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NFL Round 1 Mock Draft: Will The Chargers Take Malik Nabers?

Jeremy’s Mock Draft 1.0 breaks down how the first round of NFL Draft could shake out.

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans reacts after he threw a touchdown pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Stanford Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With the NFL Combine right around the corner, I thought I would do a mock draft and give some analysis on each selection. I did not make any trades in this mock draft, so it is going to be straightforward with each team’s current first-round picks. I am excited to see how each prospect performs at the combine in a few weeks; as always, we will see some risers and fallers after the combine. However, I am always skeptical of moving players too far one way or the other based on their Combine numbers, as I like to go off their college game film more than the testing numbers, so this mock draft may end up pretty close to my final predictions.

One thing to keep in mind is that free agency will be starting in a few weeks, which could change some of the needs for these teams going into the NFL draft. I will be doing another mock draft after free agency to see what new position needs teams have and adjust the mock draft accordingly. I hope you enjoy the mock draft; keep an eye out for my prospect breakdowns that will be coming soon to!

2024 NFL Mock Draft

Pick 1 — Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers); Needs: QB, WR, C, DL, CB

QB Caleb Williams, USC

Analysis: It would be too difficult for the Chicago Bears to pass on a possible generational talent at the most important position in the NFL. I believe current quarterback Justin Fields gets traded before the draft for a second-round pick and a mid-round pick. If a team gets really desperate, maybe the Bears get two second-round picks for him.

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Pick 2 — Washington Commanders; Needs: QB, TE, OL, EDGE, LB, CB 

QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Analysis: The Washington Commanders will have a tough decision here between Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels. I have Maye ranked higher in this draft class, and I believe he is the better long-term prospect as a dual-threat quarterback. He has the ideal size and arm strength that the NFL scouts look for at the quarterback position. Some scouts compare him to Justin Herbert, but I see more of Josh Allen in his game film.

Pick 3 — New England Patriots; Needs: QB, WR, T, EDGE

QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Analysis: The New England Patriots have their decision made easy by the top two quarterbacks going with the first two picks of the draft. The Patriots need a quarterback, and when the reigning Heisman-trophy-winning quarterback is sitting there at pick No. 3, you have to take him. So, the Patriots get what they are hoping is their long-term answer at the quarterback position.

Pick 4 — Arizona Cardinals; Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, CB

WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Analysis: This is an easy pick for the Arizona Cardinals unless they get an offer from another team that they cannot refuse, because they do have a lot of holes to fill. Marvin Harrison Jr. is by far my top-ranked receiver in this draft class. He should be an elite receiver for the next eight to 10 years in the NFL.

Pick 5 — Los Angeles Chargers; Needs: RB, WR, TE, DL, LB, CB

WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Analysis: The Chargers are going to have a tough decision here at pick #5. They could trade out of this spot or take either wide receiver Malik Nabers or tight end Brock Bowers. I have them taking Nabers in this mock draft as it would be hard to pass on Nabers’ big-play ability with this pick. They did just take wide receiver Quentin Johnston in the draft last year, but Nabers is a different player with game-breaking ability, and it is never a bad thing to give quarterback Justin Herbert another offensive weapon.

Pick 6 — New York Giants; Needs: QB, WR, OL, DL, LB, DB

WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Analysis: The Giants have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball this offseason, and wide receiver is definitely at the top of the list. Last year, when he was healthy, quarterback Daniel Jones did not have any playmakers at wide receiver. So, with this pick of wide receiver Rome Odunze, the Giants will finally have a go-to #1 wide receiver for Jones or the next Giants quarterback to work and grow with.

Pick 7 — Tennessee Titans; Needs: WR, OL, DB

T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Analysis: How things have gone so far makes the Tennessee Titans pick very easy. They are in need of a left tackle, and the way the board has fallen to them here, they get the best one in the 2024 draft class in Joe Alt. Alt is a big, agile left tackle, similar to the Taylor Lewan mold. He should be an All-Pro for the next 10 years.

Pick 8 — Atlanta Falcons; Needs: QB, WR, EDGE, CB

EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Analysis: This pick is one where the Atlanta Falcons need a quarterback, but they are not sold on the players left on the board. I can also see new head coach Rheem Morris wanting to go defense with his first pick since he is a defensive-minded coach. With that in mind, I think they will take edge rusher Laiatu Latu. Latu is all over everyone’s draft boards. Some have him as the top edge rusher like me, but some have him at four or five because of the neck injury he suffered two years ago. Everyone is waiting to see how his medicals check out at the NFL Combine.

Pick 9 — Chicago Bears; Needs: QB, WR, C, DL, CB

EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

Analysis: The Chicago Bears just had someone who could have been a top-five pick land in their lap here at pick nine. The Bears got their young rookie quarterback with the draft’s first pick and now land a playmaker on defense in edge rusher Jared Verse. Verse is a big, powerful pass rusher who can beat an offensive tackle in the blink of an eye. I have watched many games where the bullrushes the tackle back into the quarterback for a sack. The Bears do not need an edge rusher, but with the top wide receivers off the board, they will take the best player available with this pick.

