NFL 2023 My Way Mock Draft

2023 1st Round in Reverse Power Ranking Order

With all the movement happening before and on draft day, trying to balance predicting exact trades and team needs all at once seems foolish. Instead, we’ll go down the list in reverse order of my final 2022-23 Power Rankings, have a little discussion on each team, and make a vague prediction which may or may not include a trade or random description of what I think the front office will be doing in the 1st round.

32. Arizona Cardinals (Pick 3)

Would the Cards be so bold to take a QB at 3? Doubtful. Kyler may not be ready for week 1, or even week 7, but his contract has him locked in whenever he’s ready. Having the 3rd pick in a strong QB class and not needing a QB yourself makes the Cards a big trade-down possibility, and they could still get one of the top defenders later in the top 10.

Prediction: Trade down to 7 or 11, draft Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

31. Indianapolis Colts (Pick 4)

The top 3 picks will be exciting, with the top pick already changing hands and the QB prospects shifting around that pick in every mock draft out there. But the 4th pick is where I’m most interested, because unlike most others, I don’t think they’ll take a QB. They might even trade back if someone like Anthony Richardson is still on the board and QB-needy teams see a chance to grab him. Why do I think this? Because I think the Colts plan on having Lamar Jackson as their 2023 QB, but they don’t wanna offer him a deal before the draft, as that would require them to give up the 4th pick this year along with their 1st round pick next year. However, if they wait until after the draft, that compensation shifts to their 1st round picks the next 2 years. And with Lamar at the helm, those picks would presumably be much worse for the Ravens. Whether they keep this spot or trade down, I think they’ll go defense.

Prediction: Draft Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama, give Lamar Jackson an offer the Ravens have to refuse

30. Houston Texans (Picks 2 and 12)

Houston is in a great spot with both the 2nd and 12 picks in the 1st round. At 2, I don’t think they’ll make the stretch to get Richardson. They’ll take whichever is still available of CJ Stroud and Bryce Young. I honestly think they’ve been having Bryce Young daydreams since the middle of last season. With the 12th pick, I assume they’ll go get the best receiver available to pair with their new QB. Especially now that they just traded Brandin Cooks. Building an offense around a QB-WR tandem both with 5th year options is a solid plan, and they already have a really good RB to go with them. Prediction disclaimer: there’s a decent chance Johnston won’t be available, and that may make them stretch for someone like Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Point is, I’m convinced that pick will be a WR.

Prediction: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama and Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

29. Chicago Bears (Pick 9)

As much crap as I’ve given Ryan Poles and the Bears front office, I’ll begrudgingly admit I’m kinda loving their offseason moves. The Panthers trade to move back in the draft while bringing in a haul of picks and D.J. friggin’ Moore was phenomenal. After all the offensive weapons they already had and have since added, they’ll likely go to the top of the defensive board with pick 9. Unfortunately for them, the 9th pick may have pushed them out of the top tier of defenders. They may still grab a corner like Christian Gonzalez, but I think getting a solid tackle is equally as high a priority as defense. and if Skoronski is there, that’s a safe, NFL-ready pick that could help them immediately.

Prediction: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

28. Denver Broncos (No Pick)

Gonna be a long first couple days of the draft for Sean Payton. Broncos aren’t set to be on the clock until pick 67. Ending my power rankings at 28th and then not picking until the 3rd round makes for a tough beginning to Sean Payton’s reign. They once had pick 29, along with everyone else in the league, but because they signed Payton, the Saints have that one now. I think. No one really knows. I expect them to to try getting back into at least the 2nd round by trading one of their receivers. Not like Russ is using them.

Prediction: Slow descent into madness

27. Los Angeles Rams (No Pick)

Man, the bottom of the league does not like keeping their high 1st round picks. This one went to Detroit for Matthew Stafford, so I’d say that worked out. Difference between the Rams and Broncos trading their 1st rounders is the Rams put one in the case. While the 1st round won’t help them, they’ve got pick 36 right away on day 2, then dual 3rd rounders, followed by 9 picks in rounds 5-7. That’s a lot of latitude to take a chance on some risky, talented players.

