2023 NFL Mock Draft: C.J. Stroud Reclaims the QB1 Title

In our latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we see a former QB1 reclaim his throne while also seeing some new names enter the first round.

We’re down to four teams left in the playoffs, meaning all of the other teams have begun preparations for the future. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we see some new faces enter the first round. It’s the beginning of fluctuation season, so let’s dive into how teams will improve their rosters through the 2023 NFL Draft.

2023 NFL Mock Draft

1) Chicago Bears: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Chicago Bears fans appear ready to trade this pick, and it’s easy to see why. Finding ways to add more draft capital makes a lot of sense, but so does keeping the pick to draft Jalen Carter.

Carter’s a difference-maker that would immediately make an impact for the Bears’ defense. If teams asking for the top pick don’t offer enough, Chicago’s in a win-win situation already, so it won’t matter. Here, they get an impact player who can play all three downs.

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

Houston’s in a good spot even without the first pick. Yes, someone could jump over them, but they should have a couple of players they like at quarterback. Bryce Young’s size continues to be a concern brought up, and it could sway teams in a different direction.

C.J. Stroud doesn’t have those concerns and has great talent as a passer. He’s an accurate passer who can hit throws all over the field, and his playmaking ability stood out late in the season. Stroud’s performance against Georgia revived the QB1 debate, and here he takes the throne from Young.

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

Another team that could receive some exciting offers, Arizona decides to stay put in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. How could you not if Will Anderson Jr. is on the board?

The Cardinals just saw J.J. Watt retire and need help on the edge desperately. So there’s no need to play games by overthinking this pick. Anderson gives the Cardinals a game-changer on defense with great speed and power to affect an opposing offensive coordinator’s game plan by himself.

4) Indianapolis Colts: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Even if teams are concerned about Bryce Young‘s size, he won’t fall far. Indianapolis needs a QB to lead their offense, and drafting the Alabama star makes sense.

MORE: Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft

Yes, Young doesn’t have an elite frame, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in playmaking ability. Young is as creative as they get to complete passes to his receivers. His poise stands out above every quarterback in this class, and it gives him time to stay patient and let his routes develop.

5) Seattle Seahawks (From DEN): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

The losers of the Will Anderson sweepstakes get a consolation prize of Myles Murphy. Tough life. The Seahawks need some difference-makers in the front seven, and this is a great way to address that need.

Murphy plays with great effort and a motor that can be relentless. Combine that with good power and speed around the edge, and the Seahawks’ defense is in business up front.

6) Detroit Lions (From LAR): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Detroit’s confidence in Jared Goff will be on display in the 2023 NFL Draft, and this mock raises his support. The Lions’ quarterback played well enough that the franchise can hold off on taking a QB so they can add to an energetic unit.

With Jeff Okudah already on the roster, one side of the defense is set. Adding a player like Joey Porter Jr. gives Detroit a chance to have one of the best tandems in the league. Porter brings good length to the position, and his ball skills have improved immensely over the past couple years as well.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

If you need a big cornerback, this class has what you need. We could see an abundance of corners fly off the board, and that’s the case in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Las Vegas is another team in need of some help at the position, and they’ll have plenty of options.

Christian Gonzalez is a developing prospect with exciting potential. At 6’2″, 200 pounds, Gonzalez brings the size that teams are looking for, and he’s displayed the ball skills that could make him a dangerous player in the NFL.

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

It’s tough to ignore Tyree Wilson‘s ceiling. He brings all of the natural tools that teams covet, but that’s not all he offers.

Wilson is a tall and long edge rusher, and he’s shown to utilize that skill set at a high level against quality competition. He’ll be a potential instant impact player with the Falcons’ defense.

9) Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Sam Darnold is not the future of the Panthers’ offense. Even with some solid games towards the end of the year, it’s obvious that a new signal-caller must be brought in to run the offense.

That’s the biggest reason I like the Panthers taking Anthony Richardson. Even if they stick with Darnold, Richardson can learn as the backup. If Carolina needs to move on, they can let their new quarterback learn the game.

