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Gaffney's 2024 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

After one of the more eventful combines in recent memory, we're now less than a week out from free agency and less than 50 days away from the NFL Draft. Speaking of the former, we've gotten a lot of notable releases this week; a whole heap of players got either franchise or transition tagged, and some gigantic names that weren't are potentially days out from finding new homes. Guys like Christian Wilkins, Michael Onwenu, Chris Jones, and Tyron Smith, to name a few.

Teams also got the chance to get to know some of these prospects better in Indianapolis, and with top 30 visits set to begin before you know it, here's how I view the NFL Draft going as of early March.


-Picks based on the following criteria: Team needs. Pending free agents. What I would do or what the team would do should I consider it warranted. Etc.

- All Trade Values will be marked in parentheses. (Using the Rich Hill Model).

Pre Draft Trades

Steelers Receive: Justin Fields and a 2025 fourth-round pick (14, Fields' value is N/A)

Bears Recieve Receive: Picks 84, 121, and a 2025 fifth-round pick (79)

Lions Receive: L'Jarius Snead and Pick 133 (17, Snead's value is N/A)

Chiefs Receive: Pick 61 (86)

2024 NFL (Mock) Draft Round 1

Pick 1) Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers) - Caleb Williams, QB (USC)

With Justin Fields trade rumors only getting louder by the day, I wouldn't blame Bears fans for prematurely getting those Williams jerseys ready. Don't read too much into him or any of the top three gunslingers not throwing at the combine, either. There's nothing that they could do against air that would be on level with what they could do on tape.

Pick 2) Washington Commanders - Drake Maye, QB (UNC)

Although my personal QB3 and on the TDT Big Board, the consensus after the combine is that Maye will likely end up in the Nation's capital. While I don't know their plan on the offensive line moving forward, the pairing of the UNC product and Kliff Kingsbury has some exciting potential.

Pick 3) New England Patriots - Jayden Daniels, QB (LSU)

I find it funny that someone in Bill Belichick's camp (presumably) leaked that the former Patriots' honcho was a big fan of Daniels right at the beginning of the combine. In any case, I'd be floored if the Patriots go with another signal caller in the spot, simply given Daniels' dynamic ability as a quarterback. Like with Washington, left tackle is a big question mark for New England moving forward, but they have some options both via the draft and over 100 million dollars in cap space to play with. Daniels has also called cap on the idea he doesn't want to end up in New England, which is more good news for Patriots fans.

Pick 4) Arizona Cardinals - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR (Ohio State)

If the Cardinals get a worthwhile trade offer, I wouldn't hate passing up on Marv here, but I'm also reasonably sure Hollywood Brown is gone, meaning they'll have to fill that hole one way or another. I'd personally stick at four, but I can also see a team wanting to push their chips into the middle of the table.


 Bengals Receive: Pick 5 (468)

Chargers Recieve Receive: Picks 18, 80, 148 and a 2025 first-round pick (470)

Pick 5) Cincinnati Bengals (via Los Angeles Chargers) - Joe Alt, OT (Notre Dame)

How about this whopper for the first in-draft trade? Cincy will undoubtedly let Jonah Williams walk, and bringing in Alt would allow them to kick Zeus Brown Jr. back over to the right side of the line where he played as a Raven. This is a lot to give up here, but it could be just what the doctor ordered for Joe Burrow as the Bengals continue to push for that elusive first Super Bowl.

Pick 6) New York Giants - Malik Nabers, WR (LSU)

If you're a Giants fan, your big fear should be someone moving up to five, specifically to take Nabers, but luckily, that's not the case here. Especially since they will be without Saquon Barkley moving forward, New York needs guys who are difference-makers on that side of the ball, and Nabers fits that bill to a T.

