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The gap between when the NFL begins its new league year in mid-March, and when the draft takes place at the end of April feels like an eternity.

However, we've made it! This is the week the 2024 NFL Draft will finally take place. Since the league's 32 teams have or are in the process of finalizing their draft boards, let's take a closer look at who the ideal pick could be for each NFL team

Let's be clear, this isn't necessarily a mock draft, which is a projection of what will happen when the first round of the 2024 kicks off Thursday night. This is a breakdown of the top player for all 32 teams if the draft board fell the way they are desperate for it to fall. To maintain a level of realism, a player can only be named two times as an ideal pick. There is in an effort to illustrate somewhat reasonable draft locations for each prospect. 

1. Chicago Bears (via trade with Carolina Panthers)

Caleb Williams is the Chicago Bears' latest and greatest savior. Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, stands alone as the only college quarterback since 2000 to throw for 30-plus passing touchdowns and run for 10-plus touchdowns while throwing five or fewer interceptions in multiple seasons. 

No one in college football had more total touchdowns than Williams' 120 during the span of his college career (2021-2023), and Chicago has him set up to score plenty more in the Windy City while throwing to D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen and perhaps another quality pass catcher they could acquire in Round 1 of this draft. 

2. Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders appear to not yet have a consensus on which quarterback they would like to draft with the second overall pick. They hosted four quarterbacks at one time last week for a visit: North Carolina's Drake Maye, LSU's Jayden Daniels, Michigan's J.J. McCarthy and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. 

However, they would clearly much prefer the Bears select Maye or Daniels first overall, which would allow them to select the D.C. native, who attended Gonzaga College High School .

3. New England Patriots

Much of the 2024 NFL Draft cycle has seen LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, receive a lot of hype and buzz after a stat-stuffing fifth and final college football season. However, Maye put up comparable numbers to Daniels from 2022-2023 despite a lesser supporting cast, handles pressure better and he is two years younger. Maye is the QB2 in this draft class. 

4. Arizona Cardinals 

The Arizona Cardinals need to help Kyler Murray out and equip him with a legit No. 1 receiving option. Michael Wilson and Trey McBride are nice complementary pieces, but Arizona needs an alpha. Harrison Jr. is that guy. 

Just take a look a his resume:

  • Back-to-back unanimous All-American (2022-2023)
  • Most receiving touchdowns in college football the last two seasons (28)
  • Only player in Big Ten history with 14 or more receiving touchdowns in multiple seasons 
  • Third-most receiving yards in college football the last two seasons (2,474)

The phrase "generational" gets thrown around loosely in the lead-up to drafts, but Harrison Jr. is worthy of the label. 

5. Los Angeles Chargers

New Los Angeles Chargers head Jim Harbaugh's quote about how the offensive line is of the upmost importance has many projecting that he would like to select someone like Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt fifth overall. The Chargers are certain to draft multiple offensive linemen in this draft, but they have a glaring need at wide receiver after parting with both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams this offseason. 

Harbaugh faced off against Harrison Jr. in each of the last three seasons as the head coach at Michigan, so he knows exactly how special he is.

6. New York Giants 

Drake Maye likely doesn't make it to sixth overall where the Giants pick. Ditto for Daniels, but New York would ideally love to get their hands on one of the top three quarterback prospects in this class. 

Daniel Jones took a major step back in 2023, throwing more interceptions in six games (six while tossing only two touchdowns) than his 16 games played during the 2022 season (15 passing touchdowns to five interceptions). He also tore his ACL in 2023. Daniels would provide a much higher playmaking ceiling than Jones, whose 6.5 air yards per pass attempt since 2022 ranks as the second-lowest in the NFL ahead of only Matt Ryan's 6.0 in the same span. Daniels averaged 10.2 air yards per pass attempt during the 2023 season.

For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on "With the First Pick" -- our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find "With the First Pick" wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, etc.

