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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2024 Mock Draft 5.0: You Pick It, I Explain It

Brianna Dix and Scott Smith take turns making the 32 first-round predictions, then switch up and try to explain the reasoning behind each others' selections


Here at, Brianna Dix and I have done a solid month of by-the-book mock drafting; now it's time to shake things up a little bit. If you want to review any of our first four 2024 mock drafts, you can find them here:

Those four were pretty straightforward, just single-person first-round mocks, either with or without predicted trades. This week, Brianna and I are joining forces.

First we sat down together and made the 32 picks, alternating the selector each time. I went first and thus got all the odd-number picks; Brianna took all the even-number picks. As we made our choices, we made a point of notexplaining our reasoning behind them. Then we switched our attention to the other person's picks.

That is, what you will find below is the odd-number picks made by me but then explained by Brianna, as she tries to deduce why I made each decision. Conversely, all the even-number picks by Brianna are explained by me. That's it. That's the whole conceit. Let's get started. (For the record, trades were not allowed in this one, as things would get complicated fast.)

  1. (Scott Smith) Chicago Bears (from Carolina): QB Caleb Williams, USC

Brianna's Take: Easy to see why Scott made this selection here. Caleb Williams is the consensus lock on mocks as the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft, despite not testing or undergoing medicals at the NFL Combine. The Bears part ways with Justin Fields and look to the young quarterback for revitalization in the Windy City. Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, is a dangerous threat on the move as an escape artist and as a pocket passer. He is adept at generating advantageous throwing angles and possesses rare improvisation talent to elude pressure. The playmaker will help elevate the Bears' franchise.

  1. (Brianna Dix) Washington Commanders: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Scott's Take: Presumably Brianna was choosing between Daniels and North Carolina's Drake Maye. The Commanders seem even more certain to take a quarterback than even the Bears, considering they don't even have a Justin Fields-like fallback option. I suppose Bri has been reading the tea leaves, as it seems like the mock draft consensus here has shifted to Daniels, perhaps because Washington's new offensive coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury, is thought to want a very mobile quarterback like Kyler Murray. Personally, I think the pick here should and will be Maye.

  1. (SS) New England Patriots: WR Marvin Harrison, Jr., Ohio State

Brianna's Take: The Patriots signed veteran journeyman Jacoby Brissett, who spent most of the 2023 season backing up Sam Howell. Brissett will seemingly serve as a bridge for the Patriots as they strive to find their future quarterback. He adds depth to the QB room and New England could still go after a quarterback with the No. 3 overall selection (several reportedly linked to the franchise); however, I like this pick by Scott. The Patriots get the consensus top receiver in a deep class at the position group. Marvin Harrison Jr. is a vertical threat that defenses will have to account for. He navigates the sideline with ease and would boost the Patriots' receiving corps.

  1. (BD) Arizona Cardinals: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Scott's Take: I'm guessing this would have been Harrison had I not thrown that curveball at pick three (and Bri was pretty spot-on as to why I did so). The Cardinals still need a number-one receiver and probably aren't too upset to end up with Nabers, even if Harrison was their top pick.

  1. (SS) Los Angeles Chargers: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Brianna's Take: I made this selection in my latest mock draft so it would be a challenge to play devil's advocate on this pick by Scott. The Chargers need to bolster the trenches and in a talented pool of tackles in the 2024 class, Los Angeles gets the first off the board. Joe Alt is one of the most well-rounded prospects in 2024 and thrived in Notre Dame's zone-based scheme with above-average athleticism. He consistently out leverages opponents with a stout blend of effective pad level and footwork. Alt plays with a competitive demeanor, finishes blocks, redirects pass rushers and is adept as a move blocker in space.

  1. (BD) New York Giants: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Scott's Take: Had we allowed trades in this one, and had I been thinking of having the Patriots pass on quarterback, the Giants probably would have been our choice to trade up and get Maye. So when the board fell this way, my suspicion is that Brianna (figuratively) ran up to the podium to hand in this card. Now the question is, do the Giants stick with Daniel Jones as a bridge starter for one year, since moving on would represent a drastic hit on the salary cap, or will they quickly give in to the temptation to put their shiny new toy in the starting lineup?

