2023 NFL mock draft 2.0
Merry Christmas! My early present to you is my mock draft 2.0.
My last mock draft posted on November 21st is slightly outdated, considering that a top five mock draft selection of mine (Olu Fashanu) has announced that he will return to Penn State next season.
With new team needs as well, I have decided to give you guys an updated mock draft. A gift from me! This mock drafts order will based on the current standings. Enjoy!
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1. Texans: Will Levis, QB
Mock drafts aren’t meant to be “safe” or “chalk”. These mock drafts are supposed to ask, “what if?” I believe in bringing you guys mock drafts that are not like what you see everywhere else. In this scenario, I ask the question, “What if Houston takes Will Levis first overall?” I can almost guarantee you that we will receive a report of “some scouts have a fear of Bryce Young’s size” during the pre-draft process, which is a legitimate concern. I’ve been on record for saying that Levis will make a better NFL quarterback than college.
2. Bears: Jalen Carter, DT
Jalen Carter has been a player linked to the Bears for a while now with some in the mock draft community seeing him as a guy that the Bears front office likely won’t pass up on. Whether it’s him or Will Anderson, Chicago needs to improve their front seven on defense.
3. Seahawks (Broncos): Bryce Young, QB
Look, I understand Geno Smith has been a pleasant surprise for Seattle this season, but similar to the Jared Goff situation in Detroit, is he really the long term franchise option at QB for Seattle? I find it hard to believe that Seattle will pass on Bryce Young if he falls to pick three overall, especially with the front office and coaching staff having success with a smaller Quarterback in the past.
4. Lions (Rams): Will Anderson Jr, EDGE
“ThEReS nO WAy AnDERson FaLL’s ThIS FaR.” We were all saying the same thing about Kayvon Thibodeaux this time last year and he ended up going fifth overall to the Giants. Detroit selects the best player available and also adds pass rush help.
5. Cardinals: Paris Johnson Jr, OL
This might be an exaggeration to the Kyler Murray injury and my thought process to protect him more moving forward, but I believe improving the offensive line is one of Arizona’s biggest draft needs outside of improving their pass rush and adding cornerback depth. Johnson’s versatility of having played on both sides of the line will be an exciting trait for NFL GM’s as we get deeper into the draft process.
6. Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB
I’m sorry but I continue to believe that CJ Stroud will be selected after Levis, Young and Richardson in this years draft. With Matt Ryan looking as if he needs to retire mid season, Indy needs a franchise QB and could be a team that falls in love with the intangibles that Richardson brings to the position.
7. Falcons: Myles Murphy, EDGE
I said in my last mock draft that Myles Murphy reminds me of last years first overall pick, Travon Walker and can easily see him being a top five selection to a team like the Cardinals as early as 5th overall. However, believe it or not, only five players can be selected in the top five of the draft. Murphy would be the best player available in the draft and adds much needed pass rush help for the Falcons.
8. Panthers: CJ Stroud, QB
Although I don’t see him in the same light as the three QB’s selected above him, I still see him being a first round selection. Carolina has been playing musical chairs at the QB position ever since they let Cam Newton go, including bringing Newton back at one point, but they finally draft his replacement in the first round. When everything is perfect, there may not be a better passer of the ball in the draft, but I question his processing and improvisation skills.
9. Eagles (Saints): Bijan Robinson, RB
What do you do with a top ten selection when you’re currently the leagues best team? You draft a player like Bijan Robinson. Miles Sanders has played well this season, but it makes sense for Philly to let him walk in free agency and spend their money elsewhere, especially when they can upgrade with a player like Robinson. The best RB prospect since Ezekiel Elliot, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him as a top ten to fifteen selection in this years draft.
10. Raiders: Bryan Bresee, DT
With Chandler Jones being disappointing for the majority of the season and the Raiders producing the fourth fewest sacks in the league this year, I’ve seen a lot of mocks predict the Raiders to select an edge rusher here. With Chandler Jones playing better as of late and the teams financial commitment to him, I have predicted the Raiders to select arguably the best player available in the former first overall high school recruit in the nation, Bryan Bresee. Although he’s not going to wow you with his sack numbers, his presence up the middle will help the Raiders against the run and will free up Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones to be able to get to the Quarterback more often.
