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2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Russell Brown’s Final Picks & Predictions (4.0)

2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades: Russell Brown’s Final Picks & Predictions (4.0)

Anyone else feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve? It’s going to be hard for me to sleep tonight but I can’t wait to provide content on our FantasyPros YouTube page during the 2023 NFL Draft! The last few months, it’s been nothing but film, scouting reports, my 2023 NFL Draft Guide and connecting the dots.

As I get ready for how the opening night of the 2023 NFL Draft turns out, I have a hundred million scenarios running through my head. We’ll see if this mock draft finishes top-1o like last year but for now, all I can say is this is how I could see it playing out tomorrow night! Enjoy the draft!

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2023 NFL Mock Draft with Trades

  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.

  1. Houston Texans – Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama

Could obviously see quarterback CJ Stroud here as it’s the biggest need on the team. However, everything comes full circle and in my first mock draft of the year (after the Super Bowl), I had the Texans selecting Anderson. I think he’s completely getting overlooked after his 174 total pressures (per PFF) in his college career. Terrific player that fits exactly what head coach Demeco Ryans needs on defense.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Certainly this could be where we see the first trade of the night. However, we all know how tough it is to pull those off. The Titans are heavily discussed but they’ve got a first-year GM and only six picks. I love to gamble but not sure I want to start my regime off with that big of a swing. That said, I think the Cardinals are in a very interesting spot. Their roster is bad – especially at cornerback. Antonio Hamilton and Marco Wilson are liabilities in coverage and they traded away Byron Murphy. The Cardinals pull a similar strategy as the Texans from a season ago and get one of the top cornerbacks in the draft.

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

The chalk pick is Will Levis at this spot. Wouldn’t be surprising if the Colts ended up taking him or CJ Stroud. That said, Anthony Richardson is a great fit for the Colts offense. He’d have the best offensive line in front of him, meanwhile, he’d have some nice weapons around him in Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. There’s belief that head coach Shane Steichen will get some serious pull in who the next quarterback is going to be and I think Richardson is someone he’d love for his offense.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

This pick might be as big of a question mark as the 2nd and 3rd pick of the draft. That said, I have the belief that this pick will be Jalen Carter. Not every quarterback is a sure thing and the Seahawks seem comfortable with Geno Smith as their starting quarterback. The Seahawks have been known to take a swing on a player with character issues and they’ll do that here with Carter. If it works out, he could make an immediate impact from his very first snap.

  1. Detroit Lions – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

With how the board is shaping up, the Lions could be looking to move back for a team that needs a quarterback. However, it’s tough to always trade back. They’ll stay put and take my top ranked cornerback. Gonzalez is the best cover corner in the draft with his fluidity and length through the catch point. He’ll give them a long term answer at the position.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

I thought long and hard about this one. Talented quarterbacks in Levis and Stroud are available. The Raiders have done the research on them but ultimately, I think they’ll play it safe here. Paris Johnson needs polishing but he’s an athletic tackle with terrific length and the ability to play right or left tackle. Protecting Jimmy G should be a priority and Johnson provides that.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Pretty sure I started the train of Bijan to the Falcons and I’m going to finish it. I loved Tyler Allegeir coming out of BYU but he’s not Robinson. It’s that simple. Putting weapons around quarterback Desmond Ridder is the goal here and Robinson can be a difference maker in this offense.

  1. Chicago Bears – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

One of the better players in the draft falls a little bit. Much of that is due to the legitimate concerns of his foot injury. He should be ready to go by the start of the season and he could very well carve out a long career. The Bears need an edge rusher and Wilson has the length, versatility and motor needed to be productive at the next level.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Eagles would love Jalen Carter in this spot and it wouldn’t surprise me if they got aggressive to move up to the 6th pick to get him. That said, they also love another Georgia defender. They stick with their recipe of picking up players in the trenches. Smith could become a terror off the edge for the Eagles while being paired with Reddick.

