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2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Mike Fanelli (5.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Mike Fanelli (5.0)

The 2023 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, and the rumor mill is on fire. While everyone wants the actual draft to get here as soon as possible, there is no such thing as a bad time for a mock draft.

This is my fifth mock draft of the year. It will be a first-round mock draft with four hypothetical trades, including two within the first three picks. So let’s dive into it.

There are only 31 first-round picks in this year’s draft. The Miami Dolphins had to forfeit their first-round pick after an investigation revealed they violated league policies.

2023 NFL Mock Draft  With Trades: Mike Fanelli (5.0)

Be sure to check out my previous mock draft too.

1) Carolina Panthers (via Chicago) – Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

After weeks of C.J. Stroud being the favorite to be the first overall pick, the betting market has swung in the opposite direction. Young was the favorite to be the top overall pick since August, and now he will be a Panther.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Detroit Lions receive pick 2. Houston Texans receive picks 6, 18, 2024 first-round pick.

2) Detroit Lions (via Texans) – C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)

If I were the Texans, I would take Stroud. However, there is growing belief that Houston could pass on a quarterback if the Panthers select Young. If they are going to pass on a quarterback and wait until next year, the Texans should trade the No. 2 overall pick. They acquire two top 20 picks this year and a future first-round selection they can use next year to trade up for Caleb Williams if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Lions are on the rise. They almost made the playoffs last year. More importantly, Detroit has had an excellent offseason in free agency. While Jared Goff played well last season, his ceiling is still limited. Stroud could lead the Detroit offense into the future, surrounded by Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Indianapolis Colts receive pick 3. Arizona Cardinals receive picks 4, 79, 106, 2024 third-round pick.

3) Indianapolis Colts (via Cardinals) – Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

While the Colts are playing it cool, we know they will draft a quarterback this year. Instead of watching the Cardinals trade this pick to the division rival Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis gives up the three mid-round picks and secures their franchise quarterback.

4) Arizona Cardinals (via Colts) – Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)

The Cardinals have a roster full of holes. While moving back again is an option, the team can’t pass up Anderson. Yes, some mocks have Tyree Wilson going to Arizona because of his size and length. However, why draft the guy full of upside when the next superstar edge rusher lock is available?

5) Seattle Seahawks (via Denver) – Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

Geno Smith is back after signing a three-year contract this offseason. However, the team can get out of his deal after next year. Furthermore, can the Seahawks pass on Richardson’s massive upside when they rarely pick this high in the draft? The former Gator can sit behind Smith this year before taking over in 2024.

6) Houston Texans (via Lions, Los Angeles) – Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)

If the Texans move back, expect them to load up on defense early in the draft. Last year Jerry Hughes and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo were the only player on the team with more than 3.5 sacks. However, Hughes is nearly 35 years old, while Okoronkwo left in free agency. Meanwhile, Wilson has massive length and upside. Furthermore, he had 14 sacks over the past two years at Texas Tech.

7) Las Vegas Raiders – Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)

The Raiders would love to see a quarterback fall in their lap. Yet, that won’t happen, and they couldn’t trade up in this mock draft. However, having Carter line up next to Maxx Crosby for the next several years isn’t a bad consolation prize.

8) Atlanta Falcons – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)

Drake London led the team with 117 targets last year. Meanwhile, Olamide Zaccheaus and Kyle Pitts were the only other players on the team with more than 31 targets. However, Zaccheaus is a free agent, while Pitts missed nearly half the season. If Desmond Ridder is going to succeed, the Falcons must add another weapon on offense.

9) Chicago Bears (via Carolina) – Paris Johnson  (OT – Ohio State)

Chicago would love to see Carter slide right to them at the ninth overall pick after they traded back with the Panthers last month. However, he’s off the board, and the Bears need help on the offensive line. Johnson has starting experience playing multiple positions. Regardless of where he plays, the former Buckeye will be a star as a rookie.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) – Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

While Philadelphia lost multiple starters in free agency, they still have one of the top rosters in the NFL. The least talked about is Miles Sanders. However, he had a career-high 315 touches last season and made his first career pro bowl. Rashaad Penny can’t stay healthy, and Kenneth Gainwell isn’t a lead running back. Some will think this is a luxury pick, but it’s not. Robinson will take the Eagles’ offense to the next level.

11) Tennessee Titans – Peter Skoronski (OL – Northwestern)

The Titans have rebuilt their offensive line this offseason. They lost three starters, including left tackle Taylor Lewan. While Tennessee signed Andre Dillard and Daniel Brunskill in free agency, the rest of the offensive line needs work. Skoronski can play multiple spots on the offensive line, giving the Titans the flexibility to get the five best players on the field.

12) Houston Texans (via Cleveland) – Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

Last year Houston surprised everyone when they took Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick. Now he needs a running mate on the other side. Many scouts believe Witherspoon is the top cornerback in the draft. Pairing him with Wilson, the Texans have massively improved their defense with one more first-round pick left.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Green Bay Packers receive picks 13, 42, conditional 2024 draft pick. New York Jets receive pick 15, Aaron Rodgers.

13) Green Bay Packers (via Jets) – Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)

Will Rodgers be a Jet before the start of the draft? Who knows. But in this mock draft, he is in New York, and the teams have flipped first-round picks as part of the trade. While some want the Packers to draft a wide receiver or tight end with this pick, Green Bay has used 11 of their past 12 first-round picks on defense, including both selections last year.

14) New England Patriots – Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)

The Patriots lost Jakobi Meyers in free agency but replaced him with JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, the team still lacks a No. 1 caliber wide receiver. Flowers’ draft stock has been rising over the past few weeks. More importantly, New England has done their homework on wide receivers, including Flowers.

