2024 NFL mock drafts: USA Today's latest Round 1 projections

Nov. 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Mi., USA;
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) toward the end zone during the second half of Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the University of Michigan.
Nov. 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Mi., USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) toward the end zone during the second half of Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the University of Michigan.

NFL teams are now fully into off-season mode with NFL free agency looming in just a few weeks at the start of the league year. Ahead of that, the NFL Scouting Combine kicks off on Monday, Feb. 26 with more than 300 college football players set to attend. They'll be put through drills, meet with coaches and general managers, and be measured ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft in April.

Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs' 25-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58, the NFL draft order is officially set. All 32 picks are in place pending trades leading up to and during the draft process.

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This year's group of college players could be one of the best in years, especially on offense. Top players at quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive line may be difference makers as rookies. It's hard to determine for certain which teams will pick specific players but mock drafts from USA Today's Nate Davis and Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz look to answer that. Here's what they think.

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers)

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Davis: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Former USC quarterback Caleb Williams
Former USC quarterback Caleb Williams

This is one of six consensus picks at USA Today. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner has long been considered a top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If selected first overall, Williams would make it six quarterbacks taken with the first pick in the last seven drafts - the lone exception coming in 2022 when the Jaguars selected defensive end Travon Walker. Williams will be the 26th USC quarterback drafted to the NFL - the first since Sam Darnold in 2018 - but could be just the second quarterback in Trojans' history to go first overall, joining Carson Palmer (2005).

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "It's hard not to imagine Chicago's future with the electric Williams. In placing him with a burgeoning supporting cast – which should grow significantly more formidable with a draft class that could be enhanced by a Fields trade – the Bears would be able to get many parts of their rebuild into solid positioning."

Davis: "Though moving the selection would doubtless return greater value, Williams’ ability as a passer seems too tantalizing – and it’s not like he can’t make plays with this, legs, especially in the red zone. (Williams accounted for 120 touchdowns, rushing or passing, in three collegiate seasons.) The hiring of OC Shane Waldron, who’s largely coached pocket passers with the Rams and Seahawks in recent years, also seems like a signal Chicago is about to make a change."

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2. Washington Commanders

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Davis: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

This is where the mock drafts take a turn. Both Middlehurst-Schwartz and Davis predict a quarterback to Washington. But the former predicts a longtime top-prospect in Maye while the latter goes with a Heisman Trophy winner with lots of dual-threat potential. If Daniels is the pick, he'd be the highest-drafted LSU quarterback since Joe Burrow in 2020 (first overall). If Maye is the choice, he'd be the top-drafted North Carolina quarterback since Mitch Trubisky in 2017 (second overall).

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Don't go overboard in connecting dots between the hire of Kliff Kingsbury and a potential trade for Caleb Williams, the former pupil of Washington's new offensive coordinator... it makes little sense to construct a coaching staff on such a hypothetical. Maye has more than enough playmaking ability and deep-passing prowess to unlock the key facets of Kingsbury's attack."

Davis: "For a team that toils an hour away from Lamar Jackson’s typical heroics, why wouldn’t you be tempted by 2023 Heisman winner Daniels, who passed for 40 TDs and nearly 4,000 yards last season while rushing for 10 scores and more than 1,100 electric yards."

3. New England Patriots

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Davis: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

A reverse of the second overall pick, both analysts like the same trio of quarterbacks for the top three picks in the first round.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Jerod Mayo has vowed to go his own way as the Patriots' new coach and not try to be another version of Bill Belichick... If he elects to take the Heisman Trophy winner Daniels, New England would enjoy a far more dynamic threat behind center than Mac Jones while also getting a supremely accurate and fluid passer from the pocket."

Davis: "Like Chicago, feels like New England should move on from a quarterback taken in Round 1 just three years ago – and it appears like a much more clear-cut decision, even if the deck definitely seemed stacked against Mac Jones at times. Maye’s passing production dipped from 2022 to 2023, but his size (6-4, 229), arm and mobility are doubtless going to draw (unfair) comparisons to Josh Allen."

