2023 NFL Mock Draft: Bears Select Jalen Carter First Overall, Quentin Johnston Goes in Top 10

    With the NFL regular season complete, over half the league has turned their attention toward the NFL Draft. Let's join them with a 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

    Eighteen. That’s the number of franchises that have turned their calender to NFL draft season, with the remaining 14 duking it out in the playoffs. As a result, the path to the draft has become more transparent for NFL hopefuls and fans alike. But which elite prospects could hear their names called on Day 1?

    2023 NFL Mock Draft

    The NFL draft order for this 2023 mock is taken from the current NFL standings as of January 9. Visit the PFN Mock Draft Simulator after every NFL game to see the most up-to-date draft order and be the GM of your favorite team!

    1) Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

    In a perfect world, the Bears would trade out of their newly cemented No. 1 pick. Whether it is the Colts, Raiders, or Panthers, there will be teams calling to jump the Texans for Bryce Young. But for now, let’s say Chicago stands pat.

    Jalen Carter‘s skill set is worthy of the first selection and fills a major need in the Windy City. He is a game-wrecker from the interior, whether bulldozing pass blockers or demolishing gaps in the run game.

    2) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

    There is only one situation where winning is actually a bad thing in the NFL, and the Texans find themselves there after Week 18. All they had to do was lose to the Colts to maintain the first overall pick, something they had done all year (13 losses). But players and coaches don’t care about draft position — their careers are on the line.

    Regardless, in this mock draft, Houston can still select the crown jewel: Bryce Young. If Young were a few inches taller and about 20-30 pounds heavier, we’d talk about him like we did Trevor Lawrence.

    3) Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

    Will Anderson Jr. won’t fix the Cardinals’ problems — they need to find a new head coach and general manager to even get started. But Anderson will provide them with an elite pass rusher off the edge, something they haven’t had since Chandler Jones left.

    4) Indianapolis Colts: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    If the Colts view Young as the superior prospect to C.J. Stroud, they should seriously consider trading up with the Bears. Indy has been starved of even just solid QB play since Andrew Luck retired, so they need to hit on their next heir apparent.

    MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

    Stroud’s biggest knock has been his ability against pressure. However, he proved his mettle against the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff, standing tall vs. likely the best defense in the nation.

    5) Seattle Seahawks: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

    Owning a top-five pick while also making the postseason is usually relegated to NFL fairy tales — not for the Seahawks. With Geno Smith presumably returning, Seattle can use their draft capital to build the roster around him. Myles Murphy is a freak of nature on the defensive line and may be a bit more polished than last year’s No. 1 pick Travon Walker.

    6) Detroit Lions: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

    Even with Kayshon Boutte declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft, this is still a light WR class. As a result, premier talent at the position could get vaulted up come April. Quentin Johnston is one such premier talent, possessing the speed to threaten vertically, the lateral wiggle in the open field, and the size (6’4″, 215 pounds) to outmuscle defenders.

    7) Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

    Las Vegas, it’s time for a gamble. Will Levis has the big-time arm, quick release, and has played in a “pro-style” offense the last two years. He needs to reign in the mental errors and live to see another down rather than press the issue, but the tools are there for Josh McDaniels to turn him into a franchise signal-caller.

    8) Atlanta Falcons: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

    Tyree Wilson is the best edge-setter not named Myles Murphy. And that’s not a surprise, considering he stands 6’6″ with a whopping 7-foot wingspan. Now, he’s a fifth-year senior with really only one standout season under his belt.

    Yet, in that season, Wilson showed he knows how to utilize his imposing length at the point of attack to collapse the pocket.

    9) Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

    Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Matt Corral this season, and what we saw from PJ Walker and Sam Darnold will force Carolina’s hand this draft. They are too good of a team to waste another season with uninspired QB play.

    Anthony Richardson is a project, but with his rocket arm and full athletic package, he’s a project worth taking in the top 10.

    10) Philadelphia Eagles: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

    The Eagles could go wherever they like in the draft as a Super Bowl contender with two first-round picks. Brian Branch fills multiple positions, as he can line up at deep safety, split-field safety, and slot corner. He meshes well with DC Jonathan Gannon’s system and would be a worthwhile replacement if C.J. Gardner-Johnson leaves in free agency.

    11) Tennessee Titans: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

    Taylor Lewan has started 20 games in the last three seasons, and cutting him would save the Titans roughly $15 million in cap space. In his first season as starting tackle for Ohio State, Paris Johnson Jr. has played his way to the top of the tackle class due to his explosiveness, over 35″ arms, and elite power capacity.

    12) Houston Texans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

    Outside of Brandin Cooks, the Texans’ WR corps is a bit barren. Jordan Addison could change that as one of the best separators in the 2023 NFL Draft. Addison’s easy acceleration is a nightmare for DBs — one second he’s breaking down, the next he’s crossing their face downfield.

    13) New York Jets: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

    While Paris Johnson is the OT1, Peter Skoronski owns the highest floor at the position. He’s started at left tackle since his true-freshman season, and it’s clear in his polish in all facets. Still, his lacking length and width have caused many analysts to deem him a tackle-to-guard convert.

    However, with his consistency, smooth footwork, and three years of film at tackle, I say start him there and let him prove the doubters wrong.

    14) New England Patriots: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

    Devon Witherspoon is the best cover corner in the class — put a fork in it. He may not have the elite size or athleticism of his peers, but no one single-handedly shut down sides of the field like he did this season. The Patriots would love to pair him with Jack and Marcus Jones in the secondary, especially with his experience in press coverage.

