The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Benji’s 2024 NFL mock draft 1.0 (with trades)

Four quarterbacks in the top 5, Steelers make a big trade
Benji’s NFL mock draft. Graphic credit: Carson Gates

Disclaimer: all picks were made on March 15 before 6 p.m.

As we move past the NFL Combine and enjoy the big moves made in free agency, it’s only natural to now turn our attention to the 2024 NFL draft. The draft begins on April 25, and it provides the opportunity for NFL teams to select the top eligible talent from college football to help them fill their rosters.  

In this mock draft, I will be going over what I think could happen in the first round on draft night, including some big trades.


  1. Chicago Bears select Caleb Williams, Quarterback, USC

Caleb Williams, despite being the near-consensus number one overall pick, remains a controversial player for the Bears to select. Many fans are concerned with the quarterback’s attitude and would have preferred the team stick with former first-round pick Justin Fields at the quarterback position. However, if Williams reaches his potential, he could be a generational talent at his position with an elite ability to use his legs to extend plays and improvise. To me, it’s a no-brainer that Chicago will reset their quarterback clock and select Caleb Williams with the first pick.


2. Washington Commanders select Drake Maye, Quarterback, UNC

Drake Maye would be the number one overall pick in most other draft classes, and if it wasn’t for Caleb Williams, he would likely be the first pick here as well. A lot of fans are out on Maye, but I don’t understand why. Maye is an incredible talent with a great arm and great athleticism. The Commanders just traded away their starting quarterback, Sam Howell, from last year, which all but confirms this pick will be a quarterback. 


3. New England Patriots select Jayden Daniels Quarterback, LSU

The Patriots wanting to draft a quarterback at three is one of the worst-kept secrets this offseason. Jayden Daniels just came off a Heisman-Trophy-winning season at LSU with his elite scrambling ability. However, this doesn’t mean he can’t throw the ball. Daniels demonstrated a high level of accuracy and took a major step up in 2023. His biggest weakness is his willingness to take hits as a runner, which leads to potential injury concerns. Personally, I think the Patriots aren’t ready nor talented enough to draft their franchise quarterback here and should take a player like wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. who has high potential to be a generational talent at his position. That being said, I fully expect this to be a quarterback, and Daniels is the best left on the board.


4. Arizona Cardinals select Marvin Harrison Jr., Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr. is quite possibly the best player in this class. He has great size and athleticism and provides an explosive weapon for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to throw to. Arizona just traded away wide receiver Rondale Moore, making their wide receiver room leave a lot to be desired. Harrison Jr. is an instant wide receiver one in any offense and can be a difference-maker from day one. 


5. TRADE: Minnesota Vikings (via Los Angeles Chargers) select J.J. McCarthy, Quarterback, Michigan 

Trading up for a quarterback always costs a lot, so I would say the compensation would be no. 11, no. 23, a 2025 first, and a late-round pick swap for no. 5.

The Minnesota Vikings made a trade for the Houston Texans first-round pick, no. 23 via CLE, and there is no doubt in my mind that this move was made to help them trade up for a quarterback. It’s hard to predict exactly which team the Vikings would move up with, but I have the Los Angeles Chargers moving down in this mock. J.J. McCarthy is coming off of a national-championship-winning season at Michigan, but leaves some questions on the table. He wasn’t asked to throw down the field a lot at Michigan, which featured a run-heavy offense. However, he has a lot of good traits, and that’s enough for a quarterback-needy team to take a chance. McCarthy offers great athleticism and accuracy and isn’t afraid to check down with the ball. A lot of teams need quarterbacks this year, so don’t be surprised to see them go higher than expected. And with teams like the Giants, Broncos and Raiders all having potential interest in drafting a quarterback, the Vikings make a big move to jump them and take their guy. 


6. New York Giants select Malik Nabers, Wide Receiver, LSU

Malik Nabers is one of, if not the best wide receiver not named Marvin Harrison Jr. to come out of college football in the last handful of years. He creates immediate separation off the line, is an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands and his drops are kept to a minimum. The Giants absolutely need a clear-cut wide receiver one in their offense, and Nabers isn’t the consolation prize for not getting Marvin Harrison Jr. He will be a day-one weapon that Giants’ fans will fall in love with. 


