Super Bowl LVII is in the books, and [insert here some generic comments about the game].
Right? Who could have predicted how that game would unfold?
And don’t even get me started on the halftime show or the referees. I mean, just beyond words.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Freedman actually did write that before the game. Oracle, indeed.
Anyway, with the 2022-23 NFL season officially done, #DraftSZN is here for real, which means it’s time to publish another mock draft.
Here are my previous 2023 mocks.
Over the past three years, I’m the No. 1 mocker in the FantasyPros Accuracy Contest. Over the past four years, I’m No. 2. For obvious and selfish reasons, I prefer the three-year window.
Historically, I’ve done well betting on the draft.
- 2019: 54-29 (+17.7 units)
- 2020: 124-88 (+26.2 units)
- 2021: 158-140 (+32.0 units)
- 2022: 70-50 (+29.3 units)
Check out my 2023 NFL draft prop card to see all the bets I’ve made to date. As I make more bets, I will post them first in the NFL draft channel in our FREE BettingPros Discord and then write up my bets for publication. To get my draft bets as quickly as possible, join Discord.
Note: The Dolphins forfeited the No. 21 pick because of the team’s “impermissible contact” with QB Tom Brady and HC Sean Payton when they were respectively under contract with the Patriots and Saints. Rather than list that missing pick below, I have moved what would have been Picks 22-32 to Picks 21-31.
Matthew Freedman’s Post-Super Bowl 2023 NFL Mock Draft
1. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)
Based on what we saw out of second-year QB Justin Fields in 2022, I don’t expect the Bears to select a quarterback, which means they will probably try to trade out of the No. 1 spot. If they do, I will likely project them with a different player, but for the time being I’ll keep them at No. 1, and I think the odds are high that they will select a defender unless they trade down far enough to put them in reasonable range for a wide receiver or offensive tackle.
But I also don’t think they will want to trade down that far.
The No. 1 defender selected I expect to come down to Anderson and DT Jalen Carter. Given the premium based on pass rushers, I’m going with Anderson at the top of the draft. A two-time unanimous All-American, he’s worthy of No. 1 consideration regardless of whichever team ultimately makes the pick.
Anderson is the No. 1 player on Matthew Jones’ 2023 draft prospect big board.
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)
The Texans need a quarterback, and Young is the consensus top option at the position. He’s small (6-0, 194 pounds).
The human body is 60% water.
The earth is 70% water.
Bryce Young in Indianapolis this March will be 80% water. https://t.co/OcqsoF67mZ
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 25, 2023
But he was a dynamic producer in two years as a starter.
- 2021 (15 games): 4,872-47-7 passing | 66.9% completion rate | 10.0 AY/A
- 2022 (12 games): 3,328-32-5 passing | 64.5% completion rate | 9.9 AY/A
Even with his size, the 2021 Heisman winner seems destined to be a top-three pick.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Carter (DT – Georgia)
It’s hard to know what the Cardinals will do now that they have parted ways with HC Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim, but the presence of QB Kyler Murray on the roster all but guarantees that they won’t take a passer at No. 3, so I’ll go with Carter, one of the few true blue-chip players in this class.
A unanimous All-American last season, Carter was a key contributor to the 2021-23 National Championship-winning defense for the Bulldogs.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)
The Colts are a popular candidate to trade up for the top pick, and Levis looks like the kind of quarterback they’d like, so I do have a position on Levis No. 1 overall: Young’s size will likely scare some teams off, and QB C.J. Stroud is already getting the Ohio State-based Justin Fields treatment (No. 11 in 2021, should’ve been top three).
Levis has prototypical size (6-3, 232 pounds) and arm strength. He’ll appeal to the NFL decision makers who want a “traditional” quarterback, which makes him a real option to go in the top five, maybe No. 1 overall. Levis has seen his draft stock move up significantly since last summer, and I expect that momentum to sustain itself into the spring.
5. Seattle Seahawks: Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)
In the summer, Wilson wasn’t at all on my radar, but he moved up draft boards in the 2022 season with a notable senior campaign, racking up 61 tackles, 14 for loss and seven sacks. Wilson has the size to hold up in the running game and to move inside on passing downs, and he has the strength and explosiveness to rush the passer off the edge.
The Seahawks need help on the defensive line, and Wilson looks like the kind of athlete they have tended to prize.
6. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)
A three-year starter, Gonzalez has a strong profile with his size (6-1, 201 pounds), age (turns 21 in June) and pedigree (four stars). Widely overlooked before the season, he broke out in 2022 with a four-interception campaign and now is a strong candidate for Round 1 after seeing his draft stock skyrocket.
Gonzalez at No. 6 overall is a tad aggressive, but he’s flying up draft boards and I think he should now be the favorite to be the No. 1 cornerback selected.