With arguably the best arm in the class and athleticism that gives defensive coordinators nightmares, it’s going to be tough for teams to pass on his talent.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Brian Branch, S, Alabama

If the Eagles don’t like what’s available in the trenches with this pick, they could trade back or look at another position. Philadelphia could use some help in the secondary, so that’s the need they address here in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Brian Branch was another bright spot on an inconsistent Alabama defense. He’s a sure tackler that didn’t miss much during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, and that shouldn’t change at the next level. Branch’s athleticism jumps out on tape, and it’s the biggest reason he’s in position to make so many plays.

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

Tennessee’s looking to get younger up front, so this pick makes too much sense. While Paris Johnson Jr. has a few things to iron out, he brings an exciting skill set to Mike Vrabel’s team.

Johnson’s quickness stands out, and he’ll just need to find a way to add more power to help him thwart future pass rushers. It will also help him open running lanes for Derrick Henry, who would enjoy more space to make plays.

12) Houston Texans (From CLE): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

With Stroud locked up with their first pick in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Texans give their new QB a new weapon. Houston’s offense needs an injection of playmakers, and the draft appears to be the best way for them to do that.

Quentin Johnston shouldn’t do some of the things he does. At 6’4″, 215 pounds, he has no business making quick and precise cuts to break defenders’ ankles. Guys his size don’t do that, and it’s the biggest reason why he’s pushing the top 10.

Pair that with his ability to make acrobatic catches on 50/50 balls, and Houston’s happy that someone didn’t snatch Johnston up before them.

13) New York Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The verdict is still out on Mekhi Becton, and the other options for the Jets are getting up there in age. So drafting a younger tackle who can get the job done makes a ton of sense.

Broderick Jones wasn’t a first-round prospect when the season began, but he’s put in the work to ensure that he won’t drop out of Day 1. Jones brings a good blend of power and athleticism to the Jets’ roster, and it’s a skill set that can help this offense improve with the young talent already there.

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

Devon Witherspoon‘s name continues showing up in the first round. His mentality is a big reason for that. Witherspoon plays the game without fear, and he’s a willing contributor in both facets of the game.

Whether it’s filling a lane to stop the run or dropping back in coverage, Witherspoon can do either and thrive. Those natural instincts stand out on film, and he’d be exactly what Bill Belichick is looking for in a defensive back.

15) Green Bay Packers: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Injury concerns aside, Nolan Smith will bring exciting potential to the team that drafts him. After all, he’s played enough where one season shouldn’t hamper his draft stock too much. Smith is extremely explosive on the edge, and his athleticism allows him to change direction with ease.

16) Washington Commanders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Arguably the most polarizing player in the draft, Will Levis has a volatile draft stock. Many are putting him in the top five, but this 2023 NFL Mock Draft sees him drop to 16th overall to the Commanders.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

The team drafting Levis is banking on traits. He has the tools to be a great quarterback, but can he be consistent? Levis displays great arm talent, and the upside is there, but there are also other concerns that could limit how high he goes in the draft.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

He’ll need to add a little weight to his frame, but Emmanuel Forbes is a natural playmaker, whose talent makes him a first-round prospect. Forbes has natural ball skills that stood out this year, and Mike Tomlin’s staff would love having that on their roster.

18) Detroit Lions: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

Dan Campbell already has the Lions ahead of schedule, and the defense has the potential to be a dominant group. They’re an energetic and talented unit that flies around the field every week. Now they add a player that is a force up the middle.

If he can do it consistently, Gervon Dexter will be a dominant force up the middle. At 6’6″, 315 pounds, Dexter has the natural power and strength to make NFL offensive linemen look like they’re still in high school. He’s not the most athletic interior defender, but he makes up for that with those natural abilities.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

There are plenty of changes ahead for the Bucs, and they appear ready for a rebuild. So looking at the secondary would be a good start to beginning that process.

Kelee Ringo brings good size to the position, and he’s a player who’s not afraid to get physical with his matchups. Penalties could be a concern at times, but that comes with the territory. Ringo has the speed to keep up with deep routes and the quickness and physicality to shut down his man on shorter routes as well.

20) Seattle Seahawks: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

If you need a tone-setter on offense, O’Cyrus Torrence is your guy. At 6’5″, 345 pounds, Torrence has the natural size to be a big presence on the field before the ball is even snapped.

Quicker players on the interior could give him some trouble, but that’s assuming they find a way to get around his big frame. Torrence knows how to use his natural talent well, and Seattle’s offense could open up because of him.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Los Angeles could use a healthy pass catcher, even if that’s a tight end. Justin Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and it seems silly to not give him as many weapons as possible. Especially when injuries arise.

