Now that the 2022 NFL Draft is over, we can officially look ahead to the 2023 NFL Draft.
What? Don’t look at us that way. It’s never too early to start thinking about what will occur next spring.
Alright, maybe it is a bit early. At this time last year, many believed Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler would become a top-10 pick, and he didn’t even enter the 2022 draft. Conversely, former Ohio State receiver Jameson Williams propelled himself into the first 15 picks after a dominant season with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Our point? Nobody knows anything, and this mock draft is for fun. There’ll probably be a player in here who winds up falling to the sixth or seventh round, and that’s fine. In fact, we determined the order for this using the Super Bowl 57 odds, and I personally don’t believe the New York Jets will earn the second overall pick.
If we had to project how the 2023 NFL Draft will shake out a year in advance, here’s what we’re thinking.
Who will go No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?
1. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: If the Texans are picking first next season, I get the feeling they’ll be open to moving on from Davis Mills. Young (6-foot, 194 pounds) won the Heisman Trophy last season and totaled 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions in 15 games.
2. New York Jets: Will Anderson, OLB, Alabama: The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Anderson might be the 2023 NFL Draft’s top overall prospect, and he could even go No. 1 depending on how things shake out. The rising junior linebacker tallied 41.5 tackles for a loss and 24.5 sacks in his first two years with the Crimson Tide.
3. Detroit Lions: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State: The Lions surprised many by passing on Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Desmond Ridder in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, we can’t blame Detroit if the long-suffering franchise prefers Stroud and Young as potential long-term quarterback options. 6-foot-3, 215-pound Stroud recorded a 71.9 completion percentage, 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns, and only six interceptions in his first year as a starter.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia: The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Carter recorded three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss on defense in 2021. He’s also seen action at fullback and caught a 1-yard touchdown as a true freshman two seasons ago. Carter is absolutely a player to watch next season.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State: The 6-foot, 197-pound Smith-Njigba exploded for 95 catches, 1,606 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2021. Although his numbers might drop in 2021 following Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson’s departures, the raw talent might be alone to ensure the Texas native is a top-5 pick.
6. New York Giants: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU: The 6-foot, 190-pound Boutte recorded 38 catches, 509 yards, and nine touchdowns in only six games last year. Although the Giants used a second-round pick on Kentucky receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, Boutte’s dynamic playmaking could easily appeal to Big Blue if they don’t have a shot at Stroud or Young.
7. Carolina Panthers: Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina: If the Panthers are picking seventh overall next year, Matt Rhule likely won’t be the head coach. Unfortunately for third-round pick Matt Corral, a new head coach might want his own quarterback, and Rattler might be the man in question. The Oklahoma transfer completed 70.1% of his passes for 4,594 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in parts of three seasons with the Sooners. Although the 6-foot-1, 200-pound gunslinger is a projected top-10 pick now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall next year.
8. Chicago Bears: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma: Although the Bears have currently created the impression they don’t want Justin Fields to succeed, maybe they’ll see reason next spring and decide to invest in a young quarterback. The 5-foot-11, 177-pound Mims recorded 69 catches, 1,315 yards, and 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Sooners. An excellent senior season could keep him in the top-10.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Joseph, FS, Notre Dame: The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Joseph recorded nine interceptions in three seasons at Northwestern. Now at Notre Dame, the 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year will have an excellent opportunity to boost his draft stock at one of the nation’s premier football programs.
10. Washington Commanders: BJ Ojulari, OLB, LSU: Ojulari was a bright spot during LSU’s dismal 2021 season, tallying seven sacks and 12 tackles for a loss in 12 games. At 6-foot-3 and 244 pounds, he has the size to create nightmares for opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen alike.
Best of the rest … for now
11. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
12. Philadelphia Eagles: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
13. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints): Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
14. Minnesota Vikings: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
15. Las Vegas Raiders: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
16. New England Patriots: Isaiah Foskey, DE, Notre Dame
17. Miami Dolphins: Malachi Moore, DB, Alabama
18. Tennessee Titans: Noah Sewell, ILB, Oregon
19. Arizona Cardinals: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
20. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Addison, WR, Pittsburgh
21. Baltimore Ravens: Henry To’oto’o, EDGE, Alabama
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Will Mallory, TE, Miami
23. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns): Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
24. Dallas Cowboys: Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M
25. Los Angeles Chargers: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
26. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
27. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers): Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas
28. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
29. Green Bay Packers: Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE, Washington
32. Buffalo Bills: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
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