NFL 2023 Mock Draft 1.0
NFL Mock Draft season is here! We're already getting quite a few headlines as the Combine kicked off yesterday, and that should definitely shake up the draft landscape from now until the big night. This class is loaded with solid talent - with a few guys who have generational potential. My big board (Jordan's Big Board - or JBB for short) will look plenty different from consensus rankings out and about. With that in mind, I will still draft how I think the board will move based on overall consensus, team need, and draft history of each team's General Manager. I'm also taking into account pending free agents for each team, and I'll be assuming that no one will be re-signed. Obviously this won't happen, but it's easier to do a mock without having to predict who will be kept, signed, and let go by each team.
Photo: Vasha Hunt/Associated Press
#1 Indianapolis Colts (via CHI) - Bryce Young, Quarterback, Alabama (#10 JBB)
Trade alert!! Jim Irsay let the world know that he wants Bryce, and with the Bears recently stating Justin Fields is their guy, this trade makes the most sense. Although I'm not that high on Bryce given his inaccuracy when pressured and not having the strongest arm, the Colts are firm believers in his athletic ability to make up for it.
Pro Comp - Athletic Kirk Cousins
#2 Houston Texans - CJ Stroud, Quarterback, Ohio State (#7 JBB)
With a QB off the board first, the Texans get their future at QB solidified with CJ Stroud. Despite having too fast of a trigger finger at times, he has all of the tools to be an NFL starter. If he can get a bit more accurate with his deep ball and be more consistent hitting guys in stride, there's no reason why he can't be the best QB in this draft.
Pro Comp - Slower, but bigger Russell Wilson
#3 Arizona Cardinals - Will Anderson Jr, Edge, Alabama (#1 JBB)
Am I biased for giving the Cardinals my top player in the draft? Maybe, but Will falling to #3 is possible given the dire need at QB for multiple teams. Will has it all, and was honestly limited by Alabama's tight scheme putting him inside more than a typical edge player would be. A complete athlete with big play ability, Cardinals get a stud at this pick.
Pro Comp - Shaq Barrett
#4 Chicago Bears (via IND) - Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech (#2 JBB)
With concerns surrounding Jalen Carter, the Bears address one of the most important positions by taking Tyree. His 6'6", 275 pound frame is monstrous, and his athleticism makes no sense given his size. He's fast, violent, has one of the largest wingspans in this class, and has some of the best hand fighting skills we've seen in years.
Pro Comp - A bigger Brian Burns
#5 Carolina Panthers (via SEA via DEN) - Will Levis, Quarterback, Kentucky (#18 JBB)
Trade alert!! Frank Reich loves his big QBs, so trading up to take Will Levis makes sense here. Will has experience in a pro-style offense, and he has a massive arm to pair with it. If he can improve his touch and stop getting glued on receivers, he can take advantage of his big play ability with his arm and his legs.
Pro Comp - A more athletic Derek Carr
#6 Detroit Lions (via LAR) - Devon Witherspoon, Cornerback, Illinois (#3 JBB)
Detroit's pass defense played much better down the stretch, but they're potentially losing some key pieces. Devon brings a great skillset to succeed in man or zone coverage, as well as fast hands to break up and pick off passes. He does over pursue plays now and then, but that's entirely fixable.
Pro Comp - Marcus Peters
#7 Las Vegas Raiders - Anthony Richardson, Quarterback, Florida (#24 JBB)
We get the first "WOW" pick of the draft. The Raiders desperately need a QB, and while Anthony Richardson isn't the best one in this class, he certainly has the highest ceiling. He has elite athleticism for his size (6'4", 230 pounds), as well as a big cannon to stretch the entire field. I think his main issue is more inexperience than mechanics, but both are somewhat alarming. If he can overcome that, we have a beast in the making.
Pro Comp - Kyler Murray with Cam Newton's size
#8 Atlanta Falcons - Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa (#20 JBB)
The Falcons finally go defense after neglecting it in the past few first rounds. Lukas is a strong and agile rusher, who needs to improve on his pass rushing technique to be a real threat in this league. He has a high motor to chase down plays often, and he uses that during his get off as well. He needs to develop for sure, but can be a good piece on any defensive line.