7. Tennessee Titans select Joe Alt, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

Joe Alt has exceptional size for his position, being nearly 6 feet, 9 inches tall. I believe he has worked his way up to the clear best tackle in the draft, which is what the Titans could so desperately use. The team spent big to address their need for a wide receiver in free agency, so an offensive lineman at this pick makes the most sense. His awareness, age and size will make him a franchise tackle that Tennessee can continue to build around for years to come.


8. Atlanta Falcons select Dallas Turner, Edge Rusher, Alabama

This is a very offense-heavy draft class, but it seems every time I see a mock draft or read about the players in this class, Dallas Turner is always the first defensive player off the board. Turner is a freak athlete who ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He provides a great level of effort and can rush the passer and stop the run at an elite rate. The Atlanta offense has a lot of great pieces, and now that they’ve acquired QB Kirk Cousins, who was having an MVP-type season before injury in 2023, they need to turn their attention to the other side of the ball.


9. TRADE: Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears) select Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Offensive Tackle, Penn State

With the Raiders only moving up a few spots, I have them sending the Bears no. 13, a fourth-round pick and a seventh for no. 9.

Rumor has it that once the offensive linemen start going off the board on draft night, they’re going to go fast. In this scenario, the Las Vegas Raiders trade up with the Chicago Bears to select arguably the best pass-protecting offensive lineman, Olu Fashanu from Penn State. Fashanu is an outstanding player, though he is young and still developing at the position. This doesn’t stop the Raiders from moving up four spots to make sure they’re able to take him over a team like the Jets.


10. New York Jets select Taliese Fuaga, Offensive Tackle, Oregon State

There have been a lot of rumors linking Fuaga to the Jets, and despite the team trading for former Baltimore Raven Morgan Moses, I think the Jets will stick at number 10 and take their guy. He is quick in the pass game and dominant in the run, providing flexibility as to where he plays on the line. Like a couple of other tackles in this class, Fuaga could play either side of the line or slide in and play guard if needed.


11. Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota Vikings) select Rome Odunze, Wide Receiver, Washington

After trading back from the fifth overall pick, the Los Angeles Chargers take a wide receiver, which should be surprising to nobody. The Chargers just traded away their best receiver Keenan Allen and released their second-best receiver, Mike Williams. Apart from their quarterback, Justin Herbert, the Chargers have one of the worst offenses in the league. Rome Odunze is an incredible talent at receiver with elite size and athleticism. He is a fantastic route runner with great hands and has the ability to make defenders miss after the catch. If Los Angeles has any hopes of moving the ball down the field this season, they need a playmaker like Odunze.


12. TRADE: Pittsburgh Steelers (via Denver Broncos) select JC Latham, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

I have the Steelers sending Denver no. 20, a third, and a 2025 fifth for no. 12 and a fourth.

Here we see another trade, this time the Pittsburgh Steelers moving up to select an offensive lineman, very similar to the move they made in the 2023 draft where they traded up to draft Broederick Jones out of Georgia. Latham possesses an elite amount of physicality at the position with the ability to make quick recoveries and quickly end a pass rush. He shows great talent in the run game as well, which will benefit the Steelers former first-round pick Najee Harris. Latham does show some inconsistencies in his awareness, but with some development can easily become a top tackle in the league.


13. Chicago Bears (via Las Vegas Raiders) select Jared Verse, Edge Rusher, Florida State

I’ve had the Bears taking a receiver with this pick throughout most of the pre-draft process, however, with the acquisition of Keenan Allen from the Chargers, I think Chicago uses this pick to address the other side of the ball. Jared Verse is one of my personal favorite defensive players in this class. He’s the type of player that can make a day-one difference in any defense, and that is what the Bears could use. His ability to charge through tackles to get to the quarterback will make him a real threat to opposing offenses and will be a productive pass rusher for any team that drafts him. 


14. New Orleans Saints select Amarius Mims, Offensive Tackle, Georgia

Amarius Mims is gigantic. At the Combine, the Georgia tackle measured in at 6 foot, 7 inches tall, 340 pounds, and displayed great athleticism for his size. The biggest knock against Mims is his lack of experience. He has only started in eight games in his career at Georgia, partially due to injury. That being said, Mims possesses the ability to be able to set his feet and hold up against defenders in both the run and the pass. There is a bit of risk with this selection due to inexperience, however, Mims possesses all the tools to become a day-one difference-maker. 


