• Colts go against the grain with Florida's Anthony Richardson: Many have linked Kentucky's Will Levis to Indianapolis, but the team opts for Richardson in this mock draft.
• Seahawks take DI Jalen Carter at No. 5: Seattle adding him and Dre’Mont Jones in the same offseason would supercharge their interior defensive line.
• QB Will Levis slides to the 20s: The Los Angeles Rams trade up to No. 22 to stop the Kentucky signal-caller's fall down the order.
Estimated Reading Time: 15 mins
Three rounds. Multiple trades. An early run on offensive tackles. A top quarterback sliding. And an unusual landing spot for Hendon Hooker. Let’s get right into this three-round 2023 NFL mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
This pick is a foregone conclusion at this point after Panthers quarterbacks coordinator Josh McCown told Stroud at his pro day that they’ll reconvene on a basketball court in Charlotte. Carolina gets its franchise quarterback (hopefully).
2. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
Stroud being the No. 1 pick would ensure the Texans' Week 18 miracle win, which knocked them out of the top spot in the draft, doesn’t get replayed over and over. Young is the perfect leader to turn around the culture in Houston.
3. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
Other teams' rumored desperation to jump the Colts for a quarterback may not materialize given how things have shaken out at the position. If everyone stays put, the Cardinals won’t complain too much about landing a prospect of Anderson's caliber.
4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Colts general manager Chris Ballard is a traits-based drafter through and through. No quarterback possesses better physical traits — maybe ever — than Richardson. The fit makes too much sense.
5. Seattle Seahawks: DI Jalen Carter, Georgia
Pete Carroll is the perfect head coach to get the most out of Carter. Adding him and Dre’Mont Jones in the same offseason would supercharge what was a lackluster interior defensive line in 2022.
6. Detroit Lions: EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Wilson truly looks like the missing piece for the Lions' defensive line — a versatile defender who can play any role imaginable and still make an impact against the run. Detroit may have more pressing pure needs, but the team won’t find anything like Wilson later in the draft.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Gonzalez's traits are difficult to pass on for teams with a need at cornerback, and the Raiders' cornerback room is almost barren at this point.
8. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Van Ness is a distinctly different type of edge than what the Falcons currently have. He has interior versatility and can be a hard edge-setter early in his career.
9. Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
Teven Jenkins flourished so much at guard that kicking him back out to tackle would be doing him a disservice. Wright comes as the most experienced right tackle in the draft and gives Chicago a scary offensive line in the run game.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
General manager Howie Roseman isn’t going to let Isaac Seumalo walking in free agency cost the Eagles their title as the NFL's best offensive line. Skoronski can start at right guard in Year 1, with his tackle versatility also future-proofing that position.
11. Tennessee Titans: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
Johnson doesn’t necessarily have to play tackle right away thanks to his guard background if the Titans like what they have in Andre Dillard and Nicholas Petit-Frere. Tennessee can’t let its offensive line degrade again with how head coach Mike Vrabel wants to play football.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Texans): OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
The Steelers saw the tackle run and decided to flip Pick Nos. 17, 80 and 120 to jump the tackle-needy Jets for Broderick Jones. He could truthfully replace either of the Steelers' starters on the outside from last year.
13. New York Jets: DI Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
The tackle run leaves the Jets empty-handed here, but their desperation at that position is a little overstated. Pairing Kancey with Quinnen Williams would give New York the most athletic defensive tackle duo in NFL history, a nightmare to pass block against on third downs.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Patriots): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Seattle moves Pick Nos. 20, 83 and 123 here to draft the top wide receiver in the class. Smith-Njigba's NFL readiness, along with being the perfect missing piece in the Seahawks' receiver room, gives Seattle one heck of a first round.
15. Green Bay Packers: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Smith fits the Packers' newest first-round mold of “elite athletes from Georgia.” He is exactly what a team should want in a modern undersized run defender with his ability to track down plays in space.
16. Washington Commanders: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
With the offensive line run depleting that position, cornerback is the logical pick for the Commanders here. Porter's arrival would move Kendall Fuller to the slot, where he’s at his best, and give Washington one long cornerback duo on the outside.
17. Houston Texans (from Steelers): CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
The Texans targeting a cornerback or receiver with their second pick should give them the flexibility to move down on draft day because there figure to be plenty of such players still on the board. Witherspoon falling because his physical profile may not match others' in this class would be a home run for Houston.
