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Mock Draft

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Gennaro Filice 2024 NFL mock draft 2.0: Jets go get Rome Odunze; Pats, Raiders trade back into Round 1

Here's the funny thing about the pre-draft process: The closer you get to the actual event, the more you question how it'll actually play out.

It's information overload -- and not all intel is created equally. Because it's lying season, baby! Smokescreens aplenty!

So, that explains why I've lost my mind and projected five trades in this first-round simulation. I'm grasping at straws here, people, just trying to survive the long march to draft day. Give me some grace, dammit!

OK, enough obnoxious self-pity. Go ahead and tear apart my picks now.

Chicago Bears
(via CAR)
Caleb Williams
USC · QB · Junior

The pre-draft process is fertile ground for opposing viewpoints and hypothetical fever dreams, so it’s a testament to Williams’ separation from the rest of a hyped quarterback class that he remains locked into the No. 1 slot across the mockosphere. Caleb’s inevitability is a cold shower to hot takes.

Drake Maye
North Carolina · QB · Sophomore (RS)

New general manager Adam Peters has kept Washington’s plans close to the vest, creating an information vacuum that MUST BE FILLED by outside speculation. Inherently, we’ve spent the past couple months spinning our wheels on this pick, discussing Jayden Daniels and even J.J. McCarthy as possible selections. But what if the initial hypothesis was right all along? What if the tape munchers are over-scrutinizing Maye’s throw-to-throw accuracy. What if the Commanders are quietly smitten with the raw upside of a 21-year-old with prototypical size, athleticism and arm strength? Remember how many people overthought C.J. Stroud in the lead-up to last year’s draft? Could this be déjà vu at No. 2?

Jayden Daniels
LSU · QB · Senior

New England could probably trade this pick for a bounty, but to what end? What is this team’s identity? Bill Belichick isn’t walking through that door. Tom Brady hasn’t done so for years. The most successful American sports franchise of the 21st century just bottomed out, and it felt shockingly unshocking. Time to jump-start the Patriots with a new breed of quarterback, one who can provide microwave offense to a roster that sorely lacks firepower.

Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State · WR · Junior

Sometimes the best decisions are the easiest ones to make. After bouncing around last April’s first round before eventually submitting his inaugural draft pick as Cardinals general manager, Monti Ossenfort can just stick and pick the top prospect at a glaring position of need.

J.J. McCarthy
Michigan · QB · Junior


After guiding Jim Harbaugh’s old team to a national title, McCarthy nets the coach’s new team two first-rounders for the price of one. Minnesota’s a fine landing spot for J.J., too, with the coach, the pass catchers, the offensive line and perhaps even the patience -- depending on how the Vikings view Sam Darnold -- to foster the 21-year-old’s development at a prudent pace. Everybody wins!

Malik Nabers
LSU · WR · Junior

The general manager poured some cold water on outside perception of Big Blue being in the quarterback market, but in our defense, it kind of felt like the call was coming from inside the house, with open QB chatter from the head coach and the head honcho. Of course, ALL discussion of the position could just be a Giant ruse to further induce a trade-up that inherently helps deliver a coveted non-QB to New York.

Rome Odunze
Washington · WR · Senior


Having aggressively upgraded the roster via free agency and a pair of trades, the Jets are clearly going for it in Take 2 of the Aaron Rodgers experience. So, with few obvious needs remaining, what’s stopping Joe Douglas from carrying this energy into the draft? New York fills the third-round hole on Tennessee’s draft docket by flipping the rebuilding Titans Pick No. 72, thus allowing the Jets to leapfrog the Bears and snag the last of the Big Three wideouts. Remember: Mike Williams is a) coming off a torn ACL and b) on a one-year deal. Thus, Odunze gives Gang Green a) valuable insurance for 2024 and b) a dynamic complement to Garrett Wilson for years to come.

Dallas Turner
Alabama · Edge · Junior

Wanna know why you’re seeing this pairing so often in mocks across the interwebs? Since John Abraham’s release in the 2013 offseason, exactly one Falcon has posted double-digit sacks: Vic Beasley in the Super Bowl season of 2016. Turner’s explosive juice and insane wingspan are special traits.

Joe Alt
Notre Dame · OT · Junior

With the top three receivers off the board, GM Ryan Poles gives No. 1 pick Caleb Williams a 6-foot-9 wall to man the blind side opposite last year’s top-10 tackle, Darnell Wright. Shane Waldron’s offense has the raw materials to complement Matt Eberflus’ defense, meaning the Bears could be poised for a Texans-like rise.

