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2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Andrew Erickson (6.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Andrew Erickson (6.0)

Welcome to my latest mock draft for the 2023 NFL Draft!

With less than a week to go until the big event, it’s time to embrace NFL Mock Draft 6.0, where I’ll take a closer look at the top prospects and predict where they’ll land in the first round.

Move over nonsense. Let’s dive in.

*As noted, this mock draft is based on what I think will happen, not necessarily what I would do in each team’s position.*

2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades

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

The new heavy-betting favorite (-1600 on DraftKings Sportsbook) to go No. 1 overall, Bryce Young is the selection for the Carolina Panthers. The team is too enamored by his football IQ and off-script playmaking ability to be overly concerned about his size. Besides, if we look back at Panthers GM Scott Fitterer’s draft track record with Seattle, there is a connection to a similarly undersized QB that found success with Russell Wilson. And although most of Frank Reich’s quarterbacks have been profiled as bigger pocket passers, that didn’t always create the best results. In fact, the two highest-profile quarterbacks he worked with — Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck — both had their promising careers derailed by injuries despite boasting superior height/weight.

2. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State) (Trade with Houston Texans)

We still don’t know who the Houston Texans want to select as the No. 2 overall. Will Anderson sits as the current favorite (+125 per DraftKings Sportsbook), followed by C.J. Stroud (+275). But what we do know is that the Texans have been receiving calls on the No. 2 overall pick, and the Las Vegas Raiders initially tried to trade up to No. 1 overall. The Black Hole is willing to trade up for a quarterback should the right one be available for the right price, and Stroud could be that guy.

Texans GM Nick Caserio and Raiders HC/GM combination of Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler have obvious ties back to New England. The Texans also have Josh McDaniels’ brother Ben McDaniels on their coaching staff as the team’s WR coach/passing game coordinator.

Houston acquiring the Raiders’ 1st-round pick at seven allows them the opportunity to still draft a quarterback (should they choose to do so).

I also believe that reports of Stroud “falling” due to poor S2 scores, poor coaching habits etc. are being overblown in relation to his draft stock. As I noted in my Mock Draft 5.0 historical notes, the quarterback the media is not hyping up is the one that actually goes earlier than expected. The media also tends to undervalue players from Ohio State. BUY THE DIP.

And despite all the latest bashing of Stroud, the former Buckeye is still the favorite to be the second QB drafted (-135 per DraftKings Sportsbook). Maybe it’s not second overall if the Texans can’t move the pick, but I seriously doubt he isn’t one of the top-2 quarterbacks selected next Thursday night.

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

The Cardinals have been open for business to trade out of this selection, but they have not been able to find a suitable partner. Therefore, they are stuck with the 3rd overall player and select their No. 1 defensive player in defensive end Tyree Wilson. Wilson finished eighth in pass-rush win rate on true pass sets and first in pressures per game (4.4) among his 2023 draft class. The 6-foot-6, 271-pound edge rusher did not test at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

The betting markets are convinced that Arizona trades this selection with quarterbacks still favored at some books to be selected third. You can still get plus-money bets for Wilson (+450 per BetMGM) or CB Christian Gonzalez (+5000 per DraftKings Sportsbook) to be selected 3rd overall. The best longshot odds for 1st defensive player drafted are with Gonzalez at 40-1 odds (per BetMGM). I wrote up Gonzalez as the 3rd overall pick in my BettingPros Draft Prop Card when the odds were +10000.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

The Colts need to face the reality that they can’t run back another retread at quarterback. They need a young franchise quarterback in 2023 and having a top-five pick allows them to acquire one. Insert Will Levis at No. 4 overall.

It’s a great fit for Levis with the current Colts coaching staff. The Kentucky QB is listed at -110 odds to be drafted by the Colts.

I will also say that I would keep an extremely close eye on the Colts-Eagles doing trade at some point during this draft. Could easily see Philly trading up to No. 4 for a cornerstone defender (likely Jalen Carter), while Indy goes QB at 10. The Colts could also hop back into Round 1 by swapping 31 and 35 picks for a QB if that’s how the draft shakes out.

