With Super Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs in the rearview mirror, it’s time to update our staff NFL mock draft. Losses by the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings changed the draft order and shook up the bottom of the draft a bit, including forcing a new pick from the New York Giants.
This is a no-trades NFL mock draft, and much of it remains the same as version 1.0, which you can see here, but the bottom of this draft is a bit different, and we’ll keep updating our picks in the weeks ahead as the draft order changes and prospects go through off-season workouts. Enjoy!
2023 NFL Mock Draft: First Round
1. Chicago Bears, 3-14: Will Anderson, EDGE Alabama
The Chicago Bears will likely be looking to deal this pick for a haul, but we’re not going to project trades in our first mock. There’s a really strong likelihood that the Colts might try to make a move for this pick to get ahead of Houston, but, for now, Chicago stays home and takes Will Anderson, who is probably the best overall player in the draft.
2. Houston Texans, 3-13-1: Bryce Young, QB Alabama
Bryce Young could very well be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but there are some concerns about his size at 6-foot, 190 pounds. The choice will likely be between Young and the more projectible but far more raw Will Levis. We’ll say the Texans go with the more NFL-ready option.
3. Arizona Cardinals, 4-13: Jalen Carter, DT Georgia
With head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim out in Arizona, the Cardinals could be looking at an overhaul. But, for now, we’ll assume that Kyler Murray stays along with his talented receiving corps, which means the Cardinals need defensive help, especially with J.J. Watt retiring. Jalen Carter is an immediate difference-maker
4. Indianapolis Colts, 4-12-1: Will Levis, QB Kentucky
The Colts are going to take a quarterback. That probably is not a surprise to anyone. There’s a good chance they take Levis even if they trade up to the first pick, so they’ll get him here at No. 4. He’s a riskier bet than Young, but his upside is probably the highest of any QB in this class.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos, 5-12): Tyree Wilson, EDGE Texas Tech
The Seahawks make the playoffs and get a top-five pick, but we saw from their Wild Card loss to the 49ers that they still need an influx of talent on the defensive side of the ball. This is also where the draft gets interesting because Seattle could trade down with somebody who wants to take Stroud, if he’s still on the board, but since we’re avoiding trade for now, Seattle continues to boost their young defense with a pass rusher who has elite physical traits and can be disruptive off the edge.
6. Detroit Lions (via Rams, 5-12): Christian Gonzalez, CB Oregon
The Lions’ defense is a mess, but their secondary in particular is a real issue outside of Jeff Okudah. This may be a little early to take a corner, and Detroit is in a good position to trade down with Stroud still on the board, but since we’re not doing trades, they will take Gonzalez, who will emerge as the best corner in this class. He will give Detroit two young corners with upside for the foreseeable future.
7. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-11: CJ Stroud, QB Ohio State
It’s highly unlikely that CJ Stroud will fall outside the top five with teams looking to trade up, but this is a no-trade NFL mock draft so Josh McDaniels could have the best overall quarterback in this class depending on your view. Stroud has good timing, accuracy, and the footwork necessary to be successful in this league. But just how much of his success was because of the OSU receivers?
8. Atlanta Falcons, 7-10: Bryan Bresee, DL Clemson
Atlanta has a ton of needs on the roster but none so more than in the trenches. Bresee would pair nicely with Grady Jarrett and could be a mainstay in Atlanta for a long time.
9. Carolina Panthers, 7-10: Anthony Richardson, QB Flordia
Depending on who you ask, this is a deep quarterback class. Richardson is even more of a project than when Josh Allen came out of college. Richardson has several raw tools but his tape is about as uneven a player as I’ve ever seen. Carolina will be gambling here and it could hinge on whoever the head coach is.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints, 7-10): Kelee Ringo, CB Georgia
The Eagles’ secondary could look a lot different next season with all four starters at safety and corner up for free agency this year. The odds are the Eagles will need a No. 1 guy and who better than the best corner of a national championship team? Ringo is one of Georgia’s best defenders and will be a plug-and-play, Day 1 starter for a defense that finished as a top-five unit in almost every category.
