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NFL Mock Draft: Will Drake Maye Fall To The Vikings?

Justin breaks down what he expects from the NFL Draft in this mock draft.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Drake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a North Carolina Tar Heels touchdown in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Acrisure Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

NFL Mock Draft

1. Chicago Bears (via Carolina): Caleb Williams, QB USC

Williams has gotten a lot of negative press, mostly off the field, as his game on the field speaks for itself. He stepped up and answered a lot of questions teams had at the Combine, so although he didn’t participate on the field, he still came out as a Combine winner. The Bears recently added free agent RB D’Andre Swift to help the rookie get excited to come to Chicago.

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB LSU

Many media outlets have this pick as UNC QB Drake Maye, but Daniels is the better fit in new OC Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense. Signing Marcus Mariota as a backup is another indicator of the direction this offense will be going. On top of all that, Daniels has fewer holes in his profile. He threw for 3,800 yards, ran for 1,100+ yards, recorded 50 combined TDs, and became the first player in the modern college era to average 300 yards passing and 75 yards rushing per game in 2023.

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3. New England Patriots: JJ McCarthy, QB Michigan

McCarthy is one the biggest risers of the predraft process. He has pro size and adequate arm strength and is a winner, having helped lead his team to a national championship. He has many of those intangibles that you want your QB to have. You might remember another Michigan QB who turned out ok in New England.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR Ohio State

Generational is a term thrown around quite loosely these days when talking about NFL prospects, but the son of the Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr. is the best WR prospect since Ja’Marr Chase. Marvin Jr. has all the same attributes to succeed as his pops had but in a much bigger 6’3″, 209-lb frame. He is going to make Cardinals fans in the desert happy for a long time.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Alt, OT Notre Dame

The Jim Harbaugh era starts off with a foundational piece on the O-Line in Fighting Irish star tackle Joe Alt. Expect Harbaugh to put his stamp on this Chargers team from the get-go, implementing a physical brand of football that relies on running the ball and playing defense. Alt was PFF’s highest-graded lineman last season, only allowing one sack the past two seasons.

6. New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR LSU

There are plenty of rumors the Giants could take a QB here at #6, but rumors are just that, and Daniel Jones did play well under Brian Dabol two seasons ago. Add the recent Drew Lock signing, and it appears those are the two QBs the GMen are going to go to war with this season. Instead, they will address a position where their roster is devoid of talent with this pick, drafting the do-it-all LSU WR Nabers. Nabers can take the top off a defense but is also capable of housing a short slant the distance on any given play. Following in a long line of elite LSU WRs, Nabers is the 1B in this WR class to Harrison’s 1A.

7. Tennessee Titans: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT Penn State

The Titans’ front office gets the tackle they covet. They are building a modern offense, and Fashanu will lead the way for newly acquired RB Tony Pollard and give QB Will Levis time to air it out. Fashanu is an elite athlete for someone of his size, running an unthinkable 5.11 40-yard dash at the Combine at 6’6” and 312 lbs.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, Edge Alabama

One of the most common picks I’ve seen in mocks is the Falcons going edge, and they’ve been linked slightly more to Turner than Jared Verse, the other edge going off the board in this range. Turner’s first-step quickness and explosiveness make him an elite edge prospect. He’s not quite the prospect his former Bama teammate Will Anderson was, but he’s not far off.

9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR Washington

Continuing to put weapons around their brand-new quarterback, the Bears get a prototypical “X” receiver in Odunze, who absolutely tore up the NFL Combine. His college production at Washington and tape are outstanding. He has a few things he can work on and will need to improve on at the next level, but he’s checked off most of the boxes. Odunze’s game should complement star WR D.J. Moore to form a nice one-two punch for da Bears.