4. Arizona Cardinals

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Davis: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Another consensus pick in the top five of the first round sees arguably the best player in the 2024 NFL Draft (regardless of position) heading to Arizona. Harrison Jr. is a two-time All-American, is the son of a Hall of Fame wide receiver, and won the 2023 Biletnikoff Award given annually to the best wide receiver in college football.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "No one has more invested in an early run on quarterbacks than Arizona, which would stand to benefit from a pursuit of passers by landing Harrison. A No. 1 receiver in essentially every aspect imaginable, he's one of this class' most reliable prospects as well as one of the few seemingly capable of transforming a team."

Davis: "Harrison might be the best product issuing from what seems like a Buckeyes receiving assembly line. And, even if speedster Marquise Brown re-signs in Arizona, it likely wouldn’t take Harrison long to emerge as QB Kyler Murray’s No. 1 target, something he didn’t really have from the wideout position following the departure of DeAndre Hopkins."

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5. Los Angeles Chargers

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Davis: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Like the predictions at no. 2 and no. 3, these mock drafts see a consensus on position but not the player. Each of these wide receiver prospects would be the top talent at their position in most other drafts but Harrison Jr. takes the top spot over them. Nabers is smaller than Odunze at six feet tall and 200 lbs. but considered an explosive athlete who shines after the catch. Odunze, at 6-foot-3 and 215, is considered more of a contested-catch receiver who wins in the air and with both his catch radius and route running.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "If getting the most out of Justin Herbert is one of the foremost goals, then adding an electric element at receiver is a necessity. Consider that box checked with Nabers, who routinely pulls away from defenders both as a deep threat and with the ball in his hands."

Davis: "At this point in time – which is to say inordinately early, even by standards of the pre-draft process – the mysteries appear to deepen at this juncture of the draft... Quentin Johnston, a first-rounder last year, obviously has potential but also comes off an awfully quiet rookie season. Enter Odunze, who has similar size (6-3, 215) to Johnston but far more production in his final college season (92 catches, for 1,640 yards, 13 TDs). Probably not an easier way to replicate the formula of giving Herbert twin tower wideouts … but at a fraction of the cost."

6. New York Giants

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Davis: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Like at picks no. 2 and no. 3, these mock drafts see another switch in prospects at the same position for picks no. 5 and no. 6. If their predictions come true and three wide receivers are selected in the first six picks, that'd be a first in NFL Draft history.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Can't discount a quarterback here, especially if Daniels is still available. Still, Odunze is no mere consolation prize for this offense. The 6-3, 215-pound target projects as the go-to target this offense has long lacked – and someone who can help Big Blue get a better read on Daniel Jones if the team does stick with him as starter for another year."

Davis: "Daniels’ primary target the past two seasons in Baton Rouge, Nabers really blossomed during a 2023 All-American campaign when he caught 89 balls for 1,569 yards and 14 TDs. He’d slot in nicely to a Giants offense that hasn’t had a legitimate No. 1 target since fellow former Bayou Bengal Odell Beckham Jr. was traded following the 2018 season."

7. Tennessee Titans

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Davis: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Alt's widely thought of as one of the best offensive tackle prospects of the last five years. Both USA Today experts predict he'll take his talents to Nashville and protect second-year quarterback Will Levis.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Tennessee is likely in for a bumpy transition as first-year coach Brian Callahan takes over for Mike Vrabel. Taking Alt would be consistent with the slow but steady trajectory Ran Carthon set the franchise on last year as he began the rebuild."

Davis: "GM Ran Carthon took an offensive lineman (Peter Skoronski) last year during his first draft. It would be perfectly logical to replicate that move for a team still trying to fill Taylor Lewan’s void – and after a season when rookie QB Will Levis endured his fair share of abuse."

