Early April Mock, Version 4.0

Debacled Published on 4/3/2024

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The Champ

Most of free agency has come and gone and so have most of the Pro Days, as we have flipped the calendar to April. We're now in the home stretch, where top 30 visits and other tidbits of info will be at the forefront in these final weeks. In this latest mock, I have both Penix and Nix joining the 1st Round QB party, the Chargers and Broncos are wheeling and dealing, and there are lots of trades. I probably won't project close to as many trades for the final mock (for the contest), but I think all of these projected trades are logical. I've also changed my Buffalo pick following the bombshell Diggs trade. Giddy up!

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Williams is now up to -4000 to go #1, and no, the Bears are not going to trade out of this spot.

2. Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Daniels has been holding steady as the slight betting favorite (now about -150) to go #2 overall for the past couple of weeks. My gut still tells me that this is the QB that they will end up choosing.

3. Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

I continue to believe that the Pats' offseason moves point to them taking a QB with this selection, and not trading down.

4. Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

TRADE! Arizona trades #4 to Minnesota for #11 and #23.

Just as in my last mock, I am operating under the idea that the Cardinals, Vikings, and Chargers can essentially enter into a 3-way trade here, one in which all 3 teams get what they want. The only difference is going to be that I change the compensation package slightly. But yes, in this first part of the deal, it's Minnesota that comes up to 4 to pick McCarthy.

5. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

TRADE! The Chargers trade #5 and #110 to Arizona for #11 and #27.

Given the reports that Arizona covets MJH, and given the numerous reports that the Chargers are interested in moving down, I continue to believe that such a deal makes too much sense. After all of this goes down, Arizona will have turned #4 and #27 into 5, 23, and 110, and they will get MJH at 5 anyway. They are also moving up 4 spots in the 1st Round AND picking up a 4th Round pick as well.

Meanwhile, the Chargers would miss out on the consensus top 3 WR's from dropping to #11, but they pick up a second 1st Round pick, and I have to believe they would be happy with this outcome. Yes, they are giving up a 4th rounder, #110, to Arizona, but that was the pick acquired from the Bears for the Keenan Allen trade, meaning that they will still have their own 4th rounder at #105. Both the Cardinals and the Chargers are clearly coming out ahead on the trade value chart, with Minnesota supplying the main assets.

6. Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

This will likely be Nabers or Odunze. Still thinking Nabers has the edge.

7. Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

This is becoming the chalk pick in the mocks, but it just makes too much sense.

8. Chargers: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

TRADE! Atlanta trades #8 and #109 to the Chargers for #11 and #69.

Dallas Turner to Atlanta at #8 has become very chalk-y for us mock drafters. However, there is apparent intel that the team really likes Quinyon Mitchell as well. If they saw Turner and Mitchell as the two best impact defenders in the draft, they should have Mitchell available at #11 (or, at absolute worst, Terrion Arnold), and they move up 40 picks in the draft from the 4th Round to the 3rd Round.

As for what the Chargers are up to here, it's simple: they move back up to get one of the consensus top 3 wideouts, a massive need area. Yes, I believe that Harbaugh desperately wants to upgrade the OL, but they will have an opportunity to do that at #27 and/or #37. Yes, they gave up their 3rd Round pick to move up here, but in getting back a 4th, they still will make 3 picks in the top 37 and 5 picks through the first 4 rounds. And the two 4th rounders are both within the first 9 picks of that round.

9. Bears: Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

Now that the Bears don't have the opportunity to take Odunze, they could simply look to pair Turner with Montez Sweat. Hardly a bad consolation prize.

10. Jets: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

None of the top 3 wideouts are available, and with the signing of Mike Williams, this feels like a good spot to add a different type of offensive weapon in Bowers. OL could absolutely still be a consideration in spite of the additions of LT Tyron Smith and RT Morgan Moses, and there are also rumblings that the Jets could look at a trade down since they don't have a 2nd Round pick.

11. Falcons: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

TRADE! (See #8 for details.)

So, indeed, the Falcons have come away with Mitchell after the trade down. This gives the Falcons, potentially, their most talented CB duo in ages.

12. Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

TRADE! Denver trades #12 and a 2025 5th rounder to Indianapolis for #15 and #82.

Indy is in serious need of a possible #1 boundary corner. The Raiders, scheduled to pick next, could be seriously considering Arnold. So they cough up their 3rd rounder to get their man. Denver doesn't have a 2nd Round pick in this draft, but at least they will have done well to move down and recoup a 3rd here.

13. Raiders: Taliese Fuaga, G/OT, Oregon State

If Arnold had made it to their pick, I think this would have been a hard decision between he and Fuaga (or possibly Latham). I'm going to opt for Fuaga.

14. Saints: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The LT prospect makes the most sense for the Saints, and this has also become a very popular pick in the mock community as we've hit April.

15. Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

TRADE! (See original trade at #12 for details.) Denver trades #15 to Buffalo for #28, #60, and a '25 3rd rounder.

If Denver is eyeing Bo Nix (as I believe they are), they could likely still move down and be able to get him. So they drop down again, this time to #28, but pick up a hugely-valuable 2nd Round pick, not to mention a Day 2 pick in 2025. Meanwhile, we've seen Buffalo get aggressive in moving up in the 1st Round under GM Brandon Beane. They now have a clear WR need, and Thomas could be the downfield threat that this offense needs. If Buffalo wants Thomas Jr., they could need to move up ahead of both Jacksonville and Cincinnati to nab him.

