So here we are. The final mock. I’ve written a ton of notes below on the Seahawks. But first, here’s the darn thing in all its glory…

Final 2024 NFL mock draft

#1 Chicago (v/CAR) — Caleb Williams (QB, USC)
Now we get to see if the Bears finally have a franchise QB.

#2 Washington — Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU)
The second best quarterback in the draft.

#3 New England — Drake Maye (QB, North Carolina)
The fact the Vikings and Giants appear to want Maye so badly will probably embolden the Patriots to stick and pick.

#4 Arizona — Marvin Harrison Jr (WR, Ohio State)
They don’t get a haul and decide to stay put and take the best overall player in the draft (talent + character).

#5 LA Chargers — Joe Alt (T, Notre Dame)
Reportedly they’re eager to move down but is anyone busting a gut to move up?

#6 NY Giants — Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)
Malik Nabers has some character question marks and there have been questions about how he’d handle being in a big city. There are no such issues with the sensational Odunze.

#7 Tennessee — Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)
I’ve said for weeks — Brian Callahan has brought his dad in to coach up the line. In Cincy, it was all about the weapons. Nabers, Nuk Hopkins and Calvin Ridley would be a dynamite trio.

#8 Atlanta — Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)
All the talk is that Murphy will be the top defender taken. Raheem Morris knows the benefit of great defensive tackle play.

TRADE #9 Indianapolis (v/CHI) — Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)
The Colts make a splash and do a deal to jump the Jets for Bowers, supposedly New York’s not-so-secret top-target.

#10 New York Jets — Taliese Fuaga (T, Oregon State)
The word is if Bowers is gone, they’ll take Fuaga.

#11 Minnesota — JJ McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
I’ve never thought he was worth multiple firsts to trade up. The Vikings might just sit tight and see who’s left between McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr.

TRADE #12 Philadelphia (v/DEN) — JC Latham (T, Alabama)
The expectation is Philly will aggressively pursue Quinyon Mitchell who fits the Vic Fangio defense perfectly. Yet Howie Roseman typically prefers to draft for the trenches.

#13 Las Vegas — Terrion Arnold (CB, Alabama)
The Raiders miss out on the top right tackles and pivot to the top cornerback on their board instead.

#14 New Orleans — Olu Fashanu (T, Penn State)
They’re going to draft a tackle, it’s just a question of which one.

#15 Chicago (v/IND) — Dallas Turner (DE, Alabama)
Their biggest need is to find a partner in crime for Montez Sweat.

TRADE #16 Pittsburgh (v/SEA) — Quinyon Mitchell (CB, Toledo)
The Steelers move up four spots to get ahead of Jacksonville to select the second cornerback off the board.

#17 Jacksonville — Brian Thomas Jr (WR, LSU)
They need more help for Trevor Lawrence.

#18 Cincinnati — Troy Fautanu (T, Washington)
Although there’s a concern over his knee, Fautanu being the complete package with positional versatility will make him extremely coveted.

#19 LA Rams — Amarius Mims (T, Alabama)
In the last two off-seasons, the Rams have focused on massive offensive linemen.

#20 Seattle (v/PIT) — Chop Robinson (DE, Penn State)
The Seahawks take a player they hope Aden Durde and Mike Macdonald can turn into their version of Micah Parsons.

#21 Miami — Laiatu Latu (DE, UCLA)
They were the team who took a shot on Jaelan Phillips, who also had a serious neck injury that almost forced him to retire.

#22 Denver (v/PHI) — Jared Verse (DE, Florida State)
The Broncos don’t take a quarterback here and wait until round two. Instead, they take an impact pass rusher.

#23 Minnesota (v/HOU) — Nate Wiggins (CB, Clemson)
The Vikings keep the 23rd pick and fill a crucial need on defense.

#24 Dallas — Graham Barton (T/G/C, Duke)
They’ll hope he can emulate Zack Martin.

#25 Green Bay — Cooper DeJean (CB, Iowa)
The Packers have needs at corner and safety, so they can try him at either spot.

TRADE #26 Detroit (v/TB) — Darius Robinson (DE, Missouri)
The Lions jump in front of the Cardinals to make sure they get Robinson, who grew up a Lions fan.

#27 Arizona (v/ARI, HOU) — Kool-Aid McKinstry (CB, Alabama)
Cornerback is a need and most of the top pass rushers are gone.

TRADE #28 Las Vegas (v/BUF) — Michael Penix Jr (QB, Washington)
The Raiders bide their time and then trade back into the first round for their quarterback.

#29 Tampa Bay (v/DET) — Ladd McKonkey (WR, Georgia)
He’s had an exceptional pre-draft process.

#30 Baltimore — Tyler Guyton (T, Oklahoma)
This would be terrific value for the Ravens.

