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2024 NFL Mock Draft: Why Drake Maye Is The Man For Chicago, While The Top 10 Is A Run On Offense | TheSportsDay 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Why Drake Maye Is The Man For Chicago, While The Top 10 Is A Run On Offense | TheSportsDay

2024 NFL mock draft: Why Drake Maye is the man for Chicago, while the top 10 is a run on offense

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With a quarter of the NFL officially eliminated from playoff contention and even more teams with minimal chance to make the postseason, we thought it was a good time to use the final 2023 edition of The Overhang as our next 2024 NFL mock draft.

The Chicago Bears are on the clock!

Previous Yahoo Sports 2024 NFL mock drafts: Nov. 1, Nov. 22

On this mock draft’s timeline, despite the best play of his career, the Bears move on from Justin Fields. Recouping draft capital to further stock the cupboard for Ryan Poles to work with.

I have no clue what the Bears will do with the No. 1 pick, but Maye has been and is currently my QB1 for this draft class, so I’m giving him the nod. Why Maye over the talented Caleb Williams or even the reigning Heisman trophy winner Jayden Daniels?

To get your answer with Maye is to first look at the currently successful and ascending quarterbacks in today’s NFL, and what they’re all able to do. First, they win from inside the pocket, and second, when all else fails or when the offense needs it, they can call their own number and pick up yards and first downs with their legs.

The ability to win inside the pocket, to find the simple answers but also know when to push the ball when opportunities arise, is what separates the difference-making quarterbacks and the middle tier. Like a baseball player that generates a high slugging percentage along with a high on-base percentage, rather than just small-ball singles-slapper.

Maye is uber-aggressive. Ultra-aggressive. His willingness to push the ball is basically what made the monkeys crazy in “28 Days Later.”

Maye is able to attack this way because of his combination of size (6-foot-4, 229 pounds), athleticism and pocket awareness. His footwork is bouncy in the pocket, where he constantly shows a feel for pressure (which he did often, considering North Carolina’s struggles in protection) and ability to drift and work away from it.

But that feel isn’t to just run and scramble. Instead, Maye keeps his eyes downfield while getting pressured to find ways to attack defenses:

Maye’s strong arm and aggressive play style aren’t just the only features of his passing game. He is accurate at all three levels and viable on all types of throws and concepts because of his arm talent. Maye shows touch on intermediate throws to get it up and over defenders and is consistently accurate on underneath throws. Combined with his velocity, his throws create plenty of yards-after-catch opportunities for his receivers, even when tightly covered:

Despite only being a redshirt sophomore, Maye also shows an advanced understanding for the real “quarterback” elements of the position. Although “game manager” can almost seem like a diss these days, Maye does a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage before the snap and getting the Tar Heels into the right play.

It’s also very telling that North Carolina’s coaching staff gave Maye the license to change protections and plays without first confirming with the sideline. This play against North Carolina State was a great example of everything that Maye brings to the table: pre-snap operation (he changes the protection against a blitz look), plus progressing and an absolute dynamite throw on the move that pins it on his teammate:

Maye also has the all-important trait that shows up constantly with the top quarterbacks: although he is aggressive, Maye has the ability to avoid taking sacks. Again, his strength and athleticism show up in this regard. He has the ability to get rid of throws while in the defender’s grasp, sometimes just to get an incompletion instead of losing yards but other times turning a loss into a gain:

His sack avoidance even shows up with the flair for the creative — including a left-handed touchdown pass against Pittsburgh this year:

That’s just the passing aspect of Maye’s game. He also has the second part needed from a modern franchise quarterback: Maye can create and extend plays with his legs. He has the speed to beat defenders to the edge, runs with toughness and displays genuine vision as a runner.

It’s not just traits, either; there is tangible production with Maye as a scrambler (along with the designed runs that North Carolina sprinkles in). Among 35 FBS quarterbacks with 30 or more scrambles in 2023, Maye finished second in first down rate and was second in expected points added with his scrambles.

Maye also doesn’t just choose to run on a whim, but instead when all downfield options fail (I’m telling you guys, those eyes are always scanning the explosive play horizon). And when North Carolina used Maye as a designed runner, he is viable on just about any quarterback running concept feasible, including between the tackles:

Maye’s aggression will get him in trouble every once in a while when one of his downfield throws turns into a tipped ball or interception, or his desire to make a big play turns into a sack. But he has already greatly improved greatly in both of these areas as a redshirt sophomore. Those are also, to me, the trade-offs of the play style that’s basically needed right now at quarterback. But negative plays are few and far between with Maye, despite his desire for launching throws.

