Scott Smith’s Final 2023 Mock Draft
2023 NFL Mock Draft
1. Carolina Panthers - Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
No need to overthink things here. The word has been out over the last few weeks and Young will be the pick. It would be a huge shock if it were anyone else.
2. Houston Texans - Will Anderson Jr, EDGE, Alabama
This is where things get shaky. QBs are certainly in play but ultimately I believe this pick comes down to Anderson or Tyree Wilson. Anderson gets the nod because he is higher in most evaluations and has a cleaner bill of health.
3. Arizona Cardinals - Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
The Cardinals will likely be deeply involved in trade discussions. Rumors have multiple teams moving up to this position for a QB. The Cardinals have been heavily connected to Paris Johnson Jr. and I believe he would be their target should they trade down and find him available. With no trades happening in this mock, Wilson ends up being the pick for a team that has major needs at EDGE, OT, and CB.
4. Indianapolis Colts - C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Will Levis has been heavily connected to Indianapolis throughout the process. The Manning family has allegedly given their stamp of approval. Ultimately I think Levis ends up with a number of suitors in this draft possibly even at pick three above. Stroud was in contention to be the first overall pick until Young became the favorite. I still believe Stroud is the second-best QB in this draft and I have this pick reflecting that.
5. Seattle Seahawks - Jalen Carter, DT, Alabama
Media has been split with connected Seattle sources taking hard stances on both sides of the Jalen Carter coin. Anderson Jr or Wilson could possibly be in play at this pick should they fall here. Seattle management has done extensive research on Carter and is in a good position to get the most out of Carter.
6. Detroit Lions - Devon Witherspoon, CB Illinois
7. Las Vegas Raiders - Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Raiders really wanted to get Witherspoon here. Instead, they settle for Gonzalez as a consolation prize to help a subpar secondary.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Falcons are in a prime trade spot for any team looking to move up. On the outside chance that Tyree Wilson slides this could be his floor. On the same note, the Falcons would be in play to select Robinson here or in a trade-down scenario.
9. Chicago Bears - Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Reports are that the Bears have three players on their board for this pick. Jalen Carter would be their wet dream but with him off the board, OT becomes the focus. Paris Johnson Jr and Darnell Wright are both in play here. With the possibility of Johnson going higher Wright gets the nod to protect Justin Fields.
10. Philadelphia Eagles - Nolan Smith, EDGE
The Eagles are another team that would be in play for Carter should he get past Seattle, and they take a versatile EGDE as they transition to more of a 3-4 base.
11. Tennessee Titans - Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
Tennessee is one of the teams that will be desperate to move up to three for a QB. Connecting the dots, that player is likely C.J. Stroud. Some team will have to lose out, Vrable would settle for offensive line help with a fellow Buckeye. If the Titans are successful in trading up then this is also a spot that Arizona could take Johnson.
12. Houston Texans - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Levis has been discussed going at pick two and there are whispers that New England and Houston are vying to trade up to three for Levis. The other rumor is that Levis could slide. If that is so and he falls here then Houston ends his slide.
13. Green Bay Packers - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The trade of Aaron Rodgers brought on this pick swap with New York. It’s no coincidence that Green Bay moved ahead of WR-needy New England to 13. The Packers get Jordon Love the help they never offered to Aaron Rodgers.
14. New England Patriots - Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa
The Pats are another team that may be left on the outside of the QB derby. Van Ness has qualities that Bill Belichick values and would fit in nicely with the Patriots' defense. Offensive line is another position that’s in play. Broderick Jones or Peter Skoronski could also be in play.
15. New York Jets - Peter Skoronski, OG, Northwestern
The Jets have been pegged for offensive line help throughout the draft process. Broderick Jones is a player that has been heavily connected to the Jets. Instead, Skoronski’s versatility gets his name called. Skoronski can kick inside and play guard or fill in at OT should Mekhi Becton not be ready to play.
16. Washington Commanders - Emmanuel Forbes, CB Mississippi St.
Should Darnell Wright slip, he should be the pick for Washington. Unfortunately, he’s off the board and CB becomes the priority. Forbes is a rail-thin ball hawk that should immediately upgrade a secondary with no true playmaker.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Pittsburgh is another team that is rumored to want to move up, specifically for an OT. Here, they grab the protection they need to allow QB Kenny Pickett to take the next step in his development.
18. Detroit Lions - Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt
This may be the ceiling for Kancey that could just as easily fall out of the first round. With CB going at pick six, adding Kancey next to Aidan Hutchinson could put significant pressure on opposing offenses.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Tampa Bay has no identity in the post-Tom Brady era. Their offensive line is in shambles with only Tristan Whirfs as a promising asset. Adding Harrison here opposite Whirfs would add another building block in front of Baker Mayfield.
20. Seattle Seahawks - Anthony Richardson, QB, Seattle
Media is often higher on QB evaluations than GMs. Richardson is an ultra-athletic project at QB with minimal experience. Seattle was thought to have been interested in Richardson at five. That may be too high for a player that projects to need a redshirt year. Seattle takes the young Florida product here to sit behind Geno Smith.
21. Los Angeles Chargers - Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Addison was the only official visit the Chargers used on a WR. Addison also has history with the coaching staff at both Pitt and USC, leading the Chargers to add a player they have had inside access to through the draft process.
22. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn St.
Porter likely ranks much higher on NFL team boards. Rumors suggest that Porter had some issues in medical checks that have him sliding a bit. As usual, talent falls right into Baltimore’s lap.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Adam Thielen is in Carolina now and Flowers would offer an explosiveness and run-after-catch ability that was missing outside of Justin Jefferson. Add in T.J. Hockenson and the Vikings would have a tough offense to match up with.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
News came down that Cam Robinson will be suspended in 2023. This pick could change to offensive line or even see Jacksonville trade up to get protection for Trevor Lawrence. If that’s not an option, Myles Murphy has been training in Jacksonville and would add to the defense's pass rush.
25. New York Giants - Brian Branch, S, Alabama
The Giants need help at WR, offensive line, and CB. Branch offers the versatility to play multiple positions across the secondary. Branch has a safe floor and is only limited by a slower 40-time. His football IQ is off the charts and the Giants will value that.
26. Dallas Cowboys - Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
After losing Dalton Schultz, TE is a priority for the Dallas offense. Kincaid may be the best receiver in this draft at the catch point regardless of position.
27. Buffalo Bills - Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
The Bills are set to have a lot of turnover along the defensive line at the end of 2023. Mazi Smith is an athletic freak and could play the role of interior disruptor that McDermott has used in past defenses.
28. Cincinnati Bengals - Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Bengals did extensive work on TEs in 2022. That research carried over to this year and Mayer is a player they have met with extensively throughout the pre-draft process. Mayer would be another young addition to a high-powered offense.
29. New Orleans Saints - Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State
The Saints need help along the defensive line whether it be at interior or EDGE. Of the players that are available, McDonald offers the athleticism and bend off the edge to make the biggest difference.
30. Philadelphia Eagles - Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Gibbs is a player that some teams have as high as 15 on their boards. He has been rumored for a week to find his way into the first round. Whether it’s here to Philadelphia or to another team, his playmaking ability will be valued in a class that most teams think is short on first-round talent.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The Chiefs brought Johnston in for a workout to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes. Rumors are that Kansas City management was impressed with Johnston to the point that they may be willing to move up to get him.