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#pounditMonday, May 20, 2024

Mel Kiper Jr. shares his prediction for top 3 picks in NFL Draft

Drake Maye throws the ball

Nov 11, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There have been numerous reports in recent weeks about potential trades that could shake up the first few picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, but one prominent analyst is not anticipating anything like that on Thursday night.

In his final predictions for the first round of the draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said he anticipates “chalk” with the first three picks. Caleb Williams is obviously going to be taken first overall by the Chicago Bears. Kiper expects the Washington Commanders to draft Jayden Daniels at No. 2 followed by Drake Maye going to the New England Patriots at No. 3.

“I know this might be a little boring at this point, but I’m hearing there won’t be any surprises at the top of the board,” Kiper wrote in a piece published Thursday morning. “I expect Caleb Williams (USC) to go the Bears, followed by Jayden Daniels (LSU) to the Commanders and Drake Maye (North Carolina) to the Patriots, making it quarterbacks at Nos. 1, 2 and 3. That’s exactly the way I had it in my most recent solo mock draft, and it’s the order I have the QBs in my Big Board.”

Unless the Commanders have fooled everyone, it is obvious at this point that Daniels is their top choice. There have been rumblings over the past week that Daniels might not want to play in Washington, but the former LSU star put that talk to rest on Wednesday.

Perhaps the biggest question of the first round is whether the Patriots will end up with Maye or JJ McCarthy. New England is said to have a dream scenario that involves trading down and then moving back up for the former Michigan star, but that might not be realistic.

If Williams, Daniels and Maye are the first three picks, the Arizona Cardinals could then trade the No. 4 pick to a QB-needy team. That might be where things start to get interesting on Thursday night.

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