Jump to content
ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

Ravens Insider: 2024 NFL mock draft (Version 3.0): Projecting first-round picks and QB landing spots

Recommended Posts

Before we project the 2024 NFL draft, let’s play a game of musical chairs.

With the three teams at the top of the first round and a few others in need of a quarterback, there’s plenty of intrigue about where the rookie signal-callers will land. But free agency officially begins Monday, and some dominoes could fall.

The biggest is Kirk Cousins, who is set to hit the open market again after six seasons in Minnesota. Given his salary demands, age (35), recent injury (torn Achilles tendon) and moderate success (1-2 postseason record), his time with the Vikings could be up.

Then there’s Justin Fields, who waits in limbo as the Chicago Bears decide what to do with the No. 1 overall draft pick they received from last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers. All signs point to Fields being traded and Chicago using the pick on a quarterback, but general manager Ryan Poles has yet to make a move.

Russell Wilson was just released by the Denver Broncos. Baker Mayfield hasn’t re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dak Prescott is angling for another contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys. The New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders have question marks at quarterback, too.

In this exercise, we’re projecting Cousins to land in Atlanta, Fields to be traded to Denver, Mayfield to re-sign with Tampa Bay and Wilson to play for Las Vegas. That still leaves plenty of openings but should help explain some of the reasoning for this mock draft.

Without further ado, here are The Baltimore Sun’s projections for the first round, which begins April 25 in Detroit:

1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers): Caleb Williams, QB, Southern California

The Bears start over with the 2022 Heisman Trophy Award winner, who has natural playmaking skills other quarterbacks can only dream of — though it sometimes leads to mistakes.

2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what a new regime wants in a quarterback, but the 6-foot-3, 223-pound Maye has all the tools to fit any offense and develop into an elite player.

3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

The Patriots don’t pass on a quarterback here. While the 6-4, 210-pound Daniels comes with some durability concerns given his size and aggressiveness, he has the potential to be a Lamar Jackson-level dual threat.

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

There might be some scouts who rank other receiver prospects ahead of the 6-3, 209-pound Harrison, but there’s no questioning his ability to be a true No. 1 target the moment he steps on the field.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Maybe new coach Jim Harbaugh pushes for a different position, but given the high-end receiver talent at the top of this draft, it’s hard to see the Chargers passing on a player as big, fast and productive as the 6-3, 212-pound Odunze.

LSU wide receivers Brian Thomas Jr. (11) and Malik Nabers (8) celebrate after a touchdown by Thomas against Grambling State during an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
LSU wide receivers Brian Thomas Jr., left, and Malik Nabers celebrate after a touchdown by Thomas against Grambling State on Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

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

With the holes on the roster and the uncertainty about quarterback Daniel Jones, there are no wrong answers here. Adding a dynamic talent like the 6-foot, 200-pound Nabers would be a step in the right direction.

7. Tennessee Titans: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

The Titans have Bill Callahan to coach the offensive line. What they really need is another playmaker to help out quarterback Will Levis. The 6-3, 243-pound Bowers is the total package at tight end.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

The Falcons’ long search for a pass rusher ends with the 6-3, 247-pound Turner, an athletic marvel who has the physical traits to stress offensive tackles and close in on quarterbacks.

9. Chicago Bears: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

It’s often been considered a “Big Three” with this year’s receiver class, but Thomas deserves to be in the top tier. At 6-4 and 209 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds.

10. New York Jets: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

It’s “best tackle available” for the Jets as they try to protect 40-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 6-9, 322-pound Alt might be the most pro-ready rookie lineman.

Michigan Maryland Football
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/AP
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy passes during a game against Maryland on Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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

With Cousins gone in this scenario, the Vikings have to rebuild on the fly. McCarthy has been a fast riser since winning the national title, offering tantalizing athleticism and arm strength.

12. Denver Broncos: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Pairing the physical, athletic Mitchell with All-Pro Pat Surtain II is a nice plan for slowing down division rival Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the AFC’s top quarterbacks.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Raiders have a lot of question marks along the offensive line. The 6-6, 342-pound Latham could even be a standout guard if he doesn’t stick at right tackle.

