NFL Draft 2024: Final mock draft with Vikings and Commanders making big trades

The 2024 NFL Draft is finally here.

What better way to celebrate the occasion than one more mock draft?

This mock draft falls under the “predictive” category, as we put our heads together to come up with some plausible scenarios for tonight, as well as for some of the teams that do not — or will not, based on some trades we are prediction — have a first-round pick. Will we get some things right? We certainly hope so. Will we get some things wrong? Absolutely. Will people be mad? Probably.

But the beauty of the final mock draft is that hours from now, we will know the picks for real.

SB Nation Final Mock Draft

Pick Team Player Position College Class
Pick Team Player Position College Class
1 Chicago Bears Caleb Williams QB USC Junior
2 Washington Commanders Jayden Daniels QB LSU Senior
3 New England Patriots Drake Maye QB UNC Sophomore (RS)
4 Arizona Cardinals Marvin Harrison Jr. WR Ohio State Junior
5 Minnesota Vikings (via Los Angeles Chargers) J.J. McCarthy QB Michigan Junior
6 New York Giants Rome Odunze WR Washington Junior
7 Tennessee Titans Joe Alt OT Notre Dame Junior
8 Atlanta Falcons Dallas Turner EDGE Alabama Junior
9 Chicago Bears Malik Nabers WR LSU Junior
10 New York Jets Brock Bowers TE Georgia Junior
11 Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota Vikings) JC Latham OT Alabama Junior
12 Denver Broncos Jared Verse EDGE FSU Senior
13 Las Vegas Raiders Terrion Arnold CB Alabama Sophomore (RS)
14 New Orleans Saints Tailese Fuaga OT Oregon State Junior (RS)
15 Indianapolis Colts Brian Thomas Jr. WR LSU Junior
16 Seattle Seahawks Laiatu Latu EDGE UCLA Senior (RS)
17 Jacksonville Jaguars Quinyon Mitchell CB Toledo Junior
18 Cincinnati Bengals Olumuyiwa Fashanu OT Penn State Junior (RS)
19 Los Angeles Rams Chop Robinson EDGE Penn State Junior
20 Pittsburgh Steelers Graham Barton OL Duke Senior
21 Miami Dolphins Troy Fautanu OL Washington Junior
22 Philadelphia Eagles Cooper DeJean CB Iowa Junior
23 Los Angeles Chargers (via Minnesota Vikings) Adonai “AD” Mitchell WR Texas Junior
24 Dallas Cowboys Jackson Powers-Johnson OL Oregon Junior
25 Green Bay Packers Amarius Mims OT Georgia Junior
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Darius Robinson EDGE Missouri Graduate
27 Arizona Cardinals Jordan Morgan OT Arizona Senior
28 Buffalo Bills Xavier Worthy WR Texas Junior
29 Washington Commanders (via Detroit Lions) Tyler Guyton OT Oklahoma Junior (RS)
30 Baltimore Ravens Byron Murphy II DT Texas Senior
31 San Francisco 49ers Nate Wiggins CB Clemson Junior
32 Kansas City Chiefs Ladd McConkey WR Georgia Senior
33 Carolina Panthers Zach Frazier OL West Virginia Senior
36 Detroit Lions (via Washington Commanders) Kool-Aid McKinstry CB Alabama Junior
54 Cleveland Browns Brandon Dorlus DL Oregon Senior

The Vikings trade is a necessary evil

As projected we have Minnesota giving up their two first round picks in 2024, as well as their 1st in 2025 in order to move up and take J.J. McCarthy. It’s a franchise-defining move that will take years to truly evaluate, but the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s a considerable amount of risk — but a risk that had to be taken.

The Vikings are forced to overpay for the mistake of mismanaging their rebuild. This team kept preaching the concept of a “competitive rebuild,” which is great on paper if you’re actually competitive. Instead they put themselves in draft purgatory that had to be course corrected for.

Minnesota can’t move forward slowly at the QB position, and the 2025 class is going to be BAD. So, they are forced to pull the trigger to keep Justin Jefferson happy, and then pray that McCarthy’s lack of reps are a symptom of the Michigan run-heavy offense, not the cause of it.

A Bears trade up wouldn’t be shocking

Chicago are doing a very bad job hiding their intentions during a time of subterfuge when it comes to Rome Odunze. The organization, as well as Caleb Williams aren’t hiding their desires to handcuff their new franchise QB with one of the draft’s best receivers.

Odunze would be such a great fit here. Not only would he balance the receiving corps across from D.J. Moore long term, but now you have Keenan Allen in the picture who has some similar traits to Odunze, putting him in a position where he could be a veteran mentor.

There’s no reason the Bears can’t (or won’t) move up from No. 9 to ensure they land their receiver.

The QB picture could get very wild

At this point we can safely say that four quarterbacks will go in the Top 10 of the draft, leaving Bo Nix and Michael Penix on the outside looking in. Where they’re looking from remains to be seen.

As it stands we have a hard time putting them in the first round, but it wouldn’t surprise us to see either (or both) quarterbacks jump into Day 1. It’s also an interesting pivot point to watch when it comes to the Panthers with the No. 33 pick, who appear to be willing to move back and gain more draft assets — particularly if a WR isn’t on the board for them.

Last year we saw the Titans move up to No. 33 to take Will Levis, and while that was more a case of a QB sliding, we could see the same again with either Nix or Penix at that No. 33 spot when it comes to a team that missed on a top QB trying to find out.

Washington trading back into the first round

One of the worst-kept secrets around the league right now is that the Commanders have their eyes set on a trade back into the first round. It was an idea first floated to me by Adam Epstein on 910 the Fan in Richmond, and has been discussed by others, most recently Daniel Jeremiah.

New general manager Adam Peters has a lot of draft capital at his disposal, with nine selections overall and and six picks in the top 100. While Washington has a lot of needs, adding a new tackle to help protect their rookie quarterback — in this scenario Jayden Daniels — would be a wise investment. With a pair of picks early in the second round, finding a trade partner to slide back a few spots might not be too difficult.

The team they could trade with, as they do here? The Detroit Lions. While the draft is in Detroit, general manager Brad Holmes has opined that the organization could disappoint the hometown fans on Thursday night.

“We have to do the right thing for the organization,” he said about trading down at the team’s pre-draft press conference. “And if it makes sense and it lines up and it’s the right thing to do, then we have to do the right thing and so say that happens where the fans have been waiting there all night for this pick and we get an offer that we really can’t turn down, it makes sense. We’ve got to do the right thing and hopefully our fans will forgive us and hopefully they’ll forgive us. Now, we won’t expect immediate forgiveness right then and there, but hopefully when the season starts and that player that we selected they’re like, ‘OK, all right, we can kind of get past the –’ But I totally understand that.”

JC Latham as OT2 to the Los Angeles Chargers

In this scenario, the Vikings move up to No. 5 for their QB, and the Chargers slide back, picking up a pair of first-round picks this season, plus a future first-round pick as well.

But would the Chargers draft an OT over a WR with the first of those picks?

We went back and forth on that, but ultimately the thinking is that Jim Harbaugh wants to do two things next year: Protect Justin Herbert and run the football when they can. Rashawn Slater at left tackle and JC Latham at right tackle for the next few seasons seems like a vintage Harbaugh move.

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