NFL Mock Draft 2023: Rodgers to Las Vegas, Seahawks draft a QB and Giants trade up for a receiver

Time for a brand new mock draft! The NFL combine is officially in the books following a busy week in Indianapolis. There were a number of players who boosted their draft stocks with their work on the field. Several of them will show up in the first round of this mock. Reminder, the first round is only 31 picks this year because the Dolphins were penalized their first-round selection for tampering.

Before we get into the picks, I wanted to take a look at the quarterback that could be on the move in the NFL this offseason. For the purposes of this mock, I executed a blockbuster trade that sends Aaron Rodgers to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Derek Carr is reportedly signing with the Saints and I’m predicting Jimmy Garoppolo heads to New York. Lamar Jackson on the other hand stays put in Baltimore, as does Daniel Jones in New York.

There were a few other trades that I decided made sense for this mock, including a massive move up by the Colts to No. 1. The following trades were made in this mock:

Las Vegas trades 1.7, 2.39, 2024 1st to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers, 4.117, 2024 3rd

Indianapolis trades 1.4, 2.36, 7.224, 2024 1st to Chicago for 1.1, 4.103

Seattle trades 1.20, 2.38, 5.124 to Pittsburgh for 1.17, 2.50

New York Giants trade 1.26, 3.89, 5.160 to Tampa Bay for 1.19, 6.194

With all of that in mind, let’s dive into my latest mock!

1. Indianapolis Colts via Chicago Bears – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
He weighs enough and he is tall enough. Young did enough to quiet some critics, but there will still be those who question his ability to last in the NFL given his smaller frame. Put on the tape though and you will see a player who stood tough against the pass rushers of the SEC and delivered clutch performances. Indianapolis has had a revolving door at quarterback since Andrew Luck retired. Young gives them a potential franchise quarterback for the first time since they last made a selection at the top of the draft.

2. Houston Texans – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
While Young stole headlines with his measurables and Anthony Richardson turned heads with his workout, C.J. Stroud is still the only quarterback I would consider taking at No. 1. He is technically sound and checks all the physical boxes. While he does not have the strongest arm in the class, it looks effortless when he releases the ball. He showcased his mobility against Georgia. It will be up to DeMeco Ryans and this coaching staff to get that version of Stroud as often as possible. He will contend with Davis Mills for the starting job from Day 1, eventually taking over as the long-term starter.

3. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
I think I likely would have picked Anderson over Carter prior to Carter’s legal troubles. The off-the-field issues could cement Anderson as the top non-QB selected. He is one of the most productive pass rushers we have ever seen. He constantly wreaks havoc as a pass rusher and plays the run well. Anderson has all the physical tools to be a Hall-of-Fame pass rusher.

4. Chicago Bears via Indianapolis Colts – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
The reason the Bears will favor sticking in the top four is because it all but guarantees they end up with either Anderson or Carter. Despite Carter being charged with reckless driving and racing in connection with a crash that killed his teammate Devon Willock and Georgia recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. Carter returned to Georgia, was booked and released, and then returned to the combine to interview with teams. Off-the-field issues aside, he is my highest-rated player. His blend of size and athleticism makes him a nightmare for opposing offenses. The Bears are in desperate need of an upgrade on the defensive line. He will signal the start of a major rebuild on that side of the ball.

5. Seattle Seahawks via Denver Broncos – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
I actually have a higher grade on Will Levis than I do on Richardson, but I think this is such a good fit for the former Florida quarterback. He wowed at the combine, setting records in the vertical and broad jumps while posting a 4.40 40-time at 244 pounds. His mobility is elite, but he is raw and unrefined as a passer. He has major accuracy issues and was off the mark consistently. I believe Pete Carroll could get the best out of Richardson and the Seahawks would not need to start him assuming they bring back Geno Smith. His upside is incredible and I think this would be the perfect situation for him to be successful long term.

6. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Lions defense was much better down the stretch, but still needs an infusion of talent on the back end. Witherspoon is a dynamic playmaker at corner. He is strong in run support and looked very comfortable in coverage for Illinois this past season. He checked all the boxes from a size perspective measuring in at 5’11” with 31-inch arms. Detroit is in desperate need of a true No. 1 corner. Witherspoon should be that sooner rather than later in his NFL career.

7. Green Bay Packers via Las Vegas Raiders – Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
It’s all about Jordan Love in this scenario for the Packers. Green Bay needs to bolster its offensive line after injuries have turned this unit into an annual issue. I love what Johnson brings to the table. He is an athletic blocker who can thrive in both the run and pass game. He has great size and length, measuring in at 6’6″ with 36-inch arms. Johnson could start at right tackle before ultimately taking over from David Bakhtiari down the line.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Wilson is drawing a lot of buzz around the league. Daniel Jeremiah had him going ahead of Will Anderson Jr. in his most recent mock draft. I really like what Wilson brings to the table, but not enough to put him above Anderson. The former Texas Tech edge rusher is an elite run defender with great length and untapped potential as a pass rusher. Atlanta has been searching for improved play on the outside of their defensive front for years.

9. Carolina Panthers – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
I won’t rule out the possibility of the Panthers landing a veteran quarterback, but in this scenario, the Panthers are without a clear long-term answer at the position. Levis is a tough evaluation. He has great physical tools and put together a really strong 2021 campaign. However, dealing with injuries, a new offensive scheme and a worse supporting cast, he had a troubling 2022 season. I think Levis has the potential to be a solid NFL quarterback, but there is a lot of risk given his struggles with accuracy and propensity for turning the ball over.

