The 2022 college football season is officially here. And with it comes the final preseason 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Past this point, prospects will rise and fall. And soon enough, we’ll have our answers to the 2023 NFL Draft class’ pressing questions. But for the time being, let’s take one last shot in the dark before summer ends and see what might happen seven months down the road.
2023 2-Round NFL Mock Draft | Round 1, Picks 1-16
1) Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
The odds still have the Texans picking first overall, but there is a scenario where Davis Mills earns one more year, even as the team struggles. In that scenario, picking the best overall prospect is the easy choice. And the easy best overall prospect is Will Anderson Jr. His sheer motor will have coaches salivating, while his burst, lateral agility, and play strength all defy physics at their best moments.
2) Atlanta Falcons: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
For now, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young are the top two quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. But in a best-case scenario, Anthony Richardson has the tools to surpass both of them. Richardson has everything — elite strength and elasticity as a thrower, high-level speed, agility, and creation capacity, with a 6’4″, 230-pound frame. In Atlanta, he has the tools to maximize the passing offense and add a whole new dimension on the ground.
3) Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Bears still have a dire lack of support for Justin Fields. There’s hope that young pieces on offense will show growth in 2021, but Ryan Poles needs to invest more high-end capital on the offensive line. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Paris Johnson Jr. projects to be the runaway OT1. That’s a projection those who’ve watched him are comfortable making. He has elite burst and length, natural leverage acquisition, and excellent football IQ for his age.
4) Detroit Lions: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
This is an experimental pick, as the Lions have two first-rounders in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. What if they waited on a QB and selected another blue-chip prospect here? The possibility of Jalen Carter joining the Lions’ front is certainly enticing. With his explosiveness, violent disposition, and play strength, he’d fit perfectly as a 3-technique alongside Alim McNeill. He and Aidan Hutchinson could wreak havoc in tandem with one another.
5) Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
The Seahawks walk into a massive victory here. Starting a mix of Geno Smith and Drew Lock for a season isn’t ideal, but it can allow you to play into position for a QB like C.J. Stroud. There are a few different permutations regarding how the QB class might shake out. But Stroud is my preliminary QB1. He has underrated athleticism and a great arm, and he’s also a superb processor who can use eye manipulation in real time to open windows.
6) New York Jets: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M
In its purest form, the battle between a passing game and a coverage unit can be reduced to a battle of athleticism and length. Teams that are longer and more athletic tend to pose more of a threat to their opposition. Antonio Johnson builds on the movement that the Jets started with 2022 first-round pick Sauce Gardner in that sense. Johnson is an extremely dynamic and versatile defender at 6’3″, 200 pounds, with the instincts and physicality to be a constant threat.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
There are many differing opinions in the WR1 race for the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. But few can dispute the sheer upside that Quentin Johnston possesses. It’s why he’s my preliminary WR1 and why he can be projected this high up the board. Johnston brings high-level instincts, coordination, and hand strength with his 6’4″, 215-pound frame, but he’s also incredibly explosive and agile and has rare three-level upside with his athletic control.
8) Carolina Panthers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
If the Panthers pick eighth as the current odds project, it can be reasonably assumed that the Baker Mayfield experiment wasn’t without its bumps. The Panthers aren’t tied to Mayfield long term, so they can cut ties after the season if things don’t work out. With that outcome, they’ll need to reset at QB. With his high-level physical tools and elite competitive toughness, Will Levis allows them to do that.
9) New York Giants: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
You might be surprised to see Will Levis ahead of Bryce Young. While Young is commonly regarded as one of the two top QB’s in this class, there may be a conversation down the road about his size. His height isn’t a problem, but at under 200 pounds, some may question his durability. A counterargument is that Kyler Murray went first overall, but that was in a much weaker QB class. Nevertheless, Young has the talent to prove teams wrong if they pass on him. Ironically, he joins the Giants here.
10) Pittsburgh Steelers: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
In a perfect world, there’s a squeaky clean offensive tackle prospect the Steelers can take here because they need it. But unfortunately, the value of the board doesn’t play into Pittsburgh’s hands. An alternative is to shift to the other side of the ball, where the EDGE rotation could use another high-level talent alongside T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Isaiah Foskey can take the unit to new heights with his burst, length, and relentless hand usage.
