2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0


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Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker dropping back to throw. Hooker is our projected third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ethan K. and Evan W.

  1. Detroit Lions: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The 2021 Heisman winner and arguably the best player in the draft, Bryce Young would be a phenomenal fit for the Detroit Lions. Jared Goff is not a quarterback for the future, but is reliable enough that Young could sit behind the Cal product and learn for a few years. Young has a very diverse skill set that, if utilized properly, could result in him being one of the better quarterbacks of the decade, especially on a Lions team that holds an array of talented weapons.


  1. Houston Texans: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

A brute force defensive end, Carter is an out-of-this-world talent and may very well be the best defender in all of the NCAA (or at least just behind LSU’s freshman linebacker Harold Perkins Jr.). He is a phenomenal run stopper, a great tackler, but is also deceptively fast and is a wrecking ball of a pass-rusher. Houston can not go much longer as a lowly franchise addicted to losing, making Carter a necessity at second overall. 


  1. Carolina Panthers: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Hooker has proven many doubters wrong this season. Many thought Tennessee would not be where they are right now. Hooker has helped the Vols move into the top five in the nation. The Panthers have struggled with finding a quarterback in the past few years but Hooker will fit easily into their system. Hooker is a Heisman hopeful, which would lead to a great pick for the Panthers. 


  1. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

A great edge rusher can be defined by two things: speed and power. Will Anderson checks both of those boxes. He balances his elite speed with crafty moves that allow him to get by tackles with ease. On paper, Anderson’s impact is not properly measured, as his stats do not completely reflect his abilities. In the NFL, we see Anderson as a player that will mightily improve as he already looks to be a matchup nightmare with a good pass rush win rate. For the Eagles, they will receive a young edge rusher with a lot of talent that can be looked at as replacing Brandon Graham as the heir to the throne of the best edge rusher in Philadelphia. 


  1. Houston Texans (via Cleveland): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Smith-Njigba has proven himself to be amongst the elite in NCAA Football, even whilst missing a lot of action due to injury. He gets elite separation from DBs and is an extremely smooth route runner. If Houston does plan on sticking with Davis Mills at quarterback for the long run, then they must make it a priority to garner a top-tier all-around receiver like Smith-Njigba, even if his draft stock falls due to limited 2022 availability.


  1. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Standing at a towering 6’4” and weighing in at 315 lbs, Peter Skoronski has the physical attributes to be the next great Northwestern tackle. With decently quick feet and a very strong upper body, Skoronski can easily lock up top defensive stars on the outside. With Seattle looking to invest in their offensive line for their future quarterback, Skoronski fits the bill as a good tackle that also has the flexibility of playing guard at the next level. 


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Our CB1 in the class, Ringo has shined throughout a dominant 2022 season and making his mark in big games. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker has looked like the Heisman frontrunner thus far, but when Ringo was able to shadow star wideout Jalin Hyatt, Hooker was unable to produce. Ringo even had an interception to show for the invigorating performance. With the Steelers constantly missing on corners, Ringo is the safe pick to lock up a good secondary moving forward.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The biggest standout on a much improved Penn State defense, Porter has had an electric past two seasons that could see him as a premier cornerback in the NFL. An argument could even be made for Porter to be the number one cornerback in this class, making this the right pick for a Jacksonville group in need of an elite cornerback for the successful future of their franchise.


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

The OT2 behind Skoronski, Johnson is a stout pass blocker that is a crucial aspect to the soaring Buckeye offense. A plethora of Vegas first-rounders have basically been thrown away, but Johnson will be the opposite. Derek Carr needs protection in order to produce a successful team and Johnson will provide elite blocking that should go a long way.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud and the Buckeyes are one of the most electric teams in the nation and the superstar QB is the reason why. Both on the ground and in the air, Stroud can make plays. Top tier weapons make his job even easier, making the possible selection by the Buccaneers a dream. The 6’3” QB’s transition to the big league would be a lot calmer as he looks to bring Tampa Bay back to the Super Bowl in the wake of Tom Brady’s inevitable retirement.


  1. Denver Broncos (via San Francisco) – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Losing star defensive end Bradley Chubb at the end of the trade deadline stings for Denver, but selecting a monstrous force like Murphy would ease some of that pain come 2023. Murphy is extremely difficult to block as a monster truck-like body coming at the quarterback. Denver needs defensive help and Murphy is perfect for exactly that.


