2024 NFL Draft

Eagles mock draft: Time to veer from the trenches?

Here's a look at our latest NFL mock draft with the Eagles heading away from the trenches in a rare move.

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If I’m totally honest with myself, I know it’s going to be a lineman. We all do.

Since Howie Roseman became Eagles general manager in 2010 – and not including 2015, his one-year banishment – the Eagles have made 13 picks in the first round, and 10 have been either offensive or defensive linemen. Mainly defensive linemen. The three others were all wide receivers.

Even going back before Howie, 23 of the Eagles’ last 30 1st-round picks going back to Antone Davis in 1991 have been linemen. 

And with Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox facing uncertain futures, Nolan Smith enduring a disappointing rookie season, Josh Sweat going eight straight games without a sack and Haason Reddick looking for a new contract, a defensive lineman would make sense for the Eagles at No. 22.

And with Jason Kelce retiring, Lane Johnson turning 34 this spring and Sua Opeta and Jack Driscoll due to become free agents, an offensive lineman would make sense at No. 22.

That said, I’m going off script in this week’s mock draft because it’s past time for the Eagles to draft a cornerback in the first round. The last one was Lito Sheppard in 2002 and before that Ben Smith in 1990.

James Bradberry is 30 and can’t play anymore. Darius Slay is 33 and still decent but on the downside of his career. This is a strong cornerback draft, and if Roseman decides to stay at 22 there’s going to be tremendous cornerback value.

Twenty-two years is long enough to wait for a stud corner.

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Justin Fields isn’t the worst quarterback in the world, and with the right people around him I believe he can win you some games. But the opportunity to land a potential generational talent like Williams will be too much for the Bears to resist. No homegrown quarterback has won a playoff game for the Bears since Rex Grossman 21 years ago. And Jim McMahon before that 42 years ago. The Bears have won three playoff games since 1995 – one with Steve Walsh at quarterback, two with Grossman. The last five QBs they’ve drafted in the first round – Jim Harbaugh in 1987, Cade McNown in 1999, Grossman in 2003, Mitch Trubisky in 2017 and Fields in 2021 – have won an average of 19 games (and lost 21) in a Bears uniform. It’s time for this once-proud franchise to start taking the quarterback position seriously, and they can’t let a prospect like Williams slip through their fingers. Including his year at Oklahoma, Williams had 93 TD passes and 14 INTs in over 1,000 college pass attempts and completed 67 percent of his passes. He can make every throw, he can make plays with his arm or legs when the play breaks down and he should flourish playing alongside NFL talent. 

2. Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

They have a new owner in Josh Harris, a new coach in Dan Quinn, a new offensive coordinator in Kliff Kingsbury and a new passing game coordinator in Brian Johnson. Remember him? I can’t imagine with all those new pieces, they’re going to run it back with Sam Howell. Quinn gets his new QB in Daniels, the Heisman Trophy winner this past season at LSU. After transferring from Arizona State, Daniels threw 57 TDs and seven INTs, passed for nearly 7,000 yards, ran for over 2,000, completed 70 percent of his passes and went 18-7 in 25 starts. Daniels has rare athleticism, big-time speed and a knack for throwing the deep ball. He becomes the first QB selected with a top-5 pick drafted into the NFC East since Carson Wentz eight years ago.

3. Patriots: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

It’s been more than 30 years since the Patriots drafted a quarterback with a top-10 pick. That was Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993. When you have Tom Brady, you never have top-10 picks and you never need a quarterback. The Patriots do now. Unless you’re a big believer in Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe. This is the Patriots’ big chance to finally get their first potential franchise QB in a post-Brady world. Maye can make all the throws, has great size at 6-5, 220 and is a good enough athlete to make plays on the move. Get this: The Patriots haven’t taken any offensive player with a top-10 pick in 28 years – since WR Terry Glenn from Ohio State 7th overall in 1996. They haven’t even had a top-10 pick since 2008, when they took linebacker Jerod Mayo, who’s now their head coach. This is a fantastic opportunity for a franchise that’s gone five years without a playoff win to reshape their future.

4. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison, WR, Ohio State

Our first non-quarterback might be the most polished player in the entire draft. Harrison has put together back-to-back monster seasons, with 144 catches, 2,474 yards and 28 TD catches the last two years. His dad, who played at Roman Catholic, was the 19th pick in 1996 out of Syracuse and had a Hall of Fame career, and his son is an even bigger prospect. Harrison Jr. is 6-4 where his dad was 6-0, and the younger Harrison had an even better college career. The Cards haven’t had a WR with even 800 yards the last couple years and Harrison will add a desperately needed dimension of firepower to an offense that ranked 24th last year and hasn’t been top-10 since 2016 when their QB was Carson Palmer and Larry Fitz was still in his prime.

5. Chargers: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Bowers is listed as a tight end, but really he’s just a weapon. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he’s got tremendous athleticism and strength and the ability to run anything on the route tree but also block at a high level on the line of scrimmage. Bowers averaged 58 catches, 846 receiving yards, 910 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in three years in Athens. Kyle Pitts was the first top-5 tight end since Riley Odoms in 1972, and the Falcons had mixed results with that pick. But when you have a talent like Bowers on the board, how do you not take him? The Chargers had their worst offensive performance this past season since 2015 (when Frank Reich, Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen were on their offensive staff) and a weapon like Bowers will help Justin Herbert and that beleaguered offense immeasurably.

6. Giants: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

A lot of years, Nabers would be the top WR prospect. He’s No. 2 this year but the gap between Harrison and Nabers is not that great. Nabers is the latest NFL-ready LSU wide out – think Eddie Kennison, Michael Clayton, Odell Beckham Jr., Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase – and whoever drafts him is getting a polished, tough, speedy, sure-handed receiver who is going to pile up a lot of yards after the catch. The Giants haven’t had a WR with 800 yards in a season since OBJ back in 2018, and whether they move forward with Daniel Jones or someone else, they’re going to have to get their QB some weapons if they’re going to have any success, and Nabers is a heck of a place to start.

7. Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

The Titans allowed sacks on a mind-blowing 11.5 percent of their pass plays in 2023, 8th-worst by any team in the last 30 years. And in six years under Mike Vrabel, they allowed a sack on 9.2 percent of their pass plays, worst in the NFL during that period. New head coach Brian Callahan comes from an offensive line background – his dad is highly regarded o-line coach Bill Callahan (who was with the Eagles in the 1990s and is now his offensive line coach), so you know he’s going to start by trying to put together a respectable offensive line. Alt, whose dad John was a two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Chiefs in the 1990s, is a massive 6-foot-8, 320 pounds, equally comfortable pass blocking or run blocking and polished enough to make an immediate impact. The Titans took Northwestern guard Peter Skoronski 11th overall last year and Alt would give them another critical building block up front.

8. Falcons: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

This draft is top heavy on offense, and our first defensive player is Turner, the first of four Alabama players in the first round. Turner, who stands 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, had 12 ½ sacks and 18 tackles for loss in two years playing alongside Will Anderson Jr. But this past season, with Anderson earning Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors for the Texans, Turner really came into his own, with 10 sacks and 14 ½ tackles for loss. He’s got all the traits you want in an edge – terrific size and arm length, elite first step, great bend and outstanding strength. The Falcons have drafted skill guys in the first round the last few years – Bijan Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts – and it’s time for them to focus on defense after a sixth consecutive year ranked 18th or worse in points allowed. The Falcons were 21st in sacks last year and they’re the only NFL team that hasn’t had anybody with 7.0 sacks since 2019 or double-digit sacks since 2016. Turner is a perfect fit in Atlanta.

9. Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Odunze’s production this year was off the charts, with 92 catches for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns playing with Michael Penix Jr. In four years with the Huskies, he had over 200 catches and 3,000 yards with 24 TDs. Odunze has ideal size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and a rare combination of body control, elite hands and leaping ability that allow him to make contested catches. But he’s also got the wheels to pick up big yards after the catch, and he’s a big-time run blocker as well. D.J. Moore is back for the Bears, but after that the cupboard is bare. Harrison, Nabers and Odunze make this only the sixth draft ever with three top-10 wide receivers, but they’re that good. Whether Chicago’s QB is Fields or Williams, Odunze will provide consistent production from the get-go.

