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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown Picks & Predictions (3.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown Picks & Predictions (3.0)

The 2023 NFL Draft is just days away! There is still plenty of time for teams to trade or make other changes, but this mock draft is what I think will happen with the current draft positions. This is my final mock draft and won’t have any trades.

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Russell Brown’s Picks & Predictions (3.0)

Round 1

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

Young to the Panthers has been set for awhile. I’d be surprised if they went a different route at this point. Young gives them the best chance to win right away and he feels like the safest quarterback prospect in the draft.

2. Houston Texans — Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama) 

Certainly the Texans could go with a quarterback as it’s their biggest need. However, with a defensive minded coach, I’ve believed since the hiring of DeMeco Ryans that they would strongly consider a defensive player before a signal caller. That’s what they’ll do in this spot with the best defensive player in the draft.

3. Arizona Cardinals — Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech) 

It wouldn’t be shocking if this pick ended up being Jalen Carter. However, there’s not much to be desired with the versatility, length, and motor from Tyree Wilson. He’d be a centerpiece for the Cardinals new look defense.

4. Indianapolis Colts — C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State) 

If Stroud does fall to this spot, I believe he becomes a layup for the Colts. He should provide immediate help at the quarterback position for a team that has needed it for some time.

5. Seattle Seahawks — Jalen Carter (IDL – Georgia)

It’ll be interesting to see how the Seahawks attack the draft this year. Pete Carroll isn’t getting any younger but he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. That said, I think they’re in “win now” mode and will draft the best players available at a handful of positions. If Carter can stay out of his own way off the field, he could provide an All-Pro impact for the Seahawks.

6. Detroit Lions — Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

It’s really a toss-up at this point as to which cornerback the Lions would value most in the draft. Devon Witherspoon makes plenty of sense but I’ve heard rumblings that they want to move up for Will Anderson. Since I didn’t include trades in this mock, they stay put with the 6th overall pick and choose the best cornerback in the draft. They need a cornerback that can cover and Gonzalez provides that right away.

7. Las Vegas Raiders — Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

Certainly I could see a quarterback here. However, I think the Raiders could target a defensive back with the physicality that Witherspoon provides. He’s got a fluid lower half and should be able to provide shutdown potential at cornerback.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

I almost considered Bijan here, but went with a different route. In this scenario, I could see the Falcons going after an offensive lineman such as Skoronski. He provides guard and tackle flexibility for an offensive line that needs it. He’s the most consistent technician at offensive line this year.

9. Chicago Bears — Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas) 

We’ve talked plenty about Bijan Robinson being paired up with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, but can we talk briefly about pairing him up with Justin Fields? This would create a fun and dynamic backfield that would keep defenses guessing on every play no matter the down and distance. The last time the Bears drafted a running back out of Texas in the first round was Cedric Benson in the 2005 NFL Draft.

10. Philadelphia Eagles — Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia) 

Even if Bijan was available here, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles consider a player in the trenches. With the top running back in the draft gone, the Eagles take a player that has been compared to Haason Reddick this draft cycle. Smith plays with violent hands and displays the desired bend to wreck the opposition. He’d be paired with Reddick to eventually replace Brandon Graham.

11. Tennessee Titans — Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio State) 

I strongly considered a quarterback at this spot, but ended up with an offensive tackle that I think is a perfect fit for this team. Paris Johnson is an athletic tackle with experience playing guard and tackle. He should be able to come in and take the left tackle spot.

12. Houston Texans — Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida) 

It certainly feels like the Texans will go with an edge rusher and quarterback in the first round. Which order they go in is the part we’re trying to figure out. Of course, we’re a few days before the 2023 NFL Draft and the Texans are now favored to take Will Levis with the 2nd overall pick, but that feels like a smokescreen. That said, I could see this team falling in love with the potential that Richardson has in the NFL. He’s got to improve his ball placement and throwing with more touch, but he’s too talented to pass on with this pick.

13. New York Jets — Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)

Most mock drafts have Broderick Jones in this spot and I tend to agree. However, we know that the defenses of Robert Saleh can never have too many pass rushers. It’s worth noting that Carl Lawson is set to be a free agent after the season. With that, I think Myles Murphy makes plenty of sense in this spot. He’s got a great blend of speed and power, and I think there’s some untapped potential that could be unleashed by the Jets coaching staff.

14. New England Patriots — Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

Do we really think the Patriots are going to draft a receiver in the first round? Anything is possible, but they’ve got some questions with their offensive line. Riley Reiff was signed on a one-year deal but there’s not a long-term answer on the roster. They could change that by selecting Jones. He’s athletic enough to play left or right tackle, but his best asset is getting out in space and showcasing his ability as a run blocker.