  1. Arizona Cardinals – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

A strong, lengthy corner, Smith has all of the tools to become an elite NFL DB. Showing up constantly in big games, Smith does not shy away from the spotlight and makes the opposition look very poor. He has the swagger and confidence of a Jalen Ramsey or Richard Sherman and his play reflects that. Currently our CB3, I could see Smith rise into the top ten and jump Porter in our rankings, making him a steal for Arizona at twelfth. 


  1. New England Patriots – Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Pittsburgh transfer, Addison, has been a vital aspect to the success of the 2022 Trojans team. Making a dynamic duo with quarterback Caleb Williams, Addison has thrived as a great player in big games and is a threat to opposing defenses. He has solid physical size and is decently fast, making him a very tough cover. New England’s receiving core lacks a true number one receiver, making Addison, who would provide them with one, the perfect pick. 


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

Standing at a towering 6’6” and 275 lbs. (ESPN.com) Wilson’s physical attributes have lifted his draft stock very similarly to Georgia’s Travon Walker last year. Despite that, his abnormal size and strength are not the sole reason for his success as he never gives up on a play, is a hard tackler and has good field vision that leads him to easily bring down opposing QBs. With Chicago moving on from the majority of their pass rushing assets, Wilson is a great selection to get the Bears defense back on track and solidified. 


  1. Washington Commanders – Tanner Mckee, QB, Stanford

While not the expected pick at 15, McKee fits into the Washington system well and would be a great selection. Carson Wentz and McKee are very similar players and the Stanford product has looked promising after taking over for Davis Mills. Sam Howell is yet to be utilized by Washington, meaning they must go for a QB early—and McKee is a lot better of a choice than Kentucky’s Will Levis. 


  1. Green Bay Packers – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

By no means do we believe that Johnston is a better all-around player than the likes of Josh Downs, Zay Flowers and Jalin Hyatt, but the 6’4” deep threat is one of the most exciting players in the nation, currently, and teams will buy his height. Johnston is not that fast and his routes have a lot to improve, but his stats do not lie—he has played well even with an ankle injury limiting him. With Aaron Rodgers losing Davante Adams as a target, Johnston is a good, tall deep threat that he can use to his advantage.


  1. Indianapolis Colts – Bryan Breese, DT, Clemson

While Indianapolis’ main needs are not on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Frank Reich loves former Texas Longhorn Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Ehlinger is not great but is a serviceable starter, so it is understandable that they may look elsewhere at pick 17. Breese has not been as productive as one would expect a top prospect to be, but his younger age, physical attributes and his splash plays that result in turnovers make Breese worth a first rounder, based on potential.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Mayer, a big body tight end, has been a consistently reliable asset for the Irish. It may benefit him to convert to wide receiver in the NFL, like Chase Claypool, as he would be a very difficult task for opposing defenses. The Bengals have Hayden Hurst, but could use a better receiving weapon like Mayer at the position, who projects as one of the best athletes in this class.


  1. Atlanta Falcons – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Struggling mightily in big games, Levis is nowhere near an early first round talent. He constantly makes poor decisions with the football and has not been the elite talent that many Wildcat fans had hoped for. The high-level arm talent is Levis’ saving grace, but we do not see him going this early in the draft had it not been a very quarterback-needy bunch of franchises. Marcus Mariota is aging and can not be Atlanta’s future at the position, making a QB a must for the Falcons in 2023. 


  1. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles) – Brian Branch, CB, Alabama

Across from emerging cornerback Amani Oruwariye stands former third overall pick Jeff Okudah, who has not been the top talent that many Motor City fans thought he would be. Alabama’s Brian Branch would be the opposite of Okudah. Branch was described by Alabama coaches as a “very smart player” and is a very versatile DB. He blitzes phenomenally but is also sound in coverage. Detroit is in need of an all-around defensive back like Branch that can succeed at many spots on the field, specifically in replacement of Okudah or in the slot like Mike Hilton or C.J. Gardner Johnson.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M

As an extremely aggressive and hard-hitting cornerback, Jones would be the perfect compliment to the ball-hawking skills of J.C. Jackson in Los Angeles. Jones can play very tight coverage which is a good secondary trait to his vicious tackling abilities. Despite his stock falling due to possible character concerns (including a recent ejection for targeting) and Texas A&M’s struggles this year, Jones is a promising prospect that could thrive in the NFL as a good nickelback.