7. Tennessee Titans

Joe Alt
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The Tennessee Titans allowed the third-highest quarterback pressure rate in the NFL last season (42.3%) and in 2022 (39.7%). They need offensive line help. Notre Dame's Joe Alt is the draft's best option at the position. The 2023 unanimous All-American registered the highest overall Pro Football Focus grade by an FBS offensive lineman (90.7) in 2023, and he only allowed one sack on 740 pass-blocking snaps since 2022.

This is one of the easiest picks in the entire draft. 

8. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons' pass rush could use more juice after ranking 25th in the league in quarterback pressure rate (32.7%). Adding Turner, a 2023 consensus All-American, on the edge with Pro Bowler Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata on the interior could lift their defense to another level. 

9. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears failed their last two first-round pick quarterbacks, Justin Fields and Mitchell Trubisky, in part because they weren't equipped with strong supporting casts. Chicago will change that this draft, and they could have the opportunity to potentially take Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze ninth overall. If Nabers is on the board at nine overall, he gets the edge as the slightly more fluid route runner. 

10. New York Jets

Sure the Jets signed Mike Williams this offseason, but Williams turns 30 in October and is coming off a torn ACL injury he suffered in 2023. It would make all the sense in the world for the Jets to take Nabers or Odunze if either is available, and they would probably opt for Nabers because of his route-running versatility, something Aaron Rodgers and every quarterback values. 

11. Minnesota Vikings

No, Maye won't last until the 11th overall pick. However, with the Vikings armed with multiple first-round, are clearly angling up to get a long-term replacement for Kirk Cousins. Ideally, they would love to trade into the top three and likely take Maye. 

New Minnesota quarterbacks coach Josh McCown coached Maye in high school at Myers Park in Charlotte, and he is the No. 2 quarterback in this draft.

12. Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and Russell Wilson butted heads so much in two seasons together in Denver that the Broncos felt comfortable cutting the quarterback and eating a historic $85 million in dead money. 

Payton clearly wants a quarterback who will run his offense as called and make play after play from inside the pocket. McCarthy has the right frame (6-foot-2 1/2, 219 pounds), his arm strength is solid and he is comfortable in the pocket. However, much of his evaluation of what he will in the NFL is projection because he wasn't tasked with a whole lot of the offensive load in a run-first offense at Michigan. McCarthy is somewhat of a blank slate, and Payton can program him to his liking in the NFL. 

13. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders would need to trade up to acquire Daniels, but he would certainly be Las Vegas' ideal pick. The Raiders currently have 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O'Connell and journeyman Gardner Minshew as their top two quarterback options at the moment. 

Las Vegas' new head coach Antonio Pierce and Daniels spent time at Arizona State together since Pierce was the Sun Devils' recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach when Daniels started at QB there from 2019-2021. Daniels made it clear how much Pierce meant to him in his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

"It was great," Daniels said of his meeting with Las Vegas at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Obviously going in there, I already knew Coach Antonio Pierce, but just overall meeting the whole staff, meeting everybody, it was a great energy. Just being able to sit down and talk ball. ... My time with A.P. ... He is who he is. People see it now, but he was the same when I was in high school weighing 150 pounds. He believed in me. He recruited me. He gave me an opportunity. Our relationship goes beyond football."

14. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have offensive line needs, but they are entering 2023 with Miami Dolphins castoff Cedrick Wilson Jr. as potentially one of their three starting wide receivers in 2024. If Odunze, who led all of college football in receiving yards (1,640) and catches of 20 or more air yards (23), somehow dropped to 14, New Orleans would select him in a heartbeat to help elevate their passing game for quarterback Derek Carr alongside Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed

15. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts could go a few different directions here, but they've gone incredibly young at corner with 2023 second-rounder JuJu Brents and 2022 undrafted free agent Dallis Flowers. Selecting Arnold, a 2023 First Team All-American and the SEC's co-leader in interceptions (five), would allow them to add another young player albeit one who would provide blue chip talent to the secondary. 

16. Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks ranked 25th in quarterback pressure rate allowed in 2023 (40.2%). They could use offensive line help. With this pick of Washington's Troy Fautanu, new Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who was Washington's offensive coordinator during the CFP runner-up season in 2023, would reunite with one of his Huskies players who could in line up at any of the five offensive line spots. 

Fautanu was the 2023 Morris Trophy winner (best offensive lineman in the Pac-12) , and he only allowed two sacks on 1,161 pass-blocking snaps since 2023. This could help get quarterback Geno Smith closer to his Pro Bowl level play from the 2022 season. 

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars struggled to run the football in 2023, averaging 96.8 rushing yards per game (24th in the NFL) as well as the second-lowest total rushing expected points added per game in the entire league (-5.19). 

Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga was college football's highest-graded run blocker by PFF last season (90.8), and he can play guard or offensive tackle. His addition could lead to a much more balanced offensive attack for the Jaguars, which would help alleviate some of the pressure on quarterback Trevor Lawrence's shoulders. 

18. Cincinnati Bengals  

The Cincinnati Bengals have Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside, but with receiver Tyler Boyd still out on the free agent market, the Bengals could use some pass-catching help over the middle. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers --  the SEC's all-time tight end leader in catches (175), receiving yards (2,538) and receiving touchdowns (26) -- would fill that void and then some. 

He is also the first college football player with over 25 receiving touchdowns and five or more rushing touchdowns in a career since West Virginia's Tavon Austin did so from 2009-2012. Providing another dynamic weapon for Joe Burrow is how the Bengals could keep up in an uphill climb in the AFC. 

19. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams lost one of the best pass rushers of all time this offseason with the retirement of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Verse brings an anger and ferocity to his pass rush similar to Donald, and he possesses a well-timed first step to go along with sledgehammer-like arms. 

Verse led the ACC in sacks (18.0) and quarterback pressures (98) across the last two seasons. That's elite production. He likely won't drop this low, but if he did, the Rams would take him in a heartbeat. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Olu Fashanu has a case to be the draft's best pass blocker: the 2023 consensus All-American didn't allow a single sack on 697 career pass-blocking snaps. The Steelers could use a long-term anchor at left tackle opposite Broderick Jones at right tackle, and if he slid this far down, Pittsburgh would have a great offensive line set up for either Russell Wilson or Justin Fields. 

21. Miami Dolphins 

The Miami Dolphins lost Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard as a salary cap casualty this offseason among others. Jalen Ramsey's future in Miami after 2024 is unclear as the final year of his deal has a $26.2 million cap hit, and quarterback Tua Tagovalioa is poised to sign a long-term extension in the near future. There's not really a chance of Arnold, the draft's top cornerback prospect falling this far, but the Dolphins sure could use him in an AFC full of superstar quarterbacks. 

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles Pro Bowl cornerbacks Darius Slay (33) and James Bradberry (turns 31 on Aug. 4) are on the wrong side of 30. They could use an injection of youth at the position. He has a bigger frame (6 feet, 195 pounds) and long arms (31 inches), and that allowed him to lead college football in passes defended (37). Mitchell would be a perfect pick for Philadelphia.

23. Minnesota Vikings (via Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns)

See the Vikings' pick entry at 11 overall for analysis. 

24. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys let eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith and Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz walk in free agency this offseason, and Dallas hasn't replaced them with anybody. Graham Barton played left tackle at Duke, but the 2023 Second Team All-American's future position is likely on the interior at guard or center. 

Should 2023 Pro Bowl left guard Tyler Smith, who played left tackle in college at Tulsa, be moved out to left tackle, Barton would be a perfect pick to fill the void at left guard. 

