2023 Mock Draft: Way Too Early Edition

I know it’s way too early, but I put together a 2023 mock draft. Now that the 2022 NFL Draft is over, it is time to look at the top prospects in next year’s class. The draft order I used is the order on PFF’s NFL Mock Draft Simulator. Finally, this mock is consisted of picks that I would personally make, not what I think will happen. Now that everything is covered, let’s get into the picks!

1. Atlanta Falcons – Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama EDGE)

The last few years, the Falcons defense have been a primary reason for their struggles. Adding Anderson Jr. to that defensive line would really help them tremendously. Anderson Jr. is one of the most elite athletes I have seen at the collegiate level and would make an instant impact. Also, I don’t think that quarterback would be the optimal pick here with Ridder sitting on the bench. Personally, I would give him a chance until he has proven he is not the answer.  

2. Houston Texans – Bryce Young (Alabama QB)

If the Houston Texans have this draft pick, it is obvious that Mills is not the answer going forward. Although many people question Young’s size, or lack thereof, he is an amazing talent. Young is a very creative quarterback when he is put into awkward positions and that is what makes him special. He is a fantastic dual threat player who will fit in many schemes.

3. Detroit Lions – C.J. Stroud (Ohio St. QB)

Opting to draft Stroud with this pick is a perfect move for the Lions. Jared Goff’s contract is up at the end of the season and would clear up lots of cap space. Stroud is a fantastic pocket passer who has incredible size and a high football IQ. These traits are what you want from a day one starter for your organization. Stroud would fit right at home too because of the young core the Lions have on offense. 

4. Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter (Georgia DT)

With the top two quarterbacks off the board at pick four, I would focus on the defense with this pick. In my opinion, Jalen Carter was the best player on that Georgia Bulldogs defense this last season. He has a solid frame at 6’3” and 310 lbs. which allows him to have a huge presence in the run game. What stands out to me the most is his get off. The second the ball is snapped, he is already penetrating the offensive line. If Carter has a big year at Georgia this season, I can see teams trading up to get him. 

5. New York Jets – Bryan Bresee (Clemson DT)

With this pick, I would plan on making Bresee an plug and play guy on my defensive line. He has all of the skills needed to have a successful career in the NFL. What makes him special in my opinion is his blend of speed and power. This makes him one of the best pass rushers in the nation and that is why he would be a good fit here. I would play him on the same side as Jermaine Johnson II because they would cause havoc every game. 

6. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaquelin Roy (LSU DT)

Although the Jaguars focused on drafting defense in this last draft, I still think there are a few holes. Roy would be a perfect addition to the defense line because of what he brings to the table. Not only does Roy have tremendous size standing at 6’4” and almost 300 lbs., he has amazing power as well. After watching many snaps of him on tape, he showed that no offensive lineman will outpower him. He effortlessly gets to the quarterback to force a sack or at least a bad throw. Also, I think having Roy next to Walker would be deadly for years to come. 

7. Carolina Panthers – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio St. WR)

In my opinion, Smith-Njigba is the most talented wide receiver in this draft class. Honestly, I would not hesitate to say he is a top 3 player in this draft. He is one of the shiftiest receivers I have seen at the collegiate level. When watching his film from the previous season, I was blown away by how good he is at extending plays. With Matt Corral most likely being the starter in a few years, I think he would be thrilled with this pick. 

8. Chicago Bears – Jordan Addison (Transfer Portal WR)

With Justin Fields being the full-time starter at quarterback, it is time to surround him with weapons. Jordan Addison would be the perfect weapon for Fields to have because of his incredible athleticism. When watching his film from this last season, I was very impressed by how elusive and shifty he is. Regardless of the school that he plays for this next season, I am excited to see what he can do. Honestly, I would not be shocked if he won back to back Biletnikoff Awards. 

9. New York Giants – Tyler Van Dyke (Miami QB)

With the Giants refusing to pick up Daniel Jones’ fifth year option, it is obvious his reign is over. Since Young and Stroud are off the board, it is time to look at the next tier of quarterbacks. Personally, I think the person at the top of this tier is Tyler Van Dyke. He has a solid frame and a lot of the physical attributes needed to be successful in this league. His deep throw accuracy is very impressive and that is why I think he will fit the Giants’ scheme. 

10. Washington Commanders – Antonio Johnson (Texas A&M DB)

Antonio Johnson is by far my favorite defensive back in this draft class. He is bigger than your average defensive back, standing at 6’3” and weighing 200 lbs. He is a hard hitter who can play several positions on the field. In a way, he reminds me of Kyle Hamilton (safety for the Ravens) because of the similarity in versatility. Johnson has a huge presence in the running game and making tackles for loss. Washington would be a good fit for him because they need help in many parts of their defense. 

