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Calvin Watkins’ 2024 NFL mock draft 2.0: QB-heavy top 3; Cowboys add versatility on OL

Inside linebacker and interior defensive lineman are among Dallas’ needs entering the April draft.

The pro days are nearly complete. The Big 12′s pro day is done. The combine is over. Now, it’s time for draft prospects to interview with teams.

And guess what? It’s time for our NFL Mock Draft 2.0. We’re expecting some trades and surprises.

Here. We. Go.

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws during the NCAA college football...
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws during the NCAA college football team's NFL Pro Day, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)(Ryan Sun / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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1. Chicago: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Team needs: The Bears’ offseason has been strong, and the trade of Justin Fields opened the door for the Bears to select the best quarterback in this class. The Bears have three picks in the top 100, so they should get Week 1 starters.


2. Washington: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Team needs: Plenty. However, new coach Dan Quinn filled some holes in free agency, thanks to some signings of former Cowboys. The biggest issue is quarterback so Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and McCarthy could all go No. 2 overall. But the Commanders go to Michigan.

3. New England: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Team needs: The old Patriot Way would have gone for McCarthy or even Maye. With McCarthy off the board, the LSU QB goes to the AFC East. The Pats need a WR, so don’t be surprised if they use a high second-round pick (No. 34 overall) to get back into the first round.


4. Arizona: Marvin Harrison, WR, Ohio State

Team needs: The Cardinals need playmakers for QB Kyler Murray, and they get the best receiver in the draft. However, Malik Nabers’ pro day gives you pause. Arizona also needs a cornerback, and we’ll address that later.

5. LA Chargers: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Team needs: Nabers’ pro day raised his stock, but Harrison is just better, so the Chargers get the second-best receiver in the draft. Chargers also need upgrades along the offensive line, so moving down could be a possibility.

Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze talks while standing on the field during Washington's...
Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze talks while standing on the field during Washington's NFL Pro Day, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Seattle. Odunze did not participate in the day. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)(John Froschauer / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

6. NY Giants: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Team needs: Do the Giants need a quarterback? Big Blue hosted Russell Wilson before he signed with the Steelers. Does that mean Maye is coming to the NFC East? If the Giants believe in Daniel Jones at QB, they should get him more playmakers.

7. Tennessee: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

Team needs: This changes the draft. Murphy is considered a top-15 pick, but going this high says something. The Titans need an offensive tackle, but why not get the best interior defensive lineman in this draft who can cause problems up front?


8. Atlanta: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Team needs: The Falcons solved the QB problem by signing Kirk Cousins, and they have some playmakers on offense to help. Now it’s time to take care of the defense. Turner is one of the top pass rushers in this draft and he’ll have a big impact.

9. Chicago: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Team needs: The Bears get a Week 1 starter in Verse as their defense gets younger. The Bears could get a receiver, too, and maybe Xavier Worthy is someone to look for. But Worthy at No. 9 is too high, so just go with Verse.


10. NY Jets: Joe Alt, T, Notre Dame

Team needs: The perfect fit for the Jets, who have all the pieces on the defense. The trade for the Eagles’ Haason Reddick was the final touch. Alt is the best tackle in the draft. and his selection begins a string of offensive linemen going in the first round.

11. Minnesota: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Team needs: The Vikings will move up from this spot. After letting Cousins go, finding a future QB is pivotal. How badly do the Vikings need a quarterback? It depends if you give up both your first-round selections to make a pick. In this mock, we have Maye falling, so it works for the Vikings. However, the Vikings might not wait.

Former Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham talks with the media at Alabama's NFL football...
Former Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham talks with the media at Alabama's NFL football pro day, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)(Vasha Hunt / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

12. Denver: JC Latham, T, Alabama

Team needs: Sean Payton seeks a quarterback, so he’s got to move up. The Broncos will compete with several teams for one of the top quarterbacks. If they can’t get a quarterback, the tackle from Alabama is a nice prize.

13. Las Vegas: Troy Fautanu, T, Washington

Team needs: Do you want Gardner Minshew or Aidan O’Connell as the starting quarterback? We’ll wait … OK, then you move up and get a quarterback. The Raiders need to move up to get a quarterback or wait for Bo Nix? Michael Penix Jr.?


14. New Orleans: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Team needs: The Saints need a tackle, too, but with the Raiders taking one they decide to go for a cornerback. Mitchell’s stock has risen this offseason, and he should fit with the Saints. Getting a defensive tackle is a good choice, too.

15. Indianapolis: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Team needs: Remember when drafting tight ends was a big deal? This year, it’s tackles, receivers and quarterbacks dominating the first round. Bowers joins a rising Colts team with a talented young quarterback in Anthony Richardson.


16. Seattle: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Team needs: The Seahawks seek offensive line help. This is a draft with plenty of talent in that area, but the cornerbacks are also strong. Seattle has two talented corners in Devon Witherspoon and Tariq Woolen. Why not get another one? We do believe Seattle has its mind set on a tackle, possibly Amarius Mims.