15. Indianapolis Colts select Quinyon Mitchell, Cornerback, Toledo 

Indianapolis definitely has a type when it comes to the draft. The Colts love to draft players who have great size and speed, prioritizing the developmental athletes with a low floor, high ceiling over the less athletic, higher floor and lower ceiling type players. Mitchell is no exception with elite size and speed for a defensive back. He is great in coverage with the ability to recover against double moves. He has great ball skills as well, recording five interceptions in 2022. 


16. Seattle Seahawks select Troy Fautanu, Offensive Lineman, Washington

I have offensive lineman Troy Fautanu staying in Washington and going to the Seahawks. Fautanu played left tackle for the Huskies last season and had a great season. He is an excellent pass blocker, being able to redirect defenders easily. The Seahawks need help on their offensive line, and Fautanu offers great flexibility to play wherever he is needed on the line, with many teams profiling him as a guard rather than a tackle. 


17. Jacksonville Jaguars select Terrion Arnold, Cornerback, Alabama

Despite having Quinyon Mitchell selected ahead of him, I think Arnold might be the best cornerback prospect in the class. He plays with great instincts and ball productivity. He is a reliable tackler and is great at anticipating the routes he’s covering. The Jaguars need help in their secondary, and Terrion Arnold provides just that. 


18. Cincinnati Bengals select Brian Thomas Jr., Wide Receiver, LSU

This wide receiver class has the potential to go down as one of the best in NFL history. Brian Thomas Jr. led college football in touchdowns last year and provides an explosive level of speed and athleticism for the Bengals. Cincinnati lost Tyler Boyd in free agency, and Tee Higgins has requested a trade. While I don’t think they’ll be willing to move on from Higgins, that doesn’t stop them from adding the type of talent that Thomas Jr. provides to their offense. Having a wide receiver room that consists of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Brian Thomas Jr. is going to be a pain for any team in the league to try and game plan around.


19. Los Angeles Rams select Byron Murphy Jr., Defensive Tackle, Texas

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year, 10-time Pro Bowler and future hall of fame defensive tackle Aaron Donald has just retired. The Rams could use a lot of talent at a lot of positions because, despite them making the playoffs last season, they lack a lot of young, promising players that can be the future of their team. Byron Murphy Jr. out of Texas is a fantastic player and provides an elite level of pass rush for the Rams. While it would be nearly impossible to replace the impact that Aaron Donald has had in the last 10 years, the Rams can try and fill in the gap with Murphy Jr.


20. Denver Broncos (via Pittsburgh Steelers) select Nate Wiggins, Cornerback, Clemson

The Denver Broncos could use some help in the secondary to go alongside former first-round pick Patrick Surtain II. Nate Wiggins has exceptional length and speed. He is efficient and is able to locate the ball down the field. Wiggins has great potential but also comes with concerns. At the NFL Combine, he weighed in at 173 pounds, which is extremely light for a player listed at 6 foot, 1 inch. There are also concerns with his abilities in man coverage and in run defense. However, he remains the best cornerback on the board, and his 4.28 40-yard dash and potential to develop makes him a first-round pick.


21. Miami Dolphins select Xavier Worthy, Wide Receiver, Texas

Speaking of elite speed, Xavier Worthy has plenty of it. The Texas receiver broke the record for the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, running a 4.21. I don’t think that Worthy is the best receiver available at this point, and I prefer guys like Adonai Mitchell and Keon Coleman, but the Dolphins clearly love building their team around high-speed players, and who better than the fastest receiver in the draft?


22. Philadelphia Eagle select Jackson Powers-Johnson, Center, Oregon

This pick seems pretty easy if Jackson Powers-Johnson makes it to pick 22. Long time Eagles center Jason Kelce recently retired. If I’m Philly, I’m looking to not skip a beat and replace him with the best center in this draft class. There aren’t a whole lot of flaws in Powers-Johnson’s game, and he has played all three interior positions on the line if the Eagles want to move him around. 


23. Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota Vikings) select Brock Bowers, Tight End, Georgia

The Chargers are back on the clock, and here they take another offensive weapon. This time, they go with the top tight end on the board, Brock Bowers. Bowers is a great athlete at the tight end position, offering incredible versatility. Bowers can be used as a weapon in many ways: as a vertical threat, catching screens, as a safety blanket for Justin Herbert and even as a running back. He is a great blocker as well, though he does struggle a bit against defensive ends. In the Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman system in LA, the tight end position is going to be essential, so why not draft a generational-level talent at 23?