11) Washington Commanders: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
Washington’s linebacker room looks far weaker than it should right now. Cole Holcomb is a decent homegrown talent, but Jamin Davis is under pressure after a rough rookie season, and there’s next to nothing outside of them. Noah Sewell can help the Commanders get the most out of their talented defensive line. He’s a well-sized, explosive linebacker who hits with incredible force, shows good instincts, and has the strength to stack and shed blocks.
12) New England Patriots: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Certain prospects have a floor that they really shouldn’t fall below in early mock drafts. In my opinion, while everything is projective, this is Kelee Ringo‘s floor. Of all the cornerbacks in a stacked 2023 NFL Draft class, he has the best combination of tools and the highest upside as a CB1 candidate. And of all the teams in Round 1, few need true CB talent more than the Patriots. This decision isn’t hard to make.
13) Philadelphia Eagles: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
It’s legitimately difficult to draft for the Eagles. Howie Roseman has been aggressive in compiling a playoff-ready roster. But just for kicks, I decided to add Kayshon Boutte to a receiving corps that already has A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and speed threat Quez Watkins. The rotational value is off the charts here, but Boutte, in particular, provides an exhilarating three-level profile with his accelerative capacity, density, and coordination.
14) Arizona Cardinals: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
The Cardinals can go a few different ways here, but adding to the interior line feels like a viable move. J.J. Watt is still with the team, but he is getting older and has struggled with injuries in recent years. Watt is a bigger end but has the versatility to rush from different alignments with his athleticism and power. Bryan Bresee, though a bit bigger and more tuned for the interior, has similar upside. His mobility, for his size, is truly uncanny.
15) Las Vegas Raiders: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
In the modern NFL, base defenses are becoming a thing of the past. Defenses now have to be fully adaptable, ready to face any offensive look that comes their way. Trenton Simpson is a prospect who can help Patrick Graham fully realize that goal with the Raiders’ unit. Simpson, at 6’3″, 230 pounds, has the ability to play at linebacker, in the slot, as a box safety, or even crash the edge. He’s a true queen on the chess board who can open up endless possibilities.
16) Tennessee Titans: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
You won’t find many more ardent believers in Chigoziem Okonkwo than me, but even I’m hesitant to say he can grow into an outright TE1. Okonkwo is a great TE to have in the rotation with his RAC ability and athleticism, but Michael Mayer is the full package. Mayer has size, play strength, high-level instincts, and unending reliability over the middle of the field. A duo of him and Okonkwo would be incredibly fun to utilize.
17) Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
If the Texans do decide to give Mills another year to prove himself, they’ll need to invest in him as much as they can. That means giving him reliable receiving weapons to help magnify his production. Jaxon Smith-Njigba can be a great stabilizing agent at this point in our latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft. His viability outside of the slot remains to be seen, but his natural separation ability and elite body control can generate very sustainable success.
18) Minnesota Vikings: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
There comes a point where, if you’re the Vikings, you have to jump on the chance to add a player like Myles Murphy. Murphy is an absolute tank at 6’5″, 275 pounds, and while he translates best as an end in a four-point stance, he has enough athleticism to move around the line. The key here is versatility and power generation at multiple spots. Murphy provides that and more and can be a blue-chip addition on the front.
19) Indianapolis Colts: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
There is talk, and there will continue to be talk, about where Peter Skoronski will play at the next level. Will it be guard or tackle? Luckily for the Colts, they don’t have to box him in. What we do know is that Skoronski has the athleticism, natural balance and leverage, and technical refinement to be a great blocker wherever he plays. For Indianapolis, he’s a projected starter wherever they need him, whether it’s at left tackle or right guard.
20) Philadelphia Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Bijan Robinson is unfair. Pairing him with the Eagles? Preposterous. But we did it anyway. Robinson has near-generational creative instincts and processing speed in tight spaces. Now give him a line of Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Cameron Jurgens, and Lane Johnson, and he has all the space he needs to absolutely dominate defenses. When the fit is this perfect, running backs can, in fact, matter.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
I’m fully aware that recency bias can set in after a performance like the one Joey Porter Jr. had on Thursday night against Purdue. But the diagnostics of his success are very translatable. He’s long, fluid, physical, disciplined at the line, and has the high-level instincts to find and obstruct the passing lane consistently. The Bengals could use a CB with Porter’s ability across from Chidobe Awuzie.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Even if Rashod Bateman’s expected breakout occurs in 2022, the Ravens will need more firepower in their receiving corps. Given what they lost in Marquise Brown, Jordan Addison makes a lot of sense as a prospective addition in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Addison has the speed and explosiveness to cut through seams and stretch the field, and his body control allows him to convert in the air. But he can also take short passes and make things happen underneath.
