No. 10: Denver Broncos – Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
If this happens, something went very, very wrong in 2023. Sean Payton is a brilliant offensive mind, so if anyone can resuscitate Russell Wilson’s career, it will be the Super Bowl-winning head coach. However, Wilson will turn 35 during the upcoming season, begging the question: How much juice does he have left?
Even if Wilson bounces back well enough to be a souped-up game manager, he is not returning to his franchise quarterback form. Instead, Quinn Ewers checks all the boxes Payton looks for in a signal-caller. He is creative, takes care of the football, and can make any throw in the NFL. Ewers wouldn’t have to start immediately if Wilson can keep it together for another season or two.
No. 11: New Orleans Saints – Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Oh Yeah! Kool-Aid McKinstry could go as high as the top five by the time the 2024 NFL Draft gets here. At No. 11 overall in this mock draft, the Saints snag a player with All-Pro potential at cornerback. McKinstry is sticky in coverage and oozes confidence. He will link up with Marshon Lattimore to lock down opposing wideouts.
No. 12: New England Patriots – Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Marvin Harrison Jr. steals the limelight in wide receiver discussions, but the “other” Ohio State pass catcher is an early first-rounder as well. Emeka Egbuka can win on the outside, but he has found success playing as a big slot in the Buckeye offense. The Patriots will allow Egbuka to roam all over the field; finally, a true No. 1 option in New England.
No. 13: Green Bay Packers – JC Latham, OT, Alabama
I believe in Zach Tom at right tackle, and Rasheed Walker is a tantalizing developmental prospect behind David Bakhtiari. But health has not been on the side of Green Bay in recent years. J.C. Latham is too good of a prospect to pass on at this stage of the mock draft. Tom can slide inside if he proves to be a stable starter.
No. 14: Houston Texans (via CLE) – Barrett Carter, LB, Clemson
The first Clemson linebacker off the board is Barrett Carter. DeMeco Ryans needs a leader for the linebacker room, and Carter fits the bill. He is an all-around defender possessing the foot speed to stick with assignments in coverage and the physicality to be a difference-maker in run defense. Houston adds another cog to the machine at No. 14 overall in this mock draft.
No. 15: Minnesota Vikings – Kalen King, CB, Penn State
My favorite cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft class is Penn State’s Kalen King. Following the footsteps of recent Nittany Lion defensive backs, King aims to be the first in school history to come off the board on Day 1. He is a competitive, smooth-moving cornerback with scheme versatility. The Vikings are young at the position, but you can never have too many impact players in the secondary.
No. 16: New York Giants – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Brian Daboll turned water into wine with Daniel Jones in 2022, and they did it all without a bonafide No. 1 wideout. Malik Nabers will change that from the jump, as the LSU pass catcher is a home run hitter. He excels with the ball in his hands; Daboll will have fun with his new chess piece.