There are plenty of twists and turns to come before the NFL draft begins April 25 in Detroit.
From massive shuffling of the draft order to trade possibilities and a combine and pro day to sway opinions on prospects, it’s difficult to say what the first round could look like by then.
Predictions are hard enough hours before the draft begins.
But a preliminary picture of what the draft order might look like is starting to form, and several names have emerged that could match up well with team needs, so it’s time to start projecting how things could take shape in April.
Here’s a look at our early 2024 NFL mock draft based on the standings entering Week 13:
1. Chicago Bears (From Panthers)
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
The Bears have a decision to make for the second consecutive year about whether Justin Fields is their quarterback of the future. This time, they have two picks in the top five because of their choice to trade the top pick last year. With two elite prospects at the position and two premium picks, the Bears are likely to take one and go Maye over Caleb Williams. Expect that debate to heat up as draft day approaches.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Arizona also has a difficult quarterback decision, but it’s more complicated because of Kyler Murray’s contract. It might be difficult to find someone to take it on, so they grab an elite receiver prospect to make Murray’s life easier.
3. New England Patriots
Caleb Williams, QB, Southern California
The Patriots would love this scenario. Williams has the potential to be a superstar and would be an instant upgrade for a franchise that hasn’t found a replacement for Tom Brady.
4. Chicago Bears
Olumuuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
If you’re going to invest in another new quarterback, it’s a good idea to try to protect this one. Fashanu not only has the physical tools to make him a star at the next level but also is intelligent.
5. Washington Commanders
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
This is probably too high for many teams to think about drafting a tight end, but Bowers is not a typical prospect. He is special and could give the Commanders an immediate weapon.
6. New York Giants
Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Alt will be in the mix to be the top tackle off the board. He’s performed at a high level and comes from an athletic family with a dad who was a three-time Pro Bowler and a brother who played in the NHL. Anyone who has watched the Giants play know they could use help up front.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA
The Bucs rank 28th in quarterback pressures and 28th in pass-rush win rate, according to Pro Football Focus. Latu not only has the physical makeup of a top-10 pick but also a deep toolbox of pass-rush moves.
8. New York Jets
Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
There has been speculation about the Jets pursuing high-end receiver talent to pair with Garrett Wilson and give Aaron Rodgers a chance next season, including a certain Raiders star. Odunze, a former Bishop Gorman High School star, is a good backup plan.
9. Los Angeles Chargers
Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Cornerback is a glaring area of need for the Chargers. The defense has been a mess, largely because of its inability to cover receivers. McKinstry could quench the organization’s thirst for a star on the perimeter.
10. Tennessee Titans
Malik Nabers, WR, Louisiana State
DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t made the impact the Titans hoped for, largely because of inconsistent quarterback play. His contract is flexible to get away from, but they need to find playmakers to spice up the offense even if they keep Hopkins. Nabers will bring immediate speed and downfield ability even if he doesn’t have the size Tennessee prefers.
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
It’s time for the Raiders to use a high draft pick on a quarterback, and Daniels is the kind of player who should get fans excited about the future. His talent has been on full display with 3,812 yards passing and 40 touchdowns to four interceptions while adding 1,134 yards and 10 scores on the ground. He probably would be the slam dunk Heisman Trophy winner if LSU had made the Southeastern Conference championship game. Aidan O’Connell has shown he perhaps can be a capable backup and even hold down the starting spot while Daniels gets acclimated. The Raiders could have a solid tandem for the next few years as they rebuild.
12. New Orleans Saints
Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
The Saints need someone to play opposite tackle Ryan Ramcyzk. They were hoping 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning would be the answer, but he’s been too inconsistent.
13. Green Bay Packers
JC Latham, OT, Alabama
It’s time for the Packers to address life after David Bakhtiari, who has battled lingering knee issues. Latham should help solidify the future of the line.
14. Los Angeles Rams
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Matthew Stafford can’t play forever, and the future of Stetson Bennett is a massive question mark. Penix had started to work his way into the top-five conversation before a late-season slump, which might have been caused by physical ailments. Expect him to start generating more hype once the season is over.
