Raiders make big move in Review-Journal’s final mock draft

The wait is almost over.

Months of rumors and speculation, much of it fueled by headfakes and misdirection, will end when the first round of the 2024 NFL draft gets underway Thursday in Detroit.

There are still so many different ways things could play out. With that in mind, here is the Review-Journal’s final mock draft of the season. Each player’s spot from March’s exercise is in parentheses.

1. Chicago Bears (From Panthers)

Caleb Williams, QB, Southern California (1)

Nothing has changed here. There was an occasional rogue report of Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels gaining ground, but Williams was always going to be the top pick. The only real question was whether the Bears would make the selection or trade it away. They gave away the answer when they traded quarterback Justin Fields to Pittsburgh.

2. Washington Commanders

Jayden Daniels, QB, Louisiana State (2)

This has felt inevitable most of draft season. There is still a chance the Commanders go in a different direction, but it looks like talent is going to win out with this pick.

3. New England Patriots

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (3)

The Patriots appear to be open for business here. That would allow them to move back and accumulate assets while still finding a quarterback later on. Maye, however, has enough elite traits to tempt New England’s new administration into staying put.

4. Arizona Cardinals

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (4)

This is another fit between player and team that’s remained consistent throughout the process. Harrison has all the tools to be a great receiver. He could be an impact player early in his career.

5. Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Chargers)

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (11)

The writing has been on the wall for this one. The Vikings need a quarterback and McCarthy seems to fit their system. Minnesota did some maneuvering a few weeks ago and picked up an extra first-round pick to make this kind of move.

6. New York Giants

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU (6)

The Giants have done a ton of work on the quarterbacks in this draft and could pounce if one of the top four passers fall to them. Instead, they grab a weapon for their passing game. Nabers has the potential to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

7. Tennessee Titans

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (10)

It would help quarterback Will Levis’ development if the Titans found someone to keep him upright. Alt could protect Levis’ blind side for the next decade if things work out.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama (8)

The Falcons wind up with the draft’s first defensive player. The team has loaded up on offensive skill position players in recent years, so it’s time to address the pass rush. Turner isn’t a slam dunk prospect but he should help Atlanta pressure opposing quarterbacks.

9. Chicago Bears

Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State (14)

Protecting Williams should be of utmost importance for the Bears.

That means adding to the offense line with their second top-10 selection, even though grabbing another receiver would be tempting here.

10. New York Jets

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington (5)

The Jets are all-in on this season given Aaron Rodgers’ age.

Odunze, a Bishop Gorman product, should give Rodgers another strong receiving threat right away. Tight end Brock Bowers could also be tempting for the Jets.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (Trade with Vikings)

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia (18)

New coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman love elite tight ends.

The Chargers’ trade with the Vikings allows them to select one here while picking up an additional first-round pick for their efforts. It’s more palatable to pick Bowers here than at No. 5.

12. Denver Broncos

Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA (16)

This one could sting for Raiders star Maxx Crosby, who lobbied for the team to take Latu during a recent news conference. Crosby sees similarities between his and Latu’s game and the tape backs it up. Latu is relentless and stands out on almost every snap he plays.

13. Raiders

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (15)

This is a tough call. The Raiders need a quarterback but the top four guys are gone. They could consider an offensive tackle, but the case for Arnold is easy. He’s arguably the best player still available and plays another position of need for the Raiders. The bond between him and coach Antonio Pierce also appears genuine.

14. New Orleans Saints

Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State (12)

New Orleans would sprint to the podium in Detroit if Fashanu fell this far. The Saints need a tackle and Fashanu would provide them a huge boost.

15. Indianapolis Colts

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (17)

There is an argument to be had over whether Mitchell or Arnold is the best cornerback prospect in this draft. There’s not much disagreement about whether the Colts need a corner. They do.