15) New York Jets (via Packers) – Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

Whether Rodgers or Zach Wilson is under center in Week 1, they need a better offensive line in front of them. Mekhi Becton has played one game since his rookie year in 2020. Meanwhile, Duane Brown is 37 years old and entering the final year of his contract. Jones would start as a rookie protecting the quarterback’s blindside.

16) Washington Commanders – Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

While the Commanders improved their offensive line in free agency, that won’t stop them from using their first-round pick on an offensive tackle. However, cornerback is the team’s top need. The secondary struggled last year. Meanwhile, Kendall Fuller is entering the final year of his contract.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Joey Porter (CB – Penn State)

Yes, this is a chalk pick. However, the Steelers lost Cameron Sutton in free agency. While they signed Patrick Peterson, he isn’t a long-term solution. Furthermore, Pittsburgh needs to find a lockdown No. 1 cornerback, given the elite wide receivers in their division.

18) Houston Texans (via Lions) – Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

The Texans signed Dalton Schultz this offseason, but only for one year. Furthermore, their wide receiver core is subpar. Mayer is equally impactful in the passing and run game. When Houston drafts their franchise quarterback next year, they want to have as many weapons around him as possible.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Darnell Wright (OT – Tennessee)

Last year the Buccaneers’ offensive line had trouble staying healthy and struggled on the field. Furthermore, Tampa Bay released long-term left tackle Donovan Smith in the offseason. While there has been talk about Tristan Wirfs going to left tackle, drafting Wright to replace Smith is a better idea.

20) Seattle Seahawks – Calijah Kancey (DL – Pittsburgh)

While Seattle added Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed in free agency, don’t be surprised if they add a defensive lineman early in the draft. Furthermore, Pete Carroll has faced Aaron Donald twice a year for the past several seasons. Kancey is the closest thing we’ve seen since Donald got drafted in 2014, and Carroll will want him on his team.

21) Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

Most mock drafts have the Chargers drafting a wide receiver or cornerback in the first round. However, don’t rule out a tight end. Gerald Everett wasn’t consistent last year and is heading into the final year of his deal. Meanwhile, Kincaid was recently cleared from a back injury. Furthermore, he has drawn plenty of interest from teams drafting in the middle part of the first round.

22) Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Addison (WR – USC)

Despite signing Odell Beckham Jr., the Ravens still need wide receiver help. The veteran didn’t play last year and has a long history of injuries. Meanwhile, Rashod Bateman has dealt with injuries over his first two years in the NFL.

*** TRADE ALERT ***

Philadelphia Eagles receive pick 23. Minnesota Vikings receive picks 30, 94, 2024 third-round pick.

23) Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings) – Lukas Van Ness (EDGE – Iowa)

After going offense with their earlier first-round pick, the Eagles make their elite defensive line even better. Brandon Graham re-signed this offseason, but only to a one-year deal. Meanwhile, Van Ness totaled 13 sacks over the past two years and has tremendous upside. Don’t be surprised if he is the team’s pick at 10th overall.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars – Nolan Smith (EDGE – Georgia)

While Jacksonville used the No. 1 overall pick last year on Travon Walker, the team still needs help at edge rusher. Last year Arden Key and Dawuane Smoot combined for 9.5 sacks. Unfortunately, Key joined the Titans in free agency, while Smoot remains unsigned. Furthermore, Josh Allen is entering the final year of his contract.

25) New York Giants – Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)

The Giants re-signed Sterling Shepard and Darius Shepard. They also added Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, and Darren Waller this offseason. However, the team still lacks a go-to wide receiver for Daniel Jones. Johnston can fill that void.

26) Dallas Cowboys – O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)

Dallas dealt with numerous injuries on the offensive line last year. They lost Connor McGovern in free agency, while Jason Peters remains unsigned. More importantly, last year’s first-round pick Tyler Smith belongs at left tackle, not left guard. Furthermore, Zack Martin will turn 33 in November and is nearing the end of his current deal.

27) Buffalo Bills – Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)

While the Bills kept Jordan Poyer in free agency, the team still needs a long-term answer at safety. Branch can play multiple spots in the secondary, giving the team options and flexibility with the weekly game planning.

28) Cincinnati Bengals – Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

Despite spending a second-round on Cam Taylor-Britt last year, the Bengals still need help at cornerback. Eli Apple is gone, which might be an addition by subtraction. More importantly, Chidobe Awuzie is entering the final year of his contract, while Mike Hilton could be a cap casualty next offseason. Banks reminds scouts of Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey.

29) New Orleans Saints (via Denver, Miami, San Francisco) – Adetomiwa Adebawore (DL – Northwestern)

The Saints lost multiple defensive linemen in free agency, as David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, and Marcus Davenport joined new teams. Furthermore, Cameron Jordan is entering the final year of his contract. The former Northwestern star was a workout warrior at the NFL Combine. More importantly, Adebawore can play inside and outside on the defensive line.

30) Minnesota Vikings (via Eagles) – Hendon Hooker (QB – Tennessee)

Minnesota has only five draft picks, so no one should be surprised if they trade back. Furthermore, don’t rule out them picking a quarterback early in the draft. Kirk Cousins turns 35 in August and is entering the final year of his contract. The Vikings must draft his replacement at some point, and Hooker is an appealing option.

31) Kansas City Chiefs – Anton Harrison (OT – Oklahoma)

After losing Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie in free agency, the Chiefs signed Jawaan Taylor. They plan to move him from right tackle to left tackle, as they did with Brown a few years ago. However, the other starting tackle spot needs help.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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