Christian Gonzalez: Prospect Profile
Pick via Denver Broncos
Previous Pick: Bryan Bresee
7. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)
A real option to go No. 1 overall, Stroud represents great value for the Raiders at this spot.
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud (PSU 2022)
Nice subtle pocket movement before leading his WR here. Shoutout to the coach on the bottom, too. pic.twitter.com/dQpxxSOcEE
— WinksTape (@WinksTape) January 19, 2023
The No. 2 pocket passer in his recruitment class, Stroud lived up to the hype in his two years as a starter with 8,123-85-12 passing on a 69.3% completion rate and 11.2 AY/A.
C.J. Stroud: Prospect Profile
8. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)
The Falcons defense was dead last in the league in 2022 with a 4.0% adjusted sack rate (per Football Outsiders). The team needs someone on the perimeter of the line to complement defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on the interior, and Murphy has a good chance to go in the top 10.
A five-star recruit who just turned 21 years old, Murphy has the profile of a player who could be a consistent NFL contributor for a decade.
9. Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)
I’m skeptical that we’ll see four quarterbacks in the top 10. This isn’t a great class at the position, quarterbacks tend to fall in the draft relative to their mock expectations and a team at the top of the draft — perhaps the Raiders or Panthers — might take itself out of the rookie market by signing a veteran in free agency: QBs Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jameis Winston are options.
But until we see that happen, I’ll project the Panthers with a quarterback at No. 9, and Richardson has established himself as the No. 4 option in this class.
Some of Anthony Richardson’s tape is just flat out absurd. This is a QB 👇
High risk? Yes.
High reward? Yes.
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 21, 2023
With a 54.7% completion rate and 7.4 AY/A for his career, Richardson is far from polished as a passer, but he has the rushing upside (evidenced by his nice 6.9 yards per carry) to be a legit dual-threat producer in the NFL.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)
With a championship-caliber roster, the Eagles don’t have many needs. And with two picks in Round 1, they have enormous flexibility, so predicting what they might do is difficult.
But CB James Bradberry is an unrestricted free agent in 2023, so I can imagine the Eagles drafting his replacement. A physical defender with Richard Sherman-like size (6-2, 196 pounds), Porter feels like the kind of player the Eagles would like — although this is a good year at the position: I can see as many as seven corners going in Round 1, and almost any of them could be the first one selected.
Right now, I lean toward Porter, but I’m sure my opinion will change a lot on some of these corners by the time of the draft.
Joey Porter Jr.: Prospect Profile
Pick via New Orleans Saints
11. Tennessee Titans: Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)
If you asked me to make up the name for a fictional character in a story — a unanimous All-American offensive lineman to be drafted by Titans HC Mike Vrabel — I doubt I could come up with a better one than “Peter Skoronski.”
That dude just sounds like someone destined to play right tackle at an above-average level for eight-plus years.
12. Houston Texans: Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)
Johnston is the No. 1 wide receiver selected in the supermajority of early mocks I’ve surveyed, which makes sense: He’s the only receiver likely to be drafted in Round 1 with prototypical size (6-4, 212 pounds), and he had the production last year (60-1,069-6 receiving) to justify his draft hype.
— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) January 1, 2023
The Texans desperately need a pass catcher to pair with QB Bryce Young.
13. New York Jets: Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State)
Johnson might be my favorite all-around player in this class. He has the size (6-6, 310 pounds) to play on the interior, and the athleticism to man the perimeter. He has great positional versatility, given his 13 starts at right guard as a sophomore and 13 starts at left tackle as a junior.
He has the production: Last year he allowed only two sacks in what proved to be an All-American campaign.
And he has the pedigree: As a recruit, he earned five stars from every major scouting service and was a consensus top-two offensive tackle in his class.
With Johnson, the Jets could have an offensive line that plays with real nastiness.
14. New England Patriots: Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)
Like Paris Johnson, Jones entered college with five stars and was widely regarded as a top-two offensive tackle in his recruitment class. After redshirting his first year and opening his second season as a rotational player, Jones closed out his freshman campaign with four starts at left tackle, and then as a sophomore he made 15 more starts on the blindside — and didn’t allow a single sack all season.
15. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)
The Packers could use more bodies at edge: Rashan Gary is recovering from a season-ending knee injury, Preston Smith turns 31 years old in 2023 and Kingsley Enagbare will be just a sophomore fifth-rounder next season.
Van Ness has a decent chance to be the No. 4 edge in the class after the top triumvirate of Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson and Myles Murphy. Over the past six months — and really since just December — Van Ness has transformed from an unknown to a mock draft up-and-comer.
With his size (6-5, 275 pounds), Van Ness can contribute as both a run defender and pass rusher on the perimeter.
16. Washington Commanders: Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)
HC Ron Rivera is a defense-focused team builder, and the defensive front seven is strong, but after CB Kendall Fuller the secondary is thin.