23) Dallas Cowboys: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
I’m not here to throw shade on Trevon Diggs. Some say he’s amazing, some say he’s massively overrated — the answer is always in the middle. He’s a high-level playmaker who’s volatile in coverage. But he’s still an important piece, and he could use another early-round talent across from him. Cam Smith has the discipline and processing to be a steady force, but he’s also an uber-physical competitor with great ball skills.
24) Seattle Seahawks: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
The interior rush is the quickest path to the quarterback. If you want a player who has a very conducive skill set to interior pressure, Gervon Dexter is your guy. He’s tall, long, and strong, with excellent burst off the line. With his burst and length, he can forklift blockers off their spot and chase plays with excellent hustle in pursuit. Dexter has the recruiting pedigree, and the flashes on tape back up his potential.
25) Miami Dolphins: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
This could be a make-or-break year for right tackle Austin Jackson, who still has yet to find a consistent groove with the Miami Dolphins. If Jackson doesn’t progress and attain consistency in 2022, the Dolphins have to think about moving on and re-investing. Broderick Jones has the tools to be a worthy replacement. At 6’4″, 315 pounds, he has elite proportional length and tremendous functional athleticism, and he packs a punch at contact.
26) Los Angeles Chargers: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Set to play the STAR role for the Crimson Tide this year, Brian Branch carries a lot of appeal as an NFL draft prospect. He’s a visibly twitchy athlete with fast foot speed and an even faster play pace. And when receivers come his way, he’s more than willing to shell out big hits with his frame and impose his will at contact. Branch’s combination of mobility and toughness can make him a staple for a versatile, athletic Chargers secondary.
27) Detroit Lions: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (FL)
If you haven’t noticed, Brad Holmes has a type at quarterback. That’s evident not only in his retainment of Jared Goff but also in his signing of Nate Sudfeld. Big-bodied pocket passers who can manage the pocket and operate in structure seem to be Holmes’ flavor. It’s not a particularly exciting mold, but when that pocket passer has an arm like Tyler Van Dyke‘s, it can be worth the investment. Van Dyke’s arm pops visibly more than Goff’s.
28) Kansas City Chiefs: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
The 2023 NFL Draft offensive tackle class is wide open behind Johnson. Usually, terms like “wide open” can be hyperbole, but not this time. It is anyone’s race for the OT2 spot, and Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu is an underrated and very exciting candidate. The 6’6″, 321-pound redshirt sophomore played extremely well against Purdue. He’s a smooth athlete with great knee bend and balance, and his hand usage is noticeably proficient for his age.
29) Green Bay Packers: JL Skinner, S, Boise State
With Adrian Amos set to hit free agency after this season, Green Bay should have eyes on the incoming safety class. A very intriguing fit alongside Darnell Savage might be Boise State’s JL Skinner. While Savage has the functional athleticism and versatility to roam and make plays in coverage, Skinner can be an absolute enforcer in the box with his 6’4″, 220-pound frame. He also has enough fluidity and agility to clamp down on quick outs.
30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M
Banking on athleticism is something the Buccaneers have done at cornerback for years now. And needing to improve the depth and long-term viability of their unit, they take Jaylon Jones in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Jones is a former five-star recruit with a long 6’2″, 205-pound frame. He can keep developing as a playmaker, but his twitchy athleticism for his size is very appealing, and he’s a physical player in both phases.
31) Buffalo Bills: LaDarius Henderson, G, Arizona State
Rodger Saffold gives the Bills a short-term boost at guard, but they could use a succession plan behind him. If you’re looking for a guard with tools to develop, you can’t do much better than Arizona State’s LaDarius Henderson. Henderson is around 6’5″, 310 pounds, with arms over 35″, and he explodes off the line. He can struggle with pad level at times, but his athleticism is eye-catching, and his length provides a conduit for elite power.