10. Philadelphia Eagles via New Orleans Saints – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, the Eagles need to quickly retool their defense. With a number of veterans heading to free agency, including James Bradberry, Philly will need to turn to the draft to find replacements. Porter is not the most polished cornerback prospect, but he brings rare length to the position. Average arm length for corner prospects is around 31.5 inches. Porter’s arms measured at 34 inches at the combine. Couple that with good athleticism and strong hands in coverage and you have a player who could turn into a shutdown corner.

11. Tennessee Titans – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Tennessee has some questions to answer regarding the futures of Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, but the offensive line remains the biggest concern for this team. Taylor Lewan is already out the door. More players could follow. Adding Skoronski would give them a player capable of starting at either tackle or guard at the next level. Skoronski has the athleticism and size to play tackle, the position he played in college, but his below average length (32.25-inch arms) will raise questions for some about his ability to excel on the outside. His technique is good enough that he should be able to compensate, but those questions will continue to pop up.

12. Houston Texans via Cleveland – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
I’m not saying it will yield the same results, but we have seen some success for teams pairing college quarterbacks and wide receivers together in the NFL. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are the prime example, but Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle as well as Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith all point to this being a reasonable strategy. After an injury-plagued season, Smith-Njigba answered a lot of questions by posting the best times of any player at the combine in the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill. His film indicates he will be able to separate well at the next level and should be a reliable playmaker for the Texans to rebuild this offense around.

13. New York Jets – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Jimmy Garoppolo is only going to be successful in New York if the Jets can protect him. There is still a chance Mekhi Becton could be one of the team’s long-term starters at tackle, but after three injury-plagued seasons, Joe Douglas cannot rely on that. Jones is fresh off a dominant season at Georgia. He has good size and length. His athleticism is impressive as well, underscored by him posting the best 40-time of any offensive lineman at the combine. He would be a plug-and-play option for the Jets at left tackle.

14. New England Patriots – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
While receiver is certainly an option, the Patriots seem more likely to focus on the defensive side of the ball. Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant are all slated to be free agents this offseason. Cornerback is going to be a need for Bill Belichick. After a rocky start to the season, Gonzalez played well down the stretch for the Ducks. He had a really strong combine showing, checking every box from a measurement perspective and posting great numbers in the 40 and vertical jump. He has the physical tools to be a good player in the league for a long time.

15. Green Bay Packers – Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Aaron Rodgers might throw something at his TV if this pick were to roll in. Green Bay did not select a pass-catcher in the first round for Rodgers’ entire tenure with the team. If the Packers are serious about putting Jordan Love in a position to succeed, they will need to give him playmakers. Addison is a bit undersized, but he has been one of the most productive receivers in the country over the past two seasons. He would be a really great complement to the receiver the Packers already have on the roster.

16. Washington Commanders – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
I will be honest, I don’t really know what the path forward for the Commanders is right now. They picked up some huge wins over the Eagles and Cowboys this season, but have question marks all over the offense. Unfortunately, there is not much value at quarterback or offensive tackle at this spot. However, Banks has been flying up draft boards. He played well in his redshirt junior season after dealing with injury in 2021. He dominated the combine and could very easily find himself in the top 20 come draft day.

17. Seattle Seahawks via Pittsburgh Steelers – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Seattle has a ton of draft capital, so John Schneider moves up a few spots to grab an athletic edge rusher in Murphy. The former Clemson defender is more projection than he is production at this stage. However, he displayed a unique blend of size and speed. He was more of a disruptor than his stats would indicate. For the Seahawks, they address a big need along their front seven as they look to build upon a surprise wild card run.

18. Detroit Lions – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
I don’t know if there was a player who had a bigger impact on their draft stock than Smith. The former Georgia star suffered a season-ending pectoral injury at the end of October. In a deep edge rusher class, it seemed like Smith had gotten lost in the shuffle. He let everyone know that he is back to full strength at the combine, posting absolutely ridiculous numbers. He ran a 4.37-second 40 and jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical, both the best for his position. Detroit would just get deeper at edge rusher, adding Smith to a room that already includes Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston.

19. New York Giants via Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The trades keep on coming. The Giants move up to get ahead of a few teams that could be interested in taking a receiver to grab the top one still on the board. Flowers eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and scored 12 touchdowns despite playing for an abysmal Boston College offense. He put together a solid display at the combine as well to bolster his draft stock. He is a bit undersized, but Daniel Jones could use a go-to target on third down and in key situations. I think Flowers would be exactly that for him.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers via Seattle Seahawks – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Steelers slide down a few spots and still add some help along the offensive line. Wright had a breakout season at Tennessee after he switched from left tackle to right tackle. He had a great week at the Senior Bowl and did what was asked of him at the combine. Pittsburgh needs to protect Kenny Pickett and maximize the investment they made in Najee Harris. Adding a road grading right tackle feels like a good place to start.

21. Los Angeles Chargers – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Los Angeles needs to do whatever it can to put Justin Herbert in a position to succeed. It has two great receivers in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, but adding a player like Mayer at tight end could add a whole new element to this offense. Mayer is a well-rounded prospect who produced well at Notre Dame and had a decent showing at the combine. He would be a plus in the run game as well, which is an area the Chargers struggled in throughout the 2022 season.

