NFL mock draft 2024 with trades: Vikings move up for Jayden Daniels, Jets help Broncos get J.J. McCarthy

Source: The Sporting News

An NFL first-round mock draft is an exercise in educated speculation. It’s challenging enough to project 32 unique selections when considering each projected pick has a progressive impact on others.

Predicting draft-day trades adds a whole new layer. The permutations are already seemingly infinite, and moving teams up and down the order from their current positions makes for endless possibilities.

In the interest of being calculated about adding more uncertainty, Sporting News does only one mock that incorporates trades. Here’s our 2024 edition, featuring 10 reasonable deals that can shake up the first round to its core.

1. Chicago Bears (from Panthers)

  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC (6-1, 214 pounds)

The Bears aren’t trading down from No. 1 for a second consecutive season. After dealing away Justin Fields, they are locked into Williams as their long-term franchise passer.

2. Washington Commanders

  • Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (6-4, 223 pounds)

The Commanders will be tempted to make a deal and stockpile picks for their rebuild, but the biggest building block is also a potential franchise QB. The strong-armed Maye makes a lot of sense in Kliff Kingsbury’s system.

*TRADE* 3. Minnesota Vikings (projected trade up with Patriots)

  • Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU (6-4, 210 pounds)

The Vikings are most likely to convince the Patriots to trade with them so they can have their QB of choice once Williams and Maye are off the board. The Patriots also seem to be more flexible in landing their own highly drafted QB. The Vikings have been rumored plenty to move up for Maye or J.J. McCarthy, but going for Daniels’ dynamic upside is their more exciting path.

4. Arizona Cardinals

  • Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (6-3, 202 pounds)

The Cardinals need a No. 1 wide receiver badly, and Harrison is a rare elite all-around talent entering the league. They have no reason to move this pick, as they are sitting pretty with Kyler Murray after the early QB run.

*TRADE* 5. Tennessee Titans (projected trade up with Chargers)

  • Malik Nabers, WR, LSU (6-0, 200 pounds)

The Titans have taken a good look at Nabers as they try to overhaul their offense from run-heavy to pass-happy. Offensive coaches Brian Callahan and Nick Holz need to keep upgrading their 11 personnel for Will Levis after adding Calvin Ridley, and they might get aggressive to get Nabers ahead of the Giants.

New York Giants (6-11)

  • Rome Odunze, WR, Washington (6-3, 212 pounds)

The Giants can’t be too disappointed if the Titans jump up ahead of them to land Nabers because Odunze is only a tad less of a complete receiver and a better big-play threat.

*TRADE* 7. Los Angeles Chargers (projected trade down with Titans)

  • Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia (6-3, 243 pounds) 

The Chargers could be thinking about Nabers and Odunze should they stay put at No. 5, but Bowers is more in line as a key pass-catcher for their new offensive philosophy under Greg Roman.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

  • Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama (6-3, 247 pounds)

The Falcons went nuts upgrading their passing game with Kirk Cousins as the centerpiece in free agency, and now they need to get defensive-minded coach Raheem Morris a cornerstone pass rusher. Atlanta, with multiple needs, is also a candidate to trade down.

9. Chicago Bears (7-10)

  • Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (6-9, 321 pounds)

The Bears might be thinking offensive skill position or defensive pass rush if they keep this pick, but they can’t go wrong by landing Alt as a long-term left tackle to follow up their investment in Williams.

*TRADE* 10. Denver Broncos (projected trade up with Jets)

  • J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (6-2, 219 pounds)

The Broncos will take notice if the Vikings and Patriots make a trade early. Denver should consider this move regardless because it’s becoming clear the strong-armed, athletic, and tough McCarthy is more in the second tier than the third behind Williams.

*TRADE* 11. Las Vegas Raiders (projected trade up with Patriots)

  • Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (6-2, 214 pounds)

The Patriots need a QB badly, but they can’t pass up the chance to keep trading down if the Raiders, like the Broncos, get a little more desperate to line up their next franchise passer. The Patriots can still count on one more way to address the position, but the Raiders could get more comfortable with the notion of making sure they land Nix’s arm and accuracy for their new offense.

*TRADE* 12. New York Jets (potential trade down with Broncos)

  • Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State (6-6, 234 pounds)

The Jets have many ways they can go with their first-rounder, making them prime trade-down candidates under GM Joe Douglas. They added Tyron Smith, but so far, they have opted not to bring back Mekhi Becton, leaving a hole along the offensive line. New York would be smart to add a powerful presence to start right away on the right side.

TRADE 13. New England Patriots (potential trade down with Raiders)

  • Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA (6-5, 259 pounds)

The Patriots should show some patience in addressing QB if Williams, Maye, Daniels, McCarthy, and Nix are gone in this scenario. As they wait to land that passer, they should jump on this versatile pass-rusher as a cornerstone for new defensive-minded coach Jerod Mayo.

14. New Orleans Saints (9-8)

  • Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State (6-6, 312 pounds)

The Saints have had some issues at left tackle post-Terron Armstead and also know that Ryan Ramczyk is dealing with a key injury concern. With Alt and Fuaga gone, it would be a smart choice to still go tackle.

TRADE 15. Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade up with Colts)

  • Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (6-0, 195 pounds)

The Eagles have been tied to the speedy Mitchell since he rocketed up draft boards with his mighty MAC coverage action. They might start getting concerned that other teams also see him as the top cover corner with shutdown potential, so there’s a fair chance Howie Roseman trades up to ensure getting him.