16. Seahawks: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Surprise! No one is going to be more intimately equipped to coach Penix on the offensive side of the ball like new Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb, who held the same position with Penix's Washington Huskies. Given his golden arm, perhaps he can be like a lefty Matthew Stafford, slinging dimes from the pocket. Geno Smith's leash could be short, and Seattle could easily move on from him after the season. I thought about a trade down here for Seattle and still coming away with Penix, but I wonder if Seattle could worry that the Rams, at 19, could be a threat for him. (All it would take, in my view, for the Rams to have interest in him would be if Stafford has privately informed the Rams that he may only have a year or two left, similar to what Aaron Donald did last year.)

17. Jaguars: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Wiggins can fly, which should fit for traits-based GM Trent Baalke, and another cover man is sorely needed.

18. Bengals: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Bengals prepare for life after Tee Higgins with another wideout here. I still think it's possible that Higgins is traded before, during, or immediately after the draft, by the way.

19. Rams: Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

The Rams would have two outstanding DL options on the board in this scenario, in Verse and Murphy. Either one makes sense, but I think it's more likely that Verse goes first, so I'll opt for him.

20. Steelers: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

The draft is ripe with OL talent, and Pittsburgh gets a talented blocker here at #20 to pair with last year's 1st rounder, Broderick Jones.

21. 49ers: Troy Fautanu, G/OT, Washington

TRADE! Miami trades #21 to San Francisco for #31, #94, and #124.

Miami is without a 3rd Round pick and a 4th Round pick as it stands, so this trade would allow them to pick up selections in both of those rounds now. Meanwhile, the 49ers still have 2 picks in the 4th Round even after this deal, and they jump up ahead of several OL-interested teams to get the experienced and versatile Fautanu. The San Francisco OL has sprung some leaks, as every non-Trent Williams starter could be improved upon.

22. Eagles: Graham Barton, G/OT, Duke

Barton's iOL versatility would be a welcomed addition for a team that is short one starter on the interior at the moment. Adding Barton would mean that he, Landon Dickerson, and Cam Jurgens all have center/guard experience. Philly could simply let it all play out during OTA's and training camp and see what their best alignment is.

23. Cardinals: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

TRADE! (See #4 for details.)

Cardinal fans would have to be doing backflips if they came away with MJH and Murphy in the 1st Round. But if 6 QB's go in the first 20 picks and with as many OL as we're going to see, there's a very good chance that blue-chip players are going to fall into the 20's and maybe even out of the 1st Round altogether.

24. Cowboys: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The enormous potential (and strong tape) of Mims, or the higher-floor Guyton, who has great potential himself? Dallas takes the big swing with Mims here.

25. Packers: Cooper DeJean, S/CB, Iowa

Green Bay could use a nickel back/safety, and DeJean would fit the athletic profile for Brian Gutekunst.

26. Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, OLB/DE, Penn State

Chop just has so much athleticism and potential that I ultimately can't see him getting out of the 1st Round.

27. Chargers: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

TRADE! (See #5 for details.)

With their second pick here in the 1st Round, now the Chargers address the OL need with Guyton. Had they stayed at #11 and chosen, say, Fuaga there, perhaps they could have picked Adonai Mitchell here. However, while I like Fuaga more than Guyton, to me there's a much more sizable gap between Odunze and Mitchell, so I think the Chargers will have done well here, even in giving up the 40 draft slots in the move up from 11 to 8.

28. Broncos: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

TRADE! (See #12/#15 for details.)

After 2 trades down the board, Denver has turned #12 into Bo Nix, a 2nd Round pick (#60), a 3rd Round pick (#82), and a '25 3rd. I don't know if Nix will hit or not, but this would be fine work to accumulate this much draft capital by Denver.

29. Lions: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Yes, Carlton Davis was added, but Cam Sutton was cut in the wake of some disturbing domestic violence allegations. The Lions were outstanding against the run a season ago, with their clear weakness being against the pass. Adding another corner with a strong pedigree could make sense here.

30. Ravens: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

It's true that the OL situation is piss-poor at the moment. The LT, Ronnie Stanley, can't stay healthy, and the RT, Morgan Moses, was traded to the Jets. However, this is a team that takes a BPA approach, and such an approach often leads to blue-chip talent falling into their laps in the 1st Round. It's happened again here with Latu. I mean, he's a better pure pass rusher than Dallas Turner (at his, at this stage, he is), who went #9 overall in this mock. As OL is so deep this year, I think the Ravens would opt for Latu in this scenario and look at OT's later.

31. Dolphins: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

TRADE! (See #21 for details.)

Miami has missed out on some of the top OL in the draft from this trade down the board. However, as they now have picks in each of the top 4 rounds again, and as this is a loaded OL class, they can still address that need later on. Instead, Newton makes a lot of sense in the wake of Christian Wilkins' free agent departure.

32. Chiefs: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Particularly with Rashee Rice having potential legal problems, if Worthy were on the board, I think this makes more sense than a LT pick here. I still think that KC could try the veteran route like they did a year ago when they signed Donovan Smith, with someone like Charles Leno Jr.