Brock Bowers
Georgia · TE · Junior


After trading down a few slots to accumulate a third-round pick for his rebuilding team, GM Ran Carthon still has plenty of enticing options at offensive tackle, widely viewed as Tennessee’s greatest position of need. Then again, one of the added bonuses of hiring Brian Callahan was that the new head coach brought along his dad, Bill, who just happens to be one of the best offensive line coaches in football. With that in mind, do the Titans need to snag one of the elite OTs, or could they take advantage of the class’ depth at the position and wait until Pick No. 38?

OK, full disclosure: I’m hell bent on Bowers being a top-10 pick, one way or another, and this was my last chance to project this notion. Not to mention, we already know Brock’s down with Nashville.

JC Latham
Alabama · OT · Junior


A highly pedigreed, gargantuan mauler of a right tackle? Sounds like a perfect first pick of the Jim Harbaugh era in Los Angeles.

Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · CB · Senior


The Jaguars fly up the board -- notably leapfrogging the cornerback-needy Raiders -- to get their pick of the CB litter. Yes, it’s the senior cover man out of Toledo. And no, it isn’t surprising. Mitchell absolutely crushed the pre-draft process.

Terrion Arnold
Alabama · CB · Sophomore (RS)

Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce has apparently taken a liking to Arnold. The former five-star safety recruit is still learning the ropes of life on the island, but he offers all of the tangibles (size, play speed, physicality, ball skills) and intangibles (football IQ, infectious energy, irrational confidence) that you want at the position.

Taliese Fuaga
Oregon State · OT · Senior

2017 first-rounder Ryan Ramczyk has a body that’s failing him. 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning has a game that’s failing the Saints. Thus, 2024 feels like high time to go back to the tackle well in Round 1. Some project Fuaga as an NFL guard, but as a good company man, I ride with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks in championing the Oregon State product’s edge-blocking ability.

Byron Murphy II
Texas · DT · Junior

The defensive tackle market has skyrocketed over the past two offseasons, with 10 players inking contracts that pay them an average of at least $21 million per season. Indianapolis signed underrated space eater Grover Stewart to a more palatable extension this offseason ($39 million over three years, per Over The Cap), but DeForest Buckner is heading into a contract year, and he’s the pricier, pass-rushing component of the Colts’ DT duo. (UPDATE: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Colts and Buckner have agreed to a two-year extension worth $46 million.) At just over six feet tall, Murphy’s an extremely different body type than the towering Buckner, but the twitchy Texas product can supply the same kind of 3-tech disruption.

Troy Fautanu
Washington · OL · Senior

Seattle needs help on the offensive line. New offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb knows a guy -- and he’s local! Fautanu could follow Grubb from the University of Washington to the Seahawks and immediately fill a need on the interior, while also offering the versatility to kick outside if necessary.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu
Penn State · OT · Junior (RS)


After trading down to net a second-round pick -- something the Broncos don’t currently have in the real world, which could be problematic if they’re interested in a QB like Bo Nix -- Denver scoops up an athletic pass protector who still needs some refinement as a run blocker. With left tackle Garett Bolles entering a contract season, Denver fortifies an expensive position via a cheap rookie contract.

Amarius Mims
Georgia · OT · Junior

At 6-foot-7 3/4 and 340 pounds with 36 1/8-inch arms and 11 1/4-inch hands, Mims looks like he was built in an OT lab. The rub? He only started eight games at Georgia. No worries for Cincinnati. The Bengals signed Trent Brown to a one-year deal in free agency, so they could take their time with the rookie before eventually deploying him opposite LT Orlando Brown Jr., giving Joe Burrow a pair of behemoth bookends.

Laiatu Latu
UCLA · Edge · Senior

No one’s replacing Aaron Donald, but the Rams need to reinforce their pass rush. Latu’s the most advanced QB hunter in this class, entering the NFL with a full bag of edge-rushing tricks. If the medicals aren’t problematic -- Latu was forced to temporarily retire from the sport a few years ago due to a serious neck issue -- this UCLA product could be long gone by the time Los Angeles comes on the clock.

Cooper DeJean
Iowa · DB · Junior

I forced Brock Bowers into the top 10 above. Now I’m bringing similar conviction to this projection for DeJean, as I’m bullish on the versatile defensive back ultimately being a top-20 pick. Absent through most of the pre-draft process due to a broken leg suffered in November, DeJean just put on an athletic show for scouts at his private workout. The playmaking extraordinaire -- and prolific return man -- is made for today’s NFL, with defenses valuing coverage versatility and ball skills at a premium.

Jer'Zhan Newton
Illinois · DT · Senior

Free-agent departure Christian Wilkins leaves enormous shoes to fill in Miami, especially considering his rare endurance for a DT, having logged more than 80 percent of the Dolphins’ defensive snaps in each of the past two seasons. In related news, Newton barely came off the field over his last two spectacular seasons at Illinois.