22. Baltimore Ravens – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Give Lamar Jackson some receivers! In truth, the Ravens have actually tried to surround their franchise quarterback with more talent. Since 2019, Baltimore has drafted six receivers, including two in the first round. Unfortunately, they just haven’t hit on most of them. Johnston would hopefully make up for some past mistakes. He has rare long speed for a player his size and dominates in jump ball situations. He lacks elite quickness, but he would be a big target capable of stretching the defense. Johnston, Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay should give the Ravens a solid receiving corps.

23. Minnesota Vikings – Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
I might be low on McDonald compared to the consensus at this point after he showed out at both the Senior Bowl and the combine. He racked up 34 sacks in his five seasons with the Cyclones, including double-digit sack seasons in 2020 and 2021. He has long arms and tested well in the vertical and broad jumps. In fact, his 11-foot broad jump was tied for the best of any player at the position. For Minnesota, McDonald would be a welcome addition to one of the worst units in the league. The Vikings are facing serious turnover on that side of the ball. McDonald, Andrew Booth Jr. and Lewis Cine would give Brian Flores a decent starting point as he aims to reshape this defense.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars – Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
Jacksonville is shaping up to be one of the most interesting teams to watch in 2023. Trevor Lawrence took a huge jump in his development as the front office put more talent around him and found him a real head coach in Doug Pederson. There are still some gaps to fill in though. Corner is probably the most glaring. It feels like a good landing spot for Brents, who has turned a lot of heads over the past six weeks. He had a strong week in Mobile and even better one in Indianapolis. Brents has great size, 6’3″, and length, 34-inch arms, to pair with incredible physical gifts. He posted a solid time in the 40 and then proceeded to crush the rest of the combine. He had the best broad jump and second-best three-cone time of any player at the combine. Couple that with a stellar 41.5-inch vertical and you have a massive riser up draft boards everywhere.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers via New York Giants – Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
Tampa Bay’s path forward is a bit unclear. As of now, only Kyle Trask is under contract at quarterback and the Buccaneers are nowhere near a position where they could land one of the top passers in this class. Perhaps they could target Hendon Hooker on Day 2. With QB not an option at this point, the Bucs could aim to bolster their defensive line. Akiem Hicks and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are both set to be free agents. Bresee could be an easy replacement. He looked sharp at the combine and moved really well for a player his size. His injury history and general lack of production at Clemson will push him down the board a bit, but he is a really talented player with loads of upside.

26. Dallas Cowboys – Josh Downs, WR, UNC
Dallas could go a number of directions here, but receiver feels like the biggest need for the Cowboys. CeeDee Lamb had another good year, but there is a reason Jerry Jones was asked about Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the regular season. Dak Prescott needs more receiving options. Enter Downs, who is a silky smooth operator with great hands. He is on the smaller side, but he has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker for Dallas. He was Drake Maye’s go-to target with the ability to line up outside or in the slot.

27. Buffalo Bills – O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida
While I did consider going with a running back here, I think the Bills should opt to bolster the interior of their offensive line and trust that James Cook will be better in Year 2. Roger Saffold is slated to be a free agent and Torrence could be a much cheaper option at left guard. He isn’t the greatest athlete of all time, but he has good power and massive hands that allow him to control opposing players. With tons of experience playing at Louisiana and later Florida, I see him as a pro-ready option that could help the Bills finally get over the hump in the postseason.

28. Cincinnati Bengals – Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
The Bengals have a fairly well-rounded roster without a ton of clear needs. Offensive line is arguably a bigger need, but Hayden Hurst is a free agent, so I think tight end moves to the forefront. Washington is not the most polished receiver in this tight end group, but he is a rare prospect with his size and speed. Running a 4.64-second 40 at 264 pounds is remarkable. At 6’7″ with long arms and massive hands, Washington will also be an asset in both run and pass protection.

29. New Orleans Saints via San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
With Derek Carr under contract in this scenario, New Orleans shifts its focus to defense. Van Ness is an ascending talent coming out of Iowa. He did not start for the Hawkeyes, but his athleticism and intangibles have teams believing in his upside. He is long and quick off the edge. His college production was solid as well with 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. With Marcus Davenport headed for free agency, Van Ness could be in line for meaningful snaps as a rookie.

30. Philadelphia Eagles – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Finally, the first running back comes off the board. Robinson is a top-10 talent, but the lack of positional value and a strong free agent class means teams are more willing to wait at the position. It is also an incredible deep draft class at the position. Despite all of that, Robinson is worth the first-round pick. His contact balance is elite. He has a great ability to make players miss and get back up to full speed in a hurry. For an Eagles team that loves to run the football, this is a dream fit. He would take over the backfield role from Miles Sanders, who is a free agent.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
There are large human beings and then there is Dawand Jones. The former Ohio State tackle is a behemoth, standing 6’8″ and weighing 374 pounds. He also has 36-inch arms and a nearly 88-inch wingspan! In short, Jones is huge and moves well for a player that size. He has work to do with his footwork and is definitely in need of some refining from a technique standpoint, but his sheer size makes up for a lot of that immediately. For a Chiefs team that is heading into free agency with both of its starting tackles out of a contract, Jones could be a potential long-term answer on the right side.

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2023 NFL Mini Mock Draft: Bears trade down from No. 1

It has been a long time since I have done a mock draft. With the first 18 picks of the draft officially set, I figured this would be a perfect time to dive back in. I will go through and project all 31 first-round selections soon, (remember the Dolphins forfeited their first round pick for tampering), but I wanted to run through all the picks we already know first. Let’s kick this off with a big trade.

Indianapolis trades 1.4, 2.36, 2024 1st to Chicago for 1.1, 4.103

It seems like a lot, but that’s the price you have to pay to land a franchise quarterback. It’s the only deal I’ve made in this mini mock, so let’s see how the first 18 picks could turn out.

