NFL Mock Draft 2023


The 2023 NFL Draft is here and it’s the most intriguing draft we’ve seen in quite some time. Overall the talent is deep but it’s also shallow at the top. In a typical draft we see around 15-20 prospects that are worth considering day one starters. In this year’s draft, there only 10-12 that are worth the same consideration. 

With that being said, my goal in creating this mock draft was to just be different. Later in the mock draft I’ll mention it again but my biggest pet peeve throughout the mock draft process is when there’s an overwhelming consensus among media members about a certain draft pick or certain draft trade. I tried my best this year to avoid the consensus without being illogical, and on that we’ll jump into it. 

  1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young has been the projected #1 pick for the entirety of his two years at Alabama. Oddly enough, when the Panthers first traded for this pick the favorite to be first-overall was anyone but Bryce Young. After months of speculation, everything has come full circle and Young is back to being number one choice. Size is an overrated problem for quarterbacks in today’s NFL and I don’t believe it will be an issue.

  1. Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Although I believe Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud should—and still could—be the pick here, I’m not sold on the idea that the Texans are feeling the pressure to draft a quarterback right now. It’s a team that’s starting from scratch as they hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to be their next head coach. It’s important to note that Ryans is coming from a team that built an elite defense first, which led to major success with a seventh-round draft pick at quarterback. I think Ryans will hold off and prioritize defense by drafting his version of 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa. 

Mock Trade: Titans jump division rival for star QB, Cardinals gain draft capital

If there’s one thing I can’t stand when it comes to the NFL Draft, it’s when a mass consensus develops involving a specific draft choice or a trade. However, this one makes a little too much sense to ignore. The trade should be similar to the San Francisco 49ers’ trade with the Miami Dolphins that landed the 49ers the third overall pick and the rights to draft quarterback Trey Lance, but I don’t think it will be quite as costly for the Titans. 

  1. Tennessee Titans (via ARI) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on his way out following the 2023 season. Tennessee doesn’t seem sold on 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis, and the Titans’ former director of player personnel, Monti Ossenfort, just became general manager of the Arizona Cardinals. The connection is too strong. I believe Stroud is QB1 in this draft class and could be even better after sitting behind Tannehill for a year before taking the reigns.  

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

If you squint and look really closely at Levis playing quarterback you’ll see shades of Andrew Luck. That’s not to say he is Luck or will become Luck, but the physical attributes are similar. The difference is in the mind. Levis’ decision making can be questionable at times but his arm talent is undeniable. He didn’t have very many weapons at Kentucky and was battling injuries as well. But the potential is there, there’s no doubt about that.

  1. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) – Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

This could be the steal of the draft 5-10 years down the road. Carter is the best player in this draft. I didn’t take into account the off-field issues, they shouldn’t be taken lightly but it also shouldn’t impact his draft status either. Seattle needs help up front and if they do in fact land Carter they could become one of the top teams in the NFC. 

  1. Detroit Lions (via LAR) – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

This pick could be Witherspoon or Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez but I believe it will be a cornerback nevertheless. Witherspoon has the instincts, aggression, and confidence that will fit the Lions culture of grit and grind. He can be a little handsy at times but some NFL experience will smooth that out. It’s a toss up on who’s the better corner, I have a slightly higher grade on Gonzalez but I like the scheme fit more for Witherspoon and Detroit.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

The draft has its first real surprise when commissioner Roger Goodell reads the draft card for the Las Vegas Raiders. What’s new? Josh Jacobs isn’t happy after receiving the franchise tag off of a career year which will likely to a trade. Head coach Josh McDaniels comes from a scheme in New England that utilizes the run game more than the typical 2023 NFL offense and Robinson is the inverse of 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel. He has a major in rushing with a minor in receiving. He’s the most sure-thing this draft class has. 

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Atlanta could go in a variety of directions, almost all involving defensive skill players. When drafting at No. 8 and not having a specific area of need you have to go with the best available, and that’s Christian Gonzalez. He’s the most physically gifted defensive back in the draft and technically sound. Florida’s Anthony Richardson here is intriguing but I think realistically he’ll slip farther than many believe. 