2023 2-Round NFL Mock Draft | Round 2, Picks 32-47
32) Houston Texans: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
The Texans did claim O.J. Howard recently, but they could still use a true long-term, big-bodied target for Davis Mills. Darnell Washington is a freak who can run in the 4.6’s at 6’7″ and well over 260 pounds. He’s also a tenacious blocker who can engulf linebackers.
33) Atlanta Falcons: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
The Falcons already have problems brewing on the offensive line. If they take a QB like Richardson, as they do in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they can’t neglect that group. Matthew Bergeron gives them an athletic, strong, and versatile player to mold into a starter.
34) Chicago Bears: Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia
Step one: Get Fields a tackle. Step two: Get him a receiver. Dontayvion Wicks provides Fields with an enticing three-level threat in the receiving corps. He has the size and length to compete at the catch point but can also separate independently and pick up RAC yards.
35) Detroit Lions: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
It feels like one of these early-round picks from the Lions should be a wide receiver. If Josh Downs is still here, he’s hard to pass up. Downs may be undersized, but he’s an incredibly controlled route runner with the speed and burst to make the most of tight seams.
36) Seattle Seahawks: Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia
Nolan Smith‘s fit at the next level is one of the more intriguing storylines in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. He might be too light to be a pure EDGE. But in Seattle’s scheme, he can play the SAM with his burst and steely run defense, and he has pass-rushing upside to unlock.
37) New York Jets: Alfred Collins, DT, Texas
He’ll be out for Texas’ contest against UL Monroe. But at some point this year, Alfred Collins will see the field. And when he does, he’s a prime riser candidate with his high-end combination of explosiveness, length, and power at 6’5″, 291 pounds.
38) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
Maybe you need a classic 3-technique. Or maybe you need a strong, big end at 5-technique to seal off the run. Or maybe you need a well-leveraged defender to shade at 1-technique. Ruke Orhorhoro is a lineman who can do all of these things, providing versatility and dynamic flexibility.
39) Carolina Panthers: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Regardless of whether or not the Panthers take a QB in the 2023 NFL Draft, they’ll need to shore up their center position for the long haul. John Michael Schmitz may be a 24-year-old rookie, but he has the profile to lock down the fulcrum for the better part of a decade.
40) New York Giants: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
The writing is on the wall. At some point, Kenny Golladay and the Giants will split. When that happens, New York will need a new boundary threat with size. Cedric Tillman has the size, instincts, and hand strength of a peak Golladay but can also tempo routes and accelerate in the open field.
41) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
The Steelers will need to develop his hand usage. That’s something they’ve at times struggled to do with underdeveloped linemen. But in this OT class, Jaelyn Duncan is as good a bet as any in Round 2. He has the natural mobility around the apex to be a steady player.
42) Washington Commanders: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
The Commanders may have gotten a bit too complacent at positions like linebacker and cornerback. At the very least, Clark Phillips III gives them a potentially elite slot defender, constricting the opposing offense’s flexibility with his tenacious coverage.
43) New England Patriots: Tyler Baron, EDGE, Tennessee
The 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class has an abundance of talent, and sometimes, a player like Tyler Baron can go overlooked. But Baron has great size at 6’5″, 260 pounds, shows good burst and lateral mobility, and has alignment versatility. The Patriots are a Round 2 fit.
44) New Orleans Saints: Jaylon Carlies, S, Missouri
There are a number of young, versatile safeties ascending on the CFB stage, and Jaylon Carlies is one of them. At 6’3″, 219 pounds, he has the length and play strength to swarm downhill and make solo tackles, and he can also manage space and make an impact in coverage.
45) Arizona Cardinals: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
This selection for the Cardinals in the latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft comes with the intention of shoring up the interior long-term. O’Cyrus Torrence has the size, power, and mauler mentality to set the tone and dominate opponents in a phone booth.
46) Miami Dolphins: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
The Dolphins’ cornerback depth is an area of concern, as there’s speculation that the Noah Igbinoghene experiment will soon run its course. With DJ Turner, they add a more instinctive playmaker, who also has 4.28 speed and a legendary 6.29 three-cone.
