Fragoza’s 2-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Trenton Simpson, Antonio Johnson highlight value of versatility

September is nearly over, meaning 2023 NFL Mock Drafts are becoming more prevalent. Who are the top prospects to keep an eye on, including the FCS level?

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Do you remember, the last mock draft of September? It may be the 24th night instead of the 21st, but this 2-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft has plenty of Earth, Wind, and, especially, Fire. With the Atlanta Falcons first on the clock, let’s see how the 2023 NFL Draft could shake out.

2023 2-round NFL Mock Draft | Round 1

The order of this 2023 2-round NFL Mock Draft derives from reverse Super Bowl odds. Not a fan of your favorite team’s selections? Be the general manager and run your own using PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator!

1) Atlanta Falcons: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Bryce Young has been my unwavering 2023 NFL Draft QB1 since last season. Yeah, he’s not the biggest. Heck, he doesn’t have the biggest arm or most athletic build. But Young has anticipation and poise — both traits you simply can’t teach. Even with a defensive lineman barrelling toward him, Young stays calm, cool, and collected, delivering strikes all over the field. Make no mistake — Young is HIM.

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

From one franchise-altering quarterback to another, C.J. Stroud has the more alluring tools compared to the Alabama signal-caller and benefits from extraordinary weaponry. But that doesn’t take away from Stroud’s innate ability to hit his pass catchers in stride and where only they can get the ball.

3) Seattle Seahawks: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Outside of a handful of pressures, Will Anderson Jr. may have had his worst game against Texas a couple of weeks ago. But one blemish doesn’t take away from the sheer dominance Anderson exudes on a week-to-week basis. He’s the best pass rusher in the class — bar none.

4) Carolina Panthers: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Jalen Carter hasn’t played much this year … because he hasn’t had to. The Bulldogs are steamrolling the competition, allowing their key contributors to hit the bench early and often. Regardless, Carter could’ve sat out the entire season, and he would still be a top-five pick. Along a defensive line that featured first-rounders Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, and Devonte Wyatt, Carter was arguably the most impressive.

5) Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The 2023 NFL Draft possesses a strong offensive tackle class. However, Paris Johnson Jr. stands above the rest due to his combination of physical attributes and technique. He’s been near flawless this season — his first starting at tackle. With more reps and tape under his belt at the position, it would surprise no one if Johnson was the first offensive lineman selected in April.

6) New York Jets: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

“A jack of all trades is a master of none but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Whoever originally penned that quote didn’t have the chance to watch Trenton Simpson play football. Whatever you ask him to do, he will excel at it. Cover a WR from the slot? Clamped. Come downhill in run defense? Tackle for loss. Rush the passer as a blitzer? Sack. Put him on offense, and Simpson will probably score a few touchdowns to boot.

7) Detroit Lions: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

Everything I said about Simpson applies to Antonio Johnson. They may play different positions, but both are uber-versatile defenders that make their impact felt all over the field. Johnson’s a lock for the first round and the key to the success of Texas A&M’s defense.

8) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Jaxon Smith-Njigba injured his hamstring in Week 1 and came back in Week 3 with two catches and 33 yards. It’s been an anticlimatic season thus far for the OSU WR, but do we even need to see more?

In a receiving room alongside 2022 first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Smith-Njigba led the unit with 95 receptions, 1,606 yards, and nine touchdowns. Barring a setback, the JSN cooking channel will return to regularly scheduled programming shortly.

9) Pittsburgh Steelers: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Johnson receives all the hype in the OT class, but Peter Skoronski isn’t far behind. He took over Rashawn Slater’s vacant left tackle spot as a true freshman, and the difference has been negligible. His ability to reset his anchor after initially losing is a chef’s kiss. Although many view Skoronski as a guard, I believe he can be a starting NFL OT. Whoever selects him would be wise to at least try him there as a rookie.

10) Washington Commanders: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Michael Mayer may share a similar name to Michael Myers, but the similarities don’t end there. Both are large-sized men who wear masks, own otherworldly strength, and are nightmares for those facing them. Tight ends aren’t usually worthy of first-round capital, but Mayer is not your typical TE prospect. He is equally adept at creating rushing lanes as he is mossing a defender for a chunk gain.