8. Atlanta Falcons

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

Davis: Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

Turner makes it back-to-back consensus picks and is the first defensive player selected in this first round mock draft. Turner led the Crimson Tide in sacks (10) and tackles for a loss (14.5) and will likely test very well at the Scouting Combine next week, making him the top choice at pass rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Raheem Morris worked wonders in developing a Rams pass rush that didn't look to have any premium players beyond Aaron Donald. If the Falcons secure Turner, they could give their new head coach the dynamic and forceful edge threat that the unit is overdue for."

Davis: "Quarterback is the glaring issue for new HC Raheem Morris and this team to solve. For now, let’s assume that doesn’t mean settling for the fourth passer off the board in April. And it’s not like this defense doesn’t need attention given its struggles to generate pressure in recent seasons and pending exits of leading sack men Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree."

9. Chicago Bears

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

Davis: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Defense continues at No. 9 but in two different areas. Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft sees the Bears selecting Latu, who shined at the Senior Bowl and will likely be a contributor on the defensive line as rookie. Davis' mock draft points to the Bears taking Wiggins instead to shore up the cornerback position with a long, athletic corner who can play man or zone coverage.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Montez Sweat's midseason arrival helped lift Chicago's pass rush, but more juice is needed for a defense that ranked 31st with 30 sacks last season. A supremely polished threat off the edge, Latu likely will be an early contributor to whichever defense he joins."

Davis: "Chicago could go in any number of directions with its second pick depending on how the board falls, including perhaps a receiver or lineman who could directly benefit Caleb Williams. However the Bears could also use help at corner – perhaps especially so if negotiations with unsigned Jaylon Johnson go sideways."

10. New York Jets

Georgia Bulldogs' Brock Bowers (19) is by far the best tight end in the 2024 NFL Draft and has the chance to be a difference-maker immediately.
Georgia Bulldogs' Brock Bowers (19) is by far the best tight end in the 2024 NFL Draft and has the chance to be a difference-maker immediately.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Davis: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

One of the best tight end prospects of the last decade heads up to New York in both mock drafts. Bowers' speed, route running, and catch radius make him a unique offensive weapon at tight end. His lack of size could come up in blocking situations; Bowers is listed between 230 and 240 lbs. But he's drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce for his skills as a receiver, making him a worthwhile choice this early.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "If the win-now mandate wasn't already apparent in the Jets' Aaron Rodgers-centric plans, owner Woody Johnson's recent comments further highlighted the urgency facing Gang Green. The best quick-fix option at this point seems to be Bowers, who can make life far easier for Rodgers and top target Garrett Wilson with his penchant for turning quick hits into big gains."

Davis: "Legitimate case they should take the best available left tackle to safeguard QB Aaron Rodgers’ back (and Achilles). But legitimate case they should get AR8 one of the draft’s premier weapons with the game-breaking, two-time All-America and two-time Mackey Award winner."

11. Minnesota Vikings

Middlehurst-Schwartz: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Davis: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The final consensus pick for both Middlehurst-Schwartz and Davis' mock drafts comes at quarterback once again. Former Wolverine McCarthy doesn't have the production of Williams, Maye, and Daniels, but he's younger than all three of them and has lots of potential.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "McCarthy would no doubt provide something different than Kirk Cousins does, and pairing Justin Jefferson with an athletic passer capable of whipping throws into tight windows would give the Vikings fascinating long-term upside. But would McCarthy be ready to take the reins as a rookie if Cousins signs elsewhere?"

Davis: "Will the Vikes re-sign Kirk Cousins, 35? Even if they do, wouldn’t it be wise to take a page from the division rival Pack’s playbook and get his successor into the building? McCarthy won big in college (27-1 record) while developing into an accurate passer who rarely mad bad decisions, all traits that will make NFL evaluators take notice."

