2023 NFL Mock Draft 4.0

The NFL Draft is coming in two days, and the buzz around this event is at an all-time high. A talented, yet enigmatic group of quarterbacks will lead the way, but nobody seems to know precisely what’ll happen. It’s an exciting time of the year, as this is where the future of this league is coming from. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the draft this year, my mock is not predictive. Instead, this is what I would do in the shoes of each league executive. Enjoy the read!

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The amount of criticism Stroud has taken in the past two weeks or so is absurd. There’s a team out there that wants him bad, and they trashed his name to try to make that happen. However, he shouldn’t fall beyond pick #1, as his tape is phenomenal. His mechanics and footwork are top-notch, and he manipulates the pocket better than anyone else. His calling card is his accuracy, as he rarely misses a throw. This guy is legit, and if the Panthers don’t grab him first, they’ll regret it down the line.

Image from Sports Illustrated

2. Houston Texans – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young is a close second to Stroud in my eyes. He certainly has the clutch gene that you look for in a signal-caller. Since he’s on the smaller side, Houston is the perfect situation for him, as their offensive line is built well.

Image from Alabama Athletics

3. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

The Cardinals need a full revamp of their defensive line, and that’ll start at the top of the draft. Anderson’s production at ‘Bama is almost unheard-of. In terms of motor and burst, he is a high-caliber prospect. He’d be an instant star in Arizona.

4. Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Levis has taken plenty of criticism throughout the draft process, but I think he’s a great prospect. He has a cannon with a sudden release. His build and athleticism will keep him upright while he learns in an NFL offense. With two years of starting experience in the SEC, this guy could start early on for the Colts.

Image from Lexington Herald

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Quarterbacks with one year of starting experience don’t often succeed in the league, but Richardson is simply a beast. Dubbed the most athletic QB prospect of all time, Richardson has one of the prettier deep balls you’ll ever see. However, he certainly is raw, so sitting behind Geno Smith in Seattle for a year would be perfect for the Florida man.

Image from Tampa Bay Times

6. Detroit Lions (from LA Rams) – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

The repercussions for Carter’s legal troubles from January don’t seem to be as severe as analysts first thought. He’s easily the most complete prospect in this draft class, and I think the Lions would be willing to give him a shot. He’d be a force for this ascending Detroit squad.

7. Las Vegas Raiders – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Darnell Wright is an underrated tackle prospect in this class. He started for three seasons at Tennessee, with over 900 snaps at each tackle position. He’s a 6’5″, 333 lb monster who didn’t allow a sack in 2022. He achieved the second-best athleticism score out of tackles at the NFL Combine. He has a mean streak that can be seen on tape. All this means he’d be a dominant right tackle in Vegas.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

This would be a dream scenario for Atlanta. Edge rusher is their most glaring deficiency, and Wilson is incredibly talented. He even boasts a better pass rush win rate than Will Anderson.

Image from CBS Sports

9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers) – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The Bears are weak in the trenches, but Witherspoon is too good to pass up. In terms of tape and stats, he is one of the more dominant defensive backs to come out in recent history. He’d complete a young, physical Bears secondary.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints) – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Robinson is a top-five player in this class, plain and simple. He’s the best runner we’ve seen since Saquon Barkley, and there really isn’t anything to complain about in his game. He could be the missing piece for Philly.

Image from Inside the Star

11. Tennessee Titans – Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

The Titans could stand to revamp their offensive line, and Skoronski could play inside or outside in Tennessee. He’s a great pass protector who makes up for his lack of size with his technique.

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Smith-Njigba should flourish in the NFL. He out-produced Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in 2021, and both of those guys look like studs after one season. Don’t let an injury-marred 2022 fool you on Smith-Njigba, this guy’s gonna be a star. The Texans could certainly use his services.

13. Green Bay Packers (from New York Jets) – Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

Johnson has anchor concerns, but he’s such a physical specimen that teams will ignore that. The Packers have a hole at right tackle that this Ohio State product could fill.

14. New England Patriots – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

I believe Gonzalez has become somewhat overrated after his phenomenal Combine performance. He let up a completion percentage of 61% in 2022, which is below average. However, he checks the boxes of size, speed, and athleticism with flying colors, and the Patriots would undoubtedly maximize his abilities.

15. New York Jets (from Green Bay Packers – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Between injuries, age, and inexperience, the Jets have a shaky tackle room. Jones is a fluid, powerful protector who excels in pass blocking. He’d be a solid blindside bulwark for Aaron Rodgers (presumably).

Image from Arrowhead Addict

16. Washington Commanders – Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Cornerbacks with size are in fashion these days, and that’s exactly what Porter is. His red zone prowess will be valuable in the league, as Porter didn’t let up a touchdown in 2022. After striking out on Josh Norman and William Jackson III in recent years, Washington is definitely hungry for an elite boundary corner.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Van Ness is another guy who has great tools, but not the production to back them up (yet). However, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers would make something great of him. A duo of T.J. Watt and Lukas Van Ness would be scary in two years.