Prediction: Throwing spaghetti at the wall

26. Tennessee Titans (Pick 11)

Do we think Malik Willis is the future of this team? If so, and if the team is serious about trading Derrick Henry, the 11th pick could be an early spot for Bijan Robinson. If Willis isn’t viewed as an eventual starter, they may try to trade up or hope someone like Will Levis falls to them at 11. If Skoronski is still around, they may also get him to lock down Willis’s blind side, especially after cutting Taylor Lewan.

Prediction: Paris Johnson, Jr., OT, Ohio State

25. Washington Commanders (Pick 16)

I love the Jacoby Brissett signing, so much that I see him as the biggest steal in free agency. That said, he’s 30 years old, on a 1 year prove it deal, the team is about to be sold, and I don’t buy that Sam Howell is the future of the team. With all that in mind, I think they’ll take the best OT available at the 16th pick, or trade up to make sure they get one. It’s tough to know if Paris Johnson, Broderick Jones, or Skoronski might fall this far, but if one does, he’ll get a year of seasoning during a tank year to get ready to be Caleb Williams blind side under a new coaching staff. Not saying I’m okay with tanking, but that’s my move if I drop $5 billion on a team that needs a complete image overhaul.

Prediction: If he’s available, Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

24. Cleveland Browns (No Pick)

No 1st round pick for a team that badly needs one. Expect them to take the best receiver left when they first get on the clock at pick 42. Or even trade up if they see one of them top tier WR prospects fall.

Prediction: Try to trade up, but other owners block their number

23. Atlanta Falcons (Pick 8)

No, I don’t think they’ll take a QB. I definitely don’t think they’ll trade up for one. I think they like Ridder, and now he’s got weapons and a few games under his belt. Time to get some top talent on that atrocious defense. They went out and got one of my favorite under-the-radar free agents in Kaden Elliss (just stop it, autocorrect), and he’ll add consistency. But they need a gamewrecker (get that hyphen off my screen), and the rush to get possibly 4 QBs in the top 10 will leave plenty of potential gamewreckers at the 8th pick.

Prediction: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

22. Carolina Panthers (Pick 1)

There has to be one guy new coach Frank Reich wants more than anyone else. Otherwise they could’ve just traded up to the 3rd pick from Arizona for a much lower price. I’m not alone in thinking that guy is C.J. Stroud. If anyone had any doubts about Stroud, he very clearly shut them down with his performance in the Peach Bowl. The guy shredded a Georgia defense that was probably better than half the defenses in the NFL.

Prediction: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

21. New Orleans Saints (Pick 29)

They lost the 10th pick to Philly, but picked up the elusive 29th pick when they let Denver hire Sean Payton. That’s good, because there’s literally not a single position where they don’t have a need. Obviously they won’t be taking a QB after giving a ridiculous deal to Derek Carr, but every other position is up for grabs.

Prediction: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

20. Vegas Raiders (Pick 7)

Can they stay in the 7th spot and still get a QB to learn behind Jimmy G? Possibly Levis, but they have to be careful of other QB-needy teams jumping ahead of them. I also don’t know if Josh McDaniels wants a 1st round QB. With the complexity of his offense, he’s more likely to wait for a later round and take someone with less physical talent but more capacity to understand his playbook. Jimmy G can hold down the fort for a year or two. Corner is a bigger need, and there will be plenty of good ones with top 10 talent.

Prediction: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

19. New York Jets (Pick 13)

They’ll probably have Aaron Rodgers, and they might still have pick 13. But there’s always the chance one goes for the other. I’m gonna get a little wild with this prediction. I see a 3-team trade where the Jets trade down to the mid-20s and get some extra picks, then they trade that pick for Rodgers, and the unknown team gets pick 13.

Prediction: Trade back 10ish spots, call Rodgers to get his blessing, draft Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (Pick 17)

The combination of size, physicality, and Steeler tradition tells me this will be Joey Porter, Jr. Teams ahead of them may look at him, but then Tomlin will give them the glare and they’ll back down. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Prediction: CB Joey Porter, Jr., Penn State

17. New England Patriots (Pick 14)

They’ve got plenty of needs, so they’ll definitely pick a safety with a 4th round draft grade that’ll turn out to be an absolute stud. Or a wide receiver.

