2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Pre-Combine Edition

Folks, with the regular season being over and much of the draft positions already being settled, it’s officially time for our 2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. This year’s draft class is incredibly deep in some positions (CB, Edge) and not as deep in others.

This draft class has some stud quarterbacks as well as some guys who could become stars but have major question marks. There are some exciting players and some athletic freaks.

I am really excited to see how this draft process works out. Our first mock drafts generally look a lot different than our last mock drafts. Many of them have common position trends, though. As always, a mock draft is based on what I think teams will do, not what I would necessarily do.

Let’s get into it. There will be no trades in this first mock.

1. Chicago Bears: Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

If the Chicago Bears don’t end up taking a quarterback then they need to trade out of this pick for a King’s ransom. Because I’m not doing trades in this mock draft, I have them taking the best player available in Will Anderson Jr.

2. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young, Alabama

The Texans take the safest quarterback in this draft and a guy who can come in and play at a high level right away. Young is an elite processor of the game and has all the tools you want in a franchise quarterback.

3. Arizona Cardinals: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

The Arizona Cardinals are a mess. They are committed to Kyler Murray after he signed a massive deal last offseason so they will take the best player available here in Jalen Carter from Georgia.

4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Will Levis, Kentucky

The Colts should be doing everything in their power to trade up with the Chicago Bears to pick their franchise quarterback. Since I’m not doing trades in this mock draft, they will stay and pick the guy who fits what they like. Levis has the highest ceiling in this draft of any quarterback.

5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State

I understand that Geno Smith had a nice season in 2022 but pretending that he is the long term answer at quarterback is a mistake. The Seahawks can afford to take this chance by drafting a guy with elite traits here.

6. Detroit Lions (Via Los Angeles Rams): Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Tyree Wilson is an absolute dog at edge rusher. Dan Campbell will absolutely love him. The Lions would serve themselves well to get another top edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

The Raiders can go get a new toy for Tom Brady (or whoever the quarterback ends up being). Johnston can come in and develop under Davante Adams. Historically, the Raiders love athletic players with size.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson

The Falcons are a team that really needs a lot of help on defense. Murphy is a versatile piece that brings a lot of size and power.

9. Carolina Panthers: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

The Panthers can’t keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to finding a franchise quarterback. They have to take the risk here and hope that they can hire a head coach who can develop Anthony Richardson.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via New Orleans): CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

The Eagles have a dynamic, but aging cornerback combo in James Bradberry and Darius Slay. Getting younger at that position will help them be successful sustainably.

11. Tennessee Titans: OT Peter Skoronski

The Titans take the best player available here. They can get younger at tackle and really solidify that spot for years to come with Skoronski, who has an incredibly high floor.

12. Houston Texans (Via Cleveland): Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia

The Texans need to build up every single position. Edge rusher is a premium position. Nolan Smith has some good traits despite being undersized.

13. New York Jets: T Broderick Jones, Georgia

The Jets need to protect whoever their quarterback is next season. Jones should end up being a top twenty pick once this process is all said and done.

14. New England Patriots: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Imagine if Bill Belichick gets his hands on Joey Porter. That would be absolutely insane. Porter has the ability to take away one side of the field. I would love to see this.

15. Green Bay Packers: DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson

I think there’s a solid chance that the Packers move on from Aaron Rodgers this offseason so in this mock draft I have them taking a very solid defensive tackle in Bryan Bresee.

16. Washington Commanders: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

Cam Smith is a physical corner who had incredible numbers in 2022. The Commanders desperately need to upgrade the corner position.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: T Paris Johnson, Ohio State

Pittsburgh needs to improve their offensive line and Paris Johnson should be a high floor player. Protecting Kenny Pickett has to be a priority for a team that is loaded at wide receiver.

18. Detroit Lions: S/DB Brian Branch, Alabama

Brian Branch is a versatile chess piece in the secondary. The Lions continue to build a defense that can be competent so that their offense can continue to win them games in this mock draft.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

The Buccaneers will likely be in need of a quarterback this year. They may as well get whoever the guy may be a new toy to play with. Michael Mayer is the best tight end in this class.

20. Seattle Seahawks: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

The Seahawks have a habit of drafting interior linebackers early in the draft. I also debated mocking a guy to them projected to go in the third round that they take 60 spots early.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jordan Addison, USC

The Chargers take a game breaking receiver in Jordan Addison. He would be a perfect compliment to Mike Williams and can take over for Keenan Allen who is aging and often injured.

*Please note that the Miami Dolphins would have had the 21st pick but they forfeited it due tampering with Tom Brady.

22. Baltimore Ravens: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Gonzalez is a strong cornerback who has good size. The Ravens will need to bolster this position. They’re also a dark horse quarterback candidate if the team doesn’t find a way to keep Lamar Jackson.

23. Minnesota Vikings: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia

Personally, I am not a fan of Kelee Ringo. At this point in the draft process I think he sneaks into the back end of the first round. The Vikings, who need everything on defense, would be a nice spot.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

You can never have too many good players at one position. The Jags made massive improvements in 2022 but the defense still needs some work.

25. New York Giants: OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

This isn’t a sexy pick by any means but the Giants have to fix their interior offensive line issue once and for all. Many fans will be disappointed if the team doesn’t draft a receiver here. The team can’t keep going into every season with subpar players at offensive line. Torrence is a big, physical guard who is smart, tough, and dependable.

26. Dallas Cowboys: WR Jaxon Smith-Ngigba, Ohio State

The Cowboys have been looking to get another wide receiver on their team all season. JSN is good value at this spot.

27. Buffalo Bills: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

There were lots of rumors that the Bills wanted to trade for Christian McCaffrey at the deadline. They can get their own stud running back here at the end of the first round.

*Picks 28-31 are projected based on current playoff standings and are not finalized.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: TE Dalton Kingcaid, Utah

When your team has virtually everything, you can sit back and take another offensive weapon. The Bengals get that right here.

29. Denver Broncos (Via San Francisco via Miami): Edge Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

The Broncos traded Bradley Chubb for this pick so why not take another edge rusher and reset the rookie contract.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tenessee

The Chiefs get a speedster who can stretch the field and make plays. This would make their offense even more dynamic.

31. Philadelphia Eagles: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

The Eagles like to run the ball. Getting a tight end like Washington who is massive and has some decent catching ability would help take their offense to another level.

Featured Image Credit: Maize & Blue Nation, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: