NFL

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Who’s the first non-quarterback drafted?

Apr 18, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: 10:29 am

Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans drops back and looks to throw a pass during the first half of...

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 18: Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans drops back and looks to throw a pass during the first half of a game against the UCLA Bruins at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 18, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

It’s that time of year everyone, draft season!

While the Sacramento Kings are fighting for the final playoff spot this week, the football world is starting to heat up. The 2024 NFL Draft will kick off from Detroit, MI on April 25th, with draft hopefuls realizing their dreams of playing in the NFL.

But before we officially get there, time to predict where the best prospects will go. So without further ado, here is Sactown Sports’ first NFL Mock Draft of the 2024 offseason.

1. QB Caleb Williams – Chicago Bears via Carolina Panthers 

College: USC

The worst-kept secret in all of football: Caleb Williams to the Windy City.

The 2022 Hesiman Trophy winner may be the best quarterback prospect in quite some times, seen as a true franchise-changing talent. And thanks to last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers, the Bears get to add him to their roster, alongside their own ninth overall pick.

Sometimes, luck is all you need to turn around your franchise. Let’s see if Williams is ready to take Chicago out of the dumps of the NFL in Year 1.

2. QB Jayden Daniels – Washington Commanders 

College: LSU

Now the draft really begins!

The chose between Daniels and Drake Maye will be debated up until Roger Goodell is on stage with the pick. But in the end, the new-look Commanders go with the more polished Jayden Daniels for their future.

The reigning Hesiman Trophy winner had one of the best collegiate seasons in recent memory. He finished with 3,812 passing yards and 40 touchdowns. Daniels’ has been on fire since he joined the SEC however, combining for 6,725 yards and 57 scores in two years.

His improvement in accuracy across the five years in college (particularly the last two with LSU) are what make him such an intriguing prospect. In top of that, he’s an great athlete, able to extend plays with his legs.

New Commanders’ general manager Adam Peters will appreciate all of those qualities. While he was with the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan, SF was rumored to be in on Justin Fields.

This could be seen as a similar situation. Except, Peters is calling the shots now.

The 24-year-old dual-threat QB heads to The Capitol.

3. QB Drake Maye – New England Patriots 

College: North Carolina

The Patriots get the last pick of the top-three gunslingers but it’s the one they wanted all along.

Drake Maye is the best quarterback prospect New England will have since Tom Brady. And yet, his game is reminiscent of Josh Allen in college.

Maye, 21, is a young, athletic QB who has all the traits to be a franchise player. His physical stature (6’5″, 220 pounds) coupled with his athleticism makes him most team’s ideal epitome for the position.

Yes, he’s a little green with inconsistency (sub-65% completion last season), but he wasn’t in the best situation at North Carolina. Being in a structured environment full of pedigree should help Maye find his footing.

Jerrod Mayo gets his young gunslinger to jump-start the first rebuild without Bill Belichick.

4. [TRADE] QB J.J. McCarthy –Minnesota Vikings via Arizona Cardinals 

College: Michigan

Here we go, the first trade of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Minnesota moves up from No.11 to No.4 to take their QB of the future. And Arizona is the team that plays ball, taking the 11th and 23rd picks this year, plus an additional fourth-rounder, and a second-rounder in 2025. The Vikings will look to get an additional third or fourth-round pick in 2024, but at least this gets them where they need to go.

And with that trade, the Vikings take J.J. McCarthy.

Now that Kirk Cousins is in Atlanta, Kevin O’Connell and Co. have to hit reset, hoping the Michigan product can ease those concerns from the jump.

McCarthy’s numbers aren’t eye-popping by any means (less than 3,000 yards passing every year), but his accuracy and overall feel of the game propels him into a top-five selection. Additionally, the draft process went smoothly for him, showing out on his Pro Day last month.

Being under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh, and winning a national championship, makes him a pro-ready gunslinger who can compete for the starting job on Day 1.

