jayden-daniels-lsu-tigers-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Mock drafts are predictive. My who-they-should-take-mock is not.

It's the players I would take if I were doing the picking for all the NFL teams. There are no trades in this mock in large part because I would be trading with myself. That's not fair.

Last year, I had Will Levis going first to Carolina in my who-they-should mock. I got lit up. It's obvious now C.J. Stroud should have been the pick, but I would still take Levis over Bryce Young and I think their play showed that last year as rookies.

This year, my first pick would be Jayden Daniels over Caleb Williams. Yeah, yeah, Williams is this and that and special and generational and every other superlative. But there are also flaws that stand out to me, one being he holds the ball too long.

Daniels might be slight in build, but he can run, can throw it and he's the most-improved player I've even seen from early in his career to now. I know there are some critics who say he leaves pockets too soon, but that's the curse of quarterbacks who can move. Lamar Jackson won two MVPs and he had the same flaw early in his career.

So I would take Daniels first and Williams second. I would not take Michigan's J.J. McCarthy in the top 10 as you will see.

Last year, I had Tank Dell going 32nd in my who-they-should mock to the Chiefs. I got killed for that. Was I right?  This year, I have Oregon receiver Troy Franklin going 28th to the Buffalo Bills. Will you kill more for that? I love the kid. 

One more time: This is not a predictive mock. It's my who-they-should take mock. 

Even so, most of you won't get the message. 

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.  

