The 2023 NFL Draft is upon us, and it is time for a barrage of mock drafts. In this mock draft, there were no trades unless they had already been made. This is a predictive mock draft and not indicative of my thoughts on players individually. That said, let’s get into my 2023 NFL mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers (via Chicago): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
After the Panthers traded for the number one overall pick, the general thought was it would be for CJ Stroud. More recently, the growing consensus is that Bryce Young will be the selection at number one. One of the top signal callers in the class, Young is a playmaker and will help a struggling team that still has pieces.
2. Houston Texans: Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
The Houston Texans have long been rumored to be interested in Bryce Young to be their franchise quarterback. With him off the board, they pivot to a pass rusher who can help Demeco Ryans’ defense in an empty edge room.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
The consensus top edge rusher in the draft, and many people’s top player in the draft, Anderson comes off the board at three to a desperate Cardinals team that needs talent at any position. If the Cardinals can trade back for a solid haul to a team looking to move up for a quarterback in front of Indianapolis, they will.
4. Indianapolis Colts: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
CJ Stroud is one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft, and the Colts are in desperate need of help at the position. While they may lean towards the upside of a Will Levis, with Stroud on the board they grab a more plug-and-play quarterback who can start for them immediately.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Seahawks do have a quality starter in Geno Smith at quarterback, but they take a swing for the fences here with Richardson to give themselves a high upside player at the position. Seattle could very easily go defense here and select one of the top edge rushers in the class. A bigger edge like Tyree Wilson would be a fantastic fit — if he were to fall.
6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Detroit has added a bunch of pieces in the secondary this offseason, but they are all on short-term deals, so they may still search for the answer in the secondary. Witherspoon is a fantastic personality fit in Detroit with Dan Campbell and should fit into a young defense looking to make a massive leap this season.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Raiders are in need of help across the entirety of their defense, as well as at multiple spots on the offense, both short-term and long-term. The only positions I would be surprised by here are receiver and running back. Gonzalez is one of the top corners in the class and will slot in as an immediate upgrade.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Now I know a lot of Falcons fans will be mad if this is the selection, but Robinson is one of the top players in this draft class, and Atlanta has shown a propensity to draft playmakers early. That will be especially important this season, as Desmond Ridder looks to prove himself to be the franchise quarterback.
With both the top edge rushers and top cornerbacks off the board, this draft didn’t necessarily fall great for the Falcons. They could still go defensive line with Jalen Carter or even offensive line with a versatile piece in Peter Skoronski. Also, I would not be shocked by them selecting Georgia product Nolan Smith here.
9. Chicago Bears (via Carolina): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
After the Bears got a massive haul to move out of the first overall selection from the Panthers, the consensus was that they would draft a right tackle to help protect Justin Fields. However, with a need at defensive tackle, the Bears go Jalen Carter here. It was a great mix of need and best player available. Carter can be an impact player for the Bears rebuilding defense.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans): Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
The Philadelphia Eagles love to attack the trenches early in the draft. Skoronski can be a plug-and-play guard who has All-Pro upside at the position. Skoronski can also be a serviceable tackle at the next level. They can attack the defensive line with their second pick in the first round.
11. Tennessee Titans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
I’m not sure Will Levis makes it this far in the draft, as a lot of teams are rumored to like him. However, he falls here to Tennessee (who may be a team willing to trade up for him) and they get to let him sit behind Tannehill for a season before taking the reigns. Levis has an immensely high ceiling and can help the Titans as they rebuild around a cheap rookie quarterback contract.
12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Texans passed on a quarterback at two, but still might look to add to the receiving corps for whomever eventually becomes their franchise quarterback. Smith-Njigba was extremely productive in 2021 at Ohio State before being riddled with an injury this past season.
13. Green Bay Packers (via New York Jets): Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The Packers recently traded quarterback Aaron Rodgers and now look to provide support to Jordan Love. With Smith-Njigba off the board, the Packers go to the tight end spot to add an electric pass catcher with Kincaid. The Packers are a team with size thresholds at the receiver position, so a lot of the top receivers in this draft won’t be of interest to them.
14. New England Patriots: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Patriots currently have Trent Brown and Riley Reiff at offensive tackle, but Reiff is on just a one-year deal, and the money is not significant enough to stop Johnson from playing. Johnson also has guard versatility, which the Patriots don’t need but may like.
15. New York Jets (via Green Bay): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Jets need an offensive tackle to protect new star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Jones is the best left tackle available. The Jets would most likely consider any of the top four offensive tackles at this spot. A dark-horse selection would be along the defensive line or at receiver, although I don’t view either as likely.
16. Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
The Commanders go into the season with Benjamin St-Juste as one of their projected starting outside cornerbacks. While St-Juste has been fine for a third round pick, they could still use an upgrade. Joey Porter Jr. has exceptional length for the position and could be a great corner, but is the third cornerback selected due to stiffness concerns. The Commanders could also go for an offensive tackle, despite signing Andrew Wylie in the offseason.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Darnell Wright is the last of the consensus top four offensive tackles in this class, and the Steelers grab him before the dip. Wright played much better in 2022 at right tackle after struggling in 2021 at left tackle.
18. Detroit Lions: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
There are many concerns with Calijah Kancey that may cause him to fall, but in a class that is devoid of depth at defensive tackle, his production will cause him to go higher than many might think. Although he is undersized, he has produced at a very high level while at Pittsburgh.
Kancey provides the Lions with another piece up front after going secondary early. The Lions would then have two high-upside three-techs with Kancey and Levi Onwuzurike.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
The Buccaneers need a new tackle after parting ways with Donovan Smith, and Harrison is one of the top options available. Other options include Matthew Bergeron and Dawand Jones. The Buccaneers have many paths available to them in this draft, so this pick is up in the air.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
The Seahawks got their quarterback of the future at pick 5, and come back around and select one of the top edge rushers in this class in Murphy. I could also see Nolan Smith here, as well. If the Seahawks were to go with an edge rusher at five, that would open up this pick to a number of possibilities, including guard, receiver, cornerback, or defensive tackle.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Chargers need to add juice to their offense to help out star quarterback Justin Herbert. With Smith-Njigba gone, they look to the second tier of receivers, which could be any of Addison, Jalin Hyatt, Zay Flowers, or Quentin Johnston. The Chargers could also look to add to the defense, or permanently settle right tackle if one falls to them.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Baltimore Ravens could address a multitude of needs at this spot. However, they go receiver to appease their star quarterback, with whom they are currently entangled in a contract dispute with. The Ravens are also in a sweet spot for one of the second tier of cornerback prospects, as well.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
The Vikings have been rumored to have interest in Hendon Hooker, but that may very well be because it’s one of the few spots that he could fit into the first round. Minnesota’s secondary lacks both depth and talent. Adding Banks to that room is another swing at getting a high-end corner, pairing him with last year’s second round pick Andrew Booth.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Brian Branch fills the Jaguars need for a nickel corner while providing versatility to play in a multitude of ways. The Jaguars could look to add to the defensive line as well, or get a second tight end to play behind Evan Engram, who is playing on the franchise tag.
25. New York Giants: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The Giants added a ton of pass catchers this offseason, but none with the body type or upside of Quentin Johnston. Johnston gives them a big-bodied outside receiver to help out Daniel Jones. The Giants could also look to be in on interior offensive line or cornerback here, as well.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Cowboys lost Dalton Schultz in free agency, but get to replace him with an all-around tight end prospect in Michael Mayer. The Notre Dame product has multiple years of production and should be a versatile piece to give them much of what they lost.
The Cowboys could look at a lot of positions here, but don’t desperately need any particular position. A best player available approach could benefit them as they look to move further along in the playoffs.
27. Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
The Bills add Torrence here to help protect Josh Allen. Torrence is a plug-and-play starter at guard. While it’s not necessarily a need for the Bills, the board didn’t fall great here. The Bills could look to add at a multitude of positions, including receivers, offensive tackle, or linebacker for an immediate contributor, or add a depth piece who will eventually become a starter.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
The Bengals lost Semaje Perine this offseason, and Gibbs can be an immediate upgrade over him for this offense. This can help lessen the load on Joe Burrow while also providing him with a valuable receiver out of the backfield. The Bengals could also look at adding a right tackle depending on the Jonah Williams situation, or add a piece at tight end, or on defense.
29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco via Miami and Denver): Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
This may be a bit out of character for the Saints, but they finally add a cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore in the first round. They’ve spent multiple day two picks recently at the position, but it is not settled for sure. Forbes is a risky selection, weighing in at just 166lbs at the NFL Scouting Combine. However, his ball production will make a lot of teams weigh the risk of betting on a historical outlier size wise.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
I don’t think Nolan Smith will last this long. However, with the way this fell and with no trades allowed, this is where he ended up. I do think the Eagles will look to add to their defensive line with one of their first round picks, whether that is on the interior or at edge rusher. Smith is one of the top players available here at this selection, and would be a great value.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness is a similar stature to one of the Chiefs’ first round selections last year in George Karlaftis. Van Ness can play opposite of him long-term, replacing Frank Clark. The Chiefs filled a lot of their needs, but could still use receiver here as well.
For other draft related articles, be sure to read ATB Network’s various NFL Draft contributors.