Now that both the NFL and college football are in full swing, we’re already seeing an increase in 2023 NFL Mock Drafts. It’s still early, so most of this information will change. Teams will move up and down the draft order, while prospects will rise and fall. For now, we take a look at what we know and project excitement toward the future.
2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1
The order for this 2023 one-round NFL Mock Draft is taken from the reverse Super Bowl odds. We don’t necessarily think that your team isn’t great, but Vegas definitely does. That said, the Houston Texans are on the clock with the first overall pick.
This mock draft is also taken from what you — the fans — have told us you would do with your team’s pick. Each selection is based upon Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator results from this year and is based on which player is the current highest-drafted player for each team with a first-round pick. In the event that the player with the highest ADP has already been selected, we chose the second-highest drafted player and so on until a player was available.
1) Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
It wasn’t the start C.J. Stroud envisioned coming into this year, but Texans fans don’t seem to mind yet. Although, if Davis Mills continues slinging it the way he did in Week 1, Houston might look elsewhere for their draft pick. For now, Stroud is who Texans fans want, and it’s hard to go wrong in a 2023 NFL Mock Draft by taking him.
With the size and arm talent to play well in the NFL, it shouldn’t take long for Stroud to take over the team he joins. He throws a great ball and should help elevate the Texans receivers on the field too.
2) Atlanta Falcons: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Stroud was actually the top pick by Falcons fans. However, he’s no longer available in this mock draft exercise. Settling (if you will) for Bryce Young doesn’t seem like too bad of a consolation prize.
If you’re looking for a player that doesn’t fold under pressure, you won’t find one better than Young. The Alabama signal-caller showed tremendous poise against Texas this past weekend. It wasn’t his best game due to shaky offensive line play, but Young delivered when the Tide needed it most. He led two drives in the fourth quarter to give Alabama 10 points and the win over the Longhorns on the road.
3) Chicago Bears: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
Drafting Will Anderson allows Bears fans to move on from Khalil Mack for good. Even with Anderson’s four penalties this weekend, he significantly affected the game against Texas. He led the team with two tackles for loss and a huge sack late in the game.
Anderson’s the definition of a game changer. He makes offensive coordinators adjust their game plan before the game even starts, and most of the time, he makes them change things completely during the game. Bears fans like what they see from Anderson, and it’s hard to blame any fanbase for taking Anderson even if he’s not a top need. Sometimes you take the best player available because they’re that good.
4) Detroit Lions: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
This pick was the most interesting top-10 pick to me. Lions fans are trying to add to a talented defensive line with the top interior defensive linemen in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. With Alim McNeil, Michael Brockers, and 2021 top pick Aidan Hutchinson on the line, adding Carter brings a ton of excitement and power to the group.
Carter shined as a backup behind now Philadelphia Eagle Jordan Davis and Green Bay Packer Devonte Wyatt but now gets his chance to shine. He’s not wasting that opportunity. Not only does he possess elite power to shed blocks, but he’s also an underrated athlete who continues to show his quickness in the trenches as well.
5) Seattle Seahawks: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Will Levis passed his first big test of the year, leading Kentucky to a 26-16 win on the road over the Florida Gators. He goes to a franchise that still needs a quarterback despite their Week 1 surprise. Geno Smith led the Seahawks to a win over Denver on Monday Night Football but only threw for 195 yards. As effective as he was, Seattle needed two goal line fumbles from the Broncos and a failed 64-yard field goal to win. So drafting to upgrade the quarterback position is a must.
One of the most polarizing picks in next year’s draft is trying to prove that he’s worth a top-10 pick, but he’ll need to do better going forward. Interceptions were a concern coming into this year, and he’s already thrown one in each game this season. If he can cut down on those, the talent will speak for itself.
6) New York Jets: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
New York had one of the best drafts this past year, and they’re hoping to build on that in 2023. With tackle being a need, Jets fans know who to take. Johnson continues to protect C.J. Stroud well, and the line has been a big reason for their success. He moved over to left tackle this season and hasn’t blinked once. He has the right mentality and skill set that the Jets will love.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Don’t worry, Jaguars fans, about Jaxon Smith-Njigba‘s two catches for three yards so far this season. A hamstring injury has limited him. But when healthy, he’s one of the most electric players in college football.
Trevor Lawrence could use some more explosive playmakers at receiver, and Smith-Njigba would be an instant upgrade to the team. A master of understanding space, he knows how to get defenders out of position as well as turn short passes into big gains.
8) Carolina Panthers: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
This pick might change after Carolina’s loss to Cleveland in Week 1, but it might not. Kayshon Boutte (pronounced boo-dee) stretches the field and creates separation extremely well. He’s one of the most explosive players in the country. However, we’re waiting to see that again.
Kayshon’s performance has been disappointing thus far, to say the least. Having just seven catches for 62 yards is less than inspiring. However head coach Brian Kelly stated they want to get him the ball more often. So this is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t overreact to two weeks, but it’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
9) New York Giants: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Cornerback isn’t the biggest need for the Giants, but I understand the desire to draft Kelee Ringo. At this point in the draft, too, the top quarterbacks are gone. So New York must trade up to get one of those guys or wait for someone to fall into their lap later.
