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Gaffney's 2024 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Now that the main initial wave of NFL free agency has come and gone, we are just a handful of weeks out from draft weekends. Teams like the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers made a ton of good moves (well...outside of trading Brian Burns for less than market value if you're Carolina, anyway), and then you have teams like the Cowboys who now have significantly more holes than they did, say, five weeks ago.

That said, we're now into that phase of the draft process where we're in the middle of Pro Day season, and private workouts and Top 30 meetings are not too far out, if not already here. Here's how I see the opening three rounds of this year's NFL Draft going as we begin the month of April.


-Picks based on the following criteria: Team needs after the primary wave of free agency. 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

 Patriots Receive: Brandon Aiyuk (Value N/A)

49ers Recieve Receive: Picks 34 and 137 (191)

Panthers Receive: Tee Higgins (Value N/A)

Bengals Receive: Pick 33 and 141 (194)

 Vikings Receive: Picks 4 and 104 (524)

Cardinals Receive: Picks 11, 23, 157, and a 2025 first-round pick (752)

2024 NFL (Mock 3.0) Draft Round 1

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

Now, with Justin Fields out of the equation, you can write this pick down in stone, get your pre-ordered jerseys (though who knows what number, given that Keenan Allen has only ever worn No. 13), etc. While I think concerns about offensive coordinator Shane Waldron being a flight risk after year one are warranted, as is the idea that this coaching staff is in a make-or-break year (I think this apparent idea that Matt Eberflus got a secret extension is hogwash, and if true, would be a peak bad Chicago Bears decision, and there's a ton over the last 15 years), but Williams talent is undeniable. Hopefully, the Bears don't waste it.

Pick 2) Washington Commanders - Jayden Daniels, QB (LSU)

I feel I will be flip-flopping on these second QBs for a bit. Brian Kelly casually letting out that Washington soundbite certainly helps things. In any case, I would like the fit of Daniels and Kliff Kingsbury, under the assumption that the emphasis is to attack the outside early and often and allow the Heisman Trophy winner to use his speed as a dangerous weapon.

Pick 3) New England Patriots - Drake Maye, QB (UNC)

I think the idea of the Patriots trading out of three is out of the question after they had nearly their entire brass, top coaches included, at the Pro days of both Daniels and Maye last week. The consensus on the UNC product seems to have stabilized after he got picked apart more than he should've. Still, outside of some mechanical issues that are fixable, he's your prototypical NFL quarterback to a T. Now, speaking as a Patriots fan here, I would not be against Maye sitting out the entirety of year one, especially in the event they don't land a receiver by trade, unlike how things go down here. Give him a chance to learn behind Jacoby Brissett, and turn him loose in year two.

As far as the Aiyuk trade you see above goes, I think the Patriots should try to be aggressive in adding either an outright X receiver or simply a bonafide playmaker by the end of draft weekend. There is lots of time between now and March 2025, but my gut feeling is he either has already played his last game as a 49er or is entering his last season. In any case, he would be one hell of a top option for Maye.

Pick 4) Minnesota Vikings (via Arizona Cardinals) - J.J. McCarthy, QB (Michigan)

About a week after I dropped my 2.0 mock, the Vikings made a deal with the Texans to acquire a second first-round draft pick, which feels like a pretty good indicator that they at least want to make a move like this into the top five. If you're the Cardinals, I'd only trade out of the top 10 entirely with a king's ransom. This trade feels appropriate for both sides, given the situation and what Arizona is now missing out on, and I feel like if they do this, it will happen in advance of Draft Day.

Do I believe J.J. McCarthy is worthy of a top-five selection outright? No. But if you even remotely think he's in play for the Giants at No. 6 or anyone else is willing to make this move, your hand is forced. Given what the Vikings are giving up here, sitting him in year one might not be popular, but that's his best chance at being a successful NFL quarterback. He's not ready to be a full-time starter yet at 20 years old, but there's real upside with McCarthy, which is more than I could've said a month ago. His best days are more than likely years out, but with Kevin O'Connell in his corner, it could be worth the wait.

Pick 5) Los Angeles Chargers - Marvin Harrison Jr., WR (Ohio State)

The Chargers are another team that should at least entertain the idea of trading down to try and accumulate assets, but if MHJ falls to you at five, that's a pick you have to make by default. Many of the concerns people had about Quentin Johnston proved mostly accurate in year one, and I don't believe he's an outright No. 1 in the absence of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Pairing Harrison Jr. with Justin Herbert has horrifying potential right off the bat. It won't fix the receiving situation out west overnight, but adding one of the best receiver prospects ever is a hell of a way to kick off an offensive retooling.

