2024 NFL Mock Draft Version 1: Williams Goes First, But to Who?

Caleb Williams is a heavy favorite to go first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, but Andrew Caley's NFL betting picks see value in a certain prop regarding the No. 1 pick as he makes his first mock draft board of the year.

Feb 16, 2024 • 10:20 ET • 4 min read
Caleb Williams USC
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With Super Bowl LVIII in the rearview mirror and the Kansas City Chiefs now talking about a historic three-peat, that can mean only one thing. 

It’s NFL Mock Draft season!

While mock drafts have been a part of the NFL Draft for what feels like forever, they are just recently being used as a part of draft betting. And with NFL Draft odds becoming bigger and bigger each year, mock drafts become a great tool to help you make your wagers.

This year the Caleb Williams odds have the USC QB as the favorite to be the first overall selection. But the question is who will be making the pick?

I sort through the smokescreens in version 1.0 of my 2024 NFL mock draft and tease some early leans and free betting picks.

2024 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

I’m not sure Caleb Williams is the can’t-miss prospect that some are making him out to be. If I’m the Chicago Bears I’m not ready to move on from Justin Fields and would rather trade down and collect even more picks.

But my initial mock won’t have any trades and if the Bears stay put, Williams’ ceiling is the highest among this group of quarterbacks. He has an elite arm, and his creativity takes that to the next level. But too often he relies on his arm and ability to get out of tight spots, and it can cost him.

I think there is some value in the Bears not to make the first overall pick in the draft (+350 at bet365).

2. Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Pour one out for Sam Howell. This is going to be debated for much of the draft process. Will it be Maye or Heisman winner Jayden Daniels going to the Washington Commanders?

My pick is Maye. He is the prototypical NFL quarterback. Maye has great size with a massive arm and is an underrated athlete. While he has a big-league arm, he needs to improve his decision-making and accuracy on shorter throws. But there's a reason why he is the favorite to be the second selection (-150 at bet365).

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

Harrison is the best prospect in this draft. Full stop. Not only that, he is one of the best wide receiver prospects in years.

Harrison has it all. Size, speed, athleticism, hands, footwork, route running. His comp? Marvin Harrison, but taller? He’s the favorite to be the first non-QB selected at -450 at bet365.

I see a lot of mocks have the New England Patriots taking a QB here, but I think there is a bit of a drop-off after Williams and Maye. The new regime in New England would do well to hit a home run with their first pick. With all the other QBs having question marks, Harrison is the guy. You can get the Patriots to select Harrison at +550 at bet365.

4. Cardinals: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Harrison going to the Patriots throws a wrench in the Arizona Cardinals’ plans as the team is likely salivating at the chance to pair him with Kyler Murray. Luckily, this wide receiver class is deep and talented.

Nabers might be the No. 1 WR in many recent classes. The former LSU Tiger has game-changing speed, excellent hands, and he’s got that dog in him. He breaks a ton of tackles, making him a problem after the catch. The Cardinals should be happy with this consolation prize.

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5. Chargers: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Look at Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan teams over the last few years. A lot of that team’s success came behind a dominant, physical offensive line. So wouldn’t it be fitting that his first pick with the Los Angeles Chargers is a beast Big Ten tackle in Fashanu?

The Penn State tackle would probably been the first lineman off the board last year as well. Fashanu has a great frame, combined with great footwork and technique. His ceiling is the best left tackle in the NFL. Which is something both Harbaugh and Justin Herbert will love.

6. Giants: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

It’s dealer’s choice for the New York Giants here, because they have a lot of needs on offense. They could maybe go quarterback, but Daniel Jones’ contract will be an issue. So, instead, they give Jones (or whoever is under center) arguably the best target the Giants have had in years.

Odunze is coming off a special season at Washington. He has great size, is an elite route runner, and arguably does a better job than anyone in this class when it comes to making contested catches. He’s what you want an NFL receiver to be.

7. Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The Tennessee Titans look like another trade down candidate as they have many needs, but they would also be very happy to take Alt at this spot. Will Levis showed some flashes last season and protecting him is a must.
Alt should be up to the task. The former Irish tackle is a monster at 6-foot-8 and 320 pounds. He’s strong with great footwork and is equally effective in run and pass blocking. Alt is the type of guy who can anchor a line for years to come.

8. Falcons: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

A dream scenario for the Atlanta Falcons as Daniels falls into the laps of the QB-needy franchise. Maybe no one in this class has done more to improve their draft stock this college season than Daniels.

The Heisman winner put up huge numbers this season both through the air and on the ground. Daniels is an elite athlete who makes smart decisions with the football. What hurts his stock is his arm isn’t the biggest. But he makes up for that with his touch and accuracy. Either way, he’s a big upgrade for the Falcons under center.