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12. Denver Broncos

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Davis: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Both mock drafts make it 10 offensive players in the first 12 picks of the 2024 NFL Draft but in different places. Fashanu is a big, athletic pass protector (zero sacks allowed in 29 games as a starter at Penn State) who could use some development in run blocking. Nix, a riser in many mock drafts, tied the FBS record for single-season completion percentage in 2023 with the Ducks.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Russell Wilson seems likely to be released. Could Garett Bolles follow him out the door? Amid a cap crunch, Denver could save $16 million by parting ways with its fixture at left tackle. The proposition would be even more enticing if the Broncos knew they'd have a promising replacement ready in Fashanu, who has all the physical tools to be an upper-echelon pass protector."

Davis: "Nix appears to have significantly more upside than journeyman placeholder Jarrett Stidham, not to mention the accuracy – nearly 75% in two seasons with the Ducks – Broncos coach Sean Payton values, plus having a nose for the goal line (38 rushing TDs in five college seasons)."

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13. Las Vegas Raiders

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Davis: Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

Fuaga's rising up mock drafts behind a standout performance at the Senior Bowl. He's one of the best run blockers in the class and could start at either guard or tackle in the NFL. Verse led Florida State in sacks with nine and finished second in tackles for loss (12.5). His mix of power and speed as a rusher and edge-setting in run defense make him one of the top defensive ends in the class.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "The Silver and Black will be an X-factor for a quarterback, but landing an established passer via a trade or free agency might be the more sensible route given that many of the top signal-callers are likely to be gone by this point. Adding a mauling yet steady presence to the offensive line in Fuaga seems like the kind of steady move that new GM Tom Telesco would find attractive."

Davis: "A team now coached by a linebacker can probably expect a little more focus on its defense. Also, imagine how effective Maxx Crosby might be if there was someone offenses had to account for opposite him?"

14. New Orleans Saints

Middlehurst-Schwartz: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

Davis: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

More offensive linemen come off the board here. Latham's a proficient pass protector and solid in the run game. He compares well to last year's No. 10 overall pick, Darnell Wright, but with more strength.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "It's clear enhancing protection for Derek Carr right away will be a priority. Lathan is a battle-tested right tackle after facing the Southeastern Conference's best defenders, and he should be able to hold his own against power rushers as he figures out how to combat elite speed off the edge."

Davis: "There used to be fewer higher priorities in the Big Easy than O-line, especially the interior. Massive Fuaga (6-6, 334) could bolster the inside blocking immediately and perhaps shift out to his more familiar right tackle post over time."

15. Indianapolis Colts

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Davis: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Mitchell is the first of five cornerbacks in Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft and set school records in passes defensed in a single season (25) and career (52). His size and ability to excel in either man or zone schemes will make him a first-round pick. Thomas Jr. shined at LSU despite playing with Nabers and led the country in touchdown catches (17). His basketball background and speed shine through on the field.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "At the Senior Bowl, Mitchell reinforced that he has the physical tools, savvy and confidence to square off against even the most imposing NFL receivers. Gus Bradley's scheme seems like it would bring out the best of his excellent ball skills."

Davis: "If a team that historically doesn’t use the franchise tag loses WR Michael Pittman Jr. to free agency, what better way to replace him than with a player who has a similar build (6-4, 200) yet might have superior downfield burst – potentially allowing Thomas to better leverage QB Anthony Richardson’s deep arm."

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16. Seattle Seahawks

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

Davis: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Both mock drafts point to a new defensive player in Seattle under first-year head coach Mike Macdonald. Murphy finished first among FBS interior defensive lineman in pass-rush win percentage (19.6) and led the Longhorns in pressures with 45 in 2023. He wins with leverage and effort despite standing at 6-foot-1.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Seattle is one of the more difficult teams to peg in the first round, as there are any number of avenues that John Schneider and new coach Mike Macdonald could pursue. For now, let's equip an ailing defense with Verse, a jolting presence off the edge thanks to his power and explosiveness."

Davis: "This team got trucked trying to defend the run last season … and that was despite the trade for pending free agent Leonard Williams that bore little fruit."

