As I've mentioned a few dozen times on 'The Drive', the NFL Draft is the greatest sporting event of the year. The intrigue, the storylines, the drama, and its ultimate unpredictability all make it the perfect television product. The Giants and Jets both select in the top 10 of this years draft, and there has been no shortage of speculation with both clubs will do with their respective selections. The Giants have been almost penciled in to select a quarterback with their first round selection, but will the board fall their way? Here are my final predictions for tonight's NFL Draft.

1. Chicago Bears (via CAR)

Caleb Williams, QB, USC

The Bears have made it abundantly clear that they will go in this direction to kick off this years draft. Caleb Williams is one of the most gifted prospects at the quarterback position that the league has ever seen, setting records and winning almost every individual award imaginable during his time in college. Williams was the 2022 Heisman Trophy Award winner, compiling over 4,500 yards passing, and 52 total touchdowns in 14 games for the Trojans. In '23, he took a slight step back, and was often forced to play the role of the hero for one of the worst defenses in all of college football. The character concerns surrounding Williams as a leader are baseless. Myself and Dan Bahl caught up with Pro Football Focus CFB analyst Max Chadwick on yesterdays edition of 'The Drive', in where he told us that he spoke with many of Calebs teammates during his time at Southern Cal, including Williams himself, and he received nothing but glowing reviews as a locker room guy. One thing that people point to is Caleb's inclination to lean into the spectacular, something that he'll have to clean up at the next level. He undoubtedly has the ability to play within the structure of a pro offense, and we'll all be well aware of that come September.

2. Washington Commanders

Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

The reigning Heisman finds a home with this brand new staff in Washington. Daniels is coming off an incredibly impressive season in where he posted over 4900 total yards, 50 touchdowns and just four interceptions for the Tigers. Daniels excels in almost every level as a quarterback. He made tremendous strides as a passer throughout his time at the collegiate level. Last season, Daniels was easily the best QB in the nation, leading a star-studded LSU offensive skill group that included Malik Nabers, and Brian Thomas. Daniels is a rare example of a QB who went from a below average thrower of the football, to posting one of the most impressive seasons in the history of the sport. Daniels is incredible at maneuvering a muddy pocket, and can make throws at all levels of the field. His footwork is about as good as it gets, and his decision making was at its best in his final season in Baton Rouge. One thing he will need to improve on is becoming NFL-Level accurate as opposed to college accurate. Meaning, he would often put balls that will need to be put in front of receivers slightly behind, or not in stride. Regardless of that, Washington is making the sound decision here.

3. New England Patriots

Drake Maye, QB, UNC

In my mind, this is where the draft truly begins. Picks 1 & 2 have been all but locked in for a few weeks now, with the majority of the rumblings beginning at pick number three. Eliot Wolf and company will look past  the mostly disastrous Mac Jones era with New England, and start fresh here. Maye possesses the size and arm talent to be good in the NFL for a very long time. At 6'4", 223 pounds, he has what many GM's seek when it comes to finding their next long term answer at signal-caller. Maye is arguably the best intermediate passer in the class, and has an ability to display a level of touch with his throws that is highly encouraging. Maye regressed in his final season at UNC, but there were unfortunate circumstances that may have contributed to that. Maye definitely had the worst situation out of the top three QBs in this class. However, some of what he put on tape in 2023 could worry some evaluators. He seemed to lose some of the confidence that made him so dangerous the season before, but that was due in part to the lack of protection and countless third and longs himself and the offense faced. It may take a few years, but Maye has all the intangibles to be a slam dunk at pick three.

4. Arizona Cardinals

Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State

With the top three quarterbacks off the board, I don't envision the Cardinals getting any offers that would talk them out of taking arguably the best prospect in the entire draft. Harrison is as perfect as a prospect as they come, excelling in every area of the game. He is a technician as a route runner, and uses his elite ball skills to track just about anything that is thrown his way. The Cardinals need their X-Receiver, with Marquise Brown departing to Kansas City in the offseason. This is about as safe as it gets in the draft. Harrison Jr. has the potential to be one of the better receivers in the game in year one, and with a healthy Kyler Murray righting the ship for the Cards, they could be one of the most improved teams in 2024.

