NoHeroes94 2023 NFL Mock Draft V3

published on 4/17/2023

⇐ My Mock Drafts   |  View All Mocks

Round 1

Picks 1-16
1. Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Welcome to my mock draft. Previous track record below (based on the player picked by the correct team, due to trade movement). Links were broken so I removed them, but they're on the site pre-debacled era.

2020 - 6
2021 - 12
2022 - 8

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State)

I originally put this pick as CJ Stroud. Stroud makes a ton of sense with Reich’s prototypical QB’s, but ultimately, Young is QB1 in this class. If he were 2 inches taller, he’d be considered a Trevor Lawrence-caliber prospect. Until Stroud-Panthers is considered certain, I would still bet on the Panthers taking Bryce Young, although this is a gut feeling and I’m 55/45 on it presently.

Young's size concerns are an issue, but I tend to lean towards other elite physical/cognitive traits being enough to overcome this. In these regards, Young is the complete package. A terrific passer with elite pocket awareness, great athleticism, speed and evasiveness, Young is capable of making any throw you want, as well as being able to make the yards on the ground. He appears to be the definition of cerebral, too. Size be damned, Young is going to be a top-5 pick, and still my favorite to go No. 1 overall.

Other Options:

CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State) - Many believe Stroud is the pick due to McCown and Reich’s comments/history.

2. Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Mock Draft V2 Pick: CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)

Longest commentary in the mock, by far, feel free to skip if you like.

This pick is interesting, because several people are reporting the Texans are “Bryce Young or Out” with this QB class. I am at best skeptical until Charlie reports. The Texans will likely take either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, whoever the Panthers do not take. I will eagerly await anything from Charlie on that front. I think the Texans would be making an egregious mistake if they didn’t take CJ Stroud - if Bryce Young is indeed the plan at No. 1 overall.

The Texans’ OL is far from perfect, but is an average unit who wouldn’t put their QB in a disastrous position as a rookie. Laremy Tunsil is a quality LT; despite being overdrafted, Tytus Howard is an above average blocker, and veteran Shaq Mason is past his best years, but brings a pretty high floor to his play. They have multiple Day 1 and 2 picks to address their remaining spots, too.

I am perhaps in a minority here, but people are talking about Will Anderson Jr. as the second coming of Christ. He's a very good player, and I think he'll make an impact, but I personally don't view Will Anderson in the same echelon as Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett - a player who is worth passing a high-trait franchise QB for. He's a deserved top-10 who will be great - but I think in other classes he'd be a 8-12 range player rather than lock top-5. Teams reportedly don't see generational talent in him and I think it's more than possible Tyree Wilson goes higher than Anderson does. At No. 2, over a possible franchise QB? I wouldn't want to be the GM who makes that call.

The Texans wouldn’t be completely f****d if they miss this evaluation. Although it would be disappointing, they wouldn’t be squandering future draft capital with this pick like my 49ers did with Trey Lance (a disappointing pick due to circumstance more than pure busting). Trading the farm is a completely different level of headache, but teams seem to generally be able to accept any sunken cost within 1-2 years at the QB position these days. The Cardinals with Josh Rosen and Jets presently with Zach Wilson have proven this. The Texans are capital rich this year, and a QB decision doesn’t come at the cost of other roster improvements.

You can never guarantee you can target X player in the next class. Will you be bad enough? Will a divisional rival block you from realistic trade options (the Titans are due to be bad in 2023)? Will they regress, or have off-field issues? They aren't trading up the farm for a QB, so it wouldn't set their franchise back 5 years if they do make the wrong call (e.g. the Jets and Zach Wilson) so it wouldn't preclude them from trying again in 2 years if it's a disaster.

They'll come to their own conclusions, and I'm behind a keyboard, but Young and Stroud seem like really quality potential franchise QB options. Stroud is deadly accurate, poised in the pocket, makes good decisions and impressed rising to the occasion last year, with an elite bowl game performance against eventual champions Georgia. He was spoiled with immense protection and receiving weapons, but he isn't to blame for the riches he was given. Aside from Bryce Young, I see no valid argument placing any other QB over Stroud when you balance athletic upside with tape and NFL-projectable passing ability.

Other Options:

Bryce Young (QB, Alabama) - I haven’t heard any connection with Richardson or Levis, so I will presume this is down to the consensus top 2.

Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE, Alabama) - Peter King entertained the idea the Texans may not take a QB if the Panthers take Bryce Young. This report is being backed now by others, including Lance Zierlein, who is respectable. If this is true, it would be possibly the stupidest draft decision of all time. I'm still 80% confident they take a QB, but if they don't, they'd presumably take Will Anderson Jr.

3. Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE, Alabama)

Right now, it appears the Cardinals could trade down with this pick, but I’m not going to bite - yet.I personally believe that the Cardinals may not end up getting a suitor - Arizona appears to be “drumming” up trade interest and getting less bite than is being reported. This is reminiscent of Detroit in 2020, who never moved down despite it being seemingly consensus that they would be in a QB-heavy top-10.

For now, I’m sticking with Arizona staying at No. 3 - something I may very well retract closer to the draft. Tyree Wilson is an incredible athlete with great length, speed and explosion and at this stage feels destined to be a top-10 pick. In fact, a couple of people have surmised he could go over presumed EDGE 1 Will Anderson Jr., with reports that some teams prefer Wilson over Anderson Jr. Tyree Wilson would be a great fit as an athletic, versatile defensive end who can play hands in the dirt, as a 3-tech in 4-3 defense situationally (if not drafted by Seattle), or even as a 3-4 OLB.

Tyree Wilson is an incredible athlete with great length, speed and explosion and at this stage feels destined to be a top-10 pick. In fact, a couple of people have surmised he could go over presumed EDGE 1 Will Anderson Jr., with reports that some teams prefer Wilson over Anderson Jr. Tyree Wilson would be a great fit as an athletic, versatile defensive end who can play hands in the dirt, as a 3-tech in 4-3 defense situationally, or even as a 3-4 OLB, although I don’t love that fit.

Other Options:
Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE, Alabama), Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa) - Anderson is probably the safer option of the two and would be my pick. Van Ness would be a target after trade down, not at No. 3.

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon), Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State) - Some CB targets if the Cardinals move down 6-10 spots.

4. Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)

The Colts’ plan in the 2023 NFL draft is simple - they need to draft a franchise QB. The problem is that there are a lot of reports that the Cardinals could trade out of No. 3. If I were Indy, I’d bite the bullet and offer something to move up the one spot so that fate was in my hands.

In this no-trade mock, they miss out on the consensus top-2 signal callers. However, they still have options, and go with a risky one at No. 4 overall. Anthony Richardson is an enigma. His college tape was not that of a 1st rounder, being borderline terrible as a passer at times. Equally, he has one of the best physical skill-sets we’ve seen at the QB position in years. He is raw, and has some bad tape, but also made some truly exceptional throws at Florida and was elite in certain contests. He’s also an exceptional runner and has terrific arm talent. Just based on skill-set and the premium status of the QB position alone, I can’t see Richardson escaping the top-10, even if he’s a huge project for the NFL, given the desperation around the NFL for better QB play.

If I was the Colts, I would be pretty aggressive in going for Lamar Jackson considering how risky Richardson and Levis are. They have a good cap situation without many huge contracts (Buckner and Leonard are the only two that come to mind, and either/or could be traded). They have a great running back and two great young receivers in Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. They need to re-tool their offensive line, but have the best guard in the NFL. He'd be worth the multi-1st round pick trade.

Other Options:

CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State), Bryce Young (QB, Alabama), Will Levis (QB, Kentucky) - This is the floor for both Stroud and Young, short of something shocking medically. I’m not high on Levis at all, but they may default to him if Tennessee (or someone else) jumps them for Richardson. At this point, I’d shift my focus to trying to obtain Hendon Hooker 35th overall and taking the best defender available here.

Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE, Alabama), Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech) - As per the above, if QB's go 1-2-3, I think the Colts could trade down or default to Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson. They have no real need for Jalen Carter.

5. Seahawks: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech)

The Seahawks’ defense fell apart in the back end of the year. Their run defense was abysmal, and their pass rush - whilst not anemic lacked immense firepower. They added Dre’Mont Jones and some upside options such as Julian Love and Devin Bush in free agency, but could really do with an alpha franchise pass rusher, as well as another interior defensive lineman early.

