The NFL Playoffs are set to start, which means picks 1-18 is set in stone. With the first 18 picks locked in, I take a stab at my first mock of the draft season. Obviously there will be trades, and I fully expect we see a lot of trades in the top 10.
This draft is a QB heavy draft. More than half the top 10 are all options for rookie QB's. We should expect a lot of movement in the top 10. Specifically keep an eye on Chicago. They have already announced that Justin Fields is QB1 in 2023. If the offer is right, expect them to move back and still get a top prospect in this class.
In last year's draft I noticed one very shocking thing. There were a lot of positions that were very top heavy, instead of sitting back and seeing who falls, teams were trading up to draft a position to guarantee they got what they wanted. I expect we see something similar this year. You really can never know what is going to happen in the NFL Draft. Instead of seeing what happens, I feel it is the new normal for GM's to be aggressive and they trade up to get their guy. Expect a lot of that. I think the era of taking best player available is over and team's get what they want.
With picks 18-32 still undecided that part of the mock will most certainly change. Or not and this is exactly what will happen this April!
1 Chicago Bears- Will Anderson LB Alabama
GM Ryan Poles has made it clear Chicago is not drafting a QB and Justin Fields is QB1 in Chicago. This opens the door for Chicago to take the best player available. If Chicago holds onto this pick, it will either be Anderson or Jalen Carter. Both are great picks, but I like Anderson's versatility to drop back and play LB as well as his elite skills as an EDGE. He is my top overall prospect and the first overall pick!
2. Houston Texans- Bryce Young QB Alabama
Alabama goes back-to-back in the 2023 draft. Texans need a QB, and they go for the former Heisman Trophy winner. Young and CJ Stroud are both on the same level for me, and they can't go wrong with either. Young has a gifted athlete, who may be undersized but plays so much bigger than what he is. Durability will be a question with him, but for now Houston has their QB1.
3. Arizona Cardinals CJ Stroud QB Ohio State
Hear me out. Arizona will have a new GM and HC in 2023. Perfect combo for a complete rebuild. I feel Arizona should move on and trade Kyler Murray. If they do, adding CJ Stroud will be a great start to the rebuild. The best overall passer in this class. He gets knocked for not using his legs enough to extend plays, but after the Peach Bowl, he showed he can and will do it to win a game. QB1 in the 2023 Draft!
4. Indianapolis Colts Will Levis QB Kentucky
Colts' fans are very angry. CJ Stroud is off the board. Levis is a very creative QB. He can extend plays like Josh Allen with his great ball skills but has a pocket presence like Carson Wentz. Not sure which QB the Colts will get, but they need to make a move for one now.
5. Seattle Seahawks Jalen Carter DL Georgia
With 2-3 teams ahead of them looking for QB's, Seattle can sit tight and watch one of the best overall prospects fall into their laps. There is some talk that they may want to get a QB, but Geno Smith played well enough for him to get another year. Adding Carter brings a real force on the defensive line and they just got the 2nd best prospect in the draft at 5!
6. Detroit Lions Peter Skoronski OT Northwestern
The Lions need help on the interior of the offensive line. Skoronski is a top tackle in this class, but due to arm length, could make the move to guard. If he is willing to move to guard, then Detroit would be fools to pass on him.
7. Las Vegas Raiders Paris Johnson JR OT Ohio State
Derek Carr is not going to be the QB in Las Vegas in 2023. Sadly, for the Raiders, no QB fell to them at 7. They need to do the next best thing and invest in the offensive line. Best tackle available is Johnson.
8. Atlanta Falcons Kelee Ringo CB Georgia
Another team that could be in the market for a QB (even though they drafted Desmond Ridder last year). The board did not fall in their favor, nor do I think they will draft a QB. Ringo matched up against some of nation's best WR's the last couple years and has solidified himself as one of the nation's best CB's.
9. Carolina Panthers Nolan Smith EDGE Georgia
An injury in November ended his season early, however his leadership on the sidelines was huge in Georgia's title run. Smith has so much potential, and I believe we have not seen his best football. He is a proven leader and Carolina needs a voice on defense.
10. Philadelphia Eagles Andre Carter II Army
Howie Roseman builds through the trenches. Brandon Graham's career only has a couple more years left, and Derek Barnett is as good as gone. Howie will look to continue to add more depth to that room with this pick. Carter is a guy you have not watched much due to his school. He is cleared to pursue the NFL and I would love for him to be an Eagle. Howie never goes for the easy pick, and he continues that here.
11 Tennessee Titans Quentin Johnson WR TCU
Apparently trading AJ Brown was a big loss for the Titans. Their offense was missing that downfield threat and that is exactly what they are getting in Johnson. He is WR1 and one of the best deep ball threats we have seen in a long time. Whoever QB1 is in Tennessee will love to have Johnson as a new WR.