  1. Chicago Bears (via CAR) – Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

It’s sort of unusual for the best offensive lineman in a given draft class to be drafted this late and the Bears are going to take advantage of it. Skoronski is more likely going to be a guard early in his career but his ability to play almost any position on the offensive line will be a massive help for a team desparate for quarterback protection. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

This would be the best value pick of the draft and would be terrifying for opposing quarterbacks in the NFC. Wilson’s ceiling is through the roof, especially if he gets into a system like Philadelphia’s. This would be a homerun pick for Howie Roseman who has an aging defensive line. 

  1. Arizona Cardinals (via TEN) – Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The Cardinals need some protection for Kyler Murray. Johnson is a great player who can solve their issues at tackle from day one. Arizona seems to be going into a rebuild, even more so when they trade wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. It never hurts to have quarterback and offensive tackle solidified as a jumpstart. 

  1. Houston Texans (via CLE) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Although I believe the Texans would prefer to go defense again with this pick, there isn’t really a defender worth taking to follow up the Anderson pick. After trading Brandin Cooks to Dallas the Texans’ WR1 heading into next season is Nico Collins, and that simply can’t happen. Smith-Njigba is far and away the top receiver in the class.

  1. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ) – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Perhaps a bit of a surprise pick here but this is where the draft begins to thin out in terms of true first-round talent. Smith is physically gifted but may be considered more of a project. The Packers have had some injury issues along the defensive line so having Smith to fill in and eventually take over isn’t a bad option. 

Mock Draft: Vikings take advantage of slipping QB, Patriots utilize draft’s depth

Kirk Cousins likely won’t return after this season and the Vikings can’t afford to waste Justin Jefferson’s prime looking for a replacement. Richardson is a bit of a question mark but he possesses the qualities that are unteachable. Sitting behind Cousins—who undoubtedly would be willing to mentor him—for a year would be extremely beneficial to Richardson’s development and could ultimately extend the Vikings window to contend. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (via NE) – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

This is the ideal landing spot for Richardson. If he starts right away at a place like Carolina or Indianapolis I’m not sure he’ll ever reach his full potential and I highly question how willing Ryan Tannehill would be to mentor him if he lands in Tennessee. Minnesota provides Richardson with some weapons, a great offensive coach, and some stability. 

  1. New York Jets (via GB) – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The Jets landed Aaron Rodgers which leaves them with less holes in the roster than most would want to admit. Mechi Becton’s health has raised some questions and the tackle on the other side is replaceable. Jones allowed zero sacks on 445 pass blocking reps last season. He was a more of a part-time player but he has superstar potential.  

  1. Washington Commanders – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Washington likes Sam Howell at quarterback and needs serious help in the secondary. They could go with an offensive tackle but the hole at corner is massive. Joey Porter is a big and physical, much like Josh Norman who thrived under Ron Rivera. 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Looking at the Steelers depth chart and seeing their depth along the offensive line makes me wince. The rest of the offense has loads of talent and Kenny Pickett improved rapidly week after week. They have to get Pickett some protection but also running back Najee Harris some gaps to operate within. 

  1. Detroit Lions – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

The Lions’ offense is locked in. After snagging a Pro Bowl-caliber corner with the sixth pick they have a chance to get an undervalued edge rusher to put on the opposite side of Aidan Hutchinson and take some attention away from him. Murphy has some developing to do but could turn into a reliable pass rusher at the next level. 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

I’m higher on Hooker than most. He threw 57 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and the prettiest deep ball in college football for two seasons at Tennessee. He likely would have been a top-10 pick if it weren’t for his ACL injury late in the season. The Buccaneers aren’t in a true rebuild and will win too much next year to land a top quarterback in the draft. Baker Mayfield is on his fourth team since July, Kyle Trask isn’t the answer, and the NFC South is wide open. This is a golden opportunity for the Buccaneers to steal their quarterback of the future.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

Rashaad Penny in 2018. Jordyn Brooks in 2020. The Seattle Seahawks have a history of using late first-round picks on unexpected players that they know can thrive in their system. Seattle did bring Bobby Wagner back, but it feels more like a farewell tour than a long term option. They solved their interior defensive line with Jalen Carter earlier in the draft and they can solidify their front seven with Sanders. 