TRADE #31 Washington (v/SF) — Jordan Morgan (T/G, Arizona)
Adam Peters calls up his old team and does a deal to secure a left tackle.

#32 Kansas City — Kingsley Suamataia (T, BYU)
I think he has heavy feet and should go much later but he’s being connected to the Chiefs.

The trades explained

Indianpolis trades #15, #46 and #82 to Chicago for #9 and #75
The Colts aggressively move up to add Brock Bowers for Anthony Richardson, meanwhile the Bears trade back into a range where they can still get a needed pass rusher and fill a hole by acquiring a second round pick.

Philadelphia trades #22 and #50 to Denver for #12
The Eagles use one of their two second round picks to go and get JC Latham — who starts at guard as a rookie and will eventually replace Lane Johnson at right tackle. The Broncos, meanwhile, trade back with the intention of drafting Bo Nix in round two.

Pittsburgh trades #20 and #84 to Seattle for #16
The Seahawks would probably love to add a second rounder but they settle for this, knowing they’re only dropping four spots. The Steelers jump the Jaguars for Quinyon Mitchell. The Seahawks then have two third rounders and two fourth rounders — a collection they could use to trade up if they wanted to.

Detroit trades #29 and a 2025 third rounder to Tampa Bay for #26
The crowd erupts in Detroit as the hometown Lions announce they’ve gone after locally born Darius Robinson, who grew up following the team.

Las Vegas trades #37 and #77 to Buffalo for #28
The Raiders wait on the quarterback position and then make their move for Michael Penix Jr in the late first.

Washington trades #36, #139 and #152 to San Francisco for #31
The Commanders give the 49ers two fifth rounders to move back into round one for left tackle Jordan Morgan.

Notes on the thought process for Seattle

— I still think Taliese Fuaga and Troy Fautanu are stick and pick candidates. However, the reported medical flag for Fautanu’s knee is a real question mark, especially with an uncertain future for Abe Lucas. I don’t think Fuaga makes it to #16. Fautanu might because of the knee. Whether the Seahawks take him will be interesting given the news.

— The league appears to love Byron Murphy. It no longer seems realistic that he will last to #16 — but he is another stick and pick candidate.

— I think there are two wildcard scenarios. One is Michael Penix Jr. Until I see him wearing another team’s cap, I’m going to assume there’s a possibility he’ll reunite with Ryan Grubb. However, after seriously considering putting him in the top-half of round one, I think his frame will dissuade teams from going all-in on him. I sense there will be a lot of ‘like not love’ because of his stature and how he’ll handle NFL punishment, even if his arm is exceptional. Two, if they really are concerned about Lucas’ ability to return, will they prioritise a right tackle in a draft that is loaded at the position? For example, could they look at Amarius Mims?

— It’s also possible the Seahawks look at this as a rare draft. I have 20 legit first rounders on my board. Last year I had nine and the year before 11. So that’s the same number of legit first rounders in 2024 as the 2022 and 2023 drafts combined. This draft presents a unique opportunity to trade down and still, almost certainly, draft a player who carries a first round grade.

— With a rush on offensive players early, I think some very talented defenders could fall. So while originally I figured the Seahawks would do the obvious thing and just draft to improve a questionable O-line — I think based on their last two drafts, a ‘best player available’ approach after trading down could easily steer them to the defense.

— The Seahawks will not be motivated by need. Take last year. We could all see the team needed a defensive tackle badly. If not two. They waited until round four to draft Cam Young. They were so strict with their board/gradings, they left themselves thin at DT going into camp. I’m not saying they’ll definitely wait until round four to draft a guard but it’s not out of the question.

Thoughts on Seattle’s first round pick

It came down to two players.

Fuaga and Murphy were gone and Fautanu would’ve been considered at #20 but the Bengals grabbed him. After moving back four spots, the two players I considered were Chop and Darius Robinson.

Let’s start with two quotes from Mike Macdonald shared by the team this week:

“We’re going to change the looks, move guys around and attack offenses differently.”

“We believe in knocking the crap out of the guy in front of you, and then some.”

This tells me two things. Firstly, deception on defense is critical, as is versatility and the ability to keep opponents guessing. Secondly, they want to build from the front and deliver a highly physical team. That points to the trenches.

This is why I think highly aggressive, physical linemen like Fuaga, Fautanu and Murphy will be potential targets if they make it to #16. Macdonald is spelling out how he wants his team to be.

I find it astonishing that people continue to talk about Cooper DeJean as a first round possibility for Seattle. He played cornerback and is an assumed safety convert, so there’s a perception he can be a chess piece. Yet as we’ve noted multiple times, he played 1183 snaps at corner for Iowa, 173 in the slot, 23 in the box and had one snap at deep safety. He hasn’t been a chess piece. He’s been a cornerback. He’s projected to be a versatile weapon, mainly because his stiffness in transition gives people pause to believe he can stay at corner.