This is the first substantial change in the V2 mock, and a bit of a u-turn for me personally. If this was me, I’d absolutely take Will Anderson Jr. - even Devon Witherspoon - as I have real reservations about his reported work ethic issues. His alarming lack of production at college given his talent level; equally, his talent is visible to anyone with a moderate knowledge of the sport. Some of Carter’s high moments are beyond impressive, and he can just do things others can’t. His skill-set is rare. Carter is a special IDL prospect with NFL-pass rushing upside, immense run stopping ability and could be a seamless 3-tech fit in a 4-3 defensive scheme, or a quality 3-4 heavy-built defensive end.

I have a gut feeling that Carter may not slide that far. This is more of a gut feeling than anything, as a substantial slide is absolutely plausible in the wake of genuine off-field concerns. Still, Jalen Carter has a perennial All-Pro ceiling, and there are reports that the Bears will not pass on Jalen Carter if he is available at No. 9. The Seahawks seem to be prioritizing character more than in years past, but they have two 1st round picks this year, so I could see Seattle swinging for the fences with this choice.

Other Options:

Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech, Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE, Alabama) - Anderson Jr./Wilson could go in either/or order. The Seahawks need to improve their pass rush, so either/or is absolutely on the cards.

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois) - The Seahawks reportedly like Devon Witherspoon quite a bit as a backup option. I’m very high on Witherspoon, so I wouldn’t hate it if the Seahawks passed on Carter for him, even if Carter’s ceiling is more elite.

Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida) - The Seahawks could entertain Richardson as a 1-2 year project behind Geno Smith if the Colts pass on him, and no-one trades to No. 3 for him.

6. Lions: Will Anderson, DE, Alabama

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas)

The current regime of the Lions have done a text-book job in building a competitive team, and one of the best rosters in the NFC now. A lot of this is due to their trust in the draft board, not panicking, and banking on premium positions early (Penei Sewell in 2021, Aidan Hutchinson in 2022). I would love Bijan Robinson here, and consider him the best player in this draft class, but if Anderson Jr. does slip outside the top-5 - which feels more plausible now than ever - this pick would be run in even quicker than Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 last year.

Wilson vs. Anderson reminds me a bit of Walker vs. Hutchinson last year. The media is slightly higher on Anderson than NFL teams are, but Anderson is still one of my favorite players in the class and was amongst the best pure football players in this draft class, irrespective of position. Anderson’s tape was truly stellar, and figures to be a double-digit sack producer in the NFL. Anderson seems like a player likely to warrant a lucrative 2nd contract in 4 years time. Anderson, Hutchinson and Houston IV would be an insanely explosive young pass rushing group.

Other Options:

Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech) - Wilson is probably more likely to slide here than Anderson, just not in this mock. If the Cardinals stay at No. 3, I have a sneaky feeling they’re taking Wilson over Anderson Jr.

Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia) - Carter doesn’t feel like a character fit with Detroit, but perhaps he’s just too talented to pass up if Carter is here rather than Wilson and/or Anderson Jr.

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon) - The Lions have heavily upgraded their secondary in free agency with several stellar acquisitions, but their defense feels one boundary cornerback short of feeling like true strength. Witherspoon feels to be more of a Dan Campbell player, but Gonzalez is also rated very highly.

7. Raiders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon)

Although Jimmy Garoppolo by no means precludes the Raiders from drafting a QB, I’m not convinced they’d settle for whomever is left out of the top-4 QB prospects. I have serious doubts over Levis at the next level, and think the media is overrating him - they also reportedly prefer Anthony Richardson. If he is available, I expect Richardson to be the pick. Otherwise, they could do with a longer-term upgrade at RT and kick Elemanour in to guard, or take a cornerback. Given that the talent is roughly equatable at the top-end, and how dire their secondary is beyond Nate Hobbs in a division with Mahomes and Herbert, I think they could look to take a shut-down corner.

Witherspoon is my CB1, over even Christian Gonzalez who appears to be most people’s CB1. It’s plausible Witherspoon could go 2nd or even 3rd CB off the board due to perceived size concerns, but on tape, Witherspoon screams “instant star” similar to Sauce Gardner in ‘22 who went No. 4 overall to the New York Jets. he may not be quite that level of talent, but Witherspoon feels like a candidate to be a top-tier NFL defender early in his career.