It’s a big swing move for Minnesota, but one they probably have to make.

5. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. – Los Angeles Chargers 

College: Ohio State

When the Chargers got rid of both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams this offseason, the league was stupified. Who is Justin Herbert throwing the ball to?

Well, Marvin Harrison Jr. is a damn good start.

LA waits out the QB carousel, electing to stay put and draft the first wideout of the 2024 class. And they get the best one at that.

Harrison has been ready-made for the NFL for two years now, dominating college football along the way. He has all the tools to be a Pro Bowl WR from Day 1. Length, size, speed, hands, demeanor; It’s all there for the son of a hall of famer. And that’s something Herbert will be most excited about moving forward.

The first pick under the Jim Harbaugh era is a big one.

6. WR Malik Nabers – New York Giants 

College: Louisiana State 

When it rains it pours, with the Giants taking the second wideout of the 2024 NFL Draft in Malik Nabers.

Nabers is a burner, possessing elite speed (4.35 40-yard-dash) that New York hasn’t had in quite some time. He’s more than just speed though, equipped with elite hands and an ability to go get the football with physicality. In some cases, he’s the No.1 WR in the 2024 NFL draft class.

The Giants made calls to try and trade up for one of the three QBs. Ultimately, they stand pat, rebuild the roster in other ways, and let Daniel Jones play through his deal.  Coming off a disappointing injury-ridden season, Jones is playing for his next deal in 2024. Adding Nabers can only help him reach that.

7. OT Joe Alt – Tennesse Titans 

College: Norte Dame

The Titans may be a team on the rise, but in order to do that, they need some protection.

Insert Joe Alt.

The Notre Dame alum is a plug-and-play left tackle at the NFL level and should be considered that if Tennessee does indeed select him. He has all the makings of being an All-Pro down the line, and the perfect Taylor Lewan replacement for the Titans. 2024 should be about protecting Will Levis and surrounding him with talent.

GM Ran Carthon has done a good job in doing that so far; The Alt addition only solidifies that.

8. EDGE Dallas Turner – Atlanta Falcons

College: Alabama

It’s crazy to say this but: The Falcons are potentially back in the NFC South. Adding Dallas Turner could be the final puzzle piece for a run next season.

Just like Will Anderson a year ago, Turner is the ready-made defensive end prospect from Alabama that Atlanta is clamoring over. He racked up 22.5 sacks, 32.5 tackles for loss and 120 total tackles in three years of college ball.  He also had two forced fumbles and one pass break-up.

Simply put: Turner is ready to wreck shop as soon as he puts pen to paper on an NFL contract.

Adding him to Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata gives ATL real firepower on the DL, and they’ll need that to make a run in the NFC. New QB Kirk Cousins gives the Falcons a shot offensively, and new coach Raheem Morris will be tasked with turning the defense into a machine.

Dallas Turner can be a catalyst for that over the next five to ten years.

9. WR Rome Odunze – Chicago Bears 

College: Washington

How ’bout some more firepower for the new-look Bears.

Adding Rome Odunze to a WR room of D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen seems unfair for the rest of the NFC North and for the rest of the league for that matter. He compliments his counterparts well in this scenario, being the physical big-body wideout that can go make a contested catch. And just like Nabers, Odunze is seen by many as the best WR in the class.

The Bears’ defense was a highlight a year prior and will be further enhanced later in the draft. Having two picks in the top 10 should be about adding the best prospect possible. Because of that, Chicago is elated to take the Washington Huskie here.

There are no excuses for Caleb Williams, even in Year 1.

10. TE Brock Bowers – New York Jets

College: Georgia

Maybe the swing pick of the first round outside of the QBs, the Jets have a tough decision ahead. But in the end, it’s about adding ready-now weapons for Aaron Rodgers. That’s Brock Bowers to a tee.

The best tight end in college, Bowers is seen in the mold of George Kittle. The do-it-all player posted excellent stats at Georgia (2,538 receiving yards and 26 TDs in three years) while also being an every-down contributor one way or another. New York can use more of those players, providing a safety net for Rodgers.

