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Ravens Insider: NFL mock draft (Version 4.0): Two-round projections with trades as team needs come into focus

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It’s officially draft month.

The first round of the 2024 NFL draft begins April 25 in Detroit, which means there are only a few weeks left for prospects to make their final impressions and teams to solidify their big boards as they fill their remaining roster holes.

Here are The Baltimore Sun’s latest projections for the first two rounds, with a few mock trades sprinkled in:

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

After Chicago traded quarterback Justin Fields to Pittsburgh, there’s no mystery here. Williams has the potential to lead a talented roster to playoff contention as a rookie.

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

There’s plenty of mystery here, with no consensus on the second-best quarterback. The Commanders decide Daniels is the best fit for offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and hope the 210-pound Heisman Trophy winner can stay healthy.

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

It would be bold for top executive Eliot Wolf and coach Jerod Mayo to pass on a quarterback here, even though the Patriots have plenty of other needs and a capable stop-gap in Jacoby Brissett. The question is whether Maye has done enough to solidify his spot ahead of a fast-rising J.J. McCarthy.

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

The Cardinals will likely get plenty of calls to trade down, but it will be hard to pass on a blue-chip talent like Harrison at a position of need. The son of the Hall of Fame receiver can be the focus of the passing game from day one.

5. TRADE: Minnesota Vikings (from L.A. Chargers): J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

After losing Kirk Cousins to Atlanta, it’s unlikely the Vikings leave the first round without a quarterback. Minnesota trades picks Nos. 11 and 23 to the Chargers to move up and select McCarthy, who will battle Sam Darnold for the starting job with an eye toward the future.

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

With the top four quarterbacks off the board, the Giants “settle” for Nabers, who has the talent and explosiveness to follow Odell Beckham Jr., Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase as former LSU stars turned elite NFL receivers.

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

With the signing of wide receiver Calvin Ridley, the Titans turn their attention toward rebuilding one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Alt, a former tight end, has the traits to be a cornerstone at left tackle.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Pairing Washington receiver Rome Odunze with Drake London is tempting, but the Falcons desperately need to end their long search for an impact pass rusher. Turner would be a great fit for new coach Raheem Morris’ defense.

9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

This is a dream scenario for the Bears, who get one of the “big three” receivers to pair with Williams, DJ Moore and Keenan Allen and form one of the league’s most exciting offenses.

10. New York Jets: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Even with the addition of former Chargers receiver Mike Williams, the Jets need another pass-catcher for Aaron Rodgers. Bowers has Pro Bowl potential after a highly productive college career.

FILE - Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga follows a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Pullman, Wash. Fuaga has been selected to The Associated Press midseason All-America team, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)
Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga makes sense for the Chargers and new coach Jim Harbaugh. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

11. TRADE: Los Angeles Chargers (from Minnesota): Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

With coach Jim Harbaugh and coordinator Greg Roman in charge of the offense, expect an emphasis on blocking over receiving. Fuaga is a mauler in the running game who can start immediately at right tackle.

12. TRADE: Los Angeles Rams (from Denver): Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

With 11 total picks, the Rams have the assets to move up a few spots. Denver, which doesn’t have a second-round selection, is happy to trade down. Verse would pair well with nose tackle Kobie Turner and linebacker Byron Young to bolster the pass rush after Aaron Donald’s retirement.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Raiders have holes to fill on the right side of their offensive line, but lockdown defenders are much harder to find. Coach Antonio Pierce can turn his defense into a true strength with the feisty, athletic Senior Bowl star.

14. New Orleans Saints: JC Latham, OT/G, Alabama

With Ryan Ramczyk’s outlook murky because of a knee injury, the Saints have question marks at both tackle spots. Latham might be the best tackle prospect in this draft because of his size and strength.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The return of slot corner Kenny Moore II helps, but the Colts need another defender on the outside to fix a leaky secondary. Arnold has the traits to be the team’s top cover man from the get-go.

16. Seattle Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, OT/G, Washington

You’ll see this pairing a lot considering the Seahawks have a glaring need at guard and Fautanu played for offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb at Washington. The former Huskies star could even take over at right tackle if Abraham Lucas continues to struggle.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

What Wiggins lacks in size (173 pounds at the combine), he more than makes up for with speed (4.28-second 40-yard dash) and athleticism. The Jaguars still need a long-term solution at cornerback after bringing in Ronald Darby and Darnell Savage this offseason.

Texas defensive lineman Byron Murphy II reacts after collecting a sack against TCU 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 would be a good fit for the Bengals. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

18. Cincinnati Bengals: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

After losing defensive tackle DJ Reader to the Lions, the Bengals draft his replacement in Murphy, an explosive gap-shooter who can wreak havoc in the middle of the front seven.

19. TRADE: Denver Broncos (from L.A. Rams): Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

After trading down, the Broncos land a player they might have selected earlier anyway. Latu, who led the nation with 21 1/2 tackles for loss last season, adds some juice to a budding group of young pass rushers in Denver.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Graham Barton, OT/C, Duke

The Steelers need a center and potentially a left tackle. Graham can play both, though he projects inside because of his shorter-than-average arms. He should help anchor an offensive line that paved the way for one of the league’s best rushing attacks down the stretch last season.

21. Miami Dolphins: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

Newton would have big shoes to fill replacing Christian Wilkins in Miami, but he’s disruptive and offers the pass-rushing potential the Dolphins lack in the interior.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Eagles taking a rare athlete with limited experience and molding him to eventually take over for Lane Johnson at right tackle just makes sense considering which positions and athletic profiles they value early in the draft.

