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NFL mock draft: Trades galore as one of the best QB prospects slides outside the top 10

More mock drafts? More mock drafts.

The NFL landscape has changed now that the biggest wave of free agents have signed, giving more clarity on what teams might want to do in the upcoming draft.

While things have changed, this mock draft starts in a familiar place — where the first pick already feels locked in.

In this edition, Charles McDonald makes the selection of the odd-numbered draft picks while Nate Tice selects the even.

1. Chicago Bears (from Panthers) — Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Justin Fields, out. Caleb Williams, in. We’re done here barring some massive change in information in the coming weeks.

2. Washington Commanders — Drake Maye, QB, UNC

There is a LOT of smoke about Jayden Daniels ending up at this No. 2 selection, but I’m holding firm that Maye, who is my 1A to Williams’ 1B, will be the second player off the board. Size, arm talent, athleticism, creativity, Maye has it all, with a more advanced mental side to his game that makes him so much more than an unaimed Howitzer and makes me think he’ll hit the ground faster at the next level than people expect.

3. Minnesota Vikings (via Patriots) — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The first big trade of the draft, with the Vikings moving up to secure their guy for the future. McCarthy is a bit of a Rorschach test, but he’s viewed highly by teams and the Vikings have a huge need after losing Kirk Cousins to the Falcons. McCarthy would be walking into a great situation for him to actualize his talent, but he still has a long way to go.

4. Arizona Cardinals — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The Cardinals would be the captains of this draft if Jayden Daniels was indeed still on the board here. They could get wild with a trade, but perhaps ask for too much and instead take one of the cleanest wide receiver prospects in recent memory to put some boosters on their rebuilding offense. Harrison will be able to carry the load as the primary option in an NFL passing game, with the ability to win inside and out and at all three levels. Harrison and tight end Trey McBride, a Kyler Murray favorite, is a darn good one-two punch to build off of, with Michael Wilson showing flashes as a rookie and Greg Dortch also in that wide receivers room, along with perhaps another middle-round rookie (the Cardinals have seven picks in the first 104 selections). Add that, and the Cardinals' offense becomes really interesting, really quickly.

5. Los Angeles Chargers — Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Los Angeles doesn’t have any scary wide receivers, but Jim Harbaugh might not care about that at all based on his track record. The Chargers need a tackle just as badly as they need a wide receiver. Here’s who many people believe is the best tackle in the class to form a rock solid tandem with Rashawn Slater.

6. Chicago Bears (via Giants) — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

The Giants make a trade! And it’s not to move up for a quarterback! Instead, the Bears jump ahead and add weapons to their arsenal, snagging Odunze as the perfect complementary piece to pair with DJ Moore and a well-rounded skill set that can be used however new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron wants to draw it up. With Keenan Allen also added to this group of pass catchers this offseason, the Bears have a way to bridge and overlap their weapons’ timelines with their shiny new quarterback of the future. The trenches could also be looked at here, but the Bears like where they stand with tackles Darnell Wright (who I think has All-Pro potential) and Braxton Jones, and there just might not be a defensive talent they view as worthy of a nod.

7. Tennessee Titans — Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Titans don’t need a wide receiver here after spending a ton on Calvin Ridley, making this a prime position to add an offensive tackle to help their rebuilding efforts within that group. Fashanu should fit in well next to Peter Skoronski as the Titans' long-term left tackle — a huge position of need after the failed Andre Dillard experiment.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

The first defensive player off the board is to the team that has so desperately needed sacks since Obama’s first term in office. Turner tested well at the scouting combine and has diverse skills, and rushes the passer, plays the run and drops into coverage with equal aplomb. His sack total upside might not be as high as other edge defenders we typically see go in the top 10, but he fits perfectly in Raheem Morris’ defense as a Jack linebacker and is a useful player who does a lot of things well.

9. New York Giants (via Bears) — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The board played out perfectly for the Giants here, where they can get the big-play wide receiver they need while dropping down a few slots and picking up picks in the process. The Giants have several needs on offense, but if they’re going to stick with Daniel Jones, they might as well grab someone who opens up the offense.

10. New York Jets — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

I think the smart decision for the Jets, both for this all-in season and the future, would be to add one of the talented offensive line prospects in this draft and give themselves the double-whammy of a potential strong starter and actual depth at a position where it’s been needed for so long.