Pro Comp - Marcus Davenport
Photo: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
#9 Seattle Seahawks (via CAR) - Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle, Georgia (#6 JBB)
Jalen Carter finally gets taken after falling due to not only legal concerns, but his inconsistent play as well. Jalen Carter has the potential to be the best player in this class - no doubt, but his tango of being slow off the ball and playing lazy some plays, with suddenly bursting out and destroying opponents on others can't be overlooked. If he played 100 MPH every snap, he'd be the best defensive prospect possibly ever, even as an interior defender.
Pro Comp - Javon Hargrave
#10 Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) - Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback, Oregon (#21 JBB)
With multiple defenders slated to leave during free agency, the Eagles beef it up by taking lanky corner Gonzalez. Although I don't think he's the most complete corner, his superiority in zone coverage - between his football IQ to actually playing through routes and breaking up passes - is undeniable. He fits right in with Sean Desai's soft quarters scheme, and could work lining up either inside or outside in the secondary.
Pro Comp - Amani Oruwariye
#11 Tennessee Titans - Quentin Johnston, Wide Receiver, TCU (#12 JBB)
Although I believe Quentin is one of the best receivers in the draft when the ball comes his way, he leaves something to be desired. He has a massive frame at 6'4", 215 pounds, but plays smaller. He also takes plays off if he isn't the first read. Besides that, he has unreal speed and agility given his build, and he can track a football better than most receivers in this draft. If he can be coached right, he'll be a generational talent.
Pro Comp - Healthy DJ Chark
#12 Houston Texans (via CLE) - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (#13 JBB)
What better option do the Texans have than to pair CJ with JSN? Despite missing time this season, he was clearly the top receiver in college football in 2021. He was used heavily in the slot, and the Texans could use his skillset there. He has great game speed, does his best work after the catch in space, and he's as clean of a route runner as they come.
Pro Comp - Chris Godwin
#13 New York Jets - Paris Johnson Jr, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State (#16 JBB)
With numerous years of offensive line ailments, the Jets go for a versatile monster. Paris brings positional flexibility as he started at both left tackle and right guard over the past two years, and he has great mechanics to excel at either spot. I think he can punish defenders more than what was put on tape, and he needs to use his lower body more often when drive blocking. Other than that, he should do well in the NFL.
Pro Comp - Cam Robinson
#14 New England Patriots - Broderick Jones, Offensive Tackle, Georgia (#14 JBB)
Sorry Pats fans, Bill won't take a receiver here due to alarming issues along the offensive line. Broderick has a great build, and he's clearly the most athletic tackle in this draft. When he gets two hands on you, you're not going anywhere. Besides this, most of his errors are more technique-based than actual playing ability. The Pats should be able to fix his false-step tendencies and work on his pass protection as well.
Pro Comp - Jedrick Wills
#15 Green Bay Packers - Brian Branch, Defensive Back, Alabama (#5 JBB)
Once again, the Packers waste another draft passing up on a receiver to beef up the defense. Although they should go offense here, Branch is a rare breed with a high football IQ and great production on the field. He played mostly in the slot, and played much larger than his 6'0", 190 pound build. He has great athletic range to be tested out over the top, while having the smarts to adjust from a schematic standpoint.
Pro Comp - Kyle Dugger
#16 Baltimore Ravens (via WAS) - Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver, USC (#25 JBB)
Trade alert!! Baltimore snags Rashod Bateman's compliment, giving whoever their QB is (hopefully Lamar) a real receiving core. He has great burst off the line, and an even better ability to create separation. He also gives high effort on broken plays to get open and find creases in the defense. He is a little light and gets knocked off routes a decent amount, but that's nothing a weightroom can't fix.
Pro Comp - More muscular DeVonta Smith
#17 Pittsburgh Steelers - Calijah Kancey, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh (#19 JBB)
With multiple key defensive linemen set to leave in free agency, and Cameron Heyward getting older, Calijah makes perfect sense here. He has the strength and speed to play all over the defensive front, even though he's a light 280 pounds. He has one of the fastest get-offs in the class, and can drive blockers into the backfield quickly. He needs to get more violent with his hands, but he's a solid addition to a feisty defense.