10. Jets: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Jets’ offense was a mess last year, finishing ahead of only the Panthers in total yards and ahead of only the Giants, Patriots and Panthers in scoring. They allowed the 4th-most sacks and scored an NFL-low 18 offensive touchdowns, which is absurd. That’s barely one per game. During one eight-game stretch they scored five offensive TDs and allowed 40 sacks, something no NFL team had ever done. That stretch included a win over the Eagles, for what it’s worth. So there’s a lot of work to do and Joe Douglas knows it has to start with the O-line. Fuaga sure looks the part of an NFL tackle at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds. He’s a huge, powerful prospect who made big-time strides after a decent but hardly spectacular 2022 season. Fuaga allowed no sacks and only two QB hits for the Beavers this past year and after an outstanding Senior Bowl his draft stock really soared. Fuaga comes to the NFL technically sound and ready to start from the jump.

11. Vikings: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Nix really came into his own after transferring from Auburn to Oregon and was third in Heisman voting this past year after completing 77 percent of his passes for over 4,500 yards with 45 touchdowns and just three INTs. In all, he threw for over 15,000 yards with 113 passing TDs and 38 rushing TDs including both his college stops. Even if Kirk Cousins returns to the Vikings, he’ll be 36 on opening day and coming off a torn Achilles, so no matter what, the Vikings have to start thinking about their quarterback of the future. The Vikings have never drafted a quarterback higher than Daunte Culpepper at 11 back in 1999, and Culpepper and Christian Ponder in 2011 are the only QBs they’ve ever taken in the top 25. Culpepper is the only QB the Vikings have drafted since Wade Wilson in 1981 to win a playoff game in a Vikings uniform. And that was nearly two decades ago. So it’s time, and Nix fits the bill. He’s not quite a finished product, but he’s accurate, athletic, has a strong arm and can throw on the run. He needs to continue to evolve as a pocket quarterback, but that’s most rookie QBs. Nix has all the traits teams are looking for.

12. Broncos: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Some may think McCarthy is a bit of a reach at 12, but the Broncos need a quarterback – or they will when they release Russell Wilson - and McCarthy has a chance to be very good. The Broncos haven’t drafted a 1st-round quarterback since Paxton Lynch in 2016 – he won one career game – and they have Jarrett Stidham under contract for another year and he’s OK and can get you through 2024 while McCarthy holds the clipboard. But McCarthy – who just turned 21 – gives the Broncos something they haven’t had in years, a promising young homegrown quarterback. He’s smart, tough, accurate, instinctive, good mechanics. And with a 27-1 record at Michigan, he’s obviously a winner. No Broncos QB in his 20s has won 10 games in a season since John Elway in 1989. The team that drafted Tommy Maddox and Tim Tebow 25th overall and Lynch 26th needs to try again.

13. Raiders: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Our first cornerback but definitely not our last. Arnold is going to start a run on corners with six going in the next 17 picks. That doesn’t help the Eagles, who pick behind several teams that need corners and could very well snag a couple from under their nose. Unless Howie Roseman decides to trade up. Which would make some sense. Anyway, Arnold looks like the best of the bunch as we sit here two months before the draft. Arnold, who was more of a basketball prospect in high school, earned a starting spot as a freshman in Tuscaloosa and just kept getting better the more he played. He’s got positional versatility and a rare combination of strength, quickness, speed and technique that will allow him to win vs. top NFL wide receivers. One down, several to go. Which corners will still be on the board when the Eagles pick at 22?

14. Saints: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Saints haven’t taken a tackle in the first round since Andrus Peat in 2015. Peat’s had a nice run at left tackle, but he’s 30 now and a free agent, and Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk has a chronic cartilage problem in his knee that makes his future uncertain as well. So the Saints may need to replace both tackles, and drafting a stud like Fashanu would solve one of those problems. Fashanu played high school ball in Washington, D.C., with Caleb Williams before heading to State College, where he manned left tackle when healthy for the last three years. Fashanu is a capable run blocker but a next-level pass blocker and great agility and athleticism at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds. He’s a powerful, athletic kid with plenty of room to grow. 