18. Detroit Lions – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

After trading T.J. Hockenson last season and then losing Jameson Williams to a six-game suspension, the Lions need playmaking. Kincaid is a stellar receiver with movement skills that are atypical of a man his size. He and Jalen Carter could be the missing pieces for a Lions playoff run.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida

Donovan Smith and Shaq Mason are out in Tampa, so this O-Line could use a facelift. Torrence didn’t let up a sack in his college career. He lacks high-end athleticism, but his floor is too high to ignore.

20. Seattle Seahawks – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Seahawks add much-needed speed to their defensive front here. Smith is a unique prospect who fits the modern mold for edge rushers.

Image from CBS Sports

21. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Addison is as complete as they come in terms of receiver prospects. He is a shifty route-runner who has steady hands. His skill set will translate to any role a team will ask of him.

22. Baltimore Ravens – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Flowers will ideally be a slot receiver, but his contested catch rate of 58% is fantastic for his 5’9″ frame. He’s as elusive as they come. Baltimore could use a playmaker of his caliber.

23. Minnesota Vikings – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Minnesota is in the process of revamping its secondary, and this move would give them a skilled group of young corners. Andrew Booth, Byron Murphy, and Banks would make for a feisty, athletic trio.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars – Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Smith has sky-rocketed up draft boards recently. He is a great run defender who moves so well for his 6’3″, 323 lb body. If the Jaguars want to keep supremacy over teams like the Titans and the Colts, they must keep adding to their run defense.

Image from MLive.com

25. New York Giants – Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

Brian Branch may not have typical elite defensive back traits, but he produced at ‘Bama. He’s a stellar slot corner, which is a position that has grown in importance. Branch could play a variety of roles for the Giants.

26. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Mayer is a prototypical tight end who can block and receive well. He may not have a ton of pop to his game, but he also doesn’t have any glaring deficiencies. The Cowboys are close to a Super Bowl-level roster, and Mayer could make a difference right away.

27. Buffalo Bills – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

The Bills are in need of playmaking outside Stefon Diggs. Gibbs would bring just that, as he’s the best receiving back in this draft class. He boasts a 4.36 40-yard dash time and a stellar 1.83 yards per route run in 2022. He’s a first-round talent for sure.

28. Cincinnati Bengals – Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Jones is a mammoth. At 6’8″, 374 lbs, he let up just five pressures in 2022. He’s a powerful player who can bulldoze in the run game, too. He and Orlando Brown Jr. would combine to be the biggest tackle duo in the NFL.

Image from The Draft Network

29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco 49ers) – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

After losing Marcus Davenport, the Saints are lacking on the edge. Murphy has an abundance of size and athleticism but didn’t necessarily channel that at Clemson. Developing under veteran Cam Jordan would be beneficial for him.

30. Philadelphia Eagles – Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

The Eagles lost Javon Hargrave to the 49ers, meaning they need an interior penetrator on their defensive front. That could be Bresee’s role, as that’s where he excels in the pass rush.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston is a unique talent who would fit well in Kansas City. He has great YAC ability, but he needs to use his size to his advantage more. If he learns this skill, he’d be scary for KC.

It’s now officially draft season, as an eventful combine is now behind us. Here’s a look at what I’d do if I ran each NFL franchise.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers(from Chicago Bears) – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

33. Houston Texans – Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

34. Arizona Cardinals – Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

35. Indianapolis Colts – Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

36. LA Rams – Keion White, EDGE, Georgia Tech

37. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) – John Michael Schmitz, IOL, Minnesota

38. Las Vegas Raiders – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

39. Carolina Panthers – Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

40. New Orleans Saints – Adetomiwa Adebaware, DL, Northwestern

41. Tennessee Titans – Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

42. Green Bay Packers (from Cleveland Browns) – Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

43. New York Jets – Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

44. Atlanta Falcons – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

45. Green Bay Packers – Joe Tippman, IOL, Wisconsin

46. New England Patriots – Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State

47. Washington Commanders – Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

48. Detroit Lions – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

49. Pittsburgh Steelers – D.J. Turner, CB, Michigan

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

51. Miami Dolphins – Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

52. Seattle Seahawks – Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee

53. Chicago Bears (from Baltimore Ravens) – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

54. Los Angeles Chargers – B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

55. Minnesota Vikings – Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

56. Jacksonville Jaguars – Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

57. New York Giants – Marvin Mims Jr., WR, Oklahoma

58. Dallas Cowboys – Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin

59. Buffalo Bills – Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

60. Cincinnati Bengals – Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami

61. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco 49ers) – Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC

62. Philadelphia Eagles – Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State

63. Kansas City Chiefs – Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn


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