2023 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

BY ADAM GREENE

It’s officially the NFL offseason and you know what that means? Yeah, there’s really no NFL offseason. The moves teams make over the next few months in their coaching searches, in free agency and rookie acquisition will impact everything that happens until Super Bowl LVIII.

And while the legal tampering period and the start of free agency is the first event on our calendar, the biggest party of the year happens a little over a month later when the National Football League holds its Annual Amateur Player Selection Meeting or, as we like to call it, the NFL Draft.

Through an act of synchronicity, the Draft will be held in Kansas City, Mo., the hometown of the current Super Bowl LVII Champion Kansas City Chiefs. They will, obviously, not pick until very late in the round barring a trade and are just as likely to swap themselves out of the first round completely.

We have just 31 Day One picks this year as the Miami Dolphins were docked a 2023 first rounder after they were found guilty of tampering last offseason. In all, five teams (the Dolphins, the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers) don’t have a first round pick this year and four franchises (the Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles) have two first round selections. For now.

If you’ve perused my mock drafts before, you know that I never factor in trades in the 1.0 offering. They’re way too difficult to predict and none of us have any inside information on what’s being discussed as we had up to draft day.

Do I think the Chicago Bears make the No. 1 overall selection come April? I’d go with a 70 percent chance they won’t, but here they are, atop my first mock draft.

1. CHICAGO BEARS – Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama

2022: 6-4, 235 pounds, 51 tackles, 17 for a loss, 10 sacks, one interception

Odds to go No. 1 overall: +850

Odds to be first defensive player selected: +140

The Bears will be looking to move down (but not far) from this pick after some teams fall head over heels in love with either CJ Stroud or Bryce Young after the NFL Combine. Of course, as you read in the preamble, I don’t do trades in this first mock draft.

I’ve seen some drafts that have Chicago taking Jalen Carter, but unless Carter is the next Aaron Donald, and I’m guessing he’s not, I’d go with the best edge rusher. Last year Anderson had 31 tackles for a loss and 17.5 sacks, mostly against legit SEC opponents.

I also don’t buy any of this “moving on from Justin Fields” nonsense after the year the kid had in 2022. Ridiculous.

2. HOUSTON TEXANS – CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

2022: 6-3, 215 pounds, 66.3 completion percentage, 3,688 yards, 41 touchdowns, six interceptions, 108 rushing yards

Odds to go No. 1 overall: +360

Odds to be first QB selected: +300

If you’re wondering who I think the top QB is in this draft class, the mystery is now solved. The Texans must take a quarterback here (or by jumping up a spot to No. 1). I like Stroud and Young both and each guy should pass his President’s Physical Fitness test in Indianapolis with flying colors. I just think Stroud has more potential and, will turn out to be more durable than Young at the NFL level.

3. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

2022: 6-4, 315 pounds, PFF pass blocking grade: 93, run blocking grade 89.3

You’ll see plenty of draft projects plop a defensive player here in Jonathan Gannon’s first year at the helm, but I don’t buy it. They need to improve their offensive line to keep Kyler Murray on the field and off his surface tablet. If they don’t go offensive line, they could go wide receiver. Rumors are that DeAndre Hopkins is on the trade block and AJ Green retired.

4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

2022: 6-0, 194 pounds, 64.5 completion percentage, 3,328 yards, 32 touchdowns, five interceptions, 185 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns

Odds to go No. 1 overall: -130

Odds to be the first QB selected: -190

The Colts have ridden the veteran QB train for too many years with not much to show for it. The only concern here is that some other team might jump them for Young (or Stroud if Young goes first). Indy might have to stay on the phone to put the fourth consecutive former Alabama starting quarterback into the league.

Young reminds me so much of Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray that his health at the NFL level is a concern. But, if you’re Indianapolis, you’ve got to roll the dice on that.

5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (from the Denver Broncos) – Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

2022: 6-3, 310 pounds, 32 tackles, seven for a loss, three sacks, three passes defended, two forced fumble

Odds to go No. 1 overall: +600

Odds to be the first defensive player selected: -140

A surprisingly plucky defense gets a boost in the middle as Carter “falls” to the area of the first round he should actually go. The sack and backfield production were just not there for a top overall pick, but he could be a solid anchor in the middle of a Seattle “rebuilding” line.

6. DETROIT LIONS (from the Los Angeles Rams) – Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

2022: 6-5, 275 pounds, 40 tackles, 11 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two passes defended, one forced fumble

Odds to be the first defensive player selected: +1000

It’s rare that a blockbuster trade like the one that sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and multiple first round picks works out for everyone involved, but here we are. The Rams got their Super Bowl championship and the Lions got a Top 6 pick to go with their own selection at No. 18.

Here, I have Detroit adding another significant pass rush threat to go with Aiden Hutchinson in Murphy.

7. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS – O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

2022: 6-5, 347, PFF Grade 88.0

Is it possible that the Raiders somehow don’t sign Jimmy Garoppolo and reach for Will Levis, the most overrated QB in this draft, here? I mean, that is the Josh McDaniels playbook. I think cooler heads will prevail early on in free agency, Jimmy G moves to Sin City and Torrence helps protect him up front.