Michael Mayer is the most well-rounded tight end in the draft, and he’s a great fit for the Chargers. A physical and dominant blocker, Mayer can set the tone in the run game. He’s also proven to be a reliable pass catcher thanks to Notre Dame’s lack of depth with their pass catchers.

22) Baltimore Ravens: Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)

Despite some of his flaws and playing on a team that’s underachieved in his tenure, Tyrique Stevenson has plenty of upside. Another big corner could be a great fit for the Ravens’ defense.

Stevenson’s also a fast player, so he can hang with nearly anyone he faces. Marlon Humphrey could use another playmaker opposite of him, and Stevenson has the talent to be that guy.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Jordan Addison likely won’t fall this far, but teams have other needs that aren’t wide receiver, so it’s not unlikely, either. Minnesota could use this pick on a corner, but there’s plenty of depth where they could wait and not pass on this kind of talent.

Justin Jefferson needs help, plain and simple. K.J. Osborn played well late in the year, but might not be the guy. Adam Thielen turns 33 in August, so the Vikings need a younger player to help. If Addison, an elite separator and route runner, is available with this pick, Minnesota shouldn’t hesitate to draft him.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

Antonio Johnson brings a unique skill set to the NFL. At Texas A&M, he played all over the field for the Aggies’ defense, and it’s a big reason he gets drafted in Round 1 of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

MORE: Top 10 Safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft

Johnson played safety, corner, linebacker, and nickel in College Station, and appeared comfortable at every position. While he won’t play that many positions at the next level, his experience at least gives the Jaguars something to consider if they need help in other areas.

25) New York Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

New York has some serious skill sets on the edge of their defense, but they could use some help on the inside next to Jaylon Smith.

Trenton Simpson brings an athletic skill set to the Giants’ defense. Simpson’s ability to get in position most of the time is thanks largely to his ability to beat his blocker or the ball carrier to the spot. There’s some power in Simpson’s frame that helps, but it will be his ability to make plays all over the field that makes him an impact player.

26) Dallas Cowboys: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The hamstring injury will be a huge concern for teams, but the talent can’t be denied. Before this season, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was one of the best receivers in the country.

Dallas needs someone on the inside to open up the field for CeeDee Lamb, and Smith-Njigba would command attention in the slot. He’s a great fit in this offense, and a healthy Smith-Njigba makes the Cowboys’ offense incredibly dangerous.

27) Buffalo Bills: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Bijan Robinson is a top-10 talent that might not even sniff that part of the first round, but that doesn’t devalue his résumé. Teams just don’t want to draft a running back that high anymore. Throw in the depth in the free agency market, and it hurts Robinson’s value even more.

Robinson is an elite runner with above-average pass-catching abilities, and his ability to create space in the trenches stands out above many. Robinson joins a Bills offense full of big-time playmakers, so it just feels like a natural fit.

28) Denver Broncos (From SF via MIA): Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EGGE, Kansas State

The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year helped his draft stock more than many this season, and now he’s a first-round pick in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Felix Anudike-Uzomah brings great power to his pass rush, and it helped him become one of the most productive players in the country. He’s still developing overall, but Denver needs someone to replace Bradley Chubb.

29) Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

It’s not the flashiest pick, but it gets the job done. Cincinnati’s offense has a ton of exciting playmakers, but it never hurts to add more.

Dalton Kincaid is a reliable pass catcher who’s also a good value in the run game. With most of the attention on Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, Kincaid could carve up NFL defenses because he’ll face plenty of 1-on-1 matchups.

30) Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

The biggest thing going against Bryan Bresee is his injury history. Other than that, there’s a ton to like about his game. Plus, Chris Jones can show him the ropes on how to be a force for the Chiefs’ defense for years to come.

At 6’5″, 305 pounds, Bresee’s always stood out on film. His power and strength are what most linemen prepare for, but it’s his quickness in the trenches that surprises them. You don’t expect it from a guy his size, but Bresee can burn you with a blend of power and quickness that makes him special.

31) Philadelphia Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Lukas Van Ness is expected to test well in the next couple months, which could make him an enticing first-round pick. Philadelphia needs some youth on the edge to join Haason Reddick, and the Iowa standout gives them another weapon to wrap up this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

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