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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Jones (8.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Jones (8.0)

With under two weeks remaining until the NFL Draft, it’s time to take another look at how the first round may play out if the draft were held today. As always, feedback is appreciated, and I can be reached on Twitter @draftexaminer.

2023 NFL Mock Draft

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

I’m not stressing the top two picks much, as I expect they’ll be Stroud and Young in some order. Young seems to be gaining momentum, but Stroud may be a better fit, so I’ll stick with him for now.

  1. Houston Texans – Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

Recent rumors have suggested the Texans may not draft a quarterback with this pick, but I find that difficult to believe; most likely, they’ll take whichever passer Carolina doesn’t select.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson Jr. (DE – Alabama)

There have been some discussions about Tennessee trading up here to get in front of the Colts, but people tend to predict more Draft Day trades than actually end up happening, so I’ll stick with Anderson.

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

It’s hard to get a feel for which quarterback the Colts would prefer here; Richardson may be a better fit for Shane Steichen’s scheme, but I think Levis is still mobile enough to execute his offense effectively.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)

Besides maybe Bijan Robinson, Carter may be the most difficult player to slot in mock drafts; this could easily be a future replacement for Geno Smith, but Carter would be a reasonable selection as well.

  1. Detroit Lions – Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

Jeffrey Okudah is out of the picture, so although the Lions signed some defensive backs in free agency, I think they’d still like to bring in a potential CB1 for Aaron Glenn’s defense.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – Paris Johnson Jr. (OL – Ohio State)

Protecting injury-prone quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could mean the difference between competing in the AFC West and Josh McDaniels being out of a job, so drafting Johnson seems like a good idea.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson (DE – Texas Tech)

Local prospect Nolan Smith is getting some buzz here, but most people probably have Wilson ranked a little bit higher, coming off of a strong season and offering the Falcons a foundational piece on the edge.

  1. Chicago Bears – Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

If Jalen Carter fell this far, I think the Bears might select him, but given that he’s already off the board, maybe they’d look at bolstering their offensive line after Justin Fields absorbed 55 sacks in 2022.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

With Miles Sanders in Carolina, drafting a replacement here might help; Rashaad Penny was signed, but he’s been injury-prone and is on a small one-year deal. Lukas Van Ness is another possibility.

  1. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

Many believe that if the Titans trade up, Richardson is the player they could be targeting; with Malik Willis seemingly out of favor in Tennessee, this would be a good destination for Richardson to land in.

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

I believe Nick Caserio would favor Smith-Njigba over a prospect like Quentin Johnston, despite having spent a second-round pick on John Metchie last year; the two receivers could probably coexist effectively.

  1. New York Jets – Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

Mekhi Becton appears to be in good shape this offseason, but it’s possible that, given how unreliable he’s been in recent years, the Jets would like to lock up a more durable left tackle of the future.

  1. New England Patriots – Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

Their idiosyncrasies on Draft Dxtay make the Patriots one of the hardest teams to mock for, and a handful of players would make sense. I think Witherspoon could match up better against the AFC East’s top receivers than other corners in the class.

  1. Green Bay Packers – Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

This is starting to feel a little bit rich for Mayer given how many other prospects have shined during the pre-draft process, but I really like the scheme and culture fit Mayer would offer the Packers here.

  1. Washington Commanders – Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)

Finding another top cornerback to pair with Kendall Fuller would be a solid move, and the Commanders have traditionally leaned heavily toward drafting defenders in the first round in recent years.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

Reuniting Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase and Jalen Hurts with DeVonta Smith did wonders for those quarterbacks, so getting Kenny Pickett his star receiver from college could help him take the next step.

  1. Detroit Lions – Calijah Kancey (DL – Pittsburgh)

The Lions got a lot of production from James Houston off the edge last year, and with Josh Paschal in the mix as well, I tend to think they might view the interior as a bigger need at this point.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Lukas Van Ness (DE – Iowa)

Looking through Tampa’s roster, they tend to favor bigger edge defenders, so maybe Lukas Van Ness would be a good selection here, over a smaller option like the player slotted to be taken next.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Nolan Smith (DE – Georgia)

Seattle has historically enjoyed a lot of success with smaller, explosive “Leo” rushers, and now that they’re going to a 3-4 base defense, maybe they can pair Smith with former teammate Jalen Carter.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

Bringing in Gerald Everett makes it less likely the Chargers would consider Dalton Kincaid here, so perhaps they’d try to upgrade their offense with Flowers, known for his quickness and explosiveness.

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

The Ravens appear to like what they’re seeing from this year’s class of cornerbacks, so with Odell Beckham Jr. in the fold, it wouldn’t be surprising if they turned to a toolsy local option like Banks here.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – Bryan Bresee (DL – Clemson)

Don’t rule out a wide receiver like Quentin Johnston, but improving the defense after ranking 28th in the league in points allowed last year would be a good idea as well, despite signing Dean Lowry to a modest deal.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)

This would have been Dalton Kincaid before signing Evan Engram; if the Jaguars don’t feel comfortable with Cam Robinson and Walter Little, maybe Darnell Wright could be an option as well.

  1. New York Giants – Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)

The Kenny Golladay experiment was a miserable failure, so the Giants still need to find a big-bodied receiver; I like the fit of Johnston with Daniel Jones, given the former’s ability to turn short throws into big plays.

  1. Dallas Cowboys – Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

Trading for Brandin Cooks gives the Cowboys three strong receiver options, but they haven’t replaced Dalton Schultz yet. Calijah Kancey would also be tempting if available at this point.

  1. Buffalo Bills – Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

It’s possible the Bills could take a bit of a luxury here, but I like their running back stable as-is; Spencer Brown struggled last season, and I don’t know if he’s really viewed as a long-term solution at right tackle.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Myles Murphy (DE – Clemson)

The fashionable pick here would probably be Darnell Washington, but I don’t really buy a tight end prospect with such limited production as a clear-cut first-round pick; Murphy has the big body Cincinnati likes.

  1. New Orleans Saints – O’Cyrus Torrence (OG – Florida)

Andrus Peat was a disappointment at left guard last season, so it’d be worth looking into some of the interior linemen available in order to protect Derek Carr; Torrence is as solid and strong as they come.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Felix Anudike-Uzomah (DE – Kansas State)

This may be considered slightly early for Anudike-Uzomah, but the Eagles need to get younger and healthier on the ends, and they typically seem to favor bigger body types at the position.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – Will McDonald IV (DE – Iowa State)

With Frank Clark now out of the picture, maybe the Chiefs would be willing to draft their second straight first-round defensive end, although McDonald is a bit smaller than they typically like.

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