Image Credit: (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
We are now a few hours away from the 2023 NFL Draft. Before the draft begins I will be making my final mock draft for the 2023 NFL Draft. In this Mock Draft I will not be making any trades whatsoever and this mock draft will be utilized for what I believe will happen in the draft if no trades were to happen. Let's get into it with the Carolina Panthers now on the clock.
1. Carolina Panthers - QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
This pick is absolutely going to be a quarterback. The question is which one? It looks like Bryce Young is going to be the 1st Overall pick, so I will follow the trend and have Young going 1st Overall.
2. Houston Texans - DE/EDGE Will Anderson (Alabama).
If it was me making the decision for the Texans I would rush up to the draft podium to take Quarterback. However it is looking more and more that the Texans are leaning towards punting the season again and strengthening the pass rushing core by taking
3. Arizona Cardinals - DE/EDGE Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech
If the Arizona Cardinals stay with the 3rd Overall Pick, then this has to be two players. This pick has to be either DE/EDGE Tyree Wilson or CB Christian Gonzalez. The Cardinals desperately need a pass rusher and they need secondary help. Pass Rushing is extremely important in defense and while the bigger need is at cornerback, Anderson might just be too good to pass up and he will be a great starting point for the Cardinals on their rebuild.
4. Indianapolis Colts - QB Will Levis (Kentucky)
This pick will absolutely be a quarterback. Enough of one year of experiments with free agents, it is time for the Colts to draft and develop their franchise QB of the future. The question is which one they will take? Well if I made the choice I would have gone with Stroud, but apparently the Colts are very high on Will Levis. So, I will have the Colts going Levis here with this selection.
5. Seattle Seahawks - DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)
I like what Seattle did last season, but their defensive line last season was terrible. Jalen Carter may have character issues, but his talent is just too good to pass on. He will immediately improve the Seahawks defense and help bolster there team. Again the Seahawks should send thank you cards to the Denver Broncos for acquiring this pick in the Russell Wilson trade.
6. Detroit Lions - CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
Detroit may have made acquisitions to fix their secondary, but there is still more that needs to be done to improve it. With them also trading Okudah, they are aiming to draft a cornerback with this selection. So with the 6th pick they got the best cornerback on the board in Christian Gonzalez.
7. Las Vegas Raiders - WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)
Ok, before you come after me here the Raiders could use another receiver on their team. If you have not noticed, the Raiders are trying to copycat the New England Patriots with the moves that they have made the past few months. They may have Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, but besides that the Raiders don’t really have much behind them. Plus Hunter Renfrow took a step back and suffered an injury. Smith-Njigba also is too good to pass on this spot and he would fit well in McDaniels offense.
8. Atlanta Falcons - OT/G Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
(V1. RB Bijan Robinson)
Now look, a lot of people have been calling me crazy for this pick, but there have been a lot of rumors that the Falcons are very high on Skoronski. Now Desmond Ridder is going to need as much protection that he can get and the Falcons do need another tackle or guard depending where they want to put Skoronski.
9. Chicago Bears - OT Paris Johnson Jr (Ohio State)
Justin Fields was super impressive las season. He legit had no great receivers or offensive lineman around him last season, but Fields performed at an impressive level. They already got him a better receiver in DJ Moore, not they give him more protection on the offensive line. The Bears take Paris Johnson who should be an anchor on that offensive line.
10. Philadelphia Eagles - CB Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
The Eagles lost talent in the secondary and almost lost CB Darius Slay as well. Luckily that did not happen as Slay took a pay cut, but I can see the Eagles select Devon Witherspoon who is arguably the best cornerback in this class. He and Gonzalez are in the same tier prospect wise. While many Eagles fans want them to take Bijan Robinson, it would make sense for them to fill a need with getting secondary depth.
11. Tennessee Titans - QB C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
The Titans apparently are very big fans of CJ Stroud. Ryan Tannehill has durability issues and even when healthy he showed signs of decline. The Titans also have seemingly given up on the Malik Willis experiment as well. With Stroud being available, he is just too good to pass on at this spot for Tennessee.
12. Houston Texans - WR Jordan Addison (USC)
The Texans need another receiver on this team. Their best receiver is Robert Woods who has been on a big decline since he Tore his ACL in 2021. So the Texans go with a wide receiver to help improve the offense and give whoever their QB will be a potential number 1 receiver in Jordan Addison.
13. Green Bay Packers - TE Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
Ok I will ask you guys, excluding Christian Watson and maybe Romeo Doubs name me another receiver/tight end on this team? Exactly you can’t. The Packers fix that by going to the best tight end in this draft class in Michael Mayer who should give Jordan Love a much needed target to throw too.
14. New England Patriots - CB Deonte Banks (Maryland)
This would be the typical New England pick here. New England could use help at cornerback as their secondary was pretty mediocre last season. Banks also would be a nice fit on this defense as well and bolster the secondary as well.
15. New York Jets - OT Broderick Jones (Georgia)
The Jets have to go with an offensive lineman here. I wish this was not the case, but Mekhi Becton can’t stay healthy. Since they got Aaron Rodgers at QB, they have to give him protection next season. The Jets go with the best tackle available by selecting Jones here as he fills a need here.