To me, Maye is the complete package at quarterback. His ability to throw or run for explosive plays, both within and outside the confines of the position, all while avoiding an overwhelming amount of negative plays, are the prerequisites for elite modern quarterback play.

It is a post-nickel-and-diming world; quarterbacks, at least the top ones, have to be scorers and facilitators, too. They have to be the detonation devices for their offenses. Maye has the size, athletic ability and understanding for the position that can make him the type of quarterback a team wins with because he’s the driver, not the passenger along for the ride:

2. Arizona Cardinals — Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

I was tempted to get weird with some trades in this mock, just because of the feeding frenzy that could happen at this draft spot if the Cardinals decide to keep rolling with Kyler Murray at quarterback, but am going to hold off on doing so for future editions. (I’ll admit I spent 10ish minutes coming up with possible trades by the Giants, Falcons, Raiders and Vikings, however.)

In this mock draft’s multiverse, the Cardinals stand pat and take the surest of sure things of this draft class. Harrison has all the making of a bonafide No. 1 option in an NFL passing attack, and he will likely be able to be that on Day 1. Size, footwork, hands, ball skills, long speed, Harrison is the total package and has a chance to be considered a top-10 wide receiver by the time his rookie campaign wraps up.

Dropping Harrison in with tight end Trey McBride would give the Cardinals a young, dynamic one-two combo with complementary skill sets. If rookie Michael Wilson can build upon the flashes he showed in his first year, on top of the home run that the Cardinals hit with offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., the production of this Cardinals offense could ramp up in a hurry.

The Sam Howell experiment had its highs, its lows and its sacks. A lot of sacks. The Commanders race to the podium to turn in the card for Williams, who, despite some uneven moments in his final season at USC, still simply has too much talent and playmaking ability to not take high in the draft.

Williams returns to his D.C. roots and gives a reconfigured and rebuilding Commanders franchise a much-needed face for a new era. His quick-trigger throwing motion, accuracy, creativity and willingness to push the ball allows him to create explosive plays out of nowhere. He will take unnecessary sacks and will seem to hold onto the ball to adlib or scramble rather than continue to progress at times. But teams will have to determine if that was because of USC’s offense, or because of Williams’ play style (or both).

The ability to raise the ceiling of an offense is what teams prioritize and covet, and he plays with a toughness that teammates rally behind. Williams chucking it all over the yard to Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson would be simply exciting football.

Bill Belichick’s chase for wins may have yanked the chance at Maye or Williams for now, but Jayden Daniels’ impressive Heisman season has turned this season-long QB1 ladder match into a three-way dance at the top of the draft that would make Paul Heyman proud.

Daniels is a clean thrower that is accurate at all three levels. His footwork has improved every year in college and he constantly gets the ball out early and gets his teammates into advantageous situations with his ball placement. Daniels has good arm strength and can drive on underneath throws, and throws a catchable deep ball.

He also has the speed and burst to extend plays and create as a runner that has drawn (a bit lofty, in my opinion) comparisons to Lamar Jackson:

While I think Daniels is more of a very good athlete as opposed to a rare one like Jackson, his ability to pick up yards with his legs will be needed in New England, which will have to add pieces all around him to get this offense back to a modern level, both up front and with his pass catchers. (Wide receiver DeMario Douglas definitely looks like a find, though.)

The biggest concern with Daniels is his size; quarterbacks under 210 pounds immediately signal durability concerns, as well as questions over how they will pull away from a defender’s grasp in the pocket. Daniels will have to tone down parts of his reckless play, although you appreciate his competitiveness. I do think Daniels’ intelligence, ability to win from the pocket and his speed helps make it a sliding scale of worry, but it is something teams will have to be comfortable with.

With no trades in this mock, the Giants miss out on the top three quarterbacks of this class. But instead of Jayden Daniels, they get his No. 1 option at LSU in Nabers, who is a big play waiting to explode on every snap.

The Giants currently have more auxiliary pieces to fill out their wide receiver room. Nabers gives them a true top option that still has room to grow. Every time Nabers touches the ball, he can manufacture yards that aren’t possible for other players with his excellent burst and body control. He seemingly makes a defender miss every time he has the ball in his hands, but he’s not just a speed demon and also flashes hand-eye coordination and catching range on throws to and away from his body. His route running details are still a work in progress, but his ability to win at all three levels and take any reception the distance make Nabers even more tantalizing if he grows in the area.

