With the 2023 NFL Draft officially less than a month away, here is our Mock Draft 2.0.
1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI): QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Matt: The Panthers brought in Frank Reich, Josh McCown, and Jim Caldwell to draft and develop a QB. To do this effectively they’re going to need to add a QB that aligns with Frank Reich’s vision on the position – which is why I think the pick will be CJ Stroud. Reich has exclusively had big, accurate QBs running his offense. Let’s take a look at the heights of his starters:
Bryce Young might be the best passer in this class but he doesn’t seem to fit the theme of large pocket passers that Reich has built his offenses around in the past.
2. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
Dan: The Texans take the safest passer in this class in Bryce Young. Young is a talented player who would easily be the number one overall pick if he had better size.
3. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama
Matt: The Arizona Cardinals are committed to Kyler Murray and they should be. That leaves them with two real options: draft Will Anderson and get an elite defensive player or trade out as a team looks to jump the Colts for a QB. With Young and Stroud gone, I have the other teams around the league staying put.
4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Will Levis, Kentucky
The Colts can’t keep kicking the can down the road in drafting a quaterback. They absolutely have to get their guy and Will Levis has the swagger to carry a franchise. Does he have the talent? That remains to be seen.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
Matt: Marshawn Lynch, Tom Cable, Brandon Browner, Bruce Irvin – the list goes on. All players or coaches (Tom Cable) that have been given second chances by Peter Carroll.
I think the Seahawks give Jalen Carter, arguably the best player in the draft, a 2nd chance here. Plus, getting Carter on the complete opposite side of the country may be exactly what he needs.
6. Detroit Lions (Via LAR): Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
The Lions take one of my absolute favorite players in this class. Wilson is a big, strong edge rusher who manhandles his opponents. His age may concern some but he is going to be an animal at the next level.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Matt: Something tells me that the Raiders could very well be picking third overall by draft night but in this draft they stayed put. Anthony Richardson doesn’t strike me as a QB that would fit what Josh McDaniels wants to do. So why not build the defense up by taking one of the most athletic players in the draft in Lukas Van Ness. His teammates call him Hercules. He’s a raw prospect with tremendous upside.
8. Atlanta Falcons: CB Devon Witherspoon
Dan: The Falcons are allegedly set to run it back with Desmond Ridder next season (LOL). This would be the perfect spot to take a solid defender since their defense is going to be on the field a lot.
9. Chicago Bears (via CAR): OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
Matt: The Bears need to build around Justin Fields. Jones isn’t as polished as OT Peter Skoronski but he has tremendous upside. He’s still very young in his OT career as well – he’s played less than two full seasons at LT. This is a guy that’s only going to get better and has a ton of upside as he develops.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via NO): CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Dan: The Eagles are uncanny at drafting to fill roles a year or two ahead. It’s no secret the team almost moved on from Darius Slay this offseason. They could find his replacement here.
11. Tennessee Titans: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Matt: The Titans need a QB. They’ve needed a QB since they signed Tannehill to a contract a couple years ago. Richardson is the QB that falls in this mock and he makes a lot of sense for Tennessee. He can sit for a year behind Tannehill and learn and then plug in as the starter in 2023.
12. Houston Texans (Via CLE): WR Jordan Addison
Dan: Jordan Addison is the safest receiver in this draft. They will pair him up with the safest quarterback in this class to make a dynamic duo.
13. New York Jets: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Matt: Skoronski is safest player in the draft not named Will Anderson. Skoronski will be viewed by a guard by some teams due to his arm size but he shouldn’t be. He was an absolute stud at tackle the last two seasons. If he struggles at OT, push him into guard and have a pro bowl guard for the next decade.
14. New England Patriots: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Dan: The Patriots are known for drafting and developing tight ends. Dalton Kincaid has all the tools to become an elite pass catcher in the NFL. He may be my favorite pass catcher in the entire draft.
15. TRADE Pittsburgh Steelers (via GB): T Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The Steelers move up 2 picks for a mid-round pick with the Packers.
