Will Helms’ 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Vikings Move Up for Jayden Daniels, Patriots Land Drake Maye

In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, the Vikings trade up for a quarterback, teams prioritize edge rushers, and the Saints end up with an unlikely weapon.

Last week, I explored a world where the Chicago Bears keep Justin Fields and the first overall pick. In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, I’m including trades for the first time this cycle, as the NFL Draft order is essentially set.

With several quarterback-hungry teams lurking in the middle of the first round, which franchises will aggressively pursue their future cornerstones, and which will be patient enough to take the talent that falls?

2024 NFL Mock Draft

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

Mock drafting is a game of information. While I’ve mocked Drake Maye to the Chicago Bears for the last three weeks, sources suggest that the franchise prefers Caleb Williams.

With Shane Waldron officially hired as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, I feel more confident in the Bears’ ability to develop Williams than before. The former USC Trojans quarterback has the potential to be an elite talent in the right situation. Waldron’s hire makes me think this could be the perfect landing spot for the talented passer.

2) Minnesota Vikings (From WSH): Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Projected Trade: Vikings receive No. 2 overall; Commanders receive the 11th, 42nd, and 155th picks, plus Minnesota’s 2025 first-round and third-round picks

With Williams off the board, we’ll throw another change into the order of the top three quarterbacks. Rather than having the Commanders take Maye to replace fellow Tar Heel Sam Howell, we’ll have them trade down and ride with the incumbent starter for one more year — depending on how the board falls later.

Again, mock drafts are a game of information. Sources expect the Vikings to be aggressive in the draft in their search for a franchise quarterback on a rookie deal.

Jayden Daniels can make every throw and has elite athleticism. If the Vikings put a guy with his upside in an offense with Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson, they’ll have the chance to contend for a Super Bowl if the LSU quarterback reaches his potential.

3) New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

I’m falling increasingly in love with the idea of Drake Maye to the New England Patriots, where he should be what the franchise falsely hoped Mac Jones could be. His accuracy, leadership, and ability to escape the pocket should be incredibly refreshing to a franchise that lacked those traits from its last quarterback.

4) Arizona Cardinals: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

In another shakeup for this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, I have the Arizona Cardinals drafting for need rather than taking the best player available.

MORE: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Dallas Turner‘s film gets better and better every time I watch it, and I think his skill set translates well to the NFL. He’s probably not on par with some of the elite edge rushers to come out in the last few years — including former teammate Will Anderson Jr. — but Turner’s high ceiling makes him worthy of a top-five pick.

5) Los Angeles Chargers: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

I don’t think Jim Harbaugh would hesitate to pick the former Ohio State Buckeye if he fell to Los Angeles here. With elite body control and above-average hands and route running, Marvin Harrison Jr. has the potential to be a more athletic Keenan Allen for the Chargers as they search for their next star receiver.

6) New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

While the Giants have other needs, Malik Nabers makes plenty of sense for a team with several receivers who fit well as complementary pieces but that lacks an alpha on the outside.

The LSU WR can create explosive plays unlike any player on the Giants’ roster, taking the offense to the next level.

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

I love mixing up mocks when appropriate, especially since I write one weekly. However, this isn’t the spot to do so.

Joe Alt to the Tennessee Titans makes so much sense, even more so now that Brian Callahan has taken the reins. The franchise has some young talent but needs to take care of the offensive line this offseason.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

I’ve been looking for an excuse to get Laiatu Latu selected earlier in my 2024 NFL mock drafts, and Turner going fourth overall gives me a perfect opportunity here.

Raheem Morris will want to build his defense and take pressure off his defensive backs. Latu might be the best pass rusher in the class.

9) Chicago Bears: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

My colleague Joe Broback beat me to the punch by making Quinyon Mitchell CB1 in his latest mock draft. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m simply following him.

There’s serious buzz around the Toledo Rockets’ playmaker, leading some to believe Mitchell could emerge from the NFL Combine as the top corner in the class.

While the Bears went with Williams early, their identity will be on defense. Getting a high-ceiling corner increases their chances of building an elite defensive unit.

10) New York Jets: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

The New York Jets have needs up front, but if there’s a receiver they love available at No. 10, don’t be surprised if they decide to ride one more year with an older veteran at left tackle and instead snag a high-upside wideout.

