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    2023 NFL Mock Draft: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson All Go in First Round

    In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we take a look at how the draft could unfold if there are four quarterbacks worth taking in the first round.

    This year’s NFL Draft pool looks substantially different than previous years. We might be moving past the era of the mega-receiver drafts and back into the era of boring linemen drafts that nevertheless set the foundation for many successful franchises in the years to come. Still, it’s a passing league, so we see four quarterbacks go in the first round of this NFL Mock Draft, and a number of receivers follow suit.

    2023 NFL Mock Draft

    The NFL draft order for this 2023 NFL mock draft is taken from the current NFL standings as of Dec. 12. Check 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 franchise!

    1) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

    It depends on the premium the Houston Texans will put on size, but they should be enamored with Bryce Young’s talents – he has arm strength, accuracy, and poise.

    Most importantly, he’s creative in a way that many Alabama passers have not been. That combination should make for an exciting prospect and well-deserved number one overall status.

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

    It would be difficult to imagine the Seattle Seahawks refusing to re-sign Geno Smith after this season, and if they do, this pick probably changes. If not, then Seattle has an opportunity to supplement their incredible rookie class from last year with some defensive help.

    Will Anderson Jr. is the best pure rusher we’ve seen come out of college football in some time. He is, like Young, not the prototypical size of the elites in his position, but it also doesn’t matter. He’s incredible.

    3) Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

    The Chicago Bears need to build around Justin Fields, but if forced to pick at number three would do better building for Fields later in the draft and grabbing a rare talent here.

    Jalen Carter has the quickness, agility, and technical capability to be a devastating pass rusher while also demonstrating the power and presence to be a superior run defender.

    4) Detroit Lions: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    Jared Goff has been nothing but impressive over the last few weeks, but he’s still an extraordinarily limited quarterback. The Detroit Lions are on the verge of having a truly good team and just need a quarterback to get it going.

    C.J. Stroud is a great quarterback for the Ben Johnson offense, given his strengths as a pocket passer working in rhythm, and he has a phenomenal combination of arm strength and accuracy to go with his ability to read the field.

    5) Philadelphia Eagles: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

    The Philadelphia Eagles will inevitably make a luxury pick if they don’t trade down; they have talent everywhere. With an aging edge unit and secondary, they could go in either direction.

    But they have another first-round pick, and the edge class is a bit deeper at the top than cornerback, so here they pick Georgia standout corner Kelee Ringo to take over after Darius Slay eventually hangs it up.

    In the short term, Ringo could also replace slot corner Avonte Maddox right away despite his length and height because of how quick and instinctive he is.

    6) Arizona Cardinals: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

    After a remarkable year, Peter Skoronski has shot up draft boards. He’s showcased technical ability and athleticism with a talent for both pass-rushing and run-blocking.

    The Arizona Cardinals have invested along the offensive line without much return and need to do so again to set up Kyler Murray for success with the receiving corps they’ve gathered. Skoronski goes a big way as a tackle or guard.

    7) Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

    The Indianapolis Colts have been renting quarterbacks for too long. While there’s some debate about Will Levis’ ultimate level of talent, he’s nationally regarded as a mid-first-round talent, at least at this stage in the draft process. And we know quarterbacks get pushed up a couple of slots in the process.

    That doesn’t mean the Colts would be overpaying for Levis here. He’s incredibly talented and a great improviser in the most important position. If Indianapolis figures out how to revive its defense, this would be a great way to immediately become competitive.

    8) Las Vegas Raiders: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

    In this 2023 NFL mock draft, the Las Vegas Raiders get a top-five player at a position of need at number eight. Myles Murphy has played fantastic football and looks more like the classic top-five pick at the position than Anderson – he has the size and length reminiscent of Von Miller, Joey Bosa, and Myles Garrett.

    He plays like they did in college as well, with bend, power, speed, and leverage. He would immediately complement Maxx Crosby and rotate with Chandler Jones to put opposing quarterbacks in hell.

    9) Carolina Panthers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

    The only other quarterback likely to go in the first round is Anthony Richardson, and this would be too high for him. The Panthers also saw some surprisingly good play from Sam Darnold to finish the season and can develop Matt Corral further. Instead, they’ll support that position with the top receiver on the board, Quentin Johnston.

    Johnston plays exactly like you’d expect a combination basketball/track star to play – which is his high school background. He’s big, fast, can box out for contested catches, and has agile footwork to boot. He’s young and needs more seasoning but he could be a big asset for a young quarterback.

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

    Once again, a third-round quarterback from last year will have his opportunity to demonstrate his franchise doesn’t need to take a first-round quarterback this year.

    If Desmond Ridder plays well for the Atlanta Falcons to finish out the season, they would be smart to see what they have in him long-term while investing in other areas of need.

    The Falcons have an emerging secondary but need to support that with a more consistent pass rush, which is why Tyree Wilson could make a lot of sense here.

    11) Jacksonville Jaguars: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

    Paired with Murphy throughout college, Bryan Bresee has been as productive at defensive tackle as Murphy has been on the edge. Bresee has an unusual build as a taller defender at only 300 pounds, but it works well as it gives him both long levers and incredible agility and burst to work with.

    When he has leverage, he’s virtually unbeatable and should immediately complement Josh Allen in making that Jacksonville defense live up to what the Trevor Lawrence offense can do.

    12) Houston Texans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

    Now with a quarterback, the Texans will need to support him. The receiver group in Houston is one of the worst in the NFL, and it will get much better with the addition of Jordan Addison, who can learn from a similarly-built Brandin Cooks on how to win at the NFL level.

    He has speed and agility and comes with a lot of instinct for space. As he refines his technique, he will be able to supercharge the offense while still providing a massive boost in the short term.

    13) Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter, CB, Penn State

    It’s more coincidence than anything else, but it does feel appropriate that the Pittsburgh Steelers will stay in state for the second year in a row with their first-round pick in this 2023 NFL mock draft. Once again, it happens to be at a position they need to improve.

    The Steelers have a number of positional needs, but Joey Porter Jr. can immediately help them lock down opposing receivers and give time for T.J. Watt to get home. In a division with deep throwers in Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson, closing down speed is a priority.

    14) Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    The Green Bay Packers have had problems on both offense and defense this year but could improve their defense with a coordinator change. The offense needs more talent. Now that they’ve invested at receiver and are stocked up at running back, it might be time to have a threat at tight end for the first time in a long time.

    Robert Tonyan is good, but he’ll turn 29 next year and isn’t as dynamic as Michael Mayer, who can threaten all three levels and blocks well. But in particular, he’ll complement Christian Watson’s deep threat with intermediate and red zone capability that should bring the offense over the top.

    15) Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

    The Detroit Lions seem to be satisfied with Jerry Jacobs opposite Jeff Okudah, but that shouldn’t stop them from adding talent in the secondary. The defensive line is good, and the linebackers are improving, so the real issue with this leaky defense must be on the back end.

    And it is. Adding someone like Christian Gonzalez should shore up some of these issues, especially once they return Tracy Walker back from injury next year at safety.

    16) Los Angeles Chargers: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

    While not quite the prospect Jaycee Horn was, Cam Smith is still an elite prospect at cornerback that can help the Los Angeles Chargers dig themselves out of the hole they dug with the J.C. Jackson signing.

    While they could also use help along the offensive line, they’d be better off finding a right tackle like Dawand Jones later in the draft instead of a left tackle right now, as Rashawn Slater’s return next year should keep them set at the position.

    Keeping Justin Herbert out of one-score situations in the final two minutes should be the immediate goal of the franchise because they cannot keep relying on his heroics if they want to win consistently.

    17) Seattle Seahawks: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

    The Seattle Seahawks might be better off trading down, as it was tempting to double up at redundant positions, especially at the edge, where they could have paired Anderson with someone like Nolan Smith or Isaiah Foskey.

    But we’ll give Boye Mafe and Darrell Taylor a chance to develop and instead go after Trenton Simpson, who could replace Cody Barton and complement Jordyn Brooks on that young defense. He can be somewhat of a lightning to Brooks’ thunder, though both can do damage as run defenders and coverage players.

    18) New York Jets: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

    Without a rookie to fall back on like some of the other teams earlier in the draft, the Jets will have to be the ones to take the risk and reach a little bit on quarterback before someone like the Buccaneers, with the next pick, do so instead in this 2023 NFL mock draft.

    The Jets have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL but cannot get anywhere without a quarterback. After the coaching staff lost faith in Zach Wilson, it’s time to bring in someone else who might be able to provide a spark on offense.

    Anthony Richardson should be able to take advantage of the speed the Jets have with his quick release and excellent arm strength, so it’s not just finding a QB to find a QB – it’s a good fit for what they want to do.

    19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    Most analysts have Bijan Robinson as a top-eight talent, with many putting him in the top five. As a pure talent, that could be true, but most teams above the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the running back position figured out.

    The Buccaneers, in some sense, do as well, with Leonard Fournette still under contract and Rachaad White flashing. But without a quarterback on the board – unless they want to make a massive reach for Hendon Hooker – they’ll take a dynamic playmaker who can be deadly as a receiver and fatal as a runner.

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

    The Tennessee Titans are starting to see returns for the Treylon Burks pick and may not be desperate to grab a receiver, hoping instead to keep Ryan Tannehill protected and do more to get a better season in 2023 for Derrick Henry than they’ve been seeing thus far in 2022.

    Paris Johnson Jr. fits that bill and has size, speed, and power. They will return Taylor Lewan from injury next year and do have rookie right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere on the right side, but this is just a situation of adding talent and figuring it out from there – they desperately need line help.

    21) New England Patriots: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

    The New England Patriots might be upset to see Johnson’s slide stop a pick ahead of them, but that doesn’t mean they’d be reaching with Broderick Jones. They could use help at receiver but have been making concerted efforts to fix their offensive line for some time and might see more value in an early pick there than at wideout, where they have an underrated Jakobi Meyers holding down the fort.

    Instead, Georgia alum Broderick Jones will allow them to lock down the left side of their line and figure out a more appropriate usage for Isaiah Wynn, which should allow Mac Jones more comfort in the pocket to find targets downfield.

    22) Washington Commanders: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

    The Washington Commanders wouldn’t be wrong to draft an offensive lineman here, but the talent pool has dried up a little bit, especially at tackle. Cornerback is getting thin too, so the Commanders take Clark Phillips III from Utah with an eye to start him in the slot and the hope he can take on an outside role sooner rather than later.

    Phillips is a great athlete with good instincts and physicality you always hope to see at his size, but he needs to be more disciplined in order to be a more consistent coverage defender. Regardless, he’s an immediate upgrade for the Commanders.

    23) New York Giants: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

    The board fell nearly perfectly for the New York Giants in this scenario as they grab the top route-runner in the draft, assuming his medicals check out. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a good athlete that should be able to help Daniel Jones in the short and intermediate game while Darius Slayton continues to stretch the field deep.

    The Giants have been critically lacking in receiver support as they stumble late in the season, and adding a premier technician in the draft should go a long way in helping them prepare for an NFC East run in 2023.

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

    After trading away Bradley Chubb, the elite Broncos’ defense dropped down to be good but not great. They’ll want to get that pass rush back, and drafting Isaiah Foskey from Notre Dame should help them get there.

    Isaiah Foskey is an explosive edge defender with good speed, technique, and cornering capability, so he should be able to help them in the pass rush right away as he builds up his strength to become a more reliable run defender.

    25) Baltimore Ravens: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

    Ideally, the Baltimore Ravens could find a starting cornerback here in this NFL mock draft or a number one receiver to push Rashod Bateman to his more natural complementary role, but there aren’t great fits this late in the draft. Still, they aren’t settling by picking Nolan Smith.