The team who had its arse handed to it by an average Pittsburgh team at the end of last season can’t take another defensive back at #16 then wait 65 picks to address another need.

I stuck to the trenches. I focused on two highly versatile players. One who is a brute force destroyer with the size and physicality to deliver violence up front. The other who could be used in the same way Aden Durde experienced with Micah Parsons in Dallas.

Darius Robinson split his snaps in 2023 between over and outside tackle. In the two years prior, he attacked the B-gap. He has played right across the line and it’s very easy to imagine him being used in a multitude of ways to create pressure.

When you watch Chop Robinson’s pass rush snaps against Michigan, you see him lined up in a variety of different positions. When I first watched him the name that jumped to mind was Parsons. It’s a lofty, likely unattainable comparison. He has that upside though. Again, the Seahawks just appointed Durde to be their defensive coordinator from the Cowboys. He’ll know all of the creative ways Dallas rushed Parsons. Imagining Robinson in the same role in Seattle’s defense isn’t difficult.

Here’s two players that can give opponents different looks, different questions to answer pre-snap, and can also disrupt and create havoc with their very different characteristics. Darius has a remarkable 285lbs frame and blows plays up with power, explosion and length. Chop is dynamite off the edge with rare suddenness and bend. Few turn the corner like he can.

Here’s Greg Cosell’s assessment of Darius:

“I really like this kid. He’s got tremendous length and mass. He’s got really strong hands, strong grip, arm extension, he locks-out, he sets the edge. I think he’ll develop more as a pass rusher the more he plays. I really like Darius Robinson a lot. You wouldn’t call a guy that big ‘sudden’ but he’s a very good athlete for his size. Guys that big you can always say they’re a little stiff and tight but they’re just very big. Guys like that are not going to look and move like Chop Robinson. I think he’s the kind of guy you need to keep watching because he’s not going to make those dynamic, spectacular, explosive plays where you go, ‘oh my look at that’ but if you keep watching him, he’s just a really good football player. He may not be the guy early in his career who gets 12 or 13 sacks. Could he develop into that? Possibly. I also think he’s the kind of guy you can line up year one and he’d play meaningful snaps and be good at what he’s asked to do.”

And here’s what he said about Chop:

“Obviously he’s an edge player at his core but when you get to third down you want to move him around, you want to make him a stand up ‘joker’, you want to give him a runway to use that speed and velocity. He’s nowhere near as powerful as Micah Parsons but in a sense you’d want to use him like that where you line him up in different places in those pass rushing situations as opposed to just putting him on the edge with his hand in the ground.”

For what it’s worth, Chop and Parsons had near identical vertical jumps (34.5 vs 34), three-cone times (7.01 vs 6.96) and broad jumps (10-8 vs 10-6). Chop handily beat Parsons in the 10-yard split (1.54 vs 1.59) and short shuttle (4.25 vs 4.40) — that’s despite weighing 254lbs compared to Parsons’ 246lbs. The one seriously freaky thing about Parsons is that he has 11-inch hands (Chop’s are 9 1/8 inches).

Both Robinson’s also fit Seattle’s recent ‘no compromises’ approach to character. Read for yourself, with Tony Pauline’s latest on both published this week (Darius, Chop).

Here’s what Bob McGinn’s scouting sources said about both players:

Darius Robinson

“He’s determined to be great,” said one scout. “That’s what I love about him, and it’s all real. He comes from (bleep).”

“This sucker might have the highest ceiling in the whole draft,” said a second scout. “The build, the talent. You watch him in the SEC, they line him up over tight ends in a 6-technique and he beats the shit out of that tight end. Kind of like Wayne Simmons back in the Brent Jones era. You say, ‘Holy smokes, they might throw him in prison for that.’ He is physical and violent.”

“He is violent. Plays his ass off. He’s gonna be really productive. He can win outside with a 4.97 40 because he can kick your ass. He’s got enough get-off. He’ll win because he’s got 34-inch arms and (big) hands. He’s as good a grab-and-jerk pass rusher as there in the draft.”

Chop Robinson

“Love him,” one scout said. “I see Chop every bit as good as (Dallas) Turner. Sky’s the limit. He’s why coaches get paid. Now you’ve got some work to do with him. You get annoyed because he doesn’t have a (lot) of production this year (four sacks, 15 tackles in 10 starts) but he only played 50% of their defensive snaps. They rotate the hell out of guys.”

