Three quarterbacks were among the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft but after Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, QB3 is a wide-open race, one that could have five or six candidates by the time the college football season is over.
For now, in our first 2024 NFL Mock Draft, it should come as no surprise that Williams is the first player off the board, followed by a wide receiver, an offensive tackle and then Maye. All told, six edge rushers, five offensive tackles and five offensive cornerbacks lead the way, followed by the two QBs above, in addition to another one who goes off the board late in the first round.
And remember, you can hear our in-depth draft coverage twice a week on "With the First Pick," our NFL Draft podcast that we host alongside former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find us wherever you get your podcasts -- Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.
One more thing, and this is important: The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds, but in reverse order. We know folks are going to be very angry about why we have their team picking so high, but it's not our fault. These are your team's odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy this season, according to the fine folks at SportsLine.
OK, let's get to it.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 1
USC • Jr • 6'1" / 215 lbs
The Cardinals cut Colt McCoy at the end of the preseason and will go into the regular season with just-traded-for Josh Dobbs and rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Tune at quarterback. Kyler Murray is still recovering from an ACL injury and since this isn't the front office or coaching staff that drafted him No. 1 overall back in 2019, there's every reason to believe that if Arizona ends up with the first overall pick -- either through the worst record in the league or by virtue of the Texans having the worst record (the Cards got the Texans' 2024 first-rounder in the Will Anderson trade-up), Caleb Williams will be the choice.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Ohio State • Jr • 6'4" / 205 lbs
The last time a team had the first two picks in the NFL Draft? Back in 1992, when the Colts took defensive end Steve Emtman and linebacker Quentin Coryatt. If the Cards find themselves in that situation, hard to draw up a better way to jumpstart a franchise than by taking Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penn State • Jr • 6'6" / 317 lbs
Fashanu returned to Penn State after a solid 2023 season. So solid, in fact, that we wonder if he had declared for the draft as a 20-year-old, if the Bears would've considered staying at No. 1 and taking the left tackle there.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Drake Maye QB
North Carolina • Soph • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Drake Maye got off to a strong start vs. South Carolina over the weekend, and despite the two interceptions (one wasn't his fault), he looks every bit like a top-10 pick. That coupled with Ryan Tannehill entering the final year of his deal, it stands to reason that Maye will be on Tennessee's radar if they're picking this high -- even if the team has used Day 2 picks on QBs in the last two drafts.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Jared Verse EDGE
Florida State • Jr • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Verse is another player who would've been a top 25 pick had he come out last year. Now he'll have a chance to improve his draft stock after his promising '22 season was derailed by injury.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Joe Alt OT
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'7" / 322 lbs
Alt is our OT2 though there are some concerns that he may not be athletic enough to play right tackle. We think he can, but here's the thing: If the Bucs are in position to take him they'll have the luxury of either moving him to the right side if Tristan Wirfs settles in at left tackle, or keeping Alt on the left side and moving Wirfs back to right tackle. Ideally, Tampa would love to be in the mix for a franchise QB but after Williams and Maye, QB3 remains an open race at this point in the process.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Alabama thinks Kool-Aid has legit NFL cover skills -- the only question will be his deep speed. Otherwise, there's a lot to love about his game. Added bonus: He's an asset in the return game, too.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Emeka Egbuka WR
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 206 lbs
The skill position might not seem like a big need, but Hollins, Hodge and Miller all have expiring contracts and Egbuka would be one more weapon for second-year QB Desmond Ridder.
Round 1 - Pick 10
JC Latham OT
Alabama • Jr • 6'6" / 360 lbs
The Steelers looked like a Super Bowl team in the preseason but we'll find out how much improved the offensive line is. If you're Kenny Pickett, you'd probably love the idea of having Broderick Jones and JC Latham as your bookends at tackle going forward.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Brock Bowers TE
Georgia • Jr • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Offensive line is a huge need here but three are already off the board, and we know how important the tight end can be in the Patriots offense. Bowers is special, even if he isn't a traditional Y tight end.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Patrick Paul OL
Houston • Jr • 6'7" / 315 lbs
David Bakhtiari is 31 and has two years left on his deal. Assuming Jordan Love looks the part and the Packers aren't in the franchise QB business, grooming Bakhtiari's replacement should be pretty high on the to-do list. Paul is raw but athletic, and if he makes the necessary strides this season he'll be in the first-round conversation.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Illinois • Jr • 6'2" / 295 lbs
Newton played on an Illini defense last season that included No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon, and Day 2 selections Quan Martin and Sydney Brown. The defensive linemen will be the next in line to hear his name called early in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Miami (FL) • Soph • 6'3" / 305 lbs
When we watched Taylor over the summer he reminded us of Javon Hargrave and with a big season for the U he'll not only be a likely first-rounder, he could end up as DL1.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Clemson • Jr • 6'1" / 230 lbs
Man, we love Barrett Carter. He flies all over the field and while he's not as big as former Clemson first-rounder Isaiah Simmons, he's used in a similar role. He's more refined than Quay Walker coming out of Georgia but with that type of athleticism.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Nate Wiggins CB
Clemson • Jr • 6'2" / 185 lbs
Wiggins needs to add some weight and improve in run support but, sweet mercy, he is a lot of fun to watch in coverage. He is long, he can run, and he regularly plasters WR's downfield.
