By: Tyler Kirk
With the 2023 NFL Draft beginning today, it is officially the end of the 2023 mock draft season. I wanted to display my final two-round mock draft of what I predict will happen this year.
In this mock draft, I project seven total trades (two in the top-10; four total in Round One). At the end of my two-round mock, I also included some predictions for which teams will draft other notable draft prospects.
Due to the Miami Dolphins forfeiting their first round pick this year as a result of a tampering investigation, there will only be 31 picks in Round 1, and 63 picks through Round 2.
With the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…
1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The Panthers traded away a lot to secure their franchise quarterback. Now sitting with the #1 overall pick, they have their pick of the top four guys. The question is, who will it be? I believe this is a two-way race between Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Although Young doesn’t fit new Head Coach Frank Reich’s typical quarterback mold, measuring in at 5 feet 10 inches, he is arguably the best decision maker and overall quarterback of the group. Some say he may even be the safest option.
2. Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., DE, Alabama
The Texans ruined their chance of securing the #1 pick with their Week 18 win over the Indianapolis Colts, and in doing so, missing out on the luxury of having their pick of the litter. They just hired former 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans as their Head Coach in the offseason, and are reportedly not as high on the other quarterback options at #2. Due to this, they decide to draft their highest rated player, who could turn out to be a game-wrecker in Will Anderson Jr.
Tennessee Receives: 3rd overall
Arizona Receives: 11th overall, 2024 1st rd, 2024 3rd rd, 2025 1st rd
3. Tennessee Titans (via mock trade w/ ARI): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Tennessee has made it quite obvious they have already given up on 3rd round pick Malik Willis from last year, and Ryan Tannehill is a 34 year-old coming off a bad and injury-plagued season. They have supposedly been doing all their homework on the top quarterbacks of this draft, and also have had serious talks about trading up to draft one. As it seems they are in the midst of a rebuild, why not go all in on drafting your franchise quarterback now?
4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Indianapolis reportedly tried to trade up to #1, but the Panthers beat them out. It is obvious they want to draft a quarterback, but there will most likely only be two of the top guys available by the time they pick. The question is, which one will new head coach Shane Steichen like more? Will Levis probably will be more ready to play right away, however Steichen just finished a two-year stretch of coaching Jalen Hurts, who turned into a star before our eyes last season. I believe it’s possible he goes with another quarterback that needs some development in Richardson.
Other potential sleeper teams for Anthony Richardson if he doesn’t go in the first four picks: Seahawks, Lions, Buccaneers
5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
This is the dream scenario for the Seahawks. Jalen Carter to most is identified as the clear-cut best player in this year’s class, and getting him at #5 is a steal. There are recent off-field concerns that come with him, but if he lands with an organization as good as Seattle’s, I don’t see it being much of a problem.
6. Detroit Lions (via LAR): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Detroit did just sign two cornerbacks already this offseason in Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, but they also traded 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah, and are in need of depth in their secondary. Plug in Devon Witherspoon, who is a super physical alpha corner in a deep corner class, and Detroit is looking at a rejuvenated secondary.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Raiders secondary has been terrible the past few seasons and are in dire need of good cornerback play if they want to keep up in the AFC West. Christian Gonzalez is a fluent cornerback who will allow defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones more time to get to the quarterback.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia
Nolan Smith is a very interesting player to mock. A lot of teams dismissed him after his combine measurements due to him being undersized for an OLB (6’2” and 238 lbs). His tape is absolutely phenomenal however, and he ran a blazing 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. He was very productive at his size in the SEC, and I don’t see it being a problem in the NFL, either. Atlanta was second-worst in the NFL last season with only 21 sacks, and although Smith didn’t gather a bunch in college, I believe that will change with the Falcons.
9. Chicago Bears (via CAR): Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
Last season, Chicago traded away cornerstone Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, signaling that they were in the middle of a rebuild and causing them to finish dead last in the NFL with only 20 sacks collectively as a team. If that wasn’t already bad enough, their sack leader was their 2nd round rookie safety Jaquan Brisker, who finished the season with four. To me, I think it’s obvious Chicago goes defensive line here and if Tyree Wilson is available, they should not give any hesitation to drafting him as he is an athletic freak with an extremely high ceiling.
Houston Receives: 10th overall
Philadelphia Receives: 12th overall, 3rd rd (73), 6th rd (201)
10. Houston Texans (via mock trade w/ PHI; from NO): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
If Houston doesn’t go quarterback with their #2 selection, I believe it is very likely we see them trade back up into the top-10 for one of the remaining quarterbacks that fall. It seems like every year there is at least one quarterback that starts sliding, and to me, that quarterback this year is probably Will Levis. Although they would have been better off drafting Stroud at #2, this pick would allow them to obtain a star on the defensive side and a hopeful quarterback of the future.
11. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade w/ IND): Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa
Like it or not, trading out of the #3 pick is the best possible move the Cardinals could make. They lost key players this offseason, might be trading star WR DeAndre Hopkins and safety Budda Baker, and on top of that QB Kyler Murray is coming off an ACL tear. Trading back to obtain more future picks is a best case scenario, and drafting Van Ness would fill a huge hole on their defensive line as he is able to play both DE and DT.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via mock trade w/ HOU; from CLV): Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Philadelphia loves building their trenches, and Peter Skoronski a tremendous prospect. He played OT at Northwestern, but many scouts think he would be a better guard at the NFL level. Regardless of where he is listed, he would give the Eagles great offensive line play with position flexibility as a starter on day one.
13. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ): Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
Green Bay has been known for doing two things in the first round of the past 20+ drafts: Not drafting a skill position, and drafting athletic raw defensive players. Even though they would have their choice at all of the top WR and TE options at this spot, their history simply does not reflect that they would do so given the opportunity. So, why not draft an extremely athletic edge rusher who has a lot of upside in Myles Murphy?
14. New England Patriots: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Both of the Patriots’ projected offensive Tackles for this upcoming season are 30+ years of age. Paris Johnson Jr. has an extremely high ceiling as a Tackle in the NFL and would provide New England with a potential star at the position for years to come.
15. New York Jets (via GB): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Now that Aaron Rodgers is officially in New York, their number one priority should be protecting him. Broderick Jones, although a little raw, is an absolute beast. The Jets don’t have a lot of holes to fill on their roster now, but Jones would be a tremendous upgrade to an already solid offensive line.
Seattle Receives: 16th overall
Washington Receives: 20th overall, 3rd rd (83), 7th rd (237)
16. Seattle Seahawks (via mock trade w/ WAS): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
This may be a surprising pick to some, given the Seahawks have DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but Lockett will be 31 years old this coming season and could be reaching the end of his career soon. Even if continues to play a few more seasons, this is a luxury pick for Seattle and Jaxon Smith-Njigba would give the Seahawks an elite slot WR for years to come.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Pittsburgh has two big areas of need on their roster: Tackle and cornerback. They did just sign Patrick Peterson this offseason, but he is 32 years old. Obtaining a stud CB could put the icing on top of an already stellar defense, and Joey Porter Jr. can be that guy. He would be fantastic scheme-fit wise and is super athletically gifted with a large wingspan. Porter Jr.’s father, Joey Porter, was drafted in the third round by Pittsburgh in 1999.
18. Detroit Lions: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
Calijah Kancey is an interesting prospect to mock as his tape is phenomenal but much like a lot of other players in this draft, very undersized. Detroit has a very big need at DT and Kancey would have an immediate impact for their defense.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Nobody has any clue what Tampa Bay will do this year with Tom Brady now gone. I think they are too far back to trade up to try and get one of the top-four quarterbacks, unless one falls out of the top-10. They will most likely go best player available at a position of need, which in this case is Darnell Wright at tackle. Since Wright will probably remain at RT in the NFL, the Buccaneers would probably move Tristian Wirfs to LT.
20. Washington Commanders (via mock trade w/ SEA): Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Washington, like Pittsburgh, will either go tackle or cornerback with their first round selection most likely. How will the board fall for them? If a couple prospects they are high on land to them at 16, I think they will want to trade back a few spots and select the best prospect available after. In this scenario, Deonte Banks would fill a big need at corner and provide them with a ton of athleticism.
Miami Dolphins: Forfeited Pick
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
I could totally see running back Bijan Robinson finally getting drafted with Los Angeles here, but I’m not completely sold that Austin Ekeler will be traded. Jordan Addison would be a great fit in the Chargers’ offense, providing them with a deep threat and a good replacement if they want to move on from the aging Keenan Allen in 2024.
Kansas City Receives: 22nd overall
Baltimore Receives: 31th overall, 3rd rd (95), 4th rd (134), 5th rd (166), 7th rd (249)
22. Kansas City Chiefs (via mock trade w/ BAL): Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
The defending Super Bowl champs don’t have any massive holes on their roster, so they could go any direction they want with this pick. They also have a lot of picks in this draft and have shown their willingness to trade up in years past. Although it’s very possible they go DE or WR with this pick instead, I think Anton Harrison would be a great fit with Kansas City as he is a tremendous pass blocker.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Minnesota has drafted an abundance of CBs in the first two rounds of the draft each of the past couple of years it seems, but it remains a big need for them. Emmanuel Forbes is an absolute ballhawk, racking up 14 interceptions over the course of his college career.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will McDonald IV, DE, Iowa State
Jacksonville was one of the most surprising teams in the league last year, and they are looking to improve even more. Although they drafted Travon Walker #1 overall last year, they still need help in their front-seven. Will McDonald IV could provide them with a great pass rusher on a defense that was 7th worst in the league in team sacks last season.