That’s the smart decision. But Bowers is the fun decision, and after signing a handful of offensive line free agents this offseason, in this scenario the Jets decide to keep juicing up their passing attack and give Aaron Rodgers a souped-up version of Jermichael Finley. I recently wrote about how Bowers is an offensive weapon and not just a tight end, and with the top three wide receivers off the board, Bowers can work with Garrett Wilson to create matchup advantages, with Mike Williams as the isolated X receiver and Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Ruckert available to do the dirty work required of typical tight ends. Bowers would be an exciting piece to help the Jets try and push their contendership over the top.

Here is the top 10 of Charles McDonald and Nate Tice's latest NFL mock draft. (Nicholas Lai/Yahoo Sports)
Here is the top 10 of Charles McDonald and Nate Tice's latest NFL mock draft. (Nicholas Lai/Yahoo Sports)

11. New England Patriots (via Vikings) — Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

The Patriots trade back and stop Jayden Daniels’ fall down the draft board. They're not set up well to support a rookie quarterback, but the financial risk lessens at this point in the draft and Daniels will give them a floor to at least be a quality rushing team.

12. Denver Broncos — Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Mitchell’s stock is soaring throughout this draft cycle, and deservedly so (he’s the No. 1 defender on my big board). He has very good body control, burst and ball skills to stay sticky in coverage and make plays on the ball. That showed up at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and with his excellent testing day in Indianapolis. The Broncos need a ton of help throughout their roster, and will likely be eyeing the trenches, but pairing Mitchell with the best cornerback in the NFL in Pat Surtain II could at least give Denver one position unit to hang its hat on.

13. Las Vegas Raiders — Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

This is a bit of a surprise based on where Penix has been mocked, but the Raiders clearly want to improve their quarterback play and Penix has the arm strength to be an intriguing option. Penix, Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell. The future of the Raiders.

14. New Orleans Saints — Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Fautanu’s best position might end up being inside, but he has the length, hand usage and foot speed to have a chance to start on the outside at the next level. The Saints need help along their offensive line considering the Trevor Penning experience has been a bad trip, Ryan Ramczyk’s career could be coming to a close soon and James Hurts is still starting at guard. Which spot is best for Fautanu? In New Orleans, he can help the Saints get their best five starting linemen to always be on the field together, no matter the makeup.

15. Indianapolis Colts — Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Indianapolis needs talent at cornerback in a big way and Arnold might be the best of the bunch in this year’s class. A team that has been in the conversation for L’Jarius Sneed will probably be looking at the same position in the draft.

16. Seattle Seahawks — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Barton played left tackle his last year at Duke, but he’s another offensive lineman in this class who has quality starting upside at all five positions along the line. The Seahawks' offense was derailed in 2023 because of injuries to their front five, and Barton gives them a high-level starting option and depth at every spot. If Barton ends up at left guard initially for the Seahawks, it could create a supremely talented left side of the line along with Charles Cross.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars — Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Jaguars have a big hole at wide receiver after losing Calvin Ridley in free agency. They can attempt to fill that hole with Mitchell, who has the upside to develop into a true No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL.

18. Cincinnati Bengals — JC Latham, OT, Alabama

This would be a bit of a steal for the Bengals! Even with the Bengals adding Trent Brown this offseason, Latham would still give them a tackle for the future after Brown’s mercenary role finishes out. Latham is a top-10 talent in this draft and he might start out at guard if this were how the draft played out and because of the Bengals' current roster makeup. It would be a strong succession plan for Cincinnati in trying to road grade defenses in 2024 and beyond.

Alabama's JC Latham would be a steal for the Bengals at No. 18. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Alabama's JC Latham would be a steal for the Bengals at No. 18. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

19. Los Angeles Rams — Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

The Rams have a chance to add an all-encompassing defensive back in the draft with DeJean. He can play every single spot in the defensive backfield, which is the player the Rams need to make things gel back there. DeJean and Kam Curl would be an exciting defensive back pairing.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

After adding Broderick Jones in the first round of last year’s draft, the Steelers select Powers-Johnson to put the batteries in the back of Arthur Smith’s offense. Whether he starts out at guard or center, Powers-Johnson will bring an attitude and dynamism to the interior of Pittsburgh’s offense. A good athlete with size and still-developing technique, Powers-Johnson will help power Smith’s run game with his strength and ability on the move, and would bring some highlight blocks on screens, too.

21. Miami Dolphins — Byron Murphy, DL, Texas

Christian Wilkins was a big loss that the Dolphins need to attempt to replace in the draft. Murphy makes sense here as an explosive 3-technique who can wreak havoc in Anthony Weaver’s defense.