9. Bears: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

The Bears would probably have liked to pair Williams with another elite wide receiver prospect in this scenario. But with the Top 3 wideouts off the board, they turn their attention to another area of need – edge rusher, and Latu is No. 1 on my board.

The former UCLA star was a force last season, ranking second in the nation in pressure rate. He has an excellent first step and elite hand moves. Latu’s issue has been injuries, but we saw what he can do with a clean bill of health last season.

10. Jets: Talise Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

For better or worse, it sounds like Aaron Rodgers will be back under center for the New York Jets in 2024. And keeping him there should be the team’s biggest goal. That means more protection. Mekhi Becton mercifully is done.

So, in comes Fuaga to replace him. The former Beavers tackle has a great combination of size, power, and balance to become an excellent NFL tackle. He also has the versatility to slide inside if the Jets need him to do so early in his career.

11. Vikings: JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

JJ McCarthy’s name is one of the first to get draft buzz as an early riser. While he didn’t throw a ton of passes for the Wolverines, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable. And he was a huge reason why Michigan was able to capture its first national championship since 1997.

McCarthy is an athletic quarterback with maybe a surprisingly strong arm. He can make all the NFL throws and fills a huge need for the Minnesota Vikings with the Kirk Cousins era coming to a close.

12. Broncos: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Yes, the Denver Broncos need a quarterback. But with the Top 4 off the board here, they turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball and they have had success drafting first-round cornerbacks out of Alabama recently.

But they need strong corner play across from Patrick Surtain. Arnold fits the bill. Arnold is arguably the best all-round corner in this draft class. He has excellent size and speed combined with a high football IQ. He can press, play off, man or zone, can tackle, and is a ball hawk. Simply put, Arnold can do it all.

13. Raiders: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Another QB-needy team that goes with an Alabama defender instead. Turner isn’t Will Anderson, but he is far off. Turner has elite athleticism, and his elite first step and flexibility mean he is winning the race to the edge at a very high rate. 

He also has a high motor and is solid against the run as well. Nothing would make Antonio Pierce happier than adding an impact defender like Turner with his first pick as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

14. Saints: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Latham is a huge right tackle. He is solid in pass protection and is a truck in the running game. His power might be unmatched in this class. Latham’s athleticism is also impressive for a guy so big. And while he spent this season on the right side, he has the skills to be a left tackle if properly developed.

The New Orleans Saints need help on the offensive line, and Latham immediately addresses that issue as a plug-and-play tackle, hopefully for years to come.

15. Colts: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

The Indianapolis Colts need to upgrade their secondary and my bet is they would be running to submit this pick if either Wiggins or Arnold was on the board.

Wiggins might even be the better fit. The Colts run a zone-heavy scheme and Wiggins played a lot of Cover 3 at Clemson. He is a tall and lean corner, with long arms great for disrupting passes. He also has elite athleticism and great coverage skills.

16. Seahawks: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

I wouldn’t be shocked if someone becomes enamored with Bowers’ potential and he goes much higher than this, but in this version, GM John Schneider is happy to scoop up one of the best tight-end prospects in years.

Bowers will be a matchup nightmare in the NFL. He can outmuscle corners and outrun linebackers. Adding the playmaking tight end will instantly give a boost to the Seattle Seahawks' offense.

17. Jaguars: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Jaylen Daniels sure had some weapons at LSU this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense just has not been as explosive as expected, but giving Trevor Lawerence a wideout like Thomas could change that.

Thomas has elite size and is a real burner. He might be the best deep-ball threat in this class. He has easy speed and smooth acceleration, paired with reliable hands. If Lawrence can’t get things going with Thomas, it would be surprising.

18. Bengals: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

The Cincinnati Bengals would probably prefer to protect Joe Burrow by selecting a tackle or giving him another weapon at wideout, but they can’t pass up on the value with Newton here. Plus, an interior defensive lineman looks like a need as well.

Newton is an explosive and powerful player who gets dinged a bit for being a little undersized. But he sure doesn’t play undersized. He’s been one of the most disruptive defenders in college football the past few seasons. He can pressure the QB from the inside while also being a run-stuffer.

19. Rams: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Verse entered the season as the potential top-edge prospect of this class. But he got off to a bit of a slow start this season before finishing strong, so some other players may have jumped him on the big board.

No matter what, Verse is an explosive pass rusher with excellent power, a tremendous first step, and a high motor. Everyone can use more pass rush, but the Los Angeles Rams could certainly use more to take some of the pressure off Aaron Donald as his career winds down.

20. Steelers: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Public support for Kenny Pickett aside, I think the Pittsburgh Steelers know they still need a quarterback. But the way things have gone in this mock, I’m taking them to address their next biggest need, which is their secondary.

McKinstry has great physical traits and does his best work in press coverage. Pairing him with Joey Porter Jr. would give the Steelers a terrific tandem at cornerback for years to come.