    15) Green Bay Packers: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

    Is Aaron Rodgers returning? The answer to that question would shift Green Bay’s draft strategy drastically. But you can never have enough pass rushers — just look at how the Packers have been without Rashan Gary. BJ Ojulari wins with speed off the edge. If he can add a larger power element to his game, he and Gary would form one of the best pass-rush duos in the league.

    16) Washington Commanders: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

    Kelee Ringo may very well go in the top 10. He has the size/athleticism profile to warrant such a selection. But if he does fall to the Commanders, they should sprint the card up. A 6’2″, 210-pound CB built like a linebacker with projected 4.3 speed who played on one of most dominant defenses in college football? Yea, Ringo won’t have to wait long to hear his ring go off in Round 1.

    17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

    Kenny Pickett is the future of this offense, so the Steelers should probably invest in protecting him. Anton Harrison will be a 21-year-old rookie, yet he has nearly 2,000 collegiate snaps under his belt. His foot speed and mirroring ability will secure his spot in the first round this April.

    18) Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

    Typically, teams like to build from the trenches out. In today’s NFL, you need athletic marvels on the outside, which is a fitting description of Christian Gonzalez. The Oregon CB shouldn’t be as fluid as he is at 6’2″ and 200 pounds — not to mention he has the long speed to carry routes downfield, suffocating WRs with his length.

    19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

    Bryan Bresee is a top-10 talent, but his injury history could see him fall a bit in the 2023 NFL Draft. At 6’5″ and 300 pounds, he resembles an edge rusher more than a defensive tackle, which only reinforces his scouting report. His raw power and short-area athleticism provide a high pass-rush ceiling on the interior, something every franchise values.

    20) Seattle Seahawks: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

    The Seahawks nailed their selection of Tariq Woolen. Now it’s time to give him a running mate. Joey Porter Jr. comes equipped with the size, length, and speed Seattle covets, as well as name recognition as the son of the former Steelers star linebacker. Porter has the same fierce-yet-collected demeanor that buoys a staunch play style.

    21) Jacksonville Jaguars: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

    The Jaguars are building a juggernaut on offense, but they can’t let the defense fall too far behind. It’s currently Tyson Campbell and not much else in the CB room — Cam Smith would change that.

    Although Smith isn’t Jaycee Horn — despite what helmet scouts say — he’s a competitive and reliable corner in his own right. Pair that with Campbell and Darious Williams in the slot, and you have a rising nucleus for your secondary.

    22) New York Giants: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

    New York needs receiver help. They didn’t have a 1,000-yard pass catcher, with Darius Slayton (724) the only one to go over 600. Rashee Rice could be the new WR1, sporting the size/speed combo Brian Daboll would love to scheme with on the outside.

    23) Baltimore Ravens: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

    The Ravens’ receiving corps needs juice, and Josh Downs is all-natural with no artificial flavoring. Speed kills in the NFL, both vertically and — now more than ever — laterally.

    MORE: Top 10 WRs in the 2023 NFL Draft

    Downs’ shiftiness at the top of routes and with the ball in his hands brings a new level of dynamism to Baltimore’s frankly stagnant passing attack.

    24) Los Angeles Chargers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

    The Charges nailed their left tackle of the future in Rashawn Slater. It’s time to give the right side the same makeover. Broderick Jones is a former five-star recruit with five-star physicals, five-star looks, and a five-star skill set.

    25) Dallas Cowboys: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    A running back? To the Cowboys? IN THE FIRST ROUND? I hear you, Dallas fans. I love Tony Pollard as much as you, but is he worth the price tag he will have this offseason? Plus, if home-state RB Bijan Robinson was staring Jerry Jones in the eyes, do you think he’d be able to look away?

    I don’t think so, and who could blame him? Robinson is arguably the top pure talent in this class, regardless of position.

    26) Cincinnati Bengals: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

    For this mock draft, we’ll assume La’el Collins returns to form next season, which is no sure thing. Still, O’Cyrus Torrence fills a massive need on the interior, where rookie Cordell Volson has shown little promise. Torrence can come in from Day 1 and provide a stabilizing presence.

    27) Minnesota Vikings: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

    The Vikings have struggled with their early-round corners, so it’s time to switch up the formula. Straying away from their typical mold of long DBs, Clark Phillips III brings man-matching twitch and stellar instincts.

    MORE: Top 10 CBs in the 2023 NFL Draft

    His size (5’10”, 183 pounds) limits his ceiling, but even if Minnesota doesn’t feel comfortable leaving him on an island outside, he can be an elite option from the slot — a position more valuable than ever.

    28) Denver Broncos: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

    The Broncos’ main concerns are finding a new head coach, fixing Russell Wilson, and rebuilding a winning culture. And right now, the defense is the only part of the team carrying its weight. Thus, Denver double-downs on its biggest strength, bolstering the defensive line with Isaiah Foskey. The toolsy EDGE is still a bit raw, but the Broncos can tap into his potential.

    29) Buffalo Bills: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

    Matt Milano is one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. Why not pair him with the best coverage linebacker in the draft? Trenton Simpson would be an upgrade over pending free agent Tremaine Edmunds, adding a versatile second-level threat to an already stout defensive unit.

    30) Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    Sorry, Kansas City, but Travis Kelce’s age will catch up to him eventually. He will be 34 next season, and with how important he is to the offense, the Chiefs would be wise to draft his successor. Michael Mayer isn’t the same athlete as Kelce, but he has sure hands, excellent play strength, and is a better blocker.

    31) Philadelphia Eagles: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

    Imagine a defensive line featuring Fletcher Cox (6’4″, 310), Jordan Davis (6’6″, 335), and Siaki Ika (6’4″, 357). That’s insurmountable mass for opposing offensive lines to deal with. But Ika isn’t just size — he’s explosive for a nose tackle with overwhelming natural strength.

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