24. Dallas Cowboys select Graham Barton, Offensive Lineman, Duke

Graham Barton is another one of these linemen who offers versatility on the line. He Barton can even take snaps at the center position, where I likely see Dallas moving him. He does a great job defending against the run and shows great production in combo blocks. While he does need to work on his ability to block against power rushers, he manages to provide the quarterback time to get rid of the ball. 


25. TRADE: Denver Broncos (via Green Bay Packers) select Bo Nix, QuarterBack, Oregon

In this scenario Denver sends Green Bay a third round pick and a 2025 second in exchange for no. 25 and a 2025 fifth.

This pick is one that I’m not super confident about, but I feel even less confident in the Broncos’ current quarterback room. Bo Nix is an older prospect, having played college football for five years. Between his experience and his intelligence on the field, I do think Nix is the exact kind of quarterback that Broncos’ coach Sean Payton is looking for. He is accurate and smart with the football and can be an effective runner when he needs to be. While I’m not sure if Nix makes it into the first round on draft night, in this scenario I have the Broncos moving up with the picks acquired in the hypothetical Steelers trade to get their potential franchise quarterback.


26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Kool-Aid McKinstry, Cornerback, Alabama

At the start of this year’s draft process, Kool-Aid McKinstry was widely regarded as the top cornerback prospect in the class. As the year went on, other players rose up the board and took over the CB1 hype, but that doesn’t mean McKinstry is a bad player. He is a reliable tackler and does well to find the ball in the air. He does lack some downfield speed and urgency, but I don’t think this will prevent him from being a first-round pick, especially if he makes it to a team like the Buccaneers who could use some help at corner.


27. Arizona Cardinals select Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Cornerback, Missouri 

Ennis Rakestraw Jr. might be a name a lot of fans aren’t super familiar with, but he’s a physical player with lots of energy and a fantastic defender against the run. Some people may not be enamored with the way he performed at the Combine, but I don’t think he will let the team down. Rakestraw is the type of player that typically performs well at the next level, and I can see him adding a lot to the Cardinals’ secondary, which could use a lot of help. 


28. Buffalo Bills select Cooper DeJean, Defensive Back, Iowa

Cooper DeJean can play both cornerback and safety at the next level. He has great size and speed and showed incredible production while in school. He’s an excellent blitzer and has become a reliable defender in run support. I imagine he makes the transition to safety for the Bills, who released both members of its outstanding safety duo, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, in the offseason.


29. Detroit Lions select Laiatu Latu, Edge Rusher, UCLA

Laiatu Latu may be the best pass rusher in the class with his fantastic understanding of technique. The reason he falls to the Lions here is simple, medical concerns. Latu had to medically retire from football at Washington due to injuries, and it appears some concerns still remain after testing at the Combine. However, due to his talent as a player, I see a team like the Lions being willing to take a shot on the high upside of Laiatu Latu. 


30. Baltimore Ravens select Chop Robinson, Edge Rusher, Penn State

Robinson is a developmental type of player who has a lot of potential. He’s a very raw prospect that needs time to learn, however, he has a lot of promise. His combination of power and speed to rush the passer makes him a disruptive player. Although he might not account for a lot of sacks, he makes his presence known. He’s also shown the ability and comfort to drop back into coverage if asked. Baltimore is a great spot for Robinson to arrive and develop.


31. San Francisco 49ers select Tyler Guyton, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

This is a good year to need an offensive lineman as the class runs deep. Tyler Guyton falls to the 49ers at this pick, and I don’t think they’re too upset about that. Guyton is an explosive pass protector with all the right traits to be a solid starter in the league. He does have a slight lack of experience, having only 15 starts in four years, but with some time to develop he’ll be fine. 


32. Kansas City Chiefs select Adonai Mitchell, Wide Receiver, Texas

The Chiefs just signed receiver Marquise Brown who possesses great speed and a deep threat for Patrick Mahomes. However, that does not stop Kansas City from drafting another weapon in their attempt to win their third Super Bowl in a row. Adonai Mitchell has great size and provides the Chiefs with a fantastic red-zone threat. He is a route runner, though he does not provide much production after the catch. His occasional lack of effort when he assumes the ball is going elsewhere also raises some concerns, though with a coach like Andy Reid and a good chance to win a championship in year one, Mitchell will be a great player for the Chiefs. 

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  • R

    RyanMar 20, 2024 at 11:15 pm

    I agree 100%

  • C

    CJ KeelerMar 20, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    Great analysis!