14. New Orleans Saints: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Saints don’t have a long-term answer at either tackle spot. Fashanu still has room to grow, both in filling out his 6-6, 312-pound frame and improving his technique.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Colts need a cornerback after letting Kenny Moore II enter free agency. Arnold, who recorded five interceptions in a breakout 2023 season, would be a welcome addition.

Florida State defensive lineman Jared Verse (5) pressures Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Florida State defensive end Jared Verse, left, pressures Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader on Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

16. Seattle Seahawks: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

With his strength, instincts and abundance of energy, the 6-4, 254-pound Verse feels like a perfect fit in new coach Mike Macdonald’s defense.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

There are few long-term pieces in the Jaguars’ secondary. Wiggins is a bit undersized at 173 pounds, but he put on a show at the combine with a 4.28-second 40-yard dash.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

With receiver Tee Higgins back on the franchise tag, the Bengals can focus on improving the offensive line. The 6-6, 324-pound Fuaga is a plug-and-play starter at right tackle.

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

The Gaithersburg native and Maryland transfer was one of the biggest winners at the combine. The Rams could form a scary defensive line with the twitchy, explosive Robinson.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

He’s far from polished, but there are few 6-8, 340-pound players who move as well as Mims. The Steelers pounce here to beef up an already imposing running game.

Texas defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) reacts after collecting a sack against TCU quarterback Josh Hoover (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Texas defensive lineman Byron Murphy II reacts after collecting a sack against TCU quarterback Josh Hoover on Nov. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

21. Miami Dolphins: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

After letting Christian Wilkins enter free agency, the Dolphins find his replacement in Murphy, a disruptive force who makes his presence felt in the interior.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The Eagles love drafting offensive linemen, and Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger. How about another Oklahoma star to eventually take over at right tackle in the 6-8, 322-pound Guyton?

23. Houston Texans (via Cleveland): Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Latu deserves to be drafted higher than this, but medical concerns about his neck injury in college could be a factor. He’s an extremely skilled pass rusher who gets the most out of his 6-5, 259-pound frame.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

CeeDee Lamb needs a better running mate. Mitchell, a Texas native, has the size, speed and hands to be a dominant receiver who can take the Cowboys’ offense to the next level.

25. Green Bay Packers: Cooper DeJean, CB/S, Iowa

The Packers need to overhaul one of the league’s worst secondaries. DeJean has experience at safety and corner and the instincts and return skills to turn interceptions into touchdowns.

Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine Feb. 29 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darius Robinson, EDGE/DT, Missouri

The 6-5, 285-pound Robinson’s size and versatility should win the affection of Bucs coach Todd Bowles. He can rush from the edge or the interior, though he still needs to refine his game.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston): Troy Fautanu, OT/G, Washington

The Cardinals have struggled to build a reliable offensive line in front of quarterback Kyler Murray. The 6-4, 317-pound Fautanu could start at left tackle or be a standout guard.

28. Buffalo Bills: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

The Bills face a rebuild on their defensive line. The 6-2, 304-pound Newton doesn’t have imposing size or athleticism, but he knows how to use his body to beat blocks consistently.

29. Detroit Lions: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Lions’ cornerbacks were a glaring weakness toward the end of the season. The 5-11, 199-pound McKinstry should provide a reliable presence on the outside.

Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton (62) blocks against Florida State defensive lineman Byron Turner Jr. (54) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton blocks Florida State defensive lineman Byron Turner Jr. on Oct. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

30. Ravens: Graham Barton, OT/G, Duke

The Ravens need to find some answers to their many questions along the offensive line. The 6-5, 313-pound Barton is hailed for his consistency, competitiveness and athleticism and projects to play inside after starting at left tackle in college.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C/G, Oregon

The center position has always been crucial in a Kyle Shanahan offense. The 6-3, 328-pound Powers-Johnson is considered a top-20 talent because of his strength and attitude.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jordan Morgan, OT/G, Arizona

Everybody wants to give the Chiefs a wide receiver here, but they’ve been so successful in large part because of smart drafting. The 6-5, 311-pound Morgan can replace Donovan Smith at left tackle and fortify the offensive line.

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...