Adding Ringo to the roster brings a great blend of size and speed. At 6’2″, 205 pounds, and rumored to run a 4.3 40-yard dash, he’s an upgrade to the cornerback position. It might be tough to stomach sending Daniel Jones out for another year at quarterback, but fans appear to be okay with Ringo donning the Giants uniform for now.
10) Pittsburgh Steelers: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
Dear Pittsburgh fans, you win. Drafting Myles Murphy to line up opposite of T.J. Watt isn’t fair. They need him, too. Watt is elite but can only do so much. Drafting Murphy assures that Watt will see fewer double-teams because opposing offenses now have to worry about Murphy attacking their quarterback opposite Watt.
11) Washington Commanders: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
With a former quarterback starting at tight end, it makes sense to replace him with an actual tight end. Michael Mayer brings plenty of talent as both a pass catcher and blocker, and he has already received plenty of opportunities to do both in Notre Dame’s offense.
Notre Dame’s offense runs through Mayer, especially in the passing game, which makes him extremely appealing in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. I just don’t know if he should be taken this high.
12) Houston Texans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
This would be a great draft for the Texans. First, they get C.J. Stroud to run the offense, and they add the reigning Biletnikoff winner to the mix, too. Jordan Addison‘s already proving to be a problem for teams facing USC.
He’s reminding fans why he’s one of the best receiver prospects in the country. His 24.6 yards per catch, including an explosive 75-yard score, prove that he can stretch the field quickly. If he continues playing this way, he might become WR1 sooner than we know it.
13) New England Patriots: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Trenton Simpson will only be 21 years old when New England drafts him, three years younger than the next closest guy on the roster. His youth and talent should elevate a group that is a primary need for the Patriots.
Simpson’s role at Clemson has evolved over the last year, and he’s gotten better with each game. His athleticism puts him ahead of blockers, and he brings great power to shed blocks and stop ball carriers in their tracks.
14) Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Eagles fans are looking towards the future with this pick. With Brandon Graham getting up there in age (34), some youth is needed opposite of Josh Sweat. Even if Graham comes back next year, Nolan Smith can learn a lot from a talented and experienced group up front. He also joins former teammate Jordan Davis to give the Eagles an exciting group for the future.
15) Arizona Cardinals: B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
J.J. Watt will forever be one of the most endeared players in the NFL, and he’s the perfect mentor for a young and talented edge player. Ojulari’s been giving offensive tackles fits with his pass rush, and he has the length to keep them off his frame as well. With a motor that rarely stops, Ojulari is the perfect player to succeed Watt.
16) Las Vegas Raiders: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Imagine you have to worry about blocking Chandler Jones, Clelin Ferrell, and Maxx Crosby on the edge, but then you remember that a 6’5″, 300-pound Bryan Bresee is lined up at defensive tackle. You might not sleep for a while.
Bresee, when healthy, is the most gifted and dominant interior defender in college football. His athleticism jumps out on tape, too, something you don’t expect for a guy that size. If he can prove that he can stay healthy for a full year, teams will be sprinting to snatch him in the draft. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Raiders get a potential terror on the interior of their line.
17) Tennessee Titans: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
Tennessee needs some help at linebacker, and fans know that. That’s why they’re going with Noah Sewell. The 6’2″, 250-pound linebacker has the lineage to point to when anyone wonders about his ability. Older brother, Penei, plays offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.
If you’re looking for someone who can set the tone in a game, Sewell’s your guy. He only knows one speed and typically disrupts the ball carrier’s path with his powerful tackles. Running away from him isn’t easy, either. He’s not the fastest player, but his quickness catches up on people before they can react.
18) Minnesota Vikings: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
The ghost of Mike Zimmer continues to haunt Vikings fans. Now, yes, Minnesota could need a cornerback if Cameron Dantzler and Andrew Booth don’t pan out. However, Ricks needs to prove he’s a first-round pick again.
With more proven talent in guys like Utah’s Clark Phillips III and South Carolina’s Cam Smith still on the board, this pick feels like a stretch. Safety might be the better pick at this spot if the Vikings want to address the secondary. If Ricks proves that he’s as good as advertised, disregard my comments. With his length and athleticism, he’ll be one of the top prospects in the draft.
19) Indianapolis Colts: Brandon Joseph, S, Notre Dame
Even with Julian Blackmon and Nick Cross on the roster, Colts fans believe in Brandon Joseph. The former Northwestern transfer turned Notre Dame safety is a natural playmaker against any competition. He knows how to play the football, and that’s an asset the Colts could be looking to add to their roster.
