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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Jones Final Picks & Predictions

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Matthew Jones Final Picks & Predictions

Hi everyone, here’s my final attempt at projecting how the first round of this year’s NFL Draft could end up going. Thanks so much for all of your support this year! Looking forward to seeing how things turn out on draft day. As always, feel free to contact me on Twitter @draftexaminer with any impressions or comments.

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Final 2023 Mock Draft (Matthew Jones)

  1. Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

The Panthers kick off a new era by trading up to number one overall and selecting the most highly-regarded quarterback prospect in this year’s draft class.

  1. Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr. (DE – Alabama)

I buy Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans not feeling obligated to draft a quarterback here; both have deep connections to Nick Saban’s program at Alabama.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – Tyree Wilson (DE – Texas Tech)

This could be traded, but in most years, fewer trades occur than many observers are anticipating, so I still consider Arizona the team most likely to pick here.

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

You can argue for C.J. Stroud from Chris Ballard’s perspective or Anthony Richardson from Shane Steichen’s, but I think everyone would like Levis here.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

Having signed Geno Smith to a year-to-year deal, John Schneider and Pete Carroll bet on their ability to develop players and maximize Richardson’s potential.

  1. Detroit Lions – Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

This seems like a perfect culture fit for the Lions, who hit on Kerby Joseph from the same program last year; few teams play as much man coverage as Detroit.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

If the Texans pass on C.J. Stroud, the Raiders may as well, given the extensive connections between the two teams; cornerback is a huge need in Las Vegas.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

A run-heavy team with a preference for draft the best player available regardless of position looks like a good fit; this gives Desmond Ridder someone to lean on.

  1. Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr. (OT – Ohio St.)

Now that Teven Jenkins is expected to play left guard, the Bears could use another tackle; I see Johnson’s length and friendship with Justin Fields as decisive here.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)

Other teams picking high are still developing their culture; the Eagles have the locker-room leaders needed to ensure that Carter’s career develops successfully.

  1. Tennessee Titans – C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio St.)

Mike Vrabel’s ties to Ryan Day and the Buckeyes program should give him some insight into Stroud, who could sit behind Ryan Tannehill for a year in Tennessee.

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

Arguably the most well-rounded prospect in the draft, Smith-Njigba has the quickness Caserio values and could coexist alongside John Metchie III in Houston.

  1. Green Bay Packers – Lukas Van Ness (DE – Iowa)

The Packers tend to favor defensive picks, and selected Rashan Gary shortly after signing both Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith; here, they take another big edge.

  1. New England Patriots – Nolan Smith (DE – Georgia)

Smith may not be as big as a traditional Patriots edge defender, but he looks like a great culture fit for a team that needs to generate pressure in the QB-rich AFC East.

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

Most observers expect the Jets to take a left tackle, and I see Jones’ length, explosiveness, and physicality making him a good fit for Joe Douglas in New York.

  1. Washington Commanders – Peter Skoronski (OL – Northwestern)

Having shelled out $24 million for Andrew Wylie, Washington adds another versatile offensive lineman who could start immediately, likely at left guard.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn St.)

The last time the Steelers drafted Joey Porter, it worked out well; as a team that plays more man coverage than most in the league, this would be a great fit.

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

Michael Mayer would be tempting as a replacement for T.J. Hockenson, but Kancey could remind Brad Holmes of his former team’s stud Aaron Donald.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)

Dave Canales is introducing a wide-zone offense, which Harrison fits better than Darnell Wright; this pick would also allow Tristan Wirfs to stay at right tackle.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Myles Murphy (DE – Clemson)

Continuing to build their defensive front should be a priority, and I believe Murphy has the length and explosiveness to fit Seattle’s preferences perfectly.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

It’s hard to pass on the likes of Jordan Addison and Calijah Kancey, but Kincaid might be a better fit for Kellen Moore’s offense, which often uses two tight ends.

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

Baltimore’s been doing a lot of work on the cornerback class, and should be at liberty to choose one now that they’ve brought Odell Beckham Jr. into the fold.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – Jordan Addison (WR – Southern California)

A savvy, versatile route-runner like Addison would be a great fit for Kevin O’Connell‘s offense, taking some of the pressure off of Justin Jefferson.

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

Don’t rule out a toolsy prospect like Myles Murphy or Kelee Ringo here, but Branch could step right in and immediately upgrade Jacksonville’s secondary.

  1. New York Giants – Emmanuel Forbes (CB – Mississippi St.)

Forbes locked down opponents in press-man last year, and had as many interceptions (six) as the Giants’ entire roster, New York finishing last in INTs.

  1. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

I’m not sure whether Mayer would fall this far, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Dallas be aggressive to ensure they land a guy drawing Jason Witten comparisons.

  1. Buffalo Bills – Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

Looking for offensive line help might make sense, but Brandon Beane seems high enough on Spencer Brown that perhaps they’d go with a versatile wide receiver.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Alabama)

For a contender, the Bengals could go in several directions, but getting a dynamic weapon like Gibbs could make sense given rumors Joe Mixon is on the way out.

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

A big-bodied defensive lineman could make sense, but given their recent investments there, a replacement for injury-prone guard Andrus Peat could work.

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

This would require a significant move up the draft board, but New York’s lack of size at wide receiver could cause them to invest in a big guy to round out the group.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

This is a team that isn’t afraid to go up and get their guys, and I could see them moving around a bit in the draft to bring in a big-bodied, plug-and-play right tackle.

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