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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Sigler

2024 NFL mock draft: Predicting the first 32 picks after the combine

We learned a lot at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine — not just which prospects are rocketing up (or slipping down) big boards ahead of the 2024 draft, but which positions teams are hoping to attack in free agency. Making smart moves in March’s opening waves of signings allows teams to gamble in April’s draft, and we’re trying to reflect that in our updated mock draft.

And with that in mind, here’s how we see the first 32 picks shaking out (with the New Orleans Saints in the middle of the action):

Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

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No change here. Look for the Bears to shop Justin Fields around in search of a second- or third-round draft pick. Williams ushers in a new era for Chicago.

Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

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Washington still goes with a quarterback, but this time it’s Maye. He’ll reunite with his old friend and fellow Tar Heel Sam Howell while giving fans in D.C. their first real glimmer of hope in years.

Denver Broncos (trade): J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

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Sean Payton’s adoration for McCarthy is an open secret, and the rookie is an excellent fit in Payton’s offense despite his low volume of work at the college level. Denver sells high to move up for their quarterback of the present and future. The New England Patriots are willing to trade out of this spot after signing a new starter in free agency — Baker Mayfield.

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

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No changes here — Harrison gave teams the diva treatment at the combine, refusing to work out or even meet with the media like everyone else. But he’s too talented for the Cardinals to penalize him for it. They need a real number-one receiver like they need water in the desert.

Atlanta Falcons (trade): Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

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The Falcons are hoping Kirk Cousins reaches free agency so they can hand him a blank check, but in this scenario he’s able to stay in Minnesota. Which leaves quarterback a major need for Atlanta, and they outbid other needy teams by trading up for Daniels. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner can excite a fanbase that’s still recovering from Arthur Smith’s false promises.

New York Giants: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

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Odunze locked in the WR2 spot with a strong effort in Indianapolis, and he could bring a big boost to Daniel Jones or any other quarterback starting for the Giants in the fall. They’ll need his help with Saquon Barkley expected to leave in free agency.

Tennessee Titans: Joe Alt, LT, Notre Dame

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No change from our last projection: Alt is too great a value at too important a need for the Titans to pass up. He’s the best left tackle in this draft class.

Los Angeles Chargers: Taliese Fuaga, RT, Oregon State

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This is who the Chargers picked last time for us, but they moved down a few spots and still got him. Fuaga is arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft and he could be a day-one starter at either right tackle or right guard. L.A. needs to improve their line at both spots, but Fuaga should get the opportunity to prove whether he can play outside before being considered for a move to guard.

Chicago Bears: Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

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Turner was electric at the combine, validating much of the top-15 hype he had been getting and likely securing top-10 status. The Bears could go receiver here but Turner would be huge for their revamped pass rush.

New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, LT, Penn State

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No change — Fashanu shouldn’t get out of the top-10, and the Jets need to try again at left tackle after swinging and missing on Mekhi Becton.

Minnesota Vikings: Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

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Look for Kirk Cousins to flirt with other teams in free agency but ultimately stay where he belongs, leading the Vikings to take the opportunity to build their defense through the draft. Murphy is a high-end pass rusher and run stopper who can make an impact right away.

New England Patriots: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

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Nabers slips a bit after declining to work out, or even weigh in, at the combine, but not by much. The Patriots signed Baker Mayfield in free agency (in this simulation) and now they’ve got him a big-time target to work with.

Las Vegas Raiders: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

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Mitchell has been closing in on Terrion Arnold’s spot as the CB1, but his 4.3-speed at the combine (along with an all-around great workout and stellar pre-draft process so far) locks him in. He can elevate a middling Raiders pass defense into one of the league’s best.

New Orleans Saints: Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State


It’s very important that the Saints upgrade their pass rush, and they have plenty of options with Robinson, Jared Verse, and Laiatu Latu all on the board. Robinson is Dylan Sanders’ pick after his impressive combine performance. The Saints have expressed an interest in getting smaller and faster off the edge and Robinson can offer that along with some playmaking ability.

Detroit Lions (trade): Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

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The Lions strike while the iron is hot and trade up with the Indianapolis Colts to get (arguably) the draft’s best defensive back. Arnold will fit right into Aaron Glenn’s physical secondary. Does this take Detroit out of the pursuit for Marshon Lattimore this summer? Maybe.

