NFL Draft: Bold Predictions for the Top 10

Mike Miklius takes a look at the coming NFL Draft and where we might see some shake-ups in the first 10 picks

Bold Predictions: 2024 NFL Draft


Seemingly every year, we survive a blizzard of mock drafts telling us the first five picks will all be quarterbacks. There are predictions of 15 trades, or maybe just one if the mock drafter lost steam, or a big-name player on the move. Ultimately, most of it is fluff and we wonder why we didn’t just look to previous years for a good feel for what could go down. Let’s start with a sanity check on two rumors I’ve been hearing recently:

Rumor 1: We are looking at Quarterback going 1-4 and might see five in the top 10 picks.

Let’s investigate. We rarely — repeat, rarely — see four quarterbacks go in the Top Ten, let alone in the first four picks. Below is a quick look at how many quarterbacks went per year in the first five picks, the first ten, and Round 1 as a whole since 2010:

Top-5 Top-10 First Round
2023 3 3 3
2022 0 0 1
2021 3 3 5
2020 2 3 4
2019 1 2 3
2018 2 4 5
2017 1 2 3
2016 2 2 3
2015 2 2 2
2014 1 1 3
2013 0 0 1
2012 2 3 4
2011 1 3 4
2010 1 1 2

It’s possible, sure…and while the past often doesn’t predict the future, this doesn’t look good so far. I’ll add that taking an average isn’t necessarily instructive since each year can be so wildly different. What can be possibly learned by comparing this year to the ugly Kenny Pickett class? Instead, let’s single out the best quarterback classes in recent memory: 2021 and 2018.

In 2021, QB4 was Justin Fields at pick 11 and QB5 was Mac Jones at 15 after a 1-2-3 start of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance. In 2018, Josh Rosen was selected as the QB4 with the 10th overall pick and Lamar Jackson barely snuck into Round 1 at pick 32. I find it hard to buy the hype that enough NFL teams love Caleb Williams AND Drake Maye AND Jayden Daniels AND J.J. McCarthy. Yes, we can lock in Williams at Pick 1, as he only took one Top 30 visit.

The Washington Commanders feel like a lock to take a quarterback at Pick 2–even if we aren’t yet sure who their guy is. A quarterback also looks like a good bet at Pick 3: either the New England Patriots take someone, or they trade down to allow a mystery team to rise up the draft board. In this scenario, we are now three-for-three and well on our way to history. At Pick 4, Arizona looks set with Kyler Murray and is quite likely to dial up a wide receiver. The Los Angeles Chargers have Justin Herbert and could probably go in five different directions. If New England does take a QB, this spot looks prime for a trade-up if there is, in fact, a fourth quarterback worth chasing.

Afterward, the New York Giants sit at Pick 6 with Daniel Jones (no pun intended), so they clearly need a QB. The Giants have a potential out from his $160 million contract (yikes) in 2025, and they also have key coaches and front office executives sitting in warm-to-hot seats who need to turn things around quickly. What better way to do that than with a young signal-caller? Still, does the team want to invest in a quarterback (again) with so many other holes on offense? I think the fate of the ‘four by six’ prediction will lean heavily on two factors: 1) how much do QB-needy teams like J.J. McCarthy, and 2) how badly do the Giants want to move on from Jones? This brings us to a second rumor:

Rumor 2: Arizona is going to trade down from Pick 4 to 11, then trade back up to Pick 5 for Marvin Harrison, Jr.

This one is typical draft nonsense. On the surface, it sounds good:

  • Arizona would love more picks
  • Minnesota desperately needs a quarterback
  • The Chargers have been open about wanting to trade down
  • Arizona just pulled off a double trade last year, so why not again?

Given the above, there has been rampant speculation that Arizona could potentially trade down to 11, then back up to 5. This would net them a pick while still allowing them to get the top guy on their board. Okay, so why not? Well, let’s start with the first point: is Arizona truly desperate for more picks? Right now, they have 4, 27, 35, 66, 71, 90, and five more picks in the later rounds. Arizona has a ton of capital and honestly is the rare team I think doesn’t need to move down. O

Moving on to point two: yes, Minnesota is desperate for a quarterback. They have Sam Darnold. I don’t believe there is any parallel universe in which this is actually their plan. They will move up; it’s just a matter of where. How about points three and four? This is where the rumor misses me. If the Chargers want to move down and Minnesota wants to move up, why involve Arizona at all? If the Cardinals want to guarantee themselves the WR1 of the class and Marvin Harrison, Jr. is their guy, moving down to six is prohibitively risky. If I’m the Chargers, I call Minnesota and tell them 11 and 23 for 5 is a done deal. Arizona, meanwhile, has made it clear they want a legendary haul for their spot. I call B.S. and smell a garden-variety smoke screen just to get fans talking.