Bowers immediately becomes the starter at the position, adding to a pass-catching group that makes any QB happy. Additionally, the Jets added a plethora of offensive linemen in free agency, suggesting that they prefer veterans to protect Rodgers.

They can still address long-term needs later, but for now, Bowers is the best player available for NYJ.

11. [TRADE] EDGE Laiatu Latu –Arizona Cardinals via Minnesota Vikings

College: UCLA

The Cardinals traded back to address more needs in the first round. First up: Pass Rusher.

Laiatu Latu may be a surprise pick here, but not to those who have watched his rise up draft boards this spring. The Sacramento native possesses elite speed (4.64 40-time), size and production to make him a very viable pick for AZ. He can play inside and out but is elite at getting after the quarterback.

GM Monti Ossenfort keeps chipping away at the rebuild for the Cardinals.

12. EDGE Jared Verse – Denver Broncos 

College: Florida State

With the four best QB prospects off the board, Denver goes in another direction by adding a pass rusher.

Jared Verse also has the makings of an elite DE, both in traits and in production. He produced plenty at Florida State, with 18 sacks, 29.5 TFLs and 89 total tackles in two seasons. The Florida State alum can play across the line, but is best when going after the QB.

Sean Payton needs more of those more than he needs a QB at this rate. They could address that problem later in the draft as well.

13. QB Michael Penix Jr. – Las Vegas Raiders 

College: Washington

The Raiders can go in a lot of directions here. However, Antonio Pierce should be thinking QB here and that means Michael Penix in this scenario.

Penix has the skillset and resume to be a starting QB in the NFL. Yes, his mechanics are a little funky. And yes, he has a lengthy injury. However, his pros should outweigh the cons. Those include finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting and making the National Championship last season.

The 23-year-old QB feels like a Raider, and more importantly, an Antonio Pierce guy.

14. OT Taliese Fuaga – New Orleans Saints 

College: Oregon State

The Saints have the weapons and roster to win the NFC South, they just have to keep Derek Carr upright.

That’s why Taliese Fuaga is the pick here, a plug-and-play tackle from the jump. And that’s what matters right now for New Orleans.

15. CB Terrion Arnold – Indianapolis Colts

College: Alabama

The first cornerback comes off the board and heads to Indy.

Terrion Arnold is seen as the presumptive best prospect for the position, possessing the size and speed to become a franchise player in a few years. The Alabama product posted 20 pass breakups, 108 total tackles and six INTs in two seasons. He stepped up greatly when fellow CB Kool-Aid McKinstry was struggling with inconsistency.

There are a lot of options in the secondary, but pairing a true CB1 with the best slot corner (Kenny Moore III) should work nicely for the Colts.

16. DL Byron Murphy II – Seattle Seahawks 

College: Texas

Now the first interior defensive lineman come off the board.

Byron Murphy is exactly what the Seahawks need: A run-stopping mauler who can make plays in and out of the backfield. The Texas alum had a big combine after rock-solid production in college.

Pairing him with Leonard Williams on the DL gives Seattle a formidable presence for years to come.

17. CB Quinyon Mitchell – Jacksonville Jaguars 

College: Toledo

Jacksonville has a lot of options here, with the offensive line being a priority as well. However, they need a new shutdown corner.

In comes Quinyon Mitchell.

The Toledo product quickly rose up draft boards this cycle, largely due to the body of work in the MAC conference.

Mitchell racked up 45 pass break-ups in college, doing so in his last three seasons. He also had 123 total tackles and six INTs. His combine metrics were exceptional as well, posting a 4.33 40-time.

It may take a little time to adjust to the NFL stage, but Mitchell can be a set-it-and-forget-it player down the line for the Jags.

18. OT JC Latham – Cincinnati Bengals  

College: Alabama

This is pretty simple actually: Protect Joe Burrow at all costs.