1. Indianapolis Colts via Chicago Bears (3-14) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The Bears earning the No. 1 pick opens the door for a really interesting offseason of wondering what they will do with the pick. Chicago could certainly stay put and take the top player on their board. However, this team is more than just one player away and this still puts them in a position to get a talented difference maker while adding more draft capital. For the Colts, they have had a revolving door at quarterback since Andrew Luck retired. Bryce Young would end that carousel. He is undersized, but there are few players who play with the poise the Alabama quarterback brings to the table. He is incredibly consistent and has a great arm. The Colts would finally get their franchise signal caller.

2. Houston Texans (3-13-1) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
It is hard to fault the Texans for playing for the win, but it could cost them the top quarterback on the board. C.J. Stroud is a hell of a consolation prize. The Ohio State quarterback dominated in 2021 and followed it up with another strong campaign in 2022. He answered a ton of questions scouts had with his performance against Georgia, even in a loss. The question will be how he handles playing without a world class receiving corps. Or will he? Remember the Texans have another first-round pick courtesy of the Deshaun Watson trade.

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-13) – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
Exit J.J. Watt. Enter Will Anderson Jr. Make no mistake, Anderson will not replace the void left by the future Hall of Famer, if for no other reason than Watt outweighs him by roughly 40 pounds. Anderson would be an outside linebacker in that Cardinals defense. And he has the potential to be a game-changing player. He is one of the most productive edge rushers we have seen in recent memory, racking up sacks and tackles for loss like it was nobody’s business for the Tide. Adding an elite pass rusher like Anderson would go a long way to turning around this Cardinals defense that ranked 24th in sacks this season.

4. Chicago Bears via Indianapolis Colts (4-13) – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
This is a great scenario for the Bears. Jalen Carter would fill a massive need for Chicago’s defense and is arguably the most talented player in this draft. He is my No. 1 prospect right now, but the gap between him and Anderson is tiny. Putting Carter into a 4-3 scheme would be a great way to maximize his skill set. He does a great job collapsing the pocket and shedding blocks. With that Bears defense in for a major rebuild, Carter would be a fantastic player for Matt Eberflus to build around.

5. Seattle Seahawks via Denver Broncos (5-12) – Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
Through one year, Seattle seemingly crushed the 2022 NFL draft and won the Russell Wilson trade. The Seahawks rebuilt their offensive line and added a dynamic running back in Kenneth Walker III. However, Seattle still has some room for improvement on their defensive front seven. Bryan Bresee would be a great fit as a 3-tech defensive end for Pete Carroll and company. He has the size and strength to control the line of scrimmage and the speed to wreak havoc in opposing backfields. Putting him on a defensive line featuring Poona Ford and Shelby Harris, who could be a potential cap casualty, would create an exciting unit.

6. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams (5-12) – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
It was a very successful season for the Lions, who wound up right on the cusp of their first playoff berth since 2016. With a pair of first-round picks this year, Detroit is in a real position to push themselves over the edge in 2023. Myles Murphy is a dynamic edge rusher who seems to just be scratching the surface of his potential as a pass rusher. His first step and power to battle with offensive tackles off the edge are impressive. He needs to improve his pass rush planning, but playing under Aaron Glenn and across from Aidan Hutchinson should help unlock his potential.

7. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11) – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
This is going to be a very interesting offseason for the Raiders. Derek Carr’s future is currently up in the air and whatever Las Vegas decides to do with their long-time quarterback will dictate every move they make after that. The likelihood is, Carr will be playing elsewhere next year, which opens up a clear need for a quarterback. There is a chance the Raiders would go after a veteran option, but being in a position to draft a young quarterback is not one I think this front office will pass up. Will Levis is a bit raw, but has some fantastic traits and tools for Josh McDaniels to work with. I think long term, he could be a really solid player for the Raiders and brings a ton of upside to the position.

8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10) – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
The Falcons have been searching for pass rushing help for what feels like a decade. Atlanta finished the 2022 season ranked second to last in sacks, tallying just one more than Chicago. While the Falcons have invested in some young options like Arnold Ebeketie and DeAngelo Malone, they need to have someone lead the charge. That could be Tyree Wilson. He is a better run defender than pass rusher at this point, but he had solid production, posting seven sacks each of the past two seasons. I like him best as a 5-technique defensive end, but I think he has the range to be an outside linebacker, especially if he is allowed to play in a more attacking role.

9. Carolina Panthers (7-10) – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Carolina finds itself out of a position to draft a quarterback and perhaps willing to give Sam Darnold one more year to bridge the gap to whoever the long-term answer winds up being for this franchise. While the Panthers have some intriguing young talent on the roster, most of it is on the defensive side of the ball. They need another playmaker on offense, particularly after trading away Christian McCaffrey at the deadline this year. Enter Quentin Johnston, who is bound to make any quarterback better with his catch radius and yards after the catch ability. His 6’4″ frame and breakaway speed make him a matchup nightmare for opposing teams and a unique chess piece for whoever winds up running this Panthers offense next season.

10. Philadelphia Eagles via New Orleans Saints (7-10) – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
It is rare for a team to finish with the No. 1 seed in their conference and a top-10 pick, but that’s where the Eagles find themselves. I would consider selecting an offensive tackle here with Lane Johnson getting older, but Darius Slay is 32 and James Bradberry is a free agent after this season. Both could be back, but the Eagles need to address the position for the long term. Joey Porter Jr. has incredible length that allows him to disrupt passing lanes and break up throws all over the field. He had an impressive season for Penn State and is in the mix to be the first corner selected this year. I will be very interested to see how he runs at the combine, but I love his frame and length.