  1. (SS) Tennessee Titans: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

Brianna's Take: I put Amarius Mims in the 10-15 range, so this selection is a little high in my opinion, however, he does have tremendous upside. The Titans fortify the line of scrimmage and get Mims, who has the lateral agility for move blocking duties. The Titans signed former Cowboys' running back Tony Pollard and Mims would help pave the way. Pollard is a slash-back that thrives in space, hitting the accelerator nearly instantaneously and Mims is a quick-off-the-ball monster in the run game. He is also effective at dealing with speed off the edge and would boost the Titans' line. The more I think about it, the more I like this selection by Mr. Smith.

  1. (BD) Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Scott's Take: Um, thanks on that last one, Bri. Oh yeah, I definitely factored in the Titans' new running back, his style of running and how Mims fits into it all. Of course I did. You are right to give me all that credit, because I totally did that. As for this pick, Brianna knew by this point that the Falcons had signed Kirk Cousins and were thus not going to reach for a quarterback here. Instead, Bri has them doing what they've seemingly been trying to do for years – get a productive edge rush going. Brianna was at the NFL Scouting Combine and she saw Turner turn in a great performance, so perhaps that cemented him at the top of her board for edge rushers.

  1. (SS) Chicago Bears: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Brianna's Take: This is another selection that I made in my latest mock, so I wholeheartedly agree with this pick. This will provide young quarterback Caleb Williams with another dynamic receiving weapon in the Windy City. Rome Odunze is a big-bodied receiver who wins at the catch point with a large catch radius. Due to his frame, Odunze can box out defenders with ease and changes direction effortlessly. The contested-catch aficionado would strengthen the Bears' receiver room.

  1. (BD) New York Jets: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

Scott's Take: Well, presumably Brianna was internally giving herself a high-five here because I took Mims as the second tackle off a (very, very deep) board, allowing her to nab Fashanu here for the Jets. Giving the Jets an offensive lineman here is an extremely popular choice in mock drafts this year, and Brianna surely knows that Mekhi Becton is not likely to stay in New Jersey. I think this pick made a lot of sense.

  1. (SS) Minnesota Vikings: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Brianna's Take: I am on board with this selection from Scott. Kirk Cousins has a new home with the Falcons, leaving a vacancy at quarterback for the Vikings. J.J. McCarthy has become a popular fit for Minnesota on mocks to fill the void in Kevin O'Connell's offense. McCarthy has become one of the most polarizing prospects in the class. While his ball placement needs improvement at the pro level, McCarthy is one of the best at operating outside of the pocket with agility. He thrives on throws targeting the middle of the field and the Michigan star could elevate Minnesota's offense with the right tools surrounding him. The Vikings bet on McCarthy's ability outside of structure and snag a quarterback in the first round.

  1. (BD) Denver Broncos: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

Scott's Take: Brianna kept a poker face when I sent McCarthy to Minnesota, but I wonder if she was hoping he would fall one more pick to land here with the Broncos. I guess we'll never know! With only one defensive player in the first 11 selections, the Broncos had their choice of their top-rated cornerback, top-rated defensive tackle and first or second-rated edge rusher. Personally, I think edge is a little bit more of a need, but I do think that Arnold and Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell are neck-and-neck for the number-one spot at this premium position. This works for me.

  1. (SS) Las Vegas Raiders: QB Michael Penix, Washington

Brianna's Take: I consider Michael Penix more of an early Day 2 prospect in the Draft, so this selection is high for him in my opinion. His injury history and throwing mechanics have raised question marks, but Penix impressed with deep balls during the throwing exhibition at the Combine. He pushes the ball down the field with strength and velocity. Penix is a stationary pocket passer, and he hits tight window darts with an aggressive mentality. Penix is an intriguing prospect and in Scott's worldview, the Raiders snag the Washington developmental prospect with high potential.

  1. (BD) New Orleans Saints: T Troy Fautanu, Washington

Scott's Take: Why Fautanu over, say, J.C. Latham or Taliese Fuaga? My guess it that Brianna knows that Fautanu has some inside-outside versatility and believes the Saints could use help at several spots on the offensive line, so there's a couple different ways this could work out. Brianna certainly also knows that the Saints have always been big on spending valuable draft assets on their offensive line.