Pick 10 — New York Jets; Needs: WR, T, DI

T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

Analysis: The Jets would be thrilled to see offensive tackle Olu Fashanu still on the board at pick ten. Fashanu possesses the intelligence, length, and athleticism to start at left tackle immediately in the NFL.

Pick 11 — Minnesota Vikings; Needs: QB, RB, G, C, DL, LB, DB

EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Analysis: With pick 11, the Minnesota Vikings are able to bolster their pass rush by taking edge rusher Dallas Turner. Turner is the last edge rusher in my top tier for this year’s draft class. He possesses great pass-rushing skills and play-making ability that the Vikings cannot pass on here in the draft.

Pick 12 — Denver Broncos; Needs: QB, WR, C, EDGE, CB

QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Analysis: This is the pick Head Coach Sean Payton has been waiting to make since he took over last year. He has his pick of either quarterback J.J. McCarthy or Bo Nix in my mock draft, and in this one I have the Denver Broncos selecting McCarthy. I think Payton falls in love with McCarthy during the pre-draft process as he has all the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It would also be a plus to keep him away from the Las Vegas Raiders, who have the next pick.

Pick 13 — Las Vegas Raiders; Needs: QB, RB, OL, DI, LB, DB

CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Analysis: So, with the top four quarterbacks off the board, the Las Vegas Raiders select the best cornerback on the board in Cooper DeJean. DeJean would be a great addition to the Raiders’ defense as he is a versatile defensive back with coverage skills, strength against the run, and the ability to create turnovers with his aggressive ball skills.

Pick 14 — New Orleans Saints; Needs: QB, T, DL

T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Analysis: The New Orleans Saints are in need of a right tackle, and one of my top three is still on the board here at pick 14. Taliese Fuaga is an athletic and powerful right tackle who can come in and start on day one for the Saints.

Pick 15 — Indianapolis Colts; Needs: WR, OL, DI, DB

DI Byron Murphy II, Texas

Analysis: The Indianapolis Colts are set to lose defensive tackle Grover Stewart to free agency, and Byron Murphy II would be a perfect replacement for him with this pick. Murphy is an active, strong interior defensive lineman and he is my top interior defensive lineman in this draft class. A major need is filled by the Colts with this pick.

Pick 16 — Seattle Seahawks; Needs: G, C, EDGE

C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

Analysis: The Seattle Seahawks are in need of interior offensive linemen, and they land the best center in the draft by selecting Jackson Powers-Johnson with this pick. Powers-Johnson is a strong, fierce competitor with a salty disposition. He is a perfect fit for the Seahawks’ rushing attack.

Pick 17 — Jacksonville Jaguars; Needs: G, C, EDGE, DB

CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Analysis: The Jacksonville Jaguars are also in desperate need of interior offensive linemen, but with the Seahawks taking Jackson Powers-Johnson right in front of them, the Jaguars are forced to pivot to defensive back and take cornerback Nate Wiggins. Wiggins is good at challenging receivers on the outside, and he has excellent coverage skills. He reminds me of another Jaguars cornerback: Tyson Campbell.

Pick 18 — Cincinnati Bengals; Needs: TE, T, DI

TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Analysis: This pick is the dream scenario fantasy-football-wise for me, as I would love to see Brock Bowers team up Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. If the top tight end falls this far in the draft, the Cincinnati Bengals would be ecstatic to take him at pick 18. This would fill a big need for the Bengals and be a value.

Pick 19 — LA Rams; Needs: QB, OL, DL, LB, DB

CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

Analysis: This pick is more about the best player available than filling an immediate need for the Rams, as cornerback is a need, but probably not at the very top of their list. Taking cornerback Terrion Arnold would give the Rams’ defense a big-time playmaker. Arnold is still very young with room to grow as he is coming out after his redshirt Sophomore season.

Pick 20 — Pittsburgh Steelers; Needs: C, LB, DB

CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Analysis: A run on cornerbacks continues as the Pittsburgh Steelers select one of the stars of the Senior Bowl in cornerback Quinyon Mitchell. Mitchell would make half of a great pairing with last year’s second-round pick Joey Porter Jr. These two young corners could put AFC North wide receivers on lockdown for the next five to seven years. I did not know a lot about Mitchell until Senior Bowl week, but he was consistently making plays there all week.

Pick 21 — Miami Dolphins; Needs: TE, OL

T JC Latham, Alabama

Analysis: The Miami Dolphins were hoping Brock Bowers would fall here, but there is no way he will make it past the Bengals, if he even falls that far. So, with no other tight ends having a first-round grade, the Dolphins turn to their next biggest need, which is offensive line. In picking JC Latham with pick 21, the Dolphins are getting a human bulldozer at right tackle. Latham is built like a guard but is skilled enough to play at right tackle. I expect him to be either an All-Pro right tackle or guard for many years in the NFL.

