Will Helms’ 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Could Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. Actually Go First Overall?

    In this 2024 NFL mock draft, Will Helms looks at a possible scenario: What it would take for Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. to go first overall.

    As the NFL playoffs continue to run their course, the 2024 NFL Draft order is approaching its final positioning. With the first 24 picks set, the eliminated teams have already begun setting their preliminary draft boards.

    So far in my past mocks, I’ve operated under the assumption that Chicago will trade quarterback Justin Fields for more draft capital — likely a few Day 2 picks — and draft a quarterback at No. 1. If Chicago keeps Fields, they’ll likely listen to offers for the No. 1 pick for the second straight year. But what if the Bears kept Fields and the top overall pick?

    In this 2024 NFL mock draft, we’ll explore a world where Chicago throws a wrinkle in everyone’s plans.

    2024 NFL Mock Draft

    1) Chicago Bears (From CAR): Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

    If Chicago keeps Fields and No. 1, it will obviously be for a non-quarterback. In that case, I have the Bears going with my top overall prospect in the draft. It’s been 28 years since a receiver has gone No. 1, but in today’s NFL, a true alpha in the wide receiver room can transform a franchise.

    Marvin Harrison Jr. has better body control and hips than any receiving prospect I’ve ever scouted, and his route running is also advanced for his age. He can be a true No. 1 receiver the day he steps on an NFL field.

    2) Washington Commanders: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

    While I had Drake Maye going before Caleb Williams in the first two mocks, I have Washington sticking with Williams here. He has the highest upside of any passer in the draft and should gel well with their receivers.

    The Commanders would be excited to see Williams fall, no matter how it happens, as he’s probably a better system fit than Maye based on the team’s current offensive skill group.

    3) New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

    I think it’s fairly obvious to everyone involved that a regime change means the end of the Mac Jones/Bailey Zappe era. Maye is a poised passer who elevates the receivers around him. He brings leadership qualities that the Patriots offense has lacked and a skill set that can bring an offense that has lacked creativity into the 21st century.

    4) Arizona Cardinals: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

    The Cardinals went with Harrison in the first two mocks, partially because he was the best available and partially because the top three quarterbacks were off the board. Here, with Jayden Daniels available, the Cardinals pull the trigger.

    MORE: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Daniels has a game similar to Kyler Murray’s in that he’s fearless in running or pushing the ball down the field. He’s a bit more refined as a passer than Murray was at this stage. He’s not quite as explosive in the running game as Murray but would reset the team’s cap space and could potentially be an immediate upgrade after Murray’s injuries.

    5) Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

    Some within the industry put Malik Nabers in the same category as Harrison, and that says more about Nabers’ potential than anything. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are getting older and are still prone to injuries, while Quentin Johnson underwhelmed last season.

    It hurts having to go receiver in back-to-back first rounds, but Nabers has All-Pro potential and could single-handedly flip that room.

    6) New York Giants: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

    The Giants would love it if one of the top two receivers fell to them at No. 6, but Nabers goes one spot ahead here. In this case, a trade-down isn’t out of the question, but I have the Giants snatching up Joe Alt, who has the potential to be a cornerstone left tackle for years to come.

    7) Tennessee Titans: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

    Like the Giants ahead of them, the Tennessee Titans see their top target go one spot too early. Olu Fashanu is a heck of an OT2 in a strong draft class at the position. Not only did Fashanu never give up a sack in three years as a starter, he gave up just one quarterback hit in his Penn State career.

    8) Atlanta Falcons: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

    The more I watch the Atlanta Falcons’ offseason, the more I’m convinced they will take the fourth quarterback in this class, whether that’s Bo Nix or a guy like Michael Penix Jr.

    Nix has a quick release and excels at getting the ball out ahead of receivers to maximize run-after-the-catch opportunities, a key trait for the quarterback of a team with weapons like Atlanta’s.

    9) Chicago Bears: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

    With Harrison in the fold, the Bears have the luxury of upgrading their defensive front with Dallas Turner. As my colleague Ian Cummings pointed out last week, Turner doesn’t get enough credit for his strength or array of pass-rushing moves.

    This is a case of Turner being so good at one thing (speed rushing) that people miss the other things he does well. This is a homerun scenario for Chicago.

    10) New York Jets: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

    Welcome to New York, Brock Bowers! The Jets address their need at receiver while upgrading the run blocking for Breece Hall with the same pick. Bowers had a slightly limited route tree with Georgia. Still, his ball skills, ability after the catch, and run-blocking ability make him an immediate top option in the Jets’ offense.

    11) Minnesota Vikings: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

    This is a riskier pick than some believe, as Penix is older (24 when the season starts), has a history of injuries, and has a delivery some coaches will dislike.

    That said, he’s a match made in Heaven for the Vikings, who have the league’s best group of contested-catch and deep-ball receivers. Those traits fit well with Penix’s willingness to put the ball in tight windows and take the short ball when the check-down opportunity is open.

    12) Denver Broncos: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

    With every top defensive back on the board, the Broncos take one of the Alabama corners to play across from Patrick Surtain II. Kool-Aid McKinstry was an extremely efficient corner in limited opportunities.

    Teams can’t avoid both corners, so either (or both) McKinstry or Surtain would finally see an uptick in targets.

    13) Las Vegas Raiders: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

    Why not make it six? J.J. McCarthy will be a polarizing quarterback prospect because his college production doesn’t align with what’s expected in today’s NFL game.

