A Super Bowl champion has been crowned, and now the offseason is officially here. That means we try to predict who certain teams will be picking to help them for the 2023 season.
For this mock draft, we will pick as the current order dictates. There will be projected trades factored in later on, especially when the dust of free agency settles.
Unlike last year, we have potential franchise quarterbacks, who many teams will be trying to move up and grab.
Here it is, the Mock Draft 1.0:
No 1. Bears: Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)
Are the Bears likely to trade the pick? It’s expected with the possibility of significant return, but again, for the 1.0 mock draft, we’ll pick in the order as it currently is.
The Bears defense was awful last season, finishing near the bottom in every major category. What good defensive players they had, they traded. Jalen Carter is an exceptional athlete with power up the middle and great hands. He will be a great building stone to revamp this defense.
No. 2 Texans: Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)
The Texans will bring their third coach in three years in a young DeMeco Ryans. Although he’s defensive-minded, they need a franchise quarterback.
The lack of size with Bryce Young has been debated this year, but when you look at the skill set, he has the “it factor.” He virtually led Alabama to the National Title game a year ago, and you saw the downgrade in production when he missed time this season with a shoulder injury.
He played with a sub-par offensive line at Alabama which will probably be the case when he goes to Houston.
No. 3 Cardinals: Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)
You can argue that Will Anderson is the best player on this board, and if he could have come out last year, he would have been a lock for the top spot.
He is a dynamic player on the line and has the talent to move anywhere on the defensive front. He will become a player an offense will have to plan for specifically.
No. 4 Indianapolis: C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)
C.J. Stroud is my favorite technical quarterback in this class. When you watch his tape, he already looks like an NFL quarterback.
No. 5 Seattle Seahawks (From Denver Broncos): Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)
Seattle showed last year that their rebuild might not be as extensive as previously thought. Their weak point last season was on the defensive front, and they need players who can win in the trenches.
Wilson has a high motor, a long frame and a great first step. If he adds some weight, he could become a player that takes over games.
No. 6 Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)
The Lions have two picks in the first round, and they could wait to grab a DB if Christian Gonzalez goes off the board before they pick. They could also double up and build a secondary.
Their passing defense was so bad last year that it certainly impacted some games. They could go out and sign some veterans and maybe wait, but for now, I like them to grab Gonzalez.
No. 7 Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)
We weren’t putting a quarterback in this spot a few weeks ago, but the Raiders will be moving on from Derek Carr. They could go out and grab a veteran or are even less likely to run with Jarrett Stidham as their QB1.
Will Levis’ numbers regressed from 2021, but he has the physicality and raw talent of a first-round quarterback. He was turnover-prone last season but did not have his complete offensive line or skill players.
Levis is their best option if they stay in this spot and go for a quarterback.
No. 8 Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)
Atlanta has talent up front with Arnold Ebiketie and Grady Jarrett. Adding Myles Murphy would make them exceptional. He can line up outside and attack the pass rush, but he could also move into the interior and stop the run.
No. 9 Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)
With quarterback whisper Frank Reich as the new head coach, he will want to start fresh at that position. If they stay at nine, Anthony Richardson will be the best available.
His size and rushing ability have people comparing him to another former Panthers quarterback, but there are things to work on. The accuracy can be shaky, and he sometimes makes dangerous throws. I advocate for raw players going to the right team and system where they can be successful. To me, that’s possible with the combination of Richardson and Reich.
No. 10 Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints): Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)
James Bradberry was an excellent pickup for Philly this year, but they won’t likely flip the bill to re-sign him, leaving a void in the secondary. Devon Witherspoon is amazing in coverage; he’s physical and doesn’t lose ground on the first step.
He’ll be a perfect fit for this defense.
No. 11 Tennessee Titans: Paris Johnson Jr. (OT – Ohio State)
The Titans will likely need multiple players to fill the offensive line. Paris Johnson Jr. has experience at guard and tackle and incredible techniques to be a starter.
No. 12 Houston Texans (From Cleveland Browns): Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)
The Texans could go in a few directions with this pick, but they have the chance to pair Branch and Derek Stingley, so they should do it. Brian Branch is very versatile and can line up anywhere in the secondary, and that’s the type of weapon you want.
No. 13 New York Jets: Peter Skoronski (OL – Northwestern)
Regardless of who is behind center for the Jets next year, they will need to upgrade who protects him. Peter Skoronski is the 2022 Big Ten offensive lineman of the year and comes in as one of the top prospects in his position.
He has the power and technique to play right away, and size concern some scouts have shouldn’t matter.
No. 14 New England Patriots: Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)
The problem for the Patriots has been the lack of depth at wide receiver, and it should get worse with Jakobi Meyers likely leaving in free agency.
