2023 NFL mock draft 3.0
Trenton Corn gives us his very first mock draft of the season with predictive trades
With no football to watch this weekend and the Senior Bowl festivities hitting full stride, I’ve decided to give you guys my mock draft 3.0, this time with some predictive trades! Enjoy!
1. Panthers: Will Levis, QB
With new head coach Frank Reich in town, Carolina gets aggressive in landing their new franchise quarterback, as they trade their 9th overall pick, along with their third (94) and fourth round (115) selections in this years draft, along with their first and second round selections in next years draft to move up to first overall to land Will Levis. A polarizing draft prospect, I believe the Colts or the Panthers one will fall in love with his intangibles and trade up for the toolsy prospect.
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2. Texans: Will Anderson Jr, EDGE
Spoiler alert to pick 12, but after what I would imagine being a pre draft day trade between the Panthers and Bears for first overall, Houston then pivots and trades Las Vegas their 12th overall pick for Derek Carr, who seems to likely part ways with the origination this offseason. With Derek Carr as the teams new franchise quarterback, Houston then selects edge rusher Will Anderson second overall, who new head coach DeMeco Ryans will love to get his hands on.
3. Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DT
With the injury to Kyler Murray, Arizona is picking higher than expected this season. Due to that, Arizona needs to select the best player available and that’s exactly what Jalen Carter is, as he’s arguably the best overall prospect at the draft.
4. Colts: CJ Stroud, QB
I’ve been critical of Stroud in the past about his processing and playmaking abilities when things break down and how he’s always had an insane amount of talent to prop him up, unlike a player like Bryce Young, who showed he could elevate those around him this season. However, his performance against Georgia in the College Football Playoffs put some of those doubts to question. His & Levis prototypical size for the position could be enough to propel them above a prospect like Bryce Young in the draft.
5. Seahawks (Broncos): Bryce Young, QB
Similar to my mock draft 2.0, the surprise and Value of Bryce Young being available here at fifth overall will be too much for Seattle to pass up on. Pete Carrol and the front office has experience with an undersized QB and needs to think long and hard about whether or not Geno Smith is REALLY their franchise quarterback that can lead the team to playoff success.
6. Lions (Rams): Myles Murphy, DL
With the top three quarterbacks off the board and Detroit ranking THIRD in total yards this season, I have the team selecting Myles Murphy to improve their talent along the defensive line. Murphy is a versatile, athletic specimen that reminds me of last years first overall pick, Travon Walker.
7. Raiders: Broderick Jones, OT
ESPN’s Mel Kiper “wouldn’t be shocked” if Broderick Jones went top ten in the draft, and I wouldn’t either. I personally think the Raiders are in a position to sign a proven veteran quarterback this offseason instead of drafting a rookie, but no matter who’s in at QB next year, they’ll need to be protected. The Georgia offensive tackle didn’t allow a single sack last season.
8. Falcons: Quentin Johnston, WR
Kind of a surprise, I know. There’s probably not a mock draft out there with Atlanta addressing the WR position with their first round selection. However, with the top three quarterbacks and pass rushers off the board, Atlanta decides to add another 6’4” wideout with after the catch prowess, as they decide to surround Desmond Ridder with quality weapons so they can accurately tell if he’s their QB of the future or not. Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Quentin Johnston would be very fun to watch.
9. Bears: Peter Skoronski, OT
Chicago trades down, receives a HAUL and is now in position to draft for their top need in offensive tackle. Finding a franchise left tackle to protect Justin Fields moving forward is priority number one, as they select a “hometown” product in Peter Skoronski. Although fears of his size and frame may prevent him from being the first offensive lineman selected, his film, production and versatility all but guarantees that he’ll be a top 15 draft selection.
10. Eagles (Saints): Keion White, DL
With the Senior Bowl this week, I’m projecting Georgia Tech’s Keion White to be one of the fastest rising participants in the event. The dude is an ELITE athlete for his size and should dominate during the course of the week. Philadelphia needs to address the depth along their defensive line with Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Javon Hargrave all hitting the open market this offseason, not to mention their most recent acquisitions of Robert Quinn, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh as well.
