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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Early April Version (7.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Early April Version (7.0)

We’re almost three weeks away from Day 1 of the NFL draft, so it’s time to publish another mock.

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.

In determining team needs, I’ve consulted Andrew Erickson’s excellent free agency and draft breakdown. For player insight, I’ve perused Matthew Jones’ unrivaled scouting reports.

A note: My early mocks include lots of analysis, but I no longer have time to editorialize the way I’d want, so this piece is pretty much picks plus assorted notes. If you want something with more substance, check out all our other mock drafts.

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.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

2023 NFL Mock Draft

I don’t think this mock is perfect, but it might be my favorite to date. I got all 31 players into it that I wanted to get, and I also hit my desired allocation of positions.

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)

Stroud is now -300 to go No. 1 overall (at DraftKings). I don’t think he’s that big of a favorite in reality, but he’s the clear frontrunner at this point in the process.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

Young is the -200 frontrunner to go No. 2 (at FanDuel). I’ve had Young slated to the Texans for months.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)

I’m betting that the Cardinals ultimately trade this pick.

But for now Anderson is the co-frontrunner (along with QB Anthony Richardson) to be selected No. 3 at +125 (at BetMGM).

4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

5. Seattle Seahawks: Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)

6. Detroit Lions: Jalen Carter (DT – Georgia)

The Lions 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). Carter has some off-field issues that could cause him to fall down the draft board, but he’s a top-three talent, and he fits a need.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State)

8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

I increasingly believe that Robinson — universally regarded as one of the true top-tier talents in this class — will go higher than he’s commonly mocked. He’s comparable as a prospect to the running backs who have gone in the top 10 over the past decade, and Falcons HC Arthur Smith feels like the kind of guy who would prioritize the position given the success he had as the Titans offensive coordinator with RB Derrick Henry.

9. Chicago Bears: Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

If DT Jalen Carter and EDGE Tyree Wilson are unavailable, I expect the Bears to go with an offensive tackle, and Jones is more of a traditional choice relative to the short-armed Peter Skoronksi.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)

11. Tennessee Titans: Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

I can see Levis sliding down the board. He’s not as polished as Stroud, accurate as Young or athletic as Richardson. And if he slides I can see the Titans taking him in the event that they don’t trade up to take someone else.

12. Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)

After his excellent combine, Smith-Njigba is rightly -200 to be the No. 1 wide receiver selected (at Caesars).

13. New York Jets: Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

The Jets need offensive line help: LT Duane Brown turns 38 years old this year, OTs George Fant and Cedric Ogbuehi are free agents and OLs Mekhi Becton (knee) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (triceps) suffered season-ending injuries in 2022.

A lunch pail player with a hardhat name, Skoronski has the versatility to play tackle and guard and the nastiness to be an above-average starter.

14. New England Patriots: Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

It’s almost impossible to predict what the Patriots will do, but they need help at the position despite seemingly having a million corners surnamed Jones.

In my opinion, Gonzalez should be the first corner selected given his experience (three years starting), 2022 production (four interceptions), size (6-1, 197 pounds), athleticism (4.38-second 40-yard dash), age (turns 21 in June) and recruitment pedigree (four stars).

15. Green Bay Packers: Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)

16. Washington Commanders: Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)

Chalk.

18. Detroit Lions: Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

20. Seattle Seahawks: Calijah Kancey (DT – Pittsburgh)

The Seahawks like to draft physical marvels, and Kancey might be Aaron Donald 2.0.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)

22. Baltimore Ravens: Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

For now, I’m moving Flowers ahead of WR Jordan Addison, but they are still close.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Branch (S – Alabama)

The Jaguars are a hard team to project, but they could use help in the secondary, Branch has some positional versatility and he’s likely to go in Round 1.

25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

27. Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

29. New Orleans: Adetomiwa Adebawore (EDGE – Northwestern)

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Bryan Bresee (DT – Clemson)

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Dawand Jones (OT – Ohio State)

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.


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