22. San Francisco 49ers (via Eagles) — Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and Howie Roseman haven’t met a trade they didn’t like. The 49ers move up nine spots to take the tackle with the highest upside in this draft. Mims started only eight games at right tackle in college, but that was all the 49ers needed to see to get their potential Trent Williams successor (and Colton McKivitz replacement). It’s not often that a team can find a tackle prospect with Mims’ ceiling at this point of the draft. Patience (and injury luck) could allow them to reap the benefits.

23. New England Patriots (via Vikings) — Brian Thomas, WR, LSU

The Patriots acquire the Vikings' other first-round pick in the deal made above, giving Jayden Daniels some juice and add his former college teammate in Thomas to help take the top off of defenses. New England desperately needs speed and skill on the outside and it’ll be difficult to find more explosive options than Thomas.

24. Dallas Cowboys — Taliese Fuaga, OL, Oregon State

Not exactly sure if I view Fuaga best as a right tackle or guard, but the Cowboys, who have never been shy to invest in the trenches, take him here to start at left guard and help shore up their reconfigured offensive line. Fuaga will consistently fire off the ball and would create some real movement on double-teams with Tyler Smith. He has some bend limitations against the better athletes in pass protection, but that will be hidden a bit more when playing inside.

25. Green Bay Packers — Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Green Bay needs a new tackle to groom after the release of David Bakhtiari. Guyton has high upside and he can play left or right tackle for the Packers. It would still be a young offense with a likely young line, but the Packers need to stock their tackle position with talent, which Guyton has.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

If there is a potential interior offensive lineman that the Bucs liked here, I could see them nabbing that player to help out the middle. Instead, they attempt to replace the recently traded Carlton Davis with Wiggins, a prospect who has quite a few differences than Davis. Wiggins is a long and twitchy athlete who can stay sticky in man coverage. He has a skinny frame and there are concerns about how he will hold up if targeted in the run game, but I like this fit in Todd Bowles’ aggressive defense, which would let Wiggins stay aggressive with receivers on the outside.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans) — Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Huge potential steal for the Cardinals here as they add Latu to Jonathan Gannon’s defense at the end of the first round. The Cardinals still need juice on the edge of their defense and Latu might provide that.

28. Buffalo Bills — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

There are a few wide receiver options, but I feel like better fits for what the Bills need at the position would be in the second round. They instead try to recreate the formula that helped lead to so much success during Sean McDermott’s regime: a deep, talented, hockey-shifting defensive line. Verse is a power-first pass rusher who can consistently push the pocket and is a plus-run defender. Putting him as part of the Bills' current rotation would give them strong answers against the run, while also adding another player to put pressure on the quarterback.

29. Detroit Lions — Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Chop Robinson is a bit raw, but it’s hard to find prospects who run a legit 4.4 off the edge of a defense. With guys like Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeil already on the defensive line, Robinson would have one-on-one opportunities where his speed is more of a threat.

30. Baltimore Ravens — Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

This offensive line class is so deep that a player like Suamataia, who is very talented but still raw, would usually climb up about 10 spots higher because of the usual lack of talent at the position. Instead, here is a player with real upside as a blindside blocker available for the Ravens. Suamataia will need development, but would give the Ravens a potential needle-mover in the long term, while also helping shore up a position of need.

31. Philadelphia Eagles (via 49ers) — Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Another Georgia cornerback for Howie Roseman to obsess over. Hopefully, this one is a hit because the Eagles really need an infusion of young, quality talent at cornerback.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

Paul is another high-upside home run swing at tackle for a perennial contender. Paul has super-long arms with athleticism and strength, but is more of a bundle of tools than anything close to a finished product. Andy Reid doesn’t like going into a season without answers for his offensive line, and while Paul has a ways to go to realize his potential, he would give Reid and offensive line coach Andy Heck a ball of clay with long-term upside as Patrick Mahomes’ blindside protector of the future.

Teams without a first-round pick

33. Carolina Panthers — Xavier Leggette, WR, South Carolina

Diontae Johnson was a nice pickup for the Panthers, but they need way more at the position and a younger wide receiver to continue to stock talent there. Leggette is the type of dice roll the Panthers need, given his size and speed to pair with Johnson and Adam Thielen.

42. Houston Texans — Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

The Texans announced they were in the market for a wide receiver when it came out they were trying to trade for Keenan Allen. McConkey is a big-play wide receiver himself that should fit in nicely with Tank Dell and Nico Collins.

54. Cleveland Browns — Brandon Dorlus, DL/EDGE, Oregon

A potential long-term Za’Darius Smith replacement for the Browns. Dorlus has big-time skill and was an integral part to a successful Oregon defense (except when it played Washington).