  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

The Chargers need a pass-catching tight end. Kincaid is the best pass catcher arguably in the entire draft. He finished with 70 receptions, 890 yards, and 8 touchdowns last year in Utah and would provide a security blanket for Herbert if the Chargers run into another situation where both of their somewhat-injury-prone receivers are out at the same time. 

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Banks has kind of been overshadowed by Witherspoon, Gonzalez, and Porter, but he was a big name cornerback in college football last year. Cornerback Marcus Peters will be entering free agency following this upcoming season and isn’t likely to return without taking a paycut. 

  1. New England Patriots (via MIN) – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

It’s not like New England to draft a receiver here so I don’t believe they will. The point of trading back with Minnesota was to take advantage of a deep draft class. Van Ness may not even be available with this pick, he’s one of the tougher players to gauge but his versatility seems right up Bill Belichick’s alley. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Speaking of versatility, Branch has the ability to play back in his safety position or fill in as a corner. The Jaguars play a lot of nickel defense so Branch is a perfect scheme fit. Besides, when has a first-round Alabama safety really failed at the next level?

  1. New York Giants – Jordan Addison, WR, Southern California

I don’t think the Giants have any other option but to draft a wide receiver. They traded Kadarius Toney to Kansas City and Richie James followed in free agency. Kenny Golladay was a massive fail and Darius Slayton isn’t a true WR1. Addison was unbelievable both at Pittsburgh and USC but seems somewhat overlooked. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

If the Cowboys aren’t going to get a big body running back to replace Ezekiel Elliott in pass protection then the least they can do is get the best blocking tight end in the draft. But not only that, Mayer is a great receiver and a matchup nightmare for defensive backs. He has a Rob Gronkowksi ceiling, yes I said it. 

  1. Buffalo Bills – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Gabe Davis is not who we thought he was. He has issues with drops and can’t get separation. Every once in awhile can make defenses pay on blown coverages but he’s inconsistent and doesn’t take attention off of Stefon Diggs. Translation: the Bills need a third option that can turn into a second option. Flowers does everything Davis doesn’t, with even more explosiveness down the field. 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

This may come as a surprise but Joe Mixon isn’t getting any younger and has always dealt with injuries. And his backup is even older than him. I’m sure you’ve heard it but Gibbs is Alvin Kamara 2.0. Adding that to either an offense that has Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside or adding that to an offense that could potentially lose Higgins due to salary cap issues holds a lot of value. 

  1. New Orleans Saints (via SF) – Calijah Kancey, IDL, Pittsburgh

The Saints are actually a really solid team, especially in the NFC South, and the outcome of their season will fall on the play of newly acquired Derek Carr. If they can fill the gaps upfront and stop the run, the defense could finally live up to the hype.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida

Jason Kelce isn’t going to play forever and the Eagles typically value offensive and defensive linemen in the first round. It sounds odd but Torrence could sit behind Kelce for a year, learn the system from one of the best of all-time, and then fill his shoes. 

Mock Trade: Cardinals deal star WR DeAndre Hopkins to KC, land multiple picks

Blockbuster. I don’t think Hopkins survives draft night without being traded. If you ask former NFL cornerback Adam Jones, his “sources” say it will be Buffalo or Kansas City. I don’t know how much weight that carries, but that’s not why I’m predicting this anyways. Kansas City has a lot of draft picks—and cap space—stashed up and can utilize that to finalize this trade. 

  1. Arizona Cardinals (via KC) – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Arizona’s secondary has suffered long enough. Patrick Peterson has been gone for half a decade and Byron Murphy was a fail. Cam Smith is full of talent and has SEC experience.

Categories: Opinion, Sports

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