Keenan Allen is aging, Mike Williams is on injured reserve again, Quentin Johnston had a disappointing rookie year, and the tight end room isn’t much to write home about. So the Chargers could definitely use a pass catcher to inject explosive-play ability (not to mention consistency of being on the field) to pair with Justin Herbert for the future.

Instead, I have the Chargers eating their vegetables (or maybe just their meat and potatoes) and shoring up the offensive line to keep their star quarterback upright for a full season.

Fashanu is one of the cleanest offensive tackle prospects in recent memory. He has excellent size and length but plays light on his feet. His athleticism constantly shows up when watching him, with his ability to bend and finish plays showing up in both the run and pass game:

With Rashawn Slater already at left tackle for the Chargers, this might seem like an odd fit. But Fashanu has the movement ability to make me think he can comfortably play at either tackle spot, and I think his long-term projection might be even higher than Slater on the blindside. Which is saying something considering Slater was a rookie All-Pro. It also must be noted that Slater also played at right tackle early in college, so this fit could be even better than initially expected.

Either way, the Chargers’ defense definitely needs help at all three levels. But with this being such an offensive-heavy draft, at least at the top of the first round, keeping the franchise quarterback upright and healthy takes precedence over reaching for a need.

Alt is right in the conversation to be the first offensive tackle taken off the board. He has a tight end background and it shows. He is a very good athlete with smooth footwork that can adjust and recover in pass protection.

Alt’s play strength and hand usage have improved this year, which makes sense given his young age (turns 21 in February). His first strike on defenders has more pop now, and he is able to consistently anchor against the bullrush. The Titans desperately need bodies up front on offense, so pairing Alt with 2023 first rounder Peter Skoronski could solidify the left side of the their offensive line for a decade.

8. Chicago Bears — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Now that the Bears have officially reset their quarterback contract clock, let’s drop in another pass catcher for Drake Maye. I am a huge fan of Odunze and think that he checks every box for the position. Hands, catching range, route running, size, long speed, play strength (he’s a great blocker). Odunze’s game reminds me a lot of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin: You can plop him into any offense and he will be a winning player for you no matter the circumstances.

Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze joins D.J. Moore and Drake Maye in this 2024 NFL mock draft. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze joins D.J. Moore and Drake Maye in this 2024 NFL mock draft. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Odunze and D.J. Moore give the Bears their best one-two wide receiver combo in a decade and their play styles have little redundancy. A true X receiver in Moore with an excellent Z in Odunze, with both being able to attack all three levels. All of those touches that have previously gone to the likes of Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney would now go to the supremely more talented Odunze, which along with drafting another interior offensive lineman could help make the transition for Maye as smooth as possible and allow this offense to hit the ground running.

The Jets are bringing Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas and seemingly the whole band back together for another go at a championship run with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Jets’ defense is still playing in a piranha-like frenzy, even with no contributions from the offense, so they have to make sure this year’s version of a championship dream can last longer than four plays. This means the offense has to be improved upon.

Enter Latham, whose calling card is strength and the love for completely erasing defenders in the run game — while also being a good athlete who carries his 350-plus pound frame like it’s nothing in pass sets.

He would give not only the lackluster Jets run game a much-needed boost (and make Breece Hall dynasty owners very happy), but would give the Jets a true building block along their offensive line that can take on pass rushers one-on-one, which has the boost effect of getting more routes out for Rodgers to choose from. The Jets need a lineman, and Latham is a worthy one to anchor your line for years to come.

The Falcons will, of course, have to figure out who is helming the quarterback position in 2024 (and beyond). But I think they choose to go the veteran route (Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, perhaps Jacoby Brissett?) to drop in with their young weapons and vastly improved defense (a pass rusher would be great, something the Falcons have needed since, like, forever).

While I know plenty of fantasy players and lovers of running jokes into the ground (usually the same people) will be screaming about giving Arthur Smith another highly drafted offensive weapon, Thomas would fit in perfectly with what the Falcons currently have. Thomas has great size (listed 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds) and is a very good athlete and fluid mover despite his frame. He can take the top off defenses but he is not a vertical-only stiff. His route running improved throughout the year and he started to show more branches to his route tree, with the bend and footwork of a much smaller player. He consistently wins on breaking routes from the outside, with the hands to finish the play. Thomas already shows the makings of being a true X receiver at the next level, and should only get better.

