2024 NFL mock draft: Final projection sets QB landing spots, features top-10 shake-up

It's the last shot at the first round.

In the months leading up to this year's NFL draft in Detroit, mock drafts helped us make sense of the various possible scenarios that could unfold when the first round begins Thursday. Yet for all those exercises that were explored, there's still only a small bit of clarity regarding the landscape. A single trade or unexpected move could have a cascading effect throughout the order – and there are sure to be at least a few wrinkles.

Still, it's time to put a bow on our predictions for Day 1.

NFL draft live updates: Everything you need to know for NFL draft's first round

Here's USA TODAY Sports' final 2024 NFL mock draft:

1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers) – Caleb Williams, QB, USC

At least there's one pick everyone should be able to accurately project. All that's left to finalize the marriage between Williams and the Bears is for Roger Goodell to call out the selection after Chicago is put on the clock. Despite the brief Justin Fields hypotheticals, this choice looked like a lock as soon as it was set. Williams has been underdiscussed throughout the pre-draft process given the certainty that has surrounded this slot, but his creativity is truly singular, and his rare blend of poise, accuracy and arm strength should help soften his transition period.

2. Washington Commanders – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Not the best start to a potential partnership when a franchise's expected draft pick has to clarify he would have no objection to being taken by that team. Nevertheless, after clearing the air Wednesday about his feelings toward Washington, Daniels is the overwhelming front-runner to become the centerpiece of a new era for the organization. The Heisman Trophy winner will long be linked with Drake Maye – and perhaps J.J. McCarthy, too – given the other quarterback options open to the Commanders here. And while Daniels will have his work cut out for him as he learns to target the middle of the field more consistently as his margin for error thins considerably, his scintillating running ability should be an immediate asset.

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

The trade intrigue starts here, as Eliot Wolf has declared New England "open for business." Yet it's a virtual certainty that it would take an extremely lucrative package to pry this pick away from the Patriots, and the new regime likely would need to feel comfortable with its alternative options at quarterback if a worthwhile deal does materialize. The simplest route, then, is to just run up the card for Maye, a supremely talented but erratic signal-caller. New coach Jerod Mayo has already heaped praise on him, and the 6-4, 223-pound passer would be a natural solution for an organization seeking to "weaponize the offense," as Wolf said.

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

If the previous slot is where potential for a swap originates, here's where it really ramps up. Monti Ossenfort's let's-make-a-deal mentality is well established, and the Cardinals could continue to stockpile more premium selections with which to build out this rickety roster. But will any team be willing to pay a sizable sum for the fourth quarterback off the board? Given that Arizona can stand pat and scoop up Harrison, a two-time unanimous All-American whose dominance grew so routine that it became mundane to those unable to truly appreciate it, Ossenfort should have a high bar for agreeing to any potential trade.

5. Minnesota Vikings (proposed trade from Los Angeles Chargers) – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) dives for a touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium.
Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) dives for a touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium.

Projecting trades seems like a fool's errand, but something has to give with the draft order as it relates to McCarthy. Minnesota's attempt to play things cool in its pursuit of a quarterback will be put to the test if the first few picks pan out this way. McCarthy might not be the Vikings' ideal replacement for Kirk Cousins, but he's more than a reasonable option. Kevin O'Connell can situate him to play efficiently as the coach expands the set of responsibilities McCarthy will have to take on.

6. New York Giants – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Should the Giants truly want to make a bold move for a quarterback, their positioning could prove favorable for a trade, as a team in the top five could still slide back here and not miss out on the top tier of prospects. Going with Nabers, however, allows New York to supercharge its passing attack without having to pull an about-face one year after giving Daniel Jones a four-year, $160 million extension. Washington's Rome Odunze could be a consideration here as well, but Nabers makes life significantly easier for Jones – and perhaps his eventual replacement – by creating easy separation and racking up yards after the catch.