  1. (SS) Indianapolis Colts: TE Brock Bowers, Alabama

Brianna's Take: A lot of mocks have a cornerback going to the Colts with so many offensive tackles, wide receivers and quarterbacks flying off the board. I would have selected a corner here to improve the Colts' defense; however, I am not opposed to this selection by Scott. Brock Bowers is a rare breed and possesses tantalizing traits to make any team salivate over. The back-to-back John Mackey Award winner has the yards-after-catch prowess that offensive coordinators covet in the modern era. Bowers is dangerous with the ball in his hands and has short-area burst. With a combination of balance and vision, Bowers would add another dimension to the Colts' offense in multiple personnel groupings.

  1. (BD) Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Scott's Take: Like I noted earlier, Brianna went to the Scouting Combine this year so she probably took note of Latu's solid but unspectacular performance, which was not unexpected. However, that apparently didn't dissuade here from making Latu the second edge rusher off the board, and I wholeheartedly agree. When it's all said and done, I think he may go even higher than this. His production at UCLA was just too good to ignore.

  1. (SS) Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Brian Thomas, LSU

Brianna's Take: Again, corner is seemingly the consensus route for the Jaguars at No. 17 and Nate Wiggins has certainly been invariably linked to the club, however, I like this selection. Brian Thomas Jr.'s athleticism jumps off the tape. The 6'4" receiver is a lethal vertical threat and is adept at picking up yards after the catch. He is quick off the line of scrimmage with a variety of releases in his arsenal and can quickly work over the top of defensive backs. He would help elevate the Jags' receiver room.

  1. (BD) Cincinnati Bengals: T J.C. Latham, Alabama

Scott's Take: You know what, I think Brianna just really likes Latham as a prospect and as a fit for the Bengals. She gave him to the Bengals here second mock a week ago. So I don't really have to guess here, as I quote from last week: "Right tackle Jonah Williams is a free agent and finding a replacement in the trenches to bolster the wall around Joe Burrow is vital for Cincinnati. J.C. Latham possesses strength and power, keeping rushers at bay. He is an imposing force with physicality and utilizes hand placement to disrupt rushers. With an overwhelming anchor and ability to create rush lanes with tenacity on down blocks, he set the tone on Alabama's line. Latham has the tools to become a Pro Bowl caliber player and would help make an immediate impact for the Bengals." Hey, I think I may have found a way to game this system!

  1. (SS) Los Angeles Rams: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Brianna's Take: The Rams parted ways with Jalen Ramsey last offseason and have multiple corners headed for free agency this year. I love this selection for the Rams as they hit the jackpot with the best player available at a position of need. Quinyon Mitchell ran a practically-flying 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine that turned heads. He pairs route recognition with elite recovery speed. Mitchell can carry vertical threats and is physical when working downhill in zone.

  1. (BD) Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Scott's Take: I think I like Cooper DeJean better at this spot, so I guess Brianna and I disagree on that assessment. I like DeJean's positional flexibility and size, whereas I'm worried about Wiggins' slight frame. I have to admit that Wiggins checks pretty much all the other boxes, including height, wingspan and production.

  1. (SS) Miami Dolphins: DL Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

Brianna's Take: The departures of Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis created an obvious need in the interior of the defensive line for the Dolphins and I love this pick from Scott. Jer'Zhan Newton accumulated 7.5 sacks for Illinois in 2023 and consistently generates pressure up the middle. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has a variety of moves in his toolbox and plays with solid bend. He may be undersized by NFL defensive tackle standards, but Newton plays with natural leverage and tenacity.

  1. (BD) Philadelphia Eagles: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Scott's Take: I'm pretty sure this was Brianna's thought process on this one: "Hey, Scott gave McKinstry to the Eagles in his first mock draft, then repeated that pick in his second one. And Scott's a pretty smart cookie in my book so I'll get on board with his idea here. Then I'll go make him those birthday cookies I promised I would bring him last week." Yep, that's probably what she was thinking, word for word.

  1. (SS) Houston Texans (from Cleveland): EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

Brianna's Take: The Texans need to bolster the defensive line around Will Anderson in DeMeco Ryans' defense and Jared Verse would help revitalize the unit in 2024. I like this selection from Scott and the Texans taking Jared Verse, a prospect with a high upside and special speed-to-power conversion. He is physical at the point of attack and fires off the ball. Verse utilizes a variety of finesse moves to keep offensive tackles at bay and would elevate the unit in Houston with explosion.

