NFL Mock Draft 2024 with player comparisons: Projecting the best NFL comps for first-round picks

NFL teams do their best to evaluate players in every draft in the hopes of landing future stars and avoiding potential busts. Sometimes, comparing prospects to either current or former NFL stars can help facilitate that process.

This can go to another level when a coaching staff has direct experience with the player most similar to the prospect they’re considering. While no two players are exactly alike, understanding the ins and outs of the type of player a rookie emulates can go a long way toward making coaches and GMs comfortable pulling the trigger on a first-round pick. 

Here’s using that mindset to put a different spin on our latest 2024 first-round mock draft, setting up each team to come away with an “ideal,” familiar pick

MORE NFL DRAFT: Big board top 200 | 7-round mock draft | Mock with trades

NFL Mock Draft 2024

Caleb Williams (left) and J.J. McCarthy (right)

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1. Chicago Bears (from Panthers)

  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC (6-1, 214 pounds)

Williams has the ceiling of Patrick Mahomes with his arm, improv skills, and athleticism. The extending of plays to deliver big passes and improv also should remind offensive coordinator Shane Waldron of his one-time Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson.

2. Washington Commanders

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

Daniels has drawn comparisons to Lamar Jackson with his effortless big-play running and dangerous deep arm. That should also put him in the same vein as 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, who Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was hired to help succeed right away with the Cardinals.

3. New England Patriots

  • Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (6-4, 223 pounds)

The Patriots moved on from Mac Jones and are breaking in a new offensive coordinator, Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt did a great job with the Browns getting the most out of big, tall classic gunslinger Joe Flacco and athletic sensation Deshaun Watson. Maye is a mashup of both frames and skill sets, even matching the weight of Watson with plus mobility.

MORE NFL DRAFT: Complete list of every team’s draft pick

4. Arizona Cardinals

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

Harrison compares well to his namesake father, but he is more like two high first-round receivers who will soon join Marvin Harrison Sr. in the Hall of Fame: A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Both long-time No. WR1s were taken in the 2011 class and were seen as can’t-miss stars. Harrison Jr. has the same vibe.

5. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Rome Odunze, WR, Washington (6-3, 212 pounds)

The Chargers will have a tough decision between offensive line, edge rusher, tight end Brock Bowers, and one of the top two wide receivers after Harrison. The pick is win-win between Odunze and Malik Nabers, but if they’re looking for a hybrid, versatile No. 1, Odunze channels both big slot Keenan Allen (6-2, 211 pounds) and big-play Mike Williams (6-4, 218 pounds).

Rome Odunze

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6. New York Giants

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

It’s been 10 drafts since the Giants landed Odell Beckham Jr. No. 12 overall in 2014. After a forgettable foray back in the first round to take Kadarius Toney three drafts ago, LSU has maintained a strong wide receiver pipeline since OBJ in different offenses, and Nabers is the latest stellar product. The Giants can finally get a Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson type for Daniel Jones.

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7. Tennessee Titans

  • Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (6-9, 321 pounds)

The Titans should be thrilled that Joe inherited his massive frame from his father John, a two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle with the Chiefs who stood at 6-8, 298 pounds. The younger Alt is a slightly smaller version than long-time Ravens Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden.

8. Atlanta Falcons

  • Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama (6-3, 247 pounds)

Falcons coach Raheem Morris was a recent defensive coordinator for Von Miller (6-3, 250 pounds) with the Rams, and he can hope Turner can tap into some of that all-around play with strong pass-rush production.

9. Chicago Bears

  • Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA (6-5, 259 pounds)

The Bears should think about following up Williams with another key defensive cornerstone for Matt Eberflus. They don’t really need to go far for a comparison. They acquired a similar-sized smooth pass rusher in Montez Sweat (6-6, 262 pounds) last season, so they should love the thought of them being bookends.