12. Houston Texans Jordan Addison WR USC
Good news Houston, you have a new QB, and now you have a new WR. Brandin Cooks has already said he wants to play for a team that is not rebuilding, and Houston is very much still rebuilding. Addison can line up anywhere and can provide Bryce Young with so many options.
13. New York Jets Michael Mayer TE Notre Dame
Mayer is a rare TE talent. He is big like Gronk and can play like Travis Kelce. The combo of size and catching ability to a great mix. He can block on the offensive line, but also go deep for Zach Wilson. There are not many top tier TE's in this league, and Mayer checks every box to be a top TE one day.
14. New England Patriots Myles Murphy EDGE Clemson
Murphy is a top ten pick and has fallen to 14. He is super raw and has so much potential, but still needs more development. If there is going to be one coach to bring the best out of Wilson it will be Bill. He plays with so much physicality and best compares to Travon Walker.
15. Green Bay Packers Broderick Jones OT Georgia
Aaron Rodgers got sacked a lot. Not sure if he will be in the NFL in 2023, but if he is, he will have a top tackle blocking for him. He may still have bad receivers, but he will not get as sacked.
16. Washington Commanders Joey Porter Jr CB Penn State
Looking at Porter's physical traits he checks off every box for an NFL CB. He needs to clean up his hands in coverage, but if he does, Washington just got a future All-Pro CB.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers Dawand Jones OT Ohio State
Right now, Jones is not a first-round pick. However, by the end of it, he will get his named called on day 1. Jones is big, like the biggest in this draft. He will look great in the Steelers offense.
18. Detroit Lions Bryan Breese DT Clemson
The Lions focused on the offensive line at pick 6 and now go for the defensive line. Breese is climbing up draft boards and the Lions take advantage of it.
Playoff teams (and Denver)
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Anthony Richardson QB Florida
Richardson would have benefited so much from another year in college. He is not NFL ready and is not a first-round pick. However, he is one of the most gifted athletes I have ever seen, and because of that could sneak his way into the first round. Tampa is in need of a QB if Tom Brady decides to retire again.
20. Seattle Seahawks Brian Branch S Alabama
Jamal Adams is not a good safety and Branch is an instant upgrade. He can play slot at an elite level and is valuable in every kind of play. Seattle is bringing back the elite defense this draft.
21 Jacksonville Jaguars Cam Smith CB South Carolina
This CB class is scary good and in recent years has been one of the best and most consistent positions. This year is no different. Smith might be the best CB when it comes to straight ball skills. I could see Jacksonville getting a younger WR, but Dougie P loves his CB's.
22. Miami Dolphins Forfeit
23. New York Giants Josh Downs WR UNC
Kenny Golladay= waste of money
24. Baltimore Ravens Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR Ohio State
There were injury concerns in 2022 that held him back from what we expected to be a monster 2022 season. In 2021 he was one of the best slot receivers in college football. Baltimore is in desperate need of WR help for whoever their QB is going to be. Even with concerns with him, Jaxon is still an improvement over their current WR room.
25. Los Angelas Chargers Zay Flowers WR Boston College
I said earlier, teams are getting away from waiting to see if their position is available in later rounds. Flowers is 2nd round talent but may not be there when they pick. With many WR's already off the board, LA goes out and gets their guy.
26. Dallas Cowboys Devon Witherspoon CB Illionois
Every CB in the first round has one strength that is better than the rest. For Witherspoon it is press-coverage.
27. Cincinnati Bengals Anton Harrison OT Oklahoma
Please protect Joe Burrow at all costs! Harrison allowed 9 QB hurries this season and 0 sacks.
28. Minnesota Vikings Parker Washington WR Penn State
Minnesota needs more WR depth. They have the best deep ball passer in the league in Justin Jefferson and can now add a top slot receiver. Washington had a great last season at Penn State. He will do great from the slot that will allow Minnesota to expand their offense.
29. Denver Broncos Luke Wypler C Ohio State
The only thing worse than the QB situation in Denver is their offensive line. Looking at the board, Wyper might be a reach, but they locked up the best interior lineman in the draft.
30.. Buffalo Bills Drew Sanders LB Arkansas
Sanders possess great off the ball skills that Buffalo will love. He can pick up the runner and at the same time blitz the QB with ease. Buffalo is one of the most complete teams in the league, so it is always hard to figure out where they are going to go.
31. Kansas City Chiefs Tyree Wilson EDGE Texas Tech
Every draft someone falls from the top 10 to late first or early second. This year it will be Wilson. Watching his film, I am having a hard time seeing how he can be a lock for top ten. He has great size, but still needs a lot of work in his mechanics. I think he drops and if he does KC takes the risk and selects him.
32. Philadelphia Eagles Bijan Robinson RB Texas
I was not huge on this pick, but if he falls to them this late, how can you not take him? Miles Sanders is a pro bowler this season and also a free agent. The Eagles could look to spend money elsewhere and draft Robinson who can be just as good if not better.