Other Options:

Christian Gonzalez (CB, Illinois) - I’d be 50/50 on who the Raiders would take if either/or is available.

Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida), Will Levis (QB, Kentucky)- This is the pick if he’s available, but I highly doubt he would be at this point. Perhaps the Raiders trade up to No. 3? Of all suitors, they make the most sense.

Paris Johnson (OT, Ohio State), Peter Skoronski (G/OT, Northwestern) - The Raiders’ OL exceeded expectations in 2022, but outside of Kolton Miller and maybe Dylan Parham, they still need upgrades. Specifically, a right tackle is on the cards. Jermaine Eluemunor re-signed and played well in ‘22, but was re-introduced as “G/OT” on their twitter announcement and is a journeyman player. They could kick Eluemunor to guard and draft either/or to play RT, or play the draftee at G whilst they develop.

8. Falcons: Peter Skoronski, OT/G, Northwestern

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois)

The Falcons seem to have used free agency to bolster their pass rush with veterans that have a high floor and relatively low ceiling at this stage in their careers. If Anderson Jr. or Wilson is available I absolutely believe either/or will be the pick - one of the top-2 corners is also seriously in play - but I think their FA decisions have been engineering into not forcing them to take a defender early if the right player isn’t available. They are reportedly out on Jalen Carter, and this is a deep CB class, so they may prefer to take the best offensive lineman available to complete an already solid group with one pretty big hole at guard.

Charlie reported earlier in the process that the Falcons are pretty high on Skoronski, and I think he’s the best player available aside from Bijan Robinson. Skoronski is my 6th rated player, with elite pass protecting ability and a very high floor entering the NFL. The main question is whether he can hold up at tackle given his short arms, or if he will need to kick inside to guard? For the Falcons, he'd certainly start at guard, but could be the heir apparent to Jake Matthews in a couple of years. Like Alijah Vera-Tucker, Skoronski may be “just” a guard or right tackle for the NFL due to his measurables. However, he’ll likely be incredible there. He’d give the Falcons one of the best offensive lines in the NFL Day 1 and finish off an otherwise quality line, a bit like Penei Sewell to the Detroit Lions in 2021.

Other Options:

Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech) - This is likely Wilson's floor. It's probably a 2/10 chance he escapes the top-7.

Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon), Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois) - In my opinion, the Okudah trade doesn’t preclude the Falcons from taking the right corner. He’s at best a long-shot reclamation project under contract for 1 year.

Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida), Will Levis (QB, Kentucky) - The Falcons appear set to kick the tires with Desmond Ridder - which I think is the right call for now - but Levis feels like a Tannehill-esque player. Perhaps the Falcons will be tempted.

9. Bears: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)

The Bears did a tremendous job trading down. However, what they do here is now a true enigma. Recent legal issues and a bad pre-draft process could Jalen Carter - their likely dream pick - slide. I’m starting to feel like this is Jalen Carter’s floor, or close to it, and have him gone in this mock for the first time in this year’s mocks I’ve done. If the top-3 defenders are gone, Van Ness is a realistic possibility. However, with the EDGE depth in this class, the Bears may want to take another high-caliber offensive lineman. Their IOL is set, but they still have a big need at RT still, and it remains to be seen whether Braxton Jones can maintain his high-caliber level of play in ‘23.

Johnson Jr. lived up to the pre-season hype in ‘22 delivering an almost flawless season blocking for CJ Stroud. Johnson doesn’t quite have the tape of Peter Skoronski, but is a more prototypical Left Tackle in terms of size and traits, so could be the first offensive lineman taken even if Skoronski is one of the best pure football players in this draft class.

Other Options:

Peter Skoronski (G/OT, Northwestern) - I don't love the Skoronski fit unless they are certain he's a RT. Paris Johnson would be the better fit due to continuity with Fields and more OT certainty. Their IOL is theoretically sorted now, they explicitly need a tackle.

Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa), Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia) - Carter is probably the pick if available. Between Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia, Van Ness appears unlikely to escape the top-10, even if he’s raw.

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon) - Despite two 2nd round secondary picks, their secondary is still a bit of a weakness still. Kyler Gordon wasn't good as a rookie.

10. Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Peter Skoronski (G/OT, Northwestern)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa)

Since their 2017 Super Bowl victory, the Eagles have only drafted OL, DL or WR in Round 1 (trading further picks for another WR). They have clear early-round priorities, and RB isn't one of them. Given their need for future pass rush talent after their free agency exodus, I expect they will stick to the script. CB was a commonly mocked alternative, but with their elite outside duo of Darius Slay and James Bradbury being retained through 2025, I think they’ll address their remaining slot CB later in the draft.

Lukas Van Ness didn’t play much as a starter at Iowa, and showed flashes more than consistent dominance. However, I think he will settle as a top-16 pick due to his elite physical skill-set, high-end tape and versatility. Van Ness could be a terrific 3-4 pass rushing 5-tech, but I also like him as a 4-3 base end. Hassan Reddick, Josh Sweat, Lukas Van Ness and Brandon Graham would keep their elite pass rush rolling for 2023.

Other Options:
Peter Skoronski (G/OT, Northwestern), Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State) - I absolutely love the fit of Skoronski and the Eagles if the top defenders are off the board. Cam Jurgens is commonly presumed the heir apparent to Isaac Suemalo, but he really is there for when Kelce retires. He's unexpectedly returned for another year, and whilst regrettable, many see him as a center only, so they’d be better redshirting Jurgens for another year and finding a guard who could one day replace Lane Johnson at Right Tackle. The above logic could theoretically apply to Johnson, too, although he profiles as an OT in the next level.

Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia), Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa) - Carter's floor is surely No. 10 to Philadelphia. I can't see them passing him up, concerns or not. Equally, this is also a good spot for Lukas Van Ness, who would be a quality 4-3 base end. He needs a year or so before fully starting, and would have the luxury of a rotational role with Philly.

Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas) - Howie Roseman almost certainly won’t do this, but it would be pretty much impossible to stop their offense if they do. Could they entertain trading down and taking Robinson, in spite of their M.O.?

11. Titans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Peter Skoronski (G/OT, Northwestern)

The Titans jettisoned a hefty amount of their roster, and are my early favorites to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft. They thus have a plethora of needs. The Titans should be in BPA mode for this draft, but are dark horses to take a QB. I think it would be buffoonish to give up the farm to move up to No. 3 given the state of the team, but at No. 11, taking a QB feels a lot more palatable. Given that the top-2 tackles are off the board, Will Levis would be defendable here even though I’m personally not the biggest fan.

Of the top-4 QB prospects in this class, Levis is the one I worry about the most. His arm talent is impressive, and he has great build and prototypical traits. He also pushes the ball down the field well. However, he makes bad decisions, has weak pocket awareness and struggles with ball security. There are reports he also suffers with anxiety and has mental make-up issues. Richardson is more erratic than Levis, but I love his top-end more, and brings more as an athlete. For me, Levis is the clear QB4 in this class, although the Titans could work

Other Options:
Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida) - Richardson would be the better option in the (highly unlikely) scenario both are available. I hate the idea of Tennessee moving to No. 3 for both these very flawed prospects, but I’d be fine with it at No. 11.

Peter Skoronski (OT/G, Northwestern), Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State), Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee), Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia) - The Titans arguably had the worst OL in the NFL last year. They need a franchise LT and multiple other OL upgrades. Not a single spot on their OL is safe going into ‘23. They could justify spending their first 2 choices on offensive lineman like the Colts did in ‘18.

Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State) - The Titans need more receivers beyond Burks. This is one of the weirdest WR drafts in recent memory. Some - like myself - wouldn’t hate Johnston as a top-10 selection; others don’t view him as a 1st rounder. The same goes for the other top-receivers.

12. Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State)

Multiple reports suggest that the Texans are picking a receiver at No. 12. That makes a ton of sense, as their receiving corps is full of No. 2, 3 and 4 options without any bonafide No. 1 talents. Quinten Johnston is my runaway WR1, but Charlie also reported there is no consensus at all on receivers presently, and that the top-4 could come off the board in any order (different horses for different courses). Johnston's stock is interesting because some - Charlie Campbell, PFF - are exceptionally high on him, and others have him as their 4th receiver. I fall into the former camp myself, but I could easily see ex-Patriots Nick Caserio preferring JSN. Additionally, if they draft Stroud, the QB-WR fit would be attractive.