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Davis: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

These mocks have Jacksonville going in different directions but both are big needs. Arnold is one of the more well-rounded cornerbacks in the class and led the SEC in interceptions (five) and passes defensed (17) in 2023. In Davis' mock draft, Fashanu's fall ends at 17th overall and will be a welcome sight for franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "GM Trent Baalke dismissed the notion that new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen would bring a big change with substantially more man coverage, thereby necessitating a retooling of the secondary. Still, with Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams entering the final years of their deal, it would be wise to reload the back end of the defense, especially with a well-rounded and ascendant cornerback like Arnold."

Davis: "Getting the All-America blocker here would be a bargain. It would also be an upgrade given the penal cost-to-reliability ratio the Jags have endured with incumbent LT Cam Robinson."

18. Cincinnati Bengals

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Davis: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Murphy would be a big help for a Bengals' defense that finished 31st in yards allowed per game. Franklin's a recent riser in 2024 mock drafts thanks to his big-play potential. He finished top-10 in receiving yards and touchdowns in the FBS in 2023.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "DJ Reader is recovering from a torn quad and might find a richer deal elsewhere in free agency. Plugging in Murphy would set Cincinnati up to generate more havoc up front with a quick-twitch threat who can throw blockers off balance."

Davis: "He’s got size (6-3, 190) and elite speed, attributes that could nicely complement Cincy WR Ja’Marr Chase … especially given Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are headed for the open market."

19. Los Angeles Rams

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Davis: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Defensive backs for both mock drafts here. Wiggins would be an upgrade over most cornerbacks on the Rams' roster right now. DeJean could play cornerback or safety thanks to his sure tackling and athleticism. He earned Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year awards, highlighting his ability in open space.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "It won't be easy for first-time defensive coordinator Chris Shula to advance the work Raheem Morris did in bringing a wildly inexperienced group of players together. Adding Wiggins, an imposing matchup in press coverage who has ample speed to recover and stay with receivers downfield, would be an important step in that effort."

Davis: "Look who’s scheduled to make their first Round 1 selection since selecting QB Jared Goff atop the 2016 draft. When you’re not particularly good at defending the pass or pilfering them, opting for a talented corner seems like a the right way to end this drought."

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) has the versatility to play either cornerback or safety in the NFL.
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) has the versatility to play either cornerback or safety in the NFL.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Davis: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

DeJean stays in the top 20 with Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft and Latham falls to Pittsburgh in Davis' mock for a team with needs at multiple positions.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Black and gold (or yellow, depending on your viewpoint) clearly suit DeJean just fine, as the do-everything defender demonstrated at Iowa he can be dangerous in an assortment of assignments. That's an attractive package for an underachieving Steelers defense that relied on its pass rush to mask its many deficiencies."

Davis: "A recently neglected line would have a nice pair of long-term bookends by coupling Latham with last year’s first-rounder, Broderick Jones."

21. Miami Dolphins

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C/G, Oregon

Davis: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

Powers-Johnson's easily the top interior lineman prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He had a standout performance at the Senior Bowl despite being one of the younger players in the game at 21 years old. Latu falls farther in Davis' mock than Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Powers-Johnson showed off at the Senior Bowl, making a strong claim to be the first interior offensive lineman selected. Rugged yet refined, he sizes up as exactly the kind of figure that Mike McDaniel would covet to enhance this offense."

Davis: "No team is ever satisfied with its supply of pass rushers, especially one that lost Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips to major late-season leg injuries."

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Davis: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Guyton showed off at the Senior Bowl by handling nearly every 1-on-1 very well. His agility is surprising given his 6-foot-7, 328-pound frame. He lacks the fundamentals of some of the other offensive linemen ahead of him in these mock drafts but could develop into one of the best. Arnold falls to Philadelphia, giving them great value at a big need on defense.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Even though three-time All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson made it clear he plans to keep on playing, general manager Howie Roseman still might be drawn to finding the 33-year-old's eventual successor. What better long-term option is there than Guyton, a fellow Sooners product who is already being mentored by Johnson and could continue to learn the finer points of the position as he sits behind the veteran?"