10. New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga, OT Oregon State

Fuaga seems to be sliding a bit, but this pick would give Aaron Rodgers some much-needed protection coming back from an Achilles injury. His physicality and athleticism should also benefit Breece Hall in the run game.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Drake Maye, QB UNC

The Vikings get an early Christmas present with Drake Maye falling to them; they don’t even have to trade up to get him. With Kirk Cousins now in Atlanta and Sam Darnold as the most reliable signal-caller on their roster, the Vikings are in desperate need of finding their QB of both the present and future. Maye has all the tools but needs to find consistency in his game. We’ve heard this about a few other QBs (i.e., Josh Allen and Justin Herbert) coming into the NFL with the requisite size and big arms but requiring time to develop, and it’s worked out okay.

12. Denver Broncos: Quinyon Mitchell, CB Toledo

The Broncos are in a bit of rebuild mode, so they take BPA here and a position of need, grabbing the small school riser Quinyon Mitchell, who was one of the best players on the field at the Senior Bowl and also showed out at the Combine. This kid was electric in pass coverage; it was hard for any WR to get open in Mobile with him blanketing them so tightly. They need a quarterback badly, but I think Sean Payton waits till later in the draft to select one or finds another avenue to acquire one.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Byron Murphy II, DT Texas

Antonio Pierce continues to build this Raiders team in his image and likeness and takes Murphy, who specializes in pressuring the QB and win rate at the point of attack. He should be productive early in his career.

14. New Orleans Saints: Jared Verse, Edge Florida State

The Saints struggled to get to the quarterback last year, so they need pass-rushing help and would welcome it if Verse were to fall to them. Verse uses his strength and leverage to bulldoze tackles back into the quarterback, and he can also play the run.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Brock Bowers, TE Georgia

There is talk Bowers could run in the 4.40s at his Pro Day, which would be impressive as he weighed in at 245 lbs at the Combine. That is a big threshold for a TE to hit, and his weight eliminated any concerns that Bowers could be a tweener rather than any every-down player. He has been an impact player since his freshman year at Georgia, one of the best players in college football, and it’s exciting to finally see him get to the NFL. QB Anthony Richardson needs another target in the short to intermediate areas of the field, a role Bowers would be a perfect fit for.

16. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Penix, QB Washington

I’ve seen a few mocks and heard a few reports that the Seahawks are interested in Penix. He may end up being a second-round pick, but Seattle would be an interesting spot for him to land with those three great WRs. Penix has a serious injury history, but he has been healthy for a couple years now. He has a strong arm and throws a beautiful deep ball. I believe he will thrive in a spread offense with a lot of weapons, much like he had in Washington. If Geno Smith can’t get this Seahawks team to the next level, they could move on and turn to Penix down the road.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Terrion Arnold, CB Alabama

The Jaguars have been strongly linked to corner, so this seems like a logical spot for the Crimson Tide standout Arnold, who had an impressive five interceptions while not allowing a touchdown on 445 coverage snaps last season. He truly has lockdown potential.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: JC Latham, OT Alabama

This is another common pick you will see in many mocks: the Bengals going O-line to try and keep Joe Burrow upright and healthy. Lantham is pro-ready, having allowed just three sacks in his 970 career pass-blocking snaps in college.

19. Los Angeles Rams: Nate Wiggins, CB Clemson

This is a need pick for the Rams, and Wiggins is the last of the big three corners in this draft. Wiggins is a long, athletic corner standing 6’1” and 173 lbs, and posted an impressive 4.28 40-yard dash at the Combine.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL Oregon

Steelers are most likely going with a big ugly with this pick, and there are a few directions they could go here, but they elect to grab the best center in the draft to help Russell Wilson and the power run game. Powers-Johnson was awesome at the Senior Bowl, and he could also swing over to guard if needed. Regarded as one of the top interior blockers in the draft, JPL relishes knocking and tossing opponents out of the way.

