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USATSI

NFL Draft season is fully upon us, and it's almost hard to keep up with all the storylines. First it was about if the Bears were going to keep Justin Fields and trade the No. 1 overall pick, but that's not happening. Caleb Williams will be QB1.

Then it was J.J. McCarthy hype season at the NFL Scouting Combine, and that train is still rolling with no end in sight.

Now the Minnesota Vikings have captured our attention. In less than 48 hours, they officially parted ways with longtime QB Kirk Cousins and then acquired a second first-round pick, which many expect they'll use to trade up to select their next face of the franchise. But who are they targeting? And how high will they have to go to ensure they get him? 

These are the questions that make NFL Draft season so fun, and it's what we'll explore in this mock draft. 

Now let's get to it!

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. Listen to the latest episode below!

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
USC • 6'1" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
PAYDS
3633
RUYDS
121
INTS
5
TDS
41
Caleb Williams will be the pick here.
Round 1 - Pick 2
LSU • 6'4" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PAYDS
3812
RUYDS
1134
INTS
4
TDS
50
New offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury gets another dual-threat dynamo and Heisman Trophy winner (with Kyler Murray being the other) in Jayden Daniels.
  Mock Trade from New England Patriots
Round 1 - Pick 3
North Carolina • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PAYDS
2991
RUYDS
202
INTS
4
TDS
25
Of teams with top-three picks, it seems as though the Patriots have the weakest roster. So, while New England badly wants to find a long-term successor to Tom Brady, it opts to trade back eight spots and acquire valuable assets it can use to build out its team under new head coach Jerod Mayo. Meanwhile, the Vikings get their Kirk Cousins replacement in Drake Maye using the second first-round pick they gained in a trade with the Texans.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ohio State • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
The Cardinals opt to keep the No. 4 pick and select one of the best WR prospects in recent memory.
Round 1 - Pick 5
LSU • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
2nd
REC
89
REYDS
1569
YDS/REC
17.6
TDS
14
It's never a bad thing to provide Justin Herbert with the best offensive tackle in the draft class, but the Chargers decide to go the receiver route after releasing Mike Williams and trading Keenan Allen. Malik Nabers has all of the tools to be a big contributor right away in Los Angeles.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Michigan • 6'3" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
4th
PAYDS
2991
RUYDS
202
INTS
4
TDS
25
Best-case scenario for the Giants, who get the QB they're reportedly interested in without giving up anything.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Notre Dame • 6'8" / 322 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Titans got Will Levis a stud RB (Tony Pollard) and a stud WR (Calvin Ridley) in free agency. Now they get him a stud LT in Joe Alt.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Alabama • 6'3" / 247 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
1st
With Kirk Cousins signed, the suddenly dangerous Falcons turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. Dallas Turner gives Atlanta firepower off the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Florida State • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
3rd
This pick was initially Rome Odunze. Then the Bears traded for Keenan Allen. I don't think the Allen trade prohibits Chicago from still going WR here, especially if they view Odunze as a blue-chip player, but in this mock draft, the front office pairs Montez Sweat with one of the best pass rushers in this class in Jared Verse.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Oregon State • 6'6" / 324 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Jets were reportedly keyed in on Taliese Fuaga at the Senior Bowl, and the Oregon State standout has done nothing to hurt his chances of being a top-10 pick. The offensive line remodel continues in front of Aaron Rodgers.
  Mock Trade from Minnesota Vikings
Round 1 - Pick 11
Washington • 6'3" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
3rd
REC
92
REYDS
1640
YDS/REC
17.8
TDS
15
The Patriots reportedly tried to land Calvin Ridley in free agency, but the star WR ended up signing with the Titans. New England's consolation prize at WR1 is the powerful and productive Rome Odunze.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Georgia • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
Russell Wilson is officially gone, so the Broncos are definitely in the mix to add a QB. I just don't know if Sean Payton is willing to give up as many assets as other teams (Vikings, Giants, etc.) to move into position to take one of the top prospects. Instead, Denver adds a arguable top-5 talent outside the top 10.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Penn State • 6'6" / 317 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
1st
Olu Fashanu falls into the laps of the Raiders, who are in need of quality offensive linemen after Jermaine Eluemunor left for the Giants in free agency.
Round 1 - Pick 14
LSU • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
4th
REC
68
REYDS
1177
YDS/REC
17.3
TDS
17
Michael Thomas out, Brian Thomas Jr. in for Derek Carr and the Saints offense. The other LSU standout has all the tools to thrive alongside Chris Olave.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Toledo • 6'0" / 196 lbs
Projected Team
Indianapolis
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Colts made Kenny Moore the highest-paid nickel cornerback in NFL history, but they still need an outside guy opposite Dallis Flowers, who missed most of last season with a torn Achilles. Quinyon Mitchell can be that player from Day 1.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Texas • 6'0" / 306 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Seahawks brought back Leonard Williams, but they need more on the defensive interior. Byron Murphy II will not only disrupt the passer; he'll help a rush defense that allowed 24 rushing touchdowns (tied-second worst in NFL) in 2023.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • 6'0" / 199 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