Thomas is going to continue to rise up draft boards in a loaded wide receiver class, but he is worthy of the hype. I’m a huge fan and he would be a fantastic running mate with Drake London, with both having size and yards-after-the-catch ability (London’s being more power-based and Thomas being speed), but with Thomas being able to create space where London (and Kyle Pitts) could thrive.

Here's the top 10 of Nate Tice's latest 2024 NFL mock draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)Here's the top 10 of Nate Tice's latest 2024 NFL mock draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Here’s the top 10 of Nate Tice’s latest 2024 NFL mock draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Bowers is worthy of a top-10 selection, but other players seemed to square more nicely with other teams’ fits, so Bowers “drops” to No. 11.

The Saints have more things to figure out apart from just who they will be selecting in the first round: their cap, some aging pieces on defense, what’s the deal with Trevor Penning, etc. But for some reason this oddly shaped piece seems to fit with this oddly shaped team.

So even amidst all of those swirling questions, why not take a player that can easily bring good times? Bowers is a true matchup nightmare that can win across the formation. Putting Bowers into a room with Juwuan Johnson and Taysom Hill would give the Saints the most high-octane tight end room in the NFL. Not to mention the team speed the Saints wide receiver room has with Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed (along with dunker-only A.T. Perry).

Bowers has physical limitations as a blocker, but he does compete and already has polished technique in the area, plus NFL offenses have become more creative in hiding receiving-first tight ends. His receiving ability brings more to the table than his lack of blocking takes off, and in this mock the Saints think the upside is too good to pass up. Repercussions be damned!

The first defensive player comes off the board!

After taking Jaire Alexander in the first round in 2018 and then Eric Stokes in the opening round of the 2021 draft, the Packers take a cornerback in the first round again to continue the three-year cycle.

When healthy, Alexander has been a top-tier cornerback. But he’s missed over 20 games over the past three seasons and was suspended this week after going rogue and naming himself a pregame captain and taking the coin-flip call into his own hands. Wiggins will inject more talent on the back end, and give the Packers a possible succession plan for the future, not to mention insurance for any future Alexander injuries (or heads-tails hijinx).

Wiggins is a twitchy athlete with length and excellent speed. He needs to add more bulk to his frame to help hold up against the run, but he has the movement ability and awareness of a future No. 1 cornerback.

13. Las Vegas Raiders — Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

I was so, so incredibly tempted to allow trades for this mock draft, just to move the Raiders up to the No. 2 selection to take Caleb Williams. It just seemed right in my head canon.

But there are no trades, so the surging Raiders (seriously, they’re playing good ball right now!) are here in the teens. I have them taking the offensive tackle version of a speed-first traits wide receiver that Al Davis so dearly loved.

One look at Mims’ 6-7, 340-pound frame and you can see why he is a draft prospect despite having fewer than a dozen starts in his college career.

One look at Mims moving and you can see why he is a first-round prospect despite having fewer than a dozen starts in his college career:

Cornerback is also something that can be looked at here, but the Raiders were able to snatch up Jack Jones in November and that gave them a potential mid-term answer. Instead, the Silver and Black make a bet on Mims’ sky-high ceiling and continue to revamp their franchise and fortunes with building blocks that are valued no matter who is on top of the regime.

14. Denver Broncos — Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

One of the best ways offenses have found to attack the Broncos, and really one of the cleanest plans of attack in the entire league, is to pepper the wide receiver that is covered by the cornerback that is not Patrick Surtain II. Receivers average 7.6 yards on 79 targets when Surtain II is the closest defender in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference. As for receivers when guarded by fellow CBs Fabian Moreau and Damarri Mathis? 9.8 yards on 83 targets, with opposing quarterbacks registering a quarterback rating of 128.4 when targeting Mathis in particular.

How to shore it up? Let’s go back to the Alabama cornerback well! Arnold is seen at least in the same tier of his more known running mate Kool-Aid McKinstry. He is a package of competitiveness, athleticism and size that can hold up and battle the bigger wide receivers in the league with the loose hips to turn, long speed and the body coordination to make plays on the ball (he has a real knack for punching throws away).

He is aggressive in coverage, which can get him in trouble, but he is already an intriguing bundle of traits who shows a real understanding of how to play the position. Surtain and Arnold would have the upside to be the best cornerback pairing in the NFL.

15. Minnesota Vikings — Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

In this mock draft timeline, Brian Flores returns as the Vikings defensive coordinator. DeJean, an incredibly versatile defender with outstanding athletic traits, stays in Big Ten country and joins in on the blitzing and shifting coverage fun.