5. Minnesota Vikings (Projected trade with LAC)

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan 

We see it every draft season. A prospect who ends the season strongly, and garners a ridiculous amount of buzz throughout the pre-draft process. McCarthy had a superb final season with the Wolverines, capping off his college career with a dominate National Championship win over Michael Penix, and the Washington Huskies. You're thinking it, so I'll say it. Was McCarthy's success purely based off being put in the best possible situation to perform? The short answer, no. McCarthy displayed outstanding leadership abilities throughout his time in college, doing absolutely everything asked of him every step of the way. While the numbers may not pop off the page, McCarthy is capable of producing at a level high enough to win your team meaningful games. He has exceptional arm strength, and has in my view, the best football mind out of the top QBs in the class. Minnesota can let J.J. take a seat in his first season behind the veteran Sam Darnold. He'll then walk into an offense with no shortage of weapons; including Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Minnesota packages their two first rounders to secure their quarterback of tomorrow.

6. New York Giants

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU 

It can finally happen. The Giants find their first true number one receiver they've had since Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants know that in all likelihood, they will be moving off of Daniel Jones, come this time next year. However, with Maye off the board, they'll likely stay put at this spot and take the best available receiver on the board. Nabers was the best wideout in CFB last year, posting 1,569 yards and 14 TDs in '23. Nabers would likely be the number one receiver in almost every draft class over the past ten seasons, but he happens to be sharing the green room with Marvin Harrison Jr. this year. The LSU receiver has an innate ability to shift gears and use his speed to change direction with the best of them. The Giants wait on addressing their need for a QB this year, and go with the freakishly athletic Nabers at six.

7. Tennessee Titans

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The best tackle prospect in this years class lands with the Titans here at pick number seven. The Titans have a glaring need at tackle, and Alt would be able to be an immediate force on an O-Line that has been declining in recent seasons. The Notre Dame man comes into the league at 6'8, and 321 lbs, and will have zero problems adjusting to the size of NFL edge rushers. Alt gave up just five pressures all of last season, and had a 91.6 pass block grade in '23, according to PFF. The Titans are in no position to contend for a Super Bowl, but what they can do with this pick is give themselves a better understanding of what second year QB Will Levis is capable of.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

The first defensive player goes off the board to the Falcons, who by doing so address a major need on that side of the ball. Atlanta hasn't had a player with double digit sacks since Vic Beasley in 2016. Turner possesses the talent to get them out of that slump. Turner fills a need for Atlanta, who really has no glaring holes on the offensive side of the football. They inked QB Kirk Cousins to a 4 year $160M deal this offseason, and are set at the top of their three skill positions, with Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts. Turner has an elite blend of size, speed, and ability to get after the quarterback that makes him the best edge rusher in a relatively weak defensive draft.

9. Chicago Bears

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

When the Bears made the decision to move on from Justin Fields, it can be safely assumed that they will be doing everything possible to avoid putting Caleb Williams in a tough spot to succeed while he's on his rookie deal. With the additions of De'Andre Swift, Keenan Allen, and Odunze, that'll be more than enough to supplement the USC QB. They would immediately have the most talented receiving room in the league, and they can sure up their future at the position beyond however many years the soon to be 32 year old Keenan Allen gives them. Odunze thrives at all three levels on the field, and is renowned for his incredible body control and contested catch ability.

10. New York Jets

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia 

With the Jets adding three new starters on the offensive line, their options at number ten have opened up significantly. The two time John Mackey Award winner has been increasingly linked with New York at this spot. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Jets to select Bowers at +145, with the next shortest odds for offensive tackles Troy Fautaunu (WAS), and Taliese Fuaga (OSU) coming in at 8-1. While the Jets still have Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Rocker on the roster, it wouldn't hurt to pick up one of the greatest one of the greatest tight ends in the history of college football. Bowers is excellent in the short passing game, and can line up virtually anywhere on the field. Over his three seasons in school, Bowers led all tight ends in receiving yards, touchdowns, passer rating when targeted, and yards per route run (PFF). The Jets can make the returning Aaron Rodgers very happy with this selection.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (Projected trade with MIN)

Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

In this projected move down for LA, they land the third Husky off the board in the first eleven picks. Fautanu was one of the best tackles in the country last season, and was an incredibly under-appreciated piece of what Washington was able to achieve in 2023. Fautanu is one of the most physical prospects at tackle that has come out over recent years, and in my mind, should be the second one taken off the board tonight. The Morris Trophy winner can earn the starting spot at right tackle, or be transitioned into a guard in his rookie season.