Alabama’s JC Latham does that, both in the pass and run game. At the very least, he’s the Bengals’ next right tackle for years to come. Hopefully, he can make the jump to left tackle as well.

19. OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu – Los Angeles Rams

College: Penn State

Change out Burrow for Stafford and it’s basically the same thing for the Rams.

Penn State’s Fashanu was projected to be the first OT taken a few months back, but an average combine made him take a bit of a dip this cycle. LA is fine with that, however, snagging a premium OL at a position of need to keep Stafford upright.

20. OT Troy Fautanu – Pittsburgh Steelers

College: Washington

Let’s make it three OTs in a row!

Fautanu is another standout OT, both due to production and traits that translate to the next level. On top of that, he’s versatile, able to play inside at guard as well.

For those reasons, he doesn’t make it past 20th overall. The Steelers are thrilled to add another quality OL with versatility.

21. DT Jer’Zhan Newton – Miami Dolphins 

College: Illinois

Miami suffered a mass exodus of talent this offseason, none bigger than DT Christian Wilkins. Which is why they have to add a Day 1 starter like Jer’Zhan Newton.

The Illinois product is a wrecking ball, racking up 187 total tackles and 18 sacks in four seasons. If not for injury, his play alone probably makes him the first interior DL off the board.

But alas, a Jones fracture in his foot hindered his ability to build this draft cycle. The Dolphins reload with a quality defensive piece.

22. CB Nate Wiggins – Philadelphia Eagles

College: Clemson

The Eagles have a few holes to fill this offseason, especially at center now that Jason Kelce has retired. However, they should address the secondary and bring in a CB under the age of 30.

Nate Wiggins may be more of a project in Year 1, but he has the tools to be starting CB for years. His numbers at Clemson were good (21 PBUs, 60 total tackles, three picks) in two and and half seasons. However, he did suffer an injury that kept him out the last two games of his collegiate career.

The combine redeemed him though, posting a killer 4.28 40-time. He has the body type to be a stud outside corner, but he’ll need to bulk up before he takes a real leap (173 pounds).

Even still, Philly shouldn’t hesitate too much with this pick.

23. [TRADE] WR Brian Thomas Jr. –Arizona Cardinals via Minnesota Vikings

College: Louisiana State

The Cardinals moved back in the draft, adding a starting edge rusher and now a WR1 in Brian Thomas.

Thomas was a stud alongside Nabers at LSU, recording 1177 receiving yards and 17 TDs last season. At 6’5″, he is a force on the outside, able to make contested catches with ease. He also has the speed to run as well, posting a 4.33 40-time.

AZ lights up when they see his name still on the board, giving QB Kyler Murray a real weapon for the future.

24. OL Graham Barton – Dallas Cowboys 

College: BYU

The Cowboys need to get younger on the offensive line. The departure of Tyron Smith only solidifies more of a need there.

BYU’s Graham Barton can be a Swiss Army knife as a rookie but will be mainly used as a guard throughout his career. He played 35 games in college so he’s battle-tested to a degree. That will help his initial fit with Dallas, looking to bolster a line that has historically been elite.

There are other options at this spot, but Dallas needs a plug-and-play guard for the long haul.

25. OT Amarius Mims – Green Bay Packers 

College: Georgia

Now that David Bakhtiari is no longer in Green Bay, the Packers need a replacement. How ’bout the immovable object that is Amarius Mims?

The Georgia product is staggering in size (6’7″, 330 lbs), but also fluid and quick in his movement. He posted a 5.97 40-time, with a 1.78 10-yard split. At that size, that’s absurd. He’s an excellent run blocker and a growing pass protector, making him the perfect guy to keep QB Jordan Love clean long-term.

Green Bay could be looking at a run in. 2024, with Mims being a catalyst to increased production.

26. CB Kool-Aid McKinstry – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

College: Alabama

The Buccaneers have lost quality CBs the last few years, now they add one in Kool-Aid McKinstry.