Carter is listed at 40-1 odds to be the 4th player selected across several different sportsbooks. You also have the potential “out” if Arizona and Indy just flip-flop their picks, making it much more likely Carter is selected 4th overall. The Georgia DT is currently +350 to be a top-5 selection.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Will Anderson Jr. (DE – Alabama)

Seattle was just one of a few teams that Will Anderson visited during the pre-draft process. Pete Carroll is doing shirtless backflips if Anderson falls to them at No.5. The former Crimson Tide edge rusher finished fourth overall in total pressures in 2022 (third in the class with 4.1 pressures per game) while lining up primarily outside the tackle.

Anderson is currently the favorite to be the fifth overall pick (+250) across multiple sportsbooks.

6. Detroit Lions: Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

Detroit was slaughtered in their secondary, even though former first-rounder and new Atlanta Falcons cornerback, Jeffery Okudah, had his best season to date. They need to shore up their secondary, and they started that process with the addition of CB Cam Sutton in free agency. They also signed Emmanuel Moseley to a one-year deal after he tore his ACL. Before his injury, the four-year pro ranked top 10 in forced incompletion rate and passer rating generated when targeted (63.5).

They could select a cornerback high in the draft, like Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon. Detroit hit on drafting safety Kerby Joseph from the same college program in the third round of last year’s draft, as Joseph was named First-Team All-Rookie by several publications.

Per PFF, Witherspoon forced the second-most incompletions and played the second-most man coverage snaps last season.

Detroit finished third in man coverage snaps under defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn last season.

7. Houston Texans: Jalen Carter (DT – Georgia) (Trade with Las Vegas Raiders)

Jalen Carter graded out as PFF’s third-highest-graded defensive tackle in 2023 and his run-stop percentage ranked second-best in the nation. He is the best player available and could have been the team’s pick at No. 2 had they not traded back.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

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

Arthur Smith wants to establish the run. We all know it. There’s no better way to execute a run-first offense, than with generational talent in the backfield. Bijan Robinson, you are a Dirty Bird.

I’d also like to point out that the Falcons have made a flurry of moves in free agency akin to a team in a win-now mindset. The division is essentially up for grabs, and they have a rookie quarterback on a cheap deal. Why not go all-in with a final piece by drafting Robinson? The Texas RB is +100 to be a top-10 draft pick.

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

Getting Justin Fields an offensive line is essential. Right tackle Riley Reiff was signed by the Patriots, and the Bears don’t have any reliable in-house options between Larry Borom and Alex Leatherwood as plug-in starters. Nate Davis can play guard, but tackle is still a question mark. Hence, the selection of Broderick Jones.

Jones allowed zero sacks last season at left tackle as PFF’s sixth-highest-graded pass blocker in the 2023 draft class. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound lineman also ran the fastest 40-yard dash among tackles at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine (4.97, 93rd percentile).

Jones also fits the archetype of tackle prospect that new GM Ryan Poles may tend to draft toward. Last year’s fifth-round draft selection, Braxton Jones, is best comparable to Georgia tackle Broderick Jones. Braxton Jones started all 17 games for the Bears at left tackle last season. He ran his 40-yard dash at 4.97 (93rd percentile) and 10-yard split at 1.74 (80th percentile).

Another close comparison to Broderick Jones is Ikem Ekwonu, whose highlight tape was filled with him mauling guys in the run game. He was also the first OL selected last season. Currently, Broderick Jones is +600 to be the first OL selected on DraftKings Sportsbook (+1400 FanDuel). +1000 to be the 9th pick overall (+1400 on FanDuel). His draft position prop is listed at 13.5, with plus money toward the under at +140. It was previously at -250.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

On the offensive line, guard Isaac Seumalo is now in Pittsburgh. Seumalo inked a three-year deal with the Steelers. His former backup, Andre Dillard, signed a starter-level deal with the Titans. Cam Jurgens could be a candidate to fill the void at guard with Jason Kelce coming back at center.

But either way, the Eagles could use more depth along their entire offensive line with Kelce a candidate to retire at the end of the season and Jack Driscoll set to be a free agent as well.

The Eagles get rich (again) and draft Northwestern’s left tackle Peter Skoronski. He finished as PFF’s No. 1-graded pass blocker in 2022. The Eagles can be flexible with how they deploy Skoronski across the OL. Skoronski is +225 to be the first OL selected (BetMGM) and the favorite to be the No. 10 pick (+200).

