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UNDRAFTED

2023 NFL Mock Draft

I’ve made a tradition of getting my mock draft published every year, and just like years prior, I’ve waited until the last minute to get it published. This year the draft buzz has been all over the place, so I’m ready to be wrong, but here’s my best guess at what will happen in this year’s draft!

I’ve made a tradition of getting my mock draft published every year, and just like years prior, I’ve waited until the last minute to get it published. This year the draft buzz has been all over the place, so I’m ready to be wrong, but here’s my best guess at what will happen in this year’s draft!


As always, I won’t be predicting trades. Just too much craziness to try to predict.


1. Carolina Panthers, Bryce Young, QB, Alabama


He’s the best QB in this draft and I’m tired of people pretending like he isn’t. The C.J Stroud buzz has died down and no, I don’t believe some random post on Reddit that Levis is going to be the top pick, I know, wild of me.


2. Houston Texans, Will Anderson, DE, Alabama


The Texans have really been feeling like their Young or bust at this spot. They know they hold the 12 th pick, so they cross their fingers and take the best player on the board. Anderson may not have the ceiling of some other edge players to come out in recent years, but he’s dang good and he immediately makes this defense better.


3. Arizona Cardinals, Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois


The Cardinals have been fielding calls, but I don’t mock trades. The Cardinals desperately need help at corner, so they stay put and take the best CB in this class. As time has worn on, Christian Gonzales has his fans, but saying Witherspoon is the best isn’t a hot take anymore.


4. Indianapolis Colts, Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida


Stroud may be more pro-ready, but Richardson fits what the Colts want to do on offense better. After turning Jalen Hurts into a superstar, Shane Steichen is convinced he can do it again with a

QB that has even more athleticism. There are worse backups to roll with than Gardner Minshew if they feel Richardson isn’t ready Day 1.


5. Seattle Seahawks, Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia


Pete Carroll has never shied away from talented players with potential character concerns, and he doesn’t now. Carter has battled legal troubles and had an awful Pro Day, but Carroll believes he

can get the best out of arguably the most talented player in the draft.


6. Detroit Lions, C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State


My pro comp for Stroud is Jared Goff. Goff was extremely productive in this offense last year and if Stroud can, at the very least, replicate that at a fraction of the price, the Lions are in. They know this is their best chance to get a franchise QB in the foreseeable future.


7. Las Vegas Raiders, Christian Gonzales, CB, Oregon


The Raiders need help everywhere on defense, so they take the top defensive player on their board. Gonzales is being billed as one of the best CBs in this class, and he is, but he’s a little bit rawer than most people want to admit. It may take a season, but his natural athleticism and fluidity of motion win out and the Raiders get themselves a CB1.


8. Atlanta Falcons, Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia


The Falcons need help along the defensive line and while Tyree Wilson’s measurables are tempting, he didn’t test. Meanwhile, Nolan Smith, from nearby UGA did test, and his numbers were phenomenal. The Falcons bring in the hometown kid.


9. Chicago Bears, Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern


The Bears believe that Justin Fields is the future, so they need to start building around him. After trading for D.J Moore, they look to bolster their offensive line. Skoronski is an elite tackle prospect who also projects to guard very well, it allows the Bears to play him wherever he fits best and no matter what he plays, he immediately makes their O-Line better.


10. Philadelphia Eagles, Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas


Jalen Hurts can’t take goal line carries forever. After giving him a huge contract, you want to protect him in those situations. Bijan is the best running back prospect to come out since arguably Adrian Peterson, and with Miles Sanders headed to Carolina, there’s a hole in the depth chart. He makes their offense even more dynamic while taking situations where injury is a factor from their franchise QB.


11. Tennessee Titans, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State


I don’t know if I love this fit, since I think Treylon Burks is a better slot than X receiver, but the Titans believe in Burks ability to develop on the outside. They bring in JSN, who’s a nasty route runner and is always open, to help bolster their receiving corps, which has fallen apart in recent years.


12. Houston Texans, Will Levis, QB, Kentucky


The Texans gamble pays off, as Levis falls to them with their second pick in the first round. Levis is a big-armed QB who struggles with accuracy but has all the physical tools to become elite.


13. Green Bay Packers, Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah


Jordan Love is now the starting quarterback, and every young quarterback needs a security blanket. Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson make an explosive duo on the outside, but Kincaid gives Love a steady target over the middle.


14. New England Patriots, Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State


Rumors are the NFL is in love with Johnson, so he likely won’t make it this far, but in this draft he does. The Patriots need help at tackle, with Trent Brown at the end of his career.


15. New York Jets, Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia


What did getting Rodgers cost? Arguably the best true tackle in this draft according to this mock. Broderick Jones is no slouch either and will help shore up an offensive line that’s been decimated with the injury bug, especially projected starting left tackle, Mekhi Beckton.


