NFL Draft News & Analysis

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Mike Renner and Sam Monson mock the first round, sending Bryce Young to the Houston Texans at No. 1 overall

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes the ball against the Georgia Bulldogs during the third quarter of the 2022 Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of the 2023 Scouting Combine, PFF's Sam Monson and Mike Renner host a live 2023 NFL mock draft using PFF's mock draft simulator.

1. HOUSTON TEXANS (via CHI): QB BRYCE YOUNG, ALABAMA

PFF Big board rank: 1

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: An offensive coordinator will have to do some things to scheme around Young's height, but it's a small price to pay for everything else he brings to the table.

“It's just the speed with which he sees stuff. No matter what it is, whether it's pressure, whether it's guys coming open, whether it's on the move, juking defenders — he is just a different level.” — Mike Renner

Related: PFF's QB1: Why Bryce Young's size shouldn't scare away NFL suitors


2. CHICAGO BEARS (via HST): EDGE WILL ANDERSON, ALABAMA

PFF Big board rank: 3

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Anderson shored up any concerns about his size at the combine. He's an explosive and impactful every-down edge who racked up over 200 pressures in three seasons at Alabama.

“It's close between Jalen Carter and Will Anderson. I have Carter ahead on-field, but you're not in your right mind drafting Jalen Carter [at No. 2] even if he gets completely exonerated.”  Renner


3. CAROLINA PANTHERS (via ARZ): QB C.J. STROUD, OHIO STATE

PFF Big board rank: 5

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: As a passer, Stroud is nothing like the other two first-round quarterbacks who came out of Ohio State before him. And that bodes well for his NFL prospects.

“I really like this quarterback class. I like all of these guys in the right situation. To me, this is the right situation for Stroud.” — Renner


4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: QB ANTHONY RICHARDSON, FLORIDA

PFF Big board rank: 6

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: High-end play wins Super Bowls, and no one has a higher end in this class than Richardson. Now, what are the chances he reaches that or even comes close?

“Here's the interesting one. I like Richardson here. We saw what Shane Steichen did with Jalen Hurts in the run game in Philadelphia. This'll be put on steroids with Richardson.” — Renner

Related: Is Anthony Richardson the next Josh Allen?


5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (via DEN): DI JALEN CARTER, GEORGIA

PFF Big board rank: 2

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Carter is as good a DT prospect as we've seen since we started grading college in 2014. A complete prospect.

“If there is a head coach and GM who have bought themselves enough goodwill with the public to draft someone like Jalen Carter, it would be the Seahawks' Pete Carroll and John Schneider.” — Renner


6. DETROIT LIONS (via LAR): CB DEVON WITHERSPOON, ILLINOIS

PFF Big board rank: 7

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Witherspoon may not have an elite physical skill set for the position, but his senior-year tape was as good as we've seen in our nine years of college grading.

“There's one answer for the Lions at No. 6 for me. It's Devon Witherspoon… He's a Dan Campbell corner.” — Renner


7. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: QB WILL LEVIS, KENTUCKY

PFF Big board rank: 4

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Levis' tape has so much to like from a tools and NFL-readiness standpoint, but his accuracy — or lack thereof — is borderline untenable at this point.

“What if I told you that this [Will Levis] was Tim Tebow that had a cannon for an arm — is that something you would be interested in, Josh McDaniels?” — Renner

Related: Will Levis and the inexact science of QB evaluation


8. ATLANTA FALCONS: ED TYREE WILSON, TEXAS TECH

PFF Big board rank: 8

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: No edge prospect manhandled offensive tackles more than Wilson last year. That's a defensive lineman who can play for any scheme.

“Anybody on defense makes sense for them, but it does make more sense to grab an impact defensive lineman that can try and do something basically by himself.” — Sam Monson


9. ARIZONA CARDINALS (via CAR): CB CHRISTIAN GONZALEZ, OREGON

PFF Big board rank: 10

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Gonzalez is the total package physically. He's got all-pro tools but just needs a little refinement to get there.

“Gonzalez is just damn good, a great athlete — something they are missing in that secondary” — Renner


10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (via NO): DI CALIJAH KANCEY, PITTSBURGH

PFF Big board rank: 13

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: He may have to start off as a designated pass-rusher, but he can truly excel in that role. There's little doubt he's going to impact QBs at the next level.