TRADE 16. Green Bay Packers (projected trade up with Seahawks)

  • J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama (6-6, 342 pounds)

The Seahawks will be looking to move down and get some picks for new defensive-minded coach Mike Macdonald. Longtime GM John Schneider should call the Packers to see if they want to lock down a key tackle talent for Jordan Love after parting ways with David Bakhtiari.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

  • ared Verse, EDGE, Florida State (6-4, 254 pounds)

The Jaguars will be thinking corner, too, but should Verse slip a little, they can stay in the Sunshine State to give Josh Allen more help in getting to the quarterback and helping the team make more plays off pressure on the back end.

18. Cincinnati Bengals (9-8)

  • Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson (6-2, 185 pounds)

The Bengals, interested plenty in Latham to boost their offensive line for Joe Burrow, are the main team the Packers would think about jumping to get Latham. Should the Bengals not like the best offensive tackles left here, they can make an easy pivot to getting a speedy cover corner to fill a defensive hole.

19. Los Angeles Rams (10-7)

  • Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas (6-0, 297 pounds)

The Rams can think about other defensive positions, including cornerback, but the disruptive Murphy would be a strong avenue in the wake of Aaron Donald’s retirement. He would also be a tough call over Cooper DeJean or Terrion Arnold.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia (6-8, 340 pounds)

The Steelers are happy with last year’s first-rounder Broderick Jones, but they need to find a bookend tackle to help both their pass protection and run blocking in the new offense under Arthur Smith. Mims would be a great fit up front.

*TRADE* 21. Seattle Seahawks (projected trade up with Dolphins)

  • Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (6-0, 203 pounds)

The Seahawks could consider DeJean as the ideal quick and versatile defender for Macdonald if they stay put at No. 16, but should they trade further down, they could consider moving back up to jump the Colts (in this particular mock) and Rams to land DeJean. The corner/safety hybrid would make a ton of plays in Macdonald’s scheme.

*TRADE* 22. Indianapolis Colts (projected trade down with Eagles)

  • Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (6-0, 189 pounds)

Given the run of talented corners, the Colts and GM Chris Ballard will be fine ending up with the playmaking Arnold. The Alabama product would be their new perimeter No. 1 right away.

*TRADE* 23. New England Patriots (projected trade down with Vikings)

  • Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (6-2, 216 pounds)

Like many other teams, the Patriots have become higher on Penix as a first-round talent. They could still end up with a solid QB despite moving out of No. 3 and passing on the position at first if they play the board right with new GM Eliot Wolf.

24. Dallas Cowboys

  • Jackson Powers-Johnson, G, Oregon (6-3, 328 pounds)

The Cowboys always like to entertain the thought of trading in the first round under Jerry and Stephen Jones, but their need for an interior offensive line upgrade is just too big. Powers-Johnson is the ideal fit for their blocking scheme.

*TRADE* 25. Miami Dolphins (potential trade down with Seahawks)

  • Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois (6-2, 304 pounds)

The Dolphins should have interest in taking a defensive tackle early after losing Christian Wilkins in free agency to the Raiders. Newton was the top interior lineman on the board until Murphy recently passed him. His disruptive style will be welcomed by new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)

  • Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama (5-11, 199 pounds)

The Buccaneers traded Carlton Davis and need to upgrade outside again opposite Jamel Dean. McKinstry was able to boost his stock as a smooth-covering playmaker with a great pro day, putting him not far behind Arnold and the rest of the class’ top corners.

*TRADE* 27. Kansas City Chiefs (projected trade up with Cardinals)

  • Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU (6-4, 205 pounds)

The Chiefs signed Marquise Brown as an outside deep threat to help Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice, but they’re still on the lookout for a complete No. 1 wideout. No one should be surprised if they make this sneaky power move.

*TRADE* 28. San Francisco 49ers (projected trade up with Bills)

  • Troy Fautanu, G, Washington (6-4, 317 pounds)

The 49ers have their eye on upgrading their interior offensive line, and they should love what Fautanu’s athleticism can bring to their blocking scheme. Should the Cardinals pass on him or trade out of No. 27 overall, he would be an easy choice over a cornerback.

*TRADE* 29. Carolina Panthers (projected trade up with Lions)

  • Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas (6-2, 205 pounds)

The Lions might disappoint their hungry hometown fans by not making a marquee pick in Detroit, but then again, they’ll be happy to know their favorite NFC runners-up also are loaded to the point of eschewing a late first-rounder for extra draft capital later. The Panthers might see this as a chance to get their coveted big-play rookie receiver by moving up only four spots.

30. Baltimore Ravens

  • Payton Wilson, LB, NC State (6-4, 233 pounds)

The Ravens have options across all positions, but Wilson isn’t a bad target should the draft play out this way with key trades happening around them. Wilson is a speedy, rangy, fine-covering linebacker who can help offset the free agency loss of Patrick Queen.

*TRADE* 31. Buffalo Bills (projected trade down with 49ers)

  • Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia (6-0, 186 pounds)

Should the Bills get somehow sniped for Thomas or Mitchell at wide receiver in the first round, there’s no need to panic as they try to place Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. This WR class feels deeper with more names in the first-round mix, and McConkey is one of them. He’s had a stellar workout season and could get some No. 1 consideration as Josh Allen’s new go-to guy.

*TRADE* 32. Arizona Cardinals (projected trade down with Chiefs)

  •  Graham Barton, OT, Duke (6-5, 313 pounds)

The Cardinals have plenty of other needs spread across positions after taking care of a glaring hole at wideout with Harrison. They can be OK with trading away a chance at Fautanu with Barton possibly still on the board. He’ll provide an upgrade at either tackle or guard to build on last year’s first-rounder, Paris Johnson Jr.

THE AUTHOR: Vinnie Iyer

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