We have a new team picking first overall, and free agency has kicked off with a frenzy. Here is an updated 2023 NFL Mock Draft with analysis. Let’s go!
|QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State – 6’3, 214 lbs||258-389, 3688 yards, 41 TD, 6 INT||From CHI
The Panthers traded up to the very top of the draft. Early reports have them debating between CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson here. Richardson would give Panthers fans Cam Newton deja vu, but I will go with Stroud here. He has more experience, is a better pocket passer and is pretty ready to come in and play right away, even though he only has two years of starting experience himself.
|QB Anthony Richardson, Florida – 6’4, 244 lbs||176-327, 2549 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT||Anthony Richardson still scares me, but that combine. Oh man, that combine. Richardson is absolutely the next Cam Newton and can be a real franchise changer if he pans out. Perhaps no team in the NFL needs an identity like the Texans. They signed Case Keenum who can keep the ship afloat (or tank for one more year) while Richardson gets ready. And if Richardson does not pan out? They will still be the same Houston Texans that no one talks about.|
|EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama – 6’4, 253 lbs||51 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 INT||The Cardinals defense is in shambles. With the third overall pick, they are almost certain to have their pick of the best defensive prospect available. That is definitely Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter. With Carter’s off the field status up in the air, I will go with Anderson here. He is a terror as a pass rusher and has bulked up enough to hold up against the run. Arizona needs more, but Anderson would be a great start.|
|QB Bryce Young, Alabama – 5’10, 204 lbs||245-380, 3328 yards, 32 TD, 5 INT||If the Cardinals trade out of the third overall pick, we could realistically see four quarterbacks picked in the top four of this draft. So either way, the Colts can sit back and get someone. Bryce Young is still my QB1 in this class, so to land him at four would be quite a blessing for the Colts. If Young was 6’2 instead of 5’10 there would be zero debate. His size is definitely a concern, but he is a great pocket passer with enough agility to make the plays work when the pocket breaks down.|
|DT Jalen Carter, Georgia – 6’3, 314 lbs||30 tackles, 3 sacks||I am not going to pretend I am an insider or know anything about Jalen Carter’s recent off the field issues. They are potentially serious and career damaging, but it is simply too early to know what consequences they are going to have on his draft stock. So for now, he remains in the top five. Seattle smartly resigned Geno Smith and is poised to go for it in an extremely wide open NFC. Carter might be the most talented prospect in this whole class and would completely elevate the weak Seahawks defense.|
|DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech – 6’6, 271 lbs||61 tackles, 7 sacks||From LAR
The Lions signed Cameron Sutton on the first day of free agency. I had Christian Gonzalez here during my last mock but pivot to the defensive line. Tyree Wilson has been a late bloomer who really started to produce as a redshirt junior and has carried that over as a fifth year senior. He is a good pass rusher and is also built strong enough to hold up against a run.
Las Vegas Raiders
|CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon – 6’1, 197 lbs||51 tackles, 4 INT||It is going to be a long rebuild for the Raiders, again, who need pretty much everything on both sides of the ball. Christian Gonzalez used a tremendous combine to solidify the top cornerback ranking in this class. He is big, blazing fast and a great cover guy. He needs to improve his run defense, but could help shore up a Las Vegas secondary that has had a ton of draft whiffs lately. Will Levis is definitely in play here, but I think the Raiders front office is going to feel tremendous pressure to win now.|
|QB Will Levis, Kentucky – 6’4, 229 lbs||185-283, 2406 yards, 19 TD, 10 INT||I have let it be known that I am not a real Will Levis fan, but he showed well enough during the combine that he will be a top ten pick. The position is just so important in the NFL. Teams will do whatever they can. I do not believe the Falcons want any part of Desmond Ridder as the quarterback of the future. Levis, despite all of his problems, would be a huge upgrade.|
|OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State – 6’6, 313 lbs||N/A||From CAR
The Bears have been extremely aggressive in adding talent to this roster during the opening days of free agency. The offensive line remains a work in progress, with only Braxton Jones and Alex Leatherwood at tackle. Paris Johnson Jr. is my favorite tackle in this class. He has his issues, but is very talented, experienced and has the ideal size and agility to be a starting left tackle in the NFL
|CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois – 6’0, 181 lbs||42 tackles, 3 INT||From NO
The Eagles have been hit hard by free agent defections, and may be forced to trade Darius Slay. Cornerback was a need regardless. Devon Witherspoon is not the biggest or the fastest, but he is unquestionably the most technically sound cornerback in this class. He only allowed 22 receptions on the season, and should be an immediate plug and play option for Philadelphia.
|OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern – 6’4, 313 lbs||N/A||Northwestern had an absolutely miserable 2022 season, but that was not Peter Skoronski’s fault. He earned spectacular offensive line grades from all analysts. There are questions as to whether he is a tackle or guard long term, but either way, he is a beast, especially in the run game. The Titans lost Taylor Lewan and Nate Davis in free agency. They did sign Andre Dillard, but he is a former first round bust. Skoronski would be an upgrade no matter what position he ends up at.|
|DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa – 6’5, 272 lbs||36 tackles, 6.5 sacks||From CLE
Lukas Van Ness technically never started a game in college, but he was a back field wrecker in 2022. Couple that with a very nice combine showing, and I think he is a better defensive end prospect than Myles Murphy. His motor runs hot and he could be a problem on passing downs. Houston still needs help everywhere and should just go best player available after they get their quarterback.
New York Jets
|OT Broderick Jones, Georgia – 6’5, 311 lbs||N/A||While Aaron Rodgers hilariously strings the Jets along like a 14 year old with a crush, offensive line remains a huge problem for the Jets. Broderick Jones lacks experience and is too aggressive at time, but has a load of talent and should develop into a very solid right tackle in time.|
|DE Myles Murphy, Clemson – 6’5, 268 lbs||40 tackles, 6.5 sacks||New England desperately needs receivers, and losing Jakobi Meyers makes it even worse. However, I do not like this receiver class at all and think any one would be a reach here. It is not like the Patriots do not have several other pressing needs, including defensive line. Myles Murphy slips a little bit for me because his motor can run hot and cold, and he is not the athletic freak that someone like Chase Young is. But he is only 21 years old and has the ability to be a three down lineman.|
Green Bay Packers
|TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame – 6’5, 249 lbs||67 rec, 809 yards, 9 TD||It is looking more and more every like Jordan Love will be given the keys to the Packers offense in 2023. It is imperative that they give him some receiving threats to work with. Even though he is not the athlete that Dalton Kincaid or Darnell Washington is, Michael Mayer reamins my TE1. He is a very steady pass catcher who does not drop passes, and has the ability to be a plus blocker. Green Bay needs a consistent, reliable target for Love, and Mayer could be that.|
|CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State – 6’3, 193 lbs||27 tackles||Washington has not done much to improve a weak secondary. Fortunately, this is a very deep cornerback class and they should be able to land a good one with the 16th pick. Joey Porter Jr. only has one career interception on his resume, but that does not always tell the full story. He is big, strong, tackles like a safety and is hardly tested.|
|DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh – 6’1, 281 lbs||31 tackles, 7 sacks||For the second straight year, the Steelers draft a Pittsburgh collegiate athlete with a first round pick. Calijah Kancey has drawn Aaron Donald comparisons due to college and size. Of course, he is not Donald, but he is fresh off running a 4.67 40 yard dash, showing off his tremendous athleticism. He should be strong enough to hold up as a 3-4 defensive end, and his supreme pass rushing ability is a plus.|
|HB Bijan Robinson, Texas – 5’11, 215 lbs lbs||258 rushes, 1580 yards, 18 TD||Detroit has been very aggressive in upgrading it’s secondary during free agency. Couple that with a top six pick spent on defense, and this is a luxury the Lions may not be able to pass up. Imagine the explosive Lions defense with a stud three down running back. Bijan Robinson is strong, tough, quick enough to get the job done. He is also a great pass catcher, meaning he could be the rare running back to play all three downs.|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|SS Brian Branch, Alabama – 6’0, 190 lbs||90 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INT||All of the talk will be quarterback, but there are a ton of holes all over the roster. Most notably in the secondary, where there are currently zero safeties on the roster. Brian Branch is a rare prospect at safety. He tackles like a linebacker, but has the speed and quickness to play a cornerback style game.|
|OLB Nolan Smith, Georgia – 6’2, 238 lbs||18 tackles, 3 sacks||The Seahawks could realistically go defense this entire draft. Nolan Smith is a former number one overall recruit, who did not exactly stand out during his four seasons on a loaded Georgia defense. That all changed during the combine, where he ran a ridiculious 4.39 40 yard dash. He also showed up bigger than people thought. He has Haason Reddick like ability and could play a variety of roles for Seattle’s hybrid defense.|
Los Angeles Chargers
|OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee – 6’5, 333 lbs||N/A||The Los Angeles Chargers could definitely draft an offensive lineman in the first round for the third straight year. The line is that bad. Darnell Wright is a right tackle only, but he extremely strong and a solid run blocker, which will be key if the Chargers end up trading Austin Ekeler and rolling with a rookie.|
|WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State – 6’1, 196 lbs||5 rec, 43 yards||If your GM basically calls out a position group as the reason your offense failed, it is a safe bet that position will be upgraded. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has 15 receptions in two years with a 95 catch season sandwiched in the middle. The talent and route running ability is there to be a prototypical WR2/slot at the NFL level.|
|WR Jordan Addison, USC – 5’11, 173 lbs||59 rec, 875 yards, 8 TD||The Vikings finally chose to part with long time wideout Adam Thielen. Unless they want superstar Justin Jefferson to face constant double teams, they should look to add a legitimate WR2. Jordan Addison is not the biggest, nor is he a blazer, but he has over 200 receptions on his college resume and should be a productive compliment to Jefferson.|
|CB Deonte Banks, Maryland – 6’0, 197 lbs||38 tackles, 1 INT||Deonte Banks was one of the biggest combine winners, and looks like a safe bet to go in the 20’s this April. He ran a 4.35 40 yard dash, which is extremely impressive considering his 6’0, 200 pound frame. He is a strong tackler and developing cover guy. The Jaguars cut Shaquill Griffin and do not have much at the cornerback position.|
New York Giants
|WR Quentin Johnston, TCU – 6’3, 208 lbs||60 rec, 1069 yards, 6 TD||The Giants have resigned Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, and traded for Darren Waller, showing they are serious about competing in a wide open NFC. Receiver is still a black hole, however. There are a ton of talented but flawed receivers who should be available here. Quentin Johnston may have the best size/speed combo out of any receivers, but struggled badly with drops in 2022, which is why he is still available here.|
|CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia – 6’2, 207 lbs||42 tackles, 2 INT||This is a great class for cornerbacks. Kelee Ringo might be the most talented of the bunch, and had a great sophomore season for the Bulldogs. The reason he might not be a top ten pick is a lack of experience and inconsistencies in coverage. He may wind up at safety. The Cowboys have needs at both positions. If properly developed, Ringo has Pro Bowl potential.|
|TE Darnell Washington, Georgia – 6’7, 264 lbs||28 rec, 454 yards, 2 TD||Darnell Washington is what the draft community likes to call a “gosh darn unicorn”. A 6’7 man should not run a 4.64 40 yard dash. Washington is a supreme athlete who was not heavily featured in the Georgia passing attack. A lot of that had to do with his ability to block like an extra offensive lineman. Tight ends are always risky, but he has first round ability. Dawson Knox is a good receiver, but a complete liability as a blocker. Washington would get a lot of run for the Bills.|
|TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah – 6’4, 246 lbs||70 rec, 890 yards, 8 TD||Ja’Marr Chase is a Pro Bowler, but the Bengals have questions to answer in regards to Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst. It will be hard to retain all three, so drafting someone like Dalton Kincaid would help alliviate some of the pressure. Kincaid is basically a big wide receiver but he is quite an athlete.|
New Orleans Saints
|DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson – 6’6, 298 lbs||15 tackles, 3.5 sacks||From SF
Bryan Bresee was a monster as a freshman at Clemson, but has struggled with a variety of issues his past two years, and his stock as suffered as a result. Still, there was a reason he was formerly the top overall prospect in the country, as he offers rare pass rushing ability from the interior. He is one of the few players in this class with true Pro Bowl potential if it all comes together. The Saints lost a couple free agents along the defensive line and could really use the reinforcements.
|HB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama – 5’9, 199 lbs||151 rushes, 926 yards, 7 TD||The Eagles are letting Miles Sanders walk. They did sign Rashaad Penny, but that is not nearly enough. Imagine Philadelphia’s explosive offense with Jahmyr Gibbs behind center. Is is small, but extremely quick and shifty, and catches the ball like an extra receiver.|
Kansas City Chiefs
|DE Keion White, Georgia Tech – 6’5, 285 lbs||54 tackles, 7.5 sacks||Keion White is a 23 year old who played on a bad football team, but used the combine to really get his name out there, and could wind up a first round pick as a result. He has great size and is a top notch athlete. The Chiefs defensive line is in a transition stage. Only Chris Jones and George Karlaftis are starting quality players.|