47) Las Vegas Raiders: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Playing at right tackle in Tennessee’s season opener, Darnell Wright was up and down. He needs to keep working on his pad level, but the former five-star recruit still has the power and reach to potentially command early-round billing in the 2023 NFL Draft.
48) Tennessee Titans: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
The Titans scored big when Harold Landry fell to them in the second round a few cycles ago. Here, they benefit in a similar way with BJ Ojulari. Ojulari is a bit undersized and more of a finesse rusher, but his quickness and flexibility can be hard to handle.
49) Cleveland Browns: Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan
Behind Amari Cooper, the Browns have very little depth at wide receiver. Diluted by his QB play, Cornelius Johnson could be a helpful addition. He has great size at 6’3″, 208 pounds, but is also a terrific athlete and a very natural route runner.
50) Minnesota Vikings: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
If you have an opportunity to acquire a two-gapper in the run game who can also produce pressure on his own, you have to pounce on it. Siaki Ika could be a defining piece alongside Murphy for a Vikings line that’s slowly coming together.
51) Indianapolis Colts: Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland
There’s hope that Paris Campbell can emerge this year with Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce alongside him. But if things don’t work out, cutting bait and swapping in Rakim Jarrett could be effective. Jarrett has the same speed element and frame density.
52) Philadelphia Eagles: Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama
The Eagles have the makings of a dominant defensive line and a talented, versatile secondary. Now all they need is two instinctive, fast-flowing, and physical linebackers to fill in the second level. If healthy, Nakobe Dean is one. Henry To’oTo’o makes two.
53) Cincinnati Bengals: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
Jared Verse put himself on the map with a productive showing in Florida State’s season opener. He has to sustain his production to mount this kind of ascent, but he has the burst, ankle flexion, length, and fast hand capacity to get it done.
54) Baltimore Ravens: Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M
It’s never a bad idea to add more talent to the offensive line. The Ravens know this. They continually infuse resources into the offensive line and have room to keep doing so at guard. Alongside Tyler Linderbaum, Layden Robinson’s power and length can be devastating.
55) Dallas Cowboys: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
As you might expect from a 6’8″, 359-pound human being, Dawand Jones can work on his leverage from time to time. But regardless, he has the foot speed for his size to be a solid right tackle in the NFL.
56) Seattle Seahawks: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Seahawks may have added Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant in the 2022 NFL Draft, but there’s still a lack of certainty at CB. Emmanuel Forbes doesn’t change that right away, but he provides an infusion of length, reactive athleticism, and playmaking ability.
57) San Francisco 49ers: Andrew Vorhees, G, USC
Lauded as the strongest player in USC’s program, Andrew Vorhees can reportedly bench 225 pounds 40 times. He’s a road-grader with a dominant physical makeup, and he can pave open lanes on the interior for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
58) Los Angeles Chargers: Gabe Hall, DT, Baylor
Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day will help provide a facelift for the Chargers’ defensive line in 2022. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chargers can compound that momentum by picking a strong, athletic, and alignment-versatile defender like Gabe Hall to play off of them.
59) Los Angeles Rams: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
Never neglect the pass rush. The Rams know this, having traded midseason for Von Miller, a crucial piece in their Super Bowl run. With him gone, it’s time to re-invest. Derick Hall gives Denver a great mix of burst, leverage, active hands, and proportional length.
60) Kansas City Chiefs: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
The Chiefs, true to form, have a lot of names in their RB stable. But not one feels like a long-term solution or a dependable weapon year after year. Acquiring Jahmyr Gibbs in Round 2 of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft changes that. He has the combined dynamism and instincts they seek.
61) Green Bay Packers: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
Density, athleticism, proportional length, run-after-catch potential — that’s what SMU’s Rashee Rice gives you in spades. Mixed among talents like Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Allan Lazard, he could eat over the middle of the field.
62) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
There’s no doubt that Eli Ricks has great potential. But he wasn’t able to earn a starting spot outright in the summer, in spite of his talent. An unspectacular year could send him down the board, where a team like Tampa Bay could buy low on his traits.
63) Buffalo Bills: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Brandon Beane has made it clear at Buffalo that he loves length at defensive end. Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa are just a couple of examples, and Tyree Wilson fits that mold. Wilson — at 6’6″, 275 pounds, with near 36″ arms — can be a force to be reckoned with.
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