25. Green Bay Packers

Cooper DeJean was a 2023 unanimous All-American after allowing zero touchdowns on 374 coverage snaps last season. He also has the positional versatility to line up all over the secondary: DeJean was mostly an outside corner for Iowa in 2023 (614 snaps per Pro Football Focus, but he also spent time at nickel (23 snaps), strong safety (22 snaps) and even lined up along the edge of the defense line (27 snaps) as well as free safety (one snap). 

DeJean would be a strong addition to new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley's aggressive defense that promises to use more man coverage and blitz concepts than predecessor Joe Barry. Lining up opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander or new Packers safety Xavier McKinney could add even more juice the Green Bay secondary. 

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers moved on from Shaq Barrett this offseason, and they have yet to replace him with someone in free agency. Latu has an argument as the best edge rusher in this class since he had highest amount of sacks (23.5) as well as the top quarterback pressure rate, minimum 250 pass rushes, (21.4%) in college football in 2023. 

He has a wide array of pass-rush moves at his disposal thanks to an explosive first step and nice handwork. Latu likely won't be available at this spot unless a number of teams are spooked about a neck injury he had that caused him to briefly retire from football in 2021. 

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans)

Keeping Kyler Murray upright should be a top priority for Arizona, and Latham is one of the top offensive tackles in this draft. He allowed just three sacks on 970 career pass-blocking snaps. Perhaps 2023 first-round pick Paris Johnson Jr. could move over to left tackle, where he played at Ohio State, and Latham could hold down the right side like he has at Alabama the last few years.

28. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills desperately need a new top wide receiver after trading Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans. Brian Thomas Jr. is one of the best in this class at going deep (17.3 yards per reception in 2023), and he led college football in touchdown catches last season (17). Thomas would be a fantastic fit for quarterback Josh Allen's downfield passing. 

29. Detroit Lions 

Byron Murphy is the top defensive tackle prospect in this class even though he is slightly undersized in height (six feet-and-a-half-inch tall) and weight (297 pounds). He totaled the most quarterback pressures (45) and the highest quarterback pressure rate (17%, among those with least 250 pass rushes) among defensive tackles in college football in 2023.

Murphy's presence inside could open up opportunities for Aidan Hutchinson to convert more of his quarterback pressures into sacks in 2024.

30. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens could use an uber athletic offensive tackle to develop with left tackle Ronnie Stanley missing a combined 36 games since 2020 and entering the final year of his contract in 2024. 

Mims is a mountain, standing at 6-foot-8 while weighing 340 pounds, but he registered a solid 40-yard dash time (5.07 seconds) plus vertical (25.5") and broad jumps (9'3"). Those are strong metrics at his size. The Ravens have options at their tackle spots, but Mims could be given a shot to start at right tackle as a rookie before taking over for Stanley in 2025. 

31. San Francisco 49ers

Much of what makes Mims attractive to Baltimore applies for San Francisco. They were obviously right on the cusp of being the Super Bowl champion before losing to the Chiefs in overtime, and one of the reasons why they lost was because Kansas City All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones and his teammates were able to affect quarterback Brock Purdy in key spots. 

Mims could similarly slot in at right tackle and then take over at left tackle whenever 11-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams decides to call it a career. 

32. Kansas City Chiefs 

The Kansas City Chiefs don't have many glaring needs as they have won the last two Super Bowls. However, wide receiver is one of them. All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce turns 35 in October, and he had a down season by his standards. His seven-year streak with 1,000 or more receiving yards came to an end (984 in 2023), and he averaged a career-low 10.6 yards per catch. 

Kansas City was able to sign former first-round pick Marquise Brown to a one-year deal in free agency, but Mitchell could be a long-term option. He would also help immediately with Rashee Rice, the team's receiving touchdowns leader in 2023 (seven), facing a likely suspension to begin the season. Mitchell led the Big 12 in receiving touchdowns (11), and he was a critical downfield threat for the Big 12 champion Texas Longhorns (15.4 yards per catch). Patrick Mahomes would certainly enjoying throwing deep balls to Mitchell.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects