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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Mid-April Version (8.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Freedman’s Mid-April Version (8.0)

We’re almost two 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)

QB Bryce Young is now -330 to go No. 1 overall (at DraftKings), but I’ll wait a little longer before installing him as my personal favorite.

When the Panthers traded up for the No. 1 pick, sharp bettors quickly backed Stroud and made him a favorite in the market. And then word got out that the Panthers might try to convince (or trick) the Texans — who have been heavily linked to Young for months — to trade up one spot to No. 1 in order to get him. Everything we’ve seen since then has been consistent with that idea. Until we get national reporters saying that they have sources in the Panthers organization saying that Young is the pick — or until a supermajority of sharp mocks pivot to Young at No. 1 — I’m sticking with Stroud.

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

If C.J. Stroud goes No. 1, then Young at No. 2 feels like a foregone conclusion. 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 if the Cardinals stay at this spot then Anderson is a natural pick, and he’s the biggest non-quarterback favorite in the market at No. 3 at +250 (at FanDuel).

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

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

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

After the Lions traded away CB Jeff Okudah, most mockers are likely to assign them a corner — but they have decent depth at the position thanks to free-agent additions Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and the Lions could use some muscle on the interior of their defensive line, given that they ranked No. 28 in defensive rush success rate last year (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: Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

Raiders HC Josh McDaniels indicated at the annual NFL meetings that the Raiders are likely to “take the best football player” (per NFL Media), and maybe that’s a quarterback — but they need all sorts of help at corner, and I think Gonzalez is the best player left on the board.

After his pro day, CB Devon Witherspoon is now a -180 favorite to be the No. 1 corner (at Caesars), but 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).

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.

Plus, after acquiring CB Jeff Okudah from the Lions, the Falcons seem less likely to take CB Devon Witherspoon.

9. Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State)

If DT Jalen Carter and EDGE Tyree Wilson are unavailable, I expect the Bears to go with an offensive tackle, and Johnson 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 C.J. Stroud, accurate as Bryce Young or athletic as Anthony 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 -225 to be the No. 1 wide receiver selected (at BetRivers).

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: Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

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.

The Patriots could desperately use help on the offensive line, given that OTs Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon are free agents in 2023, as is LT Trent Brown in 2024.

15. Green Bay Packers: Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)

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

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

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


18. Detroit Lions: Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)

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: Will McDonald (EDGE – Iowa State)

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.

More Mock NFL Drafts

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