Higgins’ 2024 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
The NFL has just finished the first third of the season. It’s still early, but trends are starting to set and directions of franchises are becoming more clear. Teams once thought to be in the midst of a rebuild have flashed potential greatness. Others who were thought to be taking that next step are now looking ahead to next season.
With next season comes a fresh infusion of talent. Compared to the last few drafts, the incoming class has many around the NFL landscape talking about the high level players that will be available come April. Namely, the quarterback class has been talked up as one of the best in recent years, headlined by USC’s Caleb Williams.
The first mock draft of the season will more than likely look foolish come Draft Day, but it’s intriguing to see what teams may be looking at to help improve their chances for the next season. It can also be a great look at the potential greatness that will be hitting the league in the very near future.
The draft order is comprised of the standings posted on Tankathon, featuring an NFC North team holding two very valuable picks in their possession.
- Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams | QB | USC
- Chicago Bears (via CAR) – Marvin Harrison Jr. | WR | Ohio State
- Denver Broncos – Drake Maye | QB | UNC
- Arizona Cardinals – Laiatu Latu | DE | UCLA
- New York Giants – Olu Fashanu | OT | Penn State
- New England Patriots – Michael Penix | QB | Washington
- Minnesota Vikings – Kool-Aid McKinstry | CB | Alabama
- Tennessee Titans – Joe Alt | OT | Notre Dame
- Green Bay Packers – Malik Nabers | WR | LSU
- Los Angeles Chargers – JC Latham | OT | Alabama
- New Orleans Saints – Chop Robinson | DE | Penn State
- Atlanta Falcons – JJ McCarthy | QB | Michigan
- Arizona Cardinals (via HOU) – Brock Bowers | TE | Georgia
- Las Vegas Raiders – Cooper DeJean | CB | Iowa
- Indianapolis Colts – Keon Coleman | WR | Florida State
- Washington Commanders – Jared Verse | DE | Florida State
- New York Jets – Graham Barton | OT | Duke
- Cincinnati Bengals – Rome Odunze | WR | Washington
- Los Angeles Rams – Kalen King | CB | Penn State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kamren Kinchens | S | Miami
- Houston Texans (via CLE) – Emeka Egbuka | WR | Ohio State
- Seattle Seahawks – Bo Nix | QB | Oregon
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Jer’Zhan Newton | DL | Illinois
- Buffalo Bills – Nate Wiggins | CB | Clemson
- Dallas Cowboys – Taliese Fuaga | OT | Oregon State
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Taylor III | DL | Miami
- Baltimore Ravens – Bralen Trice | DE | Washington
- Detroit Lions – Kris Jenkins | DL | Michigan
- Miami Dolphins – Amarius Mims | OT | Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers – Kamari Lassiter | CB | Georgia
- Kansas City Chiefs – Adonai Mitchell | WR | Texas
- Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Newton | CB | TCU
QB Landing Spots
Caleb Williams is a lock to go number one. It really doesn’t matter who has the pick. In this case, Chicago gives up on the Justin Fields experience and hits the reset button. Pairing him with Marvin Harrison Jr. would set up a nice future for the Bears.
It is probably a lock that Drake Maye will be the second quarterback taken. With Denver sitting in the three spot, Sean Payton can remake the team with a new quarterback and attempt to get themselves out of Russell Wilson’s large contract.
New England at six is swinging for the fences with Michael Penix. This pick comes with conditions, however. If Belichick is allowed the chance to come back for another season, Penix will continue to fall down the board and land with another quarterback needy team. If Robert Kraft pulls the plug and begins the rebuld, who better to start with than the probable Heisman Trophy winner?
Atlanta at 12 is reaching for McCarthy a little bit, but it has become obvious that Desmond Ridder is not the ideal choice to lead that offense. McCarthy has been sound throughout his college career, and with the young talent available to him in Atlanta and surrounded by a weak conference, McCarthy would logically be set up for success early.
Finally, the Seahawks take their heir apparent at 20 with Bo Nix. Nix has question marks, and is going to be entering the league on the older side. Still, Nix has completely transformed himself after transferring from Auburn to Oregon. It wasn’t too long ago that the Seahawks took a quarterback earlier than people projected he would go, and was also a transfer. He isn’t playing well now, but that guy might be the best Seahawks quarterback in their team’s history.
Evan Neal Experiment Ends
Olu Fashanu would have been a high pick last year. After coming back for his junior year, he has been projected the number one tackle for months now. The Giants are in the midst of a disappointing year after making the playoffs a season ago. Notably, their inability to protect Daniel Joes has hindered their effectivenes on offense.
The Giants have invested two top-10 picks on offensive tackles since 2020. Andrew Thomas, selected fourth in 2020, has come on strong despite a slow start to his career. He has dealt with injury issues, including this year, but he should still be considered a franchise cornerstone.
Evan Neal, selected seventh overall in 2022, has been the opposite of productive. He looks more like a subway turnstile than pass protector. His poor play and his run-ins with members of the New York media could have the Giants looking for his replacement this off-season. Fashanu at five would be a more than ideal candidate to take his job.
Bengals Add Another Weapon
At first glance, it might not seem logical for the Bengals to select a wide receiver with their top choice. Joe burrow currently has Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd at his disposal. All are uber-talented and bring different things to the table that make the offense, at it’s peak, truly explosive.
The problem this offseason is that both Higgins and Boyd are free agents. Boyd is likely gone, opening up room for a new third receiver. Higgins is in line for a massive extension, and the Bengals may be inclined to let another team pay that contract since they just inked Burrow to the richest deal in NFL history. The Bengals, with a number of intriguing options in the draft, could look their instead for cheap replacements.
Odunze could end up being selected much higher with the way he has played this year. In a high-powered Washington offense, Odunze is most talented at the point of attack on jump balls. His speed on go routes is also extremely impressive. He’s a hand catcher with the agility to separate and be explosive. Paired with Chase, it would appear that they could be just as dominant on offense as they have been in recent years even if they let both Higgins and Boyd walk.