8. ATLANTA FALCONS – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

2022: 6-1, 187 pounds, 27 tackles, one for a loss, one interception, five passes defended

Atlanta needs everything, but I have them go best player available and grab Smith to pair with 2020 first round selection AJ Terrell and help shore up the league’s 25th ranked pass defense. They do need edge rush help too, so this could be a Tyree Wilson spot, but I can’t see it taking that long to get the best corner in the draft off the board.

9. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

2022: 6-3, 222 pounds, 65.4 completion percentage, 2,406 yards, 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, two rushing touchdowns

Odds to go No. 1 overall: +350

Odds to be the first quarterback selected: +300

Here he is, “Mr. Measurable.” Levis can apparently exercise with the best of them, because all I keep seeing is how impressive he should be at the combine. Which is good, because he sure didn’t do it on the field for Kentucky. I mean, 19 touchdown passes? Seriously? His career high was last season with 24.

Draft punditry is a mystery to me. Still, I was wrong about Josh Allen, so I might be wrong here too. Levis looks like the bustiest draft bust that ever busted to me.

10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from the New Orleans Saints) – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

2022: 6-4, 249 pounds, 67 receptions, 809 yards, nine touchdowns

With Dallas Goedert likely bailing in free agency, there’s no reason not to grab his replacement with this gift of a Top 10 pick for the defending NFC Champions.

11. TENNESSEE TITANS – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

2022: 6-4, 193 pounds, 60 receptions, 1,069 yards, six touchdowns

Odds to be the first wide receiver selected: +175

The Titans might be more involved in the offseason quarterback movement than people think. I have them taking the first wide receiver off the board (and that’s late in a draft) to add some more punch to the No. 30 ranked offense in the league.

12. HOUSTON TEXANS (from the Cleveland Browns) – Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech

2022: 6-6, 275 pounds, 61 tackles, 14 for a loss, seven sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble

Odds to be the first defensive player selected: +500

Houston gets their new quarterback at No. 2 and selects their edge rusher at 12 with Wilson, giving new head coach DeMeco Ryans a new centerpiece to his defense.

13. NEW YORK JETS – Brian Branch, Safety, Alabama

2022: 6-0, 190 pounds, 90 tackles, 14 for a loss, three sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defended

The Jets are unaccustomed to picking this late, so forgive them if they do something weird when handing the card in at the podium. After all, they’re usually one of the first two or three in line. I go best player available here with Saleh adding a much needed safety to his defensive backfield.

14. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

2022: 6-2, 200 pounds, 50 tackles, one for a loss, four interceptions, seven passes defended

Our second straight defensive back comes off the board as Bill Belichick starts another defensive rebuild in New England.

15. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Jordan Addison, WR, USC

2022: 6-0, 175 pounds, 59 catches, 875 yards, eight touchdowns

Odds to be the first wide receiver selected: +240

The irony of the Packers taking a wide receiver in the first round after moving on from Aaron Rodgers when they absolutely refused to do that when Rodgers was in his prime is not lost on me. But it’s their biggest need and if Jordan Love is going to get a legitimate shot, he needs weapons added around him.

16. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

2022: 6-0, 170 pounds, 41 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, three interceptions, 14 passes defended

We’re going to get a run on cornerbacks now, with the Commanders nabbing Witherspoon first and making every Pittsburgh Steelers fan weep with joy…

17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State

2022: 6-2, 195 pounds, 27 tackles, 11 passes defended, one fumble recovery

…When they turn in the card for Joey Porter, Jr. Last year, the yinzers willed Kenny Pickett to happen and I’m feeling the same energy here.

18. DETROIT LIONS – Kalee Ringo, CB, Georgia

2022: 6-2, 205 pounds, 42 tackles, two for a loss, two interceptions, seven passes defended, one forced fumble

While Ringo might not be the highest ranked corner on the board, he sure as hell has the coolest name. Kalee Ringo was meant to prowl NFL secondaries when the NFL scriptwriter came up with it.

19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – Siaki Ika, DL, Baylor

2022: 6-4, 350 pounds, 24 tackles, two for a loss, two passes defended

We’ll talk more about Anthony Richardson in a minute, because he could go here. But I don’t see the point for Tampa reaching in the draft to take a Florida quarterback when they have a better Florida quarterback, Kyle Trask, already on their roster.

20. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

2022: 6-5, 230 pounds, 103 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one interception, five passes defended, one fumble recovery, three forced fumbles

Speaking of a team looking for a replacement, with Seattle’s second first rounder they take Sanders and cross their fingers he turns into anything close to Bobby Wagner.

21. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS  – Paris Johnson, Jr., OT, Ohio State

2022: 6-6, 310 pounds, PFF grade 83.1

I keep seeing people connect a wide receiver to the Chargers here. Why? Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer are literally one of the best trios in the league. Are you cutting one? Trading one? I don’t get it. I say their offensive line needs the upgrade and they take Johnson here.