Pick 7) Tennessee Titans - Olu Fashanu, OT (Penn State)

Even if both Alt and Fashanu are gone by the time we get to pick seven, the Titans are almost in a spot where they have to take a tackle. Luckily, Fashanu is still available, and he'd become Tennessee's top lineman by default. It's not a perfect line with him there, but they're doing the process correctly by pairing him with Peter Skoronski from last year's draft.

Pick 8) Atlanta Falcons - Jared Verse, EDGE (Florida State)

The developing Kirk Cousins to Atlanta news is undoubtedly a shocker (to me, anyway), and if that comes to pass, the Falcons would be wise to load up on the other side of the ball, starting with a premier edge rusher like Verse. He didn't have as good a combine outing as Dallas Turner, but it wasn't by much. Verse uses his raw strength better than Turner off the edge, which is a big plus in his game.


Chargers Receive: Pick 9 (387)

Bears Recieve Receive: Picks 18, 69, and 106 (390)

Pick 9) Los Angeles Chargers (via Chicago Bears) - Brock Bowers, TE (Georgia)

In the end, it's only a four-spot drop for the Chargers. They couped a future first-rounder and ended up with a guy who might be the best non-Marvin Harrison Jr. player in this draft. It's hard to say if the Jets take him if he's there over a tackle, but I wouldn't have left that to chance. Get Justin Herbert a dynamic weapon for the long haul, and don't think twice.

Pick 10) New York Jets - Taliese Fuaga, OT (Oregon State)

Not one of the top two tackle options for the Jets, but Fuaga is as good a tackle as you'll find in this class otherwise. His mean streak as a run blocker is what every offensive line coach in the league dreams of, and with the Jets' current situation, they have the luxury of putting him on either side of the line. And for whatever it's worth, Fuaga is Daniel Jeremiah's new OT1.

Pick 11) Minnesota Vikings - Dallas Turner, EDGE (Alabama)

Quarterback at 11 shouldn't be ruled out for the Vikings, but I have a gut feeling they will take a flyer on Russell Wilson here shortly. Even with a Steelers meeting coming, he does not feel like a fit there at all. In any case, Minnesota needs some fresh blood on the defensive side of the ball for Brian Flores, and they have many options. Turner makes a ton of sense; assuming Flores is running what he did with the Patriots and Dolphins, I doubt there'd be much of a learning curve for him.

Pick 12) Denver Broncos - J.J. McCarthy, QB (Michigan)

This is one pick where I'm certainly not with the league. Most reports out of Indianapolis say that teams view McCarthy as a first-round talent, while I don't. I think he's coming into the league too early and needs a year, maybe two, before he's ready to be a full-time NFL starting quarterback. In any case, this feels like the likely outcome for Denver in a post-Russell Wilson world. It will be a matter of how he and Sean Payton mesh, but I'd start Jarrett Stidham, assuming they don't add anyone else to their QB room.


Jaguars Receive: Pick 13 and a 2025 fifth-round pick (342)

Raiders Receive: Picks 17, 115, and a 2025 third-round pick (350)

Pick 13) Jacksonville Jaguars (via Las Vegas Raiders) - Rome Odunze, WR (Washington)

With Rome Odunze seemingly poised to fall right into Indianapolis' lap at 15, The Jaguars feel like the perfect team to come in and spoil that. His unreal performance at the combine has more or less cemented his status as WR3, and his ability as a vertical threat and as a contested-catch guy has been well-documented for some time now. Plug him in right away, and he and Christian Kirk are one of the more interesting WR duos in the league.

Pick 14) New Orleans Saints - Laiatu Latu, EDGE (UCLA)

No change from 1.0 with the Saints. You'd have to imagine a whole heap of teams were dying to see the medicals for Latu, and if New Orleans is one of those that feel good, this could be the mother of all draft steals. You can't teach nearly 24 sacks in two seasons out in the Pac-12.

Pick 15) Indianapolis Colts - Cooper DeJean, CB (Iowa)

Had Odunze fallen to 15, Chris Ballard's hands would've been tied, but now, The Colts' focus has shifted to getting a long-term mainstay at cornerback. Terrion Arnold is my top choice, but Cooper DeJean feels like a better scheme fit with Gus Bradley. He has a perfect build for an outside corner who's played a ton of zone but has the traits that could make him just as good in man.