Pro Comp - Diet Aaron Donald
Photo: Jeffrey Gamza/Pittsburgh Athletics
#18 Detroit Lions - Dalton Kincaid, Tight End, Utah (#9 JBB)
Dalton over Michael Mayer as the first TE off the board? You bet! Dalton has incredible athleticism for the position, and a great catch radius with strong hands to go with it. He plays to and through the whistle, as he fights for extra yards every time he has the ball in his hands. There isn't much blocking film on him, so he may need to work on that at the next level. Regardless, he can line up at the traditional tight end spot, wing, slot, or out wide; a complete weapon on offense.
Pro Comp - Prototype Travis Kelce
#19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Deonte Banks, Cornerback, Maryland (#30 JBB)
The Bucs have a lot of questions to answer this offseason, and secondary is certainly one of them. Although I'm not super high on Deonte, I think he works in their defense. He plays better in soft coverages, whether it be man or zone, and that's due to his aggressive nature once the ball comes in his area. He will struggle in press early on at the next level, but he should figure it out at his 6'2" height.
Pro Comp - AJ Terrell Jr
#20 Seattle Seahawks - Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson (#29 JBB)
The Seahawks double down on the defensive line, getting Clemson stud Myles Murphy to team up with Jalen Carter. Myles is a project overall, but if he can fix a few correctable issues, there's no reason why he can't be a textbook edge rusher. He has great size at 6'5", 275 pounds, and he has a high motor to go with it. He needs to get better at attacking half a blocker, while also bending and reacting better post-snap on run plays.
Pro Comp - Carlos Dunlap
Miami Dolphins - Pick Forfeited
Due to Miami tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton in 2021, they were forced to lose their first round draft pick and will not have a pick until the second round.
#21 Los Angeles Chargers - Joey Porter Jr, Cornerback, Penn State (#17 JBB)
Joey may be one of the best man-to-man corners in the draft. He plays super aggressive and does a great job limiting yards after catch often. He is definitely a handsy defender throughout the entire play, and will need to peel this back to be a serviceable corner in the league. He also needs to get better at moving his feet at the start of plays, especially with great route runners across the NFL.
Pro Comp - Charvarius Ward
#22 Washington Commanders (via BAL) - Michael Mayer, Tight End, Notre Dame (#22 JBB)
With Logan Thomas getting older and not much healthier, the Commanders snag Mayer. Although he's the top tight end on multiple boards, he seems pretty basic to me. Mayer has great size and awesome hands, but he gets bullied quite a bit. If a defender isn't afraid to hit him, he goes down pretty easy, and he lacks a second gear with the ball in his hands. He also isn't the best route runner, so he'll be limited to mostly tight alignments. He does cover a wide area with his size and catch radius, so that's a plus.
Pro Comp - Hunter Henry
#23 Minnesota Vikings - Bryan Bresee, Defensive Tackle, Clemson (#40 JBB)
The Vikings need defensive help inside, and the seemingly best option here is Bresee. Besides firing his hands out quick on the snap and using his length to his advantage, Bresee doesn't do much else for me. He lacks strong hand-fighting skills, relies too much on his strength to work through blockers, and doesn't move his feet much once engaged. These provide plenty of issues all around, and I don't think he'll be special in the league.
Pro Comp - Roy Robertson-Harris
#24 Jacksonville Jaguars - Anton Harrison, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma (#11 JBB)
Anton is my top tackle in the draft, and for good reason. He has a ton of upper body strength to control defenders once he engages them, he can stop pass rushers within a few steps, and he reads and reacts to stunts at a high level. He also lets defenders take themselves out of plays when they get too aggressive, which is rare to see done so well at the college level. He is a little tall in pass protection and run blocking, and doesn't have the best hand-fighting mechanics, but can still dominate anyone in front of him.
Pro Comp - Dion Dawkins
#25 New York Giants - Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver, Boston College (#8 JBB)
My top receiver in the draft heads to the Big Blue to add to a shallow receiving room. Zay provides versatility to play at any receiving alignment, while also having all of the tools to catch any pass thrown his way. He's fast, physical despite being small (5'10", 170 pounds), and he's a damn good run blocker. His routes are clean, he has strong - yet soft hands, and has unbelievable concentration on tight window throws. You get the picture, Zay Flowers is underrated no matter where you rank him.