11) New York Giants: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Will Levis vs. Anthony Richardson debate isn’t over just yet, but through three weeks, the mayo-in-coffee drinking QB has the upper hand. Diabolical food choices aside, Levis possessed ridiculous arm talent that currently makes up for some sloppiness in technique. If he can synergize his lower and upper body, Levis will solidify his position as the QB3.

12) Las Vegas Raiders: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

A Georgia defender gets drafted in the first round — stop me if you’ve heard that before. Kelee Ringo continues the trend, as the 6’2″ and 210-pound corner has been the CB1 since the end of last season. Which is kismet, as he called game in the 2021 National Championship, returning an interception for a touchdown. With domineering play strength and absurd athleticism for his size, Ringo should be the Starr of the 2023 NFL Draft CB group.

13) Houston Texans (from CLE): Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

Looking back, Kayshon Boutte should’ve opted out of the 2022 season as Ja’Marr Chase had in 2020. Boutte’s conduct in a frustrating loss to Florida State in Week 1 has only been accentuated by his lack of production since. But I’m betting on the talent and physical package outweighing the concerns on draft day.

14) New England Patriots: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Cam Smith isn’t Jaycee Horn, but he could be the next South Carolina CB drafted in Round 1. Smith came onto the scene last year, recording 11 pass breakups and three interceptions. He excels in press coverage, bullies WRs with his physicality, and has the speed to turn and burn downfield.

15) Arizona Cardinals: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Georgia’s brick wall at left tackle, Broderick Jones effortlessly moves his 6’4″ and 310-pound frame. Jones had some eye-catching reps against Will Anderson in the natty and has lived up to the hype so far in 2022. The former five-star recruit serves up a five-course meal of pancakes as a run blocker, and he has kept Stetson Bennett’s jersey clean in the pocket.

16) Tennessee Titans: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

There’s power, and then there’s Myles Murphy power. The displacement he generates with a single arm is just unfair. But more than that, Murphy explodes through gaps in run defense and is an unstoppable freight train once he reaches full speed. Clemson’s offense may not be as exciting as years prior, but Murphy and the defense are much-watch TV.

17) Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Pitt (and now USC) didn’t have to worry about Jordan Addison during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic because he created six feet of separation in an instant. With jaw-dropping acceleration, body contortion, and speed, it doesn’t take much effort for Addison to catch a pass. And with Caleb Williams now throwing him the ball in Southern California, Addison’s stock will only continue to grow.

18) Cincinnati Bengals: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

A heat-seeking missile from the second level, Noah Sewell causes headaches for opposing offenses. He blows up running backs between gaps, has the raw strength to take on offensive linemen and win, and displays the athleticism to hold his own in coverage.

19) Indianapolis Colts: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

BJ Ojulari has been a constant force off the edge since 2020, but he looks to have hit a new gear in 2022. Ojulari obliterates opposing OTs with pure speed, crossing their face and bending the arc to reach the QB. The biggest knock on him entering the season was a lack of power. Yet, he has added some muscle mass and played with more violence this year.

20) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about Bijan Robinson. He’s the best RB in the class and sports a do-it-all skill set. There aren’t many backs that can kick out to the slot and be a true threat — Robinson is. He hits holes expecting to house it each time and should be in jail for how many ankles he has stolen in his career.

21) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Clark Phillips III isn’t the biggest corner, but you couldn’t tell by watching the tape. He never shies away from contact and has the build to stick on the outside or move into the slot. While being on the West Coast limits exposure, Phillips has made fans across the nation with his processing speed and twitch/quickness at the break.

22) Minnesota Vikings: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Like his DL teammate Murphy, Bryan Bresee‘s foremost trait is his power. You can see it on the field regularly, whether as a run defender or pass rusher. His well-proportioned frame allows him to be effective off stunts and rail road unsuspecting blockers.

23) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Jahmyr Gibbs has yet to record a 100-yad rushing game at Alabama, but he’s proven his ability as a pass catcher. He’s already caught 14 passes for 144 yards and two TDs. However, unless his rushing load increases throughout the year, NFL teams will knock Gibbs for his lack of production at a school that historically churns out elite RBs.

24) Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

TCU’s passing attack has held Quentin Johnston back. But the WR will never lose his first-round caliber size/speed combination. Although he has the frame (6’4″, 215) and physicality to win 50/50 balls, Johnston also wins with long-strider burst and an understanding of leverage. He was built in a lab to play X receiver in the NFL.

25) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Nolan Smith hasn’t played more than 24 snaps in a game this year. It’s not because of injury — Georgia simply doesn’t need their starters’ services for all four quarters.

Still, Smith doesn’t take reps off, offering above-average play across all facets. With the length, power, and lateral agility baked into his 6’3″, 235-pound build, Smith certainly has untapped potential. If he can display it with any regularity this year, he will engrave his name on a first-round pick.

26) Los Angeles Chargers: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Olumuyiwa Fashanu has been a pleasant surprise in the 2023 NFL Draft tackle class. He flashed his potential in limited snaps last year, but as Penn State’s starting LT, he’s looked even better. Fashanu hasn’t been called for a penalty and doesn’t concede ground as a pass protector due to his stout footwork, hand placement, and anchor.

27) Philadelphia Eagles: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Jared Verse was dominant at FCS-level Albany before transferring to Florida State in the offseason. But the jump in competition didn’t lower his effectiveness — if anything, he’s only improved.

Verse racked up three sacks in as many games but took a scary-looking hit to the knee last week. FSU hasn’t issued any real update on his status, but all signs point to the injury not ending his season.

28) Green Bay Packers: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The NFL covets size and speed at cornerback, and Christian Gonzalez brings both in spades. For standing 6’2″, Gonzalez remains low in his stance and rapidly fires his feet to stay in phase with receivers throughout the route. Georgie got the best of him in Week 1, but who haven’t they got the best of? Gonzalez has a CB1 ceiling, and with 2022 being just his third year at the position full-time, the ceiling may be the roof.

29) Kansas City Chiefs: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

Yet another big WR with big-time ability, Rashee Rice has been on a tear for SMU. Just look at what he did in the first three games:

  • Week 1 at North Texas: 8-166-1
  • Week 2 vs. Lamar: 9-132-2
  • Week 3 at Maryland: 11-193-0

Rice doesn’t move like your archetypal 6’2″, 200-pound WR. He is an energetic weapon after the catch that can freeze defenders in the open field. But before they try to Ctrl + Alt + Del, Rice wins with high-level ball tracking, body control, and strength at the catch point.

30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jaren Hall, QB, BYU

There is a clear drop-off between Young, Stroud, and the rest of the QB class. That may seem like a major knock, but it also provides room for passers to set themselves apart. Jaren Hall has done just that, showcasing his leadership on and off the field as well as throwing strikes under center. He’s an older prospect, but the arm talent and athleticism provide a strong foundation to build off of.

31) Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

Through three weeks, no interior lineman has played better than O’Cyrus Torrence. The Louisiana transfer somehow got better when making the jump from the Group of Five to the Power Five. He’s yet to allow a sack in his entire career and has mauled defenders in the ground game. If his play persists, 31 overall may be his floor on draft night.

2023 2-round NFL Mock Draft | Round 2

32) Atlanta Falcons: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

It’s only been three games, but Darnell Wright has looked massively improved from last season. The tools were always there, but the Tennessee OT has seemingly put it all together. He moves well in space and fires off the snap. It’s not out of the question that Wright plays himself into first-round consideration.

33) Houston Texans: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

With six forced fumbles in 2021, Isaiah Foskey is a bit of a strip-sack artist. His long arm stuns OTs around the edge, and he has the speed and bend to reach the QB before his teammates. When watching last year’s tape, I wanted to see more violence from Foskey. Anyone that tuned into the Cal/Notre Dame last week saw exactly what I was hoping for.

34) Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Anthony Richardson barely threw his first touchdown pass of 2022 today. That requires concern, but I’m not ready to jump ship. Although it will take Herculean effort to regain his Round 1 draft status, Richardson has more tools than a handyman and owns “face of the franchise” type talent in his right arm.

35) Carolina Panthers: Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

It’s taken him three years, but it appears Henry To’oTo’o has finally unlocked the talent stored in his athletic build. After working with pass-rush specialists in the summer, he has become a legitimate threat as a blitzer. And against the run, To’oTo’o has been superb thanks to his instincts and tackling technique.

36) Chicago Bears: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee

Not only is Cedric Tillman a big-bodied receiver (6’3″, 215), but he’s a big play waiting to happen. He enjoyed a career game against ranked Pitt in Week 2, hauling in nine passes for 162 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime. With first-class length, physicality, and natural hands, Tillman has X receiver written all over him.