11. Tennessee Titans:  Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

Anthony Richardson is the betting favorite to be selected by the Titans (+200 per DraftKings Sportsbook), but his -800 odds to be a top-10 pick and -130 odds to be selected top-5 suggest he only lands there with a trade-up by Tennessee. That may not end up being the case if another team trades up, potentially resulting in the super polarizing passer falling into the Titans laps at 11.

The Titans were on board with trading up for Malik Willis last season in the 3rd round, so there’s a sense in the building that quarterback is an area of need – especially with Ryan Tannehill on the last year of his contract. New Titans GM Ran Carthon also has ties back to the University of Florida, where he played in his college ball.

And just imagine opposing defenses trying to stop two Derrick Henry-level athletes. Madness.

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

Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the nation in yards per route run (4.01) at just 19 years old in 2021 despite playing alongside two future first-round picks in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. The Ohio State Buckeye also finished third in the FBS in receiving yards (1,595) and ranked first in PFF receiving grade (91.9) in 2021.

At the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, Smith-Njigba measured in at 6-foot-1, 196 pounds. He did not run the 40-yard dash or perform well in the jumps, but he flashed his short-area quickness with the best time in the 3-cone drill at 6.57 seconds (96th percentile) and 3.93 in the short shuttle (97th percentile).

Texans GM Nick Caserio has shown his hand to pushing up prospects that test well in the 3-cone drill, making JSN a perfect fit in Houston. The Ohio State product can also deliver after the catch — a much-needed attribute in the new Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik.

Recall, Slowik spent the past two seasons as the 49ers’ passing game coordinator/specialist. The offense ranked inside the top 10 in completion rate and fifth in yards after the catch. I’d imagine that among the skill players the Texans draft, there will be a heavy emphasis on YAC-ability.

13. New York Jets: Paris Johnson Jr.  (OT – Ohio State)

The Jets will “hopefully and eventually” upgrade their quarterback (paging Aaron Rodgers), making this selection easy, with offensive line being an area of need due to some expiring contracts and underwhelming incumbents. The team also finished as PFF’s third-worst-graded pass-blocking unit in 2022.

In Paris Johnson’s first season as a left tackle in 2022, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound OT finished as a consensus All-American with zero holding penalties to boot. New York can be flexible with how they deploy Johnson across the OL based on his experience as a guard.

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

Upgrading from CB Jalen Mills would also be a great idea after Mills posted PFF’s second-worst coverage grade in 10 games for the Patriots in 2022. The team cut ties with Mills (then re-signed him smh) and re-signed Jonathan Jones this offseason.

Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez would be a great addition in the draft. He can tackle — he earned the 12th-lowest missed-tackle rate in class at 4.9% — and make plays on the ball. Additionally, Gonzalez has hardly hit his peak since a 2022 breakout campaign; he still has yet to turn 21.

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

Death, taxes and the Green Bay Packers drafting a defensive player with a relative athletic score in Round 1. GB has drafted three Georgia defensive players in Round 1 over the last two seasons, so the fit is just right for Nolan Smith.

Smith tested in the 99th percentile in the 40-yard dash and 10-yard split, running a blazing 4.39 at 238 pounds. He also jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical (98th percentile) and jumped 128 inches in the broad (95th percentile). Before his injury in 2022 (Weeks 1-7), Smith led the Bulldogs in pressures, hurries, and PFF defensive grade.

The Packers taking a defensive lineman with their first pick is listed at +200 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

16. Washington Commanders: Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

Deonte Banks could possibly overtake Joey Porter Jr. as the CB3 considering some teams might prefer Banks with his superior athletic profile and higher scheme versatility. The Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora reports that the Washington Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers are “head over heels” for Banks. Washington beats the Steelers to the punch, selecting Banks right ahead of them.

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

Former Steelers GM Kevin Colbert routinely passed on the tackle position in Round 1 because they’ve had such a great line in recent years. That’s no longer the case.

However, there’s reason to believe this could be the year that bucks the trend for Pittsburgh avoiding offensive linemen in Round 1. Colbert stepped down as the team’s GM after the 2022 NFL Draft, being replaced in-house by Omar Khan. Khan has been with the Steelers since 2001, and last served as the Vice President of Football & Business Administration from 2016 to 2022.

It’s worth noting that the team was aggressive in improving the interior offensive line during the free-agency period, perhaps a foreshadowing of what’s yet to come in the draft in the form of a future franchise tackle. They’ve met with potential first-round tackle Darnell Wright, and that’s why he is the selection at No. 17.