11. Jaguars: Christian Gonzalez, CB
Jacksonville has found something in Tyson Campbell, but needs to find a running mate opposite of him. Christian Gonzalez Is one of the best true man to man corners coming into the draft with exciting height, weight, speed measurable’s.
12. Texans (Browns): Quentin Johnston, WR
After selecting their franchise Quarterback in Will Levis, Houston then adds a wideout to help him out in Quentin Johnston. With Brandin Cooks future as a Houston Texan questionable, Johnston’s 6’4” 215 pound frame, after the catch ability and college production suggests he can be the teams true number one wideout sooner rather than later.
13. Steelers: Joey Porter Jr, CB
With Pittsburgh desperately needing more capable bodies in the secondary and Joey Porter Jr offering one of the highest upsides at the Cornerback position in the draft, creates a story book draft selection of Porter Jr. being selected by the team that his father had much success with in his NFL career.
14. Packers: Tyree Wilson, EDGE
With the departure of Za’Darius Smith this last offseason and Rashan Gary’s ACL injury, Green Bay has seen first hand that they need added pass rush depth. Before going down with injury late into the season, Tyree Wilson applied pressure on roughly 19.16% of his pass rush snaps. For comparison, that’s greater than 2021 Will Anderson Jr. (17.01%), 2019 Chase Young (17.5%), 2014 Myles Garrett (18.79%) and just below 2017 Nick Bosa (19.64%). Many might shy away from him because of his foot injury he’s recovering from, but I still think Wilson is a top ten overall prospect.
15. Seahawks: Trenton Simpson, LB
Trenton Simpson is my favorite prospect in this years draft and NO it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that we share the same first name. However, me being a Dallas Cowboys fan might have something to do with it, considering Simpson has the same so-everything tendencies at the Linebacker position that Micah Parsons also possesses. He should put up impressive numbers if he participates in the combine festivities and helps Seattle with depth at their Linebacker position and gives the team some needed help rushing the passer as well.
16. Patriots: Darnell Washington, TE
If their first round selection of Cole Strange last year wasn’t evidence enough, New England is one of the most unpredictable teams to project in these mock drafts. Playing off of the unexpected and the fact that the team can cut bait with Hunter Henry this offseason and save money, I have the Patriots selecting Georgia’s Darnell Washington. Washington should put up freak combine numbers and with their success in the past at the Tight End position and the thought process of continuing to surround Mac Jones with enough weapons, I think this selection makes a lot of sense. Currently this might be a head scratcher, but I’m expecting him to vault up draft boards closer to draft time.
17. Jets: Peter Skoronski, OL
New York needs to address the offensive line position, considering Mekhi Becton hasn’t played football in two years, George Fant is heading towards free agency and their stop gap replacement at Left Tackle (Duane Brown) is 37 years old. Skoronski will fall in the draft due to the lack of physical traits at his disposal, but he’s an elite technician at the position and should have success similar to another former Northwestern Wildcat, in Rashawn Slater. There’s questions about where he should slot in at the next level, but with the positional versatility he offers, if I’m the Jets, I draft him no matter what and worry about that later.
18. Lions: Noah Sewell, LB
Malcolm Rodriguez has proven to be a fantastic draft selection, but Detroit still needs to address the Linebacker position and seizes the opportunity to pair Noah with his brother, Penei as well. With how well Detroit has played on the offensive side of the ball this year, I’d be shocked to see them spend one of their two first round selections on that side of the ball.
19. Buccaneers: Kelee Ringo, CB
The Bucs signed Carlton Davis this past offseason, but still has Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting slated to be free agents after this season. Kelee Ringo has been considered to be one of, if not the top Cornerback in this years draft class after his performance in the national championship last year, but has put up some inconsistent play on tape this season and has been critiqued on being too stiff when mirroring or trying to re-route his opposing wideouts. However, with Ringo’s upside at the position, this very well could turn into an excellent value at this point in the draft.
20. Titans: Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR
With the disappointing season from Robert Woods and Treylon Burks just being able to show flashes here and there, I think it’s safe to assume that Tennessee needs to acquire more weapons for Ryan Tannehill (Or Malik Willis) to throw to. Smith-Njigba has been hampered all season due to a hamstring injury, but I think many people are forgetting the 95 reception, 1,606 yard, nine touchdown performance the year prior. Or his 15 reception, 347 yard & three touchdown performance in last years Rose Bowl. He should be able to slide in at the slot and have success with both Woods and Burks next year.