Pick 16) Seattle Seahawks - Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL (Oregon)

All three of Seattle's interior starters are set for free agency, and center Evan Brown could be in line for a nice payday elsewhere after an excellent season. JPJ has been getting rave reviews, and his strong outing at the combine didn't do anything to curb that. He's not exactly a sexy pick for new head coach Mike MacDonald (I'm a massive fan of that hire, by the way), but he's an instant plug-and-play guy whose best ball is still a way out, which is a scary thought.

Pick 17) Las Vegas Raiders (via Jacksonville Jaguars) - Terrion Arnold, CB (Alabama)

It's a good end of the deal for the Raiders, who still get my top corner option in this draft. Arnold's ability in press-man situations should translate to the NFL immediately, but he's a capable zone defender in his own right. I would like to see him not play as far back as he does in off-man situations, but he has a ton of upside and fits what the Raiders need on all fronts.

Pick 18) Chicago Bears (via Cincinnati Bengals) - Armarius Mims, OT (Georgia)

While I think Braxton Jones is fine at left tackle for the Bears, if they can upgrade at the spot, they need to do it. Mims is an absolute freak of nature at 6'8" and 340 lbs, coming up just short of breaking into the 4.9 range in the 40-yard dash. His technique still isn't all the way there yet, but kind of like with Alt, 6'8" tackles aren't exactly a dime a dozen.

Pick 19) Los Angeles Rams - Quinyon Mitchell, CB (Toledo)

It's no secret that the Rams' secondary lacks pieces, and adding a playmaker like Mitchell would be a great way to start a reboot on the backend. You can teach his knack for football, and he mostly quelled concerns about playing up at the line of scrimmage at the Senior Bowl.

Pick 20) Pittsburgh Steelers - Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB (Alabama)

A fractured foot kept McKinstry out of drills at the combine. Still, he has the best all-around size profile of the corners taken so far, and his overall aggressiveness (a hindrance in spots) seems like something the Steelers would value, given that they took Joey Porter Jr. last year.

Pick 21) Miami Dolphins - Byron Murphy, IDL (Texas)

As (I) expected, the Dolphins are letting Christian Wilkins hit the open market, and this Dolphins' defense could be one of the worst in football, given their combination of outgoing players and injuries coming into this next season. They need to add impact guys on that side of the ball, and Murphy would be a hell of a start. He's undersized at 6'0" and 297 lbs, but he tested exceptionally well at the combine and was a menacing pass rusher up the middle this last year at Texas.

Pick 22) Philadelphia Eagles - Kamarri Lassiter, CB (Georgia)

Lassiter is definitely on the smaller side of things for a cornerback (a good measurables comp would be Devon Witherspoon), but let's be honest. I don't think Howie Roseman will pass up on a Georgia prospect at a position of need. From what I've seen, Lassiter is a great tackler, something they desperately need on the back end, and he's super agile to boot. His 6.62-second three-cone drill ranks in the 94th percentile.

Pick 23) Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns) - Darius Robinson, EDGE/IDL (Missouri)

Sheldon Rankins and Jonathan Greenard could be gone next week, so why not get a guy who could hypothetically replace either one? Robinson spent 2023 off the edge for Mizzou but is a converted D-tackle. It's not the same trajectory, but he's like Patriots second-rounder Keion White last year in that he's still figuring things out as an edge rusher, but you can see the upside.

Pick 24) Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Guyton, OT (Oklahoma)

I was not anticipating the Cowboys letting Tyron Smith hit the open market after the year he just had, but replacing him is now a priority for Dallas. Tyler Guyton is another one of these 6'8" big boys who, while a right tackle by trade, could flip over the left side, no questions asked.

