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2024 NFL Consensus Mock Draft takeaways: How the experts see the first round playing out

We are now mere hours away from the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. We don’t yet know which players will be selected and in what order, nor by which teams, but we do have a whole lot of people making educated (and perhaps not-so-educated) guesses, and because there are so many knowledgeable people doing so, we have a wide range of opinions about how things will shake out. 

But even within that wide range of opinions, sometimes consensus emerges. That’s what we’re here to identify. Incorporating draft-day mock drafts from our own Pete Prisco and Ryan Wilson, as well as ESPN’s Field Yates, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, and NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah and Peter Schrager, we came up with some takeaways that have seemingly emerged as the consensus. 

1. Caleb Williams 2. Jayden Daniels 3. Drake Maye

We have known for quite some time now that the Chicago Bears will be picking USC’s Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall. But now, everybody seems to think that the Washington Commanders are all in on LSU’s Jayden Daniels at No. 2, leaving North Carolina’s Drake Maye available with the third selection. But there is a lot of differentiation in who lands Maye. Four of the six morning-of mocks have the New England Patriots sticking and picking, but one has the New York Giants moving up for him and another has the Minnesota Vikings doing the same. Either way, it seems like the widespread expectation is that these will be the first three players off the board. 

Marvin Harrison Jr. to the Cardinals

Everybody has the Cards landing the draft’s top receiver, who put together season lines of 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns, followed by 67 receptions for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns during his two years as a starter at Ohio State. Most have Arizona doing so with the fourth pick, but our own Ryan Wilson has general manager Monti Ossenfort pulling off the exact maneuver that he did last season, trading down and then moving back up to land Harrison at No. 5 overall. 

J.C. Latham to the Chargers, Joe Alt to the Titans

This is a late-emerging consensus. Most have expected that the Chargers will target an offensive lineman with their first pick in the draft, whether they do so at No. 5 or after moving down the board. But now everyone has identified Latham as that guy. All six of these mocks have Latham landing in L.A. 

Meanwhile, Alt to the Titans has seemingly been just as much of a consensus as Williams to the Bears. Perhaps the Titans throw a curveball out there, but after signing Calvin Ridley in free agency, tackle is pretty clearly Tennessee’s biggest need, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan can be expected to get the best out of whichever player the Titans select.

Top defensive player to the Falcons

So it was a near-consensus that the Falcons would choose Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner with their pick. One mock (Brugler) had them moving down to do so, while another had them moving down and then taking Texas interior defensive lineman Byron Murphy II. Either way, everyone has the Falcons landing the first defender off the board, as has been widely expected since at least the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Michael Penix Jr. in the top 20

This is another one that has gotten late steam. Almost everybody has long expected Williams, Daniels, Maye, and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy to come off the board early, with each of them perhaps landing inside the top five. But for a while, it seemed like whichever team wanted Penix or Oregon’s Bo Nix might be able to nab them by trading back into the late first, or even waiting until the second. But now it seems like everyone is on Penix going much earlier than that, with most pegging the Las Vegas Raiders as his landing spot. 

Offensive linemen to the Saints and Cowboys

There may not be teams with clearer needs than New Orleans and Dallas. With Ryan Ramczyk’s health in question, the Saints desperately need to add a tackle. And the Cowboys have needs at both left tackle and center. (In addition to running back, defensive tackle, and more. Their offseason has been … curious, to say the least.) It seems like there’s an emerging consensus that the Saints will be in on Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, while Dallas could target Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton, as many expected top interior linemen Troy Fautanu of Washington and Graham Barton of Duke to be off the board by the time Dallas comes on the clock at pick No. 24. 

Defensive lineman to the Dolphins

With the Dolphins seeing Christian Wilkins leave in free agency for a monster deal from the Raiders and with both Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb coming off season-ending injuries, it’s no surprise to see mock drafts zero in on Miami taking a defensive lineman early. The interior seems like a bigger need, but they could also look to the edge with Florida State’s Jared Verse or UCLA’s Laiatu Latu. 

The Eagles trading up

This one, incredibly, is 6-for-6. The only question is whether the Eagles move up to 12, 16, or 18, and whether they are targeting a corner (Alabama’s Terrion Arnold or Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell) or an offensive lineman (Oregon State’s Tailese Fuaga). General manager Howie Roseman loves building through the lines and it is getting late in Lane Johnson’s career, so the latter is a definite possibility, but there is no question that Philadelphia’s most immediate need is in the secondary. 

Both Texas WRs, both Alabama CBs in the first round

Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy both get selected in the mid-to-late first round in every mock, as do Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry. There’s some differentiation in when Mitchell and Worthy go and which of them gets selected before the other, but everyone has Arnold going in the mid-first and McKinstry going late. 

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