NFL Mock Draft 2024: Projecting where Bo Nix, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. will be picked as QBs rule Round 1

For about half of the NFL teams in Week 13, the playoffs are out of reach, meaning they can start looking most forward to next year’s draft with only six weeks left in the 2023 regular season. With the football calendar flipping to December, it also means college championship weekend is here.

Some of the best prospects will be on display in the biggest games with conference titles on the line. The spotlight, per usual, will be on the quarterbacks, but there are plenty of other first-rounders to watch, too.

Here’s an updated early look at where those players might be selected as pros in 2024 with Sporting News’ fourth NFL mock draft:

BIG BOARD: Ranking the top 50 players in 2024 NFL Draft 

NFL Mock Draft 2024

Marvin Harrison Jr.

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1. Chicago Bears (from Panthers)

  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC (6-1, 218 pounds)

Justin Fields is trying to show the Bears they made the right call on him as their franchise QB, but they’re still sitting on the No. 1 overall pick in draft again. It may have been too soon to stay put and draft a replacement in this same initial spot earlier this year, but now they might need to think twice.

Williams, who despite some recent struggles, is still an electric all-around force who does the little and bit things right. If not the Bears, someone should trade up for Williams, a la the Panthers and Bryce Young in 2023.

2. Arizona Cardinals (2-10)

  • Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (6-3, 202 pounds)

Harrison’s size, speed and strength suggest he can dominate like a No. 1 receiver in the NFL for many years, much like his father did for the Colts. The Cardinals are unlikely to re-sign Marquise Brown and as they remain committed to boosting Kyler Murray, they need to get him a true do-everything go-to guy.

3. New England Patriots (2-9)

  • Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (6-5, 220 pounds)

The Patriots should be waving the white flag on 2021 first-rounder Mac Jones after his poor play this season and benching him for Bailey Zappe in Week 12. They need to dive right into a rookie upgrade. With his arm, accuracy and athleticism, Maye has developed into a bigger, much better version of the Commanders’ Sam Howell, another one-time Tar Heels QB.

4. Chicago Bears (4-8)

  • Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State (6-6, 321 pounds)

The Bears, whether it’s Williams or Fields, need to keep upgrading the offensive line after landing Darnell Wright for the right side in the 2023 first round. Fashanu stands out for his pass protection but he also is right up there among the elite edge run blocking prospects.

5. Washington Commanders (4-8)

  • Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA (6-5, 265 pounds)

The Commanders traded Chase Young and Montez Sweat, their top two defensive ends, at the midseason deadline. This is an obvious direction given how atrocious their pass defense has become on both ends. Latu’s explosive 13-sack season for the Bruins has him shooting up boards.

Jayden Daniels

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6. New York Giants (4-8)

  • Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU (6-4, 210 pounds)

Daniels could give the Bayou Bengals their first Heisman winner since Joe Burrow. He also is working to be another first-round QB with his standout play and intangibles, including the big arm, dynamic athleticism and natural leadership skills. He keeps growing as a cerebral passer and will only build on that to boost his impressive physical skill set. The Giants shouldn’t hesitate to pivot away from Daniel Jones for Brian Daboll.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

  • Malik Nabers, WR, LSU (6-0, 200 pounds)

The Buccaneers are seeing Chris Godwin fade and there’s no certainty Mike Evans will get the contract he wants after another stellar season. They need help for Baker Mayfield in the former of versatile weapons. Nabers is a crisp route-runner with great hands and the quickness to make big open-field plays after the catch.

8. New York Jets (4-7)

  • Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (6-7, 316 pounds)

The Jets’ offensive front has become an injury-riddled disaster. Should Aaron Rodgers return healthy to try to help them live up to lofty expectations in Year 2  they need to shore up the pass protection. Alt is nimble in that area and has the frame to also push around bodies as a run blocker.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (4-7)

  • Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama (6-4, 240 pounds)

The Chargers should think about their pass defense first and foremost, with with a top corner or boosting their edge rush behind Khalil Mack and oft-injured Joey Bosa. Mack will turn 33 soon and only has one more season left on his deal. Turner is impactful getting to the QB well with a variety of moves following in the footsteps of current Texan Will Anderson Jr.

10. Tennessee Titans (4-7)

  • Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia (6-4, 240 pounds)

The Titans have worked on stacking some line help and playmakers for Will Levis. Getting him a go-to tight end, something athletic Chigoziem Okonkwo hasn’t become, would be great in Year 2. Bowers is the complete package to stand out at the position with terrific receiving and blocking.

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11. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

  • Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (6-2, 217 pounds)

Nix and Michael Penix Jr. have been jockeying their teams for position at the top of the Pac-12, while Nix is also trying to battle Penix and Maye to be the second QB off the board. The Raiders should be intrigued by Nix for their future coaching staff, given his pleasing deep-ball arm and outstanding athleticism.

12. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

  • Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State (6-3, 250 pounds)

The Saints, ever since losing Trey Hendrickson in free agency, have been needing a top pass-rushing prospect. Now on top of that, future Hall of Famer Cameron Jordan is nearing the end of his great, all-around productive career at age 34. Robinson can have immediate impact there with speed and explosiveness.

13. Green Bay Packers (5-6)

  • J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama (6-6, 326 pounds)

Latham projects as a fine startihg right tackle in the NFL at first, but he has the size and athleticism to be flipped to start on the left side. The Packers need to think about tackle high on their list for Jordan Love with David Bakthiari battling a lot of injury wear at 32.