11. Tennessee Titans, 7-10: Myles Murphy, DE Clemson
There is always an edge rusher that falls in the draft for one reason or another. Murphy will be ranked above many of his counterparts but in this mock, he falls to Tennessee at 11. I doubt Philadelphia double dips at EDGE this year and the Titans will swoop in for the kill if this happens.
12. Houston Texans (via Browns, 7-10): Peter Skoronski, OT Northwestern
Skoronski is the top tackle product in the draft and he’d pair nicely with the Bryce Young selection at No. 2 overall. The Texans need all the help they can get along the offensive line and protecting their new franchise quarterback should be a top priority.
13. New York Jets, 7-10: Paris Johnson, OT Ohio State
Skoronski and Johnson will go quickly off the board following each other. If the Jets do not trade this pick for a quarterback, they’ll look to solidify the offensive line and provide depth where they desperately need it. The team may have missed the playoffs because of the quarterback but the injuries along the O-line didn’t help.
14. New England Patriots, 8-9: – Quentin Johnson, WR TCU
Bill Belichick saw the absolute beating Mac Jones took this season due to the lack of weapons, poor offensive line, and flawed coaching. He’ll look to rectify that this offseason and provide some level of positivity for their young quarterback. Johnson is arguably the best receiver in this draft.
15. Green Bay Packers, 8-9: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR OSU
How funny would it be that the year Aaron Rodgers retires is the year the Packers finally take a wide receiver in the first round? Pairing Christian Watson with a top slot receiver in this class is almost too perfect for Jordan Love or Rodgers, should he choose to come back.
16. Washington Commanders, 8-8-1: Devon Witherspoon, CB Illinois
It’s a strong corner class, and they don’t come much better than Devon Witherspoon. In a division where the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys all have top weapons at wide receiver (if we expect the Giants to solidify their receiving core) then the Commanders will need all the help they can get for a secondary that has struggled at times this year.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-8: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
It’s a matchup made in heaven. Porter playing in the city his father made an all-pro career out of is too easy to predict. Pittsburgh’s defense wasn’t the problem this season but help in the secondary is always needed when you have the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns in your division.
18. Detroit Lions, 9-8: Nolan Smith, EDGE Georgia
The Lions have a golden opportunity to build one of the more imposing, young defenses in football if the dominos fall as they are in this NFL mock draft. Smith flirts as a top-10 talent in the Class of 2023 as an athletic edge rusher that could potentially pair wonderfully opposite the impressive Aidan Hutchinson — who should be garnering more Defensive Rookie of the Year consideration.
The draft order for all of the subsequent picks is subject to change after the playoffs
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-9: Cam Smith, CB South Carolina
There might not be a cornerback in the nation that had been avoided more than Cam Smith. Following a three-interception, nine pass-breakup campaign in 2021, opposing quarterbacks targeted receivers covered by Smith just 22 times in eight games this season. Tampa Bay is poised to lose two of its best cornerbacks in Jamal Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting and they’ll thank their lucky stars if Smith falls to them.
20. Seattle Seahawks 9-8: Jaylon Jones, CB/S Texas A&M
The Seahawks need an interior defensive lineman to bolster an interior that has been bullied by the run game this season, but their selection of an EDGE at No. 5 takes them out of the running for legitimate interior linemen in the first round. Seattle has a No. 1 corner in Tariq Woolen, but much is left to be desired from Mike Jackson Sr. as the No. 2 option. Jones provides another option.
21. Los Angeles Chargers 10-7: Trenton Simpson, LB Clemson
The Chargers offense, led by Justin Herbert, is among the NFL’s most elite. They have adequate skill position players, and their offensive line is serviceable enough. But, their defense, particularly their running defense, is shakey. The team gave up the 5th-most rushing yards in the NFL this year (2,478). Trenton Simpson is an elite athlete who would make an immediate impact, and help secure the middle of the field for years to come.