“I love the Calijah Kancey fit here. I think it's a perfect match. I'm not sure that I could put him on a team that I would prefer to see him on more than the Eagles.” — Monson

Related: Is Calijah Kancey the next Aaron Donald?


11. TENNESSEE TITANS: T PETER SKORONSKI, NORTHWESTERN

PFF Big board rank: 12

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Skoronski has the highest floor of any offensive lineman in the draft class. It may just come at guard, though.

“I'd lean Peter Skoronski, just because of the certainty with which you know he's going to be a good player, even if it is a guard.” — Renner


12. HOUSTON TEXANS (via CLV): WR QUENTIN JOHNSTON, TCU

PFF Big board rank: 9

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: It's all there. Johnston has every uncoachable physical tool.

“I'm a lot lower on Quentin Johnston than you, but I also 100% see the argument that he brings things to the table that these other guys don't.” — Monson


13. GREEN BAY PACKERS (via NYJ): WR JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA, OHIO STATE

PFF Big board rank: 11

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: If you don't have a well-defined slot role in your offense, JSN isn't worth a first-rounder. If you do, he should be your WR1.

“I think they would love a Lukas Van Ness. They would love a Myles Murphy. But I think they'd also love a Jaxon Smith-Njigba. They wanted that when they drafted Amari Rodgers. They still don't have the slot that can actually block, the slot that's reliable. And again, if you're drafting at No. 13 vs. No. 15, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a guy the Patriots are 100% going to be in the mix for.” — Renner


14. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: CB JOEY PORTER JR., PENN STATE

PFF Big board rank: 16

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Porter is a high football IQ cornerback with the kind of size and physicality everyone is looking for. If he were a slightly better athlete, he'd be a top-10 pick.

“Porter is the interesting thing for them because he is the guy who would have fit into this defense a couple of years ago when they were doing all the man coverage.” — Monson


15. GREEN BAY PACKERS: TE DALTON KINCAID, UTAH

PFF Big board rank: 17

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: You'd like him to be a little bigger to make defenses respect him as a blocker, but he's the best receiving tight end in the class.

“All of a sudden, you look at this group of receivers — if this happens — and you've got the two guys we've just drafted. You've got the guys they drafted a year ago, each of whom showed something… that can form a hell of a nucleus.” — Monson


16. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: T PARIS JOHNSON, OHIO STATE

PFF Big board rank: 19

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: You can expect some growing pains early on due to Johnson's limited experience, but that's the nature of the tackle position. If he's dedicated to his craft, he'll be a stud.

“They have to look O-line here… It's reaching the point where offensive line is value at this point.”


17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: CB DEONTE BANKS, MARYLAND

PFF Big board rank: 18

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Banks has all the physical traits of an All-Pro cornerback. He just needs to be more consistent with his technique.

“They are another team that needs cornerbacks quite badly, as well, so Deonte Banks makes a lot of sense.” — Monson


18. DETROIT LIONS: WR JORDAN ADDISON, USC

PFF Big board rank: 26

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Addison has one of the higher floors among receivers in the draft class due to his blend of route-running chops and all-around athleticism.

“I think [Jordan Addison] might be the No. 1 wide receiver in the draft.” — Monson


19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: T ANTON HARRISON, OKLAHOMA

PFF Big board rank: 23

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Harrison could have really upped his draft stock with another year in a college weight room. He may have to be “redshirted” out the gate, but I'd bet money on him being a plus pass protector in time.

“I think they are going to cut Donovan Smith. I think his cap is such that it does not make sense with where they are at. So, I think one of the two tackles at this point — Anton Harrison or Broderick Jones. I don't know if you have a favorite between the two, but I lean toward Harrison.” — Renner


20. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: ED LUKAS VAN NESS, IOWA

PFF Big board rank: 15

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Van Ness has one of the weirder prospect profiles in the draft class, but it's one I'm willing to bet on.

“I'd be intrigued with Lukas Van Ness here because it is still a need, right? They drafted Boye Mafe last year but didn't see enough to go to bat… There are no difference-makers on that defensive line.”  — Renner


21. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: DI BRYAN BRESEE, CLEMSON

PFF Big board rank: 20

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Bresee is a bit more of a project than you'd like at the top of the draft, but he wasn't put in much of a position to succeed in Clemson's scheme. His physical skill set is special.