11. Jets: Dawand Jones, OT
In a mad dash to address the offensive tackle position after Broderick Jones and Peter Skoronski are selected, New York trades Tennessee their 13th overall pick and second round draft selection (44) for the Titans 11th overall and third round (73) pick. It’s obvious that the organization is likely to move on from Zach Wilson this offseason, as they are a team I can see making a move for Derek Carr as well. However, I see them ending up with Jimmy Garoppolo under center next year. With George Fant hitting the open market, Mekhi Becton’s injury woes and Duane Brown nearing 40 years of age, the Jets need to address the offensive line once again. After a solid season at Ohio State and measuring in with a wingspan of 89.5 inches at the Senior Bowl, a bold prediction of mine is Dawand Jones being selected above teammate, Paris Johnson Jr.
12. Raiders: Devon Witherspoon, CB
This pick was originally the Texans to select, brought to them by the Browns, before they traded it to the Raiders for Derek Carr and their second round pick (39). Las Vegas gave up the fourth most passing yards this season, something they cannot afford to do again. Devon Witherspoon has been a fast draft riser due to his alpha mentality, physically and ball skills at the position.
13. Titans: Michael Mayer, TE
Yes, Tennessee saw some glimpses of promise from last years rookie, Chigoziem Okonkwo, but with Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim both becoming free agents, I can see Tennessee selecting Mayer here. A top 15 prospect and one of the safest players in this draft, not only can Mayer help the Titans ground game with his blocking, but also gives Ryan Tannehill another target to utilize.
14. Patriots: Zay Flowers, WR
With the selection of Cole Strange in the first round last year, it’s obvious New England is about as unpredictable as any team when it comes to who they select. With the Patriots history of drafting Senior Bowl standouts and staying with the unexpected, I have them pegged with selecting Zay Flowers here at pick 14. Reports out of the Senior Bowl is that the organization has been “impressed” with the Boston College wideout. New England needs to surround Mac Jones with as many weapons as possible to see what they have in their young QB.
15. Packers: Brian Branch, S
Not only is Brian Branch the best prospect available, but safety is probably Green Bay’s biggest need with Darnell Savage & Tariq Carpenter as the only players at the position under contract next season and both not considered to be long term options for the Packers as well. Playing the “star” position for Nick Saban at Alabama last season, Branch showed us all he’s a versatile, athletic specimen. I find it hard to see him being selected outside of the top 15 in this years draft.
16. Commanders: Anthony Richardson, QB
I won’t lie to you guys. Washington has a starting quarterback on their roster. A couple of them actually. However, I don’t think any of them are FRANCHISE quarterback’s. Although Sam Howell has the inside track to be the teams starter next season, I think the Commanders could add an exciting prospect like Richardson to the roster to push him for the starting spot. In addition, Howell very well could be the teams bridge QB while Richardson develops for a year or two.
17. Steelers: Trenton Simpson, LB
Although Pittsburgh’s need at Linebacker hasn’t been talked about as much as offensive tackle and cornerback, I would argue it’s the teams BIGGEST need. Not only is Devin Bush hitting the open market, but the Steelers could also cut Myles Jack after an underwhelming first season with the team. Savings of around 8 million dollars if cut, it seems beneficial to me that Pittsburgh would move on from both Jack and Bush and replace them with one of my favorite draft prospects in Trenton Simpson.
18. Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB
After selecting Myles Murphy 6th overall, the Lions then addresses their secondary by drafting Christian Gonzalez to play opposite of Jeff Okudah. He’s arguably the best man to man corner in the draft and should test out well at the combine.
19. Buccaneers: Paris Johnson Jr, OL
No matter who’s starting at quarterback for the team next season, the Bucs need to ensure they’re standing upright. Paris Johnson could easily be the teams Donovan Smith replacement at left tackle, but should also be able to start right away at guard this season if needed as well.
20. Seahawks: Tyree Wilson, EDGE
Wilson’s tweener nature at the pass rusher position and his foot injury he’s recovering from could make him drop lower than what many expect come draft day, but make no mistake, this would be a home run draft selection for a Seahawks team that desperately needs pass rush help.
21. Chargers: Jalin Hyatt, WR
Justin Herbert’s 6.8 yards per attempt ranked 26th in the league in 2022, which is just outright shocking. A change at the offensive coordinator position was needed, but LA has to address their Wide Receiver depth this offseason and there’s no better fit in the draft than college football’s best deep threat, Jalin Hyatt. His ability to take the top off of defenses should make that yards per attempt number skyrocket for Herbert.
22. Ravens: Jordan Addison, WR
I’m not worried about the future of Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. However, I am worried about the collection of weapons he has at his disposal currently. Jordan Addison taking pressure away from Rashod Bateman on the perimeter, along with Devin Duvernay and Mark Andrews making appearances in the slot should be enough weapons for Jackson to work with. With the financial commitment the team is about to make to Jackson, it’s vital that the team does all it can to ensure he has success.