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

With John Mara publicly stating that he would not be a roadblock for his team to draft a quarterback, I believe they are interested in going quarterback round one. However, getting beaten to the punch by Minnesota, they can wait until round two. A conversation that I had on Monday almost made me want to make this pick Odunze, based on the fact the Giants do need an actual boundary threat, but I wouldn't overthink it here. Get yourself a bonafide playmaker in Malik Nabers, and see if you can find a better fix for an X receiver down the road.

Pick 7) Tennessee Titans - Joe Alt, OT (Notre Dame)

Outside of the Tony Pollard deal, it's hard to poke holes in everything else they've done this offseason. Whether that be trading for L'Jarius Snead or signing guys like Calvin Ridley and Lloyd Cushenberry, they've put themselves in an objectively good spot going into Will Levis' second year. Tackle has still been their top need all offseason, but they shouldn't have many problems getting one with the No. 7 pick. Regardless of whether this pick is Alt or Fashanu, Titans fans should feel good about their direction moving forward.


Bengals Receive: Picks 8, 109, and 187 (442)

Falcons Receive: Picks 18 and 33 (467)

Pick 8) Cincinnati Bengals (via Atlanta Falcons) - Brock Bowers, TE (Georgia)

Signing Trent Brown takes the Bengals out of going tackle in round one, and assuming they deal Tee Higgins (my gut feeling is they do), they'll need to fill that void somehow. Enter Brock Bowers, who's as dynamic a weapon coming into the league in years. Don't let the position value fool you. MHJ might be the only guy in this draft who's a better prospect, and Bowers' skillset should translate instantaneously. Getting a talent like him far outweighs the picks they lose here.

Now circling back to Higgins, I like the idea of Cincinnati dealing him pre-draft under the pretext that they find someone to fill that void. Remember that Tyler Boyd is also gone, but I'd love a grouping of Ja'Marr Chase, Brock Bowers, and [insert drafted receiver here].


 Saints Receive: Picks 9 and 122 and a 2025 third-round pick (440)

Bears Receive: Picks 14, 150, 199 and a 2025 first-round pick (467)

Pick 9) New Orleans Saints (via Chicago Bears) - Olu Fashanu, OT (Penn State)

This is a steep price to pay for the Saints to jump five spots, but given the dire state of their offensive line now with the developing Ryan Ramczyk situation, this is a necessary sacrifice. They cannot, under any circumstances, go into the 2024 season with Trevor Penning and, realistically, either Landon Young or Olisaemeka Udoh as their starting tackles.

Pick 10) New York Jets - Rome Odunze, WR (Washington)

Given their new tackle situation, the Jets could take a few directions here. Option No. 1 is to go with, say, Tailese Fuaga and use him primarily as a sixth offensive lineman in year one before giving him the full-time gig on either side of the line in year two. Here, we go with Option No. 2, getting Garrett Wilson a running mate in Rome Odunze. Adding him specifically to this Jets offense is interesting because it could allow for Garrett Wilson to take some more slot snaps, where I think he has the potential to do some real damage. Odunze needs to figure out how to translate his natural explosiveness to the gridiron, but his hands are as good as any guy in this class.

Pick 11) Arizona Cardinals (via Minnesota Vikings) - Jared Verse, EDGE (Florida State)

Odunze falling right into the Cardinals' lap would've been a godsend, but a receiver isn't their only need as constructed. Adding a tone-setter to Jonathan Gannon's defense would be the right move, and they can't do better than Verse in this spot. He's the most complete edge rusher in this draft, and his speed-to-power conversion is scary.

Pick 12) Denver Broncos - Terrion Arnold, CB (Alabama)

It's hard to predict what the Broncos will do here, but taking a quarterback would be a massive mistake. They could get any of the available signal callers they could hypothetically want later on. Take a page out of the No Fly Zone playbook, get Terrion Arnold to play opposite Pat Surtain, and that defense should be relatively fine in a post-Justin Simmons world.

Pick 13) Las Vegas Raiders - Tailese Fuaga, OT (Oregon State)

There might not be a guy in this draft who screams Raider more than Tailese Fuaga. He is hard-nosed, gritty, willing to get his hands dirty in the run game, you name it, he fits the bill. Plug him in at right tackle the moment you get the draft card sent in, and don't think twice about it.

Pick 14) Chicago Bears (via New Orleans Saints) - Dallas Turner, EDGE (Alabama)

Being able to land an edge rusher to go opposite Montez Sweat here is the best-case scenario for Chicago. Verse is the better all-around guy in this class, but Turner's ability to bend, combined with his equally good speed off the line, will fit great in that already good Bears' defense.