22. BALTIMORE RAVENS – Antonio Johnson, Safety, Texas A&M

2022: 6-3, 200 pounds, 71 tackles, five for a loss, one sack, one pass defended

The Ravens don’t have an “Ed Reed” type player on the roster, so why not try to add one? The wrinkle with this pick is, if they do “trade” Lamar Jackson (and it’s possible), they could look at Anthony Richardson here too.

23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU

2022: 6-3, 244 pounds, 58 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble

Minnesota had the second worst defense in the NFL a year ago. It’s time to do something about that, and I think they start with someone who can rush the passer.

24. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

2022: 6-0, 197 pounds, five receptions, 43 yards

Odds to be the first wide receiver selected: +500

Speaking of not being used to drafting this low, I start our run on receivers with the Jaguars taking another weapon for Trevor Lawrence to add a dynamic down the field playmaker to pair with Christian Kirk and the newly (possibly) unsuspended Calvin Ridley.

25. NEW YORK GIANTS – Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

2022: 6-0, 190 pounds, 48 receptions, two touchdowns

The last time the Giants drafted an LSU wide receiver in the first round, it turned out alright. In fact, I can’t think of the last time it was a bad idea to draft an LSU receiver in the first round.

26. DALLAS COWBOYS – Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

2022: 6-5, 300 pounds, 15 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two passes defended

With the corners off the board, the Cowboys get back to work on their defensive line taking Bressee to plug in next to 2021 third rounder Osa Odighizuwa.

27. BUFFALO BILLS – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

2022: 6-4, 310 pounds, PFF Grade 78.2

It turns out the Bills weren’t as close to the Super Bowl as they thought. Luckily, they have their full compliment of picks to address their shortcomings. I say they start up front with Jones.

28. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

2022: 6-4, 242 pounds, 70 receptions, 890 yards, eight touchdowns

Plenty of us have the Bengals taking a tight end. I say it’s Kincaid since Mayer is already off the board.

29. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (from the Denver Broncos) – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

2022: 6-4, 235 pounds, 53.8 completion percentage, 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 654 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns

Here he is. I already called Levis the most overrated QB prospect in this draft, but talking about Richardson as a first rounder is just absolutely ridiculous. Yet, here we are. Richardson will blow the doors off the NFL combine, but to quote Kenny Powers, “I play real sports. I’m not trying to be the best at exercising.” Richardson will exercise all over the place and sneak into the first round. The Saints might be the odd man out in all the QB offseason moves, so they could be desperate.

30. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

2022: 6-3, 252 pounds, 46 tackles, 11 for a loss, 8.5 sacks, one pass defended, two fumble recoveries

The Eagles have a loaded roster and already replaced Dallas Goedert with the No. 10 pick. Here, I have them taking an edge rusher to add to the arsenal and give them some cap flexibility in a year if they need to make some tough decisions.

31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Anthony Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

2022: 6-5, 315 pounds, PFF Grade 72.6

It wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Chiefs to nab a receiver here like Jalin Hyatt, but there’s no reason to take the chance on Patrick Mahomes’ health after he was banged up in both their final postseason games. It’ll never be a mistake to take a starting offensive lineman at any point in the draft.

TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST ROUND PICK

36. LOS ANGELES RAMS – Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

2022: 6-4, 257 pounds, 44 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, one pass defended, one forced fumble

This is the highest pick of the Sean McVay era and that’s no exaggeration. If they’re not in love with someone, they might trade down to add some extra thirds/fourths, but I hope they don’t. For their defense to work, they need to upgrade their edge rushing and Foskey could be there when they Rams turn in their card.

47. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Gervon Dexter, Sr., DL, Florida

2022: 6-6, 303 pounds, 55 tackles, four for a loss, two sacks, one interception, one pass defended

The Browns mainly need to add some depth and maybe steal a starter with their first selection in the 2023 draft. Dexter has played against the best offensive linemen in the country in the SEC and should adapt quickly as a pro.

51. MIAMI DOLPHINS – Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC

2022: 6-6, 325 pounds, PFF Grade 81.9

Miami lost their first round pick thanks to getting busted for tampering trying to lure Sean Payton and Tom Brady together to South Beach. The Dolphins should be more involved in the offseason QB derby than people expect, even if Tua Tagovailoa is “healthy” to open the year. Regardless, they might as well do something to protect whoever they have under center.

68. DENVER BRONCOS – Richard Gouraige, OT, Florida

2022: 6-5, 308 pounds, PFF Grade 83.9

We continue the trend with bulking up, adding depth and trying to steal a starter as the Broncos select an offensive lineman, a key player at Florida who played against the best defensive linemen in the country.

99. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Connor Galvin, OT, Baylor

2022: 6-7, 302 pounds, PFF Grade 85.5

San Fran picks too late to do anything of note. They have depth needs on both lines and in the defensive backfield, but I say go OL here to be safe. I mean, QB health has been an issue there and might have cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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