The NFL is through nine weeks of the 2023 season; it’s a perfect time to start looking ahead to the 2024 NFL Draft. While there’s still plenty of football season left, it’s never too early to start looking at what directions teams could go in when we get to Detroit in April.
Here’s an early look at the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
2024 First-Round NFL Mock Draft
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
It will be fascinating to see what direction the Arizona Cardinals go with their first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Kyler Murray is set to return soon, and Arizona will need to determine over these next few weeks if they will stick with Murray, load up on weapons or look to reset with a new franchise quarterback.
The smarter option here is hoping Murray returns to his pre-injury form and adding one of the more dynamic talents we’ve seen in recent years at receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr.
*From Carolina Panthers
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Like Arizona, the Chicago Bears are also in an interesting spot at the quarterback position. Justin Fields has been inconsistent and comes with injury concerns, so it will be tough for the Bears to pass up one of the top two quarterbacks in this class.
While it’s still to be determined who takes the QB1 title, Chicago will bet on the rare traits of Williams over the safer floor in Drake Maye.
Read More: Caleb Williams Will Be a Franchise-Changing Quarterback (Rick Spielman)
Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
The best thing to invest in for a new quarterback is his protection. Olu Fashanu is one of the best offensive line talents to come out of college in years. Viewed as a lock top-10 selection in 2023, Fashanu headed back to Penn State and further solidified his draft stock as a generational offensive tackle prospect.
This is a no-brainer for Chicago, and Fashanu could/should be the option at second overall if the Bears want to give Fields one more year.
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
The Daniel Jones and Brian Daboll marriage is coming to a screeching halt in 2023 after showing some impressive signs of life in 2022. Jones had a bit of an anomaly season in 2022 in Daboll’s first year as coach, but things quickly returned to what we’re used to seeing from the former first-round pick.
Jones’ cap situation makes it tough to move on in 2024, but with a potential out in 2025, the New York Giants would be wise to spend the premium pick on their future quarterback.
Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
While many would like to see a quarterback here, the New England Patriots have a lot to repair on their roster outside of the quarterback position, and adding dynamic play-maker Keon Coleman would be a step in the right direction. New England has lacked juice on offense, and Coleman was built in a lab to be a quarterback's and offensive coordinator's best friend.
Whether it’s Mac Jones or someone else going forward at quarterback, having a 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout with an extraordinary catch radius and play-making ability will ease the pressure on whoever is running New England's offense.
Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
The Los Angeles Rams could go in multiple directions with their first-round selection (a rarity for them to possess in recent years), but building up the secondary and finding a Jalen Ramsey replacement would be the best route to take. The Rams have gotten some intriguing performances from young front-seven defenders this season, which makes addressing the secondary a little bit easier.
DeJean has had a tremendous year for the Hawkeyes and should be at the top of the list for CB1 by the time we get to Detroit in April.
Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
To say it’s been a frustrating 2023 season for the Green Bay Packers offense would be an understatement. While QB Jordan Love still has a lot to prove, a lack of protection up front and help from his receivers and running game have been big issues for the Green Bay offense. While the Packers could add a receiver here, Notre Dame OT Joe Alt is the wisest choice here.
Green Bay needs to determine if Love is the guy moving forward, and adding Alt will give them an immediate starter at tackle to protect Love and hopefully get the running game back on track.
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go into the draft looking to find their quarterback of the future. While it’s tough to imagine they’ll be bad enough to draft one of the top two guys without trading premium draft capital, a nice consolation prize is Oregon QB Bo Nix. Nix is as experienced as they come and has done some nice things in the Oregon offense in 2023.
Nix lacks a lot of the elite traits teams look for in a franchise quarterback, but he’s smart, accurate and does an excellent job of staying on schedule. Tampa Bay has a playoff-contending roster, and the safer floor option Nix provides may not be a bad option if they want to compete in 2024.
Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA
The Denver Broncos defense has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season so far. After trading Bradley Chubb in 2022 and the Randy Gregory experience not working out, Denver needs to return to its roots of rushing the passer at a high level.
Laitu Latu is the most pro-ready rusher in this class. He possesses ideal measurables and pairs his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame with a red-hot motor and the ability to win with speed, power and finesse.
JC Latham, OT, Alabama
Offensive tackle play has been one of the Tennessee Titans' biggest issues in 2023. Free agent addition Andre Dillard has struggled mightily for most of the year, and Nicholas Petit-Frere and Dillon Radunz have not lived up to their pre-draft hype.