7. Tennessee Titans – Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Sometimes, consensus in the draft is a matter of rationality rather than mere groupthink. Alt has been widely linked to the Titans for some time now, and with good reason. A steady pass protector who deploys his 6-9, 321-pound frame to keep rushers at bay, he is a fitting flourish to Ran Carthon's offseason overhaul in Tennessee.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

It feels somewhat wrong to make a last-minute pivot here after projecting Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner to Atlanta for essentially a year, dating all the way back to our initial way-too-early mock draft last April. But there's buzz around Murphy as not only a potential top-10 pick but also the first defender off the board. The undersized but massively disruptive defensive tackle would help set the tone for Raheem Morris' regime.

9. Bears – Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Though adding another force to the front four might be appealing to Matt Eberflus – and something potentially in play if there's a run on the top receivers – Poles will be hard-pressed to pass up the chance to equip Williams with a go-to target. With his superlative track record in securing contested catches and hauling in downfield heaves, Odunze figures to form a lethal long-term pairing with the Bears' new QB1.

10. New York Jets – Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Outside of the jockeying for a quarterback, this could be the spot in the top 10 to monitor for a potential trade. Gang Green could continue to focus on its immediate future by making a bold move for a receiver, or it could fade back in the order and recoup the second-rounder it lost in the Aaron Rodgers trade. An appropriate middle ground: staying put and grabbing Bowers, who should yield immediate returns as a short-area target capable of breaking big gains after the catch.

11. Chargers (proposed trade from Vikings) – JC Latham, OT, Alabama

If the Bolts are inclined to build up front rather than take one of the top three receivers, trading back in the first round would be the right move. Latham should be plenty alluring in this scenario, as Jim Harbaugh – who chased the right tackle hard on the recruiting trail at Michigan – might be enamored with his overpowering strength.

12. Denver Broncos – Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama

Dropping back in the order would be a sensible move for Sean Payton's crew, as Denver could still be in position to take a quarterback – perhaps Oregon's Bo Nix – but pick up some much-needed draft capital in the process. Turner, however, is a fine prize if the Broncos stay put, as his explosiveness would invigorate an edge rush that lacks a true foundational piece.

13. Las Vegas Raiders – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Silver and Black's draft class also will center on a difficult quarterback decision, and it's possible the team takes a flier on Washington's Michael Penix Jr. here or later on. If Antonio Pierce and Tom Telesco table that matter, there's a good chance they'll be drawn to Arnold, whose well-rounded coverage skill set and competitive edge should could put him over the top for Raiders brass.

14. New Orleans Saints – Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Perhaps no team in the teens has a deficiency as glaring as the Saints do at offensive tackle. Fashanu is still green, but his pass-protection prowess and immense upside are too great to turn down here.

15. Indianapolis Colts – Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

For Indianapolis to slow the likes of C.J. Stroud and Trevor Lawrence in the AFC South, an embattled secondary has to find answers – and quickly. Mitchell has proven himself capable of solving lots of problems thanks to elite his ball skills and comfort hanging tough in an array of coverage scenarios.

16. Seattle Seahawks – Troy Fautanu, OT/G, Washington

Signing Laken Tomlinson shouldn't be considered a sufficient answer for the Seahawks' losses at guard this offseason. Fautanu fills Seattle's void with fleet feet and abundant familiarity with Ryan Grubb's scheme after his time working under the offensive coordinator at Washington.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

Not an ideal spot for Trent Baalke with both of the top cornerbacks already claimed. Pivoting from their top positional concern, the Jaguars could turn to Verse, a powerful and persistent presence off the edge who would help bolster a pass rush that needs to add some juice beyond Josh Allen and Travon Walker.

18. Cincinnati Bengals – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Cincinnati's focus appears to be squarely on its fronts, and defensive tackle doesn't look viable with Murphy claimed long ago. If Fuaga hasn't been chosen yet, he fits perfectly as the punishing protector the Bengals would covet at right tackle.

19. Los Angeles Rams – Laiatu Latu, DE/OLB, UCLA

Despite being arguably this class' most polished defensive prospect, Latu could have a wide range of potential first-round outcomes given a medical history that includes forced retirement at Washington due to neck issues. If the Rams are comfortable with his outlook, the edge rusher stands out as the kind of ready-made contributor this front seven requires after Aaron Donald's retirement.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Graham Barton, G/C, Duke

While Barton doesn't have the towering build of some of his peers in this class, Pittsburgh likely would value his tenacity and efficiency. The Steelers can plug him in at center and then try to uphold the franchise's legacy of hitting it big on wide receivers on Day 2.

