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Seven-round NFL mock draft, Round 1: Building a win-now team from active players for 2024 season

Each April, I build a complete seven-round NFL mock draft that attempts to find homes for college prospects based on their value, as well as the roster needs and schemes of all 32 pro teams.

We're bringing back the mock draft concept to re-imagine the NFL landscape for a third straight year, with teams building balanced rosters -- including veteran and young talent on both sides of the ball -- designed to WIN NOW.

This sort of mass redistribution of talent obviously would never happen in real life. But with training camps still a few weeks away, let's have a little fun with another seven-round mock ahead of the 2024 NFL season.

This mock draft is simply one version of countless possible projections, given players' expected on-field performance in 2024 (assuming they are all on one-year contracts) and each team's current coaching staff and front office.

Before we get started, a few important notes:

  • Teams are listed based on the first-round order from the 2024 NFL Draft, restoring traded or forfeited picks to the original holders.
  • The subsequent rounds are "snaked" to distribute talent evenly among the 32 franchises -- that is, the order of Round 1 is reversed in Round 2, which is reversed in Round 3, and so on. The order does account for tiebreakers from round to round, though, so it's not a straight snake throughout.
  • No trades or compensatory selections were included.

No surprise here. The strong-armed, mobile playmaker is the top pick in this exercise for the second straight year, fresh off his third Super Bowl title in six years as a starter. 

Allen has the skill set to unseat Mahomes from the top spot, but the Lombardi Trophy continues to evade him. In fact, he's yet to hit a Super Bowl, with the Bills bailing out of the past three postseasons in the Divisional Round.

Burrow recently said he's considered his football mortality after dealing with a season-ending injury for the second time in four years. Given the quarterback's talent and competitive nature, the Patriots take a chance he returns to form in 2024.

Jackson had his best season since 2019 last fall, earning MVP honors for the second time in his career. He gives the Cardinals a dangerous dual-threat at quarterback.

New Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh continues to heap praise on Herbert this offseason. I presume a chance to work with Herbert was one of the main things that led the former Michigan Wolverines coach to jump back into the NFL.

The Giants love to see their division rival's quarterback available in this slot. Prescott's steadiness in the pocket is something Big Blue has lacked in recent years.

The 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year showed too much potential as a true difference-maker for the Titans to pass on him here.

Hurts took a step back in 2023, but Atlanta looks for the QB to rebound as a passer and continue to be highly productive as a runner.

I know, I know. This isn鈥檛 going to sit well with fans in Chicago, but the Bears can鈥檛 resist adding their longtime rival from Green Bay for a one-year situation, assuming he's ready to return from the Achilles injury that ended his 2023 season in Week 1.

The Jets get another veteran quarterback to distribute the ball efficiently while head coach Robert Saleh oversees a strong defense.

Head coach Kevin O'Connell reunites with Stafford after serving as his OC during the Rams鈥 Super Bowl run a few seasons ago.

It鈥檚 easy for me to envision head coach Sean Payton loving the mental and physical toughness Purdy has brought to the 49ers.

Love's play down the stretch last season pushed him into the top half of the league's QB1s. The Raiders hope his growth from the pocket will continue.

The Saints may have found a bargain here if the athletic Lawrence's sophomore campaign (25 TDs, 8 INTs) is more indicative of his 2024 potential as an elite passer than last season (21 TDs, 14 INTs).

锘匡豢锘匡豢锘匡豢The Colts take the first defender off the board. Garrett, the 2023 Defensive Player of the Year, has posted double-digit sacks in six consecutive seasons.

Tua's out to prove his success in Miami is not just a result of offensive guru Mike McDaniel鈥檚 coaching and explosive receiver Tyreek Hill鈥檚 playmaking.

Speaking of Hill, the Jaguars decide he is worth taking as the first building block of their offense over the remaining available quarterbacks.锘匡豢锘匡豢锘匡豢锘匡豢

Murray's production has steadily decreased since his second year with the Cardinals, with the knee injury he suffered late in 2022 serving as the major culprit in the slowdown. The mock-world Bengals join the real-world Cardinals in hoping he stays healthy and consistent for a bounce-back season.

Parsons is a game-wrecker no matter where he lines up; the Rams will utilize him outside and inside.

The 2023 Offensive Player of the Year has stayed healthy for two straight seasons. The all-purpose stud is worthy of a top draft slot.

Jefferson and Mike McDaniel together? Watch out, defenses, no matter who is playing quarterback for the Dolphins.

Lamb was already off the board and then the Eagles passed on Justin Jefferson in favor of Jalen Reagor in the 2020 NFL Draft. GM Howie Roseman won't miss this time around.

He might play for a rival in real life, but the Browns won't have an issue taking one of the league's top defenders. Watt finished second to Myles Garrett for DPOY last season and he won the award in 2021.

Williams has a chance to become a star in the NFL very quickly if he maximizes his potential from the pocket and on off-platform plays. We know how much the Cowboys love stars.

Jones' dominance up front should not be ignored late in the first round. He's a defensive building block for new Packers DC Jeff Hafley.

The Bucs have used a first- or second-round pick on an offensive lineman in four of the past five drafts, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them grab a powerful force up front to start things off.

Crosby's a one-man wrecking crew up front, making life easier for the other 10 defenders on the field.

Nick Bosa

Bosa's production dropped off in 2023 (18.5 sacks to 10.5), but the Bills are still pleased to make the 2022 DPOY the cornerstone of their defense.

The Lions nab one of the league鈥檚 top targets. Brown brings his combination of reliability, strength and open-field agility to Detroit.

Chase's production declined last season after Joe Burrow was sidelined and the star receiver dealt with his own injury issues, but he's still a downfield threat worthy of a first-round selection.

Adams may be entering his 11th season, but he's still an elite receiver who can lift a team with his presence.

Kelce might not be in the middle of his prime, but he and the Chiefs wouldn't want him playing anywhere else.

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