12. Denver Broncos

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

The fifth quarterback of the draft is taken here, and its five year starter Bo Nix. Nix had a brutal start to his collegiate career, completing less than 60 percent of his throws in his first three seasons at Auburn. Much like Jayden Daniels, Nix completely changed the tide in his final two seasons. As a starter for the Ducks, he accrued 74 passing touchdowns, throwing just 10 interceptions. Nix turned 24 in February, which could scare away some teams, but perhaps Sean Payton is a believer in the QB. Nix would likely start day one for Denver, beating out Jarred Stidham and Zach Wilson for the job. The Broncos have been linked to Nix a great deal in recent weeks, and it comes to fruition here.

13. Las Vegas Raiders

Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Raiders lost their starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor to the Giants this offseason, and have yet to address that need going into 2024. Fuaga would be an immediate plug and play for a Raiders offensive line that needs all the help it can get. Fuaga was superb in college, not allowing a single sack over his final two seasons for the Beavers. He still has things to clean up heading to the next level, but with the right coaching, and through experience in the league, he can become a solid starter for years to come.

14. New Orleans Saints

JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Saints address their biggest need with the selection of the 6'6" 342 pound Latham here in round one. Latham can take the spot of a shaky Ryan Ramczyk at right tackle. Latham played exclusively on the right side in his Bama days, dominating in the process. He possesses a rare blend of size, and athleticism that will be craved by GMs across the sport on draft night. Latham allowed just two sacks over 960 pass blocking snaps over his final two seasons for Alabama.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (Projected trade with IND)

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Eagles have gone 22 years without drafting a cornerback in the first round, but the time has finally come. The Eagles defense took a major step back in the second half of last season, and the secondary struggled mightily. Philly has been rumored to want to move up to select a corner, and they get it done with the Colts in this scenario. Arnold had 5 interceptions in the 2023 campaign, and has shown the ability to be a more than capable man cornerback.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (Projected trade with SEA)

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Steelers move up four spots and secure their starting left tackle in the middle of the first round. Fashanu is arguably the second best tackle in this class, and at 6'6", 317 lbs, he possesses the size, and athleticism necessary to thrive at the next level. The Steelers can have their outside tackles sured up for the next ten years with Broderick Jones on the right. Fashanu should not be available this late, but in a draft loaded with talent on the offensive side, it's entirely possible he's available for them to make an aggressive move up with Seattle.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Brian Thomas Jr, WR, LSU

With the loss of Calvin Ridley to a divisional rival, the Jags reload with the second LSU wideout of the first round. Thomas brings a level of speed that will translate just fine to the next level, operating as the Tigers deep threat alongside Malik Nabers last season. In an AFC that is only getting better on the offensive side of the football, taking a receiver would be the wise thing for a team whose offense collapsed in the final stages of the 2023 season.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

Murphy has been consistently mocked to the Bengals at this pick, and I'll be the latest one to join that club. Murphy has elite quickness and athleticism for his position, clocking in a. 4.87 40 yard dash in Indianapolis at the combine. With the gauntlet of AFC QBs only getting stronger by the year, whatever Cincy can do to slow down the likes of Pat Mahomes, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, they should do.

19. Los Angeles Rams

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Late falls to the Rams in the back half of the first round, and Mcvay uses his first ever first round selection with LA on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams have a need on the edge, and Latu can slide right into a starting role on this team. Latu is a natural playmaker, and he has an excellent frame, and ability with his speed and power to get to the quarterback.

20. Seattle Seahawks (Projected trade with PIT)

Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Robinson has one of the most powerful builds out of any defensive player in this class, and Seattle could use an edge rusher on the opposite side of Leonard Williams. Robinson ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the combine. At 6'3", 254 pounds, that is absurd. Seattle should be jumping on the opportunity to select the former Nittany Lion.

21. Miami Dolphins

Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

The run on edge rushers ends here with the selection of Verse. The Dolphins need help all over the defensive side, and with uncertainty surrounding the status of both Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips both recovering from major leg injuries, it would be wise for Miami to go this direction. Verse is known primarily for his explosive first step towards the tackle, and his style of play is directly correlated to where the edge position is headed in the modern day game.