21. Miami Dolphins: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT Illinois:

The Dolphins need help on both lines, but in this mock they choose to address the defensive side, where they have a few pending free agents who they will probably need to replace. Newton brings activity and the ability to put pressure on the QB, two things Miami needs desperately.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Brian Thomas Jr., WR LSU

Thomas has great size (6’3”, 209 lbs) and speed (he ran a 4.33 in the 40), and the Eagles have struggled to find that field- stretching WR, so this pick fits the bill. Thomas is a bit of a developmental receiver, but this landing spot would allow him to work his way in slowly behind A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith.

23. Houston Texans (Via Browns): Edgerrin Cooper, LB Texas A&M

This pick for the Texans will likely be on the defensive side of the ball with the offensive side in pretty good shape. They need to address linebacker, and they can do so by selecting Edgerrin Cooper, a player who is shooting up draft boards after an impressive Combine that included him running a 4.52 40-yard dash. DeMeco Ryans adds another piece to an ascending defense.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier Worthy, WR Texas

Dalton Schultz called things at the Cowboys facilities a “zoo,” referring to all the tours and things going on that were outside of the football realm. Well, this pick is right up Jerry Jones’ hype machine alley, selecting football’s fastest man, Xavier Worthy, who ran a record-shattering 4.21 40 to the delight of the football world at the Combine. The league is already saying that they can’t let Worthy make it to the Chiefs at the end of Round 1, so this pick would at least prevent that. We’ve seen Jones do crazier things than take Worthy, who could be utilized as both a field stretcher and a dynamic weapon at the NFL level.

25. Green Bay Packers: Troy Fautanu, IOL Washington

Matt LaFleur loves versatility on his O-Line, often playing his best five linemen regardless of their typical position or size. Fautanu brings that skill set and the ability to play multiple positions. He plays with athleticism and strength and will open holes in the running game for new signing Josh Jacobs.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Laiatu Latu, Edge UCLA

Latu’s medicals came back positive, which was one of the concerns as he went through the Draft process. While not the greatest athlete, he was ultra-productive in college and had a great Senior Bowl … and the Bucs need pass rushing.

27. Arizona Cardinals (Via Texans): Tyler Guyton, OT Oklahoma

The Cardinals pair Guyton with Parris Johnson to form a very formable set of bookend tackles. Standing at 6’8”, 322 lbs, Guyton is a bit raw, but his movement ability projects him to protect a quarterback’s blindside well.

28. Buffalo Bills: Adonai Mitchell, WR Texas

With Gabe Davis’ departure via free agency and Stefon Diggs’ long-term future still in question, the Bills elect to take the sixth WR off the board in Round 1 and the second Texas Longhorn pass catcher, Adonai Mitchell. Another big riser after his phenomenal Combine performance, his 4.34 40 and 39.5″ vertical jump at 6’2″ 205 got everyone’s attention. He has a little Ceedee Lamb to his game on film, and now he has shown that he also has the measurables to validate his position as a first-round pick.

29. Detroit Lions: Cooper DeJean, DB Iowa

The Lions continue the rebuilding of their defense and grab DeJean, one of the best and most versatile athletes in this draft. Detroit needs playmakers on the back end of their defense, so this pick would make a lot of sense.

30. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Robinson, Edge Missouri

The Ravens use this pick to bolster their defense with Robinson, another Senior Bowl riser and a player they have come out and said they are interested in. Robinson would join the Ravens’ front with the recently resigned Justin Madubuike and start his career as part of a strong rotation.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB Alabama

One of the great names in the draft, Kool-Aid was once viewed as a top-10 NFL Draft pick but played in the shadow of his teammate Terrion Arnold this past season. However, despite his draft stock slipping a bit, he still only allowed three TDs in 38 career college games. Savvy and experienced, McKinstry excels in man-to-man coverage and should push for playing time early in the Bay.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jordan Morgan, OL Arizona

Chiefs have expressed interest in Morgan; the 6’5″, 325-lb Arizona product played left tackle in college, but he can also swing over to guard and play inside if needed. Everyone wants the Chiefs to go WR at this spot, and it could happen, but you also can never go wrong with getting Patrick Mahomes more protection.