15. Colts: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

This is the guy. I tried to get him to slide down to 22 but I couldn’t in good conscience make it happen. But whoever gets Mitchell – and we’ve got him going to Shane Steichen and the Colts – is getting an elite playmaker who’s always around the ball. Mitchell really put himself on the map as a junior when he had four interceptions and two pick-6’s in a 52-32 win over Northern Illinois in DeKalb, and he was credited with 37 pass breakups in 27 games over the last two years. It’s still just the Mid-American Conference – the last Toledo player taken in the first round was edge rusher Dan Williams back in 1993 – but Mitchell’s performance at the Senior Bowl showed that he’s a big-time corner and alleviated any concerns about level of competition. 

16. Seahawks: Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

Murphy is an athletic freak at 6-foot-1, 310 pounds, able to mesh his quickness and agility with his power to attack ball carriers and quarterbacks. The Seahawks ranked 31st in the NFL in run defense last year, allowing 138 yards per game and 4.6 per carry. They haven’t drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since edge L.J. Collier in 2019, and he’s now with Arizona. Murphy, who had 5.0 sacks and 8 ½ tackles for loss this past year in a breakthrough season for the Longhorns, can make an immediate impact for rookie head coach Mike Macdonald.

17. Jaguars: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Even if the Jaguars figure out the Josh Allen situation – he could wind up playing on the one-year franchise tag – they could use another big-time pass rusher. And if they lose Allen after 2024 they’ll definitely need one. Latu is a twitchy 6-foot-5, 260-pound edge who was very productive the last two years playing for Chip Kelly’s Bruins. He had 10 ½ sacks in 2022 and 13 this past season and 34 tackles for loss the last two years. One concern is a neck injury Latu suffered at practice while he was at Washington. At one point, Huskies coach Jimmy Lake said Latu would never be able to play football again. But he had surgery, was cleared and resurfaced in Westwood as one of the nation’s top edge rushers. Latu seems fine now physically, but this kind of injury can cause players to slide on draft day. But from a purely football standpoint, he’s a beast.

18. Bengals: JC Latham, OT, Alabama

The Bengals could lose starting right tackle Jonah Williams to free agency and coming off a season where they allowed 50 sacks – 6th-most in franchise history – they’ve got to address the offensive line. Latham, a defensive lineman for much of his high school career, converted to offensive tackle when he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Smart move. Latham stands an imposing 6-foot-6, 355, but even at that size he’s got great quickness and athleticism, and like most prospects who come out of Alabama at any position, he’s got NFL-ready technique both as a powerful pass blocker and a ferocious run blocker. 

19. Rams: Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon

The first interior lineman off the board, Powers-Johnson is versatile enough that he played guard, center and a little bit of tackle in Eugene and even played one game at defensive tackle when Oregon was desperate for healthy bodies. But he’s probably going to be a center in the NFL and his outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl — both at guard and center — cemented his status as a 1st-round pick. Powers-Johnson has the combination of power and leverage that scouts are looking for from center prospects. The great thing about drafting Powers-Johnson is that you get a guy who can conceivably start out at any of three positions before ultimately finding a home at center. Rams center Coleman Shelton is a free agent, and Powers-Johnson would be a significant upgrade.

20. Steelers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

We’ve got a little run on offensive linemen here, and Mims makes it five offensive tackles in the first 20 picks. Mims is one of the more intriguing guys in the draft because he has all the tools to be an outstanding NFL offensive tackle – great size at 6-foot-7, 340 pounds, tremendous power, surprising agility and outstanding technique. The thing about Mims is that he just hasn’t played very much. Because of injuries, he started just eight games for the Bulldogs, two late in 2022 and six this past year, all at right tackle (although he took practice reps at left tackle). So there’s some risk involved here. But with left tackle Dan Moore Jr. entering a contract year, Mims can come in and learn the NFL game with an eye on starting in 2025.

21. Dolphins: Adonai “A.D.” Mitchell, WR, Texas

Once Mitchell ran 4.34 at the combine, he pretty much cemented his status as a 1st-round pick. That was the 2nd-fastest 40 time at the combine – Mitchell’s teammate, Xavier Worthy, set a combine record with his 4.21 time. Both have world-class speed, and Worthy had slightly better production at Texas, but Mitchell is 6-3, 205 pounds, where Worthy is 6-0, 165, so I have Mitchell penciled in here at No. 21. After two years at Georgia, he really came into his own with 55-for-845 with 11 TDs and 15.4 yards per catch in his one year in Austin. Why would the Dolphins take a WR when they already have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle? Because Mike McDaniel loves offense.  