Philadelphia Eagles (trade): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

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Mitchell lit up the combine, validating what was expected of him based off his college tape and securing a first-round selection. The Eagles are getting proactive here with a lot of money tied up in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith entering the last leg of his rookie contract. They’re a team to watch when the run on receivers picks up.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Cincinnati Bengals: Amarius Mims, RT, Georgia

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No change from last time — the combination of value and team fit is too great to pass up here. What Mims lacks in experience he more than makes up for with athletic ability. The Bengals could target a receiver or defensive back but it makes more sense to keep improving Joe Burrow’s protection.

Los Angeles Rams: Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

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Verse put up solid numbers at the combine but they kind of pale in comparison to other edge rushers in this class. And it works out well for him anyway as he lands in a defensive front already stocked with young talent around Aaron Donald.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

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The Steelers could go with an offensive lineman here, but Bowers is too great a value to pass up even if his combine experience went poorly; teams complained about his interviews to their connections in the media and he pulled out of field work at the last second. None of that matters if he shows up and plays well. Pat Freiermuth is an adequate pass-catching tight end but it won’t take long for Bowers to surpass him in Arthur Smith’s offense.

Miami Dolphins: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

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Wiggins may have shown up at the combine too skinny for some teams, but the Dolphins are desperate to improve their pass defense and he’s a pro-ready corner. He can immediately replace Xavien Howard in the starting lineup.

Seattle Seahawks: Michael Penix, QB, Washington

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Penix could be the quarterback of the future for the Seahawks, which would be a great story — he’s already beloved in Seattle for leading Washington’s national title run. He was easily the best passer on the field during drills and showed great accuracy at all levels of the field. Drafting him is the kind of forward-thinking decision a team like the Saints should make.

Houston Texans: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

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The Texans are a team that could go big and chase Christian Wilkins in free agency, but even if they do Newton would still make sense for them as a Sheldon Rankins replacement. With C.J. Stroud leading their offense they should keep pouring resources into DeMeco Ryans’ defense.

Dallas Cowboys: Troy Fautanu, LT, Washington

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Fautanu should go much higher than this, but the depth at offensive tackle this year might push him down. And the Cowboys would be very fortunate to have him with longtime left tackle Tyron Smith set to join a new team. He could move inside to guard but he’s so clean in pass protection that he deserves a shot outside first.

Green Bay Packers: Laiatu Latu, OLB, UCLA

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Latu should go higher — there’s just too many players at high-profile positions early on in this draft class. Teams might be scared off by his medicals but the Packers are a great fit for him.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

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The Bucs lost Baker Mayfield in free agency, remember, so they’ll probably sign another veteran journeyman like Drew Lock or Sam Darnold to compete for the starting job — with a first-round prospect pushing them. Nix may not be worth a first-round pick, depending on who you ask, but Tampa Bay eventually needs to share a long-term plan for life without Tom Brady with their fanbase.

Arizona Cardinals: JC Latham, RT, Alabama

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Latham looked the part at weigh-ins and moved well in field work, but he declined to participate in timed testing drills. So between that and the depth of this class he takes a tumble. Arizona should be thrilled to get a starting-quality right tackle or guard so late in the first round.

Buffalo Bills: Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri

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The Bills haven’t drafted a defensive tackle in five years — in any of the draft’s seven rounds — and that lack of depth has haunted them when teams committed to running the football. Robinson might be a little undersized for the interior at 284 pounds but he plays with a lot of power and can help Buffalo wherever he lines up.

Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

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Worthy was a star the combine for his record-breaking 40-yard dash time, but he isn’t just a “tracklete.” He can play: he scored 25 touchdown catches in college and can add a ton of juice to a Colts offense that, we shouldn’t forget, is getting Anthony Richardson back under center.

Baltimore Ravens: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

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Between his impressive final season at LSU and strong combine performance, Thomas should still go in the first round, even if the depth of this class pushes him back a ways. He’s landing in a good spot to earn a role for himself — but if the Ravens sign Michael Thomas as a free agent, he could arrive and find a great mentor, too.

San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Guyton, RT, Oklahoma

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This could be a great value pick for the 49ers, whose offensive line fell apart in the Super Bowl. Guyton may not be ready to start right away but he proved he has all the athletic tools to succeed by competing well at the combine.

Kansas City Chiefs: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

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No change from last time; if anything, this might end up being too low for McConkey. He’s an outstanding athlete with near-identical testing results to what Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson put up in recent years, and he’d be an excellent addition to the Chiefs’ receiving corps.

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