2023 Mock Draft
Just like when stores put out Christmas decorations before Halloween, we’ll kick start the draft speculation before the regular season is even over. In our 2023 mock draft (way too early edition #1), we took the current order of the picks, which will definitely change over the next two weeks. We also didn’t include any trades in this version. I think there will be a flurry of trades in the first two rounds of this year’s draft due to the lackluster free-agent market expected.
1. Houston Texans – QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
The Texans have to start their post-Deshaun Watson era, and this is their chance. Go get the former Heisman Trophy winner to be the new face of your franchise. It’s likely that Lovie Smith will not return as head coach, so the big decision here will be to whom they entrust the development of Bryce Young. My pick is Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.
2. Chicago Bears – DE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)
The Bears would love not to have to pick here, but in this edition of the 2023 mock draft there are no trades. With the improvement of Justin Fields, especially during the second half of the season, they won’t be looking to draft a quarterback. Luckily for them, there are three top QBs with a steep drop-off after, so it seems that many teams will be eyeing a move up to get their franchise QB. If they do stay at #2, then I see them getting the replacement for former pass rushers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. If they do move back and stockpile some additional picks, then look for them to focus on helping Justin Fields by getting him offensive line help or maybe even a #1 receiver.
3. Seattle Seahawks (via Den)– QB C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
This is a real toss-up as Seattle may bypass a QB here and instead elect to draft a talent like defensive lineman Jalen Carter. I would argue against that as it’s really by sheer luck they’re drafting this high to begin with. They can bring back Geno Smith to start the season and help C.J. Stroud develop, but they need to get their guy in this post-Russell Wilson era.
4. Arizona Cardinals – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)
The Cardinals could take an edge rusher as the replacement for J.J. Watt. This is also a team that may look to move back, but if they do stay, they’d likely look for a pass rusher or maybe even a receiver. If they end up trading DeAndre Hopkins, then the need for that position becomes too big to ignore here. I imagine that Hopkins will likely be moved as he has had a strong 2nd half of the year, and his stock has never been higher. With Kyler Murray’s large cap numbers starting to come into play, they need to make moves to add cap space and better prepare for the future.
5. Indianapolis Colts – QB Will Devis (Kentucky)
Outside of the Texans, I would argue that no team needs a QB more than the Colts. They need to ensure that they grab one here, regardless of whom their coach turns out to be. They’ve put in one-year stop gaps since Andrew Luck’s retirement, but that is no longer a viable solution.
6. Atlanta Falcons – DL Jalen Carter (Georgia)
It seems like the Desmond Ridder era has begun in Atlanta and they’ve already given him some talent on that side of the ball with Kyle Pitts and Drake London. However, the Falcons need some similar talent on the other side of the ball, and in this mock draft they get a steal in Jalen Carter. The Georgia standout will stay in the state and the team finally gets elite, young defensive talent.
7. Detroit Lions (via LAR) – DL Myles Murphy (Clemson)
The Lions are in a precarious position. Jared Goff has played well, and it seems like they’re just outside of the QB range for one of the top 3. I feel like they’ll look to continue to press on with Goff, and their atrocious defense is just too glaring to ignore here. They miss out on Jalen Carter, but defensive tackle Bryan Bresee is available here in our 2023 mock draft.
8. Carolina Panthers – QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
Whoever the coach will be will want to walk in and draft their guy. This is a team that for several years looked to be a favorite not only to take a QB but trade up a few spots to do so. Each of the past two seasons they chose not to, but this might be the year. If they do sit still, they better make sure that a QB, hopefully one they really like, falls to them at the 8 spot. We’ll see who they bring in to lead their team and develop their new offense, but beggars can’t be choosers. They need a QB and Richardson is available here in our 2023 mock draft.
9. Las Vegas Raiders – DL Myles Murphy (Clemson)
I have no clue what the Raiders are doing with the benching of Derek Carr. Could they be eyeing a trade-up for a new QB? Possibly, but after McDaniels and company traded away picks for Devante Adams, they don’t have a fully stocked arsenal to begin with. In this mock draft, they’re not able to grab one, so instead, they look to pair a top prospect to play opposite Maxx Crosby. Chandler Jones was a big disappointment, so Murphy could be a huge addition to this defense.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) – CB Kelee Ringo (Georgia)
At one point, It looked like the Eagles might be the top seed in the NFC and still land a top 5 pick. The Saints have been winning a bit as of late, but a top-10 pick is still really impressive. Many Eagles fans were dreaming of adding Jalen Carter to this defensive line to play alongside Jordan Davis, but no chance he’s available at #10. They have some aging stars that they will need to replace this off-season or next. Guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, James Bradberry, and Lane Johnson. I think they’ll likely lose Bradberry and/or C.J. Gardner-Johnson this offseason, so secondary will be a big point of emphasis for Howie Roseman.
11. Houston Texans (via Cle) – WR Quentin Johnston (TCU)
The Texans should take a page out of the Bengals playbook and quickly surround their young QB with as much receiving talent as possible. In what appears to be a weak WR free agency market, they need to add that talent in the draft and they have a wonderful opportunity to do so.
12. Seattle Seahawks – DE Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
Unlike the Texans, the Seahawks already have unbelievable receivers waiting for their new QB. With two tackles taken in last year’s draft, they now turn their attention to defense. They need a pass rush and Wilson has all the intangibles that Pete Carroll will certainly love. Their pass rush almost every year is either made up mostly of Jamal Adams and some assortment of veteran players at the end of their career. Wilson gives them a legitimate young star edge rusher.