16. Seattle Seahawks

Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington (14)

The Liberty High School alum is the kind of versatile lineman the Seahawks are looking for. The fit would also be perfect because he’d be able to stay put in Seattle. Fautanu could begin his NFL career as a guard and move to tackle when the need arises.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Byron Murphy, DT, Texas (13)

Murphy should be off the board before this, but the Jaguars stop his slide here. Murphy is athletic and wreaks havoc in the middle. He should help a Jacksonville team that struggled to get push inside last season.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

JC Latham, OT, Alabama (21)

The Bengals need a right tackle who can be their long-term answer at the position. Latham fits the bill and could even start out at guard if the team wanted him to.

19. Los Angeles Rams

Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State (9)

The Rams front office is used to taking naps on Thursday night while the rest of the NFL is making selections. This is the first time they’re going into a draft with their first-round pick since 2016. The Rams have tended to use premium picks on offensive players under coach Sean McVay, but they need impact players on the other side of the ball with defensive tackle Aaron Donald retiring. Verse isn’t a direct replacement but he should help up front.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Graham Barton, OL, Duke (26)

The Steelers need to come away from this draft with a starting center and likely can’t afford to wait until the second round. Barton should be a great fit.

21. Miami Dolphins

Jackson Powers-Johnson, IOL, Oregon (19)

Miami must continue building up the interior of its offensive line if it wants to keep scoring in bunches next season. Powers-Johnson can play several positions and should help in that regard. The Dolphins have spent a significant amount of time with him throughout the draft process.

22. Philadelphia Eagles

Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa (20)

Philadelphia needs playmakers in the secondary and DeJean fits that bill. The Eagles should be able to find a fit for him on their defense. He also has the potential to be a dynamic returner, which could be valuable with the NFL changing its kickoff rules this season.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (Trade with Minnesota, via Texans and Browns)

Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois (23)

The Chargers use the second pick they acquired in their trade with the Vikings to solidify the middle of their defensive line. Newton stands out on tape. He blows up plays before they even have a chance to get started.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU (28)

It might be sensible for the Cowboys to address their offensive line, but it would be on brand for them to go after an exciting offensive weapon instead. It would also be hard to fault them for the pick. Thomas might be the best deep-ball threat in the draft. His presence could open up even more space for star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

25. Green Bay Packers

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia (24)

The Packers could use an offensive tackle and Mims is a massive prospect with a ton of upside. The team has done well to build up its skill-position group in recent years. Green Bay needs to make sure it gives those players enough time to get open.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State (27)

The Buccaneers need to get better off the edge and Robinson is explosive off the ball. He projects as a similar player to Shaquil Barrett, whom Tampa Bay lost for salary cap-reasons this offseason.

27. Arizona Cardinals (From Texans)

Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson (22)

Robinson would make sense for the Cardinals as well if he gets past the Buccaneers. Arizona’s secondary was dreadful last year, however, so adding a cornerback would be a smart move.

28. Buffalo Bills

Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas (32)

The Bills have an obvious need at wide receiver after moving on from Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis this offseason. General manager Brandon Beane even joked recently that the team would take a pass catcher in every round. Mitchell would be able to step right in and become one of quarterback Josh Allen’s favorite targets.

29. Detroit Lions

Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama (30)

The Lions made the NFC title game last season in spite of their secondary. They added veterans Carlton Davis and former Raider Amik Robertson this offseason, but they still have more work to do. McKinstry would be a solid fit in Detroit’s system.

30. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma (25)

Guyton lacks experience but his measurements are off the charts. He’s a high-level athlete despite being listed at 6-foot-8 and 322 pounds. He’s also not completely raw. He didn’t allow a sack last season in 350 pass-blocking snaps.

31. Raiders (Trade with 49ers)

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (NA)

The other first-round trade is a big one. The Raiders could jump at the opportunity to add Penix before the first night of the draft is over, which would give them an extra year on his rookie contract. Questions about Penix’s health make it far from certain he’ll be taken in the first round. But there’s an awful lot to like about him as a person and prospect.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas (NA)

The Chiefs have found ways to win without wide receiver Tyreek Hill but they’ve never been able to truly replace him. Worthy won’t fill those shoes, either. But he would bring the same type of world-class speed Hill did to Kansas City’s offense. Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t have a problem turning Worthy into a productive receiver.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

This post was originally published on this site