Pro Comp - Normal Antonio Brown
Photo: Steve McLaughlin/Boston College Athletics
#26 New Orleans Saints (via DAL) - Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia (#4 JBB)
Trade alert!! The Saints trade up to get Marcus Davenport's replacement, and go for someone more athletic and more promising. Despite a pectoral injury halfway through the season, Nolan showed he can compete against any tackle in the run and pass game. He also dropped into coverage well, while following his fundamentals in terms of bending down the line and staying square on read option type plays. He plays like he's 250 pounds despite being lighter, and he's one of my favorite prospects.
Pro Comp - Matt Judon
#27 Buffalo Bills - O'Cyrus Torrence, Guard, Florida (#31 JBB)
With not much need amongst remaining top talent, the Bills take O'Cyrus here to beef up the interior offensive line. He adds size to the Bills front and has great awareness when reading blitzes from the second level. If he gets his hands on you, you're done - but he does overextend often since this is his main strong suit. He also struggles with moving his feet and maintaining balance, so this pick should be taken with caution.
Pro Comp - Quinton Spain
#28 Cincinnati Bengals - Peter Skoronski, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern (#33 JBB)
Similar to the Bills, the Bengals take the best available need in Skoronski. Although others rank him high, I'm hesitant to give him the same praise. Similar to Anton, he does a good job moving defenders where they want to go to take them out of plays, and he's a strong run blocker as well with his ability to pin defenders down a few gaps. Where I struggle with him is how high he sets in pass protection, plus reading and reacting to stunts. He gets his hips turned easily and gets wrecked by bull rushes. If he can get his pass blocking to the same level as his run blocking, there's no reason why he can't be a franchise left tackle.
Pro Comp - Garret Bolles
#29 Dallas Cowboys (via SF via NO) - Drew Sanders, Linebacker, Arkansas (#32 JBB)
I'm not too high on linebackers in this draft, but I'm most confident with Drew being a stud. He's a great athlete who can cover long distances in a few strides, while also bringing "umph" on the majority of his tackles. He's also a decent pass rusher from the edge on blitz and non-blitz scenarios, even when getting blocked by offensive tackles. He struggles on inside run plays when filling the A and B gaps, and he tends to over pursue plays from time to time. If he can get better against inside runs and play more sound in coverage, he can be the every down linebacker this team desperately needs.
Pro Comp - Frankie Luvu
#30 Philadelphia Eagles - Bijan Robinson, Running Back, Texas (#15 JBB)
With Miles Sanders most likely gone, Bijan makes perfect sense here. Between his balance, tough running, and great speed in open space, Bijan is a playmaker who can also chip away at defenses throughout the game. He's a solid pass catcher out wide and out of the backfield, but isn't the best in pass protection. Lastly, he tends to over-rely on his strength over his speed when he has the ball in his hands. Regardless, he's still a great addition to a dynamic Philly offense.
Pro Comp - More explosive Najee Harris
#31 Los Angeles Rams (via KC) - Antonio Johnson, Defensive Back, Texas A&M (#28 JBB)
Trade alert!! With plenty of holes all over this roster, the Rams trade back into the first round to get slot-stud Antonio Johnson. He stands at 6'3" and is one of the hardest hitters in this class. He isn't afraid to fly downhill against any ball carrier and always seems to find them - no matter how crowded the space in front of him is. He does struggle in coverage since he doesn't attack the ball as aggressively when it's in the air, but he has the athleticism to improve his play in the Rams scheme.
Pro Comp - Isaiah Simmons
Photo: Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports
Some guys who dropped out of the first round are Jamhyr Gibbs, Josh Downs, Andre Carter II, and Kelee Ringo. They all have great athletic ability, but missed out due to a lack of need at their positions and/or multiple pain points in their play. Some sneaky guys to watch out for are Siaki Ika, Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, and Will McDonald IV. Although they may not have been the best production wise, their skillsets are undeniably intriguing enough to take a flyer on them early.
Next week, I'll give an in-depth look at the upcoming Free Agency period with insights on contracts, cap space, and team needs. After that starts the third year of the PRR series! Feel free to check back in all offseason for constant content.