“The Chargers still aren't done fixing the interior, where it's just been a weakness for years now. I think that's a feature more than a bug — they want to invite the run more than other teams, but you still need to be vaguely competent at stopping it once you've invited it… I think Bresee makes a lot of sense” — Monson


22. BALTIMORE RAVENS: NOLAN SMITH, GEORGIA

PFF Big board rank: 21

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Smith is unique in so many ways, with a lot of projectable NFL traits. He'll likely be a more productive pass-rusher in the NFL than he was at Georgia.

“Giving the Ravens two edge rushers who can run a 4.3 40… that's some speed.”


23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: S BRIAN BRANCH, ALABAMA

PFF Big board rank14

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Branch is a very high-floor defender with a skill set that can fit into every defense in the NFL.

“I think they'd really like Brian Branch for a Brian Flores-coached defense just because that secondary is such a need for them. They have really no one on paper right now who can play the slot for you, and obviously, value-wise, it makes the most sense here.” — Renner


24. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: T BRODERICK JONES, GEORGIA

PFF Big board rank25

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Another year of seasoning could have made Jones a top-five pick. He still may end up close to that range with his dominant physical skill set.

“[Trent] Baalke said he wants a team that looks good coming off the bus… You want an offensive lineman who looks coming off the bus, it's Broderick Jones. That guy is built like a pro wrestler.” — Renner


25. NEW YORK GIANTS: WR ZAY FLOWERS, BOSTON COLLEGE

PFF Big board rank: 24

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: You want to add dynamism to your offense? Flowers is your guy.

“Given the way this board fell, Zay Flowers almost has to be the pick…Giants general manager Joe Schoen said, ‘we want separators' — Flowers is a separator, Wan'Dale Robinson is a separator. They are a little redundant in their roles, possibly, but I think Flowers is much more of an outside wide receiver than Wan'Dale ever will be” — Renner


26. DALLAS COWBOYS: RB BIJAN ROBINSON, TEXAS

PFF Big board rank27

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Robinson is about as well-rounded a back as you'll see in the draft. He's one of the highest-floor players in the class.

“There's no way in hell it's not Bijan Robinson, even though they just put the franchise tag on Tony Pollard.” — Monson 


27. BUFFALO BILLST DAWAND JONES, OHIO STATE

PFF Big board rank31

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: He has to be put in a certain role, but in that, he could dominate. If you have a mobile quarterback, this is the guy you want at right tackle.

Josh Allen did lead the league in touchdowns, etc., but it did feel like it was too much. Maybe you might want to dial it back and give him just a little bit more protection… Jones had the longest wingspan ever measured at the combine, just a monstrous offensive tackle from Ohio State… He made Mekhi Becton look small.” — Monson


28. CINCINNATI BENGALS: TE MICHAEL MAYER, NOTRE DAME

PFF Big board rank28

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Mayer is one of the highest-floor players in the draft. You know you're getting a complete, productive tight end at the next level. However, can he separate enough to be a true difference-maker?

“Michael Mayer is the hometown pick here. This is a dream scenario for the Bengals. What he brings to the table is perfect.” — Renner


29. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (VIA DEN): ED MYLES MURPHY, CLEMSON

PFF Big board rank: 22

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: The guy we saw as a freshman was a lock top-10 pick. Where'd he go?

“This feels where Myles Murphy should come off the board. They [the Saints] may lose Marcus Davenport in free agency. They obviously still have Payton Turner, and you're not relying on Cam Jordan anymore, but they continue to invest at that position (EDGE)” — Renner


30. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: IOL O'CYRUS TORRENCE, FLORIDA

PFF Big board rank39

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Torrence is a plug-and-play guard who's best suited for gap schemes, but I wouldn't pigeonhole him by any means.

“They're probably losing [Isaac] Seumalo in free agency… You'd probably want a future option somewhere early in this draft. — Monson


31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: ED FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH, KANSAS STATE

PFF Big board rank: 33

Bottom line in PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide: Anudike-Uzomah has really easy tape to project to the next level. He's one of the higher-floor pass-rushers in the class.

“Not only does he have good tape, good production, but the stuff he was saying at the podium [at the combine] demonstrates intelligence and a plan. He understands what he's doing — he has a game plan and approach to rushing the passer.” — Sam Monson


 

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