    They love super-athletes that they can mold, and they don’t mind when players like Smith are undersized if they have an instinct for how to use their talents. He should complement Odafe Oweh coming off the edge and allow the Ravens to rebuild the defense they’ve come to be known for.

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

    The only guard many project to go in the first round, O’Cyrus Torrence should help the Cincinnati Bengals out immediately as they continue to figure out their explosive passing game. The tackle play has improved marginally over the past few weeks, but the reason that the Bengals go with guard over tackle her has more to do with the gulf of talent between Torrence and any of the available tackles.

    Torrence should immediately be able to improve the Bengals’ issue with power up front, though it should be noted he’s not a one-for-one scheme fit with what the Bengals like to do in the running game. That said, neither were Cordell Volson or Jackson Carman. The important thing is that Torrence is an upgrade over their most recent picks at guard in almost every area.

    27) Dallas Cowboys: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

    In an ideal world, the positions that the Dallas Cowboys need to address are also the positions that have a bevy of talent available to them in their draft slot. With how this draft falls, the Cowboys skip past some good safeties and edge defenders in order to reach a little bit for Devon Witherspoon.

    Witherspoon is a very good player and may end up in the first round, but teams will have to be comfortable with his size. He’s extremely smart, strong, physical, and fast, so he should be an upgrade over Anthony Brown and the top cornerback in the draft for some analysts.

    He’s comfortable with man coverage and press technique, so he should be able to complement Trevon Diggs immediately, turning an already-great defense into a historically dominant one.

    28) Kansas City Chiefs: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

    The Kansas City Chiefs went from a team lacking in cornerback talent to one full-to-bursting in one offseason. Their safety situation isn’t bad either, as Justin Reid has played well, and they have a second-round pick waiting in the wings to take over for Juan Thornhill.

    But they could always get better, and Reid isn’t going to be there forever. Brian Branch has played safety, slot corner, and linebacker role for Alabama and could do the same in Kansas City, even helping the pass rush that Chris Jones and George Karlaftis bring.

    There are a lot of edge defenders in this draft, and they could go in that direction, but the bigger infusion of talent is the top safety on the board.

    29) Minnesota Vikings: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

    The Minnesota Vikings have a number of needs to address that are prior to wide receiver, but the talent in the draft isn’t quite there at pick 29 in this scenario.

    Instead, they can bolster a strength by grabbing perhaps the best complementary receiver in the draft in speedster Josh Downs, who can stretch the field vertically to allow T.J. Hockenson and Justin Jefferson to feast in intermediate zones.

    Downs doesn’t have the size that many top-end receivers do, but that won’t matter for an offense that finds ways to get receivers open and in space. With Adam Thielen hitting an age cliff soon – if not already – this is the perfect time to supplement the offense.

    30) Buffalo Bills: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

    There’s loads of talent on the Buffalo Bills roster, and they could make a number of luxury picks that would make sense, whether it’s supplementing the elite safety group, adding to the young cornerback corps, or finding a way to add even more talent around Von Miller, who’s on a long-term deal but plays with three edge defenders on rookie contracts.

    But the Bills need to improve their offensive line situation and could reach to do so, with a big bully at offensive tackle in Anton Harrison there for the taking. Harrison has uncommon speed for his size and remarkable strength to go with it. He needs seasoning from a technical standpoint but should help the Bills out immediately in the run and pass game.

    31) Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Carter II, ED, Army

    In this 2023 NFL mock draft, the Philadelphia Eagles picked a cornerback with the understanding that there would be more edge defenders at 31 than cornerbacks. That turned out to be the case, and they can choose from their favorites between Andre Carter II, BJ Ojulari, Jared Verse, and Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

    Carter gets the nod here because of the weaknesses the Eagles have had in edge run defense and Carter’s size. He’s a throwback edge defender with length, speed, size, and power and also does a better job closing down the run than some of the other candidates here.

    He’s not an elite run defender, but he has more potential there than anyone else. He’s a technically skilled pass rusher that needs more refinement with power, but the Eagles can wait on him as they rely on Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham in the short term to complement Josh Sweat.

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