Prediction: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

16. Seattle Seahawks (Picks 5 and 20)

Plenty of spots on defense to shore up, but I don’t know if there’s a better spot to be in to take a QB. Especially one with immense physical talents, but perhaps needs some time to learn. Geno’s contract is 3 years, but it’s more like 2 years, and it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll land another big one after that. That creates a perfect window to use the Broncos Country Pick. With their own pick at 20, defense will get a Legion of Boom-style boost.

Prediction: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida and Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Pick 19)

With so many needs, this would be a good spot to grab a high value player at a low value position. Their current TEs aren’t bad, but they don’t really have a TE1. Definitely not one who can stretch the field like some of the 1st round graded TEs in this draft.

Prediction: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

14. Miami Dolphins (No Pick)

If you’re wondering why there are only 31 picks in the 1st round this year, it’s cause the Dolphins were naughty. Despite owner Stephen Ross’s shady efforts to bring Sean Payton and Tom Brady to South Beach, they ended up with neither and minus a 1st round draft pick. At one point they had the Hot Potato 29th pick. It started in San Francisco back when it didn’t yet have a number, then SF traded it Miami so they could move up for Trey Lance, then Miami traded it to Denver for Bradley Chubb, and finally, Denver gave it up to New Orleans so they could hire… Sean Payton. Holy full circle.

Prediction: Mike McDaniel will chew his nails off waiting for pick 51 while Stephen Ross has “impermissible communications” with John Harbaugh and Aaron Rodgers

13. New York Giants (Pick 25)

Do they need receivers? It’s honestly hard to tell. So many guys were in and out. They’re bringing back Sterling Shepard on a small one year deal, plus Darius Slayton on a not insignificant 2 year deal. They also went out and got Parris Campbell from Indianapolis. Wan’Dale Robinson comes back for his sophomore season. Could they use more? Oh yeah. None of those guys stand out and you know it. With a focus on QBs and trench players, they could get great value on a receiver at 25.

Prediction: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

12. Baltimore Ravens (Pick 22)

So much may or may not happen to the Ravens needs between now and the draft. If someone in the top 10 says screw the draft and goes and gets Lamar, Baltimore may be in line to go get a QB in their spot. At 22, they’re likely to go WR or EDGE, depending on what’s still available at the spot.

Prediction: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

11. Minnesota Vikings (Pick 23)

Defense, defense, defense. Then some more defense. Every level. Every round. Their offense is electric, even without Adam Thielen and possibly Dalvin Cook. But they need edge rushers and secondary. Oh, and linebackers and D-linemen. With a good draft, they could have 2-4 rookies starting on defense this season. So with just 5 picks, they need to land them.

Prediction: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

10. Green Bay Packers (Pick 15)

Jordan Love needs a TE, and the Packers don’t have anyone able to fill that role in the way they need. Michael Mayer is a possibility, as he’s likely the most polished run blocker. Perfect for a team which I think will shift heavily towards the run and short passing game. But as a Packers fan, there was another guy I was hoping they would get. Before the combine, I thought they could get Mayer in the first and Darnell Washington in the 3rd. Then the 6’7, 270 pound Washington ran a 4.64 40, and followed it up with this…

Now getting both Mayer and Washington would probably require getting the Jets pick at 13 in the Rodgers trade. If they only get pick 15, I’ll take the guy who can fade and palm a ball out of midair.

Prediction: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

9. Detroit Lions (Picks 6 and 18)

Don’t expect a QB at pick 6. Jared Goff was very good last year, and Dan Campbell quite clearly believes in him. Not a fan of them letting Jamaal Williams walk after the season he had, and also because he’s my favorite player in the league. But at least he won’t be playing against the Packers twice a year anymore. Pick 6 should go CB or DL, and pick 18 may do the same, but it could also be used on a young back to pair with D’Andre Swift or a TE to fill the gaping hole left by T.J. Hockenson.

Prediction: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon and Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

8. Los Angeles Chargers (Pick 21)

Brandon Staley has one year, or at least part of a year, to prove Joe Lombardi was the reason this immensely talented offense looked terrible. He’ll have to do that with former Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, and potentially without Austin Ekeler. That combination makes me think they’ll look for a splash, which means skill positions like RB or WR. At 21, the top tier receivers are gone, but the best back in the draft might still be there.