15. Green Bay Packers — Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)

You could sell me on the Packers being content with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs as their wide receivers of the future. However, they should try to surround Jordan Love with as many weapons as possible to ensure that he takes the needed steps forward. By adding JSN, the Packers get a pass-catcher that is shifty after the catch. I’d also love to see LaFleur utilize JSN in pre-snap jet and orbit motions.

16. Washington Commanders — Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

With the Commanders hiring Eric Bieniemy as their new offensive coordinator, it’s no secret that he values the tight end position. There’s plenty of uncertainty on what Logan Thomas will provide, as he’s another year older and has been banged up for consecutive seasons. The safest tight end and one of the safest players in the draft is Michael Mayer. He’s going to be a consistent player that records five receptions for 60 yards every single week. He should help quarterback Sam Howell ease into his starting role.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

17. Pittsburgh Steelers — Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

It seemed like Mike Tomlin talked with Darnell Wright on more than one occasion at the Senior Bowl. It’s unclear if Wright makes it this far down the board, because I do believe a team like the Chicago Bears makes a ton of sense. However, if he’s available in this spot, the Steelers run to the podium and add some protection around Kenny Pickett. I hope Pittsburgh is ready for Wright to hit defenders with his snatch-trap technique on a weekly basis.

18. Detroit Lions — Bryan Bresee (IDL – Clemson)

Not a common pick in this spot, but the more I watch Bryan Bresee, the more he feels like a Dan Campbell type of player. There are plenty of instances against Florida State where Bresee was aligned as 3-technique and he shows great burst and pursuit to the football. I could see him winning over the Lions organization to become the pick at 18.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

No doubt, there’s a chance that Levis could be gone by this point of the draft. If I predicted trades, I could see teams such as the Bucs and Seahawks moving up to try and get him. That said, if he’s available here, the Bucs can select him to pair him up with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. If Levis can improve his decision-making and ball placement issues, he should be able to take a step forward as a passer. There’s potential for him to start early and often in his career.

20. Seattle Seahawks — Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)

Does this not feel like a Seahawks type of pick? An athletic cornerback with long arms and the competitiveness needed to win at the catch point, Porter Jr. would be able to come in and compete for a starting spot. More impressively, he’d give the Seahawks one of the longer cornerback duos in the NFL with himself and Tariq Woolen.

21. Los Angeles Chargers — Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

I strongly considered a defensive lineman in this spot, but I went with the best player on the board. When you’re playing against Patrick Mahomes, you could always use more help in the secondary. Banks has the traits to become a shutdown corner in the NFL. Pairing him with Asante Samuel Jr. would be a fun duo to watch for the foreseeable future.

22. Baltimore Ravens — Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)

I’ll believe that the Ravens select a receiver when I see it. They’re always a tough team to figure out, but if Lukas Van Ness is available, he screams the Ravens defense. He’s long with a terrific blend of speed and power. He could align as a 4i-technique or out wide and utilize his long-arm technique to generate pressure.

23. Minnesota Vikings — Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

It feels like the Vikings are a wildcard this year. With new defensive coordinator Brian Flores, I could see them adding pieces to the depth chart for him to disperse on offenses across the league. However, they need to add another pass-catcher to this offense to help Kirk Cousins and I think Zay Flowers is a great fit. He’s a vicious route runner and should be able to play inside and outside.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars — Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)

The Jaguars seem willing to give Walker Little a chance to start, but there’s very little depth behind him and Cam Robinson. Meanwhile, the Jaguars could move on from Cam Robinson after this season and save over $20 million dollars in cap space. Harrison is an athletic tackle that looks to bury defenders when given the chance. I’d like him to play either tackle spot for the Jaguars down the road.

25. New York Giants — Emmanuel Forbes (CB – Mississippi State)

During the pre-draft process, the Giants have met with a plethora of cornerbacks. Could that be a sign of things to come on night one of the 2023 NFL Draft? There’s some concerns surrounding the frame of Emmanuel Forbes, due to him only being 173 pounds, but his ball skills and length are too hard to pass-up. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale should love the chance of grabbing a defensive back that has 14 career interceptions.

26. Dallas Cowboys — Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

By losing Dalton Schultz, there’s a need for a tight end in this Cowboy’s offense. If Kincaid or Mayer fall this far down the board, it wouldn’t be surprising if one of them were the pick. By selecting Kincaid, the Cowboys get the most sure-handed pass-catcher in the draft (1 career drop by Kincaid) and he’s able to win in a variety of ways. Whether he threatens defenses vertically or underneath, he should provide immediate production.

27. Buffalo Bills — Trenton Simpson (LB – Clemson)

Many people will say that the need at linebacker isn’t that great for the Bills, but I beg to differ. Whether it’s Jack Campbell or Trenton Simpson, the Bills are going to need one. Simpson is my top-ranked linebacker and his versatility and speed should be coveted in the Bills defense. While he would have a simplified role, he has the range and athletic ability to play as a WILL in the Bills defense.

