With the regular season coming to an end, it's time to look at the new, promising candidates in this deep draft class. When writing this, it isn't always what I want to happen, but more of what I believe the team themselves will do in their positions. For example, I think the Bears should keep Justin Fields, but I believe they will take Caleb Williams with the first pick. Let's dive into it.
1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers): Caleb Williams - QB, USC
Caleb Williams didn't finish his season how he wanted to, but he is a talent you cannot pass up on with the 1st pick. USC started 6-0 and looked promising, but their defense couldn't stop a nosebleed, relying too much on Williams to win games. They finished 8-5 because the defense allowed 34.4 points per game. Caleb is extremely talented, but asking him to score 35+ points per game is a little outrageous. Nonetheless, he is the best prospect in this class, and it would be a mistake to pass up on him. This would also give them another four years without having to dish out a monster quarterback contract. Fields' contract is ending in 2025, so this would be logical for Chicago if they don't think Fields deserves top dollar.
2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye- QB, UNC
The Commanders will have a new head coach, a new general manager, and an owner ready to kick off the 2024 season with a bang. Washington has not had a winning season in eight years, and it all comes down to getting their franchise guy at the quarterback position. They can do that this year by taking the UNC gunslinger with the 2nd overall pick. They have a good arsenal of weapons on the offensive side of the ball already, they just need to beef up their offensive line, and Drake Maye could shine.
3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels- QB, LSU
The Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe experience didn't go as planned, and the Patriots desperately need a new face in the quarterback room. Daniels can run and make plays on his feet. During Bill Belichick's tenure, they never had someone who could run like Daniels. They had Cam Newton, but he was a shell of himself from a mobility standpoint. With rumors that Bill could be departing New England this year, it would be nice to see a coach turn this team's boring playstyle around by drafting Daniels. They do not have the most talented weapons at the wide receiver position, making Daniels' ability to extend plays crucial to this offense.
4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr.- WR, Ohio State
This Cardinals' offense took a major step back after losing superstar receiver Deandre Hopkins. Marquise Brown was supposed to fill that void this year, but he underimpressed. Marvin would make a difference in this offense and would be the clear No. 1 option for Kyler Murray. He is 6'4, 205 lbs. with lightning-quick speed and as sure hands as anybody in the draft. The mismatch nightmare will have defensive coaches staying up all night trying to plan how to guard him.
5. Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Alt- OT, Notre Dame
The Chargers are in a tough spot here. It is hard to pass up on Brock Bowers here, as he seems to be a generational prospect, but how good can he be if Herbert isn't protected? The team locked Herbert up to a five-year, 262.5 million dollar deal. The offensive line has been very shaky, and they'll need to get him protection if they want that deal to make sense. Joe Alt is also the most NFL-ready tackle, in my opinion. I believe he will be a cornerstone piece for years to come in this league, and the Chargers wouldn't go wrong with this pick.
6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers- WR, LSU
Another tough spot for a team that needs offensive line help. I see them taking Nabers here though, because they do not have any firepower in that receiving room. The Chargers have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams already so that's why they could afford taking a tackle, but New York has nobody that scares opposing teams. Nabers has the size and speed to play anywhere they need him to. With the top 3 quarterbacks gone, this is the pick for the Giants.
7. Tennessee Titans: Olumuyiwa Fashanu- OT, Penn State
The tackle play has been below average, and Tennessee is desperately in need of some help at the position. Fashanu is arguably the best tackle in this class, and it would make the most sense. They need to give Will Levis a fair chance with decent offensive line play.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner- EDGE, Alabama
Atlanta needs a quarterback more than anything, but I can't see them reaching this far for Penix or McCarthy. They'll probably get a veteran or try to acquire Fields if the Bears take Caleb Williams. The Falcons were ranked dead last in pass rush win rate this year (31%), so Dallas Turner makes all the sense in the world here. He is a 6'4, 250-pound edge who can get to the quarterback with ease. During his run at Bama, Turner finished with 22.5 sacks. He is rumored to run a 4.45-4.5 40-yard dash. His speed allows him to be a plug-and-play starter on day one for Atlanta.