Pick 25) Green Bay Packers - Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB (Missouri)

Rakestraw is a bit on the light side, much like Lassiter, but Jeff Hafley loves himself some corners with good press technique, and the Mizzou product is a guy who fits that bill. I'd say that safety is the bigger need in this spot, but the Packers have a spare second from trading New York's new favorite conspiracy theorist last year.

Pick 26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Chop Robinson, EDGE (Penn State)

Tampa cutting ties with Shaq Barrett wasn't too much of a surprise. However, Re-signing Mike Evans was unexpected, especially after how things went last summer. Jason Licht and the boys can focus on replacing the former with another edge-rushing combine warrior, Chop Robinson. He's undersized for sure, but that didn't stop them from taking Calijah Kancey last year, and that turned out fantastic.

Pick 27) Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans) - Nate Wiggins, CB (Clemson)

Wiggins unfortunately suffered an injury in the 40-yard dash in Indy, but it appears only to be a hip flexor injury, which shouldn't put him on the shelf for long. Given his elite ability as a zone defender, the Clemson product would be a great fit in Jonathan Gannon's defense.

Pick 28) Buffalo Bills - T.J. Tampa, CB (Iowa State)

I understand this might not be a popular pick for Bills fans. Still, they cannot go into next season without spending premium capital (day one or two picks) on at least one secondary player, not after the mass exodus they had on Wednesday. Tampa might be a slight reach, if anything, at 28, but they could get a worthwhile receiver in round two; I don't think they can pass up on a corner in this spot. In any case, though, the Iowa State product would fit right in with Buffalo, with his physicality and scheme fluidity. I'd feel pretty good about a group of him, Rasul Douglas and Taron Johnson.


Patriots Receive: Pick 29 and 207 (206)

Lions Receive: Picks 34, 104, and 182 (215)

Pick 29) New England Patriots (via Detroit Lions) - Adonai Mitchell, WR (Texas)

Well, someone had to trade up for one of these wideouts, and the Patriots take that gamble to get an outside presence. However, given who the Patriots took at the top of the order, this might not be what people expected. I have Mitchell as my WR4 over Brian Thomas Jr, mainly due to his highly proficient ability as a route runner, and I believe he has better hands. That said, the Georgia Bulldog turned Texas Longhorn doesn't have a track record of producing after the catch, but that feels like a worthwhile trade-off. He's also another guy coming off of a monster combine outing.

Pick 30) Baltimore Ravens - J.C. Latham, OT/IOL (Alabama)

No change from 1.0 for the Ravens. Latham could hypothetically start in multiple spots in front of Lamar Jackson right away, and I think Ravens fans will take an instant liking to him because of his mean streak. I'm sure Ozzie Newsome would like this pick anyway.


Commanders Receive: Pick 31 (190)

49ers Receive: Picks 36 and 101 (200)

Pick 31) Washington Commanders (via San Francisco 49ers) - Troy Fautanu, OT (Georgia)

After a monster combine outing, the Commanders' new brass, led by Adam Peters, called in a favor to his old boss, John Lynch, to move up five spots for Fautanu. Before the combine, I thought a switch to guard was almost a guarantee, but now, he's 100 percent a day-one left tackle. At pick 31, this is an A+ get for the Manders to replace Charles Leno.

Pick 32) Kansas City Chiefs - Brian Thomas Jr., WR (LSU)

Part of me thought the Chiefs would be another one of these teams to punt on a round-one wideout, but now that MVS is gone, I would've had a hard time seeing them let Mitchell or Thomas slip into round two. Thomas did have five drops on 87 targets this last season, but he was an undeniable playmaker for Jayden Daniels. With his elite speed and athleticism, Thomas is a threat to score anywhere on the field, with a massive catch radius. If he polishes some stuff up, Mahomes to Thomas will haunt defenses for years to come.


Bills Receive: Pick 48 (121)

Jaguars Receive: Picks 60, 129, and a 2025 third-round pick (128)

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