Skip to main content

Road to the Draft

Presented by

TWENTYMAN'S MOCK DRAFT 3.0: Post-free agency predictions

The first wave of free agency is complete, and most teams around the league feel like they filled some needs and have improved their rosters from where they were at the start of the league year.

When it comes to the draft, the good teams will draft best available and not pass up on better players for need, but that's not always how the draft works.

Here's my third prediction with Mock Draft 3.0 coming out of the bulk of free agency. Feel free to disagree.

1. Chicago Bears (7-10) (via Carolina)

Chicago traded quarterback Justin Fields to Pittsburgh, which opens the door for the Bears to select a quarterback No. 1 overall.

Pick: QB Caleb Williams, USC. Williams comes with some baggage, the Combine made that clear, but Chicago gets a chance to reset the rookie pay structure at the most important position in football with the consensus No. 1 signal caller in this draft.

2. Washington Commanders (4-13)

It's a new regime in Washington led by general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn. It makes sense to kick off this era with their guy at quarterback after moving on from Sam Howell.

Pick: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU. Daniels had a terrific pro day last week and I think he is a better fit for the kind of offense new Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury is going to want to install in Washington.

3. New England Patriots (4-13)

The Patriots reset the franchise this offseason moving on from Bill Belichick and hiring Jerod Mayo as their new head coach. Now I see them creating some competition at quarterback.

Pick: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan. I had Drake Maye here in my previous two mocks, but I think McCarthy has aced the pre-draft process. The combination of his arm talent, footwork, athleticism and moxie puts him in the top three at quarterback in this class.

4. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)

The Cardinals are still behind quarterback Kyler Murray and now they have to work on getting him some more weapons.

Pick: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State. I think the Cardinals also do a lot of work on Malik Nabers after he wowed at his pro day last week, but strictly going off the tape Harrison gives the Cardinals a legitimate No. 1 receiver with good bloodlines and a track record of success.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (5-12)

New head coach Jim Harbaugh has the quarterback in Justin Herbert but needs weapons around him.

Pick: WR Malik Nabers, LSU. Offensive line help makes sense here too, especially with Harbaugh wanting to run the football, but LA has to give Herbert more weapons to throw to after the loss of receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in free agency/trade.

6. New York Giants (6-11)

The Giants need a lot of help on offense as they had the league's 29th scoring offense this past season.

Pick: WR Rome Odunze, Washington. With good size, terrific speed and elite ball skills, Odunze could bring a big play element to the Giants' offense.

7. Tennessee Titans (6-11)

The Titans are rebuilding under second-year quarterback Will Levis and job No. 1 is protecting last year's investment.

Pick: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame. Arguably the best tackle in the draft is terrific value at No. 7 and allows Tennessee an opportunity to improve both phases of their offense in one pick. The Titans allowed 64 sacks this past season, tied for the third most in football. Levis gets a new blindside protector.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Now that Atlanta has their quarterback situation figured out with the signing of Kirk Cousins, they can focus on improving the other side of the football.

Pick: Edge Dallas Turner, Alabama. Atlanta could look to trade out of this spot, but if not, this is a great spot to see the first defensive player off the board. Turner tore up the Combine with his athletic traits and he'd instantly help an Atlanta defense that ranked 21st in sacks with 42 this season.

9. Chicago Bears (7-10)

With a quarterback in hand, the Bears can now give Williams another weapon to throw to alongside D.J. Moore.

Pick: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia. Receiver is definitely an option but giving Williams two terrific TE options in Cole Kmet and Bowers could be key. This is a deep receiver class, and the Bears can find more help there later.

10. New York Jets (7-10)

All the drama in New York this offseason can go away if quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns to form and the Jets do this year what they were supposed to do last year.

Pick: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State. Fashanu's workout at the Combine was cut short due to a thigh injury but before that he showed off terrific athletic traits for a man his size. Jets quarterbacks were sacked 64 times last season, third most in the NFL.

11. Minnesota Vikings (7-10)

Adding another first-round pick via trade means the Vikings are giving themselves options to move up. I'll include trades in my final mock ahead of the draft but for now I have them taking the best quarterback available and that's Maye.

Pick: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina. He's a prototypical passer with size, arm strength and good athleticism. He and Sam Darnold can battle it out for the starting job.

12. Denver Broncos (8-9)

With the release of Russell Wilson, the Broncos need a quarterback. I think they try to trade up to get McCarthy, but if they can't, taking a quarterback just to take one isn't a good strategy. Denver takes their lumps this year and has a Top 5 pick in 2025 to address the quarterback position.

Pick: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama. Arguably the best cornerback in this draft, he would pair with Patrick Surtain II to give the Broncos one of the best young cornerback tandems in the league. Denver's defense allowed the third highest passer rating (98.0) to opposing quarterbacks this past season.

13. Las Vegas Raiders (8-9)

Quarterback Aidan O'Connell showed some potential going 5-5 after becoming the starter. They also have veteran Gardner Minshew in the fold at quarterback. I think they look to add defense and could end up getting the best pass rusher in the class when it's all said and done.

Pick: Edge Jared Verse, Florida State. An ultra-athletic and rangy edge rusher to pair opposite Maxx Crosby is a huge win for Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

14. New Orleans Saints (9-8)

The Saints have a big need at guard. Why not get a player who can play guard and tackle.

Pick: OL Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State. An absolute mauler in the run game, he didn't allow a sack in his time starting at right tackle at Oregon State.

15. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Adding some beef and extra depth along the defensive line should be a priority for a defense that ranked 29th in points allowed and 24th against the run in 2023.

Pick: DT Byron Murphy II, Texas. Not a bad first day haul getting arguably the best defensive tackle in the class in the middle of the draft.

16. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)

With offensive linemen Damien Lewis and Evan Brown moving on in free agency and Phil Haynes still unsigned, there is a need upfront along the offensive line, especially inside, even after signing Tremayne Anchrum in free agency.

Pick: OL Troy Fautanu, Washington. Fautanu can slide inside and fill an immediate need there, but his versatility to play tackle as well will be a welcomed addition in Seattle.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

Adding an offensive lineman or a receiver makes sense too, but I think the allure of getting one of the top cornerbacks in the draft, even after signing Ronald Darby in free agency, is too good to pass up.

Pick: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo. He really stood out at the Senior Bowl practices and then he went to Indy and had a terrific Combine. Plus, his production in college matched – five interceptions and 20 pass breakups in 2022.

18. Cincinnati Bengals (9-8)

The Bengals could go a lot of different ways here but after addressing the safety position in free agency they look to add a young cornerback to the mix.

Pick: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson. Wiggins has good length at 6-foot-1 and ran a blazing 4.28 at the Combine with a 10-foot-7 broad jump.

19. Los Angeles Rams (10-7)

The Rams could look to add a quarterback to develop under Matthew Stafford, but the more immediate help would be adding to a pass rush that ranked 23rd in sacks this year and just lost Hall of Famer Aaron Donald to retirement.

Pick: Edge Laiatu Latu, UCLA. A mature and powerful pass rusher who registered 13.0 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss for the Bruins this past season and answered some medical concerns about his neck at the Combine.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7)

The Steelers addressed the quarterback position with the signing of Wilson and trade for Fields. Now they look to protect them with arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the class.

Pick: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon. A physical and nasty football player with movement skills and versatility to play all three spots inside. A classic Steelers pick that pays dividends for a decade.

21. Miami Dolphins (11-6)

The Dolphins were active in free agency adding to the defense and now address the offensive line with a versatile player.

Pick: OT JC Latham, Alabama. A two-year starter at right tackle for the Crimson Tide, Latham is a human bulldozer in the run game with versatility to play tackle or guard. More and more teams are looking for this kind of versatility upfront.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (11-6)

Opponents tore the Eagles' defense up in the pass game this past season. Philadelphia ranked 31st against the pass and 29th in opponent passer rating against (97.6). The addition of C.J. Gardner-Johnson will help in the nickel, but Darius Slay isn't getting any younger at cornerback.

Pick: DB Cooper DeJean, Iowa. A really versatile defensive back who can play cornerback, safety, return kicks and probably be one of the best special teams players on the team. He had seven interceptions the last two seasons combined for the Hawkeyes.

23. Minnesota (7-10) (via Houston/Cleveland)

Gaining a second first-round pick gives Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah some options. I still think they package 11 and 23 to move up, but if not, this seems like a good landing spot for secondary help in this class.

Pick: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama. After adding help on the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings snag a cornerback who has a chance to help them right away.

Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2024 free agency.

24. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

The Cowboys were pretty quiet in free agency and could go a lot of different ways in the draft. When in doubt, adding talent and depth upfront along the offensive line late in the first round is usually great value.

Pick: OT Amarius Mims, Georgia. A prototypical tackle prospect with terrific length (6-8, 340) and technique. Adding a player like Mims gives the Cowboys options upfront.

25. Green Bay Packers (9-8)

The Packers could use some secondary help, but they're going through a transition this offseason upfront along their offensive line and adding talent and depth there could give them more options.

Pick: OL Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma. Guyton could come in and compete for a starting spot right away at left tackle or right guard after they lost Jon Runyan and David Bakhtiari this offseason.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)

Wide receiver Mike Evans signed a two-year extension this offseason but he's turning 31 before next season and the Bucs need to start thinking about the future of the position.

Pick: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU. Thomas has terrific size (6-3, 209) and speed (4.33 in 40 at Combine) to be a playmaking threat right away. He's coming off a 17-touchdown season. That would be a heck of a trio in Tampa Bay with Evans, Chris Godwin and Thomas.

27. Arizona Cardinals (4-13) (via Houston)

After adding a top-tier weapon in the passing game with their first pick in the first round, the Cardinals address their defense with their second first-round pick.

Pick: Edge Chop Robinson, Penn State. The Cardinals added some defensive line help in free agency, but teams can never have too many good pass rushers. Robinson showed out at the Combine as an athletic freak, and his twitchy, athletic traits could fit in Arizona.

28. Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Most have Buffalo going receiver, but they added Curtis Samuel in free agency and Khalil Shakir is an underrated receiver heading into his third season after having over 600 receiving yards last year. The Bills re-signed DaQuan Jones this offseason, but he is 32 years old.

Pick: DT Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois. A disruptive and productive player in college who led the Illini with 7.5 sacks from the interior last season. He led the FBS with a school-record 4 blocked kicks and finished with 52 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss.

View photos of NFL prospect Adonai Mitchell.

29. Detroit Lions (12-5)

Lions GM Brad Holmes made it clear at Annual League Meetings last week that he doesn't draft for need and will take best available at 29.

There's a lot of options here for Holmes and the Lions. Could they go with the best interior offensive lineman left in Duke's Graham Barton? What about adding at cornerback? Maybe another edge rusher in Darius Robinson? Could a receiver be on top of Holmes' board?

Pick: WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas. Mitchell had himself quite the Combine measuring in at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and then testing through the roof with a 4.34-second 40, a 39.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-4 broad jump.

The Lions return their top two receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams but lost No. 3 receiver Josh Reynolds in free agency. They also have Kalif Raymond, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Antoine Green back, but adding a player like Mitchell could be very tantalizing. Between Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs and Mitchell the Lions would rival the Dolphins in terms of fastest skill weapons in the league without losing any of the toughness they're built on.

Related Content