I think DeJean can be a Pro Bowl-caliber player at outside cornerback, slot or at safety, so let’s drop him in Flores’ lava lamp-like scheme and let him rip it up from everywhere. DeJean’s punt return ability is just the cherry on top.

16. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans) — Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

The first front seven player is now off the board!

Latu wins with an advanced pass-rushing package that makes up for his more solid-than-standout traits. He is very productive and understands how to use his hands and leverage against both the run and pass. While I do think longer and more gifted offensive tackles will give him issues at the next level, his tenacity and potential to move along the front on pass-rushing downs would fit in nicely with the Cardinals’ chaotic scheme.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers — Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Steelers pairing Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry with standout rookie Joey Porter Jr. would help improve their secondary. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)The Steelers pairing Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry with standout rookie Joey Porter Jr. would help improve their secondary. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

The Steelers pairing Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry with standout rookie Joey Porter Jr. would help improve their secondary. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

The Steelers went two-for-two on the Joey Porter namesake, with Jr. playing like a plus starter very early on in his rookie campaign. Which solidified a hole on the Steelers’ defense quicker than anticipated.

Patrick Peterson’s foray at cornerback this year has him already talking about a move to safety, so the Steelers take another Alabama defensive back to join Minkah Fitzpatrick in the room. McKinstry is a talented player that will turn a Steelers weakness on the outside into a true strength. It might open up for some really fun looks from this Steelers defense in the future.

18. Cincinnati Bengals — Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

While Jake Browning doing his best Joe Burrow impression this past month has drawn a lot of attention to the Bengals, their defense has been a sore spot this entire season. Some of those woes have been from allowing explosive plays on the back end, but some of it is lack of consistent explosive plays from the defense in general (outside the red zone, where the Bengals defense is just a magnet for the ball).

Getting the havoc-wreaking Newton will help create pressure from the inside to give Trey Hendrickson and the other Bengals edge players some help from the interior, while also giving this defense a different flavor than they’ve had since the days of Geno Atkins shooting gaps.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

The Buccaneers simply haven’t been able to consistently run the ball this year because of their interior offensive line play. Fautanu is a left tackle for the Huskies, but his potential best path in the NFL might be inside at guard.

With Tristan Wirfs’ transition to the left side going as smoothly as hoped (like All-Pro level smoothly) and right tackle Luke Goedeke being one of the league’s improved players, adding a true difference-maker on the inside (with potential four-position versatility) could turn this Buccaneers offensive line into a truly notable unit.

20. Indianapolis Colts — Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Coleman is a long and twitchy X wide receiver that has some of the highest of highlights in college football this year. His basketball background constantly shows up in his play, with his excellent catching range and hands allowing him to snatch throws well away from his body.

Coleman is going to be a red zone weapon right away in the NFL, with the body control and athleticism to continue to develop his route tree on the outside. No matter what happens with Michael Pittman this offseason, Coleman will fit in nicely with Josh Downs and long-speed specialist Alec Pierce. But also, just stop for a second and imagine Anthony Richardson launching go-balls and back-shoulder throws to Coleman.

When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?!

21. Seattle Seahawks — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

On a defensive front full of big-bodied tweeners, Turner gives the Seahawks a different flavor. Turner is a long defender that plays stronger than his skinnier frame suggests. He is still developing as a pass rusher (but is still productive) and currently does his best work on the move, knifing inside and looping around on defensive stunts and games.

His immediate usefulness against the run and his still-developing pass-rush arsenal, along with very good traits, makes him an easy pick to make. He has a strong floor as a secondary pass rusher who can play winning football on all three downs against the run and pass, with the upside to be a real needle-mover.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Solidifying the offensive line and keeping Trevor Lawrence healthy should be the absolute priorities for this Jaguars franchise this offseason. Anton Harrison looks like a potential star at right tackle, but the Jaguars have a question mark at left guard, an NPC at center, and Brandon Scherff-in-the-second-half-of-his-career at right guard.

Drafting Barton, who is a college left tackle but has five-position versatility along the offensive line, will inject actual talent in the interior of this line. He either gives Lawrence a battery mate at center with which to build a long-term rapport, or provides an actual answer at guard. Barton has the ability to stabilize this Jaguars line, run game, offense and really just the whole team.