21. Miami Dolphins – Chop Robinson, DE/OLB, Penn State

This could be a spot to watch for a possible trade back, especially if the top offensive linemen and pass rushers are out of reach for Miami. Still, as a hyperathletic threat off the edge, Robinson would provide some insurance for the defense as Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips work their way back from season-ending injuries.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

After making an uncharacteristic splash for a running back with Saquon Barkley, is Howie Roseman willing to break even further from his habits? We'll know Thursday, when the Eagles could select a first-round cornerback for the first time since Lito Sheppard was taken in 2002. But Roseman might have a tough time resisting additional support along the offensive line, particularly if Guyton – a natural successor at right tackle to Lane Johnson – is available.

23. Chargers (proposed trade from Vikings, from Cleveland Browns via Houston Texans) – Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

Even in an offense that looks bound to emphasize the run, the Bolts have to infuse their receiving corps with some top talent after casting off Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. As one of this class' premier deep threats, Thomas can open things up for an attack that otherwise will likely see defenses frequently crowding the line of scrimmage.

24. Dallas Cowboys – Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Jerry Jones is likely to get even more heat for his "all-in" remark if the Cowboys trade back from this position. To avoid being shut out of the class' top offensive linemen, however, Dallas might need to pounce on the most promising blocker still unaccounted for. In this case, that's Mims, a gifted but unproven entity at offensive tackle after just eight career starts.

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

Much as Green Bay would benefit from additional help along the offensive line, there's no one available whose value outweighs that of DeJean. New defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley is placing a premium on generating turnovers, and the dynamic cornerback can spark big plays while also serving as a versatile asset in coverage.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

The Buccaneers brought back their most integral offensive figures in Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans, so the next order of business should be elevating an interior line that has repeatedly been a sore spot. Powers-Johnson can play anywhere on the inside, and his rugged approach could help boost a ground game that averaged a league-low 3.4 yards per carry last season.

27. Cardinals (from Texans) – Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Beyond Budda Baker, the Cardinals' defense is desperate for difference-makers. It's not easy to find a 6-1 cornerback with excellent long speed (4.28-second 40-yard dash) and the fluidity that Wiggins regularly exhibits, so he should be a strong consideration for Arizona's second Day 1 selection.

28. Buffalo Bills – Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

The new record holder for fastest 40-yard dash time forces defenses to account for his game-breaking potential on every play. Josh Allen is one of the few quarterbacks who can truly tap into Worthy's abilities as a downfield dynamo, and a receiving corps that lacks a true No. 1 option could use someone to change the overall complexion of the passing game.

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

One year after his highly criticized rookie class provided a massive payoff, Brad Holmes shouldn't face much pushback if he opts for McKinstry. The cool, collected cornerback should slide into a starting role more comfortably than many first-year players given his savvy and experience.

30. Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

For Todd Monken's attack to ascend even further in Year 2 and beyond, Baltimore will have to reload an offensive front in flux. Versatile and athletic, Morgan gives the team the flexibility of a short-term fix inside and a long-term option at either offensive tackle spot.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Darius Robinson, DE, Missouri

Of the 13 players invited to the NFL draft, Robinson appears to be the most likely to hear his name called last. Still, there's a solid chance for the Southfield, Michigan, native to be selected on Day 1 in Detroit. San Francisco would make for an especially promising landing spot for Robinson, as ace defensive line coach Kris Kocurek helped bring along Arik Armstead, another supersized defensive lineman with inside-outside versatility.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Any team that passes up Mitchell and allows him to fall into the lap of the defending champions might later bemoan that sequence of event. A crisp route-runner who can create separation with ease, Mitchell has the make-up to be a fast favorite of Patrick Mahomes as both someone who can move the chains and help bring a big-play dynamic back to the receiver room.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 NFL mock draft: Final QB landing spots, top-10 shake-up