18. Detroit Lions: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
This ain’t no Matt Millen run of first-round wide receivers. This is the Lions investing in an offense that would look as talented a supporting cast for a quarterback as any in the NFL with Johnston in the fold.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
The Bucs will likely have a “business as usual” draft after a couple of years of a Super Bowl window altering things. They need to invest in big swings at valuable positions to replenish this roster with youth, and McDonald is just that.
20. New England Patriots (from Seahawks): RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Bill Belichick does business how he wants to do business. He drafted a running back nowhere near as talented as Robinson in the first round in 2018, and there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t do it again.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Kincaid boasts the best ball skills in the draft class, making him perfect for a quarterback like Justin Herbert who trusts his receivers in contested situations.
22. Los Angeles Rams (from Ravens): QB Will Levis, Kentucky
Levis' slide stops here, with the Rams pouncing on the Kentucky quarterback after giving up Pick Nos. 36 and 69. Matthew Stafford’s recent injury history makes it necessary to have a backup plan. Giving Levis a year to learn behind Stafford is a landing spot that couldn’t be more ideal for him.
23. Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison, USC
The Vikings need a route winner across from Justin Jefferson who can make defenses pay when they put all their attention toward the star receiver. Addison is precisely that.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
General manager Trent Baalke loves outliers, and Washington is as outlier-y as it gets. The massive 6-foot-7 target gives head coach Doug Pederson some flexibility in deploying two-tight end sets.
25. New York Giants: CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
You can’t have enough talent in the secondary when you blitz as much as defensive coordinator Wink Martindale wants to. And when you blitz that much, you want ball hawks on the back end. Who better to add to the mix than the FBS leader in pick-sixes?
26. Dallas Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Mayer is the perfect player to seamlessly reproduce what Dallas lost with Dalton Schultz moving on to Houston. He’s an NFL-ready inline blocker with ultra-reliable receiving skills. His game compares closely to that of former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, as well.
27. Buffalo Bills: DI Bryan Bresee, Clemson
General manager Brandon Beane isn’t going to stop investing in his defensive line anytime soon. Bresee was a former No. 1 overall recruit but never quite bounced back in 2022 after tearing his ACL the year before. Still, his tools are undeniable.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
It may not be the sexiest pick, but Harrison profiles as a plus pass protector in time. That’s something the Bengals still need even after signing Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency.
29. New Orleans Saints: DI Mazi Smith, Michigan
After losing some talent on the interior this offseason, the Saints' brass goes right back to the well. Smith is the most powerful run defender in the class and brings untapped potential as a pass rusher.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Oh, you thought the Eagles were going to draft defense? Think again. They want to light up scoreboards with Jalen Hurts at the helm, and Flowers just adds another layer of dynamism to the mix.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Chiefs love strong defensive ends, and Murphy is right up there with anyone in the class in that regard. He was already a dominant run defender as a true freshman at Clemson but never quite developed a pass-rushing package.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
Anudike-Uzomah is the perfect type of bendy edge rusher to put across from T.J. Watt. Those two will meet often at the quarterback in the coming years if he’s the pick.
33. Houston Texans: S Brian Branch, Alabama
And the Texans' secondary revamp is complete. The versatility that they now have at safety with Jimmie Ward, Jalen Pitre and Branch is incredible.
34. Arizona Cardinals: IOL Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin
After years of flashy, sometimes head-scratching draft picks, the Cardinals could stand to have a “boring” draft. Selecting an athletic and versatile center like Tippmann wouldn’t be sexy, but it would be a smart long-term investment.
35. Indianapolis Colts: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
The Colts have lost their stockpile of long, rangy linebackers in recent years, meaning it’s time to add another to the mix. Sanders fits that mold to a tee.
36. Baltimore Ravens (from Rams): OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
This not only gives the Ravens the two largest offensive tackles in the NFL, but they're also afforded more insurance for Ronnie Stanley’s injury issues of late.
37. Seattle Seahawks: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
The Seahawks nab arguably the two freakiest cornerback athletes in back-to-back classes. Banks' length and explosiveness are perfect for Pete Carroll’s defense.
38. Las Vegas Raiders: IOL O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Right guard is the only clear problem area on the Raiders' offensive line, so they nab the best player at that position in college football last season.
39. Carolina Panthers: DI Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
Adebawore’s NFL Combine performance screams first round, but his tape puts him closer to this range. His high-end juice is what that interior is missing next to Derrick Brown.
40. New Orleans Saints: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
If the Saints were throwing deep last year, chances are it was to Chris Olave. Now they have another legit deep threat who can open up space underneath for Olave and Michael Thomas.
41. Tennessee Titans: IOL John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
The Titans' offensive line overhaul continues. Schmitz is the best zone-scheme center in the class and goes to a team that ran the third-most snaps of outside zone in 2022.
