We’re just one week away from the 2023 NFL Draft and things are heating up! Here’s my latest mock draft:
- Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young – QB – Alabama
With all the reports and odds leaning towards Young, I had to make the change at the first overall pick. He’s proven that he can hang with the best as he’s produced even with less talent to work with than Alabama quarterbacks in previous years.
- Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr. – EDGE – Alabama
Reports have been showing that Houston is “not in love” with C.J. Stroud. Having DeMeco Ryans as your new head coach means they’ll take Anderson who some may consider the best overall prospect in the draft.
- Arizona Cardinals – Tyree Wilson – EDGE – Texas Tech
Wilson has been jumping up many boards recently and could go as high as two. The Cardinals need help in many places but after having multiple key front seven pieces depart for other teams and retire they need to address that part of the defense early.
- Indianapolis Colts – C.J. Stroud – QB – Ohio St.
Mock drafters often have Indy trading up to go get Stroud but he ended up falling to them anyway at four. Good value pick by taking your potential franchise quarterback and you didn’t have to give up other draft capital to get him.
- Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter – DL – Georgia
Carter could fall further because of his off-the-field issues but he’s such a good fit for a Seahawks team that needs to improve its defensive line.
- Detroit Lions – Devon Witherspoon – CB – Illinois
Jared Goff has played well for the Lions since he arrived in Detroit and didn’t give the front office much of a reason to try and take a potential successor this early. Witherspoon’s aggressive play matches that knee cap biting mentality of coach Dan Campbell.
- Las Vegas Raiders – Anthony Richardson – QB – Florida
Vegas could be a team that trades up to get a high-ceiling guy like Richardson and let him sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo for a couple of years to develop.
- Atlanta Falcons – Myles Murphy – EDGE – Clemson
The Falcons could use more help and youth on that defensive line. Atlanta also loves drafting edge rushers from Clemson.
- Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr. – OT – Ohio St.
Chicago has made it an emphasis to set up Justin Fields for success this off-season. They continue that trend by reuniting Fields with his former teammate and helping protect his blind side.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Christian Gonzales – CB – Oregon
Taking Gonzalez here instead of another defensive lineman sets up the Eagles for the future in the secondary as Darius Slay and James Bradberry are 30 and aren’t getting any younger.
- Tennessee Titans – Will Levis – QB – Kentucky
I’m not too sure the Titans are sold on Malik Willis long-term. If that’s the case, take another shot at a QB that fell to you after many believed he could be a top-10 pick.
- Houston Texans – Hendon Hooker – QB – Tennessee
With all four of the other signal callers taken to this point, this is the perfect opportunity for Houston to take Hooker. The former Volunteer has progressed well as he recovers from a torn ACL.
- New York Jets – Jaxon Smith-Njigba – WR – Ohio St.
What better way to make Aaron Rodgers feel love than doing something the Packers never did for him in his time in Green Bay? That is drafting a skill position in the first round. Smith-Njigba is arguably the best receiver in this class and provides a nice upgrade in the slot for New York.
- New England Patriots – Peter Skoronski – OT – Northwestern
Skoronski is considered by some the best tackle in this draft and he ends up falling to Bill Belichick the Patriots. Cornerback is another position they could select with this pick but if Gonzalez or Witherspoon doesn’t fall to them they could try and add another lineman to protect Mac Jones.
- Green Bay Packers – Brian Branch – S – Alabama
Green Bay doesn’t stray from their strategy of taking defensive players in the first round very often. After they’ve taken linebackers, defensive linemen, and corners recently, next in the rotation is taking the highest Safety from a program and conference they tend to draft from.
- Washington Commanders – Deonte Banks – CB – Maryland
Ron Rivera loves taking defensive players early on in drafts as he’s a former linebacker himself. Safety is a position that could be addressed later on but there is a glaring need for improvement at the cornerback position.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Joey Porter Jr. – CB – Penn St.
This feels like the perfect opportunity for the son of a Steelers legend to get drafted and play for his pop’s old team. Same as Ray Jennings in the movie Draft Day.
- Detroit Lions – Calijah Kancey – DL – Pitt
Kancey would pair well with Aidan Hutchinson on the defensive line to help stuff the run and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The defense for the Lions last either last or near the bottom of the league in multiple team categories so drafting two players on that side of the ball would be optimal.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Darnell Wright – OT – Tennessee
There aren’t any holes in Tampa’s defense but they did let go of their long-time left tackle this free agency. They can move Tristan Wirfs to the left side of the line and take Donovan Smith’s replacement early with Tennessee’s Wright.
- Seattle Seahawks – Dawand Jones – OT – Ohio St.
This pick could be a reach at 20, however, the Seahawks have been known to trade back in drafts and they recently reported that they brought in Jones as a top-30 visit. Seattle looks pretty good at the tackle positions but they could always move around Charles Cross to guard.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Addison – WR – USC
The Chargers basically have their pick of the litter with wide receivers as most of the top-end talent at other positions has already been taken. It also doesn’t hurt to draft Addison, one of the best talents at his position at 21, and be another guy Justin Herbert can throw to.
- Baltimore Ravens – Nolan Smith – EDGE – Georgia
This could be a perfect opportunity for the Ravens to take another wide receiver. This issue is they signed Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor recently and have Rashod Bateman while also giving Devin Duvernay an expanded role. Also, having Nolan Smith still available to you at 22 after letting Calais Campbell walk in free agency gives you a chance to add more young depth to the defense.
- Minnesota Vikings – Bijan Robinson – HB – Texas
Dalvin Cook’s time in Minnesota seems to be coming to an end as they are shopping and might release him before the draft. That gives the Vikings the perfect opportunity to replace him with the highest-rated running back in this draft in the back of the first round.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Broderick Jones – OT – Georgia
Jones helps bolster that offensive line that’ll help keep Trevor Lawrence up-right and be someone who could battle for that right tackle position.
- New York Giants – Josh Downs – WR – North Carolina
The Giants need to find another receiver that Daniel Jones can throw to because that was a glaring issue for New York when they play Philly in the Divisional Round. They got an upgrade at tight end by trading for Darren Waller but they need help instead of leaning on Saquon Barkley so often.
- Dallas Cowboys – Quentin Johnston – WR – TCU
If Bijan Robinson is still there once the Cowboys come up to pick, I don’t know how they pass up on him. Otherwise, Dallas had Johnston for a top-30 visit and has a good chance of being available for Jerry Jones to select and further improve that receiver room.
- Buffalo Bills – Bryan Bresee – DL – Clemson
It wouldn’t hurt for the Bills to take another receiver but it seems they really trust their young talent in Gabe Davis and even Khalil Shakir found himself making big-time catches in the playoffs. Addressing the defensive line and adding more depth to the interior as Daquan Jones is getting up there in age.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Dalton Kincaid – TE – Utah
There are a couple of first-round talents at the tight end position. Cincy has drafted that position in the first round in the past with guys like Tyler Eifert. The Bengals did add Irv Smith this offseason but I’m not sold that he can be their starter long-term.
- New Orleans Saints – Lukas Van Ness – EDGE – Iowa
Van Ness matches well with what the Saints are trying to do. A player that meets the measurable requirements the Saints like and has the versatility to play inside as well.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Anton Harrison – OT – Oklahoma
Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger and the Eagles moved on from Andre Dillard. Taking his potential replacement and letting him develop in 2023 is key.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Zay Flowers – WR – Boston College
Patrick Mahomes had a private workout with Flowers the other day as per request by the team. That workout could lead to nothing but Flowers won’t be available for Kansas City at 63 for them to draft him. If Mahomes and the Chiefs like what they saw from him they should take him at the end of the first round.