14. Los Angeles Rams (5-6)

  • Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (6-3, 214 pounds)

Penix is a smooth, confident pocket passer with the arm to get the ball accurately all over the field. The Rams will be fine with his limited athleticism in their system for Sean McVay as the ideal successor to Matthew Stafford.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)

  • Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois (6-2, 295 pounds)

The Bengals have wilted against the run this season and D.J. Reader is pending free agent in the middle of their front.. Newton also has some pleasing inside pass-rush pop to help on top of pushing around blockers in the running game.

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16. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

  • Rome Odunze, WR, Washington (6-3, 201 pounds)

The Bills likely won’t re-sign Gabe Davis after his rookie contract expires in 2024. After getting hybrid tight end Dalton Kincaid in the 2023 first round, Buffalo needs to keep boosting the weapons for Josh Allen ahead of Stefon Diggs turning 30 next season. Odunze would be an ideal replacement for Davis as a speedy vertical threat.

17. Arizona Cardinals (from Texans)

  • Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama (6-1, 195 pounds)

The Cardinals have fielded one of the worst cornerback groups in the NFL without 2023 free-agent departure Byron Murphy. McKinstry has a nice frame to develop shutdown skills and already has a knack for making big on-ball plays.

18. Denver Broncos (6-5)

  • Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson (6-2, 185 pounds)

The Broncos have seen a resurgence of Patrick Surtain II back into form as their top corner, but he needs stronger complementary coverage. Wiggins’ size and versatile profile fits their need for a No. 2.

19. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

  •  J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (6-3, 202 pounds)

McCarthy has had a meteoric rise to Heisman contender with Nix and Penix during a dazzling breakout season. He’s a flat-out athletic playmaker who throws well out of the pocket and shows great zip on all of his passes. The Falcons need to draft a QB, whether or not it’s for Arthur Smith.

20. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)

  • Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (6-1, 209 pounds)

As the Vikings’ ace defensive coordinator, Brian Flores likes to have versatile pieces on the back end. Whether DeJean is a safety, corner, nickel back or outside cover man, he just flat-out makes plays all over the field. 

21. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

  • Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State (6-4, 215 pounds)

The Colts love Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie Josh Downs is a promising quick slot options. But Alec Pierce and the tight ends haven’t given them anything consistent in the passing game with Gardner Minshew. With strong-armed Anthony Richardson returning for what could be a big breakout Year 2, they could the route-running savvy and big-play threat of Coleman.

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22. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

  • Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State (6-4, 248 pounds)

The Seahawks must upgrade their pass rush to better boost a promising young secondary. Verse can be a natural explosive producer on Pete Carroll’s defense.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

  • Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State (6-6, 334 pounds)

The Steelers may think about flipping 2023 first-rounder Broderick Jones to the left side in Year 2 after slow playing him on the right side as a rookie. They need a bookend, regardless with Dan Moore Jr. continuing to struglge. Fuaga has risen fast as he’s dominated with his big, physical frame, pushing defenders out of his way from the right side of the Beavers’ line. 

24. Houston Texans (from Browns)

  • Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington (6-4, 256 pounds)

The Texans also should be looking for some extra edge pop, in their case someone to play well off 2023 first-round Will Anderson Jr. Trice is a relentless pass rusher who uses every bit of his frame to win vs. blockers.

25. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

  • J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama (6-6, 326 pounds)

The Dolphins are putting up some amazing passing numbers with Tua Tagovailoa despite having some real weaknesses up front. They could use an upgrade most at right tackle from Austin Jackson.  Latham has Tristan Wirfs-like upside all-around for the right side.

26. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

  • Leonard Taylor III, DT, Miami (6-3, 305 pounds)

The Cowboys can really think about best player available for Jerry Jones at a variety of positions, including edge rusher, safety and offensive line. But going to get some versatile inside-outside juice for their defense is a pretty good plan. Taylor is a natural mighty run stopper who is still developing quickly as a pass rusher.

J.J. McCarthy

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27. Detroit Lions (8-3)

  • Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota (6-2, 210 pounds)

The Lions love Brian Branch in the nickel but some injuries and passing production agains them inside from tight ends suggests they need safety help with only short-term solutions there for a young defense. Nubin would be a fine back-seven active playmaking complement to linebacker Jack Campbell.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3)

  • Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State (6-1, 205 pounds)

The Jaguars need to decide about how much they want to invest in pending free-agent wideout Calvin Ridley. Regardless he tries to cash in elsewhere or stays put, they should be looking to boost a thin wideout corps and start over Zay Jones. Egbuka would be another quick route-running option to work well with Ridley and Christian Kirk.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3)

  • Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia (6-7, 340 pounds)

The Chiefs made a shaky investment in Jawaan Taylor at tackle after not re-signing Orlando Brown and they also know Donovan Smith is a makeshift solution on the left side. Mims is a nimble pass protector for his size who can also upgrade their run blocking to help Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith.

30. San Francisco 49ers (8-3)

  • Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami (5-11, 202 pounds)

The 49ers saw Talanoa Hufanga go down with a season-ending knee injury and are weak at the other spot with 33-year old Tashaun Gipson Sr. Kinchens racks up big plays and his coverage skills also can make him an asset in nickel slot work.

31. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)

  • Graham Barton, OT/G, Duke (6-3, 311 pounds)

Barton is a natural compact run blocker for the edge. Like Peter Skoronski, he might be better suited to play inside in the NFL given his size to make his athleticism more of a major asset vs. a work in progress. The Ravens are facing issues at guard around Tyler Linderbaum with John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler.

32. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)

  • Kalen King, CB, Penn State (5-11, 188 pounds)

The Eagles can stay in state to address their issue at cornerback, with injuries affecting the inside and age affecting the outside. Wherever he would play for them first while staying in state, King can give them dynamic on-the-ball playmaker. He has more than lived up to being Joey Porter Jr.’s college successor.

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