28. Cincinnati Bengals — Mazi Smith (IDL – Michigan)

The last time the Bengals drafted a Michigan player in the first round was the 2007 NFL Draft with cornerback Leon Hall. They could change that by selecting Mazi Smith in this spot. Getting some more talent on their defensive line is never a bad thing. Smith has the ability to align in a zero-shade, 2i-technique, or he even play as a 4i-technique for the Bengals. His push-pull and swim move are what helps him win against guards on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that B.J. Hill is set to be a free agent after the 2024 season and D.J. Reader‘s contract is up after this season.

29. New Orleans Saints — Keion White (EDGE – Georgia Tech)

This feels like a New Orleans Saints pick: a long and powerful edge rusher that isn’t for everyone, but the Saints always seem to stay true to their board. The Saints lost Marcus Davenport to free agency, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they consider someone such as White who flashes a good motor and power off the edge.

30. Philadelphia Eagles — O’Cyrus Torrence (IOL – Florida)

The Eagles could consider Cam Jurgens at right guard, but he seems destined to be the team’s future starter at center. With that, I think there’s a glaring need at right guard for the Eagles and they fill that void with a plug-and-play starter. Torrence has a massive frame at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds. He mauls defenders in the run game and his hands hit heavy when run and pass blocking. He should slide right into a starting role for the Eagles.

31. Kansas City Chiefs — Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

I almost considered an edge rusher in this spot, but the Chiefs should consider adding one more pass-catcher to their roster. Losing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman is less than ideal for this offense. By adding Jordan Addison, the Chiefs get one of the best route runners in the draft. He’s not overly explosive or fast, but his ability to separate will be a difference-maker for him in the NFL. Add in the fact that he gets Patrick Mahomes throwing him the football and he could wind up being the best receiver to come out of this draft.

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Round 2

32. Pittsburgh Steelers — Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)

33. Houston Texans — Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)

34. Arizona Cardinals — Steve Avila (IOL – TCU)

35. Indianapolis Colts — Josh Downs (WR – North Carolina)

36. Los Angeles Rams — Dawand Jones (OT – Ohio State)

The Rams have the worst roster in football. It’s evident that they’re in a rebuild and there’s no better place to start for a rebuild than in the trenches. Jones has a massive frame at 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds and could provide immediate starting ability at right tackle. He utilizes his length to drive defenders out and away from the pocket on a consistent basis. He might need time to get acclimated to the speed off the edge, but he’d provide help with Rob Havenstein on the right side of their offensive line.

37. Seattle Seahawks — John Michael Schmitz (IOL – Minnesota)

38. Las Vegas Raiders — Hendon Hooker (QB – Tennessee)

I do believe that Hendon Hooker will be a first round pick on the opening night of the draft. However, if he’s available somewhere on day two, I think the Raiders would strongly consider him. There’s been some injury concerns with Jimmy Garoppolo and the Raiders are open to the idea of him competing with another quarterback for the starting spot. Hooker has won teams over during the draft process due to his football IQ and how well he carries himself. This makes sense in this spot.

39. Carolina Panthers — Calijah Kancey (DL – Pittsburgh)

40. New Orleans Saints — Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)

41. Tennessee Titans — Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

42. New York Jets — Matthew Bergeron (OT – Syracuse)

43. New York Jets — Julius Brents (CB – Kansas State)

44. Atlanta Falcons — Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Alabama)

I’ve been on the “Bijan to the Falcons” train but in this scenario, they hold off until the second round and select Gibbs. He’s a great pass catcher and is explosive when cutting upfield. He and Tyler Allgeier would complement each other well in the Falcons backfield.

45. Green Bay Packers — Will McDonald IV (EDGE – Iowa State)

46. New England Patriots — Adetomiwa Adebawore (DL – Northwestern)

47. Washington Commanders — Jack Campbell (LB – Iowa)

48. Detroit Lions — Cedric Tillman (WR – Tennessee)

49. Pittsburgh Steelers — Tyrique Stevenson (CB – Miami, FL)

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sam Laporta (TE – Iowa)

51. Miami Dolphins — Luke Musgrave (TE – Oregon State)

Certainly the Dolphins could be happy with Durham Smythe as their starting tight end, but they lost Mike Gesicki and I think they want more from the position. With LaPorta and Washington off the board, the Dolphins roll with Musgrave in this spot. If healthy, he can be a quality starter at the next level. He moves well for a player at 6-foot-6 and 253 pounds. Whether he runs vertically or sinks his hips and runs out routes, he should be consistent between Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

52. Seattle Seahawks — Joe Tippmann (IOL – Wisconsin)

53. Chicago Bears — Felix Anudike-Uzomah (EDGE – Kansas State)

54. Los Angeles Chargers — Keeanu Benton (IDL – Wisconsin)

55. Detroit Lions — Chandler Zavala (IOL – North Carolina State)

56. Jacksonville Jaguars — Luke Wypler (IOL – Ohio State)

57. New York Giants — Drew Sanders (LB – Arkansas)

58. Dallas Cowboys — Daiyan Henley (LB – Washington State)

59. Buffalo Bills — Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)

60. Cincinnati Bengals — Tucker Kraft (TE – South Dakota State)

61. Chicago Bears — Cody Mauch (IOL – North Dakota State)

62. Philadelphia Eagles — Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)

63. Kansas City Chiefs — B.J. Ojulari (EDGE – LSU)

Draft Wizard

Round 3

64. Chicago Bears — Siaki Ika (IDL – Baylor)

65. Houston Texans — Nathaniel “Tank” Dell (WR – Houston)

66. Arizona Cardinals — Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (CB – TCU)

67. Denver Broncos — Zach Charbonnet (RB – UCLA)

There’s some uncertainty around running back Javonte Williams being able to play for the Broncos this season. Some reports have suggested he’ll be ready to go, but what if the Broncos fall into a similar situation as the Ravens have with J.K. Dobbins? By selecting Charbonnet, they get a one-cut back that has great contact balance and the play speed needed to take runs to the house. They’ll want insurance behind Williams and I think Charbonnet would be a great fit with the potential to start if needed.

68. Denver Broncos — Tuli Tuipulotu (DL – USC)

69. Los Angeles Rams — Tanner McKee (QB – Stanford)

70. Las Vegas Raiders — Garrett Williams (CB – Syracuse)

71. New Orleans Saints — Jayden Reed (WR – Michigan State)

72. Tennessee Titans — Kayshon Boutte (WR – LSU)

73. Houston Texans — Jordan Battle (SAF – Alabama)

74. Cleveland Browns — Isaiah Foskey (EDGE – Notre Dame)

75. Atlanta Falcons — A.T. Perry (WR – Wake Forest)

76. New England Patriots — DJ Turner (CB – Michigan)

77. Los Angeles Rams — Clark Phillips III (CB – Utah) 

78. Green Bay Packers — Jammie Robinson (SAF – Florida State)

79. Indianapolis Colts — Darius Rush (CB – South Carolina)

80. Pittsburgh Steelers — Devon Achane (RB – Texas A&M)

81. Detroit Lions — Isaiah McGuire (EDGE – Missouri)

82. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tyler Steen (OT – Alabama)

83. Seattle Seahawks — Marvin Mims (WR – Oklahoma)

84. Miami Dolphins — Wanya Morris (OT – Oklahoma)

85. Los Angeles Chargers — Dorian Williams (LB – Tulane)

86. Baltimore Ravens — Rashee Rice (WR – SMU)

87. Minnesota Vikings — Derick Hall (EDGE – Auburn)

At the Senior Bowl, I heard Brian Flores drool over the speed-to-power that Derick Hall has as a pass-rusher. I do believe that Hall will be gone much sooner than this, but with how the board shaped up, he’s available and would be a perfect fit for the Vikings.

88. Jacksonville Jaguars — Antonio Johnson (SAF – Texas A&M)

89. New York Giants — Sydney Brown (SAF – Illinois)

90. Dallas Cowboys — Kobie Turner (DL – Wake Forest)

91. Buffalo Bills — Jordan McFadden (OL – Clemson)

92. Cincinnati Bengals — Tyjae Spears (RB – Tulane)

93. Carolina Panthers — Michael Wilson (WR – Stanford)

94. Philadelphia Eagles — Tank Bigsby (RB – Auburn)

95. Kansas City Chiefs — Jartavius Martin (DB – Illinois)

96. Arizona Cardinals — Juice Scruggs (IOL – Penn State)

97. Washington Commanders — Andre Carter II (EDGE – Army)

98. Cleveland Browns — Ronnie Hickman (SAF – Ohio State)

99. San Francisco 49ers — Cory Trice (CB – Purdue)

100. Las Vegas Raiders — Karl Brooks (DL – Bowling Green)

101. San Francisco 49ers — K.J. Henry (EDGE – Clemson)

102. San Francisco 49ers — Jonathan Mingo (WR – Ole Miss)

There should be no surprise if the 49ers are active on the second day of the draft. They’ve got the needed draft capital to move around and make a splash. That said, they can take three talented players in Cory Trice, KJ Henry and Jonathan Mingo. To elaborate on Mingo, they get another versatile chess piece for their offense. He’s 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and showed that he has no issues aligning out of the backfield, in the slot, or even as an H-back. Pairing Mingo with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle has tons of mismatch potential.

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