37) New York Jets: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

Outside of owning an incredible name, Felix Anudike-Uzomah is an incredible EDGE prospect. He’s one of the most consistent at producing pressure and is as sure as they come as a tackler. Anudike-Uzomah’s explosive get-off and bend around the arc will cause trouble for NFL tackles.

38) Detroit Lions: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma

Gone are Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams, but Marvin Mims hasn’t let that decrease his production. On 14 receptions, he’s generated 310 yards and two TDs with Dillon Gabriel slinging the rock. Mims plays larger than his 5’10” frame, making difficult catches look easy. And with short-area wiggle, he habitually creates yards after the catch.

39) Jacksonville Jaguars: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Paris Johnson isn’t the only Ohio State OT worthy of a selection within the first two rounds. Dawand Jones is a massive 6’8″ and 370 pounds with an all-encompassing 89″ wingspan. If he gets his arms on pass rushers, they may as well take a knee. He’s improved his hand usage and moves exceptionally well for his size. Jones could be in the first-round conversation when the draft officially rolls around. 

40) Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Joey Porter Jr.‘s name should be familiar to Steelers fans, as his father was an All-Pro linebacker and Super Bowl champion with the franchise in the 2000s. Porter Jr. may not be a hard-hitting second-level defender, but he does pack a punch as a corner. He suffocates WRs with his length and acceleration and has reined in his physicality, which led to penalties last year.

41) Washington Commanders: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

Jordan Battle was a surprise returnee after a stellar 2021 season. Regardless, he hasn’t skipped a beat, and as you’d expect from a Nick Saban-coached DB, Battle’s seldom out of position. He has quality tape in coverage at deep safety, in the box, and in the slot, pairing with his outstanding run defense.

42) New York Giants: Cooper Beebe, OL, Kansas State

Cooper Beebe started at both tackle spots for Kansas State in 2020 (RT) and 2021 (LT). Yet, his build and skill set always projected best to the interior for the NFL. Well, he is the Wildcats’ starting left guard this year, and the results have been spectacular — for K State and Beebe, at least. Light feet and raw power allow Beebe to move defenders against their will and provide a clean pocket.

43) Las Vegas Raiders: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse

Need a strong, long offensive tackle that won’t make you wrong in the 2023 NFL Draft? Matthew Bergeron may just be your guy. He carries his 320+ pound frame well, maneuvering laterally with ease. Struggles with penalties in 2020 and 2021 have seemingly been cleaned up, as Bergeron has yet to be penalized this year.

44) Cleveland Browns: Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State

Here’s how Johnny Wilson’s season has gone thus far:

  • Week 1 vs. Duquesne: 1-51-0
  • Week 2 vs. LSU: 3-60-0
  • Week 3 at Louisville: 7-149-2

At this rate, he might catch 10 passes for 200 yards and 4+ TDs against Boston College today. Hyperboles aside, Wilson is a towering WR at 6’7″ and 235 pounds. Despite owning a tight end build, Wilson can stretch the field, move the chains, and has impressive body control.

45) New England Patriots: Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army

Andre Carter II hasn’t played up to his dominant 2021 campaign, but we know that upside is there. And it’s not as if he’s played poorly, recording two sacks against UTSA. Service academy players are usually excluded from the Day 1/2 conversation, but Carter will change that in the 2023 draft.

46) Arizona Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

At 6’6″, 275 pounds, with elite length and power capacity, it’s no wonder Tyree Wilson already has fans. His linear progression rivals that of a Madden player with the superstar development trait. If he continues to improve in such a fashion, we could see Wilson challenge for the first round.

47) Tennessee Titans: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

John Michael Schmitz has been one of the top centers in college football since taking over starting duties in 2019. He’s as polished as they come, allowing zero sacks in his career while mauling defenders as a run blocker.

48) Dallas Cowboys: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

After Trenton Simpson and Noah Sewell, some uncertainty revolves around the 2023 NFL Draft LB class. However, Jack Campbell is as steady as they come. His upside may not be as high as others, but his floor is what will attract recognition.

49) Cincinnati Bengals: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

With 25 PBUs and three INTs, Garrett Williams has the ball production to accentuate his playmaking prowess. Although pad level and some clunkiness flipping his hips are areas for improvement, Williams is a free-flowing CB with the ability to mimic WR movements.