42. Green Bay Packers (via Jets in projected Aaron Rodgers trade): QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Everyone remembers the Packers future-proofing Aaron Rodgers at the end of his career when they drafted Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft. Not as many remember the Packers future-proofing him at the beginning of his career when they drafted Brian Brohm in the second round of the 2008 draft. Hooker could easily be the same thought process for Jordan Love.
43. Green Bay Packers (via Jets in projected Aaron Rodgers trade): TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa
Whatever the Packers wanted Josiah Deguara and Jace Sternberger to be, LaPorta actually is. He ranked second among college football tight ends with 20 broken tackles after the catch last season.
44. Atlanta Falcons: OT Cody Mauch, North Dakota State
There is no more ideal fit in this draft than this one. It has to happen. Mauch is the single best offensive lineman on the move in the draft class and goes to an offense that gets its linemen going laterally more than anyone else in the league.
45. Green Bay Packers: DI Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
Benton is a versatile defensive tackle with an all-around skill set. The Packers were thin on the defensive line last year and lost Dean Lowry in the offseason. Adding two top-50 picks to the mix is a good thing.
46. New England Patriots: CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
Brents can be what the Patriots always wanted Joejuan Williams to be — a matchup press cornerback for bigger receivers or tight ends with a little versatility.
47. Washington Commanders: OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
Bergeron played tackle at Syracuse but could easily kick to guard in the NFL. He may not be needed to start right away after the Commanders signed Andrew Wylie, making this an investment pick.
48. Detroit Lions: IOL Steve Avila, TCU
As far as available starting spots go for Detroit at this point, it’s either right guard or linebacker. Avila can plug the one area that’s keeping the Lions' offense line from being a dominant unit.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
Versatile and smart defensive backs are a Steelers defensive staple. Smith may not have ideal traits, but he can line up anywhere in a secondary.
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami (FL)
The Bucs lose one press cornerback in Sean Murphy-Bunting and then add another in Stevenson. He brings slot versatility that he flashed in his time at Georgia.
51. Miami Dolphins: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Uh oh. The Dolphins' offensive weaponry gets even more speed. Head coach Mike McDaniel would have a field day with Gibbs' speed and pass-catching ability.
52. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
And the Seahawks' defensive overhaul is complete. If they can add three starters on that side of the ball like this in the actual draft, they could be NFC West favorites for a long time.
53. Chicago Bears: EDGE BJ Ojulari, LSU
The Bears get the edge defender in this class who won the superlative from PFF for the “best pass-rushing moves.” Once Ojulari gets a little stronger. he can be an impact player.
54. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
The AFC is officially an arms race, with the Chargers giving quarterback Justin Herbert two shiny new toys. Downs has a slot skill set missing from the Chargers' receiving room.
55. Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
After addressing the interior line with their second-round pick, the Lions go with a linebacker here. Campbell is a steady, high-floor player with few holes to his game.
56. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
Foskey has the kind of length the Jaguars covet. This addition also allows Travon Walker to be a little more versatile in the way he was at Georgia.
57. New York Giants: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
The Giants get their blitzing off-ball linebacker, and it didn’t cost them a first-rounder. Simpson is the most impressive all-around athlete in the linebacker class.
58. Dallas Cowboys: RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M
Low-4.3s running backs with legit receiving skills don’t last long. The two-headed Cowboys backfield just got a lot more dynamic.
59. Buffalo Bills: IOL Chandler Zavala, N.C. State
Zavala is one of the steadiest guard prospects in the class even though he played only one full season as a starter. The Bills have been searching for answers at guard for a while, and now they’ve found one.
60. Cincinnati Bengals: TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
Musgrave’s downfield speed adds a scary element to the Bengals' offense. Having that many players who can win vertically with Joe Burrow at the helm isn’t fair.
61. Chicago Bears: EDGE Derick Hall, Auburn
The Bears are not leaving the 2023 NFL Draft without addressing their defensive line in a big way (and they’re not done in this one). Hall has high-end explosiveness with good length for the position to be a pocket collapser across from BJ Ojulari, who is more of a finesse rusher.
62. Philadelphia Eagles: S Jordan Battle, Alabama
With almost four years of starting experience in the SEC, Battle can come in and immediately take over Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s spot in the Eagles' defense.
63. Kansas City Chiefs: TE Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State
He’s not Travis Kelce by any means, but Kraft is a dynamic tight end with the ball in his hands nonetheless. He broke 25 tackles on 92 receptions across the past two years.