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10. New York Jets

  • Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State (6-6, 312 pounds)

The Jets’ GM is Joe Douglas, not Aaron Rodgers, but taking a shot on aging new tackles Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses should keep them a bit uneasy in trying to fix outside pass protection. That doesn’t mean the Jets will also add David Bakhtiari (6-4, 310 pounds) or trade for Elgton Jenkins (6-5, 311 pounds), but Fashanu is a bit of an athletic power hybrid of both former Packers protectors for Rodgers.

11. Minnesota Vikings

  • J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (6-2, 219 pounds)

The Rams’ offensive system is spreading well through the NFL, and it requires having a cerebral, strong-armed QB who can deliver all throws spreading and stretching the field. Kirk Cousins did that well for Kevin O’Connell at 6-3, 205 pounds. McCarthy has drawn comparisons to more athletic QBs, but the ceiling for him is Joe Burrow (6-4, 215 pounds), who has thrived under former Rams assistant Zac Taylor.

NFL DRAFT RUMORS: Drake Maye | Jayden Daniels | J.J. McCarthy

12. Denver Broncos

  • Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (6-2, 214 pounds)

Nix wore No. 10 with the Ducks, but he should consider wearing No. 9 in the NFL considering two of the main comparisons for him based on his combination of accuracy and athleticism are Drew Brees (6-0, 209 pounds) and Tony Romo (6-2, 230 pounds). His frame is more like the latter, but it’s no wonder he’s been tied to Brees’ former coach Sean Payton, also a fellow former Eastern Illinois QB like Romo.

13. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State (6-6, 324 pounds)

New GM Tom Telesco’s best offensive line pick while with the Chargers was Rashawn Slater (6-4, 315 pounds). Before that, his scouting stint in Indianapolis helped land rock-solid left tackle Anthony Castonzo (6-7, 307 pounds). The Raiders should have no issues wanting him opposite Kolton Miller.

14. New Orleans Saints

  • Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State (6-4, 254 pounds)

Cameron Jordan (6-4, 287 pounds) is nearing the end of his fine career, and while the Saints took a shot on Chase Young (6-5, 264 pounds) in free agency, defensive-minded Dennis Allen should go after a bookend. From his pass-rush style alone, Verse can be productive on the level of former Raider Khalil Mack (6-3, 269 pounds), who Allen coached while with the Silver and Black.

15. Indianapolis Colts

  • Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia (6-3, 243 pounds)

The Colts need a dominant target at the position to help Anthony Richardson stretch the seam. Bowers is an athletic combination of Shane Steichen’s tight end from the Eagles, Dallas Goedert (6-5, 256 pounds), and the 49ers’ George Kittle (6-4, 250 pounds). Bowers can be that kind of intermediate field-stretcher in the offense and would be the best tight end in Indianapolis since Dallas Clark (6-3, 252 pounds).

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16. Seattle Seahawks

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

Mike Macdonald is bringing his Ravens defense across the country, and what helped his scheme support an elite pass rush was unique secondary alignments with versatile, quick, ball-hawking defensive backs. DeJean is loaded with big-play ability, a la Philadelphia’s Darius Slay (6-0, 190 pounds).

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (6-0, 195 pounds)

It’s rather interesting that the Jaguars and Rams, both looking for the next Jalen Ramsey (6-1, 208 pounds), are interested in Mitchell falling to them and sniping him well ahead of the Eagles. His speed has made him stand out as the potential top corner in a top-heavy class.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas (6-0, 297 pounds)

The Bengals have had a strong defensive front for Lou Anarumo, but they swapped out D.J. Reader for a shot on Sheldon Rankins. Recent history says they would greatly benefit from a run stuffer like Murphy, who should remind them of former starting stalwart Geno Atkins (6-1, 293 pounds).

19. Los Angeles Rams

  • Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (6-0, 189 pounds)

The Rams get a strong consolation prize here should Mitchell be off the board as expected before their turn to try to replace Ramsey. Arnold, with his playmaking chops and effective speed, compares well to one of Ramsey’s former teammates in Miami, Xavien Howard (6-1, 203 pounds).