9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze- WR, Washington
Chicago could lean towards drafting the best available OT at this pick to protect Williams if they take him. But building a stacked receiving core could allow Williams to reach his full potential. Moore, Odunze, and Kmet would be a nice trio to build around. Odunze is a great jump ball receiver and gives the Bears another weapon on the outside.
10. New York Jets: Brock Bowers- TE, Georgia
Outside of Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, there are no other weapons that scare defenses. With Harrison Jr, Nabers, and Odunze gone, New York's best option here is Bowers. He is a freak athlete who can do it all. He is 6'4 240-pounds, and clocked in a run during a game at 21.9 MPH. The Georgia tight end can move, and his best ability is YAC. This would give Aaron Rodgers another big target that the Jets could use to exploit defenses.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Nate Wiggins- CB, Clemson
The Vikings need to improve their cornerback room more than anything. Outside of Byron Murphy, they were getting torched left and right. Wiggins provides a combination of size and speed, and he would fit perfectly in their system. Minnesota tends to run a lot of zone defense, and it just so happens that's where Wiggins is best suited right away.
12. Denver Broncos: Jared Verse- EDGE, Alabama
Denver blitzed plenty in 2023. They ranked fifth in blitz percentage but finished 29th in pressure rate. Something tells me that isn't very good. Verse can help that though, as his size and strength are otherworldly. He will make an immediate impact in this Broncos defense.
13. Las Vegas Raiders: JC Latham- OT, Alabama
The Raiders have found a great tackle in Kolton Miller, but they need help opposite of him. Latham was very impressive in college, and some teams may think he is the best lineman in the draft. In 21 games, he surrendered zero sacks and only allowed three QB hits. He is also a stout run blocker as well. Vegas could get a steal here.
14. New Orleans Saints: Laiatu Latu- EDGE, UCLA
Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis won't be around forever. As good as they've been, the rest of the pass rush core hasn't been great. New Orleans should think about the future and how they can replace Jordan. Latu can be the guy for that, as he's extremely strong and athletic. He led the country in tackles for loss with 21.5.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Cooper DeJean- CB, Iowa
Cooper DeJean has been skyrocketing up draft boards, and Indianapolis is in dire need of cornerback help. Their division also got loaded with receiving talent (Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Deandre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, etc.) so, they need someone to help limit these guys as best they can. He is also an elite kick returner who can take one to the crib anytime, any place, anywhere
16. Seattle Seahawks: Jer'Zhan Newton- IDL, Illinois
Back-to-back Illinois players taken in the first round for Seattle. They took Witherspoon last year and can't go wrong with the bully that Jer'Zhan Newton is. He is a little undersized in NFL terms, but being 6'2, 295 pounds isn't that small. He punishes people inside, and Seattle needs to beef up their IDL.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kool-Aid McKinstry- CB, Alabama
The Jags' defense was not good this year, mainly because of the disappointing play from Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams. It seemed like it would be a good enough duo to win the division, but it was clear they needed more help in that position. The only reason Kool-Aid isn't the first corner drafted is because most scouts see him as raw. He has the highest ceiling in this cornerback class, and I think the Jags would regret it if they don't take him here.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Taliese Fuaga- OT, Oregon State
Jonah Williams is set to hit free agency this offseason and if he doesn't sign back, Joe Burrow could be in for some trouble. Offensive line has always been an issue for this team so grabbing the best available here would make the most sense. Tee Higgins might have also played his last game for the team so they might go WR here if Jonah signs back.
19. Green Bay Packers: Leonard Taylor- IDL, Miami
The Packers were terrible against the run this year and need some interior-line help. Taylor brings energy and will disrupt the middle of the pocket, not allowing opposing quarterbacks to be able to step up.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Keon Coleman- WR, FSU
Mike Evans is going to be a free agent this offseason and if he leaves, Keon Coleman can help in filling the void. They have very similar playstyles as they are both jump ball receivers that can take the top off the defense. Coleman usually would not be going this late, but it is an intense WR class.
21. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans): Bralen Trice- EDGE, Washington
Arizona's defensive line is arguably the worst in the league. There are no game changers in that group and Trice could help make the difference. He fits Gannon's scheme and can help in the pass-and-run game.
22. Los Angeles Rams: Terrion Arnold- CB, Alabama
The Rams are thin at cornerback and adding a top corner from Alabama makes a lot of sense here. There is a debate that Arnold was even better than Kool-Aid, but Kool-Aid's ceiling is projected to be higher. Arnold had 5 picks this past season and can lockdown the best of the best. An underrated name, and one to watch for next year.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Penix- QB, Washington
It's time to face the facts here. Kenny Pickett is not the quarterback the Steelers thought they were getting, and Mason Rudolph is not the long-term answer either. Penix gives them a fresh start and a chance to do some damage. He loves the deep ball so he and Pickens would hit it off well. They could finally see Pickens' full potential. All this team is missing is a QB and they have the chance to make it right again.
24. Miami Dolphins: Amarius Mims- OT, Georgia
The Dolphins are solid at almost every position, but their O-line could use some work. Amarius Mims is 6'7, 340 pounds. If he is there, they shouldn't pass him up as he can be molded into a cornerstone tackle opposite Armstead. He is a little raw, but if developed correctly can be an absolute unit for this Miami team.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Kamren Kinchens- S, Miami
This Philly secondary is the worst they've had in years. With names like Slay, Bradberry, and Byard, you would think it would be elite. But it's clear they need some youth in the lineup and no better than top safety Kamren Kinchens. He is an athletic ball hawk who would start for this team on day one. The Eagles D-Line is their strong suit so they need someone like Kinchens who can buy them some time to get to the quarterback.
26. Kansas City Chiefs: Emeka Egbuka- WR, Ohio State
If the Chiefs want to continue to seriously contend, they need to drastically improve their WR room. They led the league in drops, resulting in the least amount of points per game by the offense during the Mahomes era. Emeka played second fiddle to Harrison Jr, but he is as talented as they come. Ohio State receivers have been taking over the NFL lately, and Emeka can be the next one especially with Mahomes throwing to him.
27. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns): Kris Jenkins- IDL, Michigan
Houston needs a run-stopper in the middle and Jenkins can immediately step into that role. His stats weren't crazy this year, but he was constantly disrupting the quarterback and closing gaps in the run. They would be lucky to get a player like him to beef up their surprisingly good defense.
28. Detroit Lions: Kalen King- CB, Penn State
Every time I watch the Lions, the cornerback play makes me sick. The safeties (Branch, Gardner-Johnson) are elite and are always making plays. But the corners are just holding this team back from greatness. They are 12-5 but could be even better if they could defend the pass. Kalen King isn't the best tackler, but he is as good in coverage as any corner in the draft. The only reason he is falling is because he is 5'11, but I don't think that matters as much as scouts say. He would help this Detroit secondary improve.
29. Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas- WR, LSU
The Gabe Davis experience is not what Buffalo hoped for. They thought he would be a great second option behind Diggs, but he has been as inconsistent as could be. Adding Brian Thomas gives Buffalo a real second option. He is 6'4 and led the nation in touchdowns with 17. This will give Allen a big body to throw to and a jump ball threat that he's never really had.
30. Dallas Cowboys: Adonai Mitchell- WR, Texas
CeeDee Lamb is having the best year of his career. This is because Dak rarely throws to anybody else. Cooks have started to emerge late in the season, but he is on the wrong side of 30, and Gallup hasn't lived up to the expectations that they would have liked. Adonai gives them another option in the passing game and would be Dak's biggest target. At 6'4, he causes mismatches for defenses and could take this offense to an even higher level.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Guyton- OT, Oklahoma
With Trent Williams headed for retirement very shortly, they need to develop another tackle. Guyton plays right tackle but can be moved as he is versatile. He gave up zero sacks this past season.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Troy Fautanu- OL, Washington
Baltimore has an aging offensive line, and they can't go wrong adding Fautanu. He has experience playing guard and tackle, so the Ravens can mix him around during training camp to see where he fits best in their system. He is excellent in both the run and pass game and would give Baltimore the help they need.
Main Image via