Will Helms’ 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Giants Trade Up for J.J. McCarthy, Chiefs Add Keon Coleman

In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, the Giants decide to be aggressive and trade up for J.J. McCarthy. How does that impact the rest of the first round?

The NFL Combine is over, and we’re officially in the home stretch to the 2024 NFL Draft. Each year, the focus is on the on-field drills and workouts at the Combine, but perhaps more important is the information fans gain from insiders at the event. For the first time in the cycle, we’re getting a clearer picture of which players certain teams value.

While that’s true for several teams, the biggest piece of information we’ve gained is that the Giants apparently love J.J. McCarthy. In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, I’ll send McCarthy to New York, a move that sends shockwaves through the rest of the first round.

2024 NFL Mock Draft

1) Chicago Bears (From CAR): Caleb Williams, QB, USC

While I’ve switched it up in the past, I’m going with chalk here, giving the highest-upside passer in the draft to the Bears. I simply don’t see the “generational talent” label that so many evaluators have given Caleb Williams, but he’s still plenty talented to go No. 1.

Williams skipped workouts and medical testing at the Combine, and it likely won’t matter as the Bears have reportedly zeroed in on him — assuming they find a trade partner for Justin Fields.

2) Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

I haven’t been shy about my views on Jayden Daniels, who I believe is the best quarterback in the class, but I haven’t mocked him to Washington.

While Drake Maye can move a bit, Daniels has elite running ability, and that could appeal to new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Daniels would mark a change in direction for a franchise desperately looking to escape the basement of the NFC East.

3) New York Giants (From NE): J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Trade: Giants receive pick No. 3, Patriots receive pick Nos. 6, 70, 140

Depending on the trade value chart you look at, the Giants could probably get this done with just a third-rounder (No. 70), but there will likely be some competition if the Patriots are truly open to trading out of the No. 3 position, leading to the extra fifth-rounder.

McCarthy has the luxury of potentially sitting and developing for a year behind Daniel Jones, and while I’m not as high on him as some in the industry, teams should move up if they think they have their guy.

4) Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr. is a top-tier prospect and is as close to a consensus No. 1 as we’ve seen in years. The Cardinals should receive multiple calls with Maye still on the board but are still likely to stand pat and draft the best player in the draft.

5) Minnesota Vikings (From LAC): Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Trade: Vikings receive pick Nos. 5 and No. 106, Chargers receive pick Nos. 11 and 42

Per the Rich Hill trade value chart, this is as even a swap as it gets. While Los Angeles could likely get more value from another team in the 11-13 range, I don’t see the Chargers giving one of its rivals a shot at a franchise quarterback. Accordingly, they settle for a swap of firsts, giving Minnesota a fourth to offset the extra value of the second.

Drake Maye is excellent in a timing-based offense and throws an excellent deep ball, giving the Vikings a guy who can get the ball to his playmakers both in space and further down the field.

6) New England Patriots (From NYG): Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The benefit of trading down in this draft is that whoever doesn’t want a quarterback can still get a highly-coveted playmaker.

New England’s roster isn’t ready for a rookie quarterback, and with an extremely high amount of cap space, the move might be to simply take a flyer on a mid-range free agent quarterback (like Baker Mayfield) and surround him with talent. Malik Nabers is strong at the catch point and would be WR1 in most other drafts.

7) Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

If Joe Alt is available at No. 7 and Tennessee doesn’t take him, I’ll be absolutely flabbergasted. Alt is the exact type of high-level left tackle prospect that young teams need. It’s chalk at this point, but there’s no reason to switch up the way I’ve gone in the past at this pick.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Jared Verse doesn’t offer a lot in the running game, and I’ve somehow let that influence my view of him as a high-level pass rusher. He has double-digit sack upside, and Atlanta could use that type of production from one of its EDGE spots.

MORE: Top EDGEs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Falcons will pick up a quarterback in free agency or via trade, and the hope is that Raheem Morris actually uses the weapons on offense, leading to a bigger need on defense here.

9) Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Rome Odunze to Chicago has been a popular mock draft pick as his skill set complements that of DJ Moore’s. Odunze would give Chicago a big, fast target, who is one of the best contested-catch receivers we’ve seen in years. That type of skill set is awesome for a rookie quarterback.

10) New York Jets: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

There is a clear top two at the offensive tackle position in the draft, and no, I’m not scared by Olu Fashanu‘s small hands. It doesn’t really show up on film, as he’s one of the best once he’s engaged in a block. Fashanu is a no-brainer for New York if he’s available at No. 10.

11) Los Angeles Chargers: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

While this is certainly a spot for a potential Brock Bowers or other pass catcher, but in a division with Patrick Mahomes, a corner makes a ton of sense here, especially if Jim Harbaugh likes what he sees out of one of them.

It’s worth noting Michigan played against several of the top defensive backs last season, so Harbaugh has plenty of advanced scouting for his next lockdown corner, who, in this mock draft, is Terrion Arnold.

12) Denver Broncos: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

In my opinion, this is a lost year for the Broncos. The Russell Wilson experiment has left Denver low on both draft capital and cap space. Because of that, this isn’t the year to start the clock on a rookie quarterback deal. So here, the Broncos can get a legit pass-rushing prospect who can start from Day 1 in the high-upside Dallas Turner.

13) Las Vegas Raiders: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

I went through half a dozen names for this pick and eventually settled on Taliese Fuaga. Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. might find a home here, but ultimately, I went with the mammoth offensive tackle from Oregon State, Fuaga.

