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2024 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper, Field Yates release Mini-Mock Draft 2.0 ahead of NFL Combine

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko02/26/24

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2024 NFL Draft Mel Kiper Filed Yates Mini Mock 2.0
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ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Field Yates released a mini mock for the 2024 NFL Draft ahead of the scouting combine.

The Mock Draft 2.0 isn’t finished yet, but the first 12 picks gave insight into some changes from the experts. For this experiment, Yates took the odd-numbered picks and Kiper had the evens.

Let’s dive into the latest NFL Mock Draft 2.0 from Kiper and Yates on ESPN’s First Draft Podcast.

1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB – USC

andy-staples-pete-nakos-assess-usc-quarterback-caleb-williams-future-ahead-nfl-draft-declaration-deadline
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

This has been the general consensus for a lot of mock drafts and nothing changes here. Williams is the top quarterback in the draft and a chance for the Bears to hit the reset button.

With this selection, gone is former first round pick Justin Fields and in comes Williams. It’s hard to envision a scenario where this doesn’t happen at this point.

2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB – LSU

LSU QB Jayden Daniels
Matthew Dobbins | USA TODAY Sports

Kiper is sticking to his guns here and put Daniels in the QB2 spot in this draft. The Heisman Trophy winner will be the new face of the Washington Commanders. Or heck, if they’re renamed, again, to the Washington (insert nickname).

Daniels is a true dual threat and only got better as he progressed in college. Daniels in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense? That sounds pretty fun right now.

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

Drake Maye, North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback
(Orlando Ramirez / USA TODAY Sports)

The next quarterback off the board is Maye. He was the QB2 for so long, but Daniels’ breakout year pushed him above the Tar Heels signal caller.

It seems like the Patriots need a reset at QB and Maye is the guy to do it. New head coach Jarod Mayo will usher in a new era in New England and Maye is the prototypical guy to build around for years to come.

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

marvin harrison jr-ohio state-ohio state football-buckeyes
(Brooke LaValley / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Harrison Jr. is by far the best wide receiver in this class. If the Cardinals stick with Kyler Murray and don’t attempt to get one of the top QBs in this draft, Harrison Jr. is an obvious pick.

You have to give Murray a legitimate No. 1 pass catcher. Harrison Jr. could turn into one of the best playmakers in the league right away.

5. Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Alt, OT – Notre Dame

Notre Dame left tackle Joe Alt is a 2024 NFL Draft prospect.
(Chad Weaver/Blue & Gold)

Protect Justin Herbert at all costs. Yes, Jim Harbaugh could draft a weapon here for his quarterback, but the Chargers can afford to wait.

With what we saw at Michigan, Harbaugh loves to build through the trenches on both sides of the ball. Drafting Alt here is a no-brainer for Los Angeles.

6. New York Giants: Rome Odunze, WR – Washington

Rome Odunze-Washington
(Photo by Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports).

Speaking of wide receivers, Odunze is the next man up and the Giants got him. Regardless of who’s under center for the Giants next year, they need a top-end wide receiver.

Odunze could start right away and make an impact. He aided Michael Penix Jr. to new heights with the Huskies and can run every single route.

7. Tennessee Titans: Malik Nabers, WR – LSU

LSU WR Malik Nabers
© Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Nabers is a weapon, there’s no doubt about it. Yates likes this selection by the Titans to give their quarterback a big-time target.

Nabers can run the entire route tree and the Titans definitely need some sort of boost on offense going into 2024. He was a big part of Daniels’ true breakout campaign in 2023.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Turner, EDGE – Alabama

Alabama LB Dallas Turner
(John David Mercer / USA TODAY Sports)

Dallas Turner was a menace for the Crimson Tide over the course of his college career. He seemingly just fits Atlanta right?

Raheem Morris might hit a home run with this type of pick in the 2024 draft. Kiper seems to think so as well. The Falcons could get an instant pass-rushing starter here.

9. Chicago Bears: Laiatu Latu, DL – UCLA

Laiatu Latu
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears revamped their defense last season and they might as well add to the defensive line. You want to give the ball right back to the offense? Add Latu to the fold.

A franchise quarterback and a potential cornerstone on the flip side of the ball? Yeah, we think the Chicago regime will sign up for that.

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

brock-bowers
(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Here is a bit of a change in this mock draft. Rather than drafting an offensive lineman to project Aaron Rodgers, Kiper likes the Jets to take Bowers.

Bowers is the best tight end in the class and it’s not even close. In fact, he’s one of the best weapons in the entire draft class. It would bring quite the excitement to the Jets’ offense, but they’ll still need to protect Rodgers.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Jared Verse, DL – Florida State

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(Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)

The Vikings have a larger decision at quarterback to make this offseason, but right now, you might as well improve the defense. Verse is the next man up on the board.

He’ll immediately provide a boost to an older defensive line. Heck, the Vikings’ defense was better this season but they lost Kirk Cousins for the season, putting more pressure on keeping games low-scoring. It’s kind of dealer’s choice here, but Verse makes sense on that side of the ball.

12. Denver Broncos: JJ McCarthy, QB – Michigan

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(Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

There it is! Another quarterback! It seems like the Russell Wilson experiment in Denver is over and Sean Payton wants a fresh start with someone younger.

Enter McCarthy, who just won a national title for Michigan. All he does is win doesn’t he? He lost one game as a starter and that was to Georgia in the CFP semifinals during his first year as a starter. Perhaps with some development, he could be very solid with the Broncos.

So this was just a mini mock draft, but it’s a nice look into what Kiper and Yates think ahead of the scouting combine. The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25th through 27th.