So what will happen in the first round? What moves will shake up Round 1? Let’s dive into a quick look at the first ten picks of the 2024 NFL Draft along with a bold prediction for each one.


Pick 1: Chicago Bears

This pick feels like a lock: the Bears will take Caleb Williams on Thursday night. Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles has already said his goodbyes to incumbent Justin Fields and Caleb has only visited with one team. Still, anything can happen. So while I predict Caleb Williams here, let’s consider a bold possibility: Chicago trades down to pick 2 with Washington. As far as I know, this has never happened. Teams at one and two don’t swap. So what would it take? I think Chicago would be asking for everything plus the kitchen sink. Let’s call the hypothetical price Pick 2, Washington’s second rounder, their 2025 first, and their 2025 second. Honestly, I’m not sure that would be enough for the Bears to give up on their top choice at the most important position. As time has marched on, this has shifted from a 1A-1B class (Caleb and Maye) to a 1 and 2A-2B class. Still, in the multiverse where Chicago doesn’t go Caleb, it’s because some blockbuster trade happens. Let’s assume it’s Caleb.


Pick 2: Washington Commanders

I’m not going to cheat and use the trade again. Once again, I don’t see something bold happening here outside of a trade with Chicago. Washington badly needs a quarterback, they traded away Sam Howell, and they have the second pick in an exceptional quarterback class. I heard whispers Washington might trade down, but I don’t buy it. I see this regime either shooting their shot with a trade-up that breaks the internet or sticking and picking. This pick started with Drake Maye being the obvious choice, but then the current shifted towards Jayden Daniels. I can see it going either way, but my gut says Drake Maye is still the play. He was the guy all along and I think Washington grabs him at 2. My bold prediction? Forget Maye and Daniels: Washington loved McCarthy all along and he goes second off the board. My official call here is Maye.


Pick 3: New England Patriots

Hey Mike, why did you write a bold prediction article and then not predict anything bold?” Well, Dear Reader, I do think bold things will happen! I just think they start at Pick 3. Sure, I could say “The Bears will take MHJ” or “Washington trades out of the Top 10 entirely.” I just don’t believe them to be anything more than “I won the Powerball!” shots. I don’t say things just to say them. So what happens at Pick 3? Many are saying this will be a quarterback and it will complete the QB trio to kick off Day One. It also seems logical to call this pick the remnant of Maye and Daniels. Well, I do see a quarterback pick, but not by the Patriots. My bold prediction is that Minnesota trades up to pick three. I think the compensation would look something like this:

  • Minnesota gets: Pick 3
  • New England gets: Pick 11, Pick 23, 2025 Round 1 selection

New England needs a quarterback. New England needs a wide receiver. New England needs an offensive tackle. Yeah, this is a team with holes and I don’t think it does them any good to throw a young quarterback into the fire with no support. Chicago and the Carolina Panthers are two recent examples of teams with a young QB and no plan or supporting cast of significance. I’m betting this will be our first trade, with Minnesota as the partner. This would allow New England to address tackle at Pick 11, wide receiver at Pick 23, quarterback in the early second, and then sit on a future Round 1 pick to be ahead of the game if their second-round signal caller fails. The Vikings lost Kirk Cousins and their starter today would be Sam Darnold. So, yeah…Minnesota is trading up. It’s just a matter of where, and I think three is the perfect spot. Expect the Vikings to target the last of the big-3 quarterbacks when they do trade up. In this case, the target is Jayden Daniels.


Pick 4: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona seems like an open book here. They want Marvin Harrison Jr. and they will get him, barring a chaotic scenario. Chicago and Washington are near locks to pick quarterbacks. New England should either take a quarterback they love or trade down to accumulate assets for the future. This leaves Arizona. The Cardinals are happy with Kyler Murray, have tons of picks, and badly need a receiver. They are staring at an excellent receiver class headlined by the son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. This one is a no-brainer. So what does ‘bold’ look like here? The Cardinals take Malik Nabers because MHJ “pulls an Eli.” Harrison has not been shy to do things his way. In this case, he publicly states he won’t play for Arizona and forces them to tab Nabers instead. They don’t prefer the LSU speedster who turned Jayden Daniels into a Heisman winner, but Arizona sees this as their best play in a moment of panic. Cameras cut to a stoic MHJ in the draft room while the analysts fume. Snapping back to reality, though: this pick is MHJ.