  1. Tennessee Titans – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

I have no idea what order these quarterbacks go in the draft. If I did, I’d have a serious amount of money in the bank. I’ve heard mixed reports of the Titans not bringing in Stroud for a visit to them loving him. All of it seems odd. So with that, I think if Will Levis is available, he fits and would be able to play behind or in front of Ryan Tannehill. Even though Ran Carthon is entering the war room for the first time as a GM, I’d have to think that Mike Vrabel gets some say in what happens with this pick. Getting a player like Levis for his offense could be something I see him push for.

  1. Houston Texans – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Similar to Justin Fields from a few years ago, there’s a slide for Stroud. I think he’s a heck of a player and one of the 5 or 6 best players in the draft. The draft can get weird – we know that. Stroud falls to this spot and the Texans run to the podium with a terrific opening night of the draft with Anderson and Stroud.

  1. Green Bay Packers – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

I’ll believe the Packers take a pass catcher or offensive lineman this high in the draft when I see it. I was leaning towards Myles Murphy in this spot but I think Van Ness is a better fit. He’s versatile enough to play inside as a 4i-technique or he could rush off the edge. Either way, his length and speed-to-power is intriguing. He’d fit the Packers well in this spot.

  1. New England Patriots – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

How could the Patriots not make this selection? This screams what they would do and I think they’d love Skoronski for his guard/tackle flexibility. He’s a technician that can come in and play right away. Keep in mind – we’ve seen a trend of talented tackle falls to this range of the draft with Rashawn Slater and Tristan Wirfs in the past.

  1. New York Jets – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Could we see a pass-catcher in this spot? It’s possible and I wouldn’t rule out Myles Murphy either. That said, I think Broderick Jones has been very much connected to the Jets throughout most of this draft process. He’d fit at tackle for them and we all know the Jets are going to do whatever makes Rodgers happy.

  1. Washington Commanders – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Almost went with a tight end in this spot and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mayer or Kincaid was the pick here. That said, we know that Ron Rivera loves defense and I think this is where we see Deonte Banks go much sooner than expected. He’s versatile enough to play in zone or man coverage but his physicality should win over a war room. I see the Commanders as that team.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Don’t be surprised if the Steelers move up to either 11 or 12 to make this pick. I think you can connect some dots from draft capital to just the want/need of grabbing a tackle. Fortunately, Darnell Wright lands in their lap and they run this one to the podium.

  1. Detroit Lions – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

I’m torn on where Murphy ends up going in this draft. He’s a heck of a player and I think he gets overlooked for whatever reason. His athletic profile is intriguing and his blend of speed and power fits multiple teams. The Lions should look to add another defender up front and I think the pairing of Murphy and Hutchinson is a home run for Detroit.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bucs selected Jahmyr Gibbs in this spot. Also, I considered Joey Porter Jr., as well. However, there’s a need for offensive line help in Tampa and with Tristan Wirfs moving over to left tackle, I think Anton Harrison makes a ton of sense. He needs some polishing but he’s got great length, athleticism and is a strong finisher.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (Mock Trade with Seattle) – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Normally, I don’t predict trades in my final mock draft but I do believe a team like the Chiefs are going to be aggressive on the opening night of the draft. There was part of me considering the option of moving up with the Lions. However, this makes sense for a ton of reasons. Zay Flowers is on the board and has been connected in many ways to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, he was catching passes from Mahomes a week or two ago. They’ll get aggressive and make this move happen.

Mock Trade Details:

  • KC receives: 2023 First Round Pick (20th overall)
  • SEA receives: 2023 First Round Pick (31st overall), 2023 Third Round Pick (95th overall), 2024 Third Round Pick
  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Chargers end up taking a player like Keeanu Benton from Wisconsin or Mazi Smith from Michigan. Getting help for the interior of their defensive line makes sense. However, Michael Mayer is staring them in the face and I think adding another pass-catcher to the offense is a priority. This will be a consistent piece in the offense to pair with Justin Herbert for a decade-plus in the NFL.