11. Tennessee Titans (7-10) – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Seven straight losses saw the Titans go from a contender in the AFC to picking just outside the top 10. Tennessee fired Jon Robinson midseason and now will look to retool this roster for another run at winning the division. Adding Peter Skoronski feels like a good place to start. He turned a lot of heads with his play at Northwestern this season and will be right in the mix to be the first tackle selected come draft time. He would fill a major need for the Titans and hopefully allow the team to maximize whatever time they have left with Derrick Henry in his prime.

12. Houston Texans via Cleveland (7-10) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
I teased this move during the first Texans pick, but pairing C.J. Stroud with one of his former targets in college feels like a really good way to get him acclimated to the NFL. Jaxon Smith-Njigba will have a number of injury questions to answer after missing pretty much the entire 2022 college season due to a hamstring issue. However, we saw him light it up a season ago when at full strength, leading a Buckeyes team that featured Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Marvin Harrison Jr. in receiving yards and touchdowns. He is a reliable playmaker who can line up in the slot or out wide. Houston desperately needs receiver help as well, so this feels like an obvious move.

13. New York Jets (7-10) – Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Jets feel like they are a quarterback away from competing with the best in the AFC. They knocked off the Bills this season and seemed poised to snap their league-leading 12-season playoff drought. Instead, the offense went from average to anemic down the stretch and New York failed to score a touchdown in its final three games. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s future is uncertain at the moment as is the outlook for the Jets at quarterback. I imagine the team will opt for a veteran rather than rolling the dice on Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. If that is the case, Joe Douglas needs to ensure whoever is throwing passes has time to do so. Paris Johnson Jr. could step in at either tackle or guard from Day 1 and provide some much-needed stability. He has the experience and versatility to be invaluable to this New York offense.

14. New England Patriots (8-9) – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Mac Jones took a clear step backward this season. The blame for that could belong to a number of factors ranging from questionable coaching to a lack of weapons. Don’t overlook the impact of poor protection either. New England finished the season 17th in pass block win rate as Jones had the 12th-highest sack rate in the league. For a quarterback that struggles with mobility, pass protection is crucial. Broderick Jones should help resolve some of the protection issues. He is slated to suit up for Georgia again in the National Championship Game. He has started every game at left tackle for the Dawgs this year after starting the final four games of the regular season in 2021. He has faced elite competition and more than held his own. He could start at right tackle next season for New England or even left tackle if Trent Brown is a cap casualty.

15. Green Bay Packers (8-9) – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons. Plain and simple. They invested a good amount of draft capital at receiver this past year with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs and you could still argue for more. However, I think tight end is a clear spot to upgrade here, especially with the top one in this class on the board. Mayer is well-rounded and brings the prototypical size to the table at 6’4″, 250 lbs. His production was elite as far as college tight ends go. He topped 2,000 yards in his career and hauled in 18 touchdown catches. Adding him will improve the running game as well. I really like this move for Green Bay.

16. Washington Commanders (8-9) – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
What should the Commanders do at quarterback? Carson Wentz is as good as gone. Taylor Heinicke has not been consistent enough to win the job. Sam Howell showed a little something against the Cowboys, but not enough to dissuade the Commanders from selecting someone else. Especially if that someone else has the upside of Anthony Richardson. The former Florida quarterback has absurd athleticism and one of the strongest arms we have seen recently. However, he is very raw and will need to improve his passing mechanics and footwork if he is going to succeed at the next level. Washington can rely on Heinicke to bridge the gap until Richardson is ready.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8) – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Mike Tomlin very nearly dragged this team into the playoffs. While he came up short, he showed that the Steelers are closer to competing than we originally thought. Pittsburgh has some clear holes though and with the top three tackles off the board, I think corner is a good move. Christian Gonzalez is a long, rangy corner who bounced back after a rough start to the year and impressed scouts with his play in the Pac-12. They won’t need him to cover for too long either, just long enough for T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith or Cam Heyward to get home.

18. Detroit Lions (9-8) – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
The Lions defensive makeover continues, this time on the backend with a tall corner. Smith measures at 6’0″ and is coming off a 2nd-team All-SEC season with South Carolina. He has some solid numbers in his career with 6 interceptions and 18 pass breakups. I’m excited to watch more of him in this draft cycle. He could create a very fun tandem with Jeff Okudah in that Detroit secondary. The Lions defense played better down the stretch, but this team would have been in the postseason if it was not giving up 30 or more points per game to open the season.

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Draft Season Never Ends: Will Anderson Jr. vs. Jalen Carter

Who should you choose: the elite edge rusher from Alabama or the game-wrecking defensive tackle from Georgia? Chris does his best to break them both down and explain which one he would pick.

You can find every episode on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you find your podcasts. As always, I appreciate reviews, feedback and when you hit that subscribe button.

Will Anderson Jr. 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Name: William Anderson Jr.
Position: Edge rusher
School: Alabama
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 243 lbs
Games watched: vs. Texas (2022), vs. Georgia (’21 NCG), vs. Auburn (2021), vs. Tennessee (2022), vs. Ole Miss (2022), vs. LSU (2022)

If you have been watching college football for the past two seasons or done any digging into the 2023 NFL draft class, you have heard of Will Anderson Jr. The Alabama edge rusher is one of the most productive and prolific players in college football. Anderson is a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, a 2021 All-American (likely 2022 selection as well) and a National Champion back in 2020. He also won the Lott Trophy, the Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (twice) and the Chuck Bednarik Award in his storied college career. I still think he got snubbed in 2021 for the Heisman, but I digress.