23. Los Angeles Rams — Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Rams still have Aaron Donald, but their defense has punched far above its weight in 2023. General manager Les Snead nailed several draft picks on defense with linebacker Byron Young and nose tackle Kobie Turner both playing well as rookies.

But the Rams’ cornerbacks, despite their feisty play, can still get picked at. Mitchell brings a potential gamebreaker on the backend. He is an outstanding athlete who makes plays with his burst and ball skills:

Mitchell plays in the MAC, but his talent and dominant play will make him a riser during this draft cycle.

24. Buffalo Bills — Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Polk, like his teammate Odunze, checks a lot of boxes for the wide receiver position. He is a good route runner at all three levels and is a vacuum for throws all around his frame. Polk also has quality speed, inside-outside versatility and the ability to create with the ball in his hands.

He is simply a useful player that quarterbacks trust and that fits in with any group of pass catchers, one that would make sense no matter which type of tight end and wide receiver personnel the Bills trot out on a given play. To put it simply, Josh Allen would love Polk.

25. Kansas City Chiefs — Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

A loaded wide receiver class could allow the Chiefs to find a more truth-worthy answer for Patrick Mahomes in later rounds, but Oregon’s Troy Franklin and Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka were definitely considered here.

While 2023 third-round pick Wanya Morris has been fine on Mahomes’ blindside with Donovan Smith out, the Chiefs look for a real long-term upgrade at the left tackle position in Paul. He’s inconsistent, but has size and real upside. Plus, Paul plays with a competitive attitude that will give the Chiefs’ offensive line something they’ve missed this season.

26. Dallas Cowboys — Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

With Tyron Smith’s future being a weekly question in Dallas, the Cowboys just look at the tape of the Red River Rivalry and find their left tackle of the future in Guyton.

Guyton has a giant frame and the ability to play at both tackle spots. He is a plus-athlete and could make for a formidable left side with star left guard Tyler Smith. Grabbing another interior offensive lineman later in the draft, preferably a center or Zack Martin successor, could help quickly refresh this Cowboys offensive line for the future.

27. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns) — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Will Anderson and Jonathan Greenard have been able to get after the quarterback this year, with Greenard in a contract year but hopefully returning, so the Texans add to their front with Verse.

DeMeco Ryans has surely learned the importance of constantly restocking the defensive front from his days in San Francisco. Verse is better against the run and will likely be best used as a secondary rusher, and putting his competitive play style along with the tenacious Anderson could create an infectious need to get after the quarterback in Houston.

28. Detroit Lions — Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

The Lions do need help on their defensive back end, with Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke being a candidate here. Instead, we give the Lions the finisher they desperately need up front to help out the pressures that Aidan Hutchinson and others do create.

Robinson has very real burst off the ball and the best bend in this pass-rusher class. He is below average against the run and his overall play is still more flashes than consistent, but the upside he does flash is the type of pass-rushing juice this Lions defense craves.

29. Miami Dolphins — Taliese Fuaga, OT/OG, Oregon State

Whether Fuaga’s best fit is at guard or at tackle, Miami is a great landing spot for him. Whatever decisions the Dolphins make with their offensive line (or whoever comes back healthy), it will let Fuaga slot into the right spot to fill whatever gap that is created.

Fuaga is a better run-blocker than pass-protector at this point in time, but he’s a real difference-maker in the run game. Mike McDaniel’s scheme is perfect to highlight Fuaga’s strengths and help shore up his weakness (or until they can potentially improve).

30. Philadelphia Eagles — Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Howie Roseman is going to build through the trenches and Morgan gives offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland something to work with and mold. Morgan has the potential to stay outside at tackle but could also move inside to guard.

When considering the future of Lane Johnson and what happens to the center and right guard spots in a post-Jason Kelce world, Morgan could provide a variety of different answers for this Eagles offensive line going forward.

31. San Francisco 49ers — Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

Suamataia has true franchise left tackle potential, but will need some time to get there. Getting to work behind the NFL’s current OT1 Trent Williams will be a great understudy experience for Suamataia, with potential playing time being available early on on the right side.

32. Baltimore Ravens — Jack Sawyer, EDGE, Ohio State

I’m going with Sawyer over his more-heralded teammate J.T. Tuimoloau. Sawyer is, pun intended, a jack-of-all-trades that would fit in nicely in the Ravens’ kaleidoscopic scheme and personnel. While he is not dominant in one particular area, Sawyer can line up across the defensive front and rush the passer, play the run or drop into coverage, all at a quality level. Simply a good athlete and good football player for a franchise that appreciates good football players.

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