It’s finally here. The 2023 NFL draft is kicking off in less than 36 hours in Kansas City. That means it’s time for the final mock draft for this class.
More than any year since 2018, this shapes up to be a wildly unpredictable draft weekend. There are so many “if/then” scenarios that originate from what happens with the No. 2 pick, a selection that a very reliable source advised me wasn’t yet decided upon by the Houston Texans as of Sunday night.
Predicting trades is very difficult. Obviously, there will be picks that get traded during the draft. I eschewed trying to forecast those moves and instead focused on getting the team and the player matched up, with one exception that’s noted in the commentary. As the draft progresses into the Day 2 realm, the focus is as much on the player and draft slot as it is on predicting the team and the player match.
Without further ado, here is my final three-round mock draft for 2023.
1. Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
2. Houston Texans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Could be Tyree Wilson here and nobody would blink an eye. My initial guess was Houston taking Wilson at 2 and then trading up from 12 to land Levis, and that could very well be what happens.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
Might not happen at No. 3, keep that in mind. Of course, it might not happen at all; I had both Peter Skoronski and Jalen Carter written in here at various points too.
4. Indianapolis Colts: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
I would put Levis here if he’s still on the board
5. Seattle Seahawks: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The Seahawks could absolutely take C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson or even Will Anderson. I still buy into Jalen Carter being the pick here.
6. Detroit Lions: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
I would be surprised if the pick here is anyone other than Will Anderson or Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
8. Atlanta Falcons: DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Wilson could very well be the No. 2 pick. Hard to envision him falling past the Falcons here. I do think Bijan Robinson is a realistic possibility for Atlanta too.
9. Chicago Bears: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
10 Philadelphia Eagles: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Eagles could take Witherspoon. This could also be a team like the Lions trading up to land the feisty corner. Trading here seems more likely than the Eagles actually making the pick.
11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Titans might have to trade up to make this happen. Here they land Richardson without needing to sacrifice extra picks.
12. Houston Texans: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
13. Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Moved up two spots in the Aaron Rodgers trade to get a guy Rodgers would’ve loved to have in Green Bay.
14. New England Patriots: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
15. New York Jets: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Being in win-now mode means the Jets need the most NFL-ready tackle, and Wright’s ability to play either OT spot helps too.
16. Washington Commanders: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
If Darnell Wright is still available, I’d expect him to be the pick over Jones here. Good chance this pick gets traded.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
18. Detroit Lions: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
If the Lions landed Devon Witherspoon at No. 6, look DL (Lukas Van Ness, Keion White, Will McDonald) or OL (O’Cyrus Torrence, Wright or Skoronski from above).
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will McDonald, EDGE, Iowa State
20. Seattle Seahawks: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
I do think Smith-Njigba will be the first WR taken and he fits well in the Chargers offense. RB Jahmyr Gibbs does too.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
23. Minnesota Vikings: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Keion White, DL, Georgia Tech
It is my strong belief that the NFL likes Keion White substantially more than most fans would like to think they would. He fits the Jaguars D quite nicely, too.
25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
This seed was planted in my head at the combine and I’ve heard nothing to dissuade germination.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
27. Buffalo Bills: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Van Ness could go at No. 10, 13, 18 or anywhere between there and here. Hard to envision him falling any deeper, whether it’s Buffalo or a trade up from a team at the top of the second round.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
This is another pick I’ve rolled with through several mocks and see no reason to change it.
29. New Orleans Saints: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
This is another pick that might be made by a different team moving up to land the former No. 1 overall recruit.
Second round, 32-47 overall
32. Steelers: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
33. Texans: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
34. Cardinals: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
35. Colts: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
36. Rams: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
37. Seahawks: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
38. Raiders: Adetomiba Adebawore, DL, Northwestern
39. Panthers: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
40. Saints: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
41. Titans: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
42. Packers: B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
43. Jets: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
44. Falcons: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
45. Packers: Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State
46. Patriots: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
47. Commanders: Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami FL
Keep in mind that after this point, the projections are more about matching player and slot than they are predicting team and player.
Second round, 48-63 overall
48. Lions: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
49. Steelers: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
50. Buccaneers: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
51. Dolphins: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
52. Seahawks: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
53. Bears: Jordan McFadden, OL, Clemson
54. Chargers: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
55. Lions: Steve Avila, OG, TCU
56. Jaguars: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
57. Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
58. Cowboys: D.J. Turner, CB, Michigan
59. Bills: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
60. Bengals: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
61. Bears: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
62. Eagles: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
63. Chiefs: Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, WR, Houston
Third round, 64-80 overall
64. Bears: Joe Tippman, OL, Wisconsin
65. Texans: Yaya Diaby, EDGE, Louisville
66. Cardinals: Tuli Tuipulotu, DT, USC
67. Broncos: Karl Brooks, DT, Bowling Green
68. Broncos: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
69. Rams: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
70. Raiders: Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
71. Saints: Clark Phillips, CB, Utah
72. Titans: Asim Richards, OT, North Carolina
73. Texans: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
74. Browns: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
75. Falcons: Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
76. Patriots: Isaiah McGuire, EDGE, Missouri
77. Rams: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
78. Packers: JL Skinner, S, Boise State
79. Colts: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
80. Steelers: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
Third round, 81-102 overall
We’ve entered the “crazy monkey with a blowdart” area here…
81. Lions: Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
82. Buccaneers: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
83. Seahawks: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn
84. Dolphins: Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
85. Chargers: Chandler Zavala, OG, North Carolina State
86. Ravens: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
87. Vikings: Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
88. Jaguars: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
89. Giants: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
90. Cowboys: Moro Ojomo, DT, Texas
91. Bills: Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
92. Bengals: Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
93. Panthers: Keondre Coburn, DT, Texas
94. Eagles: Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
95. Chiefs: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
96. Cardinals: Luke Wypler, OC, Ohio State
97. Commanders: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
98. Browns: Quan Martin, S, Illinois
99. 49ers: Carter Warren, OC, Pittsburgh
100. Raiders: Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
101. 49ers: Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
102. 49ers: Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest
Mr. Irrelevant: Andre Szmyt, K, Syracuse