22. Miami Dolphins 9-8: PICK FORFEITED
23. Baltimore Ravens 10-7: Clark Phillips III, CB Utah
Last season, the Ravens allowed the 7th-most passing yards of any NFL team at 3,947. Phillips is a smaller player, but he plays so much bigger than his profile suggests. He is a solid tackler with the ability to play both outside and nickel and has a tremendous feel for reading quarterbacks. If he was two inches taller, he’d be a top-15 pick. Adding Phillips to the Ravens’ secondary would be an immediate boost for Baltimore, and help shore up one of their biggest areas of need.
24. Minnesota Vikings 13-4: Jordin Addison, WR USC
The Vikings’ loss to the Giants showed that they can really use another wide receiver. Adam Thielen is on the downside of his career and really disappeared in the second half of the season, and KJ Osborn is really just a good depth piece. Addison is a great middle-of-the-field and contested catch option to pair with Justin Jefferson.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars 9-8: Michael Mayer, TE Notre Dame
Evan Engram is a free agent this offseason — and he couldn’t have picked much of a better time to do so after posting 73 catches for 766 yards and four touchdowns. Considering how much of a premium tight ends are at in the NFL, a bidding war likely awaits for his services. It makes Mayer the logical pick here in our NFL mock draft.
26. New York Giants 9-7-1: Josh Downs, WR UNC
Daniel Jones has shown he is more than capable of being a top quarterback in this league. Pairing him with a top wide receiver will be key this off-season. Downs is one of the more athletic targets in college and could be a perfect slot receiver for the Giants as they look to move players around. This one is all about scheme fit for New York.
27. Dallas Cowboys 12-5: Jalin Hyatt, WR Tennessee
The Cowboys are among the most well-rounded teams in the NFL, so they have a solid amount of freedom to take the best player off the board with this pick. Jalin Hyatt would give the team a great option in their receiving core, which is currently led by CeeDee Lamb. He’s six feet tall, and a legitimate threat on deep balls. Dak Prescott would be very happy if the Cowboys added Hyatt in this draft.
28. Cincinnati Bengals 12-4: Blake Freeland, OT BYU
The biggest thing that the Bengals could do going forward is to protect Joe Burrow. Cincinnati’s passers have been sacked 44 times this season (11th-most in the NFL), and the offensive line has not been great at helping the running game. Blake Freeland is NFL-ready and would make an immediate impact next season, with his huge 6-foot, 8-inch frame, and the versatility to play anywhere along the line.
29. Denver Broncos (via 49ers): Anton Harrison, OT Oklahoma
The Denver Broncos invested their future to acquire Russell Wilson last off-season. It didn’t go so well this year, but if they want to improve their quarterback play, the best thing they can do is to invest in the offensive line. Denver’s quarterbacks have been collectively sacked a league-high 63 times. Anton Harrison is six feet, five inches, and 315 pounds — an NFL-ready body that would help the Broncos right away next season.
30. Buffalo Bills 13-3: Rashee Rice, WR SMU
The Bills need offensive line help and could also be in the market for a safety if they don’t extend Jordan Poyer, but the hard truth is that Gabe Davis has disappointed this season. He is among the league leaders in drops and failed to show the consistency needed to be the team’s number two wide receiver. Rice is a big wide receiver that can play both outside and in the slot and brings a physicality that could be a real asset to this Bills passing attack as a chain-mover for Josh Allen.
31. Kansas City Chiefs 14-3: Dalton Kincaid, TE Utah
The Chiefs head into the draft with few gaping holes in their roster, allowing them to spoil themselves with a new toy for Patrick Mahomes. Sure, they already have perhaps the best tight end in the NFL with Travis Kelce, but he’s heading toward his mid-30s. Adding Dalton Kincaid, the 6-foot, 4-inch tight end from Utah would give the offense yet another option as a big-bodied pass catcher, and allow the Chiefs to run even more unique schemes that would surely make defense’s heads spin.
32. Philadelphia Eagles 14-3: Bijan Robinson, RB Texas
It’s hard to see Howie Roseman draft a running back in the first round. The analytically-driven Eagles don’t see the value in taking one this high, but with Miles Sanders departing in FA and few needs for the team elsewhere, the Eagles get one of the more complete backs coming out of college. Robinson behind the top offensive line in football would be an early favorite for rookie of the year.
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