16. Washington Commanders - CB/S Brian Branch (Alabama)
With rumors of DE/EDGE Chase Young and DE/EDGE Montez Sweat on the trading block, the argument can be made that they can go pass rusher here. There secondary is an absolute mess and they need both safety or cornerback. The pick here that makes sense is the Commanders going Branch.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Joey Porter Jr (Penn State)
I am keeping the Steelers pick the way I had in my first mock as it makes a lot of sense. The obvious is that this would be the classic “Steelers Way” pick with Joey Porter Sr being close to Tomlin being an assistant coach/player for him. However the Steelers secondary is awful excluding S Minkah Fitzpatrick. Bringing in Porter would help fix the secondary.
18. Detroit Lions - RB Bijan Robinson (Texas)
Look maybe a luxury pick here, but Bijan at 18 is just way too good for the Lions to pass on here. An Argument can be made that he is the best non QB offensive prospect in this draft class and it would be hard at this point to pass on his talent. Imagine how scary that backfield is with D’Andre Swift, David Montgomery, and Bijan Robinson in that backfield.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
I myself am not a Richardson guy, but If he is available at Tampa, then they have to take him. I mean I am a Baker Mayfield guy, but he has not been the same player since he injured his shoulder in Cleveland. While Richardson is not a great prospect that combine performance, rocket arm, and athleticism might be too good for Tampa to pass on.
20. Seattle Seahawks - C John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota)
I was debating for a bit who the Seahawks would go here, but I have to be honest I kind of like the Seahawks going interior o-line here. The Seahawks weak point is at center and I can see the Seahawks taking the best center in the draft which is John Michael Schmitz. This could be viewed as a reach, but it fills a need and it helps protect QB Geno Smith.
21. Los Angeles Chargers - WR Zay Flowers (Boston College)
The Chargers had two glaring mistakes they made at the end of last season. The first is keeping Brandon Staley as the head coach for some reason. The second is playing Mike Williams week 18 and his injury exposed a glaring issue in the Chargers having no depth on this team. That changes where the Los Angeles Charger selects Zay Flowers.
22. Baltimore Ravens - WR Quentin Johnson (TCU)
Look overpaying of Odell Beckham Jr is not enough to fix the wide receiver issues that this team still has. Keep in mind Beckham did not play last season and could be rusty. I like Rashod Bateman, but last season showed he can’t carry the wide receiver core by himself. So the Ravens will ensure that Lamar Jackson has more receivers to work with and they draft Quentin Johnson here.
23. Minnesota Vikings - DE/EDGE Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)
The Vikings were exposed as frauds during the playoffs last season. One reason was at the secondary, but another reason was due to the lack of pass rushing depth. They brought in Marcus Davenport in the offseason, but more must be done. The Vikings here take Lukas Van Ness to help strengthen their defense and pass rushing issues.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Darnell Wright (Tennessee)
With a suspension on the way for OT Cam Robinson and losing OT Jawaan Taylor via free agency this pick is absolutely leaning towards going on the offensive line. The Jags definitely need to ensure that they can protect QB Trevor Lawrence. Drafting Wright will help fill the need at tackle here and if he is available, the Jags should run to the podium to take him.
25. New York Giants - CB Cam Smith (South Carolina)
The Giants could go wide receiver to help surround Daniel Jones, but there secondary could use help as well. Especially in replacing Julian Love on defense who the Giants lost in the offseason. I think Smith would be a nice fit on the Giants defense as well.
26. Dallas Cowboys - TE Dalton Kincaid (Utah)
They lost Dalton Schultz at Tight End which is a big loss. Their starting tight end right now is Jake Ferguson who is a scrub. While I always get nervous at using a 1st round pick on a prospect that has back issues (A big reason why I was nervous with Caleb Farley when he got drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft), Kincaid might be too talented to pass on. He fills a need and has a lot of attributes that you want in a tight end prospect.
27. Buffalo Bills - LB Drew Sanders (Arkansas)
I debated Noah Sewell here as the Bills need an inside linebacker, but after much thought I decided there were better options. One option that would make sense is Drew Sanders from Arkansas who is a very intriguing prospect. He will be the Tremaine Edmunds replacement on this defense.
28. Cincinnati Bengals - RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
Out of all the teams in the 1st round, this one was the toughest to pick as this pick can legit be anybody and I would not complain too much. Well unless it is at QB. If the Bengals trade down it would not shock me, but I think the Bengals will get the best player available in Jahmyr Gibbs. Especially as the Bengals could use a running back as Mixon was discussed as a potential cap cut and the legal issues with Mixon might result in a suspension. Plus the Bengals lost Samaje Perine who was a hidden gem on the offense last season. Gibbs would be a suitable replacement.
29. New Orleans Saints - DE/EDGE Myles Murphy (Clemson)
The Project of Marcus Davenport was a complete flop and they lost a ton of talent on the defensive line. With Murphy being available, he will help fix their pass rushing issues and if the dice roll the right way could eventually replace Cameron Jordan on defense.
30. Philadelphia Eagles - DE/EDGE Nolan Smith (Georgia)
The Eagles got lucky that they did not lose as many pass rushers as projected during the offseason. The Eagles get an insurance policy by taking Nolan Smith so that they can be prepared when they eventually move on from DE/EDGE Brandon Graham.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Blake Freeland (BYU)
The Chiefs need to find the Orlando Brown replacement in this draft. They signed Jawaan Taylor, but he is going to be put at left tackle. For the Chiefs I can see Freeland going at this spot to keep Patrick Mahomes protected. Plus Freeland can be explosive, has great posture in his blocking position, can block with power, and has that nasty mentality that you want in a blocker. For a guy his size he moves very well as a blocker.