The Alabama product would have been the top secondary member taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, posting 15 PBUs as a sophomore. As a junior, he had more of a down season, dropping to seven PBUs total. McKinstry is still a prototypical player for the position, even if he’s coming off a lower-body injury.

For Tampa, the rookie can slot in to a starting role from Day 1 opposite of Jamal Dean.

27. CB Cooper DeJean – Arizona Cardinals via Houston Texans 

College: Iowa

With the Cardinals’ last pick in the first round, they take the consensus No.1 secondary prospect in Cooper DeJean.

The Iowa product suffers a drop because of functional positioning in the NFL. Teams will be a bit confused about what his ideal role is at first, but Jonathan Gannon loves do-it-all guys like DeJean.

His numbers dipped his last season in college, but he finished with 120 total tackles and seven picks to his name. He’s also coming off an injury, but he proved that’s behind him with a 4.42 40-time at his Pro Day.

Arizona just needs contributors on defense, especially in the secondary. DeJean can be that and more, learning a lot from Budda Baker in the process.

28. WR Adonai Mitchell – Buffalo Bills

College: Texas

Trading Stefon Diggs and letting Gabe Davis walk is a clear indicator that Buffalo is looking into wideouts in the draft. They take a true burner in Adonai Mitchell.

Mitchell’s lone year at Texas propels him into the first round, putting top 834 receiving yards and 11 scores last season. His size and speed only increase his case, getting compared to George Pickens by some analysts.

The Bills need to give John Allen more weapons; This is a start.

29. EDGE Chop Robinson – Detroit Lions

College: Penn State

The Lions under Dan Campbell have been known to be bold, as is the case here with Chop Robinson.

Robinson wasn’t the most productive at Penn State (11.5 sacks total in three years) but his size and physical attributes make NFL scouts salivate. Posting a 4.48 40-time is unreal for an edge rusher weighing 254 lbs. The athleticism alone resembles that of Micah Parsons, which again, makes sense as to why he gets taken here.

Campbell already has one freak on the edge in Aidan Hutchinson, why not add another?

30. OT Tyler Guyton – Baltimore Ravens

College: Oklahoma

The Ravens are set in pretty much every position, except quality OTs to back up the starters. Tyler Guyton fills that need immediately.

The Oklahoma product has every intangible to be elite, he just needs time to adjust to the NFL level. Learning the ropes in Baltimore is ideal for the All-American, especially if he doesn’t have to start right away. Additionally, protecting Lamar Jackson should be a priority for the Ravens.

Guyton checks a lot of boxes to ensure a great 2024 season for the reigning MVP.

31. OT Jordan Morgan – San Francisco 49ers 

College: Arizona

If there’s one area the 49ers need to address: It’s the offensive line, especially the right side.

That was the biggest concern for SF prior to last season, and then it reared its’ ugly head in the Super Bowl as Brock Purdy scrambled for his life. 2024 is a time to change that, and Jordan Morgan is the man tasked to do so.

Making his first All-American in 2023, Morgan has blossomed for Arizona the last two years. He’s played 22 games in that timeframe, mainly at tackle. He’s quite versatile as well, able to slide inside to guard when needed. That versatility makes him very intriguing for coach Chris Forester and the 49ers.

As long as he is still on the board at this spot, this feels like the pick for SF (at least conventional).

32. WR Xavier Worthy – Kansas City Chiefs

College: Texas

Giving Patrick Mahomes weapons sounds like a good idea for KC. None are more suited for that situation than Xavier Worthy.

Breaking the combine record with a 4.21 40-time gives him true Tyreek Hill vibes for the Super Bowl champs. Worthy would also serve as the de facto return man moving forward, something Andy Reid wants more consistency from.

This feels like too much of a match made in heaven.

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • April 15 First Day of Voluntary Workouts
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit
  • May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31–OTAs
  • June 4-6 Mandatory Minicamp

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