Witherspoon is a 2022 All-American and four-year contributor who plays bigger than his size (180 pounds).
— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) January 19, 2023
Devon Witherspoon: Prospect Profile
Previous Pick: Christian Gonzalez
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)
The Steelers have maybe 10 cornerbacks on their roster — which means they’re desperate at the position. Ringo could step in as a Week 1 starter.
A two-year starter, Ringo was the No. 1 cornerback for Georgia’s defense and has all the trappings of a future NFL shutdown cover man: Elite size (6-2, 205 pounds), youth (turns 21 in June) and recruitment pedigree (five stars).
Kelee Ringo: Prospect Profile
18. Detroit Lions: Bryan Bresee (DT – Clemson)
The Lions did well in 2022 to add EDGEs Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal, but they could use some muscle on the interior of their defensive line, given that they ranked No. 28 in defensive rush success rate in the regular season (44.8%, per RBs Don’t Matter).
A five-star recruit ranked No. 1 overall by some scouting services when he entered college, Bresee is a likely Round 1 selection.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)
That’s three cornerbacks in four picks, but I think that run is warranted.
This class is strong at the position, pass defenders are at a premium in the NFL and many teams in this part of the draft need help at the position. For the Buccaneers, CBs Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are slated for free agency this offseason.
In Smith, the Bucs get a ball-hawking corner (six career interceptions) with three years of SEC experience.
Cam Smith: Prospect Profile
Previous Pick: Devon Witherspoon
20. Seattle Seahawks: O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)
The Seahawks could go in any number of directions in Round 1, especially since they have two picks (the first of which is No. 5), but I like the idea of them continuing to invest in and rebuild the offensive line after finding two bookend starters in last year’s draft with LT Charles Cross and RT Abraham Lucas.
A 2022 All-American with four years as a starter, a delightful mean streak and elite size (6-5, 347 pounds), Torrence would be a backbone-fortifying complement to the team’s Air Raid-style tackles.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)
In back-to-back seasons, Mayer was one of the best tight ends in college football.
- 2021 (12 games): 71-840-7 receiving
- 2022 (12 games): 67-809-9 receiving
A 2022 All-American, Mayer has the size (6-5, 251 pounds) to play inline and the pass-catching chops to line up in the slot.
PFF's 2022 College 101:
No. 9: Michael Mayer pic.twitter.com/341kA2ym7X
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 27, 2023
The Chargers are set at wide receiver, given that Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer are all under contract for the next two seasons, but they could add to the tight end position: Gerald Everett is a free agent in 2024, and Donald Parham is a restricted free agent.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Addison (WR – USC)
Over the past four years, the Ravens have drafted four wide receivers with top-100 picks (Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and Rashod Bateman) — and yet they still need help at the position.
As a 19-year-old true sophomore, Addison won the 2021 Fred Biletnikoff Award as the top pass catcher in college with 100-1,593-17 receiving in 14 games. He should be a Week 1 starter.
Jordan Addison is one of the safest picks in this class for fantasy rookie drafts.
Should hear his name called in the NFL 1st round.
20 years old with 219 career receptions, 29 TDs & 3134 yards- at two different schools: Pitt and USC. pic.twitter.com/o3ltKIR874
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) January 24, 2023
23. Minnesota Vikings: Antonio Johnson (CB – Texas A&M)
Johnson has the length (6-3) and SEC experience to be a starting corner early in his career.
Antonio Johnson: Prospect Profile
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)
It’s popular for draftniks to mock the Jaguars with a cornerback — but I’ve officially hit my Round 1 corner quota (I’m joking … sort of), so I’m looking at offensive tackle, where the Jaguars could use an upgrade.
LT Cam Robinson (knee) exited Week 15 with a season-ending injury and has uncertain availability for 2023. RT Jawaan Taylor is a free agent.
Harrison could be a capable replacement for either Robinson or Taylor: He has three years of experience, youth (just turned 21) and recruitment pedigree (four stars).
25. New York Giants: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)
Smith-Njigba’s draft stock has tanked since summer due to a hamstring injury that derailed his junior season.
But that’s nonsense. It’s not as if he played poorly in 2022. He just hardly played. When we last saw him healthy — in 2021 — he was the No. 1 pass catcher (95-1,606-9 receiving) in an Ohio State offense that also had Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Marvin Harrison Jr.
Contrarian is the mock draft that doesn’t have a wide receiver going to the Giants in Round 1.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Trenton Simpson (LB – Clemson)
Since 2010, Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones has taken five off-ball linebackers in the first two rounds of the draft.
- Sean Lee (2010): Round 2, Pick 55
- Bruce Carter (2011): Round 2, Pick 40
- Jaylon Smith (2016): Round 2, Pick 34
- Leighton Vander Esch (2018): Round 1, Pick 19
- Micah Parsons (2021): Round 1, Pick 12
Clearly, the Cowboys have no issues investing in the position, where they could be thin in 2023 given that Parsons now plays primarily at edge and Vander Esch and Anthony Barr are both slated for free agency.
