New Year Mock Draft: Seven QBs, several shocking trades, and a defensive drought

In NFLMocks’ first mock draft of 2024, quarterbacks fly off the board in a hurry. Who will Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels end up with? Can the Vikings and Seahawks find signal-callers of the future?

Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham congratulates USC Trojans quarterback Caleb
Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham congratulates USC Trojans quarterback Caleb / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Two more mock draft trades shake up the end of Day 1

Lions Send:
•No. 27 Overall (2024)

Raiders Send:
•No. 42 Overall (2024)
•No. 112 Overall (2024)
•Future 2nd Round Pick (2025)

No. 27: Las Vegas Raiders (via DET) — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The Raiders jump back into the first round, this time for the all-important quarterback position. Whether Jim Harbaugh becomes the head coach in Vegas or not, J.J. McCarthy will be a name linked to the Silver and Black.

While the first round is a tad rich, overpaying is necessary at times, especially if a franchise has complete belief in said prospect. McCarthy has shown enough arm talent, maturity, and rushing ability to justify a dart throw at the end of Day 1. But fans must exhibit patience as he develops.

No. 28: Houston Texans (via CLE) — Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Will Anderson Jr. is the most impressive rookie defender in 2023, but the Texans still lack a pass rusher to take pressure off the former No. 2 overall pick. Insert Chop Robinson. The Penn State alum displays consistent bend on tape and will only improve as he introduces more moves to the tool belt.

No. 29: Miami Dolphins — Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Dolphins have Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard, which — on paper — reads as a strength. However, both men will be on the wrong side of 30 in 2024 and have dealt with injuries this season. Miami gets ahead of the curve by selecting Quinyon Mitchell, a sticky zone specialist with man coverage chops.

No. 30: Dallas Cowboys — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

The Cowboys could go with a flashy selection, but bolstering the offensive line is the smartest play. Graham Barton is a rare prospect who can legitimately play anywhere on the line. With Dallas, Barton can provide Pro Bowl-level play instantly.

The final trade allows Atlanta to find a Desmond Ridder replacement!

49ers Send:
•No. 31 Overall (2024)

Falcons Send:
•No. 44 Overall (2024)
•No. 143 Overall (2024)
•Future 2nd Round Pick (2025)

No. 31: Atlanta Falcons (via SF) — Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Another trade occurs, this time with the Atlanta Falcons flying back into Round 1. Bo Nix holds the college football record for most starts by a quarterback, highlighting his experience and marked improvement over the years.

For the Falcons, Nix wouldn’t be asked to carry the team — nor should he feel the pressure to do so. With Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts already in tow, along with the addition of Rome Odunze, there’s a strong chance Nix would find himself in Rookie of the Year convos.

No. 32: Baltimore Ravens — Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

The Ravens look like the best team in football and that leads to a luxury of sorts at No. 32 overall. Wide receiver? Cornerback? There’s no shortage of options at the end of this mock draft. But Troy Fautanu, a refined blocker from Washington, makes the most sense.

Fautanu can play guard at a high level in Year 1. He also has the skillset (and experience) to play offensive tackle when necessary. It’s hard to find a better fit for both sides, as Fautanu excels at using his strength to create running lanes.