Latham has been a consistent presence on the right side of the Crimson Tide line and would slide in as the starting right tackle from the jump. Latham has a massive frame at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, and his ability to move people in the running game is right up the Titans' alley.
Jer’Zhan Newton, IDL, Illinois
The Los Angeles Chargers defense has been an extremely disappointing unit over the last few seasons. Brandon Staley is a defensive-minded head coach, and while the Chargers have some big names on that side of the ball, the results have not matched what shows up on paper. Newton is the top interior defensive lineman in the draft and would provide a quality interior presence to pair alongside Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
The Atlanta Falcons defense has had a solid start to the 2023 season, but Jeff Okudah is expected to hit free agency after the season. Adding Nate Wiggins to pair with A.J. Terrell would be an excellent replacement if Okudah leaves. Even if Okudah is re-signed, the value here at the cornerback position is too good to pass up.
Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
The Washington Commanders should be in the pass-rush market after trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the deadline. Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner makes a ton of sense for Washington, which returns yet again to the Alabama well for defensive talent.
While Turner should not be compared to Will Anderson Jr., he’s a long, explosive, bendy rusher who can make an early impact as a rusher to attempt to fill in the shoes of Young and Sweat.
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Who the third quarterback drafted behind Caleb Williams and Drake Maye is yet to be determined, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if there’s no consensus on what the order after Williams and Maye is. While there are plenty of inconsistencies to Michael Penix Jr.'s game, he’s shown some serious progression. He possesses some of the best natural arm talent and play-making abilities in this draft class.
The Las Vegas Raiders have pursued higher-floor quarterbacks recently in Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try the higher-ceiling option in Penix Jr. with their top-15 pick.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
I know what you’re thinking … drafting a tight end this early for the Indianapolis Colts would be a mistake, considering they'll have Jelani Woods returning from injury. While it’s hard to argue that take, adding Brock Bowers to the core of the Indianapolis offense which would include: Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor and hopefully a re-signed Michael Pittman Jr. would be a ton of fun.
Indianapolis needs help on the offensive line, but adding Bowers' play-making ability to this offense would make defensive coordinators struggle to defend the Colts' running and receiving games.
*From Houston Texans
Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
The Arizona Cardinals have played some tough football in 2023, but they will need to bolster their talent on the defensive side to get better results in 2024. Verse reminds me of some of the fast, physical and bully-like rushers Jonathan Gannon coached in Philadelphia. Verse would add much-needed pass rush and run defense to a Cardinals defense that lacks quality players on its defensive line.
Verse has the flexibility to move around and rush from multiple alignments, and he has the size, speed and power to make an immediate impact in Arizona.
Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Getting help to take pressure off Stefon Diggs has been something the Buffalo Bills have been looking for for some time. While Gabe Davis is a quality role player, getting a more consistent threat to make life easier for Josh Allen and Diggs should be at the top of the Bills' priority list in 2024.
Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
Mentioning a massive offensive tackle who has not played a lot of football due to injury may make New York Jets fans a little queasy, but don’t let Mekhi Becton not meeting expectations scare you off from a really good prospect in Amarius Mims. Mims has a massive 6-foot-7, 330-pound frame, packed with power, ideal arm length, and relatively clean and quick feet for such a big man.
Mims, when healthy, makes a strong case for OT3 in this loaded offensive tackle draft class, and he could go a long way toward keeping Aaron Rodgers upright in New York in 2024.
Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
Cam Jordan turns 35 next summer, and the New Orleans Saints lack depth behind Jordan and Carl Granderson. The Saints must add some younger, cheaper talent to their pass-rush room. They take a big swing here in Penn State EDGE Chop Robinson. Robinson, like a lot of recent Penn State draft picks, rushes with some freaky explosiveness and speed.
While he needs to learn to play with more consistent strength and plans, his athletic upside and traits would be a huge win for the Saints in the middle of the first round.
J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
If J.J. McCarthy keeps playing at the level he has been, it’s tough to see him lasting this long. Kirk Cousins tore an Achilles and likely played his last snap for the Minnesota Vikings, so finding the new franchise quarterback will be the top priority for Minnesota.
McCarthy has had a tremendous year for Michigan and has shown some serious strides as a creator inside and outside the pocket.
Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona
Despite Tyron Smith being a consistent presence at left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys for many years, it seems his time of being a reliable option is coming to a close. Smith plays well when healthy, but staying healthy has been a major issue for him over the past 3-4 years. Tyler Smith is playing at an All-Pro level at left guard. The Cowboys would be wise to leave him there and draft Smith’s replacement.