Wright was a four-year starter (42 games) at Tennessee and performed extremely well during his senior year. He finished fourth in his class in PFF pass-blocking efficiency and performed admirably versus a fierce Alabama pass-rush unit led by Will Anderson. Also, per Sports Info Solutions, Wright finished with the second-lowest blown block percentage in the class (0.7%).

18. Detroit Lions: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)

The Detroit Lions addressed their secondary with the No. 6 pick, but their defense still needs improvement. More ankle-biters up front to wreak havoc on opposing offenses can help.

Lukas Van Ness’ 37 pressures on true pass sets ranked fourth in the FBS in 2022. His true pressure rate – Sports Info Solutions’ pressure rate that isolates straight dropbacks, which are more likely to be similar across situations – tied Jalen Carter for the highest mark in the class at 16%.

He also impressed all 32 teams during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Per PlayerProfiler.com, Van Ness tested in the 92nd percentile in the 40-yard dash, achieving a 96th-percentile speed score at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds. He’s got Travon Walker (last year’s No. 1 overall pick) freakiness with shades of current New Orleans Saints pass rusher Cameron Jordan to his disruptive game.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will McDonald IV (EDGE – Iowa State)

On the defensive line, Rakeem Nunez-Roches (Giants), Akiem Hicks, and William Gholston are no longer on the roster.

The Buccaneers will look drastically different on defense in 2023, with so much overhaul needed to last year’s squad. They start rebuilding with Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV.

McDonald boasts a 90th-percentile arm length and a 98th-percentile broad jump (132 inches). His body type helped him tremendously as a pure edge rusher, earning him accolades as PFF’s third-highest-graded pass rusher on true pass sets in 2022.

McDonald has -250 dds to be a 1st Round Pick on FanDuel Sportsbook (-300 DraftKings Sportsbook).

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

20. Seattle Seahawks: Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

Geno Smith was one of the better QBs passing from 11 personnel in 2022, ranking 10th in yards per attempt (7.2), seventh in TD-INT ratio, and sixth in passer rating. However, Seattle ran it at the seventh-lowest rate without any worthwhile third-receiving option

That changes with the addition of No.3 WR Zay Flowers.

Boston College’s Zay Flowers has spent previous offseasons training with Smith (and Antonio Brown) and is expected to be selected in the first round. Per Sports Info Solutions, Flowers led his class in yards after the catch per game (42.5). He also finished third in the class in unique routes run, sixth in target share (30%), and third in deep route percentage (49%).

His closest comparable, per Mockdraftable.com, is Seahawks 2021 second-rounder D’Wayne Eskridge. Eskridge has caught 17 passes for 122 yards since being drafted two years ago. Woof.

21. Los Angles Chargers: Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

Per ESPN’s Jordan Reid, the Chargers are leaning toward a WR with the 21st overall pick. Reid has a “read” on the situation by connecting the dots to USC’s Jordan Addison with the Chargers because the team’s current WR coach Chris Beatty played a role in recruiting Addison at Pittsburgh.

They add Addison out of Southern California to the mix to become Herbert’s big-play wideout. Addison transferred to USC for his junior year after winning the Biletnikoff Award at Pittsburgh in 2021. He led the Trojans with 59 catches for 875 yards and eight receiving TDs (79 targets). More importantly, the 6-foot, 175-pound wide receiver proved that he could play more outside after spending most of his time in the slot at Pittsburgh.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Hendon Hooker (QB – Tennessee)

The Baltimore Ravens have been open to the idea of selecting a QB in this upcoming draft amid the stalling negotiations to sign Lamar Jackson long-term. Eric DeCosta has openly said that there are ‘more than four guys’ who can be ‘significant’ NFL quarterbacks. Considering Hendon Hooker is almost strictly viewed as the QB5 in this class, I think it’s a positive nod in his direction that the Ravens would entertain the idea of selecting him with decent draft capital. Furthermore, Hooker likely checks off the requisite boxes by an analytical-driven franchise, based on the video game passing numbers he was able to put up at Tennessee in Josh Heupel’s offense.