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

I will repeat some talking points from Mock 2.0, but DeJean is the best fit for a Gus Bradley defense among these corners. Even if Arnold is on the board, I'd like to think they would still pick DeJean, whose size profile is excellent and who has the chops in zone coverage to instantly transition into a key role.

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

There was some talk that JPJ's stock wasn't as high in league circles as one would expect, which only further bolsters my belief that the Seahawks at 16. GM John Schnieder hasn't exactly been shy in years past about going in less-than-expected directions in round one, and center is most certainly a need for Seattle this year.

Pick 17) Jacksonville Jaguars - Brian Thomas Jr., WR (LSU)

The Calvin Ridley saga couldn't have ended worse for the Jaguars. In about a day, they lost a third-rounder and saw him walk home free to a division rival. Wideout now feels like a lock for them, and I think Brian Thomas Jr. would be a solid fit. You don't find guys his size who can run as fast as he can that often, and never mind his body control and red zone ability.

Pick 18) Atlanta Falcons (via Cincinnati Bengals) - Laiatu Latu, EDGE (UCLA)

This trade-down almost cost the Falcons big time, but I wouldn't call Latu a consolation prize for missing out on both Verse and Turner, assuming his medicals come back green. They need some pass-rush juice, and he brought a lot of it to UCLA over the last couple of seasons with 23.5 sacks. Also, this graph says a lot.

Pick 19) Los Angeles Rams - Byron Murphy II, IDL (Texas)

Replacing an all-time talent like Aaron Donald is impossible, but the least the Rams can do now is try to mitigate that loss as best they can. Luckily, with Murphy still on the board, they get this draft's top option. While the Texas product is undersized, like Donald was coming out of Pitt, he's probably more comparable to someone like Grady Jarrett but even more athletic and with a lighter frame, which is a scary thought.

Pick 20) Pittsburgh Steelers - Tyler Guyton, OT (Oklahoma)

Receiver shouldn't be ruled out for the Steelers after they dealt Diontae Johnson, but I don't think going into this next season with Dan Moore at left tackle is the way to go. Bringing in a monster of a man like Guyton, who could allow you to put Broderick Jones back over to his natural left side and set up a line of Jones-Seumalo-Herbig-Daniel-Guyton, which I'd say is pretty good.

Pick 21) Miami Dolphins - Johnny Newton, IDL (Illinois)

Not only did the Dolphins lose Christian Wilkins, but they also lost a ton of key defensive guys, including Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel. Adding someone like Newton makes a lot of sense because he can mostly fill the pass-rush void left in Wilkins' wake, and he has the potential to be a locker-room leader early in his career, something that they need on that side of the ball.


 49ers Receive: Picks 22 and 171 (262)

Eagles Recieve Receive: Picks 31, 63, and 132 (289)

Pick 22) San Francisco 49ers (via Philadelphia Eagles) - Adonai Mitchell, WR (Texas)

In this scenario, Brandon Aiyuk is no longer with the 9ers. Hence, the 9ers call Howie Roseman to get an immediate impact replacement in Adonai Mitchell, hypothetically outbidding the Bills to do so. His size and speed combination would pair great with guys like Juaun Jennings and Deebo Samuel, and Kyle Shannahan would have fun drawing up some red-zone stuff for the Texas product.

Pick 23) Arizona Cardinals (via Minnesota Vikings via Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns) - Quinyon Mitchell, CB (Toledo)

Mitchell would've been the pick had the 49ers not swooped in at the last minute, but the Cardinals still have some options they can choose from in round two. For now, they get their new top cornerback in the former of another Mitchell (unrelated), Quinyon. While personally preferring to play off the line, the Toledo product quelled most concerns about his press ability at the Senior Bowl, and he has unmatched ball production in this class. He'd be a fun chess piece on the board for Johnathan Gannon.

Pick 24) Dallas Cowboys - Amarius Mims, OT (Georgia)

I've seen bad offseasons in the NFL, but nothing like what the Dallas Cowboys are doing. Doing nothing to bolster your roster in what is 100 percent the final go-around for this core group of players and head coach Mike McCarthy is a catastrophic failure on the part of Jerry Jones. They have many holes to fill now, but none bigger than left tackle, which gets sealed up by the nearly 6'8" Amarius Mims.

Pick 25) Green Bay Packers - Troy Fautanu, OT/IOL (Washington)

While a guy like Fautanu has a gigantic fan club after his monster combine outing, I have a sneaky suspicion that some teams will fall into the trap of having him graded lower based on his size and not knowing if they would put him at tackle or guard. A team like the Packers, specifically, would undoubtedly see the value in jumping all over him at pick 25 for his athletic ability. His 9.45 RAS score (a system the Packers have historically treated as gospel) is excellent, and outside of his height of 6'3 3/4ths", measured and tested virtually on level with guys like Trent Williams, Tristan Wirfs, and Rashawn Slater. If he's there, I think Brian Gutekunst instantly phones this one in if given the chance.