Keon Coleman flashed elite potential in college but was sometimes inconsistent. His athleticism and size pair well with Garrett Wilson on the other side of the offense.

11) Washington Commanders (From MIN): Olumuwiya Fashanu, OT, Penn State

There may be some of my own confirmation bias in this draft strategy for the Commanders, but I truly believe they have bigger needs than quarterback.

Sam Howell was pressured more than any QB in the league and suffered the fifth-highest drop rate. With this in mind, the Commanders trade back here for Olu Fashanu, picking up a second, a fifth, and the Vikings’ top two picks in 2025 while upgrading an offensive line that gave up 94 pressures at the tackle positions a year ago.

If it works out, Howell will see more clean pockets and become more consistent as a passer. If it doesn’t, the Commanders will use one of their two first-round picks in 2025 for their QB of the future.

12) Denver Broncos: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

In every draft, one position group seems to be plucked quickly as teams covet the top guys more than the mid-round players on their boards. In previous editions, I’ve leaned towards the receiver and defensive back positions, but here, Jared Verse becomes the third pass rusher in the first four defensive prospects.

Verse is a pure pass rusher who offers less against the run than some of the other first-round EDGEs, but his bend and elite get-off make him a potential lead pass rusher.

13) Las Vegas Raiders: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

While Las Vegas has other, bigger needs, I get the feeling that if only the top three quarterbacks are off the board at 13, the Raiders will take a long, hard look at the position.

In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, they’ll take the best rhythm passer in the draft in Bo Nix. Nix took a lot of heat early in his career for not elevating a bad Auburn team. But when surrounded with talent at Oregon, he thrived.

Between Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Jakobi Meyers, Nix would have plenty of weapons in Vegas.

14) New Orleans Saints: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

One of my top players in the draft, Brock Bowers falls due to positional value and draft needs of the teams at the top. On the surface, the New Orleans Saints have bigger needs than tight end, but the Georgia product isn’t a traditional TE.

The Saints’ top three receivers average 6’0″ and 195 pounds. Bowers is a big, physical receiver who lined up in the slot on more than 50% of his snaps in college.

Juwan Johnson is only under contract through 2024, and the Saints don’t have a true WR2. This match just makes sense.

15) Indianapolis Colts: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Coming off a season-ending injury, Cooper DeJean oddly has momentum as more people dive into his film. He’s the most well-rounded corner in the class, skilled in both zone and man coverage. His physicality in the running game sets him apart in this cornerback class.

16) Seattle Seahawks: Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State

This is Week 4 of “Operation: Get Cooper Beebe in a first-round mock,” but it’s by far the highest I’ve had the Kansas State left guard going. The Seattle Seahawks have never cared much for positional value, and here they go for one of my best players available.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

Beebe is a better run blocker than pass blocker, a major compliment, given he only gave up one sack in over 1,000 career pass-blocking snaps at guard.

17) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Kool-Aid McKinstry has become a popular name for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the fit makes sense — if he falls.

McKinstry wasn’t tested much in college, but his per-snap and per-target numbers are excellent. I like his length in Jacksonville’s defense.

18) Cincinnati Bengals: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

In this scenario, Tee Higgins re-signs with the Bengals, and they focus their efforts on upgrading the defense. If Higgins doesn’t re-sign, I’ve written about how Washington’s Rome Odunze is a Higgins clone.

In this 2024 NFL Mock Draft, the Bengals take a guy I’m slightly higher on than the rest of the industry. Nate Wiggins has always been physically talented but improved every year at Clemson, indicating his ceiling may be higher than others think.

19) Los Angeles Rams: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

With several of the top edge rushers off the board, the Los Angeles Rams turn to perhaps the best athlete of all of them in Penn State freak Chop Robinson.

His get-off and speed-to-power are so good that Robinson has All-Pro upside. However, he was far too inconsistent in college. Maybe a year next to Aaron Donald will give him a boost.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

I’m tempted to tease a quarterback to Pittsburgh here, but under Mike Tomlin, I think the Steelers will ride with what they’ve got.

