2024 NFL Mock Draft: Significant trades abound, including the Rams moving up for QB Jayden Daniels

2T5HKNA Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt (76) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Clemson Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

• Blockbuster trades muddy the top 10: The Vikings and Rams move up for quarterbacks, while the Bills trade up for wide receiver Rome Odunze.

• Cardinals end up with three first-rounders: Cornerback Quinyon Mitchell and wide receivers Troy Franklin and Ladd McConkey head to the desert after some trade movement from the Cardinals.

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With just days to go until the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s time to reveal my final mock draft of the offseason.

The goal of this mock was to draft as if I were the general manager of each team, and that led to some big trades. The theme here is logical chaos, with multiple moves that would shake up the first round and shock a lot of people but that, hopefully, make some sense based on team needs.

1. Chicago Bears: QB Caleb Williams, USC

We don’t need to get crazy here. The move everyone expects the Bears to make is the smartest move on paper. Selecting Caleb Williams will give them a quarterback who has earned a 90.0-plus PFF grade in each of the past three seasons.

2. Washington Commanders: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is the betting favorite to be selected at No. 2 overall, but just a few short months ago, Maye was being touted as a potential candidate to surpass Williams as the No. 1 overall pick.

The North Carolina quarterback earned a 90.0-plus PFF grade in each of the last two seasons. He finished second in the draft class with 35 big-time throws and recorded just a 1.9% turnover-worthy play rate last year.

3. New England Patriots: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Here’s where the logical chaos starts. I think the remaining top quarterbacks, Daniels and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, would greatly benefit from landing in the right spot, and the Patriots have issues on the offensive line and a sub-par group of wide receivers.

In this spot, I would draft the best wide receiver in this class and look to take a smaller swing at quarterback later.

4. Minnesota Vikings: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Mock Trade: Vikings receive Pick No. 4; Cardinals receive Pick Nos. 11 and 23

The Vikings have the trade ammunition to jump up to No. 4, while the Cardinals have enough needs that taking the extra first-round pick and moving back would make sense.

Daniels or McCarthy would be a toss-up for me here, but because of Daniels’ high pressure-to-sack rate, I believe McCarthy has a higher floor. The Michigan product earned a 90.6 PFF grade in 2023, so I think his ceiling is being underrated, too.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Given their needs at both tackle and receiver, I don’t think the Chargers can go wrong with either Alt or LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers here. Alt earned a 90.7 PFF grade last season, leading all offensive linemen in this class. A phenomenal prospect at tackle, the 6-foot-8, 322-pounder allowed just five pressures from 368 pass-blocking snaps last season.

6. New York Giants: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Landing one of the top two wide receivers in this class is a dream come true for the Giants at this spot, although I would be really tempted to pair Jayden Daniels and Brian Daboll here. Nabers averaged 3.64 yards per route run last year, the best mark in the class, while his 30 forced missed tackles ranked second.

7. Tennessee Titans: T Olu Fashanu, Penn State

Joe Alt to the Tennessee Titans is a lock in the eyes of many, but the Chargers spoiled that dream here. While it would be easy for the Titans to be disappointed in this situation, Fashanu looks like a franchise left tackle in pass protection. The Penn State product allowed just 10 pressures from 382 pass-blocking snaps last season, so I wouldn’t have any concerns about drafting him in the top 10.

8. Los Angeles Rams: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Mock Trade: Rams receive Pick No. 8; Falcons receive Pick Nos. 19, 52 and 99 and a 2025 first-round pick

The Rams have been aggressive about trading up for potential franchise quarterbacks over the past eight years, first trading a haul to land Jared Goff in 2016 and then trading Goff and a haul to land Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions in 2021. The latter move landed them a Super Bowl, so I don’t see them being shy about being aggressive again.

Pairing Sean McVay with a quarterback who just earned a nation-best 94.7 PFF grade and produced PFF passing and rushing grades of 92.0 or better? Sign me up.

9. Buffalo Bills: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Mock Trade: Bills receive Pick No. 9; Bears receive Picks Nos. 28, 60 and 133 and a 2025 first-round pick

Are the Bills too far back to pull off a trade like this? Perhaps. But in an AFC where they, like many others, are chasing the Kansas City Chiefs, this is the type of aggressive move I would make. Odunze, who could hear his name called as early as sixth overall, led this draft class with 21 contested catches and would immediately replace Stefon Diggs as John Allen’s WR1.