14) New Orleans Saints: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Amarius Mims‘ injury history and lack of starting experience will scare some, but he has an elite athletic profile that seems like it would transfer to the next level. The Saints are one of several teams in no man’s land, but you can never go wrong with a strong tackle.

15) Indianapolis Colts: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

I think Quinyon Mitchell makes so much sense for a Colts defense that needs to get better against the pass. I considered giving Anthony Richardson another playmaker here, but Mitchell’s athleticism and ball skills are too much to pass up. He could be a playmaker for years to come.

16) Seattle Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, G, Washington

The Seahawks tend to hold certain players in a higher regard than the consensus, and that could be the case with a guy like Troy Fautanu. He played tackle in college, but his shorter arms make him a prime guard candidate in Seattle.

17) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

I’ve said for weeks that the Jaguars should care more about the attitude of the player they pick than the position he plays.

MORE: Top iOL in the 2024 NFL Draft

Here, Jackson Powers-Johnson fits both needs, though. Jacksonville got a bit soft down the stretch last year, so taking a physical interior lineman can certainly help in a wide-open division.

18) Cincinnati Bengals: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

There are several teams who could use Bowers ahead of the Bengals, but there’s a chance all of them pass due to positional value. If he makes it to No. 18, I think this is the furthest he’d fall.

Cincinnati needs a player with his skill set who would thrive both as a traditional tight end and as a big, fast target for Joe Burrow.

19) Los Angeles Rams: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Given that his medicals reportedly came back clean, Laiatu Latu‘s first-round status is locked, and if he falls to Los Angeles at Pick 19, I don’t think the hometown Rams will let him go.

In my opinion, Latu has the highest upside of any defender in this draft class and if he stays healthy, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for him to be a perennial Pro Bowler.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Pittsburgh has a few needs that line up with the strengths of this class, but I expect the Steelers to prioritize the thinnest of those positions, both on the team and in the draft.

The likelihood a team can find a starting-caliber corner or receiver later on draft weekend is very high, while the tackle class isn’t as deep. JC Latham is a Day 1 starter on the right side of the line.

21) Miami Dolphins: Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State

Offensive line is the hardest position group to evaluate, so while on the surface it seems weird to put a guy with a Day 2 or Day 3 grade in the first round, it’s not as uncommon as one might think.

Plus, I have a top-10 grade on Cooper Beebe, who is the most technically sound interior blocker in the class. He solves the issue at either guard position and could play center or tackle in a pinch.

22) Philadelphia Eagles: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

On the surface, the Eagles don’t have a glaring need at EDGE, but with Hassan Reddick and Josh Sweat potentially on the trade block and Brandon Graham entering his last season, Philadelphia would like another pass rusher of the new defensive staff’s choosing. Chop Robinson‘s production never matched his upside in college, but he’s certainly talented enough for the first round.

23) Houston Texans (From CLE): Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

Weirdly, it feels like the Johnny Newton hype has subsided, leading to his fall here, but that’s more indicative of the league’s view than my own. He’s the prototypical modern interior defensive lineman whose acceleration off the line and impressive hand usage make him a high-upside interior pass rusher.

24) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

In my opinion, Tyler Guyton is the last of the Round 1-2 tackles in the draft. After him, there’s a huge drop, so the Cowboys need to lock in their pick early here. He has huge potential in terms of the ability to become a high-level pass blocker at the next level.

25) Green Bay Packers: Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

If Cooper DeJean is available at No. 25, Green Bay needs to run the pick to the podium. A top-10 player on my board, DeJean can start immediately at nickel, outside corner, or either safety position.

That versatility gives the Packers’ coaching staff a highly talented playmaker to deploy defensively wherever the need is greatest.

26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Graham Barton, G, Duke

Tampa Bay is likely seeking an immediate starter along the interior of its offensive line, and Graham Barton would fit the bill as a guy who can play multiple positions along the offensive line.

It will certainly bring more clarity to this pick when the Buccaneers have their quarterback situation figured out, but for now, this seems like the way to go.

27) Arizona Cardinals (From HOU): Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

Byron Murphy is a highly athletic 3-tech who can slide either inside or outside, depending on the situation. This seems like a “best player available” spot for the Cardinals, who have holes all over the roster and will need multiple upgrades to compete in a strong NFC West.

28) Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

There’s a reason Brian Thomas Jr. is such a popular pick at 28 when he’s available there. His skill set lines up perfectly with what the Bills lack, and his addition would give Josh Allen one more playmaker to work with. The window might be closing, so getting this right at 28 is monumentally important to the future of the franchise.

29) Detroit Lions: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Nate Wiggins is one of my favorite corners in the draft, but his slim build could discourage some teams and allow him to fall. If he makes it to Detroit, I see a strong fit in that secondary. He’s a scrappy, high-motor player with excellent ball skills, things that make him a strong fit with the Lions’ culture.

30) Baltimore Ravens: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Adonai Mitchell never really put his talents on full display in college, as his route tree and what he was asked to do at both Georgia and Texas was weirdly limited. However, there aren’t a lot of flaws in his game, and he has the athleticism and ball skills to contribute immediately.

31) San Francisco 49ers: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Once considered the top corner in the class, Kool-Aid McKinstry‘s stock has slipped a bit in the offseason, and it may be a bit of an overreaction on the part of the media. McKinstry didn’t have much in terms of ball production in college but was only targeted about three times a game at Alabama.

32) Kansas City Chiefs: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

As Keon Coleman‘s stock seems to drop following a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, teams at the bottom of the first round may benefit.

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Kansas City has a history of taking inconsistent college receivers and turning them into excellent pros. Of course, it helps to have Patrick Mahomes at the helm as well.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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