwhelming. Still, all the elements are there for the former five-star recruit to be a good pro.

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