Davis: "An aging set of corners is just one reason this defense degraded so badly so quickly."

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23. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Davis: Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

McKinstry was the top corner at Alabama heading in to the 2023 season. His production dropped but that was more to do with teams not throwing near him; he saw less than half as many targets in 2023 compared to 2022. His length, body control, and ball skills make him a tough matchup for wide receivers. Newton is one of the best interior pass rushers in this class. He led FBS interior linemen in pressures over the last two seasons (103) and holds up well in the run game, too.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Despite his smooth and reliable style of play, McKinstry might have to wait his turn behind several other cornerbacks – including Crimson Tide teammate Terrion Arnold – before hearing his name called on draft day. That dynamic could benefit a team like the Texans, who might be able to overlook his pedestrian deep speed and instead focus on his even-keeled approach."

Davis: "For this defense to truly live up to HC DeMeco Ryans' standards, it needs to bolster its depth along the line."

24. Dallas Cowboys

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Davis: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Both experts predict a new offensive lineman in Dallas. Mims started just eight games in college but his athleticism and potential could make him a steal at no. 24. Morgan shines in the running game but could use some development in pass protection. He could easily shift to guard in the NFL, much like Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin did coming out of Notre Dame.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "While Jerry Jones appears focused on staying the course despite the Cowboys' wild-card flameout against the Packers, Dallas might need to replace Tyron Smith if the longtime left tackle heads elsewhere in free agency or retires. Though Mims has just eight starts to his name and played right tackle at Georgia, he's the kind of high-upside option that Jones might be drawn to."

Davis: "Even if Tyron Smith is re-signed, it likely wouldn’t be for long. One of the final All-Pac-12 performers, Morgan would bring youth to Dallas’ front while giving the team the option of keeping Tyler Smith at guard, where the former college left tackle has performed very well."

25. Green Bay Packers

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Davis: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Offensive line again at No. 25 in both mock drafts. Despite playing in a conference with the likes of Morgan, Fuaga, Powers-Johnson, and Latu, Fautanu won the Morris Trophy given to the best offensive or defensive lineman in the Pac-12. That award's voted on by opposing players. Like Morgan, Fautanu could either stay at tackle or move inside to guard and excel at either position with his agility, flexibility, and body control.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "After compiling the league's most impressive collection of young skill-position players, it's time for Brian Gutekunst to turn his attention to his offensive front. Morgan could either take over for David Bahktiari as another undersized yet promising left tackle or kick inside to guard."

Davis: "An interior upgrade to better set QB Jordan Love’s pocket and/or potentially brittle LT David Bakhtiari’s successor."

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Davis: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Thomas Jr. falls to Tampa Bay in Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft as a succession plan for an aging receiving corps. Davis' mock sees the Buccaneers going defense with one of the best press-man corners in the draft. He does have some health concerns but will be solid against underneath routes from day one.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Call this a contingency plan for the possibility of Mike Evans departing in free agency. Should the Buccaneers' all-time leader in every major receiving category head elsewhere in March, Thomas could step in and provide an immediate big-play threat for Baker Mayfield – or whichever quarterback is behind center in 2024."

Davis: "Carlton Davis III’s recent play and $14 million salary in 2024 could make him a financial target if the Bucs can slot in a comparable replacement."

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27. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston Texans)

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

Davis: Bralen Trice, DE, Washington

Defense line is a need that both mock drafts address for the Cardinals. Newton falls to the back end of the first round for Middlehurst-Schwartz. Compared to other defensive ends, Trice doesn't have the athletic upside like Turner or polish like Latu. But he's good against the run and as a pass rusher he's quick and competitive with a great bull rush technique.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Though he lacks the measurables of the typical first-round defensive tackle, Newton has a knack for creating disruption that is readily evident. The Cardinals are desperate for some kind of impact on the interior after generating little pressure last season."

