2024 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal selections for the entire first round

On April 27th, the NFL draft will start in Detroit, Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions, who was "America's Team" during their playoff run which ended in bitter fashion in the NFC Championship game. In the first round of this year's draft, 32 college stars will hear their name called and become the rookie class of the 2024-2025 NFL. This article details who each team should pick, if they pick in their original draft position. While there are certainly going to be trades made, (and you can read my AFC East preview article to see what some of those could be); this mock draft plays the draft order straight up.

2024 NFL Draft - Starts April 27th, in Detroit, Michigan
2024 NFL Draft - Starts April 27th, in Detroit, Michigan / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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Pick 17 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Terrion Arnold - Cornerback - Alabama

Doug Pederson will spend the 2024-2025 season trying to prove that Trevor Lawrence is the franchise quarterback we've all been told he is since high school. But to do that, the Jags defense has to improve and Terrion Arnold falling into their lap at 17 is a perfect fit. The consensus All-American may be the top cornerback in the draft and is the most NFL ready from day one. Arnold is physically strong, quick, and smart; that combination could make him a top-5 corner in the next couple of years and a potential defensive rookie of the year candidate.

Pick 18 - Cincinnati Bengals - Amarius Mims - Tackle - Alabama

Joe Burrow's injury ended the Bengals season in November last year and his injury history has to concern the Bengals front office as they try to catch up with the two-time Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Amarius Mims provides protection for Burrow as a potential standout offensive tackle for many years to come. Mim's size (6' 7", 340), incredible agility, and high-level production, when healthy, make him a fascinating prospect for a high-value position. But his injury history, including tight-rope surgery on his ankle in 2023, make him a risky pick for some.

Pick 19 - Los Angeles Rams - Nate Wiggins - Cornerback - Clemson

The Rams defense needs a coverage corner to replace Jalen Ramsey. Nate Wiggins is a tall, rangy, and fast defensive back that gives could be an All-pro, if he develops his skill set. Wiggins will be difficult to throw against and uses his 6' 1" frame and exceptional speed to ball-hawk opposing offenses. His lack of ideal strength and support in the run game may keep him off the field in early down situations as a rookie. But if he can demonstrate toughness and add muscle to his frame, he could be the steal of the draft.

Pick 20 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Cooper DeJean - Cornerback / Safety - Iowa

Mike Tomlin likes a strong defense and assuming the reports that the Steelers are somehow happy with Kenny Picket leading their quarterback room, Cooper DeJean is "Steelers-type" pick. With Levi Wallace likely leaving through free agency and Patrick Peterson no good at football anymore, the versatile DeJean gives the Steelers a high-level option at cornerback or safety. The 6' 1" 200-pound DeJean is good against the run and athletic enough to cover most receivers in the NFL. A pair of Joey Porter Jr. and DeJean could provide a great back end for the Steelers for years to come.