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NFL Mock Draft 2024 - Making Our Picks on the Across The Pond College Football Podcast

On our most recent episode of the Across The Pond College Football podcast, Daniel Shirley, Senior College Football Editor at The Athletic, and I ran through the first round of the NFL Draft, taking it in turns to be each team's general manager to make our selections.

How did our mock NFL Draft work?

Our one rule was that there would be no trades, ruling out the possibility of teams likely to trade up for a quarterback.

It was great fun. We selected five quarterbacks in our first round which also featured offensive linemen, wide receivers heavily, and saw a run on cornerbacks. There were some surprise picks and a debate about the steal of our picks.

Here's how it unfolded. I won the coin toss and picked first. The Chicago Bears are on the clock...

1.Chicago Bears - Caleb Williams - QB, USC

(Image credit: Fan Duel on X)

Gareth: "This might have been Jayden Daniels, the Heisman Trophy Winner, but I'm going with the consensus , Caleb Williams, quarterback from USC, at number one."

2. Washington Commanders - Jayden Daniels - QB, LSU

(Image credit: Forbes)

Daniel: "I'm very appreciative that my number one player on my board is still available. I'm taking Jayden Daniels. I love everything about his game. I can't wait to see how it translates to the NFL. He was so dynamic and just terrific on the field, entertaining and fun to watch. They (the Commanders) need somebody for that fan base to get behind, and I think he's the guy to do that."

3. New England Patriots - Drake Maye - QB, North Carolina

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Gareth: "I really like J.J. McCarthy, and I actually think a team is going to aggressively trade up for him, given the movements of the last few weeks, but I'm going to plump for Drake May, the North Carolina quarterback, going to the Patriots at number three."

Daniel: "This time last year, I think a lot of people would have said he'd be the number one pick. And you're getting him third."

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

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Daniel: "I'm going to break the run on quarterbacks at number four. I'm going to take Marvin Harrison, Jr., the wide receiver from Ohio State. I know there's a lot of talk about Rome Odunze and some other receivers moving up the board... I'm going to with the one I trust the most."

Gareth: "I think that's a great pick. There's an argument to say that if the league wasn't so quarterback needy, he's possibly the best player in the draft."

5. Los Angeles Chargers - Rome Odunze - WR, Washington

(Image credit: Huskies Wire)

Gareth: "I think the Chargers will go either tackle or a receiver here, given they've just lost Mike Williams. I think they take a receiver and I would get Rome Odunze for (Chargers coach) Jim Harbaugh."

Daniel: "I think he's going to be a superstar, I really do."

6. New York Giants - Joe Alt - OT, Notre Dame

Daniel: "I trust Daniel Jones one more year, and I'm going to take Joe Alt, the tackle from Notre Dame, because I want to protect my quarterback."

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

Gareth: "I think Will Levis had a great first year... I think the Titans need to protect him. I'm going to give him Olu Fashanu, the tackle from Penn State, who I believe allowed no sacks in twelve games directly this season."

8. Atlanta Falcons - Malik Nabers - WR, LSU

(Image credit: Cards Wire/USA Today)

Daniel: "Well, thank you for not taking Malik Nabers because that's who the Falcons want. They could have gone defensive end here but I think Malik Nabers, these three top receivers, I believe are going to be stars in this league."

Gareth: "What an offense that's going to be. Malik Nabers lining up with Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts and Drake London. That's one terrifying offense."

9. Chicago Bears - Amarius Mims - OT, Georgia

Gareth: "I'm going to give some protection to Caleb Williams, and I'm going to select Amarius Mims from Georgia, who I know you like and we spoke about. I think he's got such huge potential and think he could be tackle for the next ten years for the Bears."

Daniel: "They have built a really good team around their quarterback. You certainly helped them out with that pick. I love it."

