2023 NFL Mock Draft: D.J. Uiagalelei a name to remember

Remember when you said it was too early for our 2022 NFL Mock Draft? Well, we decided we didn’t go far enough into the future. With this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we take a trip through the quantum realm and emerge on the other side of April 2023. TikTok is still around, and Jon Gruden is still rebuilding (now with Mel Kiper at his side). There aren’t flying cars yet, or Super Bowl rings in Detroit, but there are plenty of interesting NFL Draft picks to discuss.

For purposes of simplicity, the same draft order as the 2022 NFL Mock Draft was used — that draft order was derived from the Las Vegas odds for the 2022 NFL standings.

2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1, Picks 1-16

Does Trevor Lawrence‘s successor go No. 1 in 2023?

1. Detroit Lions: D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson

The Lions picked a passer in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft as well. However, given Jared Goff’s presence, they could wait two years before anointing his successor. D.J. Uiagalelei is as good a candidate as any. Once a top QB recruit and Lawrence’s understudy, he’s a big-bodied passer with underrated athleticism, but his arm talent and accuracy truly set him apart.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

He came up through the ranks alongside Uiagalelei, and in the end, he may ascend to the NFL alongside him as well. Bryce Young is a different type of passer. While Uiagalelei is mainly a pocket passer, Young has the elite athleticism and escapability to extend plays and create consistently. He also has a heater for an arm, and the Alabama offense will allow him to flourish.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

6-foot-5, 300-pound linemen should not be able to move as Bryan Bresee does. He has the size and power of an interior lineman but the burst and flexibility of an edge rusher. That combination has already proven lethal, as Bresee logged 4 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman. He’s a rare talent, which the Jaguars still desperately need on their defensive front.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Renowned as a prospect for his athletic ability and natural accuracy, C.J. Stroud has a chance to pick up where Justin Fields left off at Ohio State. With two years to make his case as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, Stroud should be able to use the weapons at his disposal and slowly take over the college football stage. He’d be an ideal replacement for Jalen Hurts.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The Bengals are scheduled to have some more turnover on the offensive line in 2023. I know. I’m surprised, too. On the bright side, the Bengals have many of their core pieces under wraps. Thus, they’ll be able to address the line without reservations here. Paris Johnson Jr. will play guard in 2021, but he could replace Thayer Munford at tackle in 2022. Either way, he’s an elite athlete with plenty of versatility.

6. New York Jets: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Ideally, the New York Jets will be well on their way to contention at this point. Nevertheless, Robert Saleh needs a few more weapons on the defensive side of the ball, and Will Anderson Jr. possesses immense potential in this 2023 NFL mock draft. He’s a long, explosive edge rusher who earned 7 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2020.

7. New York Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Until we get closer to 2023, Noah Sewell will be the most popular pick to be the first linebacker off the board. However, Clemson’s Trenton Simpson also has that same upside. Standing around 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Simpson is long and dense. He brings plenty of range, versatility, and tenacity. Playing in Brent Venables’ defense, his upside is near limitless.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

Arthur Smith’s Falcons will have a few expiring contracts on the defensive line in 2023. Thus, taking advantage of this talented class may be an optimal decision. The Clemson Tigers could ultimately have two top-10 picks on their defensive front. Like Bresee, Myles Murphy is a former five-star prospect with the length, athleticism, and positional flexibility to be a dangerous player, especially on a hybrid front.

9. Denver Broncos: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

If all works out, Baron Browning will have developed into a playmaker at linebacker by this point. Nevertheless, the Broncos can stand to add talent there, and Noah Sewell provides exceptional value. The younger brother of 2021 NFL Draft pick Penei Sewell, Noah is a solid athlete, but his instincts and density in the box are his most marketable traits. He and Browning could form a disruptive duo.

10. Chicago Bears: Eli Ricks, CB, LSU

Aside from Jaylon Johnson, the Bears don’t have proven ability at cornerback. Additionally, without a first-round pick in 2022, they may find it hard to add top-tier talent until 2023. If it’s any consolation, Eli Ricks could very well be worth the wait. He’s an elite athlete at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, and he racked up 4 interceptions, 2 pick-sixes, and 5 deflections in 2020, showing off his playmaker gene.

11. Washington Football Team: Turner Corcoran, OT, Nebraska

By 2023, the Washington Football Team’s offensive line will be just about decimated — assuming they let their contracts play out. If they have a franchise QB in tow from the 2022 NFL Draft, they should prioritize protection here in Round 1. A top-100 recruit in the 2020 class, Turner Corcoran will start for the Cornhuskers at left tackle this year. He and Samuel Cosmi would work well together.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Dan Mullen’s offense at Florida made Kyle Trask a second-round pick. Imagine what it could do for Anthony Richardson. A four-star recruit in the 2020 class, Richardson has an imposing athletic profile and a rocket arm. He may need to wait behind Emory Jones before he gets his opportunity. Nevertheless, he could break out in time to become Derek Carr’s successor when Carr’s deal expires.

13. Carolina Panthers: Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina

It feels cheesy — the Carolina Panthers getting the hometown kid in Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall — but it makes sense. Sam Darnold’s deal expires in 2023, and it’s tough to commit to the notion that he’ll earn a long-term gig. McCall, meanwhile, presents a clean slate. He’s a fearless competitor, a dynamic athlete, and a surprisingly accurate passer with impressive downfield zip.

14. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern

At some point, Harrison Smith will no longer headline the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary. When that day comes, the Vikings need to be ready. Adding the premier defensive playmaker in the Big Ten is an excellent way to do just that in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Brandon Joseph is athletic and well-sized, but his instincts and tremendous ball skills give him an edge on the back end.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Desmond Evans, EDGE, North Carolina

The best is yet to come for Desmond Evans. Success is never guaranteed — even for the best recruits –, but it stands to reason, Evans was the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, he emanates upside. In 2023, the Tar Heel could blossom at the right time. He’ll be a true junior, and the Cardinals will need a more substantial edge presence.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers: Warren McClendon, OT, Georgia

The Steelers didn’t adequately address offensive tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft. And in our Two-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they rightfully addressed the cornerback position by selecting Kaiir Elam. With the top five QBs off the board, offensive tackle is the next best course of action for Pittsburgh. At this juncture, Warren McClendon is an intriguing addition, with the mobility and power to be a solid starter.

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