One of Hooker’s major concerns — aside from age and ACL injury — is whether he will be able to replicate that college production at the pro level, with Heupel’s offense differing much from the professional game. But who better to make a smooth transition for Hooker than the Ravens new offensive coordinator Todd Munken, who heralds the Air Raid offense — likely the best NFL scheme for Hooker. Munken’s offensive philosophy stems from the great late Mike Leach, who was extremely high on Hooker. Leach went on as far as to say that Hooker was the best quarterback in the SEC for the 2022 season. Considering the Leach/Munken connection, it’s hard to think Baltimore’s new OC wouldn’t be pounding the table for Hooker as a target for the Ravens.

23. Minnesota Vikings:  Joey Porter (CB – Penn State)

Defense. Defense. Defense. The Minnesota Vikings ranked 26th in DVOA in 2022, “boasting” the league’s second-worst mark in passing yards allowed per game (265.6). They brought in Brian Flores as the new defensive coordinator, and his presence will be most felt in the team’s secondary. I’d bet they make a flurry of moves to blow up the team’s defensive backroom.

CBs Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd are all gone. They cut Cameron Dantzler (claimed by the Commanders). They drafted Andrew Booth in the second round during last year’s draft, but he was unable to stay healthy. The splash move they made in free agency was signing Byron Murphy from Arizona.

Joey Porter Jr. was a pass-breakup machine in 2022, posting college football’s second-highest forced incompletion rate (41%).

Per Sports Info Solutions, Porter also boasted his classes’ highest hands-on-ball percentage (2.9%). Witherspoon forced the second-most incompletions and played the second-most man coverage snaps last season.

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

The Jaguars have a nice starting cornerback with Tyson Campbell but question marks at the other defensive positions. Shaquill Griffin was released and Darious Williams struggled from the slot in his first year in Jacksonville. Bringing back slot CB Tre Herndon was a smart business decision because it allows the team to kick Williams back to the perimeter where he played much better last season.

The worst issue might actually be starting safety Rayshawn Jenkins. He posted the sixth-worst PFF coverage grade among safeties and whiffed on 28 tackles (18.3%) — the second most in 2022. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jenkins loses playing time to Andrew Wingard off his new three-year extension.

Therefore, the Jaguars need to improve their 30th-ranked DVOA pass defense and backend by bolstering their secondary. Alabama safety Brian Branch is a potential option from the draft. Branch has experience playing the nickel/slot — second-most slot snaps among college safeties in 2022 — and is a fierce tackler. Per PFF, Branch has missed just four tackles on 170 attempts (2.3%) against the stiffest competition the SEC has to offer.

25. New York Giants: John Michael Schmitz (C – Minnesota)

John Michael Schmitz is a super experienced center from Minnesota, that can be an immediate contributor to an NFL team looking for a plug-in starter. He started 35 games at the college level and finished third among centers in his class in positive run when behind rate per Sports Info Solutions.

JMC can start immediately for the Giants, who need a center after losing Former starting center Jon Feliciano and his backup Nick Gates in free agency.

His current odds of being selected in the 1st round are listed at +170 (FanDuel Sportsbook). The Giants selecting an OL with their first pick are listed at +380 (DraftKings Sportsbook).

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

More weapons for Dak Prescott? Yes, please. Michael Mayer can immediately step in and provide a major boost to an offense that can’t have enough playmakers.

Mayer graded out as PFF’s highest-graded tight end in the country, leading the FBS in receiving TDs and yards per route run (2.44). Mayer was also PFF’s fifth-highest-graded run-blocking tight end. The Fighting Irish tight end finished his college career with 180 receptions for 2,099 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns. This past season he caught 5.6 passes per game as the team’s featured weapon. Mayer offers the complete package at the tight end position. He’s just not an uber-athletic tight end that could hinder his upside at the next level. Jason Witten-esque. Perfect for Dallas, who resides as the betting favorite to land the Notre Dame tight end.

27. Buffalo Bills: Myles Murphy (DE – Clemson)

As one of the most complete teams in the league, Buffalo has a variety of ways they could approach the 27th overall pick.

Addressing the needs at WR, OL, or EDGE will most likely be Buffalo’s approach in Round 1, and the choice will be dictated by who is the best player available. After forgoing the defensive line last year in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Buffalo head back in that direction with Clemson’s Myles Murphy.

After all, the Bills’ pressure rate fell dramatically after the team lost Von Miller due to injury. They generated just a 5.1% pressure rate – a mark that would have ranked 31st compared to season-long standings.

