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2024 Draft Week: Monday

Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
April 22, 2024

We're three days out from the start of the 2024 NFL Draft. The closing stretch is here.

USC QB Caleb Williams to the Chicago Bears at #1 feels like a done deal at this point, as it has for some time now. The Bears won't be able to acknowledge this, as the NFL likes to use the 1% of Doubt to keep the start of the draft intriguing.

But if the Bears were even considering anyone but Williams, there likely would've been some push-back many moons ago.

The closer we get to opening night, the more I'm thinking the Washington Commanders will draft LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels at #2 overall. Other possibilities include North Carolina QB Drake Maye and Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy.

Part of what makes this challenging is that the Commanders might legit not know for sure yet, or more likely might have only recently finalized their decision.

These teams have to process an overwhelming amount of information in a short amount of time. Scouts go all over the country for workouts, general managers take whirlwind trips to see as many key players as possible, etc. It's tough to keep track of it all as an observer, let alone a participant.

The New England Patriots at #3 are at the first potential trade-down spot that seems viable, yet trading seems unlikely as they also need a top QB prospect.

Look at how the Patriots have spoken about their plans for QB Jacoby Brissett for the 2024 season. He's a bridge, a mentor. You don't hire a mentor and then wait a full year to sign the prospect.

So it presumably goes QB/QB/QB, with or without a trade. Then the Arizona Cardinals go on the clock at #4 and it gets really interesting.

The Minnesota Vikings hold the #11 and #23 selections, the latter recently acquired from the Houston Texans. The move had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, with the Vikings clearly needing a quarterback with now-former Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins gone to Atlanta.

Where it's complicated for the Cardinals is that they desperately need an ace wide receiver, and they'll likely have their pick of the entire class if they stay put at #4. I could see a standby plan in place with the New York Giants at #6 if the Giants want a specific QB and he slides out of the top three.

In that case, the Cards would still be in position to draft either Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. or LSU WR Malik Nabers at #6, possibly still having their choice of both depending on what the L.A. Chargers do at #5.

But if Maye and Daniels are both gone by the #4 selection, perhaps the Giants wouldn't be interested in trading up.

It would make sense for the Chargers to trade back from #5 with the Vikings if McCarthy is on the board. If history is made this year and it goes QB x4 to begin the draft for the first time ever, the Chargers can be comforted by knowing they'll be able to get their top overall non-QB prospect at #5.

At #7, my hometown Tennessee Titans seem on track to draft an offensive tackle. Notre Dame OT Joe Alt would be a great pickup if he's there. It's possible that the Chargers might target Alt at #5 if they keep the selection.

Penn State OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu might also be a consideration at #7 for the Titans if Alt is gone by then, and perhaps a trade-down would be in order if possible. This is a deep draft at offensive tackle.

At #8, the Atlanta Falcons might very well be able to draft the top defensive player on their board. Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner appears most likely for Atlanta, an elite pash-rusher at a need position.

The Bears will be back on the clock at #9 and have a bunch of options. Presuming they go with Caleb Williams at #1, Chicago can choose from its pick of the top offensive line, EDGE, and wide receiver prospects. No matter what happens between selections 2-8, there will be talent on the board.

Trading back might also be a consideration for the top-heavy Bears, who have two of the first nine selections but only two more overall beyond that.

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers going to the New York Jets at #10 makes sense. This could very well be QB Aaron Rodgers' last run, and after last year's fluke injury ended the season very early for Rodgers, I'm not sure if he wants to trust his blind side to a rookie.

The Denver Broncos at #12 need an NFL-ready quarterback prospect. Trading for Jets QB Zach Wilson doesn't change that. But the acquisition does provide some latitude.

Remember that the Broncos traded their 2024 second-rounder to the New Orleans Saints as part of the deal that freed up Sean Payton contractually. We'll see if Denver ends up with Oregon QB Bo Nix as I'm projecting at this point, trade-back or otherwise.

Beyond that, waves at certain key positions should dominate the bulk of night one: cornerback, wide receiver, EDGE, and offensive tackle. There is also the potential for a team to trade up from round 2 to select Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

There are some who think the L.A. Rams will draft an EDGE at #19 overall. It's a tricky spot for L.A. with the recent retirement of DT Aaron Donald. At the moment, I have the Rams selecting Texas DT Byron Murphy II, but EDGE is a viable possibility here, especially if Murphy goes to the Seattle Seahawks at #16.

It's quite possible that the Rams could select Penn State EDGE Chop Robinson at #19.

Remember that the Rams, as of this writing, have four picks in the top 100: #19, #52, #83, and #99. And there should be plenty of talent at defensive tackle still on the board on day two of the draft.

At #20, the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to select a center. It reminds me in some ways of 2021 with how strongly the Steelers were linked to Alabama RB Najee Harris prior to the draft, ultimately selecting him at #24 overall.

But in this case, the target is not clear. My most recent 2024 NFL Mock Draft has Pittsburgh drafting Duke center Graham Barton, though some think the choice will be Oregon interior OL Jackson Powers-Johnson.

My 2024 final mock will go up on Wednesday evening EDT here on Draft King.

Be sure to stop in this Thursday at 2 pm EDT for the Warsaken 2024 Draft Day special. I'll be livestreaming the fantastic new game Warsaken Blitz and talking about late-developing draft news and rumors at twitch.tv/nashvillelou with a simulcast here on the front page of Draft King.

Finally, you'll want to get in on this X/Twitter Warsaken giveaway. Here's your chance to win a valuable Black Camo First Wave Draft Center card.

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