20) Philadelphia Eagles: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
The Eagles should be in the market for a corner in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, and Cam Smith brings youth and talent to a position that has a 29 and 31-year-old currently starting. Smith brings a physical style of play that will help him compete at the next level. Whether that’s at the line of scrimmage or at the catch point, Smith will test the receivers’ wills to compete on every play.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, Antonio Johnson is blessed with a great frame. He’s also gifted with the kind of athleticism we don’t normally see from a guy that size. His skill set allows Texas A&M to line him up at nickel, safety, and even linebacker. With Cincinnati needing help in the secondary, Johnson is a great pick. Shoot, maybe they’ll even ask him to protect Joe Burrow on the offensive line. He’d probably be good at that too.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Bijan Robinson will be an extremely tempting prospect to draft for any team, so I don’t blame Ravens fans for wanting him on their roster. J.K. Dobbins remains the starter for the Ravens, but durability concerns are creeping up.
Robinson can do everything, and I mean everything. He has the power and contact balance to pick up large chunks of yardage in the trenches, but he’s also reminded us this weekend that he can make acrobatic catches downfield. Some analysts are stating they’ll have to work hard to find glaring weaknesses in his game, a tribute to the special type of player he is for Texas currently.
23) Dallas Cowboys: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Looking for a wide receiver that can instantly give your quarterback more room for error? Quentin Johnston is the guy for the job. A 6’5″ nightmare to cover in 50/50 ball situations, Johnston’s also being used in different ways this year. Sonny Dykes has utilized his speed on jet sweeps to add a new wrinkle to the TCU offense to showcase something we haven’t seen before.
Adding Johnston to a receiver group that includes Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb would give Dak Prescott plenty of weapons downfield. There’s no reason they wouldn’t be one of the best offenses in the league next year.
24) Seattle Seahawks: Henry To’o To’o, LB, Alabama
With their quarterback selected earlier in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Seattle Seahawks turn to defense. Jordyn Brooks could use a little help, so Seattle takes a player who knows how to make plays.
Henry To’o To’o might not be as naturally talented as other players at his position, but he’s a smart football player with an extremely high football IQ. He doesn’t make the craziest plays, but he makes the right ones. He’s tough to fool, showing his work ethic in film study, which would make the Seattle defense even better.
25) Miami Dolphins: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
Clark Phillips isn’t going to wow many people with his frame, but his mindset trumps any deficiencies he has physically. Simply put, you might make plays on Phillips, but you will have to earn it every play. He’s a great playmaker who works hard to play bigger than his frame, and his winner mentality puts him in the first-round conversation.
26) Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
Derwin James and Jordan Battle in the same secondary? I already like the sound of that. Alabama’s secondary has seen its fair share of struggles, but Jordan Battle isn’t a contributor to that. An explosive athlete, Battle can be an enforcer in run support while also allowing him to take away deep threats in coverage.
27) Detroit Lions: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
It’s no secret that the Lions need a quarterback, but they most likely will need to trade up to get their top guy. If they wait for Anthony Richardson, it’s because they’re betting on his traits, and he’s shown enough on the field this year to warrant a first-round pick.
The Florida Gators quarterback has all of the tools. A cannon for an arm and elite athleticism, Richardson can be one of the most dominant players in the country. We just need to see it consistently. A good game against Utah came before a mighty struggle against Kentucky, so there’s plenty left for him to prove on the field still.
28) Kansas City Chiefs: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
Isaiah Foskey kills two birds with one stone for the Chiefs. Edge and linebacker are needs for Kansas City, and Foskey can play both. Now, typically a prospect won’t play both unless he’s an elite talent, so Foskey might stick at one spot. However, he has the potential to do both, which gives the staff flexibility to try him out at a couple of different positions. Learning from DE Frank Clark and LB Nick Bolton should speed up the process, too.
29) Green Bay Packers: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
Rushing the passer and protecting the passer sit as two of Green Bay’s biggest needs, and fans want to give their star quarterback some more help. While you may not think NFL when someone’s talking about Syracuse, the Orange feature a few prospects that stand out. Bergeron is one of them.
He’s been rising up draft boards quickly this offseason, and he’s continuing that trend as the 2022 season progresses. He brings violence to his blocking and knows when to utilize that power to get the most out of his punches. The Packers want to ensure Aaron Rodgers has time to throw, and Bergeron is a great way to allow that to happen.
30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
We’re assuming Tom Brady won’t play forever. Right? Regardless, Tampa Bay needs to find their quarterback of the future. With Kyle Trask throwing Tim Tebow-type passes and the current backup being Blaine Gabbert, it’s safe to say the Bucs need another option. Enter Tyler Van Dyke.
Confidence certainly isn’t lacking with Van Dyke’s game. We’ve seen him take a number of deep shots to his receivers this year, and that confidence will help him rise up draft boards. Van Dyke can make a number of impressive throws. However, his decision-making at times puts drives at risk. If he can address those issues, he might not even be around when the Bucs pick.
31) Buffalo Bills: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
To conclude our 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Bills add to a dangerous defensive line with another potential elite playmaker. Pair Gervon Dexter with Ed Oliver up the middle, and moving the football against the Bills’ defense becomes even more difficult.
Dexter commands extra attention from offenses in college thanks to the power in his 6’6″, 313-pound frame. He also brings athleticism that you wouldn’t expect from someone his size, which only helps his draft stock.