22. Eagles: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Even if James Bradberry had an outstanding season the Eagles still would have needed to address corner with two starters in their 30s. But he didn’t and no matter what Howie Roseman says I can’t imagine any scenario where Bradberry is still with the Eagles in 2024. And Darius Slay turned 33 in January and isn’t the player he once was. The Eagles have been getting by with veterans and Band-Aid fixes at corner for a while now and sometimes it’s worked. But the only corner the Eagles drafted in the last 20 years who's started 10 games in a season is Jalen Mills, their 7th-round pick in 2017. Before that you have to go back to Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, drafted in the 1st and 2nd rounds in 2002, and then Bobby Taylor, a 2nd-round pick in 1995. So it’s time. It’s way past time. 

If Roseman stays at 22, he'll likely miss out on the top few corners, and I had Clemson’s Nate Wiggins penciled in here until two things happened at the combine – he weighed in at only 173 pounds, which is awfully light for an NFL corner who needs to have at least some run support responsibility, and then he suffered a hip injury running his 4.29 40-yard dash. If Wiggins can add a few pounds and show he’s healthy at his pro day I’d still consider him, but I feel like at this point McKinstry makes more sense. Now, he’s also dealing with an injury – a broken toe kept him out of the combine – but that’s a non-issue in the big picture. McKinstry (real name Ga’Quincy), the third cornerback off the board (and fourth Alabama player), is a smart, versatile D-back with long rangy arms, very good speed and the ability to play the slot or along the boundary. He only had two interceptions in college but 22 pass deflections in two years as a full-time starter and also had success as a punt returner, something the Eagles don’t need at the moment but could come in handy. I like what I saw from Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks, and Isaiah Rodgers could help too. But it’s time to go for a stud, and McKinstry sure looks like one.

23. Texans: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

Will Anderson, the third pick last year, was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2023, and Jonathan Greenard had 12 ½ sacks, but he’s currently a free agent. You know DeMeco Ryans would love to generate more pass rush – the Texans were middle of the pack last year at 15th in sacks – and Robinson seems like a Ryans kind of guy. Robinson’s production was moderate after he transferred from Maryland to Penn State – 9 ½ sacks and 17 ½ tackles for loss in two seasons in State College. But he’s a guy you draft because of traits. He’s got elite bend, a wide arsenal of pass-rush moves and an explosive first step and the 4.48 he ran at the combine sure won’t hurt his status.

24. Cowboys: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

Tyron Smith is a free agent, turns 34 this coming season and has missed more games the last four years (36) than he’s played (30). Even if the Cowboys re-sign Smith, they need to start thinking about offensive tackle, and Tautanu is a good one. He’s also a guy who can play guard, which the Cowboys also need. You’ll hear some people complain about his arm length, but he makes up for it with outstanding technique, athleticism and power. Coming from Washington, he’s going to be a top pass blocker but he’s also a very physical and willing run blocker.

25. Packers: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

DeJean put himself on the map with a five-interception season with three pick-6’s in 2022. He added two more INTs last year, when opposing quarterbacks had just a 40.6 passer rating targeting him. DeJean was a 23-7 long jumper in high school, which says a lot about his athleticism. Like so many Iowa defensive backs, DeJean has the skill and technique to make an immediate impact in the NFL. He’s equally comfortable playing slot or outside and is a willing and productive special teamer, and these are all qualities that increase his value. The Packers had a terrific season but did rank 25th in pass defense and although Jaire Alexander is still talented and just turned 27, he’s only played 27 games the last three years thanks to injuries and a suspension, and even if he plays a full season the Packers still need to address cornerback. 

26. Buccaneers: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

This pick is largely but not entirely dependent on Mike Evans leaving via free agency, which isn’t a certainty but sure looks likely. Evans hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down, but he does turn 31 this summer and wants to see what his options are. Chris Godwin is going into a contract year, so the Bucs need to think wide receiver. Coleman didn’t have elite production like some other receivers in this year’s draft – in his one year in Tallahassee after transferring from Michigan State he caught 50 passes for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns in a largely run-oriented Seminole offense. But at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he’s got some intriguing traits. Coleman will show up on a lot of highlight reels because of his ability to make difficult catches in traffic, but he’s a very disciplined route runner, has a knack for getting into the end zone and has got a ton of upside. 