23. Rams: Bijan Robinson, RB
Similar to the Tennessee Titans trade down with the Jets last year when New York traded up for Jermaine Johnson pick 26th overall, the Vikings move out of the first round to collect more assets, considering they only have four total draft picks before compensatory picks have been allotted to teams. In last year’s draft, Tennessee was able to trade pick 26 overall and a third rounder (Pick 101) for the Jets second round pick (35), third round pick (69), and fifth round selection (163). In this situation, I have Minnesota trading pick 26 overall and Detroit’s fourth round pick (119) for the Rams second round pick (36) third round pick (70), Tennessee’s 6th round pick (190) and the Rams 2024 fourth round selection. The Rams running back situation last season with the release of Darrell Henderson and the play of Cam Akers proved its obvious that the team needs to add more talent in the room.
24. Jaguars: Cam Smith, CB
Jacksonville is projected to be over the cap with players like Evan Engram and Marvin Jones Jr needing to be brought back this summer. However, cutting cornerback Shaqill Griffin would save 13.5 million off the 2023 cap and they replace him with my favorite cornerback prospect in Cam Smith.
25. Cardinals: Cody Mauch, OL
Keeping the trend of star wideouts being traded on draft night (AJ & Marquise Brown last season), I have the Giants (who has the second most cap space this offseason) trading their 26th overall and third round pick (90) to the Arizona Cardinals for Deandre Hopkins. A deal very similar to the Tennessee & Philadelphia trade in which the Titans sent pick 18 and pick 101 overall to the Eagles for AJ Brown. Arizona gets out of Hopkins contract and uses this second first round draft selection to select Senior Bowl standout Cody Mauch and New York gets a much needed WR1 for Daniel Jones. Mauch should compete for a starting tackle position in year one and will immediately start along the spotty Arizona offensive line at guard at the very least.
26. Cowboys: Joey Porter Jr, CB
A cornerback prospect built for Dan Quinn’s system, the son of former pro bowl linebacker Joey Porter will shore up the void opposite of Trevon Diggs along this Cowboys defense. Dallas tried the revolving door of Anthony Brown, Kelvin Joseph, Nashon Wright and Israel Mukuamu this season to no avail. They have to address the position early in this years draft.
27. Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G
With Rodger Saffold (not to mention he’s also turning 35 before next season) and other key backup guards such as David Quessenberry, Bobby Hart, Ike Boettger and Greg Van Roten all heading towards the open market, drafting a guard at pick 27 makes a lot of sense for the Bills. O’Cyrus Torrence is arguably the best guard prospect in this years draft and was a player I highlighted as a player to watch in my “Way too early 2023 NFL mock draft” that was published on May 2nd.
28. Bengals: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE
I’ve seen tight end, receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback pop up as first round position targets for the Bengals. However, after registering the fourth fewest sacks in the league this past season, I think adding help along the defensive line is a must for this Bengals ball club. Lukas Van Ness is a draft crush of mine, as I probably had him as a first round fixture before anyone else, dating back to my mock draft 1.0 on November 21st. He’s a versatile, high floor prospect that’s also oozing with upside.
29. Saints: Kayshon Bouette, WR
After trading Sean Peyton to the Broncos, New Orleans uses their new first round draft pick on LSU’s Kayshon Bouette, who’s a pure hands catcher with YAC ability out the wazoo. Early 2023 mock drafts pegged him as the WR1 in this years draft before he didn’t have the season many expected coming back from offseason surgery. The addition of the “hometown” slot receiver adds another weapon for whoever the team decides to be their franchise quarterback in the future, as the team desperately needs additional pieces alongside Chris Olave.
30. Chiefs: Bryan Bresee, DT
It’s no secret that Kansas City could use some added help alongside Chris Jones on their defensive line and that’s exactly what they’re getting with the high value selection of Bresee here at pick 30. The former first overall high school recruit battled injuries and the loss of his sister during his college career, but the upside he offers as not only a run stuffer, but also as a pass rusher makes this draft fit very interesting to me.
31. Eagles: Emmanuel Forbes, CB
With James Bradberry slated to become a free agent and Darius Slay not getting any younger, it’s safe to assume that Philly will use one of their two first round picks on a Cornerback. Emmanuel Forbes, who has the most pick sixes is FBS history, is an alpha at the position who’s also not afraid to get his nose dirty and come down to make some tackles in the open field as well.
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