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
LSU • 6'4" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PAYDS
3812
RUYDS
1134
INTS
4
TDS
50
Yes, I think he will be the best quarterback in this class. He is the most-improved player I've ever seen in the course of five years. That's impressive. That matters. He will be Lamar Jackson-like.
Round 1 - Pick 2
USC • 6'1" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
PAYDS
3633
RUYDS
121
INTS
5
TDS
41
I keep hearing "generational" when it comes to this kid when talking to scouts, but he needs to clean up a lot of stuff for me to make that claim. Having said that, there is a ton to like. He will be a damn good player.
Round 1 - Pick 3
North Carolina • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PAYDS
3608
RUYDS
449
INTS
9
TDS
33
I prefer Maye over the remaining quarterbacks, even if he has some mechanical flaws that need fixing. The Patriots have to address quarterback, so this would work.
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
2nd
REC
89
REYDS
1569
YDS/REC
17.6
TDS
14
I like Nabers more than Marvin Harrison, which is why this is the pick. Nabers has more wiggle in my mind. Both will be great, but my preference is Nabers.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ohio State • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
REC
67
REYDS
1211
YDS/REC
18.1
TDS
15
I thought about tackle Joe Alt here, but opted to go for a weapon for Justin Herbert. I could see the Chargers trading down to get more picks, but I think they would be wise to add Harrison.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Washington • 6'3" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
3rd
REC
92
REYDS
1640
YDS/REC
17.8
TDS
15
The Giants have to get outside players for their passing game, so it's Odunze. I think Evan Neal can respond with a better season at right tackle, which is why I pass on taking Joe Alt.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Notre Dame • 6'8" / 322 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
2nd
This is a no-brainer for me. They have to get a left tackle and Alt is the best of the group. He will give Will Levis a nice blind-side protector.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Alabama • 6'4" / 242 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Falcons have little when it comes to the pass rush. Turner will be better on the next level than he was in college. He has all the tools, but sometimes needs to play harder.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • 6'3" / 254 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st
After watching more tape on Robinson, I think he could end up being the best pure rusher in this draft. He has that explosive step and bend. He has the best of those traits in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Georgia • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
1st
REC
56
REYDS
714
YDS/REC
12.8
TDS
7
They could go for an offensive tackle here, but that would defy the all-in thinking this year. So give them the best tight end in the draft class to help the passing game.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Washington • 6'2" / 216 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
5th
PAYDS
4903
RUYDS
8
INTS
11
TDS
39
The Vikings have to take a quarterback, and rather than trading up, they sit here and take Penix. Why Penix over J.J. McCarthy? I think he will be a better player.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Michigan • 6'3" / 202 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
4th
PAYDS
2991
RUYDS
202
INTS
4
TDS
25
The Broncos would probably love this, but it won't happen. Even this is a little high for McCarthy in my book. But the Broncos have to get one, so it makes sense.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Toledo • 6'0" / 196 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
1st
They land the top corner in this class, which certainly would address a major need. They could go for an offensive lineman here, but with Penix off the board I have them passing on quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Penn State • 6'6" / 317 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st
They have to get a quality left tackle and Fashanu is that guy. He will be a plug-and-play starter. He just needs to play a little tougher.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Florida State • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Indianapolis
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Their pass rush could use some more juice from the outside. When the Colts won a Super Bowl, they had Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. They need a player like Verse to try to get close to that.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Oregon State • 6'6" / 324 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The interior of their offensive line has major questions, but they also have some injury concerns for right tackle Abraham Lucas. Fuaga can play a lot of spots.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • 6'0" / 199 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Arnold is a smooth corner who knows how to cover. They have a major need. He didn't run great, but he plays fast. He would be an immediate starter.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Texas • 6'0" / 306 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
1st
D.J. Reader is gone, so Murphy would make sense. He is a penetrating, up-the-field type of player who would improve their inside pass rush.
Round 1 - Pick 19
UCLA • 6'5" / 267 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Rams
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
3rd
They need to get better off the edge, especially with Aaron Donald gone. Taking the hometown player makes sense, provided he passes all the medicals.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Washington • 6'4" / 317 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
1st
I think they will consider center here, but they can take a player who can start at right tackle, left tackle or at guard. That matters.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Illinois • 6'2" / 295 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
2nd
They lost Christian Wilkins in free agency, so even after signing a few veteran replacements they need a young interior player. Newton could be that guy, but he does have a foot injury he is overcoming.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Alabama • 6'6" / 360 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
5th
How much longer does Lane Johnson play at right tackle? Latham could be his replacement, but could play guard for a year as he waits.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Clemson • 6'2" / 185 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
3rd
They need to get a quality cover corner on the outside in Brian Flores' defense. Wiggins is as good as any in this draft in press man, but he has to improve his tackling.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Oklahoma • 6'7" / 328 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
7th
By taking Guyton, the Cowboys could leave Tyler Smith at left guard, which I think is the right move. Guyton played right tackle in college, but he has the tools to be a left tackle as well.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Duke • 6'5" / 314 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
35th
POSITION RNK
6th
Center Josh Myers in the final year of his deal and they lost right guard Jon Runyan in free agency. You can never have enough versatile offensive linemen.
Round 1 - Pick 26
LSU • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
4th
REC
68
REYDS
1177
YDS/REC
17.3
TDS
17
Mike Evans is back, but he isn't a kid anymore and Chris Godwin is in the final year of his contract. Getting a big, young receiver would really help in the coming years.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • 6'7" / 340 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
4th
They take a right tackle and move Paris Johnson, last year's top pick, to the left side. They would have bookends for a long time if they made this move.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Oregon • 6'3" / 187 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
46th
POSITION RNK
9th
REC
55
REYDS
845
YDS/REC
15.4
TDS
11
There would be other receivers in play here, or even some defensive help, but I think Franklin will be a star. He has big-time speed, which Josh Allen would love.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Washington State • 6'3" / 212 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
56th
POSITION RNK
3rd
He is an athletic safety who ran a 4.4 at his pro day. He is at his best when near the line, but I think he's good enough in the deep middle. He's the best safety in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Iowa • 6'1" / 207 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
4th
He is a versatile player who could play both corner and safety. We know how the Ravens love to move secondary players around. He would work.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Arizona • 6'5" / 325 lbs
Projected Team
San Francisco
PROSPECT RNK
41st
POSITION RNK
9th
They need a right tackle and he has that look. They only gave Colton McKivitz, their starter, a one-year extension. Morgan would push him, but also could play guard.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Houston • 6'7" / 315 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
85th
POSITION RNK
14th
I love this kid's game and I think he could step in and push Wanya Morris at left tackle to start as a rookie. They can wait to get a receiver or two in the coming rounds.

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