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Jer’Zhan Newton, DI, Illinois
The Bengals’ biggest acquisition this offseason will be getting star quarterback Joe Burrow back after season-ending wrist surgery. Newton is a playmaker who could help solidify the middle of the defense in case D.J. Reader leaves in free agency.
16. Buffalo Bills
Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Whether or not the tumultuous relationship between Stefon Diggs and the Bills continues into 2024, they need to find consistent options at wide receiver. Egbuka probably would be even more hyped if he wasn’t part of the most loaded wide receiver room in the nation.
17. Arizona Cardinals (From Texans)
Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama
The Cardinals addressed one of their biggest needs by nabbing the top receiver in the draft and now attack another with an elite pass rusher. Turner is incredibly fast off the edge, but needs to add some weight to be an every-down player.
18. Denver Broncos
Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State
The Broncos have several options for their first time selecting in the first round since 2021. They have several good receivers, but each has contract questions. They also could use secondary help. Denver has some young talent on the edge, but Verse adds more high-end talent to the room.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Desmond Ridder hasn’t worked out, and the Falcons need to find someone to manage the weapons they have accumulated. Nix has a ton of experience and has excelled this season by getting the ball to his star teammates with enough space to turn short gains into big plays.
20. Indianapolis Colts
Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
The Colts need playmakers for Anthony Richardson. It would be difficult to pass on Coleman, who has great skills with the ball in his hands and will also bring special teams ability.
21. Minnesota Vikings
J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
The Vikings were going to have to address the quarterback position even before Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending injury because of his contract status. McCarthy can make plays with his legs and has proven to be the ultimate winner in college even if he doesn’t have top-end arm talent. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a team fall in love with him, but it also wouldn’t be a shock to see him tumble down the draft boards.
22. Seattle Seahawks
Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State
Another team with a couple of obvious needs. Seattle needs to find a quarterback and probably will seek one in the offseason, either through the draft or free agency. With no obvious candidates here, they address their other glaring need with a good prospect who is relentless against the run and pass.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa
The Steelers need help in the secondary, and DeJean provides it by offering the versatility NFL scouts and coaches are starting to embrace. He moved from safety to cornerback, where he has excelled.
24. Houston Texans (From Browns)
Leonard Taylor III, DI, Miami
Houston looks to build on a tremendous 2023 draft haul that has sparked a quick turnaround under coach DeMeco Ryans. Taylor would complement edge rusher Will Anderson.
25. Miami Dolphins
Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
All of the playmakers are in place for Mike McDaniel to keep this offense among the best in the league. Mims looks like someone who was produced in a lab to be a starting tackle in the NFL.
26. Dallas Cowboys
Bralen Trice, Edge, Washington
This isn’t a glaring need at the moment, but a closer look at the depth chart and contracts reveals the Cowboys might want to invest in talent on the edge. Trice has great size and strength to go with his excellent ability to read the play, which has made him a factor on all three downs.
27. Detroit Lions
Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
Detroit is likely to look to the defensive side of the ball. An edge rusher to play opposite star Aidan Hutchinson would be ideal, but Wiggins is a better option here than the remaining first-round pass rushers.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
The Jaguars have several solid receivers, but three of them are set to hit free agency in the offseason. Worthy is fast and dangerous with the ball in his hands. His route-running ability makes up for his lack of size.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
It’s no secret the Chiefs need help at wide receiver, as dropped passes have been an epidemic. And that’s just on the occasions they are able to get open. While Mitchell is tall and a bit on the slight slide in terms of frame, he possesses strong hands and has shown an ability to challenge for the ball at the catch point.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Graham Barton, OL, Duke
It’s not clear where Barton will be best suited to play in the NFL. He has played mostly left tackle in college, but also has played several games at center. More important for this match with the 49ers is that he has thrived in a run-heavy, zone-blocking scheme at Duke.
31. Baltimore Ravens
Kalen King, CB, Penn State
While the Ravens have been tremendous against the pass this season, allowing nearly a yard per attempt less than any other team, they could still use help on the outside. King doesn’t have prototypical size, but loves to harass receivers and finds a way to always be around the ball and makes plays.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona
There aren’t any glaring needs on the Eagles’ roster. They could probably use a boost in the pass rush and maybe another playmaker in the secondary. But this is a team that has been built on its offensive line, and some are starting to get older.