Awards are great but Anderson’s production is even better. He tallied 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss in 30 career games with the Tide. He now has three straight seasons with double digit tackles for loss and topped out in 2021 with a whopping 31 TFLs to go with 17.5 sacks.


Anderson has one of the quickest first steps in college football. He flies off the line and utilizes that blazing speed to get a jump on opposing tackles. He does a nice job with his hand placement to keep himself disengaged from opposing linemen, allowing him to penetrate the backfield with ease. Anderson is capable of moving linemen with his heavy hands and strong lower half, but it is not a staple of his game. He plays with a high motor and has above average power. His bend and length on the edge make him a real problem on just about every snap. Seeking out contact is not a problem, as Anderson routinely sets the edge in the run game. As a bonus, Anderson can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up, and he is comfortable lining up on either side of the formation.


Most of my criticism of Anderson is nitpicking, but for as productive a player as he is, he misses quite a few tackles. While his incredibly successful as a pass rusher, I believe there is room to grow his array of pass rushing moves. His motor fluctuated at times during his junior season, notably in the Texas game, where it was clear he was taking some plays off. He lacks elite open field speed, struggling to keep up with some of the faster quarterbacks Alabama faced when they broke contain. Additionally, he is far from an elite run defender, but does more than enough to be a three-down player.


Anderson is going to be one of the top five players selected in the 2023 NFL draft, barring an injury in the pre-draft process. He is a special pass rusher with room to add more muscle to his frame. His production is among the best we’ve ever seen at the collegiate level. He routinely faced NFL-caliber talent and should be a Day 1 contributor.

Ideal scheme fit: Attacking 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end

Grade: 92.5

2023 NFL Mock Draft: 6 QBs go in Round 1 as Bucs find replacement for Tom Brady

The NFL season is nearly here and college football had its soft opening this past weekend. We will get the full slate of college action Labor Day weekend followed by the NFL kickoff a few short days later.

Not surprisingly, I’m already thinking about the 2023 NFL draft though. This is my first mock draft since my way-too-early edition, which I published right after the draft in May. While a lot of time has passed, not a ton has changed. I’ve had a chance to watch a bit more film in the offseason, but with no games being played, there is very little new information to impact a players’ draft stock.

This draft class is shaping up to be an exciting one, with tons of quality quarterbacks and one of the best edge rushing prospects we have seen in a few years.

With that in mind, I did not create the draft order, so don’t get at me if you don’t like where your favorite team is picking. These odds are the latest from Vegas Insiders’ consensus. Tiebreakers were determined by strength of schedule.

1. Houston Texans (+29000) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
As much as I personally like Davis Mills, it is going to be hard to justify passing on a quarterback. Especially when it is in as talented a quarterback class as this one. Heading into the season, Stroud is my top-rated passer. He passes the eye test. Plus, he put up monster numbers a year ago and has an NFL-caliber arm. Houston will be able to use all of the additional picks from the Deshaun Watson trade to surround him with talent and put him in a position to succeed.

2. Atlanta Falcons (+23000) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
This is another tricky one. The Falcons could ride it out with Desmond Ridder, who they drafted in the third round in 2022. However, I think he would have to show a lot of promise for Atlanta to pass up on Young. The 2021 Heisman winner is incredibly accurate and a plus athlete. He is a bit undersized, but that hasn’t stopped him from lighting up SEC competition so far. Kyle Pitts, Drake London and the impending return of Calvin Ridley would give Young a strong set of receivers to grow with.

3. Seattle Seahawks (+17000) – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Geno Smith just won one of the least compelling quarterback battles in NFL history. He beat out Drew Lock, who arrived as part of the Russell Wilson trade this offseason. In short, the Seahawks need a quarterback. Levis is my third at the position for me entering 2022 and worthy of being a top-three pick. He checks all of the physical boxes and played better than just about anyone against Georgia during the regular season last year. He will need to cut down on turnovers and prove he can consistently perform at a high level. I like his upside a lot.

4. Chicago Bears (+14400) – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
Chicago lucks their way into the best player in the draft at this spot. This really is a best-case scenario for the Bears, who will have no reason to consider moving on from Justin Fields. Instead, they can find a replacement for Khalil Mack. Anderson, in my opinion, should have won the Heisman last season. That’s how good he was. His stats look like something out of NCAA Football 14 and he is built to play on Sundays. No need to overthink this one.

5. New York Jets (+14100) – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Despite the buzz of potentially replacing Zach Wilson should the Jets end up with another high draft pick, I think he will get one more year to prove himself. New York’s biggest need will likely be at offensive tackle, but this is a weaker class at the position. Instead, Joe Douglas will go with the best player available, grabbing Carter from Georgia. Because the Bulldogs defense was stacked with NFL talent, Carter rotated in a lot. He will be featured much more heavily in 2022. It will give him the chance to wow fans and scouts with his incredible motor and physique. With Quinnen Williams set to play 2023 on his fifth-year option, Carter could either be his partner in crime, or his replacement.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars (+13000) – Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Give Trevor Lawrence a true No. 1 receiver! Jacksonville has a good amount of depth at the position, but lacks a clear go-to playmaker. Boutte could be exactly that. He was off to a blistering start in 2021 with 509 yards and nine touchdowns in just six games before an ankle injury ended his season. He will have a new quarterback in 2022, but his size, speed and playmaking ability should keep him in the top-10 conversation.