For me, Jaxon Smith-Njigba doesn’t have the athletic profile to be a shoe-in top-10 pick, and only has 1 season of real tape. However, I couldn't be too harsh because what a season that was. In ‘21, he was the Buckeyes’ most productive receiver, alongside future NFL stars Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Based on how Shanahan-esque Slowik's offense will be, I think JSN could be a better fit than Addison - whose stock is sliding somewhat - so I think Smith-Njigba would be a fine choice.

Other Options:

Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU), Jordan Addison (WR, USC) - Johnston would be my pick, as I’m very bullish on him. Meanwhile, Addison appears to be sliding a bit, but is another reported consideration according to Tony Pauline.

Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa) - If Van Ness slides outside the top-10, I’m starting to believe this could be his floor. It depends on how dead set the Texans are on receiver.

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon), Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State) - 2 consecutive corners is an underrated option here. Stingley Jr. didn’t light the world on fire as a rookie, and they have nothing else at cornerback. Porter Jr. is now in his ideal range.

13. Jets: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State)

The Jets are a huge question mark. Will they even hold onto this pick? That's seeming increasingly likely, with reports that the Packers would settle for Day 2 compensation. For now, presuming the Jets stick and pick, they need better linebacker and safety play. Equally, they also need to insure their offensive line, which always seems better on paper than in practice since Joe Douglas came in as GM. Mekhi Becton's promising rookie season seems so long ago, as he's been out with injury in the two years since. He appears in good shape now, but has a history of weight issues. On the other side, Duane Brown will be 38 at the start of next season. It wouldn't shock me if the Jets kicked the OT can down the road and gave Becton one more chance, but I’m not sure they’re in a position to take that chance with Aaron Rodgers. They have a 1-2 year window, and need to win now. Unfortunately, the top two blockers are off the board quickly in my mock, so they default to a 3rd option.

Broderick Jones is the most popular pick here, but Darnell Wright feels like a player who could go higher than expected. He continues to rapidly rise in this mock, moving from No. 27 to No. 13 (!). Wright has been rocketing up draft boards after an incredible ‘22 season, where he kept Hendon Hooker’s jersey clean. He also dominated the Senior Bowl, and a good week in Indianapolis at the combine. At this point, I'd be surprised if he escaped the top-20 and the 1st round is almost a lock. He completely shut down Will Anderson Jr. at the collegiate level, and feels like a safer pick for Joe Douglas than Broderick Jones if both are available.

Other Options:

Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State), Peter Skoronski (OT/G, Northwestern), Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia) - I’d be surprised if Johnson was available, and Skoronski is a long shot too. I would personally take Wright over Jones, although others would staunchly disagree.

Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU), Jordan Addison (WR, USC), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State) - The Jets seem to be targeting veteran receivers, despite having Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Allen Lazard. If the right tackle for them isn’t there, maybe they draft another receiver. This feels less likely, but their pre-draft FA shopping indicates they aren’t done at the position.

Brian Branch (S, Alabama) - The Jets’ need better safety play. I wouldn’t hate it if they Branch here - perhaps trading down - and then use a 2nd round pick on someone like Jaelyn Duncan or Tyler Steen.

14. Patriots: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Mock Draft Pick V2: Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)
Mock Draft Pick V1: Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)

I always cringe a bit when mocking a receiver to the Patriots, as it's seldom gone well. However, they have a very clear and obvious need for the position, even after signing JuJu Smith-Schuster (who is really more of a mid-No. 2). The Patriots need to address their offensive line, but there is a bonafide WR1 prospect available to give Mac Jones a true receiving weapon entering his crucial 3rd year.

Quentin Johnston has been my favorite WR throughout this process, but in my “other options” last time I put the following -: “I have a sneaky feeling the Patriots could take Flowers. Despite him probably being perceived as a reach in the top-20, I like him a lot - although not over Johnston”.

Since then, Charlie Campbell has made the same connection. I think Flowers could appeal to the Patriots’ offensive style under Bill O’Brian. This would remind me of Jahan Dotson in ‘22. I liked Dotson more than the average mock drafter, but I still criticized the pick because it would have been far better for them to have stayed at No. 11 and taken the superior Chris Olave. I feel the same here - I’m bullish on Zay Flowers in Round 1, but would consider this a slight reach and a mistake over Quentin Johnston. Compared to Cole Strange at No. 29, though, this would be a drop in the ocean.