10. New York Jets - J.J. McCarthy - QB, Michigan

(Image credit: Fan Arch)

Daniel: "So here's my dilemma. Do you take Aaron Rodgers' (replacement) or protect Aaron Rodgers? I'm going J.J. McCarthy here. I'm going to do it. I didn't think I would when we started but we saw what happened with Aaron Rodgers last year. How many plays did he play before got hurt? And then you didn't have the guy behind him and it sank the entire season. So I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Gareth: " Wow, what a prospect for the Jets as well. I didn't see that coming. I think that's a really interesting pick for the Jets. I thought you might go tight end there."

11. Minnesota Vikings - Jared Verse - EDGE, Florida State

Gareth: "The Vikings are in a situation where I've got Sam Darnold at quarterback but I don't think they will take one at 11, I don't think the value is there at the moment. So I think I'm going to give them an edge, and I think Jared Verse is the guy from Florida State to go to Minnesota at pick 11."

12. Denver Broncos - Brock Bowers - TE, Georgia

Daniel: "I can't believe Brock Bowers is still there at 12. I'm going to take him. Why wouldn't you take him? I think he might be the best player in this draft, Gareth, I do...he's a good blocker. He's a brilliant pass receiver. He can extend plays down the field. He's just a nightmare for defenders."

13. Las Vegas Raiders - Tailese Fuaga - OT, Oregon State

Gareth: "Quarterback is on their list. They need help all over the place really. I think tackle is where they need some help. I think there's value in quarterback further down the line. So I'm going to give them Tailese Fuaga, the Oregon State offensive lineman at number thirteen."

14. New Orleans Saints - Dallas Turner - EDGE, Alabama

(Image credit: Windy City Gridiron)

Daniel: "I'm going to take Dallas Turner and snap him up, I'm just a big fan of him, not only him as a player, but him as a leader, a character guy, all those things. He's a guy I would love to have in my locker room."

Gareth: "He's a brilliant pick and really could have gone in the first eight or nine picks easily."

15. Indianapolis Colts - Quinyon Mitchell - CB, Toledo

Gareth: "They have some needs across the board, really, but they do seem light in the secondary. So I think it's time for the first corner to go off the board, and what a selection. I think it's a brilliant draft year for cornerbacks, but I'm going to give them the Toledo cornerback, Quinyon Mitchell. 46 career pass breakups and five interceptions the season before last. He had a brilliant combine and would make a real impact on that Colts defense."

Daniel: "He's a guy who could go in the top ten and you wouldn't bat an eye."

16. Seattle Seahawks - Brian Thomas, Jr. - WR, LSU

Daniel: I'm going to go for Brian Thomas, Jr., wide receiver from LSU. He's big, he's 6'3", he's 209 pounds. He ran a 4.33. I think he's a guy who could help them right away."

17. Jacksonville Jaguars - Terrion Arnold - CB, Alabama

Gareth: "I'm going to go corner for Jacksonville and I can't look past Terrion Arnold, the Alabama cornerback. He's really smooth, he's played safety before, five interceptions this season. Kool-Aid McKinstry was touted as the guy who was going to be the big corner there last year, but the two together were sensational."

18. Cincinnati Bengals - Byron Murphy II - DT, Texas

(Image credit: Houston Chronicle)

Daniel: "I think that there's probably going to be a run on cornerbacks in the last half of the first round. I'm not going to start it yet. I'm going to go with Byron Murphy from Texas, the defensive tackle to the Bengals. They've had some free agency losses and they really need to bolster that defensive line."

19. Los Angeles Rams - Jer'Zhan Newton - DT, Illinois

Gareth: "I'm going to take the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Jer'Zhan Newton from Illinois. He goes to the Rams at 19 as a replacement for Aaron Donald."

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Adonai Mitchell - WR, Texas

Daniel: "I'm going to go with Adonai Mitchell. I think there's a lot of stars in this wide receiver group, but I think he's going to be an absolute star in the NFL. He was in college. I might not be president of the AD Mitchell fan club, but I'm at least on the board of trustees."

Gareth: "I'm certainly signing up for that fan club. He'll just give the Steelers something whether it's Russell Wilson or Justin Fields, what a great target for them."