Jordan Morgan has played exclusively left tackle for Arizona and has the athletic and physical profile to slide in as a first-year starter. Morgan is a much cleaner pass protector than a run blocker, but he has the traits and tape to be selected in the first round for offensive line-needy teams.
Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma
A year after drafting their left tackle of the future in Broderick Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers find their right tackle of the future in Tyler Guyton. Guyton, a TCU transfer, has some of the most impressive traits in this draft class, given his blend of size, speed and length.
The Steelers' offense has had plenty of issues so far in 2023, but adding Guyton could help the Pittsburgh offense start to figure things out. They could improve their protection and run blocking by adding a franchise offensive tackle in back-to-back drafts.
*From Cleveland Browns
Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
C.J. Stroud has had an impressive rookie season so far. Rookie wideout Tank Dell and veteran Nico Collins have provided strong play, but adding a true No. 1 WR talent that can win anywhere on the field would do wonders for Stroud and the Houston Texans offense.
It’s hard to imagine Odunze lasting into the 20s, but we’ve seen some talented wide receivers get pushed down the board in recent years. This would start the process of back-to-back home run drafts from the Texans and quickly push their rebuild forward.
Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Tee Higgins is slated to hit free agency at the end of the season. Addressing wide receiver will be near the top of the needs list for the Cincinnati Bengals if they let Higgins walk. The Bengals need a reliable option outside of Ja'Marr Chase. The Bengals could also use offensive line help, but Malik Nabers' talent is too tough to pass up.
Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
The Seattle Seahawks never shy away from adding to their defensive front. Seattle traded for Leonard Williams at this year's deadline but could look to add another front-seven player to their defense in next year's draft. Trice is a big, physical and versatile defensive lineman who can rush from multiple alignments on the Seattle front.
Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Over the San Francisco 49ers' roughest stretch in recent memory, we saw some cracks on defense, especially in the secondary. Dropping McKinstry into this defense would be an instant upgrade for the 49ers pass defense and would allow the 49ers defensive front to be even scarier with his talent on the back end. McKinstry’s size, athleticism and swagger make him a perfect fit in Steve Wilks' defense.
Patrick Paul, OT, Houston
The Miami Dolphins live and die by their offense. And what we’ve seen slow them down is pressure that knocks QB Tua Tagovailoa off his first read or hinders their ability to run the football. Terron Armstead is on the wrong side of 30 and has struggled to stay healthy since signing with Miami in 2022.
While Armstead can and should still be a part of the plans, Houston’s Patrick Paul is the perfect guy to get in and develop as the left tackle of the future. While Paul hasn’t played on the right side in college, he could take over for Austin Jackson until the left tackle job opens up.
Troy Fautanu, OG, Washington
While the Jacksonville Jaguars offense has found its rhythm in recent weeks, the one area they will need to continue to improve is the offensive line, specifically guard. While Troy Fautanu has played almost exclusively at left tackle for the Huskies, he has logged 99 snaps at left guard throughout his college career.
Guard is likely the position Fautanu projects best at, but his position flexibility to play tackle if need be brings added value late in Round 1.
Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State
The Detroit Lions have big-time players in the front seven in Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeil. GM Brad Holmes still needs to build the secondary. Denzel Burke would be a big step in the right direction. Things did not go as planned after the Lions selected former Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah in the first round, but Burke is an aggressive cornerback with a knack for making plays on the ball. He also has the athletic profile and size to live on the outside for Aaron Glenn’s defense.
Kalen King, CB, Penn State
The Baltimore Ravens defense has had a tremendous first half to the season, but it can’t hurt to add another premier talent at cornerback. King hasn’t quite had the year many expected at Penn State, but he still possesses some of the best raw talent at the cornerback position in this class. Adding King to an already-loaded defense would be a win-win for Baltimore and King.
Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
The Kansas City Chiefs' offense has been way too reliant on Travis Kelce since the departure of Tyreek Hill. While they have gotten some returns from rookie Rashee Rice, adding to the receiver room is a must for Kansas City this offseason. Xavier Worthy's speed and explosiveness would help fill the void left when Hill was traded two years ago. As we’ve seen at a few points this season, even Patrick Mahomes needs help to find consistent success in the NFL.
Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
While the Philadelphia Eagles' defense has had a solid start, it has been susceptible to getting beat through the air. With some regression from James Bradberry and Darius Slay aging, adding to the secondary and tightening up coverage on the back end would be wise. The Eagles are no stranger to Georgia Bulldogs, and Lassiter fits right in with Philadelphia’s defensive style of play and mindset.