Today, we'll focus on the NFC South to see how the first three rounds could shake out. Want to see how you'd do as the general manager of your favorite team? Try PFF's mock draft simulator — you can trade players and picks and mock all seven rounds. Click here to start drafting!
Note: Each team's mock draft was run independently, so some players may appear twice, as these picks are simply what I would do in the given situation.
Round 1: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Round 2: CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
Round 3: WR Nathaniel Dell, Houston
Forbes might measure on the slighter side, but he has elite timed speed and recorded a combined 31 pass breakups and interceptions over the past two seasons.
Round 1: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
Round 2: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
Round 3: WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
C.J. Stroud is the favorite to go No. 1 overall, but Young is the top quarterback on the PFF big board. The Alabama signal-caller earned a 91.3 PFF grade in 2022, tied for the best in the nation, and he was actually even better in 2021 when he produced a 92.0 passing grade.
Wilson saw just 40 targets over the 2022 season but averaged a respectable 2.30 yards per route run, third among draft-eligible receivers from the Pac-12.
Round 1: DI Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Round 2: LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State
Round 3: QB Tanner McKee, Stanford
Kancey’s projection is all over the place depending on which mock draft you look at. He would be too good a value to turn down at the end of Round 1, though, coming off a season where he put up a 92.4 pass-rushing grade that led all players on the defensive interior.
The Saints might have added Derek Carr, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look to take a swing if a player like McKee falls to the third round. McKee recorded just eight turnover-worthy plays over the 2022 season.
Round 1: OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
Round 2: QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Round 3: TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan
The scenario where Kentucky quarterback Will Levis slides to the Buccaneers — or at least falls far enough for them to move up to grab him — makes a lot of sense. But with that not happening here, I think the most logical fit is adding an offensive tackle, and Harrison is coming off a season in which he allowed just nine total pressures from 447 pass-blocking snaps.
It’s a reach per the PFF big board, but Hendon Hooker in Round 2 feels like a potential fit if the Levis scenario doesn’t happen. Hooker produced 17 big-time throws to just five turnover-worthy plays in 2022.