13. Tennessee Titans – OT Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State)
The Titans certainly have several different directions they could go with this pick. A receiver is a must-need, but at the 13th pick, they’d get better value going tackle here. Johnson certainly fits the Mike Vrabel mold as a big, physical tackle.
14. New England Patriots – OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
A great tackle falls to them here at the 14th pick. New England is built around the run and they need to ensure they’re winning in the trenches more so than the high-flying teams in the AFC.
15. New York Jets – LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson)
It’s not clear if C.J. Mosely will be back next year, but my guess is yes. However, Robert Saleh is used to having a young star linebacker (ie. Fred Warner), so Simpson would allow him to have a multi-faceted defensive star in the heart of his defense, one who could learn for a whole season alongside Mosley.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State)
With the top tackles off the board here, the Steelers turn their attention to shoring up the secondary with the son of a former Steelers star player. They would add to the offensive line in the 2nd round.
17. Green Bay Packers – OT Broderick Jones (Georgia)
Regardless of whether Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love will be leading them in 2023, the Packers need to shore up the offensive line. Jones could be placed at either tackle spot, depending on the health and future of David Bakhtiari.
18. Detroit Lions – CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
They need defensive help any way they can get it. One of the top corners in the draft will certainly help. Gonzalez is a big, physical corner who would be paired up with Jeff Okudah. A defensive rebuild is off to a great start.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Jordan Addison (USC)
It’s time to add even more talent around Trevor Lawrence; this is a great way to do it. They added Christian Kirk during free agency last season and both Travis Etienne and Even Engram have had excellent seasons. Addison is explosive and a great route runner.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DB Brian Branch (Alabama)
The Bucs have a lot of uncertainty in their roster due to cap space restrictions, thanks to moves they’ve made to take full advantage of the end of Tom Brady’s career. Their secondary is porous, to say the least, and it has been an area lacking investment for a few years. Branch gives them a solid defensive back and this would likely be just the start of drafting at this position group.
21. Washington Commanders – CB Cam Smith (South Carolina)
They’ve drafted high for the two other levels of their defense in recent years and finally do so for their secondary in 2023. Their division features a few elite receivers that they currently don’t match up well with.
22. Miami Dolphins (Lost due to owner’s actions)
The Miami Dolphins had to forfeit this pick due to the investigation into the owner, Stephen Ross, last offseason.
23. New York Giants – TE Darnell Washington (Georgia)
The Giants seem like they’ll have to double down on both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, so their best bet is to add talent to this roster. They could add to the secondary, but with the talent still on the board for pass catchers, we think they’d turn their attention there. Washington is an excellent blocker but is also a big-time red zone pass-catching threat.
24. Los Angeles Chargers – TE Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
They need to add another weapon to Justin Herbert’s arsenal. Mike Williams is inconsistent, Keenan Allen is aging, and both pass catchers have had trouble staying healthy. Mayer is a great pass catcher and could add a new dynamic to this offense, which doesn’t typically lean too much on the tight end position.
25. Baltimore Ravens – WR Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee)
The Ravens have had to rely on a slew of different names at the receiver position this season. Rashod Bateman hasn’t been healthy and they even brought in DeSean Jackson, who has garnered a decent amount of snaps (mainly out of pure necessity). They traded away Marquise Brown, so this pick will be re-stocking the weapons around Lamar Jackson.
26. Denver Broncos (via Miami (SF)) – DE Jared Verse (Florida State)
The Broncos have a whole bunch of questions this offseason but can only answer one smaller question with the 26th pick; who will replace Bradley Chubb? Verse gives them an edge rusher to play opposite of Randy Gregory and can help to re-stock this solid defense.
27. Dallas Cowboys – CB Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
The Cowboys need a solid second corner, especially considering their division rival Eagles have A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. The Kelvin Joseph experiment has run its course and has failed. Daron Bland has played well recently after the Anthony Brown injury, but they need a reliable corner opposite of Trevon Diggs. Witherspoon has been one of the best cover corners in the nation this year.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
This might be the year the Bengals lose Tyler Boyd, and they need to keep adding talent around Joe Burrow. Joe Mixon gives them inconsistent play and they’ve had to rely heavily on Samaje Perine this year. Gibbs gives them a dynamic running back that can be used in various ways.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – WR Zay Flowers (Boston College)
They have a need at edge rusher, despite spending their 2022 top pick on George Karlaftis. This is a lackluster receiver free agent market, so with an aging Travis Kelce and a band of lackluster receivers, this will be their best chance to keep adding talent around Patrick Mahomes.
30. Minnesota Vikings – WR Rashee Rice (SMU)
The Vikings will likely make Justin Jefferson the highest-paid receiver in history this offseason and will need to start to save money elsewhere. Adam Thielen isn’t all that cheap, and the return is diminishing quickly. Rice is a versatile receiver who could complement Jefferson and the other passing-catching options nicely.
31. Buffalo Bills – OT O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida)
Although it’s tempting to go running back here (Half joking), adding offensive line depth is important for this team. It may not be a sexy pick, but sometimes replenishing in the trenches is the best choice.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Bijan Robinson (Texas)
Our final pick in our 2023 mock draft, the way too early edition, we have th Eagles taking a running back Howie Roseman is not shy about taking the most talented player on the board, even at a position that is mainly adding depth. They added a top corner earlier in the draft and now they can take the top running back to close out the first round. But why? With the big contracts that they have on the books and some serious financial decisions surrounding players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson, James Bradberry, Jalen Hurts, and of course, Miles Sanders. This team likes to use three or more running backs in the same game, so are they really willing to pay up to keep