27. Cardinals: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

Newtown is a smallish 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from earning Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors this past fall. Newtown has the frame to get a little bigger, but you also don’t want him to lose the explosion and quickness that makes him such a productive player. Newton can play anywhere on the defensive line, he’s sound against the run and an effective pass rusher from the inside. The Cards need a little bit of everything, but Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis could sure use some help up front after ranking 29th in the NFL in run defense and 25th in total defense. 

28. Bills: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson: With Micah Hyde and Dane Jackson facing free agency and Tre’Davious White now 29 and coming off two serious injuries, the Bills need to think about restocking the secondary. There are a couple red flags with Wiggins. His hip injury at the Combine doesn’t seem too serious, and as long as he’s healthy at his pro day it shouldn’t matter. And you’d like to see him add to his 173-pound frame to hold up over a full season. Those concerns could drop him a bit from the middle of the first round, where he was projected before the combine. But 4.29 speed is 4.29 speed, and he’s got those long, rangy arms that you love to see in a young corner. If he’s healthy, Wiggings could be a steal.

29. Lions: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

The Lions did a lot of things well last year, but they did rank 27th in pass defense and allowed 28 touchdown passes. Cam Sutton was OK in his first year in Detroit, but cornerback remains a priority for the Lions, and even though Rakestraw is the sixth cornerback off the board, he’s still a promising prospect. When there are this many good players are one position in any draft that means there’s still great value at the bottom of the first round. There are concerns about Rakestraw’s ability to stay healthy in the NFL at 6-0, 185, and the way he loves mixing it up as a run defender. But if he gets a little bigger and stronger, which his lanky frame should allow, he’ll be a solid NFL starter. Smart kid with great range, coverage ability and tenacity.

30. Ravens: Graham Barton, iOL, Duke

Built like a tackle at 6-5, 315 but played center at Duke and because of short arms might project as more of an interior lineman than a tackle. Playing inside would allow Barton to use his power and anchor to neutralize all manner of defenders. Barton moves well and is one of the new breed of centers who are athletic and move well in space. Thank Jason Kelce for that. Could use some work on his footwork, and has plenty of room to grow. But when you’re picking 30, you’re not going to always get a plug-and-play guy. But he has a chance to develop into quite a player.

31. 49ers: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Nick Bosa was the 49ers’ only edge with more than five sacks this past year and as gifted as Bosa is, his production was down from 34 sacks in 2021 and 2022 to 10 ½ last year, and pass rush is an area the 49ers could use some help under whoever their new defensive coordinator turns out to be. In Verse, the 49ers get an explosive 6-foot-4, 255-pound pass rusher with a wide array of moves and elite athleticism. Verse began his college career at Albany, of all places, and after dominating on the FCS level – 13 ½ sacks and 21 ½ tackles for loss in 15 games – he transferred to Florida State, where he recorded 18 sacks and 29 ½ tackles for loss in 25 games. 

32. Chiefs: Brian Thomas, WR, LSU

Rashee Rice really came on the second half of the year and the postseason, but the Chiefs need to continue to get Patrick Mahomes more weapons. Yeah, they won the Super Bowl, but the Chiefs ranked 15th in the NFL in offense and 19th in yards per completion. After two so-so years, Thomas came into his own this year with 68 catches for 1,117 yards and 17 touchdowns, most in the BCS. That means every fourth reception was a touchdown. Nabers gets most of the press, and he deserves it, but Thomas is impressive. He stands 6-foot-4, 205, and he’s a burner. He averaged over 17 yards per catch this year, with eight TD catches from Daniels of over 30 yards, including touchdowns of 34, 37, 38, 49, 49, 70, 75 and 86 yards, and then he ran 4.33 at the combine – 3rd-fastest among all WRs behind the two Texas speedsters. You can’t teach speed, and a young receiver with 4.33 speed in Andy Reid’s offense with Mahomes at quarterback is a scary thought.

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