23. TRADE: Los Angeles Chargers (from Minnesota): Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Chargers’ depth behind top cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. is uninspiring. McKinstry is a versatile, smart defender who would be a great fit for former Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Cowboys stop a mini-slide for Fashanu, who needs more refinement and is not as physically imposing as some of the other top tackles in this class. Still, he has the potential to be a star and would fill a big position of need for Dallas after the departure of longtime starting left tackle Tyron Smith.

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

After signing former Giants standout Xavier McKinney, the Packers shore up their safety pairing with DeJean, an explosive athlete who could also line up at outside corner.

Penn State defensive lineman Chop Robinson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson, a Gaithersburg native and Maryland transfer, could be a first-round pick. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

The Buccaneers have talent at pass rusher but they don’t have anyone as explosive as Robinson, a Gaithersburg native and Maryland transfer. His first step is special, and he could be a game-changing presence as a rotational piece for coach Todd Bowles.

27. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston): Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Relying on defensive linemen Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols is a scary proposition for an NFL defense. Robinson is a versatile player with the strength to rush from the interior or set the edge against the run.

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

This is probably the furthest Thomas could fall after running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash and scoring 17 touchdowns last season, but the Bills won’t complain. The former LSU star would give Josh Allen a more explosive and reliable deep threat than Gabe Davis, who signed with Jacksonville.

29. Detroit Lions: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

The Lions needed cornerback help even before Cameron Sutton was released. Rakestraw is smart, tough and plays with an edge, which makes him a perfect fit for Detroit.

Oklahoma offensive lineman Tyler Guyton (60) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tulsa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton is a rare athlete who could help solidify the Ravens’ offensive line. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

30. Ravens: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

There’s always potential for the Ravens to trade down and accumulate more picks, but having a top prospect fall into their laps makes this an easy decision. Guyton is a rare athlete with room to grow who could start at right tackle as a rookie before eventually taking over for Ronnie Stanley on the left side.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Morgan, OT/G, Arizona

There’s been a lot of speculation about the 49ers moving on from one or both of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, which might make drafting a wide receiver a higher priority. But to keep winning this season, the 49ers solidify their offensive line with the smooth-moving Morgan.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

McConkey doesn’t have the enticing height-weight-speed combination of some other receivers in this class, but he’s quick and knows how to get open. He could be the reliable target quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been looking for to complement tight end Travis Kelce.

Round 2

33. Carolina Panthers: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Panthers added some much-needed talent at receiver by trading for the Steelers’ Diontae Johnson, but they shouldn’t stop there. Mitchell looks the part of a No. 1 target with his size, speed and leaping ability.

34. New England Patriots: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

35. Arizona Cardinals: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

36. Washington Commanders: Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

37. Los Angeles Chargers: Kris Jenkins, DT, Michigan

38. Tennessee Titans: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

39. Carolina Panthers (from N.Y. Giants): Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

40. Washington Commanders (from Chicago): T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State

41. Green Bay Packers (from N.Y. Jets): Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale

42. Houston Texans (from Minnesota): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Giving star quarterback C.J. Stroud a wide receiver who ran the 40-yard dash in an NFL scouting combine-record 4.21 seconds would make Houston an even more popular pick to win the Super Bowl next season.

43. Atlanta Falcons: Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan

44. Las Vegas Raiders: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

The Raiders have some fallback options at quarterback in Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell, but they should be thinking more aggressively. Although Penix comes with plenty of concerns over his injury history and lack of mobility, his arm strength and character are worth betting on.

45. New Orleans Saints (from Denver): Austin Booker, EDGE, Kansas

46. Indianapolis Colts: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

47. New York Giants (from Seattle): Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota

48. Jacksonville Jaguars: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

49. Cincinnati Bengals: Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

50. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans): Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

51. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malachi Corley, WR, Western Michigan

52. TRADE: Denver Broncos (from L.A. Rams): Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

It’s hard to believe the Broncos will head into a new season with Jarrett Stidham as their top quarterback. Nix is already 24 and doesn’t have the profile of a high-end NFL starter, but his experience and mobility give him a chance to exceed expectations.

53. Philadelphia Eagles: Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

54. Cleveland Browns: T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas

Playing in a division that prides itself on running the football, the Browns could use another big body on the defensive line. The 6-4, 366-pound Sweat won’t be an every-down player, but offenses are going to have to double-team him when he’s on the field.

55. Miami Dolphins: Christian Haynes, G, UConn

56. Dallas Cowboys: Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee

57. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zach Frazier, C/G, West Virginia

58. Green Bay Packers: Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

59. Houston Texans: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

60. Buffalo Bills: Javon Bullard, S, Georgia

61. Detroit Lions: Marshawn Kneeland, EDGE, Western Michigan

FILE - South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) looks for his teammates after a 65-yard touchdown reception during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Jacksonville State on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina's best playmakers on offense the past two years are all gone, meaning this spring is a search for consistency and production from an attack that had its struggles last season. With Spencer Rattler and Legette awaiting NFL draft picks Legette a likely first-rounder, Rattler a mid-round choice it's up to inexperienced newcomers and transfers to push the Gamecocks forward. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File)
South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette is an intriguing prospect for the Ravens. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File)

62. Ravens: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

The Ravens said goodbye to Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which means receiver is once again a draft priority. The 6-1, 221-pound Legette is not a smooth route runner, but he’s fast, competitive and makes tough catches (only two drops in 2023). He could also return kicks, a bonus after the departure of Devin Duvernay.

63. San Francisco 49ers: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

64. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

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