Pick 5: Los Angeles Chargers

Alright, let’s hop back on the bold train. With all of the predictions swarming around a potential Los Angeles Chargers trade, making them stay put and pick might be the boldest prognostication of all. The Chargers could reasonably go wide receiver, offensive tackle, tight end, take their top defensive player, or trade down. Let’s make five quick guesses about the Bolts’ fate.

  1. Draft WR2. The Chargers need to replace Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. They stay put and grab Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze.
  2. Draft OT1. The Chargers need to fortify the O-line in front of Justin Herbert. Why not Joe Alt?
  3. Draft TE. Brock Bowers is one of those special talents in a non-elite position. In this case, Jim Harbaugh wants the elite talent who fits his ideal offense.
  4. Draft DB. The Chargers need help in the secondary and grab the best option on their board.
  5. Trade down. The Chargers want picks. They find a partner drooling over Alt and make their move

In an ideal world, the Patriots took a QB and the Chargers trade down with Minnesota. The Vikings get their guy, the Chargers get a haul, and everyone is happy. I traded Minnesota up already though, and I don’t think the J.J. McCarthy Panic is going to strike this early. So what does L.A. do? I am going to eliminate DB here, as well. I don’t think the value is there, and I don’t see Harbaugh starting his tenure with a defensive back. I also doubt that a tight end goes off the board fifth overall. Bowers seems like a great fit, but it’s just too risky this early. My guess from the scenarios above: Number Two.

I predict the Chargers would like to trade back, but it just won’t be there once they are on the clock. The Giants don’t gain much jumping up one spot. The Tennessee Titans want a left tackle and should get one safely, even if their top choice gets sniped. The Atlanta Falcons are probably going defense and have plenty of options. Chicago has barely any picks and can’t afford the price. Behind them are the New York Jets, who already lack a second-rounder. My bold prediction here would be Brock Bowers, but I see the Chargers sticking at five and taking OT Joe Alt. New head coach Jim Harbaugh gets a beast up front and builds through the trenches; he has made it clear that’s his preference. As a quick recap, here are the first five picks:

Draft Board

  1. Caleb Williams, Chicago
  2. Jayden Daniels, Washington
  3. Drake Maye, Minnesota (trade)
  4. Marvin Harrison Jr, Arizona
  5. Joe Alt, LA Chargers


Pick 6: New York Giants

The Giants feel similar to the Patriots. They need a lot of help on the offensive side of the ball, and they could take almost anything here. I’ll single out quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive line as most likely. I don’t think the Giants are ready for the quarterback: why throw another signal caller into this barren wasteland of weaponless misery? The Giants would also be likely looking at QB4 here, and it’s just not worth the price in my mind. There is also the status of the coaching staff: do they have the leash to survive another bad year? Drafting wide receiver makes a ton of sense here, but does it move the needle enough given the holes on the O-line? This is an elite receiver group, so the value is certainly there. They could go tackle, but I think New York has bigger needs on the interior. That being the case, Malik Nabers makes a lot of sense and the Giants can still upgrade their guard positions in Round 2. My bold prediction here would be J.J. McCarthy; New York grabs him and sits him behind Daniel Jones to start the season before putting their plan for their future in place later in the season. This is feasible from a contractual standpoint, but let’s stick with Nabers here for now.


Pick 7: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee wants to know what Will Levis is. To this end, they spent a haul on Calvin Ridley as their new shiny toy. Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins, and Treylon Burks feel like a complete receiver room to me — or at least not a need. Taking that off the board, I see the Titans’ biggest needs at offensive tackle, defensive end, and cornerback. In our model, they were sniped on Joe Alt. Still, they have plenty of options. I think they go with Taliese Fuaga and plan to start him right away. With new weapons and a new line, the Titans will get their chance to know exactly what Will Levis is, for better or worse. It’s hard to make a bold prediction given the need and fit at tackle, but let’s say the Titans opt for an edge rusher, be it Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, or Laiatu Latu. I’m sticking with Fuaga for this pick.


Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is making all-in moves this offseason. Their offense is loaded with weapons in Drake London, Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. They gave a huge bag to Kirk Cousins and are poised to compete on that side of the ball. They need help on defense, though. In this scenario, Atlanta gets their choice of the top defender in the draft. I think they prioritize EDGE, which narrows it down to three guys: Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, or Laiatu Latu. Similar to Tennessee, this feels like a case where Atlanta is happy to stay and get their guy rather than leaving things to chance with a trade down. That being said, I would love a trade-down for the Falcons. I like three edge rushers in the class and they could probably trade down 6 spots and still get one. They also can offer a chance to snipe the Bears for the last elite receiver in this year’s top tier. In the end, I think Atlanta has eyes for a player and stays put to get him. I’ll guess it’s Dallas Turner. The hilarious pick, in place of the bold prediction, would be if Brock Bowers somehow makes it to eight and Atlanta takes him to further smite Pitts managers and fantasy analysts, who would pull their hair out in frustration. Atlanta takes Turner and Chicago now gets Rome Odunze


Pick 9: Chicago Bears

Not so fast, my friends! Given how the board has fallen to this point, Bears fans would be thrilled with the chance to nab the WR3 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Plenty of fans will be angry if they pass on that opportunity, but I’m not convinced that Chicago will stay put. The Bears own Picks 1, 9, 75, and 122. That’s it. This reportedly isn’t a deep draft, but I think GM Ryan Poles would love to add another second or third rounder if he could.

In this case, he gets to sell the rights to the last elite receiver in the class at a small premium. Look for Chicago to trade into the 12-16 range where they could still get a top-tier talent while adding another pick. Either way, I would say the most likely targets for the Bears are wide receiver, edge rusher, defensive tackle, or offensive line. In a world in which they do trade down, Chicago could address two of those needs quickly. Let’s take a look at a possible trade:

  • Indianapolis gets: 9
  • Chicago gets: 15 and 46

This trade gives the Colts another excellent playmaker for Anthony Richardson and gives them the potential to break out as an elite offense. Chicago gets two picks and flexibility. With New England, I envisioned OT, WR, and then QB. For Chicago, let’s imagine 15 becomes an edge, and then pick 46 turns into a wide receiver. Chicago has an extra second in 2025 and could use Pick 46 & the extra second-rounder to move back up into the late first round if they see someone falling.

In my Bears fan dream world, Chicago gets Caleb, then takes Jared Verse or Dallas Turner around pick 15 before adding Brian Thomas Jr in the 20s thanks to a crafty double trade. Either way, let’s assume Chicago trades down. The trade-down is already bold given Rome was there, so my nightmare scenario for Chicago is a trading up to Pick 5. GM Ryan Poles is all-in on Caleb Williams, and he proves it with a crazy trade to grab the second receiver on his board, thinning his 2024 draft stock even more. Please don’t trade up.


Pick 10: New York Jets

We finish with the New York Jets, who made some big additions in free agency in the trenches and at receiver. They don’t have an obvious direction, so I think they should go with the best player available who can immediately help Aaron Rodgers, be it a receiver, offensive tackle, or a certain tight end. They added star left tackle Tyron Smith, but he is no stranger to missing time and the Jets can’t afford to lose another year due to bad protection. They added Mike Williams, but he is also frequently banged up. I’m ruling out receiver since the Big Three are gone so that leaves tackle or tight end. The best O-line pick is Troy Fautanu, who could probably fill in at a few different spots, offering insurance if anything goes wrong. The only pick I put against this would be Brock Bowers, the elite tight end from Georgia. While Bowers would be fun, I think the Jets beef up the line and make sure Rodgers has time to hit Wilson and Williams. The bold prediction for New York is Bowers, but Fautanu is the smart selection.



That does it for the first ten picks. Let’s take a final look at our results:

  1. Caleb Williams, Chicago
  2. Jayden Daniels, Washington
  3. Drake Maye, Minnesota (trade)
  4. Marvin Harrison Jr, Arizona
  5. Joe Alt, LA Chargers
  6. Malik Nabers, NY Giants
  7. Taliese Fuaga, Tennessee
  8. Jared Verse, Atlanta
  9. Rome Odunze, Indianapolis (trade)
  10. Troy Fautanu, NY Jets

This one should start tame as Chicago and Washington aren’t moving. We will probably know both picks by the start of Draft Day. Picks three and five are great trade spots, but I doubt both move. Picks four and seven feel like the biggest locks at wide receiver and tackle respectively. Finally, picks five and six are the biggest unknowns; both teams could go in several different directions. I can’t wait to see what I got right, where I was terribly wrong, and what my Bears do to start a new era of hope. I wish every fanbase the best of luck, and remember: if your team didn’t draft him, then he’s a bum anyway!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.