April 19, 2024

NFL mock draft roundup: History is made in the top five

From now until the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25 in Detroit, the experts will release mock drafts on an almost weekly basis. 

This is your one-stop shop for the latest predictions, including the top-five picks, players rising and falling, surprise selections and potential trades.

The experts highlighted this week are NFL.com’s Eric Edholm, CBS Sports’ Kyle Stackpole and Pro Football Focus’ Arjun Menon.

Pick No. 1 (Chicago Bears)

Edholm, Stackpole, Menon: USC QB Caleb Williams

All three experts believe that Williams becoming a Bear is pretty much locked in at this point. It’s only a matter of time until the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner hears his name called first after throwing for 8,170 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions from 2022-23.

Pick No. 2 (Washington Commanders)

Edholm: Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy seems to have officially entered the conversation as the second-best quarterback in the draft. His draft stock has been rising ever since he led the Wolverines to a national championship and now some think he could be the second quarterback off the board. McCarthy threw for 5,710 yards, 44 touchdowns and just nine interceptions from 2022-23.

Stackpole, MenonLSU QB Jayden Daniels

The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner has a strong case to hear his name called second as well. Daniels is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback, throwing for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns while rushing for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023. He would likely be the No. 1 overall pick in most other years.

Pick No. 3 (New England Patriots)

Edholm: LSU QB Jayden Daniels

Stackpole, MenonUNC QB Drake Maye

Maye could very well be the second quarterback taken as well, but he is a little raw with just two years of starting experience. Nonetheless, he’s been impressive, throwing for 7,929 yards, 62 touchdowns and 16 interceptions the past two seasons.

Pick No. 4 (Arizona Cardinals)

Edholm: UNC QB Drake Maye (traded to Minnesota Vikings)

Stackpole, MenonMichigan QB J.J. McCarthy (traded to Minnesota Vikings)

All three experts believe the Vikings will strike a deal, which will likely include their two first-round picks (Nos. 11 and 23), with the Cardinals. Who the fourth quarterback remaining will be is up for debate, but there’s no arguing Minnesota’s glaring need at the position. Arizona may also opt to add a playmaker, but if not, history will be made as four quarterbacks have never been taken with the first four picks.

Pick No. 5 (Los Angeles Chargers)

Edholm, Stackpole, Menon: Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Chargers need to restock QB Justin Herbert’s arsenal after trading WR Keenan Allen to the Bears and releasing WR Mike Williams, who has since signed with the Jets. Harrison Jr. is the best of the bunch, posting 144 catches for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns from 2022-23. Him falling to No. 5 would be Los Angeles’ dream scenario.

Players on the rise

Edholm: Oregon QB Bo Nix (No. 12 to Denver Broncos)

Nix has been viewed as high as a top-10 pick to as low as a second-rounder. It’s difficult too project where he will land, but he is certainly an intriguing prospect after having a breakout season in 2023, passing for 4,508 yards, 45 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The Broncos need a quarterback and Nix may just turn out to be head coach Sean Payton’s guy.

Players falling

Stackpole: Georgia TE Brock Bowers (No. 32 to Kansas City Chiefs)

There’s no way the rest of the NFL allows this to happen, right? Bowers could fall out of the top 10 in what is a draft rich with quarterback and wide receiver talent, but all the way to the last pick in the first round would be shocking. The Georgia product is, by far, the best tight end in the draft after posting 175 catches for 2,538 yards and 26 touchdowns in three years at Georgia. The Chiefs potentially pairing him with Travis Kelce would just be unfair.

Surprise picks

Menon: UCLA edge-rusher Laiatu Latu (No. 12 to Denver Broncos)

Menon: Alabama CB Terrion Arnold (No. 13 to Las Vegas Raiders)

The Broncos and Raiders have several needs on their rosters, but the biggest for both teams is quarterback. Yes, the top four are already off the board in Menon’s mock draft, but Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. are still available. Some could argue they’ll still be there in the second round, but why take that chance and be forced to roll into the 2024 season with Jarrett Stidham and Gardner Minshew as your starting quarterbacks?