10. New York Jets: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

After two big trades, we go back to a pairing that has been predicted regularly. Bowers' 2.65 yards per route run led all tight ends in this draft class, and while there have been concerns about whether he is a special enough athlete to be drafted this early, he posted a 99th-percentile PFF Game Athleticism Score in each of the past three seasons.

11. Arizona Cardinals: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Mock Trade: Cardinals receive Pick Nos. 11 and 23; Vikings receive Pick No. 4

The Cardinals make Mitchell the first defensive player off the board after trading down from the fourth overall selection. Mitchell has everything teams look for in a shutdown cornerback. His 91.5 PFF grade led all cornerbacks in the class, and he allowed just 43.5% of the throws into his coverage to be caught. He didn't give up a single touchdown and recorded 14 pass breakups.

12. Denver Broncos: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Turner earned an 89.3 PFF pass-rush grade in 2023, racking up 55 total pressures (including 22 combined sacks and hits) from 292 pass-rushing snaps. He’s also a phenomenal athlete, putting up a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash and impressive vertical and broad jumps. At just 21, there’s so much room for him to grow, and he has the production and athletic profile to make you think he can be a special player.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

Arnold was targeted a lot in his final season at Alabama, and he made teams pay for it. He allowed just 51.9% of his 79 targets to be caught and finished with a combined 18 interceptions and pass breakups. He’s not afraid to play the run either and will bring a tough demeanor wherever he lands in the NFL.

14. New Orleans Saints: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

With the news that right tackle Ryan Ramczyk might not play in 2024, the Saints suddenly have a huge need at right tackle. Enter Fuaga, who is an utterly dominating prospect as a run-blocker. His 90.9 run-blocking grade was the best among tackles in college football last season, while he allowed just 12 total pressures from 351 pass-blocking snaps.

15. Indianapolis Colts: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Staying at this spot and landing a top-10 prospect on the PFF big board in DeJean is a fantastic result for the Colts. He tested well at his pro day, and while his 2023 season wasn’t as good as his 2022 season, he still earned a 77.0-plus grade in each of the past two seasons. He can also move around the defensive backfield, impressing both in coverage and against the run.

16. Baltimore Ravens: T Troy Fautanu, Washington

Mock Trade: Ravens receive Pick No. 16; Seahawks receive Pick Nos. 30, 62 and 130

The Ravens are generally expected to stay at Pick No. 30 and land a top prospect who magically falls to them, as Kyle Hamilton did when the team drafted him at No. 14 two years ago. Offensive tackles are likely going to come off the board quickly, though, and Baltimore has a long-term need at left tackle. Ronnie Stanley is in the final year of his contract, so I’d be aggressive to secure Fautanu if he was available here, with the Washington standout earning an 88.2 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2023.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: T JC Latham, Alabama

Mock Trade: Steelers receive Pick No. 17; Jaguars receive Pick Nos. 20 and 98

The Steelers made a small jump to land tackle Broderick Jones last year, and with the top tackles flying off the board in this mock, a similar-sized trade-up this year is in order. Latham earned a 79.6 PFF run-blocking grade and an 81.7 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2023, and he would start right away at right tackle for the Steelers, allowing Broderick Jones to move to left tackle.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: DI Johnny Newton, Illinois

The Bengals have played this offseason well and can now sit back and let the draft fall to them as it may. They should land a top player on either side of the trenches — and may even see Brock Bowers fall to them. Here, they get great value with Johnny Newton, who earned an 84.0 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2023, despite being limited by an injury.

19. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Mock Trade: Falcons receive Pick Nos. 19, 52 and 99 and a 2025 first-round pick; Rams receive Pick No. 8

After trading out of the top 10, the Atlanta Falcons still land one of the top edge defenders in the class, all while picking up additional draft ammo. Latu appears to have answered any lingering medical questions and is coming off a season where he dominated off the edge for UCLA, winning 26.2% of his pass-rush reps.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

Mock Trade: Jaguars receive Pick Nos. 20 and 98; Steelers receive Pick No. 17

Thomas is in a strange spot in this class, sitting between the top three wide receivers and the next group, almost in a tier of his own. Despite being the secondary option at LSU last year, he still averaged 2.61 yards per route run. Thomas would be a nice replacement for Calvin Ridley, who left the Jaguars in free agency.