  1. Seattle Seahawks – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

Anudike-Uzomah is a critical factor to a very solid Wildcat defense and his efforts will result in him becoming a first round selection. He draws double and triple teams constantly which only makes his team better. Even so, his physicality and strong swim move allow for him to get to the quarterback well and win his matchup. His main struggle is with run stopping, but we still see him as a middle of the first rounder, especially to a struggling Seattle defense. 


  1. Miami Dolphins (VOIDED)

Due to tampering allegations, Miami’s first round draft pick has been voided as punishment.


  1. Baltimore Ravens – Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Hyatt has proved himself to be a top receiver in the nation. Reeling in 15 total touchdowns this season, Hyatt has also racked up 1,181 receiving yards. Hyatt has been an outstanding receiver this season creating major separation from him and his defender on almost every play. Hyatt is a speedy, lengthy receiver that is almost all the way down field. The ravens have struggled finding a top receiver to help with Lamar Jackson. Hyatt will be a good fit to help Jackson in the passing perspective of the game. 


  1. Tennessee Titans – Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Verse, who took the FCS world by storm at the University at Albany, is a freak athlete that has next-level speed despite his 6’4” 250 lbs stature (ESPN.com). He gets to the quarterback with ease and is a very good pass rusher with an array of sacks, blindside hits and forced fumbles to show for it. He does not have to declare after this season, but if he does, Tennessee, in need of younger depth on the outside at linebacker, must scoop him up. 


  1. New York Jets – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

New York’s defense is by no means bad but, much like with Jermaine Johnson II last year, Smith is such a great defensive end that they cannot pass on him. Johnson, more of a pass rusher, and Smith, a phenomenal run stopper, should form a very good duo that will see a lot of success under Robert Salah’s tutelage. 


  1. Dallas Cowboys – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez, a relatively unknown cornerback, has a lot of the tools to become a premiere cover corner in the NFL. He has good hands, reeling in two interceptions against his former school, Colorado, and makes a lot of tackles, an underrated skill for an elite cornerback. Trevon Diggs has gotten better in coverage and is nowhere near as mediocre as he was last year (despite hauling in 11 interceptions), but adding Gonzalez on the opposite side would make the Dallas defense very good in both shutting down the run game and the air attack. 


  1. Minnesota Vikings – Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army

Attending the U.S. Military Academy infers the elite mental toughness and discipline of a player, and Andre Carter’s play on the field displays exactly that. He is a very smart edge rusher with quick explosion and a nice toolbox of unique moves to get by offensive tackles. His physicality is rewarded in the run game, as well, and if he were an SEC prospect, I would not be surprised to see him land in the top ten. With Minnesota needing to sure up their defense in order to put together a Super Bowl run, Carter is the perfect pick that should make an immediate impact when available.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs – BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

Ojulari, the younger brother of Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari, is a phenomenal pass rusher off the edge that would immediately bolster an increasingly strong Kansas City defense. Pressuring the quarterback appears to be easy for BJ Ojulari, whose presence is felt on every play. While playing alongside other stars makes his job much easier, as he does not have to stress over double teams, BJ Ojulari is a great player that would add a great deal of might to an already strong Chiefs lineup.


  1. New York Giants – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

A shifty and fast player, Zay Flowers is one of the few bright spots on a struggling Boston College team. He primarily plays in the slot but can line up outside and beat his man for deep touchdowns. The Eagle’s quick feet and elusiveness allow him to be a YAC (yards after the catch) monster and are what separates him from other smaller, fast receivers like North Carolina’s Josh Downs. With the Giants missing on receiver after receiver, Flowers can ensure a quality young player with a high ceiling that will be around for the long run. 


  1. Buffalo Bills – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

One of the most electric players in the sport, Robinson is a shifty, yet strong, running back that perfectly fits the bill. With Devin Singletary set to hit free agency, Buffalo could use another strong runner to fit into their two-halfback system alongside last year’s second round choice James Cook. Additionally, the Bills do not have any true needs, making running back the best decision with what is left late in the first round.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

Marcus Epps, while performing better in 2022, is not a player that Philadelphia can trust for the future. Johnson, our number one safety in the class, is an elite in coverage yet also makes phenomenal plays in the run game. Featuring a multitude of sacks and QB hits, the Aggie is a monster on a blitz. A surefire superstar, Johnson will make a lasting impact as a more versatile Tyrann Mathieu-esc safety.