    MORE: Big Ten QB Rankings, 2024

    He has the tools, and we saw him take over a game once (2022 against Ohio State). How he tests and does in interviews will determine if he’s a first-rounder or not.

    14) New Orleans Saints: Jer’Zhan Newton, IDL, Illinois

    Jer’Zhan Newton typically goes in the 10-20 range in these mocks, but I’ve never mocked him to the New Orleans Saints. He has the athleticism and pass-rushing ability to take over a game and should fit well with the NFC South outfit.

    15) Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

    The Colts benefit from other corner-needy teams going with quarterbacks, and Alabama standout Terrion Arnold falls to them at No. 15. I’ve had the Colts taking an edge rusher in the past, but upgrading the secondary is also a priority. Arnold is physical and athletically explosive.

    16) Seattle Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, OG, Washington

    If there’s a team willing to go outside of the consensus for a player they like, it’s the Seattle Seahawks. A local prospect, Troy Fautanu played tackle in college but likely projects as a guard, where he could solidify the interior of an offensive line.

    17) Jacksonville Jaguars: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

    One of my favorite prospects in the draft, Laiatu Latu was an ultra-productive edge rusher in college, generating a pressure every five pass rushes in the past two seasons. Latu would give Jacksonville an elite pass rusher opposite of Josh Allen.

    18) Cincinnati Bengals: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

    With Rome Odunze falling in this mock, I once again give him to the Bengals, my favorite landing spot for the Washington wideout. While the Bengals will likely try to re-sign Tee Higgins, it’s not a given that he’s in Cincinnati next season. If not, Odunze is a great rookie option.

    19) Los Angeles Rams: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

    I continue to struggle with the Rams’ pick, mocking the third different player — and third different position — to Los Angeles. Cooper DeJean is long, physical, and one of the more balanced corners in the class, excelling against the run and the pass.

    20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

    Based on comments from players and coaches, the Steelers want to be a power-running team, so giving them one of the best run-blocking tackles in the draft makes sense. Taliese Fuaga moves well for his size and powers defenders off the ball in the running game.

    21) Miami Dolphins: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

    Simply put, the Dolphins need to get more physical up front. I like the setup of Miami’s team, but getting a few more big boys up front to compete with some of the more physical teams in the league is the next step. Amarius Mims is as physical as they get, and despite his lack of college experience, he played well enough when healthy to go this high.

    22) Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

    I don’t think the Eagles are broken, but how they ended the season was jarring. They need to be more physical in the secondary, and Nate Wiggins brings a certain kind of attitude that would be a welcome addition to Philadelphia’s back seven.

    23) Houston Texans: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

    Conventional wisdom states that a team should do something to make life easier for its second-year quarterback, but in this case, upgrading the defensive front helps the team just as much, especially if Chop Robinson falls. He’s as athletic as they get and flashes elite pass-rushing potential.

    24) Dallas Cowboys: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

    On the surface, this may seem like a weird pick, especially with JC Latham still on the board, but the Cowboys need a No. 2 receiver. CeeDee Lamb had 11 touchdowns in 12 Cowboys wins this season and just one in their six losses. Lamb is rarely shut down, but Dallas doesn’t have another guy to step up when he is. Former Florida State phenom Keon Coleman can be that guy.

    25) Green Bay Packers: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

    Once again, Green Bay benefits from Latham’s fall. It’s unlikely he makes it to the Packers’ pick, especially after their Wild Card win in Dallas, but he’s a perfect schematic fit and would upgrade the offensive line. The Packers will likely prioritize the offensive line after finding success with their extraordinarily young receiving corps.

    26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State

    I mentioned last week that I would continue to mock Cooper Beebe in the first round until I’m convinced (or told) not to do so. This is the third different team I’ve had picking Beebe, a guard with positional versatility who is as technically sound as they come.

    27) Arizona Cardinals: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

    Arizona stops the slide for Jared Verse, who is one of the top pass rushers in the draft but lacks a bit in the running game. Verse has elite hands and a good bend, making him a dangerous pass rusher.

    28) Buffalo Bills: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

    With Xavier Legette available in this mock, I have the Buffalo Bills going with a potentially surprising receiver pick. Legette has elite height, weight, and game speed, as well as kick return ability.

    MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

    He fits really well opposite Stefon Diggs, should the Bills be unable to re-sign Gabe Davis.

    29) Kansas City Chiefs: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

    The emergence of Rashee Rice should not deter the Chiefs from taking another receiver, especially with the possibility that Travis Kelce retires sooner rather than later. Brian Thomas Jr. is reliable and explosive, two traits several of the other Chief receivers have lacked.

    30) Detroit Lions: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

    Quinyon Mitchell is quickly rising up my draft board as I watch more and more of his film. He has great instincts and play-making ability. Too often this year the Lions have struggled to get that one play from their secondary to get off the field, and Mitchell would help them in that regard.

    31) San Francisco 49ers: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

    I’ve given the 49ers Graham Barton here the past two weeks and considered doing so again, but I wanted to sneak Kingsley Suamataia into the first round here. He’s a bit raw as a pass blocker but is a mauler in the run game.

    32) Baltimore Ravens: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

    I considered going corner again for the Ravens here, but I like the idea of giving Lamar Jackson one more weapon on offense. Adonai Mitchell is big and fast and flashed the ability to run multiple routes and bring a deep route tree that the Ravens have largely been missing.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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