“Must be an ambidextrous kid,” a second scout said. “I’m telling you, you don’t find that. He’s got a burst off the edge that’s rare. This is one of the few players you will ever see that can slip and dip and make the L move at the proper angle and depth of the quarterback, and he can do it from the left and right sides. And he can play the run. He’s not a hit-and-shed guy. He’s an escape guy. He runs off blocks. He doesn’t defeat blocks but he’s so quick and athletic he doesn’t have to beat on ‘em. He can escape and pursue down the line. This is what everybody’s looking for.”

“He’s sudden, explosive, plays his ass off,” a third scout said.

The bad forty doesn’t scare me with Darius Robinson. I can’t remember the last time I saw a player look like he does. With that size, that frame, that playing style. I’ve said this a few times — he reminds me of a bigger, less twitchy Jadeveon Clowney. Unlike Clowney, he could easily be the leader in the locker room by year three.

Let’s go back to that Mike Macdonald quote from earlier:

“We believe in knocking the crap out of the guy in front of you, and then some.”

That sounds very much like Darius Robinson, just as it also sounds like Troy Fautanu, Taliese Fuaga, Byron Murphy and Jared Verse, in fairness.

With Chop Robinson, the upside potential of someone who can do what he does off the edge is terrifying (for other teams). It’ll create easy wins, to hopefully pair with creative scheming to put him in position to do damage. If you can get a Parsons type, with the creativity of Macdonald guiding him, that’s a difference-making factor. The kind Seattle badly needs.

Under Pete Carroll, I’d have had no confidence that he could take hold of someone like Chop Robinson and create packages and looks to enable him to wreak havoc. With a defensive coordinator who has worked closely with Parsons in Dallas and a Head Coach known for defensive wizardry, Robinson might be more intriguing for Seattle than virtually any other team in the league.

Other players don’t carry the same versatility. Jared Verse is a speed-to-power demon but I don’t see any real positional flexibility or disguise with him. He’ll rush the edge, do his thing. He isn’t really a player you move around. Laiatu Latu can line up inside but how keen are NFL teams going to be to do that with his neck history? Jer’Zhan Newton is an interior pass-rush specialist only.

The two Robinson’s, for me, feel like very realistic targets for Seattle. I had to pick one and went with the upside of Chop and the potential to try and emulate what the Cowboys do with Parsons.

Why I doubt my own pick

This is the best offensive tackle draft in years. John Schneider has often bemoaned the lack of quality tackles coming into the league. They have a question mark with Abe Lucas. The offensive line is the biggest priority for improvement, if we assume the Seahawks cannot find a legit, young, franchise quarterback in round one.

If they stick and pick Fautanu at #16 after months of saying they’d take him if he’s there, I’ll kick myself with this mock. The knee has just made me reconsider at the last moment.

It won’t be a surprise if they take the best offensive lineman in round one, still go with a quarterback in the rounds 2-4 range but target a pass rusher like Jonah Elliss, possibly, in round three. Perhaps if they can’t trade down, or simply are fortunate enough to have Fuaga or Fautanu (knee permitting) fall to them, that will solve the problem.

I also think the Seahawks might be determined to add more stock than a mere third rounder if they trade down, especially if they have a different quarterback in mind (eg Spencer Rattler).

Seahawks seven-round projection

#20 (v/PIT) — Chop Robinson (EDGE, Penn State)
#81 — Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)
#83 — Michael Pratt (QB, Tulane)
#102 — Zak Zinter (G, Michigan)
#118 — Dominique Hampton (S, Washington)
#179 — Ryan Flournoy (WR, SE Missouri State)
#192 — Nathaniel Watson (LB, Mississippi State)
#235 — George Holani (RB, Boise State)

Final thoughts

Over the last 24 hours I’ve come to realise how utterly stupid ‘final mocks’ are. I recall a year ago Peter King agonising over his, writing consistently about his keenness to get as much right as possible.

Mock drafts are at their best when they pitch theories, ideas and possibilities between January and April without any pressure to be ‘accurate’. Trying to guess what will actually happen tomorrow is futile. The people who ‘hit’ typically are just very lucky. We have no real idea what’s going happen. The reporters out there might get the odd nugget or two — but not enough to create a fantastic mock.

Let’s just embrace the brilliant unknown of the draft. 32 GM’s, many under the influence of owners, will provide three days of entertainment from Thursday. I hope you enjoy it.

I also hope you’ll stick with SDB throughout. Here’s what the plan is:

— As the draft kicks off, I will be on PuckSports for approximately 20 minutes giving my thoughts.

— I will be live-blogging my reaction to each first round pick. When the Seahawks make their selection, I will record a quick video which will be uploaded to my Youtube channel.

— At the end of each of the three days, I will be doing a live stream giving my reaction to Seattle’s picks.

— I have agreed to appear on the Cigar Thoughts draft show on day two, with a time to be confirmed.

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