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Three-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Patriots deal for Justin Fields in one of five first-round trades

Quarterbacks will once again be the story of the NFL draft in 2024, but it won't just be the prospects coming into the league making all the headlines. I expect two veteran signal-callers -- Justin Fields and Russell Wilson -- to be on the move, which will significantly impact the league's Annual Selection Meeting.

In my three-round mock draft, I project the Bears will decide to move on from Fields and select USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. In my forecast, the Bears send Fields to New England. The Patriots would swap first-round selections with Chicago this year and also give up a 2024 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2025 pick in the deal, similar to the trade between the Packers and Jets for Aaron Rodgers last year. I'm also projecting the Broncos will part with Wilson before next season, with Atlanta signing the veteran after his release. The contract extension signed by Wilson before the 2022 season will likely prevent a trade, and he also has a no-trade clause in that deal.

Throw in five soon-to-be rookies finding new homes in the top 33 selections, and you have a quarterback carousel that would draw crowds at Coney Island.

There are seven compensatory picks projected at the end of the third round of this mock. The first four are awarded to teams for losing 2023 free agents, as projected by Over the Cap. The final three reflect the projected compensation gained from teams hiring minority candidates away from the Rams, 49ers and Buccaneers for head coach/general manager openings.

Tune in for live coverage of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine beginning Feb. 29 on NFL Network and NFL+.

Pick
1
Chicago Bears
(via CAR)
Caleb Williams
USC · QB · Junior

Williams’ combination of physical tools and natural feel for the position point to an excellent NFL career. Defensive coordinators will hate that even if they manage to disguise their coverages, Williams will patiently review his options on the move and gain yards as a runner if no targets are available.

Pick
2
Jayden Daniels
LSU · QB · Senior

Washington's beginning again at quarterback, banking on Daniels to lead the team. New Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury might appreciate Daniels as much as he did Kyler Murray’s dual-threat ability when he was head coach of the Cardinals.

Pick
3
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State · WR · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS


The Bears take the Patriots' trade compensation package for Fields to get a future star receiver to make Williams' transition to the NFL easier. Harrison has room to grow at the next level, but his size/speed combination, body control and elusiveness with the ball in his hands are already tough for corners to handle.

Pick
4
Drake Maye
North Carolina · QB · Sophomore (RS)

PROJECTED TRADE WITH ARIZONA CARDINALS


With Harrison off the board, the Cardinals acquire a 2025 first-round pick, along with a third-rounder this year, to swap places with Denver. Head coach Sean Payton gets his new quarterback.

Pick
5
Brock Bowers
Georgia · TE · Junior

Bowers has a chance to be the best player not named Caleb Williams in this draft because of his combination of reliable hands, strong running and blocking ability. 

Pick
6
Jared Verse
Florida State · Edge · Senior

Will Anderson Jr.’s production dropped in his final year at Alabama (34.5 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks to 17 and 10) but he proved his combination of power and speed was NFL-ready. I expect to see the same from Verse, who was no less of a problem for offensive lines in 2023 than he was in the previous season, even if his numbers were slightly less impressive in ‘23 (17 TFL, 9 sacks in ‘22; 12.5 and 9 in ‘23).

Pick
7
Joe Alt
Notre Dame · OT · Junior

Brad Hopkins, Michael Roos, Taylor Lewan ... Joe Alt. It just makes sense for this big, agile left tackle to play for the Titans.

Pick
8
Terrion Arnold
Alabama · CB · Sophomore (RS)

After using their last three top-10 picks on offense, the Falcons shore up the secondary with the feisty, strong and versatile Arnold.

Pick
9
Olumuyiwa Fashanu
Penn State · OT · Junior (RS)

PROJECTED TRADE WITH CHICAGO BEARS


Fashanu possesses the intelligence, length and athleticism to start at left tackle immediately for the Patriots, who could lose Trent Brown in free agency.

Pick
10
Taliese Fuaga
Oregon State · OT · Senior

If the Jets can sign a free-agent receiver or trade for a veteran at the position to help Aaron Rodgers, then they'll line up a tackle at this spot. The team could play Alijah Vera-Tucker at left tackle and put Fuaga on the right side.

Pick
11
Dallas Turner
Alabama · Edge · Junior

Assuming Kirk Cousins re-signs with the Vikings, the team takes Turner to replenish its soon-to-be depleted pass-rush depth. Minnesota makes its move for a quarterback in Round 2, trading fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round picks to Carolina to swap second-round picks and grab Oregon’s Bo Nix as Cousins' successor.

Pick
12
Malik Nabers
LSU · WR · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH DENVER BRONCOS


The Cardinals trade down and still land the playmaker they need in Nabers. His skill set compares favorably to that of former LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was picked 12th overall by the Giants in 2014.

Pick
13
J.J. McCarthy
Michigan · QB · Junior

New Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, formerly McCarthy’s coach at Michigan, has made it clear he loves the athletic, strong-armed national-champion quarterback. If the Raiders pay heed to his words and believe Aidan O'Connell is better served as a backup, then McCarthy could be the pick.

