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NFL 2023 Mock Draft 2.0

With the Combine and Free Agency all but through, I drop my 2nd Mock Draft of the 2023 season! There are four new names to enter the first round, with plenty of others licking their chops to be mentioned among them. Let's dive into how this mock shaped up.

Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

 

#1 Carolina Panthers (via CHI) - CJ Stroud, Quarterback, Ohio State (#4 JBB)


Panthers traded up early this offseason and all signs point towards CJ Stroud getting the nod. He's my top QB in this class and has a decent supporting cast to work with in his rookie year


Pro Comp - Bigger, but slower Russell Wilson

#2 Houston Texans - Bryce Young, Alabama, Quarterback (#10 JBB)


Similar to my last mock, the Texans get their second option at QB by snagging one of the consensus top players in the draft. Although I'm not 100% sold on Bryce, I still think this is a perfect match for both parties.


Pro Comp - Athletic Kirk Cousins


#3 Indianapolis Colts (via AZ) - Anthony Richardson, Quarterback, Florida (#21 JBB)


Trade alert!! The Colts move up one spot to make sure they secure their future in Richardson. He's slowly moving up my draft board as his weaknesses seem to be similar Josh Allen's...and we all know how that turned out.


Pro Comp - Cam Newton + Kyler Murray Love Child


#4 Arizona Cardinals (via IND) - Will Anderson Jr, Edge, Alabama (#1 JBB)


Cardinals still get their guy at #4 and snag my top player in the draft. He'll fit perfectly into a shallow defense, giving the Cards a franchise answer at a much needed position.


Pro Comp - Shaq Barrett


#5 Seattle Seahawks - Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech (#2 JBB)


As the Seahawks beefed up the interior of their defense, they get a stud on the edge with Tyree. The "Best Edge" debate in this years' class is nearly the same as last year, except this years top guys in Wilson and Anderson are better.


Pro Comp - Meathead Brian Burns


#6 Detroit Lions (via LAR) - Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback, Oregon (#22 JBB)


The Lions spent a good chunk of Free Agency in the secondary, but they still need a true outside guy to complete their defensive back unit. With some health questions lingering around Devon Witherspoon, the Lions take the uber-athletic and rangy corner in Gonzalez.


Pro Comp - Amani Oruwariye


Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez/Associated Press


#7 Las Vegas Raiders - Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle, Georgia (#9 JBB)


I can talk all the doo dah day about how Jalen's legal and conditioning issues at his Pro Day are causing him to drop, but I would just urge people to put on the tape. Easily one of the most inconsistent players in the draft, but man can he pack a punch when he wants to. Buyer beware, you're either getting a generational guy, or a bust in the making.


Pro Comp - Albert Haynesworth 2.0


#8 Atlanta Falcons - Will Levis, Quarterback, Kentucky (#19 JBB)


Similar to how Kliff said "Josh Rosen is our guy", the Falcons are doing the same with Desmond Ridder. While I want Ridder to get his chance, Levis is too enticing not to pass up here. Whether he starts right away or takes over later this year, the Falcons have their franchise QB.


Pro Comp - Derek Carr on roids


#9 Chicago Bears (via CAR) - Paris Johnson Jr, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State (#13 JBB)


With not much need besides the O-Line and D-Line, the Bears give Fields much needed protection. Paris has been another riser up my draft board and makes sense given the need at LT.


Pro Comp - Cam Robinson


#10 Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (#11 JBB)


After the Eagles somehow kept Darius Slay and James Bradberry, enter JSN to fill a hole at the slot. This pick makes too much sense; give Hurts another offensive weapon while they still have him on a rookie deal.


Pro Comp - Chris Godwin


#11 Tennessee Titans - Quentin Johnston, Wide Receiver, TCU (#14 JBB)


Same pick here for the Titans as my last draft. They need a receiver bad, and Quentin would fit perfectly into whatever the hell their offense is right now.

Pro Comp - Healthy DJ Chark


#12 Houston Texans (via CLE) - Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia (#5 JBB)


DeMeco Ryans gets his versatile defender to mold this defense. Nolan shined at the Combine and put any injury questions to rest. In a deep edge class, he's a diamond in the rough.


Pro Comp - Matt Judon

Photo: Brett Davis/Associated Press


#13 Minnesota Vikings (via NYJ) - Devon Witherspoon, Cornerback, Illinois (#3 JBB)


Trade alert!! The Vikings take a shot on Devon after he falls out of the top 10. Devon is still my top corner in the draft despite some injury concerns, and the Vikings get an absolute steal with him available at #13


Pro Comp - Marcus Peters


#14 New England Patriots - Anton Harrison, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma (#12 JBB)


With at least some stability at receiver, beefing up the OL is the next step for the Pats to help Mac Jones. Anton is still my top tackle in this class; he'll do well protecting Mac and opening up running lanes.


Pro Comp - Dion Dawkins


#15 Green Bay Packers - Brian Branch, Defensive Back, Alabama (#7 JBB)


I want the Packers to go receiver here, but I don't trust Gutekunst to change his ways. Same pick as the last mock, as they get some much needed defensive help in the slot.


Pro Comp - Kyle Dugger


#16 Washington Commanders - Joey Porter Jr, Cornerback, Penn State (#15 JBB)


The Commanders aren't in a bad spot besides needing a QB and rounding out their defense. They could go OL here, but they need a true outside corner, and Joey fits that bill perfectly.