7. Carolina Panthers (+12100) – Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
There is certainly a chance the Panthers take a quarterback if they are picking in the top 10. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are both on expiring contracts. I think Carolina could run it back with Mayfield if he can show signs of regaining his 2020 form. In that case, bolstering their linebacking corps would make a lot of sense. Simpson is a potential game-wrecker with good range and some pass rushing ability. He had 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2021 and seems poised for an even bigger season.

8. Detroit Lions (+12000) – Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
Detroit has been linked to rookie quarterbacks for the past two drafts, but have instead opted to build their roster elsewhere. I think the time has come for them to grab a successor to Jared Goff. With the top three off the board, McCall is my next highest-rated quarterback at this point. He is incredibly accurate and shows good ability to improvise when the play breaks down. His numbers were fantastic in 2021 and I am excited to see what he can do this upcoming season.

9. New York Giants (+11800) – Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
Perhaps the Giants will go after a veteran quarterback in this scenario. Think Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield. However, I still think there is one last quarterback worth going in the top 10. There is a lot of projection here with Van Dyke with only nine starts under his belt so far. However, he flashed more than enough upside and potential to warrant being in this spot at the end of August. He checks every box from a size perspective as well. It would be really interesting to see how he would develop under Brian Daboll.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (+8000) – Keele Ringo, CB, Georgia
Pittsburgh definitely needs an upgrade along the offensive line, but it’s still a bit early for the offensive linemen in this class. Instead, they can rebuild a cornerback room that needs an injection of young talent. Ringo put himself on the national radar with a pick-six to close out the National Championship game. It capped a strong season from the redshirt freshman. He has great size at 6’2″ and moves really well, especially for a bigger corner. He would compete for a starting job in Pittsburgh as a rookie.

11. Washington Commanders (+7600) – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
With five quarterbacks off the board already, it is hard to imagine Washington picking a sixth one this early. That might mean another year with Carson Wentz at the helm or potentially Sam Howell getting a crack. Instead, the Commanders can opt to retool their secondary. Smith dominated in 2021 with three interceptions and 11 pass deflections. He has great size at 6’1″ and should be a candidate to start from Day 1 or provide some much-needed depth.

12. New England Patriots (+4200) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
As a Jets fan, this might be my worst nightmare. New England has desperately needed a playmaking receiver for a few years now. There might not be a better option than Smith-Njigba. He racked up 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns as the third option in Ohio State’s offense. I can only imagine what kind of numbers he will put up as the top option this year. Mac Jones would greatly benefit from adding Smith-Njigba to the Patriots offense.

13. Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns (+3900) – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
After grabbing a quarterback at the top of the draft, Houston shifts its focus to the other size of the ball. With Jonathan Greenard locking down one defensive end spot, Murphy would be a great player to pair with him. He put up some impressive numbers with 12 sacks and 25 tackles for loss through his first two seasons. His burst off the line is great and he has really good instincts. The Texans have a long rebuild ahead, so finding key players to build around is going to be important. I believe Murphy could be one of those blue-chip players.

14. Miami Dolphins (+3900) – N/A
The NFL stripped the Dolphins of their first-round draft pick in 2023 as punishment for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

15. Tennessee Titans (+3800) – Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Another Clemson defender coming off the board in the first half of the first round. Bresee had his season cut short in 2021 due to injury, appearing in just four games. He had a good freshman season with four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. He has the size and strength to thrive in the NFL. For Tennessee, Bresee would create a talented from three with Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons. Mike Vrabel would definitely love to solidify his front seven.

16. Philadelphia Eagles via New Orleans Saints (+3800) – Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
With the first of two picks in Round 1, the Eagles look to solidify their cornerback room around Darius Slay. Ricks is supremely talented and has good production from his first two seasons at LSU with five interceptions. He will get a chance to continue to grow his game playing for Nick Saban now at Alabama. There is some durability concern with Ricks. He missed the final six games of the 2021 season and had offseason back surgery. If he can clear those medical red flags, I think he is worth a first-round pick.

17. Las Vegas Raiders (+3600) – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The Raiders seem ready to end the Alex Leatherwood experiment at tackle with rookie seventh-round pick Thayer Munford likely starting at right tackle this year. Perhaps Munford will negate the need for a new tackle. If not, Skoronski definitely should. The Northwestern man put on a solid display to open the 2022 season against Nebraska. Pairing him with Kolton Miller would give the Raiders two really good tackles tasked with keeping Derek Carr upright.

18. Minnesota Vikings (+3600) – Akheem Mesidor, DL, Miami
Minnesota has built depth in a lot of places on defense, but there is still room to improve their defensive line. Mesidor is one of my favorite prospects in this class. He is a dynamic pass rusher who excels at shedding blocks and collapsing pockets. He put together two strong seasons with West Virginia before transferring to Miami. I think he could start for Minnesota at defensive end as soon as next season.

19. Arizona Cardinals (+3500) – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
This might seem a little bizarre given that James Conner is still under contract, but he will be in his final season of his contract in 2023. Plus, Arizona’s offense is all about speed and big-play ability. Gibbs brings that in spades. He would bring another element of dynamism to this offense. He is my favorite running back in this class at this point. The potential of him playing with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and Hollywood Brown is enticing.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (+2280) – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
The Eagles continue to retool their defense with Georgia prospects. After taking Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean in 2021, adding Smith feels fitting. Plus, he fills a need for this defense. Brandon Graham is in the final year of his contract and Philly does not have a clear successor to him at defensive end. Smith is a bit undersized for this role, but his speed and bend off the edge could make him a good fit.