16. Washington Commanders, Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland


The Commanders need help at cornerback and Banks is a lightning-fast athlete who fits their scheme. A lot of people have Joey Porter Jr. here, but that doesn’t make sense when you consider they let go of William Jackson III for not being a good scheme fit and he’s a man-coverage corner. As is Porter Jr.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers, Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State


Of course, the team that traded for William Jackson last season is looking for man-coverage corners. Add that to that fact that Porter’s father played for Pittsburgh, and they have a need at the position and the Steelers are sprinting this card in.


18. Detroit Lions, Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt


The Lions continue to build out their defensive line. Their current defensive tackles are fine, but neither had the juice that Kancey does. Kancey is a tad undersized, so he may be used as a pass rush specialist early in his career, but imagine trying to stop him and Hutchinson coming off the same side.


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson


The Bucs roster is in a weird place after Tom Brady retired, with several holes but also several strengths. One of those holes is in their pass rush. Murphy comes in as a power rusher to compliment Joe Tryon-Shoyinka’s more finesse approach. The secondary is still largely intact, so building some pass rush is the way to keep this defense running at full steam ahead.


20. Seattle Seahawks, Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech


Okay, here’s a bit of bias. I just don’t get it with Wilson. Maybe if he tested, I would have fallen in love with him, but in a class full of athletic edge players, all I see is a one-year wonder who

took until 23 to truly break out. Maybe I’m wrong about him. Either way, he wouldn’t make it past the Hawks, who are still looking for more pass rush even with the earlier addition of Jalen Carter.


21. Los Angeles Chargers, Quinten Johnston, WR, TCU


The Chargers need to add more speed to their offense and Johnston does that for them. They have the savvy route runner in Keenan Allen, they have their contested catch guy in Mike Williams, and now they have speed in Johnston. Johnston isn’t a true deep threat, but he has the speed to develop into one, and in the meantime, he forces DBs to play off him with the threat of his speed.


22. Baltimore Ravens, Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa


The Ravens entire identity is built off of their defense. With OBJ signed, they feel comfortable using their first pick on more pass rush. Van Ness is arguably the best power rusher in this class and that toughness will be loved in Baltimore.


23. Minnesota Vikings, Jordan Addison, WR, USC


While I think Addison is the best WR in this draft, teams above stayed away because of his size. Addison is a do-it-all WR and he won’t have to be an X with Justin Jefferson on the other side.

The same way we saw Devonta Smith blossom with A.J Brown as the X, Addison comes in and is an immediate contributor as the Z wideout.


24. Jacksonville Jaguars, Brian Branch, S, Alabama


The Jaguars overachieved last year, as their roster still has a lot of holes in it. So, they don’t overthink it and take the best player available. Branch is the best safety in this draft by a mile and

his best use might be as a slot cornerback. Whatever the Jaguars decide to do with him, he makes their secondary better immediately.


25. New York Giants, Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College


The Giants need speed and dynamism at the WR position. Flowers is a filthy-fast WR who a lot of people really love. He can be used deep or as a yard-after-catch receiver, giving Daniel Jones, who just got a huge pay day, more weapons.


26. Dallas Cowboys, Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame


The Cowboys wanted Bijan, but come on, he’s not going to fall this far. Dalton Shultz left in free agency, leaving a hole at tight end. Jerry Jones falls in love with Mayer’s ability to block and catch passes, and has images of Jason Witten running through his head as he runs this card in.


27. Buffalo Bills, Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State


The Bills spent a first-round pick on the cornerback position last year, but Kyler Elam didn’t inspire a lot of hope. The Bills swing again at the CB position, with a long, athletic corner in Forbes. If Elam figures things out in Year 2 and Forbes hits, great, they they’ll have three CBs

who can play, which feels like the minimum amount needed in today’s NFL.


28. Cincinnati Bengals, Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee


It’s unlikely Wright falls this far but he did in this mock and the Bengals can’t believe their luck. Wright is predominately a pass blocker, but with the offense going through Joe Burrow, that’s not

a concern for Cincinnati. They kick Jonah Williams, who despite being the best lineman on that team is still pretty average, into guard and bookend Burrow with Wright and Orlando Brown Jr.


29. New Orleans Saints, O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida


The Saints interior offensive line is a mess. While they could go John Michael-Schmitz here, but they want to give Caesar Ruiz another year, so they go guard instead. Ignore Torrence’s bad testing numbers, he’s the best pure guard in this class and he starts Day 1 for the Saints.


30. Philadelphia Eagles, Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson


Howie just wouldn’t be Howie if he didn’t add more talent to his defensive line. Bresee was a highly recruited player out of high school, but between injury and person tragedy, he didn’t have

a great 2022. While that’s terrible for Bresee, it’s wonderful for the Eagles, who nab themselves an extremely talented player with the 30th overall pick.


31. Kansas City Chiefs, Will McDonald, Edge, Iowa State


After releasing Frank Clark, the Chiefs will look to bolster their edge position. Will McDonald is an undersized, but extremely athletic edge player who does his best work when he can pin his ears back and attack the quarterback. The Chiefs anticipate being ahead in most, if not all, their games, so having a pass rushing specialist sounds just fine to them.

Adam Cichoski

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Thursday, April 27, 2023

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