During his Murphy’s pro day workout, he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash (96th percentile), 7.20 3-cone (49th percentile), and 4.35 short shuttle (66th percentile). He also possesses a relentless motor as indicated by his 5% broken and missed tackle rate – a mark that ranks No. 1 in the 2023 EDGE class.

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

Hayden Hurst signed with the Panthers in free agency, making tight end a prime position the Bengals will be forced to address. No. 2 blocking tight ends Drew Sample was re-signed, but Mitchell Wilcox is a free agent. Look for them to draft one in a talent-rich class and if they choose to go the tight end route in Round 1, they will land a stud like Dalton Kincaid.

Kincaid spent his first two seasons at San Diego playing a limited role, but he made the most of every touch he got, averaging nearly 19 yards per reception. His 21.0 yards per reception in 2019 ranked second among all TEs in both the FCS and FBS. After the impressive showing, Kincaid transferred to Utah in 2020 but missed the majority of the season due to COVID implications. It wasn’t until 2021 that Kincaid truly got his shot, and he absolutely dominated. Kincaid posted a 25% dominator rating as the 11th-highest-graded tight end in the nation per PFF. Kincaid followed up his impressive 2021 campaign nicely in 2022 with another eight-touchdown season. His dominator rating jumped to 26% as he led the nation in PFF receiving grade and finished 3rd in yards per route run.

Kincaid led Utah with 70 receptions (5.8 receptions per game, 22% target share), the most by any tight end in the nation. At 246 pounds, Kincaid is on the smaller side of the tight end spectrum, making it likely he takes on the role of a move tight end at the next level. He ran 55% of his routes from the slot in 2022. Kincaid also did not do any pre-draft testing due to injury, but he reportedly has passed all his physicals regarding his health.

29. New Orleans Saints: Darnell Washington (TE – Georgia)

We know that Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer are locks for Round 1, with Darnell Washington the most likely candidate to be the third tight end selected. The Georgia tight end ranks 30th overall in the consensus per NFLmockdraftdatabase.com and recently appeared in Peter Schrager’s latest mock draft to the Bengals at No. 28 overall. He is currently the 22nd-ranked player on Daniel Jeremiah’s overall top-50 ranked prospects. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein recently appeared on the Establish The Run podcast and said one of his most confident predictions in this draft would be that at least three tight ends would be drafted.

Washington also possesses the archetype that teams will salivate over. The 6-foot-7 and 264-pound pterodactyl posted a 4.64 40-time and jumped 122 inches in the broad jump (88th percentile) at the NFL Combine. But his most impressive feat by far was his 4.08 20-yard shuttle, which ranks in the 97th percentile.

He provides a big pass-catching weapon for Derek Carr in an offense that loves to use multiple tight ends.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Mazi Smith (DT – Michigan)

Mazi Smith fills a need along an Eagles’ defensive line that looks different in 2023 due to losses in free agency.

The Eagles will get a major interior disruptor with Smith. The 323-pound mammoth of a man finished top 10 in the nation in run stops and tackles among interior defensive linemen in 2022. His 7% pressure rate trails only Keondre Coburn among the nose tackles in his class, but his 11% pressure share and pressures per game ranks first.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bresee (DT – Clemson)

The Chiefs’ defensive interior might also need some fine-tuning behind Chris Jones. Free agents Khalen Saunders (Saints) and Derrick Nnadi ranked right behind Jones in snaps played from the defensive interior in 2022. The team re-signed Nnadi, but he’s not any good. Among DLs with at least 400 snaps, Nnadi finished as PFF’s 83rd-graded interior defensive lineman among 87 qualifiers.

Clemson’s Bryan Bresee can transition smoothly into the KC B-Gap and impose his will after he showed out a year removed from a torn ACL. His 12% pressure rate and pressures per game ranked inside the top five among his 2023 DT class, while his quick pressure rate tied for first. Quick pressure rate is the percentage of pass rushes that resulted in a player generating pressure on a QB in 2.5 seconds or less per Sports Info Solutions. Back in 2020, prior to his injury, Bresee won ACC Rookie of the Year. In his two fully healthy college seasons, Bresee has been a top-21 PFF-graded interior pass-rusher (including his highest grade in 2022) at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds.

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