The 2024 All-Surprise NFL Draft

I wrote a similar article on Draft Day last year and had so much fun I thought I’d do it again.

It’s Draft Week and Chris Berman is the spirit animal of every football fan from Akron, OH to Zachary, LA. I’ve just watched “Draft Day” for the eighth time today, and even though a scenario like Kevin Costner’s could never happen, what if it could? With that in mind, I decided to do an All-Surprise first-round mock. It won’t play out this way, but it sure would be fun if it did. Vontae Mack, no matter what. Never forget.

  1. Bears– Everybody in the world knows Ryan Poles will select USC QB Caleb Williams, but the shock is that he will wait until there are but a few seconds on the clock to announce his pick. While NFL fans across the globe are speculating about a possible trade, Roger Goodell announces that Williams is indeed the pick and that he had Chicago’s draft card for two months, but had accidentally misplaced it.  The Pick: Williams
  2.  Commanders – Everybody believes Jayden Daniels is the obvious pick here, but Washington throws everybody for a loop by announcing their selection after informing everybody that they are changing their name back to the Washington Football Club. The Pick: QB JJ McCarthy, Michigan
  3. Patriots Cardinals– New England calls Arizona to inform them they are taking Marvin Harrison Jr. The Cardinals give the Pats Nos. 4, 35, and first-round selections in 2025 and ’26 to swap places. Mel Kiper Jr calls it “The biggest fleecing since the Bears acquired D.J. Moore last year.” The Pick: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
  4. Cardinals Patriots – The Patriots get the guy they wanted plus three extra draft picks. Kiper immediately calls it a “value pick.” The Pick: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU
  5. Chargers Giants – Nobody likes Jim Harbaugh so nobody answers his calls as he attempts to trade down. Harbaugh shows them who’s boss by failing to turn in his draft card. The Giants are bumped up a spot and select a quarterback after using lottery balls to decide their choice. The Pick: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington
  6. Chargers– Harbaugh is still looking to trade down and strikes a deal with Poles to swap the No. 6 for the No. 9, but Virginia McCaskey vetoes it. Harbaugh is unprepared and earns “first reach” status with his choice, but at least it’s a position of need. The Pick: WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas 
  7. Titans– No surprise here. The Tennessee front office has tickets to see Taylor Swift and just wants to get the heck out of Dodge. The Pick: OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
  8. Falcons Vikings – Everybody thinks they are going quarterback, but Minnesota’s front office just wants to pick off Poles and the Bears. The Pick: WR Rome Odunze, LSU
  9. Bears – Poles reveals that he was more interested in having the ninth pick for the second consecutive year than the first because he enjoys zigging when everyone expects him to zag. His best player on the board is Drake Maye, but he already selected Williams, so he goes with the one player who is in his top 10 that is not in anybody else’s, who happens to play for the one university that elicits a collective “meh” from the team’s fanbase. The Pick: DT Byron Murphy II, Texas
  10. Jets– New York pulls a Green Bay and selects its successor to Aaron Rodgers, who retreats to an underground cave for two weeks to ponder his options while the rookie steals his jersey number. The Pick: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
  11. Falcons– Atlanta is shocked that the Jets passed on Malik Nabers and Brock Bowers, but gets scared, and goes defense instead. Lions fans are immediately dejected that a top-12 talent didn’t last to No. 29. Detroit fans start ordering Bowers jerseys. Spectacular mistake. The Pick: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
  12. BroncosSean Payton wants the next Drew Brees. He convinces himself the best quarterback available is that guy, and sends shockwaves through Denver. It’s not Bo Nix, however. Nix is seen on camera mouthing a big, fat WTF when the selection is announced. The Pick: QB Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
  13. Raiders – Las Vegas turns in a card that says ‘Bo Callahan’ and a hush falls over the room. Goodell huddles with officials and changes the card with his pocket Sharpie. The Pick: QB Bo Nix, Oregon
  14. Saints– Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. are still available, but the hometown crowd is split. New Orleans fixes it right, quick, and in a hurry. The Pick: OT JC Latham, Alabama