21. Dolphins: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon

First off. Hell of a football name. Second. Powers-Johnson fills a huge need for the Miami Dolphins who might have to do a serious overhaul of their offensive line.

Powers-Johnson is probably the top interior offensive lineman in the draft after a great showing at the Senior Bowl. He has good size and balance, and excellent quickness. But what makes him tantalize as a prospect is his versatility. He can play all three interior positions but does his best work at center, which is where I would expect him to play for the Dolphins.

22. Eagles: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Philadelphia Eagles select. A Georgia Bulldog! Just kidding. But Howie Roseman loves playmaking defenders and that’s what he’s getting with Mitchell. Don’t let the fact that he played in the MAC fool you. Mitchell can play. And the Eagles need corners who can play. 

Mitchell is another Senior Bowl standout who is rising up draft boards. He is an elite athlete and has a nose for the football with 32 passes defended and six interceptions over the last two seasons.

23. Texans: Byron Murphy, DL, Texas

Murphy is another player who could go much higher than his selection. The defensive tackle had a breakout season at Texas. He is a dynamic and powerful pass rusher from the interior who has a knack for collapsing the pocket. He has an explosive first step and is effective against the run.

Put him on the same defensive line next to Will Anderson and suddenly the Houston Texans' defense goes from improving to a real problem.

24. Cowboys: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Mims is another gargantuan right-tackle prospect who didn’t get a ton of playing time in Athens because of injuries and the ridiculous talent depth at Georgia. But when he finally got on the field, he showed his potential. He has massive, long arms and smooth footwork.

The once-dominant Dallas Cowboys offensive line needs a revamp. Mims will immediately do that. Plus, he has the skills to shift over to left tackle if the team eventually decides to move on from 33-year-old Tyron Smith.

25. Packers: Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

Cooper DeJean has fallen a little bit under the radar after an injury cost him much of the season. But I expect the former Hawkeye to test well in the draft process and start climbing up boards again.

DeJean is a playmaking defensive back with excellent size, speed, and physicality. He also has rare versatility. I think he’s best as a corner, but he can play safety as well. The Green Bay Packers, who were thin in the secondary could really benefit from that versatility.

26. Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could end up going with a quarterback here (maybe Michael Penix Jr.?) but I’m expecting them to extend Baker Mayfield after an unexpected playoff run.

One of the Bucs' biggest issues last season was being unable to consistently pressure the quarterback. Robinson fixes that right away. The former Penn State edge rusher might have the quickest first step in this class and has a super high motor. He could be the next in a long line of elite Bucs defenders.

27. Cardinals: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

In this mock, the Arizona Cardinals addressed their need at wide receiver with their first pick, so they turned to the defensive side of the ball for their second first-round pick. They have needs at both edge rusher and corner and would have loved it if Robinson fell to them here.

Instead, they go with Rakestraw, a physical and high-energy corner out of Missouri. He has excellent speed and can play both out on the edge. And he loves to tackle.

28. Bills: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Buffalo Bills only have one defensive tackle under contract for next season at this point. But taking someone remaining on the board at that position feels like a little bit of a reach at this point.

So, instead, they get a weapon for Josh Allen who needs a true No. 2 receiver to support Stefon Diggs. Mitchell has deceptive speed with excellent hands and does a great job of high-pointing the football.

29. Lions: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Everyone and their grandmother has the Detroit Lions picking a cornerback in this spot. And it’s easy to see why. The Lions got burned by explosive pass plays all season long, and it was part of the reason they lost the NFC Championship.

Lassiter is a slim but athletic corner with good playmaking ability and versatility to fit almost any scheme. And despite not being the biggest guy out there he is an excellent tackler. Making him a Dan Campbell guy.

30. Ravens: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Lamar Jackson just won his second MVP. Keeping him upright should be the highest priority and the Baltimore Ravens could have some holes to fill on their offensive line this offseason.

I’m seeing the valuations on Fautanu all over the place at this point. But Michael Penix Jr. played behind the best offensive line in college football and Fautanu was the anchor. He’s an explosive tackle who has long arms and is a fantastic mover on pulls and screens. Which the Ravens do a lot of. He also has great versatility and could play all five positions across the line.

31. 49ers: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The San Francisco 49ers need an upgrade at right tackle and Guyton could be the guy to fix that. He is another player who saw his stock rise at the Senior Bowl. He has a great frame and has stunning quickness and balance for a player his size. 

For now, he’s a great bookend to Trent Williams but has the upside to be his long-term replacement someday.

32. Chiefs: Devontez Walker, WR, UNC

The Kansas City Chiefs made a great selection taking Rashee Rice in the second round. But the wide receiver room is thin, and Travis Kelce is no spring chicken, so they need to keep building that up if they want to do the unthinkable and three-peat.

Walker is a tall wideout with great hands. But more importantly, he combines that with blazing speed on the outside that Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes love. 

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