25. New York Giants: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Although the Giants just signed a bunch of WRs this offseason, all of them were only one-year deals, leaving them to be stuck in the same scenario next offseason. They may have a much bigger area of need at the CB position for this coming season, but none of the CBs available here are worth taking at 25. Zay Flowers is an explosive playmaker that would fit in perfectly with New York’s offense.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
If Bijan Robinson falls to Dallas at 26, Jerry Jones will no doubt select him without thinking twice. Robinson would fill a big need for the Cowboys as they recently cut Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard is coming off a serious injury. Jones, also known for style, may not be able to pass on the Texas product.
27. Buffalo Bills: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Buffalo just lost star LB Tremaine Edmunds to Chicago in free agency, and may be desperate to replace him. Although pick #27 may be a little high to draft this position, it would fill a big hole in their defense.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Cincinnati is already one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL, and imagine how much more scary it could become if they added the best receiving TE from this draft. Although there are some concerns with his back injury, Dalton Kincaid can be a lethal receiving threat in the league.
29. New Orleans Saints (via DEN/MIA/SF): Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern
Adetomiwa Adebawore had an excellent combine that shot him up a lot of team’s draft boards. New Orleans needs improvement on their defensive line after the departure of Marcus Davenport, and Adebawore could provide that.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Philadelphia filled their immediate need of a safety with the signing of Terrell Edmunds during free agency, but they are always drafting for the future. Brian Branch can be their safety of the future while also providing safety and corner depth this coming season as he is versatile in the secondary. An alternative route Philadelphia could also choose is trading out of this spot and accumulating future picks.
31. Baltimore Ravens (via mock draft w/ KC): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Baltimore has had a dreadful WR corps the last few years with Lamar Jackson at QB. They did just sign Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor recently, but they were one-year deals and need help outside of them. Quentin Johnston is a freak athletic wise, but had a lot of drops in college. This trade-back scenario would be viewed as a win-win, allowing them to recoup some much needed draft picks and draft a young, talented WR.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (via CHI): Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
33. Houston Texans: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
34. Arizona Cardinals: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
35. Indianapolis Colts: Steve Avila, OL, TCU
36. Los Angeles Rams: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State
37. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Tuli Tuipulotu, DE, USC
38. Las Vegas Raiders: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
39. Carolina Panthers: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
40. New Orleans Saints: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
41. Tennessee Titans: BJ Ojulari, DE, LSU
42. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ/CLV): Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
43. New York Jets: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
44. Atlanta Falcons: Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, WR, Houston
45. Green Bay Packers: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
46. New England Patriots: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
47. Washington Commanders: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
48. Detroit Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
New York Giants Receive: 49th overall
Pittsburgh Receives: 57th overall, 4th rd (128), 5th rd (160), 6th rd (209)
49. New York Giants (via mock trade w/ PIT): Joe Tippman, C, Wisconsin
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
Detroit Receives: 51th overall
Miami Receives: 55th overall, 5th rd (159), 6th rd (194)
51. Detroit Lions (via mock trade w/ MIA): Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
52. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
53. Chicago Bears (via BAL): Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
Washington Receives: 54th overall
Los Angeles Receives: 3rd rd (83), 5th rd (150), 2024 3rd rd
54. Washington Commanders (via mock trade w/ LAC): Matthew Bergeron, T, Syracuse
55. Miami Dolphins (via mock trade w/ DET; from MIN): Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
56. Jacksonville Jaguars: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
57. Pittsburgh Steelers (via mock trade w/ NYG): Nick Herbig, DE, Wisconsin
58. Dallas Cowboys: Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State
59. Buffalo Bills: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M
60. Cincinnati Bengals: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
61. Chicago Bears (via SF): Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)
62. Philadelphia Eagles: Marvin Mims Jr., WR, Oklahoma
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Keion White, DE, Georgia Tech
Predictions for Other Notable Draft Prospects:
QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Tanner McKee, Stanford – Las Vegas Raiders
RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA – Cincinnati Bengals
RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M – Philadelphia Eagles
RB Kendre Miller, TCU – Chicago Bears
WR Rashee Rice, SMU – Houston Texans
WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee – New Orleans Saints
WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss – New England Patriots
TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa – Detroit Lions
C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota – Chicago Bears
OT Blake Freeland, BYU – Tennessee Titans
DT Gervon Dexter Sr., Florida – Cleveland Browns
DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin – Atlanta Falcons
DE Derick Hall, Auburn – New England Patriots
LB Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama – Philadelphia Eagles
LB Dorian Williams, Tulane – Seattle Seahawks
LB Noah Sewell, Oregon – Los Angeles Chargers
CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia – Arizona Cardinals
CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse – Denver Broncos
CB Darius Rush, South Carolina – Los Angeles Rams
DB Jordan Battle, Alabama – Los Angeles Rams
DB Sydney Brown, Illinois – Green Bay Packers
3 thoughts on “Tyler Kirk’s 2023 NFL mock draft”
Well done, T-bone! Score your results after the draft so we can see how you did.
Marvin down there at #62? Geeze.
Pretty good call on Anton Harrison. You predicted 27. Went 24.
Oops. Sorry, you predicted 22. He went 27. My bad.