Nate Wiggins
Clemson · CB · Junior

Wiggins’ rail-thin frame (just 173 pounds at 6-1 3/8 in Indianapolis) might be a major turnoff to some general managers, but Howie Roseman hasn’t shown a proclivity for sizeism, having spent recent first-round picks on a 238-pound edger rusher and a 170-pound wideout. New Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio might have questions about Wiggins’ physicality, but he’ll appreciate his effort, silky smooth coverage, playmaking ability and especially his scheme versality. The 4.28 speed’s fun, too.

Los Angeles Chargers
(via CLE through HOU)
Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU · WR · Junior


The new guys in charge dumped Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for financial reasons. Now they have to replenish Justin Herbert’s receiving corps. There’s a good chance this big-bodied touchdown maker with 4.33 speed comes off the board in the top 20 picks. If not, Herbert’s cannon arm is made to target Thomas’ deep separation. This feels like a rich man’s version of the Chargers’ first-round pick from last year, Quentin Johnston.

Graham Barton
Duke · IOL · Senior

The Cowboys have done pretty well spending first-round picks on versatile offensive linemen. (SEE: Zack Martin and Tyler Smith, the Pro Bowl duo spearheading Dallas’ front to this day.) Barton spent his final three seasons at Duke as a standout left tackle, but he started five games as a true freshman at center. The Cowboys need a pivot after Tyler Biadasz’s free-agent departure to the rival Commanders.

Tyler Guyton
Oklahoma · OT · Junior (RS)

Offensive tackle isn’t a screaming need, thanks to Green Bay’s impressive development of a pair of Day 3 picks from the 2022 draft: Zach Tom just enjoyed a breakout season at RT, while Rasheed Walker did a pretty decent job after taking the blind-side reins from the injured David Bakhtiari. In the wake of Bakhtiari’s release, though, I’d love to see what the Packers could eventually make of Guyton, a prototypically sized bookend with immense athleticism and upside.

Jared Verse
Florida State · Edge · Senior

Honestly, I have no idea how Verse is still available. I feel like I failed as a mock drafter. But unexpected slides happen all the time when the real picks start poppin’. If the Florida State edge remains unclaimed at this point on draft night, the Bucs need to sprint the card up.

Adonai Mitchell
Texas · WR · Junior


I already touched on the utter lack of offensive firepower on New England’s current roster. Shoot, when’s the last time the Patriots had a true “X” receiver in his prime? Mitchell’s still a little rough around the edges, but he could grow into a star as Jayden Daniels’ main man on the perimeter. And in this scenario, the Pats do business with old friend Monti Ossenfort, jumping up from No. 34 and landing right in front of the receiver-needy Bills. AFC East heat!

Xavier Worthy
Texas · WR · Junior

Josh Allen has a howitzer, but who will be on the receiving end of his downfield heaves? According to PFF, the quarterback targeted Stefon Diggs or Gabe Davis on 51 of his 82 throws that traveled 20-plus air yards last season. Now both wideouts are gone. Insert Mr. 4.21.

Kool-Aid McKinstry
Alabama · CB · Junior

There are bigger, faster and flashier cornerbacks in this draft class, but McKinstry’s a smooth cover man with a maturity to his game that feels similar to that of his former Alabama teammate, Brian Branch. Let’s reunite the two defensive backs in Detroit’s secondary!

Michael Penix Jr.
Washington · QB · Senior


I don’t know what the Raiders think about the extensive injury history, but NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last month that the combine medical exams “came out extremely positive for Penix -- no issues going forward.” One thing I do know: Penix has a serious whip of an arm. And one thing I think I know: Las Vegas won’t be able to secure his services by sitting tight at Pick No. 44.

Kingsley Suamataia
BYU · OT · Sophomore (RS)

The man who provided one of the more entertaining podium sessions at the NFL Scouting Combine is also one of the most intriguing developmental prospects in an exceedingly deep OT class. With a five-star pedigree, an NFL frame, a mauler mentality and college experience at left and right tackle, Penei Sewell’s cousin offers a lot to work with. He’d initially serve as the 49ers’ swing tackle, but with some refinement, it’s not hard to imagine him becoming a beast in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme.

Ricky Pearsall
Florida · WR · Senior

It’s a tradition unlike any other. No, not this weekend’s Masters … Mocking a different wideout to the Chiefs! Thus far this draft season, we the people who claim clairvoyance in the name of have projected the following receivers to Kansas City in Round 1:

OK, so we got a little groupthinky with Mr. Worthy. But as you can see, I’m here today introducing a NEW NAME! "Pretty Ricky" Pearsall made the catch of the year in college football, but he’s much more than one mind-bending moment. An explosive playmaker over the past two seasons at Florida, Pearsall routed up all comers at the Senior Bowl and then put on a spectacular all-around athletic display at the combine. Now my colleague Eric Edholm thinks he could sneak into Round 1, and I agree!

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