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Jackson Powers-Johnson, G, Oregon (6-3, 328 pounds)

The Steelers should be in the market for the best offensive lineman available for immediate run-blocking impact. Powers-Johnson can be their next version of Maurkice Pouncey (6-4, 304 pounds) and hold down center for a long time.

21. Miami Dolphins

  • Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois (6-2, 304 pounds)

Newton has some potential to be the next great inside pass rusher. He can be a solid replacement for Christian Wilkins (6-4, 310 pounds) and has a disruptive game similar to one-time Viking Kevin Williams (6-5, 311 pounds)

22. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia (6-8, 340 pounds)

Mims is another massive offensive tackle to consider early in this class between Alt and Tyler Guyton. The Eagles need to think about replacing Lane Johnson at right tackle soon, and Mims should remind them how they stole Jordan Mailata (6-8, 365 pounds) in the seventh round in 2018.

23. Minnesota Vikings (from Browns through Texans)

  • Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama (5-11, 199 pounds)

The Vikings tapped into some of the playmaking swag of speedy Patrick Peterson (6-1, 203 pounds) later in his career  McKinstry has that kind of pop downfield when turning it on in coverage.

Kool-Aid McKinstry

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24. Dallas Cowboys

  • Graham Barton, OT, Duke (6-5, 313 pounds)

The Cowboys should see some of their former tackle Doug Free (6-6, 318 pounds) in Barton. He also has some shared inside attributes with Zack Martin (6-4, 315 pounds) and Travis Frederick (6-4, 320 pounds)

25. Green Bay Packers

  • J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama (6-6, 342 pounds)

Here’s another David Bakhtiari type for the Packers to consider after releasing Bakhtiari. Lathan also has some nice parallels to another recent Crimson Tide tackle product, Cam Robinson (6-6, 335 pounds).

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State (6-3, 254 pounds)

The Buccaneers need to find their new Shaquil Barrett (6-2, 250 pounds) for Todd Bowles. Robinson also has some freakish qualities of another former key Bowles’ pass rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul (6-5, 270 pounds).

27. Arizona Cardinals (from Texans)

  • Troy Fautanu, G, Washington (6-4, 317 pounds)

There’s a big reason why the Cardinals and NFC West-rival 49ers love Fautanu’s inside athleticism so much. His game can be reminiscent of Mike Iupati, a four-time Pro Bowler who played for both teams.

28. Buffalo Bills

  • Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU (6-4, 205 pounds)

Thomas has some obvious DK Metcalf (6-4, 236 pounds) kind of pop as a big, svelter field-stretcher and red-zone threat, but he also has some prime Allen Robinson (6-2, 220 pounds) in him, too. That should appeal to the Bills as their ideal replacement for Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.

Brian Thomas Jr.

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29. Detroit Lions

  • Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri (6-5, 285 pounds)

There’s a seasoned-veteran version of Jadeveon Clowney (6-5, 266 pounds) in Robinson given how well he plays the run on top of having some valuable rotational pass-rush juice. He’s an ideal pairing with Aidan Hutchinson.

30. Baltimore Ravens

  • Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas (6-2, 205 pounds)

The Ravens have taken wide receivers in the first round in three of the past five drafts. Marquise Brown was fine for a while, but Rashod Bateman has been disappointing, and Zay Flowers is just starting. Baltimore needs to replace the big plays of Odell Beckham, and Mitchell can help them restore that in a bigger body, much like former Steeler and Raven Mike Wallace (6-0, 200 pounds).

31. San Francisco 49ers

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

The 49ers need to give Charvarius Ward some help with size and speed on the outside. He can be their version of former Clemson star turned ace Falcon A.J. Terrell (6-1, 195 pounds).

32. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma (6-8, 322 pounds)

After Alt and Mims, Guyton has a great chance to get his big frame into the first round. The Chiefs had a mess with Jawaan Taylor last season and can clean that up with Guyton, a better version of former left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (6-8, 345 pounds).

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