11. Pittsburgh Steelers – Anton Harrison (Oklahoma OT)

Now that the Steelers have drafted Kenny Pickett, they need to get people to protect him. Anton Harrison was a big reason why Oklahoma has had so much success the past few years. I was really impressed with Harrison’s ability to contain the opposing EDGE rushers. I think that Pickett would be a lot more comfortable in the pocket if he had Harrison protecting his blindside. 

12. Minnesota Vikings – Will Levis (Kentucky QB)

With Kirk Cousins’ contract expiring at the end of the season, it is time to look ahead. I think it would be a good idea to save cap space to put talent around Levis instead of resigning Cousins. Levis would be a good fit for the Vikings because of all the traits that he possesses. He not only has a fantastic arm; his athleticism is also often overlooked. Levis is very good at extending plays when none of his receivers are open. I am interested to see what he is able to do this year at Kentucky. If he has a solid season, I can see him rising into the top 10. 

13. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints) – Eli Ricks (LSU CB)

The Eagles did a fantastic job in the offseason adding talent that will make they playoff competitors. But, I think there are a few missing puzzle pieces on the defense and Ricks is one of those missing pieces. Ricks is an oversized corner who is very effective in breaking up passes outside the hashes. He would be a good fit for the Eagles because he would provide elite lockdown defense in passing and running. I can’t wait to see what he is able to do under Brian Kelly. 

14. Las Vegas Raiders – Cam Smith (South Carolina CB)

 The Raiders were one of the biggest winners in the offseason adding Davante Adams, Chandler Jones and many others. With their offense looking very dangerous, I think it would be a good idea to add some young talent in the secondary. Smith is a tall corner who has a huge presence in the run game while being a menace in man coverage. He would be a good fit for the Raiders, because they need to solidify their secondary if they want to compete in the AFC West. 

15. Miami Dolphins – Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio St. G)

One of the biggest weaknesses on the Dolphins’ roster the past few years has been the offensive line. Johnson Jr. would be a solid addition to the offensive line and would have an instant impact. He is a big contributor to Ohio St.’s success this last season. He will fit in the Dolphins’ scheme perfectly because he is both an incredible run and pass blocker. 

16. New England Patriots – Myles Murphy (Clemson EDGE)

Mark my words, Myles Murphy will be one of the top run defenders in the nation this next season. When watching his film, I was very impressed with his ability to penetrate the interior offensive line. This allowed him to make a tackle on the running back quickly after the ball was handed off. I think that putting him in the Patriots 3-4 defensive scheme would be a great fit. 

17. Tennessee Titans – Nolan Smith (Georgia EDGE)

This might be one of the most valuable picks in this draft so far because I think Smith is a perfect fit. Smith was arguably one of the top EDGE rushers in the nation last year, and I don’t see that changing. He has a smaller frame of 6’3” and 235 lbs. but would fit perfectly as a 3-4 OLB. His speed right off the snap is very impressive, regardless of who is blocking him. When watching his film, he always found a way to pressure the QB. 

18. Texans (via Browns) – Bijan Robinson (Texas RB)

Bijan Robinson is probably one of the best athletes in this draft. His blend of speed and elusiveness is something NFL GMs dream of seeing. If Robinson sees a lane that he can fit through, he is gone in the blink of an eye. But, if a gap is not available, he will find a way to get positive yards. He has one of the best jump cuts I have seen from any running back at the collegiate level. 

19. Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Battle (Alabama S)

Jordan Battle’s name is a very good representation of how he plays. Whenever he steps on the field, it looks like he is ready for war. He is one of the most physical and hard-hitting safeties in the nation. Adding him and Ricks to the Eagles secondary would make a lot of quarterbacks question their decision making. When he is playing in deep zone coverage, he is a ball hawk. He does a fantastic job of tracking down the ball and snatching it out of the air. 

20. Baltimore Ravens – Kayshon Boutte (LSU WR)

This would be the perfect circumstance for the Ravens. Since they traded away Hollywood Brown during the draft, their WR room has been a little shaky. Boutte is a solid route runner who is very effective in open space. Personally, I think that Boutte could go in the top ten of this draft depending on his 2022 season. Boutte would be a solid addition to the Ravens offense because he would space out the field. This would create holes in the opposing defense and would cause them to crumble. 

21. Arizona Cardinals – Kelee Ringo (Georgia CB)

Yet another corner comes off the board here at 21. Although the Cardinals have a solid front 7, their secondary has some holes. Adding Ringo would not only fill one of those holes, I think he would make an instant impact. Ringo is very good in soft and press man to man coverage. When he is defending you, he is stuck to your hip like glue.

22. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos) – Trenton Simpson (Clemson LB)

When watching Simpson’s film, his play style reminded me of Micah Parsons. Throughout his career at Clemson, Simpson played all over the field. Given that the Seahawks recently released Bobby Wagner, it is time to solidify the front 7. With this pick, you are doing that because you can play him anywhere on the field. It may be surprising that I did not pick a QB with either of the Seahawks first round picks. Personally, I think they should go out and sign a veteran if they are looking to replace Lock. 

23. Los Angeles Chargers – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern OT)

With this pick, it would be safe to say that Herbert does not have anything to worry about while in the pocket. Having a line of three young linemen who were elite talents in college should make Herbert very happy. Skoronski had to face a lot of difficult competition while at Northwestern. On a weekly basis, he had to line up opposite of some of the best EDGE rushers in the nation. Not only did he hold his own, he actually shut a lot of them down. After thriving against that competition, it is safe to say that his skills will translate to the NFL.  

24. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers) – Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame EDGE)

Miami’s defensive line has struggled the past few years in stopping the run and pass. Adding a versatile defensive lineman who can act as a plug and play player would be very beneficial. This is exactly what they are getting with Foskey. He is an elite pass rusher who is also pretty solid when playing man coverage. Although the Dolphins need to solidify their linebacker core, I think they could focus on this at a later pick. 

25. Indianapolis Colts – Tanner McKee (Stanford QB)

Although the Colts just signed Matt Ryan, I think they need to draft a backup who will be ready when he retires. Tanner McKee would be a perfect fit for the Colts because he is a fantastic pocket passer. Once Ryan retires, I think McKee could step in and be an immediate impact starter. While being a backup, he can absorb as much information as possible and build relationships with the offense. 

26. Dallas Cowboys – Andre Carter II (Army DE)

Since the Cowboys have worked on solidifying their offensive line the past few drafts, it is time to solidify the defensive line. Carter is a relatively raw prospect who has a lot of upside. Carter II stands at 6’7” and weighs 250 lbs. He uses his size as an advantage by bull rushing the tackle and using his long arms to disrupt the pass. After taking a year or so to develop, I think he could be a solid starter for the Cowboys. 

27. Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Mayer (Notre Dame TE)

The Bengals have done a lot to improve their roster this past offseason. But, they have one hole left on their offense and that is at tight end. Mayer is a player who has a lot of ball skills as well as elite athleticism. When watching his film, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how good of a route runner he is. Putting him on the Bengals’ roster would be a deadly addition and would make their offense a lot more versatile. 

28. Detroit Lions – Noah Sewell (Oregon LB)

Before I begin, no I am not making this pick because the Lions drafted Noah’s brother Penei a few years ago. The Lions need help in the middle of the field and I think that Sewell would provide solid zone coverage. He is also a solid run stopper who can penetrate gaps in the offensive line and stop a running back in their tracks. 

29. Green Bay Packers – Jaheim Bell (South Carolina TE)

Bell is a slightly undersized tight end who has elite athleticism. When watching his film, I couldn’t help but compare his playstyle to David Njoku. Bell is a solid route runner who can go up and make a play on the ball over deep safeties. If Aaron Rodgers stays for a few more years, I think he would love adding Bell to his offense. Rodgers needs receivers and tight ends who can make a play on the ball and that is exactly what Bell can do. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs – Gervon Dexter (Florida DT)

Dexter is a very powerful defensive lineman for the Florida Gators. Even though they lost Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs offense is still Super Bowl caliber. But, the only thing holding them back is their defense, and in particular, their defensive line. Adding Dexter would be a fantastic fit because he is a fantastic run stopper and that is the biggest weakness. I am intrigued to see what Dexter can do this year and hopefully rise up some draft boards. 

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jalen Catalon (Arkansas S)

Catalon is one of my favorite players in this draft class because I love the aggression that he plays with. When he has his eyes locked on you, hold onto the ball tight, because you will get hit hard. He would be a solid addition to the Bucs’ roster because he is not only solid in coverage, he is an excellent run stopper. Although many people would like to take a quarterback here, I say give Kyle Trask a chance once Brady retires. 

32. Buffalo Bills – Broderick Jones (Georgia OT)

With this pick, the projected Super Bowl winners are taking an offensive tackle who is a tremendous pass protector. A big reason why I have them drafting an offensive lineman is because their defense does not need any more help. But, I think that adding another person to protect Allen and Cook is a great idea in the long run. The only other position I would contemplate focusing on here is linebacker. But, the Bills are adding a gem of an offensive lineman with this pick.

2023 Mock Draft Analyst-Matthew Lewis.

Also, keep an eye on Malik Cunningham, he’s Lamar Jackson in disguise.