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ClubfootJim's 2023 NFL Mock Draft

I would be lying if I said I haven't been struggling to put this mock draft together. Typically, there's a sure fire top quarterback, or a defensive standout that couldn't possibly fall past #1, but this year things are different. The Panthers have traded up to #1 for what we can all assume will be a quarterback, but which one? Bryce Young, to some people, is the clear top choice, but there are certainly size concerns that trump even Kyler Murray's from 4 years ago. Stroud would be a solid option, but does the history of failed Ohio State quarterbacks turn a team away? Will Levis had a lackluster senior year to say the least, and I can't imagine a team spending a #1 overall selection on him. And then there's Anthony Richardson, the biggest boom or bust in this draft. The athletic freak put on a show at the combine, and clearly has the versatility to be more than just a pocket passer, but his college completion percentage is very concerning, and I think a lot of teams agree.

For the first time ever in a mock draft, I'll be allowing myself to make trades. The uncertainty at the top of this class makes this allowance necessary. So, without further ado, here is my 2023, post free agency, post combine, NFL Mock Draft.

  1. Carolina Panthers - Bryce Young, Alabama, QB: The Panthers absolutely NEED a splash hit at QB in this draft. With the recent decline of CJ Stroud's draft stock, Young becomes the clear #1 option for Carolina.

  2. Houston Texans - Will Anderson, Alabama, EDGE: The most Texans thing to do here would be to forgo drafting a QB yet again and setting themselves up to tank for another year. Which is exactly what I have them doing. Caleb Williams out of USC will be the hot commodity next year, and will maybe finally be Houston's guy? In the mean time, they'll take either Anderson or Wilson here at #2, and I give the edge (pun intended) to Anderson.

  3. Arizona Cardinals - Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech, EDGE: This could be a trade down spot for the Cardinals. With this team transitioning into a rebuilding era, maximizing draft capital is always a good option. However, with the departure of JJ Watt, Arizona has a massive hole at the edge position. Tyree Wilson, who has shot up draft boards as of late, fills that need immediately, and Arizona gets arguably the best athlete in the draft.

  4. Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Richardson, Florida, QB: New head coach Shane Steichen is credited by some for the breakout year that Jalen Hurts had in 2022. A raw talent coming out of college, Hurts simply needed the coaching to reach his full potential. I believe the same goes for Richardson. Steichen seems like the guy that can coach up Richardson into being the elite talent we all know he can be.

  5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - Jalen Carter, Georgia, DL: The Seahawks are rebuilding faster than anybody could imagine, mainly thanks to the stellar play from Geno Smith. However, Seattle also hit big in last years draft with some defensive picks, namely Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant. Seahawks go defense again in this draft, fortifying that front seven with a top 3 talent in this draft in Jalen Carter. Off the field issues be damned, this guy can play.

  6. Detroit Lions (via LAR) - Christian Gonzalez, Oregon, CB: The Lions just traded away their failed first round corner from a few years ago in Jeff Okudah. Beefing up the secondary would be a wise move for Detroit, even though EDGE would be a fine pick here as well.

  7. Las Vegas Raiders - Devon Witherspoon, Illinois, CB: Pick #7 also belongs to a CB, this time with elite Illinois prospect Devon Witherspoon. For me, it's pretty much a toss up with who will be CB1. So whoever Detroit takes first, Vegas will be happy getting the ulterior.

  8. Atlanta Falcons - Nolan Smith, Georgia, EDGE: The Georgia Bulldog is staying in Georgia here at #8. Smith was in the mid 20s on my original draft board, but after running a blazing 4.39 40 at the combine, he rightfully rose into the top 10. Smith will have to add some weight if he's to be able to bully NFL tackles, but the ceiling is the roof for the young edge rusher.

  9. Chicago Bears (via CAR) - Peter Skoronski, Northwesten, OT: The Bears received a haul from the Panthers for the #1 overall pick. With this haul, Chicago needs to fill the plethora of holes across the entire team. Offensive line would be a great place to start. A franchise left tackle, compounded with the potential to fit in at guard, would do wonders for the offense as a whole.

  10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State, QB: The Eagles already feel incredibly deep at the receiver position, but are lacking a true slot guy. Smith-Njigba has played more than 65% of his college snaps at the position, and would make Philly's receiving core the best in the league.

  11. Tennessee Titans - CJ Stroud, Ohio State, QB: Tennessee is a sleeper pick to land a quarterback in this years draft. I would be shocked if CJ Stroud fell this far, but with the way his stock is trending, as I previously mentioned for the Houston pick, there's potential for him to land outside the top 10. I don't think Tennessee could afford to pass on him here.

  12. Houston Texans (via CLE) - Quentin Johnston, TCU, WR: What's the best thing you can get your rookie QB (besides a franchise LT)? How about a #1 WR. To some, Johnston is the top receiver in thing wide out class. To me, Johnston is the only option for the Texans here at 12.