Matt: We have a trade – Pittsburgh is going to move up here and grab an offensive lineman ahead of the Washington Commanders. With Skoronski and Jones both off the board, they need to grab Johnson before the top OTs are gone. Paris Johnson is a long tackle with 36 inch arms but he’s not refined. It’ll be a bumpy start but he has all the tools to be a top tackle.
16. Washington Commanders: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Dan: Joey Porter Jr. will be a stud in the NFL and he has the longest arms of all time.
17. TRADE Green Bay Packers (via PIT): Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Packers move down 2 picks for a mid-round pick with the Steelers.
Matt: Myles Murphy could go in the top 10 or fall out of round 1. Here, he falls to a EDGE rusher needy Packers team. Murphy has the size and the traits to be an elite pass rusher but the tape doesn’t show a whole lot of explosive plays – which is why he’s falling so far. GB took Rashan Gary and turned him into a stud. They can do the same with Murphy.
18. Detroit Lions: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
Dan: Cam Smith is a really solid cover corner. The Lions need to build up their defense and he’d be perfect to add physicality and skill to a defense that needs it.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S/DB Brian Branch, Alabama
Matt: Tampa needs help in their secondary and Brian Branch can do it all – he can play safety and move down and play nickel CB. He’s one of the safer players in the class and someone that can plug in and play right away for Todd Bowles.
20. Seattle Seahawks: QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Dan: This pick may surprise people but it shouldn’t. Hooker would have been a top fifteen pick easily if he didn’t tear his ACL. Considering the Seahawks can get out of Geno Smith’s contract after next season with just $17M in dead cap in 2024 and $8.7M in dead cap in 2025, finding a replacement who has true franchise carrying potential could be a good move.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Matt: The Chargers seem hell bent on adding a WR and Smith Njigba may be the best one in the class. Think of him as a replacement for Keenan Allen, who the team almost moved off of this offseason.
*Please note that the Miami Dolphins would have had the 21st pick but they forfeited it due tampering with Tom Brady.
22. Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Dan: The Ravens taking an undersized, speedy receiver who is likely destined to be in the slot at the next level? Color me shocked.
23. Minnesota Vikings: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Matt: The Vikings need to add some pass catchers around Justin Jefferson and Quentin Johnston makes a lot of sense. He’s a big WR that moves well, especially with the ball in his hands. This is the perfect spot for Johnston. Jefferson can take away all the attention from defenses as Johnston develops.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: G O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Dan: The Jaguars need to protect Trevor Lawrence at all costs. It’s that simple.
25. New York Giants: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
Matt: The run at WR may leave the Giants disappointed but Banks is a really solid CB. He’s a speedy corner that plays super physical and excels in press coverage – that sounds like a guy Wink Martindale is gonna love. Banks has some injury concerns, he only started 2 games in 2021 due to a shoulder injury. Banks is a solid prospect that could be a really good corner with the right coaching.
26. Dallas Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
The Cowboys lost Dalton Schultz to their cross state rivals in Houston and they will need a pass catcher to come in and help their passing game. Mayer will do just that and he can be a solid blocking tight end as well.
27. Buffalo Bills: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
Matt: It was amazing what Josh Allen was able to do last season with a bad offensive line. The Bills need help on their offensive line and Wright can slide in and challenge Spencer Brown for that RT spot.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
Drew Sanders is a versatile linebacker who would add a nice dimension to the Bengals defense.
29. New Orleans Saints (Via SF via MIA via DEN): DL Bryan Breese, Clemson
Matt: Many thought Breese was one of the best prospects in the class coming into the 2022 season but his season was struck with some family tragedy. His sister passed away from a progressive brain tumor. It makes sense that Breese’s head may have been elsewhere last fall – but he has all the traits to be a truly great IDL.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: OL Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
Dan: The Eagles like to run the ball so they may as well load up the offensive line so that they can continue to do just that.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Matt: A small but explosive edge rusher – Nolan Smith is another player that could go all over the board. He falls to KC here as a Frank Clark replacement.
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