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2024 NFL Draft
Outlook Prior to the NFL Combine
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
February 20, 2024

Anticipation remains strong that Chicago will trade incumbent QB Justin Fields prior to the 2024 Draft. The Bears have the #1 and #9 overall picks, with Southern Cal QB Caleb Williams expected to be the top choice.

At #2, the Washington Commanders appear poised to draft a quarterback. Drake Maye (North Carolina) and Jayden Daniels (LSU) seem the most likely if Williams is gone at #1 overall.

The start of the post-Bill Belichick era for the New England Patriots at #3 could very well be a third consecutive quarterback drafted to start the night. That's the expectation at this point, though we're still very early in the process.

Ohio St. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. going to the Arizona Cardinals at #4 overall is an obvious great fit if it happens.

Ryan Fowler made a compelling case for the L.A. Chargers selecting Notre Dame OT Joe Alt at #5 overall. My most recent mock has the Chargers going with Georgia TE Brock Bowers.

The Atlanta Falcons drafted Florida TE Kyle Pitts at #4 overall in 2021, but that was an outlier. Tight ends generally don't go in the Top 5 in the NFL Draft. Bowers is a unique talent who will be a matchup nightmare, regardless of where he ends up.

Mock drafts are like sand castles. You can't get too attached to anything, particularly at this point in the process.

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Along with Harrison, LSU WR Malik Nabers and Washington WR Rome Odunze could end up being Top 10 picks. This is a stacked draft at wide receiver.

Other top WR prospects include Keon Coleman (Florida St.), Adonai Mitchell (Texas), Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU), Xavier Legette (South Carolina), Ladd McConkey (Georgia), Troy Franklin (Oregon), Ja'Lynn Polk (Washington), Xavier Worthy (Texas), and Jermaine Burton (Alabama).

Likewise, offensive tackle is a position expected to be in high demand with plenty of talent to match. I mentioned Joe Alt already, though there are a number of other similarly well-regarded prospects.

Names to watch on night one at OL include Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn St.), Amarius Mims (Georgia), Taliese Fuaga (Oregon St.), Troy Fautanu (Washington), Kingsley Suamataia (BYU), JC Latham (Alabama), Patrick Paul (Houston), and Jordan Morgan (Arizona).

Defensive tackle is another matter. Jer'Zhan Newton (Illinois) and Byron Murphy II (Texas) are distinct possibilities to go on night one. There's also T'Vondre Sweat (Texas) who would be a rarity as a 362 pound defensive tackle going in round one.

But look at what Sweat did in 2023: Outland Trophy winner and unanimous first-team All-American, among many other accolades. Special talent gets special consideration.

EDGE rushers with legit night one potential include Dallas Turner (Alabama), Laiatu Latu (UCLA), Bralen Trice (Washington), Jared Verse (Florida St.), Chop Robinson (Penn St.), and Chris Braswell (Alabama).

At cornerback, it seems likely that a run will happen somewhere near the mid-late first-round. Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama), Nate Wiggins (Clemson), Cooper DeJean (Iowa DB tweener), Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo), and Terrion Arnold (Alabama) are all viable possibilities.

That run could blend into the first half of round two. Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (Missouri), T.J. Tampa (Iowa St.), and Kamari Lassiter (Georgia) are among the names you might hear called in that range, if not sneaking into the end of round one.

Look for a new mock here later this week.

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