Round 1 - Pick 17
JT Tuimoloau EDGE
Ohio State • Jr • 6'4" / 270 lbs
Frank Clark is in the final year of his deal and Tuimoloau has game-wrecking abilities off the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Miami (FL) • Jr • 6'0" / 205 lbs
This may be a little rich for Kinchens, but he's a ballhawk in the middle of the field but we'd like to see him be a little more aggressive in run support.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Kalen King CB
Penn State • Jr • 5'11" / 190 lbs
King might be undersized but he's plays much bigger; he's physical at the line of scrimmage, he can run with any WR he lines up against and he has ball skills.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 20
Amarius Mims OT
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 340 lbs
Mims could end up going much higher if he has a solid season; he only started one game in '22 but he flashes special talent. And while the Texans have Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard at left and right tackle, the O-line has been plagued by injuries heading into the regular season and protecting rookie QB CJ Stroud has to be priority No. 1.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Chop Robinson EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 254 lbs
Robinson is a twitched-up, high-motor freak athlete who refuses to quit on a play, whether he's getting after the QB or making plays in run support.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Maason Smith DL
LSU • Soph • 6'6" / 315 lbs
Smith missed almost all of last season with a knee injury but his 2021 tape gets your attention. If he continues to get stronger he'll be among the first defensive tackles to go off the board.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Iowa • Jr • 6'1" / 207 lbs
Last spring, Iowa CB Riley Moss went in the third round to the Broncos; DeJean is a better athlete and a good season could solidify his draft stock.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Josh Newton CB
TCU • Sr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Newton and his teammates were on the business end of a Week 1 upset by Colorado, but he has first-round potential because of his athleticism and coverage skills.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Bralen Trice EDGE
Washington • Jr • 6'4" / 274 lbs
The Ravens have struggled to find their go-to pass rusher in recent drafts and Trice is a proven commodity; he's a high-motor player who needs to expand his pass-rush arsenal but he's a designated pass rusher from Day 1.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Malik Nabers WR
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Garrett Wilson is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver for the Jets, but Nabers would be a wonderful complement; he's a contested-catch machine that plays with the type of physicality that immediately translates to the next level.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • Jr • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Bullard plays much bigger than his size and if we learned any lessons from the 2023 Draft it's this: Yes, Brian Branch ran in the 4.6s at the combine but he plays close to 4.4 -- he did at Alabama and during the Lions' preseason. He was also a first-round talent even if that 40 time saw him fall to Round 2. We should keep Branch in mind as Bullard works his way through the '23 season.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Texas • Jr • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Sanders is an athletic tight end who is a matchup problem all over the field. He's also asked to do a lot in the run game, though we'd like to see him get a little stronger as a blocker.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Quinn Ewers QB
Texas • Soph • 6'2" / 195 lbs
Ewers is primed for a big year -- and if he hadn't suffered a shoulder injury in the Alabama game last season, he might already be more highly considered. As it stands, QB3 is wide open -- there are three or four candidates as we head into the college season and that list could grow over the next few months.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Laiatu Latu EDGE
UCLA • Sr • 6'5" / 265 lbs
Leonard Floyd, AJ Epenesa are in contract years, and Von Miller coming back from his second ACL surgery. The biggest issues facing Latu will if he's cleared medically after a neck injury sidelined his career a few years ago.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 225 lbs
Mondon is the latest in a long line of athletic Georgia linebackers and a big season would put him squarely in the Day 1 mix. Based on his '22 tape, he's between Quay Walker and Channing Tindall in terms of where his game is heading into 2023 -- he's in the same conversation athletically, and he's already solid vs. the run. He just needs to improve awareness in coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 32
USC • Jr • 6'3" / 190 lbs
Bullock is a long, rangy safety who is coming off a five-interception effort during the 2022 campaign. He needs to improve in run support but he covers a lot of ground from deep centerfield. In Kansas City, L'Jarius Sneed, who played safety his final year in college, and Mike Edwards are in contract years. And Justin Reid's deal is up in '25.