Prediction: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick 24)

The offense seems set. With several needs on defense, it would make sense to take a versatile secondary player here. I don’t know if Brian Branch will last this long, but the lack of interest in CJ Gardner-Johnson in free agency makes me think the safety/slot back spot is being undervalued around the league. If he drops this far, he could be a steal for Jacksonville.

Prediction: Brian Branch, S/Slot CB, Alabama

6. Dallas Cowboys (Pick 26)

Plenty of front 7 needs, but replacing Dalton Schultz will be a high priority. They could wait til later rounds for some pretty good players in a deep TE class, but jumping on it this high is how you get someone who can stretch the defense right out of the gate.

Prediction: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

5. Buffalo Bills (Pick 27)

It may sound silly, but they need a receiver here. Stefon Diggs is pretty locked in, despite the goofy trade rumors (he’s not going anywhere), but Gabe Davis ain’t it. He’s a WR3 at best on most teams in the league.

Prediction: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

4. San Francisco 49ers (No Pick)

This pick was part of the trade with Miami to get Trey Lance. Remains to be seen if Lance will make it worth it, but it’s nice when you trade a future 1st rounder and it ends up being the 29th pick. Then their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounders were traded for Christian McCaffrey. Even though they won’t take their own original pick until round 5, they’ll go on the clock until the end of the 3rd round with a trio of compensatory picks awarded for having minority coaches and executives hired by other teams.

Prediction: All 3 comp picks will be used on quarterbacks so Shanahan can go into the season with at least 6 of them

3. Cincinnati Bengals (Pick 28)

If Bijan Robinson falls this far, I think they’ll jump all over it. It doesn’t look like the legal issue around Joe Mixon will cause him any problems, as he isn’t being indicted or accused of anything. But he’s making a lot of money, the Bengals have an out this year and a bigger one next year, and Mixon’s numbers didn’t cut it last year. He contributed more in the passing game, but 3.9 yards/carry doesn’t warrant the 8 figures he’s getting. The team addressed a big need at LT by signing Orlando Brown, which led Jonah Williams to request a trade. As if they could get anything of value for one of the worst tackles in the league last season. That’s all a long way of saying screw it, stack more beef on the D-line.

Prediction: Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan

2. Philadelphia Eagles (Picks 10 and 30)

Of course Howie Roseman would go to the Super Bowl and still have a top 10 pick. With all the defense they lost to free agency, look for them to find really good value at that pick. With Jason Kelce running it back possibly just one more year, it may be time to look for his replacement, especially if you can get a good prospect who can spend a season learning from Kelce.

Prediction: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa and John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Pick 31)

They got great production from a lot of places on offense, but you can never give Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes too many track stars. They could also go offensive line with someone like O’Cyrus Torrence or Dawand Jones, but I think Reid will want to start developing receivers instead of mixing and matching free agents. Josh Downs ran a relatively slow 4.48 40, but it came with a 1.49 10 yard split. In this offense, that kind of acceleration shines.

3 thoughts on “NFL 2023 My Way Mock Draft”

  1. You nailed the Miami dilemma, because we’ll be paying for the Harbaugh phone conversations NEXT draft day. As for the Colts, that would be the ideal landing spot for Jackson . . outside of Detroit.

    1. I just don’t see Dan Campbell giving up on Goff that easily. Goff was very good last year, and Campbell is fiercely loyal.

      For McDaniel’s sake, I hope Ross stays out of everything from now on. I kinda feel like the league and other owners pushing Snyder out of DC was a shots fired thing to other owners with a poor public image. Like, go hang out on your yacht, Mike will tell you who wins.

      1. I dig Campbell, even though I was dubious initially about his chances in Detroit. Of course, I think the fact that it was Detroit had more to do with my opinion than he did.

        Goff can ball, there is no doubt about that. I just think Indy makes so much sense and this Jackson situation makes absolutely none, so I’m thinking a team that hasn’t been bandied about is going to enter the picture at the last minute. Hey, how about San Fran?

        And Miami will take Goff, gladly.

        Ross isn’t the worst owner, by a long stretch. He just messed up that whole Payton/Brady thing so badly, I mean . my God man.

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