A three-year contributor and two-year starter, Simpson might be the best off-ball linebacker in a weak class for the position.
Trenton Simpson: Prospect Profile
27. Buffalo Bills: Brian Branch (S – Alabama)
In 2021, the Bills were No. 2 in defensive dropback success rate (41.9%). In 2022 — with an injured safety unit — the Bills dropped to No. 18 (45.7%).
FS Micah Hyde (neck, IR) suffered a season-ending injury in 2022 and turns 33 next season. SS Jordan Poyer is a 2023 free agent. No. 3 S Damar Hamlin (cardiac arrest) will probably resume his playing career, but that’s not a certainty.
The Bills could use another player at the position, and Branch goes in Round 1 of almost every mock I’ve seen. Playing the “star” role in the Alabama secondary last year, Branch has the skill set to line up in the box against tight ends, in the slot against wide receivers and deep downfield as a traditional free safety.
Brian Branch: Prospect Profile
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)
Last year, Washington wasn’t even the No. 1 tight end on his team — but that says more about phenom Brock Bowers than about Washington, and he was still the No. 4 pass catcher on a talented offense with 28-454-2 receiving in 15 games.
In a class that has great depth at tight end, multiple players at the position are likely to go in Round 1, and right now I like Washington as the No. 2 option after Michael Mayer.
With elite size (6-7, 270 pounds) and recruitment pedigree (4-5 stars), Washington could be a three-down player in the NFL.
Georgia TE Darnell Washington (6-7, 270) is a colossus who flashes above-average athleticism.
— WBG84 (@WBG84) February 3, 2023
In 2023, Bengals TE Hayden Hurst will be a free agent and turn 30 years old. Washington would be a strong replacement.
Darnell Washington: Prospect Profile
Previous Pick: Michael Mayer
29. New Orleans Saints: Isaiah Foskey (EDGE – Notre Dame)
HC Dennis Allen is a defensive guy, and the Saints need more bodies at edge rusher: Marcus Davenport and Tanoh Kpassagnon are free agents in 2023, and Cameron Jordan turns 34 this upcoming season and will be a free agent in 2024.
A 2022 All-American with the versatility to rush the passer off the perimeter, maintain his gap against the run and drop back in coverage as an off-ball backer, Foskey is competing with Nolan Smith (Georgia) and B.J. Ojulari (LSU) to be the final edge selected in Round 1.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)
No team needs to draft a running back in Round 1 — but Robinson needs to be included in my mock, and the Eagles could let RBs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott both walk in free agency this offseason. The idea of Robinson playing with QB Jalen Hurts in the Eagles’ run-friendly offense is an intriguing one, and there’s an outside chance that they could talk themselves into selecting Robinson with their first pick at No. 10.
While no RB has been drafted higher than pick 24 since Saquon went 2nd in 2018, Texas RB Bijan Robinson has a special skillset and can change an offense immediately. @McShay13 & @MelKiperESPN break down what makes him stand out. pic.twitter.com/N4rWAKPwWf
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 26, 2023
A unanimous All-American this past season, Robinson has been viewed as the No. 1 back of the 2023 draft class ever since he entered college — and he didn’t disappoint in his three years at Texas.
- 2020 (9 games): 86-703-4 rushing | 15-196-2 receiving
- 2021 (10 games): 195-1,127-11 rushing | 26-295-4 receiving
- 2022 (12 games): 258-1,580-18 rushing | 19-314-2 receiving
Whenever sportsbooks post odds for No. 1 running back drafted, I’ll probably put some money on Robinson — because whatever the odds are they will almost certainly still be too long.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)
Former No. 1 WR Tyreek Hill is long gone. WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson are 2023 free agents. To date, WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling (42-687-2 receiving) and Skyy Moore (22-250-0 receiving) have disappointed in their first year with the Chiefs.
QB Patrick Mahomes deserves a playmaking wide receiver, and that’s what Hyatt is. After doing little for his first two years in college, Hyatt broke out last year as a junior with a Biletnikoff-winning campaign.
- 2020 (8 games): 20-276-2 receiving
- 2021 (9 games): 21-226-2 receiving
- 2022 (12 games): 67-1,267-15 receiving
This pick is almost too perfect to happen in reality.
Mock-to-Mock Round 1 Movement
Since the previous mock draft, here are the players to move into and out of Round 1.
- Players Into Round 1: TE Darnell Washington
- Players Out of Round 1: CB Clark Phillips
Players on the Borderline of Rounds 1-2
Here are players I considered for inclusion in my mock draft. I expect this list to get shorter the closer we get to the draft.