All of the sudden, the AFC South has some offensive firepower with C.J. Stroud and the Texans and Will Levis and the Titans, the latter of which has both DeAndre Hopkins and newly signed Calvin Ridley. If the Jaguars want to get back on top of the division, they'll need better defensive players at premium positions. Getting potentially the top CB in the class certainly qualifies.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Alabama • 6'6" / 360 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Protect Joe Burrow at all costs -- that needs to be the goal for the Bengals this offseason. Yet Cincinnati let right tackle Jonah Williams walk and haven't signed any offensive linemen during the first week of free agency. That makes it imperative that Cincinnati invest significant draft capital into the position, and it does so here by selecting the massive yet nimble JC Latham.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Illinois • 6'2" / 295 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Rams
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
2nd
Future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald has retired, which means defensive tackle just became a major need for the Rams. Johnny Newton doesn't compare to one of the best defensive players of all-time, but he'll help lighten the blow of Donald hanging up the cleats.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Oregon • 6'3" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
2nd
Easy one here. Steelers select the Oregon Mauler to replace the recently released Mason Cole. New QB1 Russell Wilson gets a rookie center.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Washington • 6'4" / 317 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
32nd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Dolphins get younger and much cheaper after replacing the departed Robert Hunt (who signed a 5-year, $100M deal with the Panthers) with Troy Fautanu. He played left tackle at Washington but will likely kick inside.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Clemson • 6'2" / 185 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Eagles addressed edge rusher by retaining Josh Sweat and signing Bryce Huff. Now they address the aging secondary, adding the long and blazing fast Nate Wiggins.
  Mock Trade from Los Angeles Chargers
Round 1 - Pick 23
Washington • 6'2" / 216 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
5th
PAYDS
4903
RUYDS
8
INTS
11
TDS
39
The Patriots traded back, used the extra pick to snag a No. 1 WR, and now get that wideout his college QB in Michael Penix Jr. The main concern for the Heisman Trophy finalist was his medical history, but "With the First Pick" podcast host and former GM Rick Spielman said recently that he passed that test with flying colors. Combine that with a squeaky clean combine workout, and he's worthy of first-round consideration.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Georgia • 6'7" / 340 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
5th
The Cowboys let All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith hit free agency, so they find his replacement in Amarius Mims.
Round 1 - Pick 25
UCLA • 6'5" / 267 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Packers have used 12 of their past 13 first-round picks on the defensive side of the ball -- with the lone offensive player being Jordan Love -- and I expect that to continue this year. Green Bay snags the sliding Laiatu Latu to improve their pass rush.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Alabama • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
4th
The Buccaneers shipped Carlton Davis to the Lions, which made sense based on Davis' price tag and Tampa's previous moves (re-signing Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans). Kool-Aid McKinstry isn't as highly touted as former Alabama teammate Terrion Arnold, but he has all the tools to develop into a consistent outside corner.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Texas • 6'4" / 196 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
34th
POSITION RNK
6th
REC
55
REYDS
845
YDS/REC
15.4
TDS
11
The Cardinals invested heavily on defense in the first wave of free agency, but they need to get Kyler Murray some playmakers, especially after Marquise Brown signed with the Chiefs. Adonai Mitchell only had one year of big-time collegiate production, but his skillset lends itself to being one of Murray's favorite targets right away.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Penn State • 6'3" / 254 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
4th
Want to finally unseat the Chiefs? You have to be able to make Mahomes uncomfortable. With veteran pass rusher Leonard Floyd signing with the 49ers, the Bills replace him with the explosive and athletic Chop Robinson.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Duke • 6'5" / 314 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
49th
POSITION RNK
8th
Like Troy Fautanu, Graham Barton was a college tackle who's expected to move inside in the NFL. The Lions could certainly use him there after Jonah Jackson signed with the Rams.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Oklahoma • 6'7" / 328 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
6th
The Ravens immediately replace Morgan Moses, who was traded to the Jets during the first week of free agency.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Iowa • 6'0" / 198 lbs
Projected Team
San Francisco
PROSPECT RNK
41st
POSITION RNK
7th
The 49ers go best player available and stop the slide of Cooper DeJean, a versatile and productive playmaker who will make the secondary better in whatever role he plays.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Missouri • 6'5" / 296 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
55th
POSITION RNK
11th
Yes, Chris Jones is back, but you can never have enough pass rushers. Darius Robinson is a Round 1 talent with the versatility that DC Steve Spagnuolo will love.