21. Commanders: Cam Smith, CB
Washington‘s success this season with Taylor Heinicke likely means they will roll with him for another season. One of their most pressing needs however, is at the Cornerback position. Cam Smith isn’t as physically imposing as some of the other corners in this class, but I think there’s an argument to be made about him being the best prospect at the position.
22. Chargers: Michael Mayer, TE
With the Chargers having the ability to get out of Gerald Everett’s contract & Donald Parham hitting the open market as well this offseason, adding a Tight End like Michael Mayer might not be such a bad idea. Mayer is one of the safest draft selections in the draft and offers good value here at 22 as well.
23. Giants: Jalin Hyatt, WR
With Kenny Golladay being a waste of money and Kadarius Toney being traded this season suggests that New York needs to desperately address the Wide Receiver position. Jalin Hyatt, this years Biletnikoff award winner produced 67 receptions for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns this season for the Vols, proving to be the best deep threat in college football. He would pair well with this year’s rookie, Wandale Robinson, who will man the slot moving forward for the G-Men.
24. Ravens: Jordan Addison, WR
We follow up this years Biletnikoff award winner with last years, in Jordan Addison. Rashod Bateman’s season ending injury has exposed the need for Baltimore to address the WR position, but the team has honestly needed to improve the depth at the position before the injury. The addition of Addison and a healthy Bateman alongside Devin Duvernay in the slot creates an exciting trio of receivers for Lamar Jackson to throw to.
25. Broncos (49ers) : Broderick Jones, OT
Russell Wilson’s first season as a Denver Bronco has been horrific. However, I think a large portion of the teams troubles on the offensive side of the ball has been the play of their offensive line. Jones is largely inexperienced compared to the other offensive linemen selected above him, but the former five star recruit out of high school arguably has the highest upside out of any of the offensive line prospects in the draft, offering exceptional explosiveness and mobility for his dense frame at the position.
26. Cowboys: DJ Turner, CB
A corner who could be a riser up draft boards after what should be one of the fastest 40 yard dash times at the combine, regardless of position, is Michigan’s DJ Turner. He’s put together some really solid tape this season, so once scouts can have the speed that pops out on tape become reaffirmed, I fully expect him to turn into a first round selection. Dallas has had inconsistent play this season opposite of Trevon Diggs at the Cornerback position and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later in the draft.
27. Bengals: Jared Verse, EDGE
The secondary has been a main focus in many mock drafts, considering the teams two starting Safeties are set to be free agents this summer and the teams lack of depth at the Cornerback position with Chidobe Awuzie’s ACL injury and the inconsistent play from Eli Apple this season. However, the Bengals have accumulated the third fewest sacks this year with 22, just five more than the last place Chicago Bears. Jared Verse has been amazing for Florida State after transferring from Albany, as he’s emerged as one of the best pass rushers in all of college football and should immediately help Cincinnati in the pass rush department.
28. Chiefs: Brian Branch, S
Look, I wanted to go with either an edge rusher or interior defensive lineman here, but the value of Brian Branch was too immense to pass up on. Branch’s versatility to play both Safety positions is HUGE, especially with the Chiefs tendencies to play up to three safeties at a time. Additionally, with Juan Thornhill slated to be a free agent this offseason, it’s not a guarantee he will be brought back either. You have to remember that it’s a seven round draft, Kansas City has plenty of time to address their team needs in the draft, but they can’t pass up on the positional value of Branch right there.
29. Vikings: Clark Phillips III, CB
Obviously his size is going to be in question and the reason he falls on draft day, but I still see Clark Phillips being a first round selection. Like I stated in my previous mock draft, the Cornerback position is one that I can easily see Minnesota address with Patrick Peterson potentially leaving the team this offseason.
30. Bills: Rashee Rice, WR
The Wide Receiver position is an area that the Buffalo Bills likely could address in the first round, as they end up selecting Rashee Rice from SMU. His versatility to play in both the slot and out on the perimeter will be attractive for many NFL teams.
31. Eagles: Gervon Dexter, DT
Philly played with the houses money with their first selection in the first round, but now shifts their focus to more of a need with Florida’s Gervon Dexter with players like Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox slated to be free agents. With his exciting 6’6” 312 pound frame and athleticism for his size, I can see Dexter being a riser up draft boards as well.
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