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Brian Branch, SAF, Alabama

We’ve seen the Ravens take players from Alabama in the past and I think they’ll do so here. Brian Branch is a versatile defensive back that can play as a safety in a buzz role but he could also cover the slot. I love the player despite his numbers at the Combine being underwhelming. Regardless, putting him in a secondary with Kyle Hamilton and Marlon Humphrey is fun.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

I’m going to guess that Brian Flores knows a thing or two about Porter Jr., after working with his dad (Joey Porter) in Pittsburgh for a year. Despite the addition of Byron Murphy, the Vikings have a need for another cornerback in their defense. I think Porter Jr., has terrific length and aggressiveness at the catch point. He should turn into a very good player with the Vikings.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

I know the Jaguars have Evan Engram and he played great last season. However, they just paid Da’Von Hamilton and have to start preparing for a Trevor Lawrence contract extension. It’s great that Engram has the franchise tag but that should buy Kincaid this season to get his feet wet in the NFL and fully recover from his back injury. The long term connection of Kincaid and Lawrence should be successful for Jacksonville.

  1. New York Giants – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Seems odd that JSN falls this far down the board but I struggle with placing these receivers. With that, I think the Giants will look to add another pass-catcher and with both tight ends off the board, I love this fit with Daniel Jones. JSN can do great things with pre-snap orbit and jet motions. Meanwhile, he’s terrific after the catch with his shiftiness to make defenders miss in short areas.

  1. Dallas Cowboys – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Could this be a defensive player? It’s possible. However, I love pairing up another running back with Tony Pollard. There’s no guarantee that Pollard will be the same back coming off an injury but he’s only locked up for a season. If there’s any contract disputes or regression, the Cowboys get a backup plan. Meanwhile, I think Gibbs can take on the role previously held but Tony Pollard while Zeke was there.

  1. Buffalo Bills – Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Many people will say that the need at linebacker isn’t that great for the Bills. 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. If they don’t go linebacker here, I could see the Bills trading back or potentially taking a receiver such as Josh Downs from North Carolina.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Calijah Kancey, IDL, Pittsburgh

If Gibbs is on the board, I believe he’ll be the pick. That said, I love the idea of the Bengals recharging the interior of their defensive line and man what a selection this would be for them. Kancey is an explosive defensive tackle that is certainly undersized but he’s got a plan when the ball is snapped. He swipes the hands of the opposition and he consistently generates pressure. I’d have to imagine there’s hope of Kancey becoming the next Geno Atkins in this spot.

  1. New Orleans Saints – Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

I’ve been saying that Will McDonald ends up in the first round. It’s possible he doesn’t but I think with how he tested at the Combine and with how he played out of position, ultimately, it helped him. The Saints tend to stay true to their board and I think finding another option opposite of Cameron Jordan makes a ton of sense.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Addison, WR, USC

There’s a chance that Forbes ends up being the pick in this spot or even a defensive tackle such as Benton, Bresee or Kancey (if available). But with how the board shakes out, I think Addison makes a ton of sense for the Eagles. I know he didn’t take a top-30 visit with them but they could look to add another weapon into their offense. I think with how fluid of a route runner Addison is, he’d fit well alongside DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown.

  1. Seattle Seahawks (Mock Trade with Kansas City) – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

The Seahawks moved back 11 spots and could end up with Hendon Hooker. It crossed my mind but ultimately, I think they continue to add to their defense. Emmanuel Forbes is only 173 pounds but he’s got good length and terrific ball skills. In his college career, he had 14 career interceptions (six of them were returned for touchdowns). Pairing Forbes with Woolen could lead to a lockdown duo for quite some time. One name to keep in mind in this spot is Joe Tippmann from Wisconsin. He’s gained a lot of late first round buzz as of late.

Mock Trade Details:

  • KC receives: 2023 First Round Pick (20th overall)
  • SEA receives: 2023 First Round Pick (31st overall), 2023 Third Round Pick (95th overall), 2024 Third Round Pick

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