22. Indianapolis Colts (Projected trade with PHI)

Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

DeJean has been mocked all over the first round over the past few weeks, and lands with Indy after their trade down with the Eagles. DeJean was a massive part of the Hawkeyes success on defense throughout his time at Iowa. The CB has incredible burst and twitchiness, and is possibly the best in this class when it comes to recovery speed on a given route. He thrived in Iowa's outside zone style secondary, and is becoming one of the more hyped up prospects leading up to tonights draft.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (Projected trade with MIN)

Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

The Chargers lost both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in March, and they can get their number one receiver late here in the first. Mitchell has ideal size for a next level receiver, at 6'2" 205 lbs. He has some of the best hands out of any wideout in the '24 class, and uses his 4.34 speed and coordination to make plays as an intermediate and deep threat receiver.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Dallas uses their first pick to take Barton. Barton played left tackle at Duke, but many around the league believe that he will be transitioned into a center at the next level. Dallas could certainly use a center to bolster their offensive line. Barton has an ideal frame, and could play all five positions on the O-Line. Barton is one of the scrappiest offensive linemen in this class, and uses his frame to create leverage on every down.

25. Green Bay Packers

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

The Packers have to prioritize keeping Jordan Love upright in 2024, and they can do just that with this selection. Mims almost looks as if he was a created player on Madden, standing at 6'8", and weighing in at 340 pounds. He was a huge part of why Georgia was so successful on offense over the past two seasons. Mims slides right into the left tackle position in week 1 for the pack.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Robinson can play all along the defensive line, taking snaps both inside the interior and on the edge during his collegiate days for the Tigers. Robinson offers a blend of versatility, athleticism, and physicality to this Bucs defensive front. The argument for an interior offensive lineman can be made here, but with the top ones mostly off the board, Tampa pivots to Robinson in this spot.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via HOU)

Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama 

The Cardinals come out of day one as happy customers. After going with OSU wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. with the fourth pick, they look to the other side of the field with the selection of McKinstry here. Jonathan Gannon won't leave the first round without adding to the defense, especially to a secondary in desperate need of any help it can get. Kool-Aid is a terrific press corner as well as an incredibly intelligent zone defender.

28. Buffalo Bills

Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

Yes, he caught that ball. Pearsall is projected to be a late second rounder, so this one is simply more of an inkling. Every year, there is a receiver that goes off the board that was projected to go later than a handful of guys, and the Florida product has every reason to be a first rounder. Pearsall is much more than that one highlight play. He is an exceptional route runner, and has tremendous skill at the point of the catch. The Bills have a glaring need at wide receiver after losing Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis in the offseason. Pearsall could immediately be the most efficient pass catcher for Josh Allen, and would be a great pickup here.

29. Detroit Lions

Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

This pick will almost certainly be on defense for Brad Holmes, and the Lions. Detroit is still searching for an identity on the defensive side of the ball, and adding Wiggins would strengthen this secondary in a massive way. Wiggins has great length, and lateral quickness, and did a terrific job during his time with the Tigers at reading the opposing quarterbacks eyes and jumping routes.

30. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Upon losing both of their starting tackles in the offseason, the Ravens will likely look to the right side of their offensive line with this selection. Guyton stands 6'8", 322 pounds, and looks every bit of it on tape. The Ravens did as good a job as they have at pass blocking last season under Lamar Jackson, so in order to continue the positive trend, it would be wise for them to sure up the right side with this selection.

31. Las Vegas Raiders (Projected trade with SF)

Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington

Penix has been mocked everywhere from the top 12 to the middle of the second round. We settle at a medium here, with the Raiders moving up from 44 to take their potential quarterback of the future. Penix turns 24 in early May, and has had a litany of injuries all throughout his collegiate career. If Penix was 22, and had no injury concern, you can make the argument that he could be anywhere from QB 2-4 in this class. Upon transferring to Washington prior to the 2022 season, Penix made tremendous strides as a passer, and decision maker. The Raiders currently don't have the answer at signal-caller on the roster, so them being the ones that make the move for Penix wouldn't surprise me one bit.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

Rounding out my 2024 mock, and the first round, is Legette. The 6'1", 221 pound wideout ran a 4.39 40 yard dash at the combine, impressing many GMs in the process. Legette has workable size for the next level, and would add some size to a Chiefs receiver room that is in need of it. Mahomes could probably win a Super Bowl with me or you at receiver, so it wouldn't shock me if they go a different direction here, but ultimately they end night one by taking the seventh wide receiver off the board.

We hope to see you at Katie O'Byrnes in Schenectady for our 2024 NFL Draft Party!

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