Other Options:

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State), Jordan Addison (WR, USC), Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU) - Some alternatives.

Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State), Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon), Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Brian Branch (S/CB, Alabama) - I don’t think Witherspoon or Gonzalez will be available. Porter Jr. would make a lot of sense, as they need a boundary corner. They could also consider Branch, who feels like a Belichikian player to replace McCourty.

Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia), Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee) - The Patriots need to upgrade at tackle. Trent Brown has regressed and Riley Reiff is a journeyman at this point.

15. Packers: Will McDonald, DE, Iowa State

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Will McDonald IV (EDGE, Iowa State)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Myles Murphy (EDGE, Clemson)

Several people are mocking the Packers wide receiver or tight end, but I would be surprised if they went in that direction. This front office’s M.O. is to draft defense on Thursday night, and skill positions on Day 2. With the wealth of Tight End talent in this class, they’ll likely come out with a top-5 TE in this good class at the position with the 45th overall pick in Round 2. Meanwhile, outside of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith (the former coming off an ACL tear; the latter more of a rotational edge rusher), the Packers need pass rushing help badly.

Will McDonald IV is a draft crush of mine, and I think he has a shot of breaking the top-20. As a pure pass rusher, he’s arguably a top-10 talent with elite quarterbacking hunting tape over a few years at Iowa State. Equally, he has a fatal flaw in that he is a bad run defender. However, in this pass oriented league, I think McDonald belongs in the 1st round, if not top-20. He may be more of a designated pass rusher over 2-downs, but McDonald could be a double digit sack as a 3-4 rushing OLB in the NFL. Since the last mock, I’ve come down on him as a good 4-3 fit, but schematically, he makes sense in Green Bay as they run for former.

Other Options:

Myles Murphy (EDGE, Clemson), Lukas Van Ness (EDGE, Iowa) - Some alternatives. This is surely Van Ness’ floor at this point.

Brian Branch (S/CB, Alabama) - The Packers had some of the worst safety play I’ve seen in ‘22. Branch is the consensus SAF1 in this draft class, and this would be about the right sort of range for him.

Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State), Zay Flowers (WR, Boston College), Jordan Addison (WR, USC) - Much like the Seahawks finally got better protection after losing Russell Wilson, the Packers could forgo their traditional philosophy once Rodgers leaves and recognise they need to surround Jordan Love with plenty of weapons if he’s to succeed. Watson and Doubs were nice ‘22 selections, but they need at least one more potent threat offensively.

16. Commanders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Mock Draft V2 Pick: Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State)
Mock Draft V1 Pick: Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State)

The Commanders feel destined to take the best CB available with this pick, and that has commonly been Joey Porter Jr. However, in this mock, I have Christian Gonzalez sliding. This isn’t for any particular reason, other than that most of the CB needy teams outside of Detroit and Las Vegas are picking in the teens over the top-10. If Gonzalez or Witherspoon escape the top-8, I think they could both slide to the No. 16-20 range simply because of fit (short of trades, of course).

This would be incredible value, as Christian Gonzalez could go as high as pick No. 6 or 7. Gonzalez is a very well rounded cornerback and probably the safest between the top-3 of himself, Witherspoon and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. when considering athleticism and tape. Gonzalez himself was exceptional in ‘22 and addressed many questions teams had of him such as ball skills and consistency. Gonzalez is seen by teams as a likely candidate to break out at the combine, and he dominated it. I think Gonzalez is a sure-fire top-16 pick and probably a top-10 prospect due to his athleticism. This slide on draft night is probably unlikely, but just the way this mock has fallen.

Other Options:

Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State), Deonte Banks - The Commanders have been interviewing every blue-chip CB prospect in this class, so unless they all go very early, I really think it is the direction they’ll go in. We are approaching the floor for Witherspoon and Gonzalez now.

Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee), Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia) - This is another direction I could see the Commanders moving in if all corners are gone.

Dalton Kincaid (TE, Utah), Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame), Sam LaPorta (TE, Iowa) - The Commanders need a pass catching tight end threat. I like this class, but think the 20’s is a better range for these guys. This would be more attractive as a Plan B if the corners are gone and they can trade down first.

Picks 1-16