Quentin Johnston is a true playmaker, thanks to his size and vertical abilities to grab the 50/50 ball. This would finally give Mac Jones a true No. 1 receiver.
No. 15 Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)
Michael Mayer is an exceptional tight end and could establish himself quickly at the position.
He’s been deemed “Baby Gronk,” deservedly because of his abilities as a pass catcher. However, you can confidently have him on the line to block.
No. 16 Washington Commanders: Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)
Broderick Jones is the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft. A key part of two national titles, he is an excellent blocker who is tough in the trenches. He will give Washington a much-needed boost at the position.
No. 17 Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)
This pick is meant to be. Joey Porter Jr.’s father, Joey Porter Sr., spent seven seasons in Pittsburgh, including being part of the 2005 Super Bowl Championship. Porter Jr. is physical at the line and excellent in press coverage, an exact fit for Steelers football.
No 18 Detroit Lions: Bryan Brese (DL – Clemson)
The Lions could double up on corners, but they also need someone else to line up with Aiden Hutchinson.
No. 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)
It could be troubling waters ahead for the Bucs, who don’t have a starting quarterback and are $57 million over the cap. By draft time, this roster will look different and possibly have a ton of needs.
Bijan Robinson is tough to take down in the open field and is an excellent pass catcher. They must take him if they stay at 19 and he’s there. They’ll likely be moving on from Leonard Fournette, and Raachad White may not be a 20-touch back.
No. 20 Seattle Seahawks: O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)
I’ll be honest and say I feel I will be moving O’Cyrus Torrence up my draft board as time continues.
Torrence transferred from Louisiana to Florida and went with his coach, Billy Napier. The improvement in the competition made him look better, and he was voted First Team All-SEC. He is a wall and never allowed a single sack in his over 3,000 snaps played, and is an above-average run blocker.
No. 21 Los Angeles Chargers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)
The reports are that the Chargers will be cutting their long-time slot receiver Keenan Allen. What better way to replace him than with one of the top-ranked receivers in the draft who primarily lines up in the slot?
No. 22 Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Addison (WR – USC)
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta commented about getting Lamar Jackson some receivers: “When you have a big-ticket item at quarterback, it makes it more challenging – not impossible. We’ll have to get creative, and there are things we can do.”
This means they aren’t spending money to get a veteran and will look to the draft to add options.
No. 23 Minnesota Vikings: Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)
The Vikings need to improve their secondary, as they finished 31st in passing defense. Cam Smith is quick and has no problem getting physical with his assignments. He improved in his zone and man coverage this year.
No. 24 Jacksonville Jaguars: Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)
The Jags are unlikely to re-sign Evan Engram, so they need to fill that void. Dalton Kincaid has similar qualities to Engram: he’s fast, tall, athletic and a tight end that can also line up in the slot.
No. 25 New York Giants: Josh Downs (WR – North Carolina)
The Giants need pass catchers, and Downs would be a great fit in the Brian Daboll offense. Great intermediate speed, a high vertical, and a dependable option in the red zone.
No. 26 Dallas Cowboys: Trenton Simpson (LB – Clemson)
The Cowboys will likely have an all-new linebacker corps for next season. They need to rebuild at the position, so they should take the most talented one available.
Trenton Simpson is highly athletic and can cover his assignment very well. Since he is newer to the position, he’s a work in progress. The Cowboys will see an outstanding return if he can play up to his abilities.
No. 27 Buffalo Bills: Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)
The Bills need to give another weapon to Josh Allen. Jalin Hyatt had a breakout season for Tennessee and is shown to have speed, quick burst and reliable hands.
No. 28 Cincinnati: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)
The Bengals have needs at a couple of other positions, but I can see them adding another pass-catcher for Joe Burrow. At 6-7 270 lbs., Darnell Washington has power and surprisingly great feet and quickness. He’s also an elite-level blocker, so there isn’t a need to switch him out.
No. 29 New Orleans Saints (from San Fransisco 49ers through Miami, Denver): Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)
The Saints will likely need defensive line help with Marcus Davenport hitting free agency. Lukas Van Ness has shown an NFL-caliber type of quickness in the pass rush and could make an impact right away.
No. 30 Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)
The Eagles don’t necessarily need another pass rusher because they led the NFL in sacks this season, so this is currently a best-player type of pick.
This doesn’t mean he would be wasted; you can never have enough players who can wreak havoc in the trenches.
No. 31 Kansas City Chiefs: Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)
Tackle will be a need for the Super Bowl champs in the offseason. Named to the Big-12 First Team, Anton Harrison is physical to edge rushers and will take his assignment out during a run play.
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