50) Indianapolis Colts: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

For full transparency, I had Malachi Moore as the better prospect over Brian Branch, and I still believe his ceiling is higher due to his physical tools. However, Branch took Moore’s spot toward the end of last season and has yet to relinquish it. He’s a sure-tackling slot corner that crashes in run support and rarely allows big gains in coverage.

51) New Orleans Saints: Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU

Jaquelin Roy is a well-built DT with impressive upper-body strength. He won’t wow with his burst along the defensive line, but his ability to rush the passer from the interior is sought-after. Roy still has some growing to do, but even right now, he offers a valuable skill set.

52) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

Gervon Dexter has exhibited NFL-level play in spurts. Yet, he hasn’t played to his 6’6″ and 300+ pound frame consistently. His length and athleticism should translate to an impactful pass rusher, but Dexter is still a projection. There is still a lot of season left, and come April, we could be talking about Dexter as the top DT following Carter and Bresee.

53) Miami Dolphins: Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC

Versatile. Consistent. There are few holes in Andrew Vorhees’ game. He has 1,000+ snaps at both guard positions as well as 400 at left tackle last season — his fifth year as a starter at USC. Some franchises may even list Vorhees as an OT due to his size (6’6″, 320) and movement skills. Regardless, the tape speaks for itself, and Vorhees should be a lock for a Day 2 selection.

54) Minnesota Vikings: Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri

As a true junior, Kris Abrams-Draine doesn’t have to declare this circuit. Nevertheless, he has the raw traits teams covet at cornerback. He’s explosive with the short-area athleticism and foot speed to match receivers. Abrams-Draine’s technique is still a work in progress, but that only highlights his potential.

55) San Francisco 49ers: Sedrick Van Pran, C, Georgia

Another center with three names, Sedrick Van Pran may have an even higher ceiling than John Michael Schmitz. His physical ability overpowers opponents and this season is just his second as a full-time starter. If he continues to harness his skill set throughout the year, Van Pran could be the first center off the board.

56) Baltimore Ravens: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

Interior defensive linemen that can pass rush are a rare breed, but Siaki Ika fits the description. At 6’4″ and nearly 360 pounds, filling a gap or two in run defense comes naturally. But his pass-rushing prowess is what will garner attention come draft season.

57) Los Angeles Rams: McClendon Curtis, G, Chattanooga

Chattanooga just had Cole Strange selected in the first round last cycle. While McClendon Curtis is not the same athlete as Strange, he shouldn’t fall too far past his former teammate. Standing 6’6″ and 330+ pounds, Curtis is a walking oxymoron: An easy-moving immovable object. His road-grading mentality and ability to anchor in pass pro will endear him to decision-makers.

58) Los Angeles Chargers: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Tillman receives all the hype in the Tennessee receiving corps, but Jalin Hyatt also deserves attention. He understands how to tempo routes to take the top off defenses as well as pick up yards after the catch. A threat to make a house call on any given play, Hyatt will have fans in NFL front offices.

59) Philadelphia Eagles: JL Skinner, S, Boise State

At 6’4″ and 220 pounds, few safeties are as physically captivating as JL Skinner. But he knows how to use his striking size, crushing ball carriers downhill and blanketing pass catchers downfield.

60) Green Bay Packers: Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State

Cody Mauch isn’t a new name among the FCS community, but you sparingly see him mentioned among the national media. However, Mauch is one of the best draft-eligible offensive linemen in the class. He plays with a nasty demeanor and is equally adept at anchoring in pass pro as he is pancaking defenders in the ground game.

61) Kansas City Chiefs: Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)

Tyrique Stevenson is a versatile CB and is physically imposing with his rocked-up 6’0″ and 214-pound frame. Stevenson could cement his Round 2 draft capital by midseason with smothering length and frustrating patience.

62) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ty Scott, WR, Missouri State

After recording 1,000 yards and eight TDs in 2021, Tyrone Scott has averaged over 100 yards per game this year. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, he is a contested-catch threat with field-stretching speed. If he remains on his torrid pace with Jason Shelley under center, Scott won’t be a draft sleeper for long.

63) Buffalo Bills: Isaiah Land, EDGE, Florida A&M

The top HBCU prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft hails from Florida A&M. Isaiah Land led the nation in sacks (19) and tackles for loss (25.5) last season, taking home the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player in the FCS. He made Feldman’s Freaks List this summer after running a 4.6 40-yard dash and hitting a 10’9″ broad jump at 6’4″ and 225 pounds.

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