Pro Comp - Charvarius Ward


#17 Pittsburgh Steelers - Peter Skoronski, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern (#36 JBB)


With the interior of their defense getting some help via Free Agency, the Steelers get some much needed help up front. While I'm not high on Peter as a tackle, he could end up developing well as a guard for the Steel Curtain.

Pro Comp - Garrett Bolles


#18 Detroit Lions - Calijah Kancey, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh (#17 JBB)


After an impressive Combine, Calijah jumps up my draft board, but falls in the Mock just based on teams needing other guys. He'll fit in perfectly into the Lions locker room and provides them a Day 1 Starter.


Pro Comp - Diet Aaron Donald


#19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dalton Kincaid, Tight End, Utah (#8 JBB)


With at least some stability at QB, the Bucs give Baker/Trask another receiving option in Dalton. He'll give them much needed speed and separation ability at the tight end position, as this team looks to be rebuilding over the next few seasons.


Pro Comp - Prototype Travis Kelce

Photo: Associated Press/Steve Marcus


#20 New Orleans Saints (via SEA) - Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa (#20 JBB)


Trade alert!! The Saints trade up to get a powerful pass rusher in Lukas. With Davenport gone, New Orleans wastes no time finding his replacement.


Pro Comp - Marcus Davenport


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 - Dawand Jones, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State (#30 JBB)


We get our first newcomer of the Mock Draft season as Dawand has all but guaranteed himself as a first rounder. Given his massive size at 6'8 and 374 pounds, they get a mauler at the RT spot who is dominant in the run game - and has some surprising lateral quickness in the run game.


Pro Comp - Trent Brown


#22 Baltimore Ravens - Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver, USC (#26 JBB)


The Ravens need to give Lamar some help, and although I'm not super high on Addison, he's good enough for what Baltimore needs.


Pro Comp - Muscular DeVonta Smith


#23 New York Jets (via MIN) - Broderick Jones, Offensive Tackle, Georgia (#18 JBB)


With Aaron Rodgers *seemingly* coming to town, the Jets round out their offensive line by taking Broderick here. Whether he plays LT or RT, he'll be a solid addition up front.


Pro Comp - Jedrick Wills


#24 Jacksonville Jaguars - John Michael Schmitz, Center, Minnesota (#28 JBB)


Even though they lost Jawaan Taylor, I think the Jags put their faith in Walker Little and take Schmitz at #24. He's the best center in this class - between his progression in pass protection, incredible wide zone blocking technique, and ability to read and react well to stunts, he's the perfect answer up front for this offense.


Pro Comp - Ted Karras

Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images


#25 New York Giants - Deonte Banks, Cornerback, Maryland (#33 JBB)


With the Big Blue loading up on receivers in free agency, they fill out their defense by snagging Deonte Banks. I don't see any jarring needs elsewhere, but the secondary definitely is one.

Pro Comp - AJ Terrell


#26 Dallas Cowboys - Michael Mayer, Tight End, Notre Dame (#23 JBB)


Mayer has been getting a ton of comparison to Jason Witten as of late, and rightfully so. He's a vanilla tight end that the Cowboys could use given their explosiveness all other skill spots on this offense.


Pro Comp - Hunter Henry


#27 Buffalo Bills - Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver, Boston College (#6 JBB)


The more I watch Zay, the higher he creeps up my board. He'll go from a horrible college QB to one of the best QBs in the league. With not much going for them at receiver besides Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis for 3 games a year, Zay gives them flexibility.


Pro Comp - Antonio Brown


#28 Atlanta Falcons (via CIN) - Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson (#24 JBB)

Trade alert!! The Falcons move back into the first round to get another big positional need in Myles. He's another guy that has made his way up my board, and he gives Atlanta much needed pass rushing prowess.


Pro Comp - Carlos Dunlap


#29 Seattle Seahawks (via SF via NO) - Steve Avila, Guard, TCU (#41 JBB)


Steve Avila's name has been getting tossed around in the first round, and while I can see why that'd be the case - and despite me putting him in my first round, I personally don't see it. He had two good games this year at best, but his technique is all over the place. If an NFL team can get more out of him, then he's definitely a first round talent.


Pro Comp - Cody Ford


#30 Philadelphia Eagles - O'Cyrus Torrence, Guard, Florida (#34 JBB)


Philly doubles down on offense in the first round by filling a hole that Isaac Seumalo left. Although O'Cyrus may start right away in this offense, I could also see him sitting behind Cam Jurgens until Jason Kelce retires. Either way, a solid pick for the Eagles.


Pro Comp - Quinton Spain


#31 Kansas City Chiefs - Adetomiwa Adebawore, Edge, Northwestern (#31 JBB)


The Chiefs round out the first round by taking a chance on one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. Adetomiwa brings unique size and speed to the edge of the defense, while also showcasing he can play effectively inside. No matter where KC lines him up, he should do well at the next level.


Pro Comp - John Franklin-Myers

Photo: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire

 

Final Notes:


The four players that dropped out of the first round were Bijan Robinson, Antonio Johnson, Bryan Bresee, and Drew Sanders. All are solid players, there's just limited first round need for their positions. I also think teams are more cautious about taking RBs in the first round than ever before, hence Bijan missed out this time around.


Some names to look out for in the future are Darnell Wright, Jack Campbell, and Mazi Smith. All of them bring some juice to their position and could be taken in the first round.

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