Pick 22 — Philadelphia Eagles; Needs: WR, LB, DB

CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Analysis: The Philadelphia Eagles are in desperate need of help for their secondary after their poor showing for most of the regular season and in their playoff game against Tampa Bay. So, with pick 22, I have the Eagles taking cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. McKinstry is not my favorite corner in this draft class, even though a lot of analysts have him as a top three at the position. He has good instincts and speed, but he did not create many turnovers in college. He is also an excellent punt and kickoff returner, so he will definitely help the Eagles on special teams right away.

Pick 23 — Houston Texans (From Cleveland Browns); Needs: WR, TE, DL, LB

EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State

Analysis: This would be my favorite pick of the draft if it happens. The Houston Texans need another young pass rusher to pair with 2023 first-round pick Will Anderson, and Chop Robinson would be a perfect fit. I want Robinson to land with a defensive-minded head coach because there is a lot of raw potential with him. He did not wow you with his production at Penn State, but he was disruptive as a pass rusher and played well against the run.

Pick 24 — Dallas Cowboys; Needs: RB, C, OT, DI, LB, CB

DI Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys need an offensive lineman or running back more than a defensive lineman, but at this point in the draft there is not a first-round running back or interior offensive lineman left and the offensive tackle position is deep this year, so they can get one in round two. So the Cowboys go best player available with pick 24 and select interior defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton. Newton will fill a need as a versatile player who is disruptive against the pass and can set the edge in the run game.

Pick 25 — Green Bay Packers; Needs: RB, T, DI, S

T Troy Fautanu, Washington

Analysis: The Green Bay Packers were hoping that Jer’Zhan Newton would fall to them, but after the Cowboys selected him right before their pick, the Packers are forced to look at their next biggest need, which is the offensive line. The Packers will be happy with their consolation prize in offensive tackle Troy Fautanu. Fautanu will slide right in and start at either right tackle or guard for the Packers next season.

Pick 26 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Needs: RB, TE, G, C, EDGE, LB, CB

EDGE Chris Braswell, Alabama

Analysis: In a little bit of a surprise pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select edge rusher Chris Braswell. Braswell has been all over the place in mock drafts this offseason. I like the fact that he stayed at Alabama for all four years and did not transfer. He was rewarded with starting his senior year and having a productive season. He has good size and length, so he could develop into a great speed rusher off the edge.

Pick 27 — Arizona Cardinals (From Houston Texans); Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, CB

WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

Analysis: I realize I have the Arizona Cardinals selecting Marvin Harrison Jr earlier in this mock draft, but they are really hurting at the position, and I do not see Hollywood Brown returning next season. We just had a nice run of offensive linemen come off the board, so sticking with best player available the Cardinals cannot pass on wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. out of LSU. Thomas is one of the top wide receivers in this draft class. He is a big receiver with good speed. He will pair nicely with Harrison Jr. to give quarterback Kyler Murray some badly needed weapons at the wide receiver position.

Pick 28 — Buffalo Bills; Needs: WR, T, DI, LB, DB

WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

Analysis: The Buffalo Bills were hoping that Thomas Jr. would fall to them at this pick, but since the Cardinals selected him at pick 27, the Bills will have to go with the next wide receiver on the board. At pick 28 the Bills select wide receiver Troy Franklin. Franklin is a big-time vertical threat, which could pair nicely with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. He would be a different weapon in the passing game for quarterback Josh Allen.

Pick 29 — Detroit Lions; Needs: WR, DI, CB

CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri

Analysis: The Detroit Lions could not stop anyone in the passing game last season, so this is the easiest pick in the firs round given who is left on the board. The Lions select cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. out of Missouri. Rakestraw is a Head Coach Dan Campbell kind of guy with his toughness and willingness to make plays in the run and pass games. He will fit right in and start Week 1.

Pick 30 — Baltimore Ravens; Needs: WR, DL, CB

EDGE Darius Robinson, Missouri

Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens’ defense had trouble stopping the run toward the end of the season, so it makes sense for them to pick Senior Bowl standout Darius Robinson. Robinson was fantastic at the Senior Bowl. He was making plays during practice and in the game. He does a good job against the run, and he is still developing as a pass rusher, so this is a good long-term pick for the Ravens.

Pick 31 — San Francisco 49ers; Needs: OL, CB

T Amarius Mims, Georgia

Analysis: If this is what is left on the board at this pick, the San Francisco 49ers will be very happy as offensive tackle Amarius Mims would fit perfectly for what they need. The 49ers are getting older along the offensive line and could use a new starter or two, and Mims would qualify as a steal at this point in the draft. He can play at right tackle to start his career, but he has the skill set to eventually be a starting left tackle in the league.

Pick 32 — Kansas City Chiefs; Needs: WR, DL

WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Analysis: No one else has wide receiver Ladd McConkey in the first round of their mock drafts, but to me this player and this team just feel like a perfect match. I think McConkey is going to impress scouts at the combine with his on-field skills and his team interviews. The Kansas City Chiefs need a lot of wide receiver help, and McConkey would be a nice fit with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.