Connor Allen's 2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
Now that the NFL Combine is over we can start to have a better idea of where players may fall in the draft. I’ll be doing multiple mock drafts including one after Free Agency, and another before the NFL Draft as my final submission.
More NFL Draft and Rookie Content: Scott Smith's 2023 Mock Draft Version 1.0 | 11 Players Who Turned Heads at the NFL Combine | 10 Fantasy Relevant Rookies: A First Look |
For the record, this is a mock draft of what I think will happen, not what I would do. Leading up to the NFL Draft I dissect as much information as possible from reputable sources to try and figure out where players will land. My main goal and reasoning for doing this are so our subscribers can have another successful year betting on the draft. Last year we combined to win over 40 units on official plays in our official discord and many subscribers had even more success on top of that.
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2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
1. Indianapolis Colts (via trade w/CHI) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
GM Chris Ballard and the Colts continue to say they won’t trade up, yet sit in a tough spot. They need a quarterback badly and the Bears are almost certainly trading down with a quarterback-needy team. If it isn’t the Colts, it will be with someone else.
If the Colts don’t trade up to No. 1, that would mean at least two teams (whoever trades up to 1, and Texans at 2) would be drafting a quarterback ahead of the Colts at No. 4. This could result in them missing on their top-ranked quarterback and potentially their top-2.
If the Colts do trade up, I think they land on C.J. Stroud. Chris Ballard has preferred a certain stature during his tenure (every quarterback has been 6’1 or taller) and recently said they have “stringent” height requirements. Ballard also mentioned at the combine “You want a guy who's got a fast mind and who's accurate.” All of that adds up to Stroud after he crushed his final season at Ohio State with impressive passing efficiency.
2. Houston Texans – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Young weighed in at 5’10, 204 pounds at the NFL Combine, artificially alleviating the fears of NFL decision-makers worried about his weight. His playing weight will likely be at least 10 pounds less than that. If you can put height and weight concerns aside, Bryce Young is a truly impressive player. I don’t think Nick Caserio and the Texans will put too much stock into Young not having the physical tools of the other prospects and select him second overall.
3. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
The Cardinals could easily trade down here as well if another quarterback-needy team like the Panthers, Raiders, Falcons, or even a team further down sees someone they love still on the board. For this mock to not get too whacky, I left the Cardinals with arguably the safest defensive prospect in the draft in Will Anderson.
4. Chicago Bears (via trade w/IND) – Tyree Wilson, EDGE Texas Tech
Rumors are swirling that the Bears really like Tyree Wilson. I expect him to be a target of theirs if he is on the board wherever they trade down to. On that note, I am very, very confident they will be able to trade down at least once. Even before Ryan Poles told everyone who would listen that he was getting offers galore, I was told by someone with knowledge of the situation Poles has “gotten at least 50 calls already” from different teams.
5. Seattle Seahawks – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Seahawks essentially signed Geno Smith to a one-year deal and have not been shy about still showing interest in quarterbacks. Richardson has the most upside in this draft class due to his athletic ability (4.43 40-yard dash at 6’4, 244 pounds) and cannon of an arm. Sitting behind Geno would give him some time to get up to speed as a passer while providing the Seahawks long-term upside at the position.
6. Carolina Panthers (via trade with DET) - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
The second trade of this mock draft! I would be extremely surprised if the Panthers leave this draft without a quarterback after missing on Deshaun Watson last year, and starting a combination of bottom-dwelling signal-callers since David Tepper bought the team in 2018. Tepper is desperate to have a franchise quarterback and will likely do what it takes to get one this offseason. Levis has all the tools to be an above-average quarterback although was shaky as a passer in his final season albeit with little to work with.
#Panthers starting quarterbacks since David Tepper bought the team in 2018...
• Taylor Heinicke
• Kyle Allen
• Cam Newton
• Will Grier
• Teddy Bridgewater
• PJ Walker
• Sam Darnold
• Baker Mayfield
— Connor Allen (@ConnorAllenNFL) March 8, 2023
7. Las Vegas Raiders – Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
If the Raiders don’t sign Jimmy Garroppolo they could be in the market for a quarterback. They also need help along the offensive line and Johnson is regarded as the most likely to be the first off the board.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Like the Raiders, the Falcons are also in play for a quarterback with Desmond Ridder slated to be the current starter. In this scenario, they miss out on the top tier. They also need a ton of help in the trenches as their defense has recorded the fewest sacks over the past two seasons.
9. Detroit Lions (trade with CAR) – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
It’s probably a toss-up between Witherspoon and Christian Gonzales for which corner goes first but I think Witherspoon gets the nod for the Lions. He’s extremely physical and would fit their defense well. The Lions' secondary is also a massive question mark for an otherwise ascending team.
10. Philadelphia Eagles – Christian Gonzales, CB, Oregon
The Eagles are likely losing multiple members of their top-5 secondary and need to start rebuilding it with playmakers immediately. Gonzales ripped a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and could step into a big role in Week 1.