21. Indianapolis Colts (+2240) – Clark Phillips, CB, Utah
There are not a ton of areas where the Colts need to upgrade. Corner is probably the biggest one. Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore are both quality starters, but both will be free agents following the 2023 season. Phillips could provide some depth right away and projects as a future starter. He is a bit undersized, but he plays much bigger. I like his play style and I’m excited to see what he will do in his junior year at Utah.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (+2080) – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Cincinnati lost C.J. Uzomah this offseason and never found a true replacement. Hayden Hurst is only on a one-year deal and Drew Sample has yet to provide much production. Mayer would fix all of that and give Joe Burrow yet another weapon to work with. He is a proven receiver and a solid blocker. Picking up an asset in the passing and running game while filling a position of need feels like a great option.

23. Dallas Cowboys (+2000) – Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
Dallas’ offensive line has quickly become an issue. Tyron Smith is injured again and La’el Collins is now in Cincinnati. Johnson will get a chance to showcase his talents at tackle after kicking inside to guard last year for a few appearances. He has the right build for an offensive tackle at the next level, standing 6’6″, 315 pounds. He will definitely get tested in the Big Ten this season. If he can hold up against the best the conference has to offer, don’t be surprised if he is the first tackle off the board.

24. Baltimore Ravens (+1880) – Jordan Addison, WR, USC
In case you haven’t heard, the Ravens need help at receiver. I actually really like both Rashod Bateman and the depth they have built, but they lack proven starters. Addison is obviously not proven at the NFL level, but he did tear up college football in 2021, claiming the Biletnikoff Award as Kenny Pickett’s top target with Pittsburgh. Now he will play that same role with Caleb Williams at USC. I expect he would be happy to have Lamar Jackson as the next quarterback he gets to play with.

25. Seattle Seahawks via Denver Broncos (+1700) – Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
Seattle is in full tear down mode right now. They have lost a lot of quality at linebacker in recent years, headlined by Bobby Wagner’s departure this offseason. Asking Sewell to replicate his production right away would be unfair, but he has the pedigree and skill to help cushion the blow. He is a physical presence in the middle of the defense.

26. Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers (+1600) – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
I was split here on grabbing a potential replacement for Tua Tagovailoa and continuing to build around him. I obviously opted for the latter with Robinson. He is a powerful runner who makes defenders pay for attempted arm tackles. When he plays fast and downhill, there are few running backs as productive as him in the country. He has great hands and shows signs of being able to pass protect. He would unquestionably be an upgrade over everyone Miami currently has on its roster.

27. Los Angeles Chargers (+1380) – Jaheim Bell, TE, South Carolina
There is definitely a push in scouting tight ends to simply target traits and hope to coach them up at the next level. Bell doesn’t fall squarely into that category, but he definitely falls more in line with Mike Gesicki and Kyle Pitts when it comes to play style. He is a mismatch in space and uses his big frame to win contested balls down the field. I am excited to see him catching passes from Spencer Rattler this season. For the Chargers, he would be a long-term solution at the position after relying on free-agent stop gaps in recent years.

28. Green Bay Packers (+1140) – BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
After losing Za’Darius Smith this offseason, the Packers have very little depth at edge rusher. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary represent quality starters at outside linebacker. Ojulari could be a rotational option who eventually takes over for Smith, who will turn 30 in November. The LSU edge rusher is coming off a solid season where he had 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Receiver is still an option, but I think Green Bay will wait on the development of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.

29. Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams (+1100) – Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
After taking McCall with their first pick in this round, Detroit should be relatively set on offense. Brad Holmes can turn his attention to the defensive side then, where linebacker and safety look like potential needs. Branch is a versatile playmaker who can move around the formation. I believe he could play either safety spot at the next level, but what makes him even more valuable is his ability to drop down and play nickel corner. He would bring a much-needed infusion of talent to this Lions secondary.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (+1020) – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Even after adding Skyy Moore and signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency, it feels like the Chiefs still have a need at receiver. It is important to remember Smith-Schuster is only on a one-year deal. Johnston would bring some size and big-play ability to this offense. At 6’4″, he is a vertical threat, but he has run after the catch ability as well. The Chiefs made it clear they don’t want to spend big money on the position, so adding receivers in the draft feels like a priority.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+770) – Devin Leary, QB, NC State
NC State is primed for a big season and Leary is a huge part of that. He balled out in 2021 with 35 touchdowns and just five interceptions. It was a huge jump from what we had seen in his first two seasons with the Wolfpack. Circle October 1st as a date to watch for when he gets his toughest test of the year against Clemson. For the Buccaneers, it feels more and more like this Tom Brady’s last ride. He had his mysterious absence from training camp coupled with a 40-day retirement and reports that he tried to join Dolphins ownership. Kyle Trask has shown no signs of being the guy, so it is time to find a new successor.

32. Buffalo Bills (+600) – Brandon Joseph, S, Notre Dame
Jordan Poyer is in the final year of his contract. Micah Hyde will be a free agent after 2023. They are both 31 years old as well. It might be time for the Bills to start thinking about what is next in their defensive backfield. Joseph arrives in South Bend following a stellar junior season with Northwestern. He is a ballhawk with nine interceptions over his past two seasons. He is a proven tackler as well with the size needed to contend in the NFL.

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