As the NFL Combine carries on in Indianapolis, let’s create another 2023 NFL Mock Draft projection, analyzing who some of the biggest risers from the event might be. Could we see changes in the NFL draft pecking order at certain positions? Let’s take a look.
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2023 NFL Mock Draft
1) Houston Texans (via CHI): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Trade: Texans receive pick No. 1, Bears receive picks No. 2, No. 12, No. 33, and the Browns’ 2024 first-rounder
Anthony Richardson is testing at the NFL Combine. And when teams see his numbers, his arm, and his leadership qualities all at 6’4″, 230 pounds, he could experience a late surge into QB1 contention. For DeMeco Ryans, he brings unmatched upside as a potential franchise QB — upside worth locking down with the No. 1 overall pick.
2) Chicago Bears (via HOU): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
Every mock draft at this point should have the Bears trading back from No. 1 overall. That’s the most likely outcome, and if the Bears stay in the top five, they can still come away with a blue-chip talent like Will Anderson Jr. — who brings overwhelming disruptive capacity off the edge.
3) Carolina Panthers (via ARI): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Trade: Panthers receive pick No. 3, Cardinals receive picks No. 9, No. 39, No. 61, and a 2024 first-rounder, 2024 second-rounder, 2024 third-rounder
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
On Tuesday, Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort said Arizona would be willing to trade the No. 3 overall pick. They’d get an absolute haul if the Panthers wanted to trade up for a perfect fit at QB like C.J. Stroud. It’s a hefty price over the next two draft cycles for Carolina, but Stroud could be the final piece for a team nearing playoff readiness.
4) Indianapolis Colts: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Staying at No. 4 overall is a precarious proposition for the Colts. They keep all their capital, but they could be leap-frogged by a team like Carolina, taking one more QB option off the board. With his size, however, Bryce Young might still be available here, and he has the intangibles worth banking on as an outlier.
5) Seattle Seahawks: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Last year, there was high demand at QB but a startling dearth of franchise talent. This year is different. Demand remains high, and while there’s still scarcity, there’s enough supply to send teams into a bidding frenzy. If three QBs go within the top four picks, an interior destroyer like Jalen Carter could fall into Seattle’s lap.
6) Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The NFL Combine could solidify Christian Gonzalez‘s stock in the CB1 conversation. With incredibly smooth athleticism and incendiary burst at 6’2″, 200 pounds, he’s the closest thing this CB class has to a blue-chip prospect, and he’d be an immediate upgrade opposite Jeffrey Okudah.
7) Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
There’s one more potential franchise QB on the board, and that’s the QB the Raiders take at No. 7 overall. Will Levis still has development to undergo, even at 24 years old, but his combination of athleticism, arm talent, and toughness provides an enviable foundation to build upon.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
It’s tough to gauge what exactly the Falcons will do at No. 8 overall, but you can never go wrong with an offensive lineman. Teams build up from the trenches, and Atlanta would benefit from having a versatile, tools-rich, and high-character core player like Paris Johnson Jr.
9) Arizona Cardinals (via CAR): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson won’t test at the Combine, but his frame alone should be enough to win over some onlookers. Wilson is 6’6″, 275 pounds, with arms nearly 36″ long, and that elite power profile could be incredibly valuable for Jonathan Gannon’s Cardinals defense.
10) Philadelphia Eagles: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
It’s always nice when you have the No. 10 pick as a defending Super Bowl contender. But in this class especially, the Eagles are situated well in terms of value. There isn’t much blue-chip talent, but they could easily score a prospect like Myles Murphy at a premier position.
11) Tennessee Titans: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
After officially releasing Taylor Lewan, the Titans are in the market for a blindside blocker. Broderick Jones is relatively raw as a pass protector, but he has all the physical and mental qualities to win over Mike Vrabel — among them: recovery athleticism, power, and relentless physicality.
12) Chicago Bears (via HOU): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, Devon Witherspoon stays in the state of Illinois, heading to Chicago at pick No. 12. You don’t see this fit often, but Kyler Gordon and Jaylon Johnson don’t preclude the Bears from upgrading their CB room. Witherspoon can play the slot between them at a high level or shift out to the boundary.
13) New York Jets: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Whether their new QB is Derek Carr or Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets will need to ensure that he’s protected. With his unique blend of high-energy athleticism and active refinement, Anton Harrison can hit the ground running at left tackle and blossom into an impact player.
14) New England Patriots: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Kelee Ringo has been trending down in recent 2023 NFL Mock Drafts, but his NFL Combine performance could vault him back up boards. He’s gradually trending up as a technician, and his elite size/speed/physicality combination is something Bill Belichick and the Patriots can maximize.
15) Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
There are a lot of ideal Packers fits to choose from in Round 1 of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, but Lukas Van Ness is one of the Packersy-est of them all. He perfectly fits their power-dominant big EDGE mold at 6’5″, 275 pounds, but he has the athleticism, hand quickness, and natural leverage to become more.
16) Washington Commanders: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Washington quietly has one of the best, most underrated safety duos in the league in Darrick Forrest and Kamren Curl.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board — Top 25 Prospects Heading Into NFL Combine
Now, it’s time to get an elite slot DB to complete the puzzle. Enter Brian Branch — a gliding enforcer with an outrageous mix of tenacity, instincts, and playmaking ability.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Deonte Banks has slowly been gathering more first-round hype this cycle, and after the NFL Combine, that hype should only continue to grow. Technically, he can still improve, but at 6’2″, 205 pounds, he gives the Steelers the size, athleticism, and competitive toughness they seek on the boundary.
18) Detroit Lions: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, Jordan Addison is the first wide receiver off the board, heading to the Detroit Lions. With his spry lateral agility, twitch, and burst, he could be a versatile weapon in the short range for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson while also providing the receiving chops to work downfield.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Buccaneers released Leonard Fournette, leaving the door open for a new RB1 to ride the gulf stream. Bijan Robinson is a legitimate top-five prospect if not accounting for positional value, and Tampa Bay pounces on that value here in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.
20) Seattle Seahawks: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Nolan Smith still has room to refine his skill set as a pass rusher, and he’ll never be a high-level power threat with his lack of density and length. But he’s an elite athlete with bend, agility, and jaw-dropping run-defense value for his size. He fits Seattle’s scheme very well and provides immense developmental potential.
21) Los Angeles Chargers: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
The Chargers need speed, you say? Well, let’s give them Tennessee’s resident speed demon Jalin Hyatt. Being as dependent on speed as he is, Hyatt’s 40-yard dash time will be more important than most. The tape, however, confirms the field-stretching impact he can have on any given down.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnson, WR, TCU
It’s clear that the NFL might not be as high on Quentin Johnston as the media is. There’s increased risk with his profile, but the potential rewards are great enough that he should be scooped up at a certain point. Here, the Ravens capitalize on the value and add a potentially dominant three-level threat.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Jaxon Smith-Njigba‘s tape is good — so good that even a merely respectable Combine showing could boost his chances of staying in Round 1. He’s a great fit for the Vikings, who need a dependable chain-mover to complement Justin Jefferson’s big-play ability.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Long term, the Jaguars’ situation at tackle is a little precarious. Peter Skoronski can provide insurance for any changes down the line. And in the immediate timeline, he can seamlessly slide inside to guard and play at a high level with his footwork, functional strength, and natural leverage.
25) New York Giants: Joe Tippmann, OL, Wisconsin
Joe Tippmann should be a definite Combine winner, and he could be a surprise first-round pick as a result. With a projected 10-yard split in the 1.6 range at 6’6″, 320 pounds, he has elite size, power, and athleticism. The Giants could put him at center or guard and find space behind his devastating blocks.
26) Dallas Cowboys: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Opposite Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys could use a cornerback like Joey Porter Jr. With his elite length and physicality, Porter can exert complete control of reps in press, but he also has the fluidity, long-strider athleticism, and ball skills to suffocate plays downfield as well.
27) Buffalo Bills: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
Calijah Kancey may not be the biggest defensive lineman. But he’s easily one of the most athletic, one of the most violent, and one of the most purely relentless interior rushers in the draft, with the elite natural leverage and strong proportional length to build around.
28) Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Picture this: Ja’Marr Chase stretching the field and stressing defenses as a RAC threat. Tee Higgins dominating as the alpha on the boundary. And as they spread defenses thin, Dalton Kincaid roams free over the middle as a high-level contested catch and RAC threat at TE. With Joe Burrow leading the charge, this offense would simply be too much to overcome.
29) New Orleans Saints: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Chris Olave was a worthy first-round pick in 2022 and should be a key part of New Orleans’ offense for years to come. Josh Downs can be a very good complement alongside him.
MORE: PFN’s NFL Mock Draft Simulator
Downs’ play brings shades of Doug Baldwin, with his dual-sided ability to snare defensive backs with his route running and snare passes with his hands and body control.
30) Philadelphia Eagles: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
The 2023 NFL Draft CB class is filled with potential risers at the NFL Combine, but DJ Turner is near the top of the list. He’s a Feldman Freak with speed that could crack the 4.3 mark, and he also might run the three-cone in the low-to-mid six-second range. He’s an elite athlete with wicked foot speed, and he’s physical at the point as well.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Zay Flowers might end up being the steal of the first round if he lands in Kansas City. He may be the most energized WR in the 2023 NFL Draft, with the blistering foot speed, accelerative capacity, and balance to send defenders spinning in all phases.