21. Miami Dolphins: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

The Dolphins might not have an immediate need at tackle, but that’s why I think Mims would be a good fit here. He’s a raw prospect who played fewer than 400 snaps in each of his college seasons, but his physical tools and pass-blocking ability make him a long-term option as a replacement for Terron Armstead at left tackle.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: DI Byron Murphy II, Texas

This is a value pick for the Eagles but would also help fill the void left by Fletcher Cox’s retirement. Philadelphia has been aggressive in adding to its defensive line in recent years, drafting Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter in the first rounds of previous drafts. Murphy, who earned a 91.1 PFF grade in 2023, would keep that train rolling.

23. Arizona Cardinals: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

Mock Trade: Cardinals receive Pick Nos. 11 and 23; Vikings receive Pick No. 4

With the second of their two first-round selections acquired in the mock trade-down with the Vikings, the Cardinals grab a wide receiver. Franklin, a first-round player on the PFF big board, often goes in the second round in PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator, but his 3.32 yards per route run average trails only Malik Nabers and Marvin Harrison Jr. in this draft class.

24. Dallas Cowboys: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

The Cowboys have multiple needs along the offensive line, and while it might not be the most exciting selection, Powers-Johnson would be an immediate starter in the middle of their offensive line. His 84.5 PFF grade in 2023 was the best among all centers in this draft class after he allowed just one pressure from 497 pass-blocking snaps.

25. Green Bay Packers: T Graham Barton, Duke

Barton played both center and tackle at Duke but is viewed as more of an interior prospect for the NFL. He could start immediately at right guard for the Packers, having earned PFF grades above 75.0 in each of the past two seasons.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

A dream scenario for the Buccaneers sees one of the top three edge defenders in the class make it to their selection. Verse won 21.8% of his pass-rush reps in 2023 and produced a 90.9 PFF pass-rushing grade against true pass sets.

27. Arizona Cardinals: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

With their third first-round draft pick, the Cardinals grab a second wide receiver, giving them another shot at finding a gem. McConkey was really productive on a per-route basis in 2023, averaging 3.26 yards per route run.

28. New England Patriots: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Mock Trade: Patriots receive Pick No. 28; Bears receive Picks Nos. 34 and 68

The Patriots passed on a quarterback at Pick No. 3 and now make a small jump back into the first round for Penix, who led all quarterbacks in big-time throws (43) in 2023. Pairing the class' fifth-best quarterback with the best wide receiver is a superior option, in my opinion, to drafting the third-best quarterback and grabbing a receiver in the second round.

For the Bears, they’ve gone from ninth overall to 34th overall, picking up second-, third- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft and a first-round pick in next year’s.

29. Detroit Lions: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

The Lions stick at Pick No. 29 and have their choice between Wiggins and Kool-Aid McKinstry. I wouldn’t have an issue with either pick, so I trusted PFF lead draft analyst Trevor Sikkema having Wiggins ranked above McKinstry on the final PFF big board. He earned an 83.9 PFF coverage grade in 2023, posting marks of 74.0 or better in both man and zone coverage.

30. Seattle Seahawks: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Mock Trade: Seahawks receive Pick Nos. 30, 62 and 130; Ravens receive Pick No. 16

Landing a defensive back like McKinstry while picking up a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder in the mock trade-down with the Ravens would be a nice win for the Seahawks. I think he’s a similar style of player to Marlon Humphrey coming out of Alabama, a player who new head coach Mike Macdonald knows well from his time in Baltimore. McKinstry produced PFF coverage and run-defense grades above 80.0 in 2023.

31. San Francisco 49ers: T Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Morgan earned PFF pass- and run-blocking grades of 87.3 and 77.0, respectively, in 203 and can play tackle or guard at the next level. He featured at left tackle in each of the past three seasons and could be a long-term replacement for Trent Williams, but for now, he would immediately slot in at guard in San Francisco.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: T Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

Closing out the first round, the Chiefs land one of the top tackles in the class. Guyton is a good athlete, and that’s what Kansas City is betting on by drafting him in the first round. His 59.0 PFF pass-blocking grade on true pass sets is a big concern, but his athleticism will allow him to develop at the next level.

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