21. Miami Dolphins - Laiatu Latu - EDGE, UCLA

Gareth: "This is a tough one. I would have gone defensive lineman but I don't know if the value's there at 21 to do that. I do think they would benefit from a good edge rusher. I think Laiatu Latu from UCLA."

Daniel: "They're so good offensively. They've got to find something on defense to get them over the hump."

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Nate Wiggins - CB, Clemson

(Image credit: Clemson Tigers)

Daniel: "I'm going to go with Nate Wiggins here, the cornerback from Clemson. Good size, he ran 4.28 at the combine, really kind of set the combine on fire. He's such a good player and they need to get a little younger on defense."

Gareth: "He's a fantastic pick up for the Eagles, and it's quite good that they don't pick somebody from Georgia for a change!"

23. Minnesota Vikings - Michael Penix, Jr. - QB, Washington

Gareth: "They need a quarterback... there's something about purple for this guy. I'm going to give Michael Penix, Jr. to the Vikings at pick 23. Heisman runner up, he had a good combine. He surprised people with his performance. I think he's got a rocket for an arm, makes good decisions."

24. Dallas Cowboys - Graham Barton - G/C, Duke

Daniel: "I think Dallas needs some toughness. They need somebody who's mean. I'm going to go with Graham Barton, the middle inside offensive lineman for Duke, He's athletic, he's strong. He's a competitor and they need something like that."

25. Green Bay Packers - Cooper DeJean - CB, Iowa

Gareth: "I'm going to pick a defensive back. The guy I was hoping would be on the board is Cooper DeJean, the Iowa cornerback who moved from safety. I think he'll be fantastic in that secondary with Jeff Hafley, the new defensive coordinator there.

Daniel: "Man, that's a good pick because you get the guy you wanted at 25. I've seen him mocked to them a lot. Even Dane Brugler, who works for us at The Athletic, has him mocked to the Packers on his latest draft."

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tyler Guyton - OT, Oklahoma

Daniel: "The Buccaneers need offensive line help. They've signed Baker Mayfield. Mike Evans is still there, but they need somebody to protect that quarterback. I'm going to go with Tyler Guyton, the tackle from Oklahoma."

27. Arizona Cardinals - Chop Robinson - EDGE, Penn State

(Image credit: CBS Sports)

Gareth: "Arizona needs some help on the defensive side. So I think a linebacker... or a defensive edge. I'm thinking the Penn State player, Chop Robinson, who is just such an explosive pass rusher.

28. Buffalo Bills - Xavier Worthy - WR, Texas

Daniel: "I'm going to give them some speed and I'm going to give them the fastest guy in the history of the NFL Combine, it's hard to beat that, right? I'm going to say Xavier Worthy from Texas."

29. Detroit Lions - Kool-Aid McKinstry - CB, Alabama

Gareth: "I'm going to go cornerback because I think they need some help in the secondary. Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama is my pick. I read the other day that he was likened to Jaire Alexander, so now he gets to play in the same division as him."

30. Baltimore Ravens - J.C. Latham - OT, Alabama

(Image credit: Yahoo Sports)

Daniel: "JC Latham is still on the board. I'm going to snap him up. I don't think that's a position of need, but he could be a ten-year starter in the NFL. I can't believe he's made it there... I think that's the steal of the draft."

31. San Francisco 49ers - Troy Fautanu - OT, Washington

Gareth: "Troy Fautanu is still available, again surprising, the Washington tackle, so I'm going to take him at 31. He's 6'4", so quite short for a tackle, but long arms, I think he may end up as a guard. I don't think there's enough versatility on that 49ers front line, especially with their left tackle. He could make an impact elsewhere."

Daniel: "Believe me, as a 49ers fan, offensive line is a position of need."

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Jordan Morgan - G/C, Arizona

Daniel: "I've got the last pick. I'm the Super Bowl champion. But I'm always going to protect my quarterback. I've got the best quarterback in the game. I'm going Jordan Morgan, the tackle/guard can play either position. Probably could play center if you need him to....probably again, another ten-year starter in the NFL."

You can listen to the full episode here:


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