  15. Colts– Bill Polian has been outsourced by the Bears, and thankfully so. He’s working with Indianapolis again and advises they take the best center available, no matter what. The Pick: C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
  16. Seahawks– Seattle’s front office got the dates mixed up and couldn’t get a flight to Detroit. A team of brainiacs at Microsoft runs some analytics and makes the selection. The Pick: Edge Laiatu Latu, UCLA
  17. Jaguars– A cameraman catches Bowers smashing tables in anger because he continues to fall. The Jags catch his drift. The Pick: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
  18. Bengals– Nabers tries a similar tactic, but Cincinnati ignores him. The Pick: OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State
  19. Rams– Los Angeles isn’t used to picking this early and is woefully underprepared. Someone hears Mel Kiper Jr. say that only three defensive players have been chosen, so they luck into the best one available. The Pick: Edge Dallas Turner, Alabama 
  20. Steelers Bears– Pittsburgh fleeced the Bears in the trade for Chase Claypool and stole Justin Fields this year, so they give the pick to Chicago as a sign of good sportsmanship. Poles gives them Brett Rypien, Khalil Herbert, and a Doug Flutie jersey he found in storage The Pick: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU
  21. Dolphins – Miami selects a wide receiver. Why not? The Pick: WR Malik Nabers, LSU
  22. Eagles– Philadelphia’s marketing team wants a player that reminds fans of the great Bill Bergey. The front office obliges. The Pick: Edge Jared Verse, Florida State.
  23. Vikings Falcons– The cameras pan the draftees expected to go in the first round only to find one remaining player. Andre Rison shoves Goodell out of the way and announces Atlanta’s selection. Nobody knows if Rison announced the name that was written on the draft card. The Pick: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama
  24. Cowboys– Jerry Jones slaps the draft card out of Mike McCarthy’s hand and makes the pick. McCarthy always chokes in the biggest moments. The Pick: RB Jonathan Brooks, Texas
  25. Packers– Green Bay senses a beverage endorsement and goes with the best corner available. That he played for the Crimson Tide is purely coincidental (wink, wink). The Pick: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
  26. Buccaneers– Tampa Bay tries to trade its pick for the rights to Tom Brady, failing to realize they still own his rights. Someone makes a joke about drafting Matthew McConaughey instead, but Goodell misunderstands. The Pick: WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia
  27. Cardinals – Someone from Arizona’s marketing department asks for a hometown player with an old-timey name that reminds folks of porch swings and Brandy Ice. The requestee thought the Cards still played in St. Louis. The Pick: CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri
  28. Bills Bills Saints– Buffalo asks to cede from the draft because they have no needs, but Goodell tells them that the best front offices are seen and not heard. The front office then shocks the commissioner by trading the pick to themselves for cash to “pad profits.” They then trade the pick to the Saints for two Day 3 selections because they have the extra cash. New Orleans decides to choose a player with the most Mardi Gras-sounding name ever. The Pick: OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
  29. Lions– Detroit is finally on the clock but all of their fans are drunk or sound asleep. Eminem comes out to announce the pick, saying “This is for all you 12-Mile MFers!” The Pick: DT D’Vondre Sweat, Texas
  30. Ravens– Does anybody care who Baltimore picks? No, not even their fans. The Pick: Edge Chop Robinson, Penn State
  31. 49ers– San Francisco tries to trade the pick for the final selection on Day 3, but can’t swing a deal unless they include fair-value-for-fair-value QB Brock Purdy. They then choose the odds-on favorite to be Mr. Irrelevant. The Pick: LB Omar Speights, LSU
  32. Chiefs Bills – Kansas City gives this pick away to Buffalo for free just to help level the playing field in this season’s AFC Championship Game. It won’t help. The Chiefs are the best sports dynasty since Michael Jordan‘s Bulls. Goodell calls the pick “that big kid from Clemson” because he can’t pronounce the draftee’s last name. The Pick: DT Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson
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