  1. (BD) Dallas Cowboys: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon State

Scott's Take: I've got a pretty good idea about how this pick came to be, rather than the more mock draft popular pairing the Cowboys with an offensive tackle. Right before we started making our picks, Brianna and I were comparing notes on what free agency moves we had seen take place up to that point. I had just learned of the expected departure of center Tyler Biadasz to the Commanders, and Brianna hadn't put that one her list yet. I think she filed that information away quickly and it led her to find the Cowboys' replacement at the pivot here. And I love this pick.

  1. (SS) Green Bay Packers: OL Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

Brianna's Take: The Packers released David Bakhtiari and revamping their line will be paramount. I like this pick from Scott as Taliese Fuaga heads to the Frozen Tundra. Fuaga plays with outstanding pad level, power and quickness out of his stance. The Oregon State star takes effective angles on climbs to bulldoze linebackers and his run-blocking skills would bolster the Packers' ground attack.

  1. (BD) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: IOL Graham Barton, Duke

Scott's Take: Well, at this point we knew that Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield and Antoine Winfield were coming back, so that probably narrowed Bri's focus a little bit. Bri has been pretty consistent in her mocks, pairing EDGE Chop Robinson up with the Bucs at this spot, and Robinson is still available in this one. In fact, as you'll see, he didn't even go in our first round, which is a bit surprising, retroactively. Anyway, I assume the thought here is that Aaron Stinnie and Matt Feiler are both free agents and the Bucs could use more power on their interior line. Barton could slot in either at guard or center, as Robert Hainsey is also versatile enough to play both.

  1. (SS) Arizona Cardinals (from Houston): CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Brianna's Take: Addressing the secondary is overdue for the Cardinals and I am on board with this selection from Mr. Smith. Cooper DeJean possesses elite playmaking potential with ball skills, downhill trigger out of breaks, effective pursuit angles against the run and range. DeJean, a unanimous 2023 All-American, is instinctive and has the size to jam and go up against big-bodied receivers. The versatile player has hip fluidity to cover tight ends and can drive and disrupt the run in the box.

  1. (BD) Buffalo Bills: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

Scott's Take: I'm not 100% sure I buy Franklin as a first-rounder, especially after an up-and-down Combine outing, but wide receiver is definitely an area of need for the Bills and I'm sure Brianna noticed that Gabe Davis has left Buffalo for Jacksonville (now there's a culture shift). Wide receiver is a very popular mock draft target for the Bills this year, so the reasoning here is clear.

  1. (SS) Detroit Lions: DL Byron Murphy, Texas

Brianna's Take: I love this selection for the Lions by Scott. Aidan Hutchinson is the club's do-it-all phenom and the franchise could benefit from another stud on the frontline to strengthen their pass rush. Byron Murphy compiled 45 quarterback pressures in 2023 for the Longhorns. His motor and passion make him an ideal fit for Dan Campbell's squad. Murphy is a one-gap penetrator with twitchy first-step quickness. He has the power to take on double teams and imposes his will with an expansive rush approach.

  1. (BD) Baltimore Ravens: WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Scott's Take: Presumably Brianna sees the wisdom in getting another weapon for Lamar Jackson…and this was before we learned of Derrick Henry's pending move to Baltimore. That said, the Ravens are pretty well known for letting the draft fall to them and getting strong value at their spots, and I wonder if they might instead jump on an edge rusher like Chop Robinson or Darius Robinson.

  1. (SS) San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington

Brianna's Take: Given how San Francisco got exposed in the Super Bowl with their offensive line play, most mocks have an offensive lineman taken here at 31. However, I do not think any team can have too much pass rush talent so therefore, I support this selection. With upper-body strength and block recognition, Bralen Trice helped set the tone for the Huskies. Trice is strong at the point of attack and had 80 pressures in 2023 for Washington. He is effective on twists/stints and at converting speed to power.

  1. (BD) Kansas City Chiefs: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

Scott Smith: Bri was too kind on me for that last pick. I probably should have gone with one of the Robinson's, and honestly I may have forgotten Chop was still there. As for this one, it's not hard to follow the bread crumbs. Bri was at the Combine, where she surely witnessed Worthy break the all-time record in the 40-yard dash. Did that change some teams' opinions of the Texas receiver, given that they presumably already knew how fast he was? Maybe, maybe not. But maybe he was already high on teams' boards and this is just us observers catching up to it. Either way, a receiver for Patrick Mahomes makes obvious since.

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