Pick 26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB (Alabama)

One of the more surprising moves of the new league year was the Bucs dealing Carlton Davis to the Detroit Lions. That pretty much locks them in to take one here, barring more than, say, the top four or five being gone by this point. Luckily, that isn't the case, and they land themselves Kool-Aid McKinstry. He was mainly a left outside boundary corner at Alabama; he has enough chops in man and zone coverage to be an immediate impact guy, and I wouldn't hate hit fit with Todd Bowles. He also deserves a ton of props for performing while hurt at his pro day, putting up a 4.47 40-yard dash.

Pick 27) Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans) - Ladd McConkey, WR (Georgia)

While I could see the Cardinals still passing up on a receiver until round two, I also don't hate the idea of double-dipping with their following two selections since they lost both Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore. McConkey isn't just your generic white receiver who's mainly a slot guy; he has legitimate inside-outside versatility and is a lethal route runner. Very similar to Johnny Knox from a testing standpoint.

Pick 28) Buffalo Bills - Xavier Legette, WR (South Carolina)

I want to preface this by saying I had this entire three-round mock ready to go for Wednesday, staying up well into the night to do so. Then good ole Brandon Beane decides to make a league-altering trade about a half dozen hours later. Mean!!! I initially did not have the Bills taking a receiver in round one, but obviously, they don't have a choice now. Add a dynamic threat like Xavier Legette, who, beyond the fact he went to the same college, was used similarly to how Deebo Samuel has been, just with a bigger frame and less agile than Samuel, as you can see below.

As for that future second, the Bills got for Stefon Diggs, my guess is they will try to hold onto it, at least for now. I could see that being a valuable chip for them either at the trade deadline if they want to make a splash or simply next offseason. Even then, a double dip to get another body in the receiver room wouldn't shock me.

Pick 29) Detroit Lions - Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB (Missouri)

Even with the Carlton Davis trade, the Lions still need another guy who can play on the boundary, and Rakestraw fits that bill. He has a fairly similar build to last year's top corner selection, Devon Witherspoon, and has some press upside that I think the Lions could use.

Pick 30) Baltimore Ravens - Graham Barton, OT/IOL (Duke)

Despite his positional versatility up front, Barton will ultimately be forced into a guard because of his wingspan. Still, he has all the physical and mental tools to be a mainstay on any offensive line in the league, and his testing scores did enough to prove that. His fit with the Ravens could be at either guard spot, with Ben Cleveland or Jason Vorhees on the opposite end. Speaking of his testing scores, he grades and measured out close to a couple of former Eagles' Pro Bowl guards, Evan Mathis and Brandon Brooks.

Pick 31) Philadelphia Eagles (via San Francisco 49ers) - Nate Wiggins (Clemson)

I would definitely like to see the Eagles get younger on the defensive end after that trainwreck of a wildcard loss. With his size profile and zone coverage ability, Vic Fangio would like Nate Wiggins. They can't rely on Darius Slay and James Bradberry forever.

Pick 32) Kansas City Chiefs - Xavier Worthy, WR (Texas)

It's hard to gauge the developing Rashee Rice situation just yet, but in any case, I think the Chiefs still try to stack the deck at receiver to make a run at a first-ever Super Bowl three-peat. You can't teach Xavier Worthy's speed, and pairing him with Hollywood Brown would allow Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid to go back to some of the stuff they ran when they had both Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman as speed threats.

2024 NFL (Mock 3.0) Draft Rounds 2 and 3

Gaffney's TDT Mock Draft 3.0 2024 R2

Gaffney's TDT Mock Draft 3.0 2024 R3

Mock Draft 3.0 Trades in Rounds 2 and 3:

Cardinals Receive: Picks 44 and 208 (139)

Raiders Receive: Picks 66, 90, 138, 162 (146)

Bills Receive: Pick 46 (128)

Colts Receive: Picks 60, 133, 144, and a 2025 third-round pick (139)

Browns Receive: Pick 47, 70, and 166 (203)

Giants Receive: Picks 54, 85, 156, and a 2025 second-round pick (214)

Raiders Receive: Pick 68, 180, and a 2025 fourth-round pick (97)

Patriots Receive: Picks 77, 90, and a 2025 sixth-round pick (109)

Packers Receive: Pick 82 (54)

Colts Receive: Picks 60, 133, 144, and a 2025 third-round pick (59)

Chargers Receive: Pick 86 (49)

Texans Receive: Picks 105, 181, and a 2025 fourth-round pick (56)

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