Pick
14
Rome Odunze
Washington · WR · Senior

The Saints might decide it is time to move on from Michael Thomas after the veteran missed significant time due to injury again in 2023. Odunze, Chris Olave and A.T. Perry would be a strong trio for Derek Carr to find downfield.

Pick
15
Byron Murphy II
Texas · DT · Junior

The Colts missed Grover Stewart when he served a six-game suspension last season. He's now due to become a free agent, so finding an active, strong interior defender like Murphy meets a major need.

Pick
16
Jackson Powers-Johnson
Oregon · C · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH SEATTLE SEAHAWKS


The first round doesn't officially begin until Philadelphia trades up! The Seahawks swap first-rounders with the Eagles and send them a third-round pick in exchange for a second- and fifth-rounder. Powers-Johnson steps in for future Hall of Famer Jason Kelce.

Pick
17
Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU · WR · Junior

If Calvin Ridley departs in free agency, the Jaguars will need a downfield presence to complement Christian Kirk and Parker Washington underneath.

Pick
18
JC Latham
Alabama · OT · Junior

Cincinnati would be fortunate to see Latham waiting on a phone call in the middle of the first round. Assuming Jonah Williams is not re-signed, the rookie would join Orlando Brown to give the Bengals a massive starting tackle duo.

Pick
19
Nate Wiggins
Clemson · CB · Junior

The Rams haven't had a true No. 1 corner since trading Jalen Ramsey. Wiggins has that sort of game, challenging receivers on the outside.

Pick
20
Trevin Wallace
Kentucky · LB · Junior

Wallace's speed and tenaciousness will be appreciated by Steelers coaches and fans after seeing the linebacker corps decimated by injuries last season.

Pick
21
Ja'Tavion Sanders
Texas · TE · Junior

Sanders is an underappreciated prospect right now, partially because of his lack of targets with the Longhorns. He'll be a strong pro, excelling in Mike McDaniel's system as a foil to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Pick
22
Jer'Zhan Newton
Illinois · DT · Senior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH PHILADELPHIA EAGLES


The Seahawks gave up second- and fifth-round picks for Leonard Williams but have not yet signed him for 2024 and beyond. If that never comes to pass, Newton slides into new head coach Mike Macdonald's scheme.

Pick
23
Houston Texans
(via CLE)
Tyler Guyton
Oklahoma · OT · Junior (RS)

If George Fant is not re-signed, the Texans will need an athletic right tackle like Guyton to play that spot so quarterback C.J. Stroud can continue his progression.

Pick
24
Troy Fautanu
Washington · OT · Senior

Forget about Fautanu's size. He can play tackle in the NFL. His lateral movement, hip flexion and anchor should allow him to step in for Tyron Smith if the veteran doesn't re-sign in 2024.

Pick
25
Keon Coleman
Florida State · WR · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH GREEN BAY PACKERS


Selecting receiver Rashee Rice last year in the second round was a nice start, but the Chiefs’ inconsistency at the position could force them to trade up for another top-tier talent. They send their third-round selection, as well as a fifth-rounder, to Green Bay for this pick.

Pick
26
Laiatu Latu
UCLA · Edge · Senior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS


The Bills send a fourth-round pick to the Buccaneers to select Latu, an edge rusher that they'll need if free agency wipes out the team's depth. Medical exams will be a factor in Latu’s evaluation given the neck injury he suffered at Washington before transferring to UCLA. 

Pick
27
Arizona Cardinals
(via HOU)
Quinyon Mitchell
Toledo · CB · Senior

I believe Mitchell's Senior Bowl performance locks him in for a first-round spot. In fact, he could go earlier if things fall differently in the top 20 picks. The Cardinals would love to see him here, as they need a legitimate outside starter with size and speed.

Pick
28
Chop Robinson
Penn State · Edge · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH BUFFALO BILLS


Robinson's get-off and bend should alleviate concerns about his average production with the Nittany Lions. YaYa Diaby stepped up as a rookie, but Shaq Barrett has only one year left on his contract and it's unclear if Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will have his fifth-year option exercised.

Pick
29
Darius Robinson
Missouri · Edge · Senior

Robinson's 286-pound frame and quick hands made him a problem in one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl. Putting him opposite Aidan Hutchinson is a lose-lose situation for opposing blocking schemes.

Pick
30
Cooper Beebe
Kansas State · OG · Senior

Beebe will have to prove his athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the Ravens could see him as a younger version of Kevin Zeitler, who is headed for free agency. There are not many college linemen who can switch between both tackle spots and left guard in the same game, which is something Beebe did multiple times last season.

Pick
31
Javon Bullard
Georgia · S · Junior

San Francisco could see a lot of former 49er Jimmie Ward in Bullard because of his athleticism, versatility and aggressiveness on the outside. 

Pick
32
Cooper DeJean
Iowa · CB · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS


GM Brian Gutekunst picks an Iowa defender in the first round for the second straight year, reuniting DeJean with Lukas Van Ness. The Packers traded down last year so the Lions could take Brian Branch (smartly parlaying the pick into receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks and defensive lineman Karl Brooks after multiple deals) so now they get their versatile defensive back with coverage ability, strength against the run and ball skills to create turnovers.

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