Davis: "One of the league’s worst defenses would gladly welcome a player who can both generate pressure and set an edge."

28. Buffalo Bills

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Davis: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Like Thomas Jr., Coleman's basketball background comes through at wide receiver as an acrobatic winner at the catch point. His size, strength, and athleticism is reminiscent of Steelers wideout George Pickens. In Davis' mock draft, the Bills get Mitchell at a great value considering his talent.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Dogged by drops in key spots, cap-strapped Buffalo has to look to the draft if it wants to reshape its receiving corps. More steady than explosive, Coleman could be just what Josh Allen needs."

Davis: "An older secondary is also one likely to be purged during free agency."

In a talented wide receiver class, Florida State's Keon Coleman (4) stands out with his size and contested catch abilities.
In a talented wide receiver class, Florida State's Keon Coleman (4) stands out with his size and contested catch abilities.

29. Detroit Lions

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Davis: Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State

Both mock drafts like players to shore up key parts of a Lions' pass defense that ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed. Rakestraw Jr. gives the back end an edge with his press-man prowess. Robinson probably has the best first step of all the edge rushers in the draft but relies on instinct more than technique at this point. He can hold up fairly well against the run, too, and could develop with time.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Rakestraw Jr. is exactly the kind of tenacious yet savvy cornerback that Dan Campbell would appreciate. He could help provide needed stability to a secondary that has been repeatedly reshuffled in recent years and still gave up 411 passing yards per game over the last six games of the season."

Davis: "Aidan Hutchinson was their only feared pass rusher in 2023. Another All-Big Ten selection could change that ... with a touch of seasoning."

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30. Baltimore Ravens

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Darius Robinson, DE, Missouri

Davis: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Robinson is the biggest riser on defense from the Senior Bowl thanks to his display of power and pass rush moves. His wingspan and size make him a standout in run defense as well. He led Missouri in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (14) in 2023. In Davis' mock draft, Baltimore gives defending MVP Lamar Jackson another weapon in the passing game.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, linebacker Patrick Queen and edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney are among the standouts who could head elsewhere in free agency. To reload the pass rush, Baltimore might want to take a close look at Robinson, a Senior Bowl standout with the size (6-5, 296 pounds) and massive wingspan to overwhelm blockers at the point of attack."

Davis: "A bigger target – Coleman is roughly 6-4, 215 pounds – could be what Jackson needs entering an offseason when OBJ and Nelson Agholor are out of contract."

31. San Francisco 49ers

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Davis: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

After a run to the Super Bowl, both mock drafts point to the 49ers' upgrading the offensive line in different ways. For Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft, it's the versatile, explosive, award-winning Fautanu. For Davis' mock draft, it's the inexperienced but high-ceiling Mims.

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "While San Francisco boasts arguably the league's most well-rounded roster, the offensive line beyond cornerstone left tackle Trent Williams has been a sore spot. Picking up Fautanu, an accomplished and versatile left tackle who looks bound to bump inside due to his frame, should only further enhance opportunities for Brock Purdy and the Niners' assortment of offensive stars."

Davis: "They got by without departed RT Mike McGlinchey in 2023 yet could almost certainly do better."

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Middlehurst-Schwartz: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Davis: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB Alabama

The final pick of the first round sees help for the Chiefs in two areas. Franklin's deep speed would be an immediate upgrade. McKinstry's good insurance for a team that's developed cornerbacks well in recent years (L'Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, Charvarius Ward).

Middlehurst-Schwartz: "The 6-3, 180-pound Franklin is not the surehanded target that one might expect Kansas City to target after a season of errors from its receiving corps. But his deep speed and run-after-catch ability would add vital explosiveness to a passing attack that has grown far too stale."

Davis: "A two-time All-SEC cover guy could be made to order if K.C. can’t afford to re-sign L'Jarius Sneed."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 NFL mock drafts: Projections for every first round pick