  13. New York Jets - Broderick Jones, Georgia, OT: In this fantasy world, the Jets still have their pick in this weird Aaron Rodgers saga. There's a huge possibility for EDGE here, but the Jets NEED to fortify their offensive line with another tackle. Broderick Jones is a 6'5", 311lb beast, and he played all 15 games for the national champion Bulldogs last season. Not only will he excel at the tackle position in the NFL, but he'll stay healthy too.

  14. New England Patriots - Brian Branch, Alabama, DB: The Patriots took a major hit this offseason with the retirement of future HoF safety Devin McCourty. Brian Branch is a do-it-all DB that is an immediate replacement.

  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via GB) - Will Levis, Kentucky, QB: The signing of Baker Mayfield is nothing more than a bandaid for the Bucs. I'm high on Levis, I think he can be the Justin Herbert of this class, but his unimpressive senior year will cause him to fall.

  16. Washington Commanders - Dalton Kincaid, Utah, TE: Ron Rivera and the Commanders coaching staff seem to be committed to Sam Howell. If that's the case, having a weapon like Kincaid will do nothing but help the young quarterback.

  17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Paris Johnson Jr, Ohio State, OT: It feels like for years now the Steelers have been struggling to put together a competent offensive line. The Steelers will address this in the first round finally, taking a safe pick here in Johnson Jr.

  18. Detroit Lions - Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh, DL: Tell me if you've heard this story before; an elite DT from Pitt falling in the draft because of his undersized frame. Yup, history is repeating itself with the story of Aaron Donald. This isn't saying Kancey will be a 1 for 1 clone of the guy, but people will be looking back 10 years from now asking how he fell all the way to #18.

  19. Green Bay Packers (via TB) - Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, TE: In this hypothetical future where Aaron Rodgers is a Jet, the Packers do the unthinkable and take a pass catcher in the first round. Probably the safest pick at TE this draft, Mayer will be a great safety net for newly minted starting QB Jordan Love.

  20. Seattle Seahawks - Joe Tippman, Wisconsin, IOL: Seattle did well in addressing their offensive line needs in last year's draft, but could still benefit from adding some help on the interior. Tippman will be another name in the long list of powerful offensive lineman to come out of Wisconsin.

  21. Los Angeles Chargers - Bijan Robinson, Texas, RB: Regardless of whether or not the Chargers trade Ekeler, I think this is the right pick either way. The absence of a true power back in the offense was the reason LA allowed Jacksonville to come back in that playoff game last year. Acquiring a real ground game could potentially take Justin Herbert and the entire Chargers offense over the hump, and deep into the playoffs.

  22. Baltimore Ravens - Deonte Banks, Maryland, CB: I might be in the minority that says the Ravens don't need a ton more help at WR. With Greg Roman leaving, the old days of the TE focused offense are gone. Bateman should finally break out, and the addition of OBJ means they have a true X. With that being said, Baltimore needs another corner, and the DMV man himself Deonte Banks makes a lot of sense for them here at #22.

  23. Minnesota Vikings - Joey Porter Jr, Penn State, CB: Back to back corners go off the board for the second time this draft. Joey Porter could very easily get picked way before the Vikings here at #23, but if the board falls this way on draft night, Minnesota should be thrilled landing him here.

  24. Jacksonville Jaguars - Zay Flowers, Boston College, WR: Trevor Lawrence obviously possesses unreal arm talent, and the jaguars would benefit from having a receiver that can track deep balls exceptionally well. That's where Zay Flowers comes in here. While Jacksonville could definitely look to add to their secondary here, I can't see them passing on Flowers if he's here at #24.

  25. New York Giants - John Michael-Schmitz, Minnesota, IOL: The G-men go with John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt here in order to add to their interior OL. Schmitz, who can player center or guard, adds depth, versatility, and talent to a position group that desperately needs it.

  26. Dallas Cowboys - Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama, RB: The releasing of Ezekiel Elliot this offseason was more than expected. The retaining of Tony Pollard is just so. However, I don't see Dallas committing to Pollard long term like they did Zeke, so they go with the clear #2 RB in this draft with Gibbs.

  27. Buffalo Bills - O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida, IOL: One word to describe O'Cyrus Torrence is WIDE. At 6'5", 330lbs, Torrence would be a force in the interior. He slides right in to an aging OL in Buffalo.

  28. Cincinnati Bengals - Luke Musgrove, Oregon State, TE: The one offensive position the Bengals are really lacking on is Tight End. With the top two guys off the board, I could see them taking a reach here on Musgrove. This will be a boom or bust move, but I'm leaning towards boom.

  29. New Orleans Saints - Lukas Van Ness, Iowa, EDGE: Surprised to see Van Ness fall this far down the board? So am I, but that's just how it works some times. The Saints were raided of their front seven talent, and need to rebuild on that end. Van Ness is a great start who will contribute immediately.

  30. Philadelphia Eagles - Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State, EDGE: After losing a major piece on their DL this off season, Philly will need to replace them. Anudike-Uzomah will fit right in rotationally.

  31. Kansas City Chiefs - Will McDonald IV, Iowa State, EDGE: What do you have to that team that already has everything? How about more defensive help. KC can't go wrong with another EDGE in the reserves.

So, there we have it. My 2023 NFL Mock Draft. The real thing goes down on Thursday night at 8pm.


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