17. Jacksonville: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

Team needs: The Jags’ weakness remains the secondary, and DeJean and Arnold are Week 1 starters who should be available. You wonder if the Jags want to add more picks -- a trade down perhaps -- to get more talent on the 53-man roster.

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman T'Vondre Sweat (93) strikes a pose in the end zone after...
Texas Longhorns defensive lineman T'Vondre Sweat (93) strikes a pose in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Quinn Ewers during the first quarter of the Big 12 Championship football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Dec. 2, 2023.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

18. Cincinnati: T’Vondre Sweat, IDL, Texas

Team needs: The Bengals hold four picks in the Top 100, so why not move up and get an offensive tackle? Because Sweat brings so much to the defense. The Bengals play in a division with QBs Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson who have strong arms and excellent mobility. Getting Sweat to put pressure on the pocket seems like the right move.

19. LA Rams: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Team needs: You can’t replace Aaron Donald. You just can’t. If Sweat or Murphy are available, you get them. Latu is the best pick at this spot for a defense that lost its coordinator (Raheem Morris) and its best player.


20. Pittsburgh: Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia

Team needs: The Steelers have the QB for the present (Wilson) and future (Fields) and seek upgrades to the offensive line. Frazier’s efforts at the Big 12 pro day proved he’s nearly recovered from his broken leg.

21. Miami: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Team needs: The Dolphins lost defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency, so getting a big man up the middle is imperative. Finding another receiver isn’t a bad idea either. Coleman gives Tua Tagovailoa another threat.


22. Philadelphia: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C/G, Oregon

Team needs: The Eagles are getting younger in plenty of areas. With Jason Kelce retired, the time to draft a starting center is now. With Frazier off the board, the next best thing arrives. The Eagles like to wheel and deal, so trading up isn’t out of the question.

23. Minnesota: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Team needs: If the Vikings get the QB, what’s next? Another pass rusher is a benefit to this group, but that secondary is also in need of talent. Wiggins moves into a starting role Week 1 if he’s available. The Vikings could also use a pass rusher -- Chop Robinson anybody?

Connecticut defensive back Lee Molette III (21) and Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton...
Connecticut defensive back Lee Molette III (21) and Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton (62) greet each other following an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 in Hartford, Conn.(Josh Reynolds / AP)

24. Dallas: Graham Barton, G/T, Duke

Team needs: The Cowboys’ decision on what to do with Tyler Smith is answered. Barton plays guard, so moving Smith to left tackle works. Dallas seeks an inside linebacker for the future, especially with Eric Kendricks signed to a one-year deal. And let’s be honest, another interior defensive lineman is needed. It wouldn’t surprise many if the Cowboys take a corner on Day 2, so why not get a center here? The Cowboys always do a nice job in the draft, so getting talent isn’t the issue.

25. Green Bay: Amarius Mims, T, Georgia

Team needs: The Packers just keep getting younger and better. The youngest team in the postseason last year saw those players take the next step in their development. Mims brings so much to the young group.


26. Tampa Bay: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Team needs: The Bucs have three picks in the Top 90, so getting Week 1 starters seems logical. Adding another receiver with Mike Evans is on the list of things to do, but the pass rusher with the ability to have an impact Week 1 is a good decision.

27. Arizona: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Team needs: After getting a receiver in the Top 10, finding a corner with the potential to be a Week 1 starter is badly needed on this team. The Cardinals are still rebuilding, but it’s making the right moves.


28. Buffalo: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Team needs: The scouting combine performance pushed Worthy into the first round. Will he go higher on Day 1? Maybe. But his speed and play-making ability is hard to bypass for a Bills team seeking to compete with the Chiefs in the AFC title chase.

29. Detroit: Christian Haynes, G, UConn

Team needs: It’s hard to question what the Lions have done in the draft the last couple of years. Is Haynes a reach at this stage of the draft? The Lions could use interior offensive linemen. Kevin Zeitler signed a one-year deal, so Haynes can learn and then take over in 2025.

Michigan linebacker Junior Colson plays against UNLV in the second half of an NCAA college...
Michigan linebacker Junior Colson plays against UNLV in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(Paul Sancya / AP)

30. Baltimore: Junior Colson, ILB, Michigan

Team needs: Finding a guard and linebacker is important for the Ravens given the losses at those positions. Colson is a talented player who can play Week 1 if needed or morph into a full-time role in Year 2. Ravens need another receiver as well, especially if OBJ doesn’t return.

31. San Francisco: Jordan Morgan, T, Arizona

Team needs: The 49ers are very talented, much like the Cowboys. But they have needs. The 49ers can get younger along the offensive line and Morgan can move into a tackle spot in Year 2.


32. Kansas City: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

Team needs: The wide receiver position was lacking at times. During the middle portions of the 2023 season, the Chiefs group was known for drops more than touchdowns. McConkey brings something to the Chiefs that’s needed.

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