11. Tennessee Titans – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Titans could go a lot of different directions here with holes all over the roster. They are reportedly shopping Derrick Henry but at the bare minimum need to start shoring up their offensive line. Jones ripped off the fastest 40 of any offensive lineman at 6’4, 311 pounds, and is a true athletic specimen.
12. Houston Texans – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Carter looks to be in the clear “legally” but there were already rumors about “character issues” unrelated to this before this incident came to light. Carter is undoubtedly talented but there is enough going on behind the scenes for him to fall here.
13. New York Jets – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Wright has been shooting up draft boards and Daniel Jeremiah mentioned Wright is in the conversation to be the first offensive tackle drafted. The Jets need to continue to bolster the offensive line especially given the uncertainty of Mekhi Becton.
14. New England Patriots –Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The Patriots need help in the trenches, at wideout, tight end, linebacker, and edge. I expect the Patriots to care less about Skoronski’s short arms than other teams and add a long-term solution on the line.
15. Green Bay Packers – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Van Ness could certainly threaten the top 10 when it’s all said and done with how much buzz he has been getting. The Packers may be shifting to a run-heavy offense with Jordan Love at the helm. Continuing to stack the defense is a good pairing for that type of approach.
16. Washington Commanders – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Kincaid and Michael Mayer are both in the conversation to be the top tight end selected. It will just come down to if a team wants a better pass-catcher (Kincaid) or a more well-rounded tight end (Mayer). Kincaid caught 70 passes in his final season at Utah.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Porter has tons of personal connections to the Steelers with his dad (Joey Porter) playing seven years with the Steelers. Corner is also a position of need for the Steelers so it could be a great pairing.
18. Detroit Lions – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Admittedly, finding a spot for Robinson is tough. He is a special talent but plays a devalued position. There also aren’t that many teams who are willing to take a running back high in the draft. Everyone has been connecting the Eagles to Robinson as a “luxury pick” but I’m not so sure the Eagles are in a spot to make “luxury” picks. They are losing multiple defensive starters and even then, would probably prefer to build upon strengths rather than adding a player at a devalued position high in the draft.
Washington at 16 is a possibility as well but most other teams in this range are set at the position. If he falls into the 20s it will only be because teams have more pressing needs at other positions. Dan Campbell landing a truly talented running back to impose his will on opponents would be a dream come true for “the dude” and the Lions.
19. Tampa Bay Bucs – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Smith incinerated the combine with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, a 41.5-inch vertical jump, and 10-foot-8-inches in the broad jump. 19 will likely be too low as Smith could threaten to break into the top 10 after continuously checking boxes and getting a lot of buzz.
20. Seattle Seahawks – Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Branch reportedly crushed meetings and positional drills at the combine. The Seahawks went with Richardson with their first pick in this mock so adding a defensive player here at a position of need helps them round out their early draft selections.
21. Los Angeles Chargers, Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Chargers need to continue adding weapons for Justin Herbert and Mayer would be a great fit as another security blanket for them. If they don’t add speed in free agency as I expect, they could opt for Quentin Johnston or Jalin Hyatt here instead.
22. Baltimore Ravens –Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Ravens hired Todd Monken from the Georgia Bulldogs to be their offensive coordinator and will almost certainly skew a bit pass-heavier than Greg Roman. In order to do that they will need NFL-caliber receiving options outside of Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews. We probably won’t see the full air raid offense Monken implemented in 2018 with the Bucs but with Lamar Jackson’s situation up in the air, the Ravens could look a lot different come Week 1.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Quentin Johnson, WR, TCU
The Vikings desperately need some speed opposite Justin Jefferson to open up the field. Adam Thielen turns 33 in August and showed last season he’s got nothing left in the tank. The speedster out of TCU could instantly slide in as a solid No. 2 and potentially develop into more.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars – O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida
With Calvin Ridley joining the Jaguars and Evan Engram getting the franchise tag, continuing to build out Trevor Lawrence’s supporting cast is crucial.
25. New York Giants –Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Giants signed Daniel Jones to a multi-year deal while placing the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley. They need to continue adding viable receiving options for Daniel Jones for this offense to take the next step. Addison didn’t test well but is a pristine route-runner and would be a big upgrade for them at the position.
26. Dallas Cowboys – Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
The Cowboys will lose Dalton Schultz and could be in the market for a top tight end. Washington is also a fantastic blocker that will help Jerruh live out his never-ending desire to establish the run.
27. Buffalo Bills – Bryan Breese, DL, Clemson
The Bills defense took a slight step back last season after being a dominant force in 2022. Breese would be able to help all over for the Bills on the defensive line.
28. Cincinnati Bengals –Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Banks crushed the combine with a 4.35 40-yard dash and the Bengals need to continue upgrading their secondary.
29. New Orleans Saints – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Adding another weapon for Derek Carr in addition to Chris Olave and maybe Michael Thomas can easily make the Saints the most potent offense in the division.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – Kelee Ringo, DB, Georgia
Ringo ripped a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and pairing him with Gonzales would leave their secondary in a great spot despite losing multiple players.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
The Chiefs are likely losing Mecole Hardman and Hyatt profiles similarly despite running a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash at the combine. Hyatt is a speedy wideout who can help the offense stretch the field.