Based on Tomlin’s recent comments regarding his desire to pick up Najee Harris’ fifth-year option, the Steelers may want to shift identity into an even more run-heavy offense. Taking the best run-blocking tackle in the draft — Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga — would help with that transition.

21) Miami Dolphins: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

This is a dream scenario for the Miami Dolphins, and far and away, the best right tackle in the draft falls to a team that values its right side of the line more than any other team in the NFL.

JC Latham is massive and has fantastic feet. He’d be a top-10 pick if teams valued right tackles as much as left tackles.

22) Philadelphia Eagles: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

I don’t foresee many scenarios where Rome Odunze falls this far, but here, the Eagles are the beneficiary (as they are almost every year) of a top talent sliding into their grasp.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

Odunze is one of the best contested-catch receivers we’ve seen in years, so he should fit well in Philadelphia.

23) Houston Texans (From CLE): Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

In previous mocks, I’ve focused on giving C.J. Stroud one more weapon on offense. However, I’m prioritizing a secondary that could be more consistent.

I’m higher on Kamren Kinchens than many others, and I believe he can be an instant impact player at safety. For a defense that struggled against the pass, he’s a ball hawk who can provide an instant spark.

24) Dallas Cowboys: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Amarius Mims has far less tackle film than some of his fellow linemen, but when he was healthy and starting, he was one of the best players on the field.

I’m still unsure which direction the Cowboys will go, but a high-upside tackle certainly isn’t the worst pick this franchise could make.

25) Green Bay Packers: Graham Barton, IOL, Duke

I’m a huge fan of Graham Barton, who brings both intelligence and versatility, with the ability to play all five positions up front and in several schemes. That versatility will be coveted by teams like the Packers, who have multiple needs in front of Jordan Love.

26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jer’Zhan Newton, IDL, Illinois

Jer’Zhan Newton is a legitimate top-20 talent but falls in this 2024 NFL Mock Draft as teams prioritize other needs. Newton brings interior pass-rushing ability and the athleticism to flex out wider, as more than half his snaps came off the edge.

27) Arizona Cardinals (From HOU): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

After going with an edge rusher with their first pick, the Cardinals decide to take a pass catcher with their second.

Brian Thomas Jr. has the upside to be a top receiver in any system. He’s a dominant red-zone threat who would provide another excellent target for Kyler Murray.

28) Buffalo Bills: Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

I’ve been searching for a way to get Chris Braswell into the first-round conversation for the last few weeks, and with the early run on edge rushers, he slips in at 28.

While he doesn’t have the ceiling of a perennial All-Pro player (I’ve been wrong before), Braswell has a high floor and can join an already-established contender as a key cog in the defensive front.

29) Kansas City Chiefs: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

While I’ve had the Chiefs taking a receiver in most of my past mocks, Rashee Rice’s emergence allows me to explore a world in which Kansas City adds to its defense first.

Terrion Arnold is a sure first-round talent but falls in this mock to the Chiefs, who would benefit greatly from his natural athleticism and press-coverage ability.

30) Detroit Lions: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

After playing man coverage at the second-highest rate in the league in 2022, the Lions shifted to more zone coverage this season.

Kamari Lassiter is the best zone corner in the 2024 NFL Draft and excels at reading and reacting to the quarterback’s eyes. I like the fit here as Detroit looks to upgrade its secondary.

31) San Francisco 49ers: Troy Fautanu, IOL, Washington

Troy Fautanu has plenty of experience at tackle, but his frame and shorter arms likely make him a guard at the next level. I still believe the 49ers will prioritize their offensive line in the draft and could see the Washington Huskies prospect as a potential fit if he falls to the end of Round 1.

32) Baltimore Ravens: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

The Ravens finally hit on a receiver in the draft in Zay Flowers, who has excelled on shorter routes and after the catch. Accordingly, Baltimore is more likely to prioritize other positions. However, if a receiver who perfectly fits what the team is trying to do is available and further elevates Lamar Jackson’s already incredible play, the Ravens might bite.

Xavier Legette will put up monster numbers at the NFL Combine, similar to Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf. Legette also brings an impressive route tree and the ability to high-point the ball. His mere existence in this offense takes a safety out of the box, allowing Jackson more room to run.

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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