Fragoza’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Hendon Hooker in the Top 10, Panthers Replace Christian McCaffrey

We're at the midway point of the season, and the draft class is taking shape. Which players highlight franchise-altering picks in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft?

Jump around this article Click to show

October — when the leaves fall, kids indulge in copious amounts of candy, and adults purposefully watch scare-inducing movies. But for football fans, it’s Mocktober — when NFL teams and college football players begin to fall into position in the draft. Thus, we bring you a three-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft featuring all the freaks, mutants, and monsters terrorizing stadiums nationwide.

2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1

The draft order for this mock was derived from the reverse Super Bowl odds. So, if you think your favorite team’s 2023 NFL Draft picks are too low or high, aim your displeasure toward Vegas.

Be the GM of your favorite team with the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator!

1) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Bryce Young, no matter what. The Alabama signal-caller has been my QB1 since he took over under center. His poise under pressure and out of structure is extraordinary. And although he’s on the smaller side, young has the uncoachable accuracy and “it” factor every team covets.

MORE: Pro Football Network to Launch College Football Network

Davis Mills isn’t the guy for Houston, and I think everyone is beginning to see that. Young instantly transforms whatever team he is on, and his calming presence is well beyond his years.

2) Chicago Bears: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Were it not for positional value, Will Anderson Jr. would be the first pick in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. He is truly a game-wreaking force off the edge, whether as a run defender or pass rusher. An elite first step, explosiveness, and power will help Anderson hit the ground running in the NFL.

3) Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

C.J. Stroud isn’t your typical Ohio State QB. He has enough athleticism to move out of the pocket but not much more. Instead, he’s a pocket passer with all the traits you’d expect from a No. 3 overall selection.

Stroud rarely takes sacks, gets the ball out quick, and has the arm strength and anticipation to hit nearly every window.

4) Washington Commanders: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

On a defensive line that included 2021 first-rounders Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt, and Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter was the most impressive. He’s dealt with injury this year, limiting him to under 100 snaps through seven weeks. Regardless, we saw all we needed to in his true sophomore season.

MORE: Top 10 Cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft

Pass-rushing threats from the interior are rare, especially ones of Carter’s caliber. His first step and short-area quickness allow him to move everywhere on the defensive line, putting his teammates in the best position to succeed.

5) Seattle Seahawks: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Geno Smith has earned himself an extended look at QB, so Seattle can turn their attention toward bolstering the rest of the roster. Edge rusher is a significant need — one Myles Murphy can fill.

At 6’5″ and 275 pounds, Murphy’s physical prowess is paramount. But there’s more to his game, as he stuffs the run with ease and can generate pressure when he’s allowed to pin his ears back.

6) Pittsburgh Steelers: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The Steelers have more holes than fans are probably willing to admit, but chief amongst them is the offensive line. If Pittsburgh wants to find out if Kenny Pickett is the real deal, they’ll need to give him ample protection. Enter Paris Johnson Jr.

The Ohio State OT is one of the foremost physical specimens in the class, and his move from right guard to left tackle has been seamless. Johnson’s combination of swift feet, haunting length, and sweeping athleticism deserve a top-10 selection.

7) Detroit Lions: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Hello, Hendon Hooker. Welcome to the first round! This is likely not the first, nor the last time you will see Hooker on Day 1 of mock drafts — and for good reason. He’s thrown 46 TDs to just four INTs since transferring to Tennessee last year.

The offense isn’t exactly “pro-style,” but the scheme has put Hooker’s arm talent on full display. Sure, he’s 25 years old, but the tape doesn’t lie. Hooker has excellent touch on deep balls with the arm strength to throw missiles into tight windows. Hand him the keys to Motor City.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Falcons have been searching for an edge rusher since YOLO became the acronym heard around the world. Nolan Smith can put an end to the drought in 2023. He’s yet another athletic marvel off the Georgia pipeline. And while he is more athlete than pass rusher currently, you bet on the freaky tools.

9) Arizona Cardinals: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

The third Georgia defender in the top 10, Kelee Ringo finally gives the Cardinals a star corner to pair with Byron Murphy. He has the blend of size (6’2″) and speed that causes fits for WRs in coverage. His technique needs polishing, but like Smith, Ringo’s athletic package should make him a Starr.

10) New York Jets: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northerwestern

I’m tired of the Peter Skoronski slander. Yes, he doesn’t have suffocating arm length, but the rest of his game is nearly flawless. Flip on film from any game this season, and you will see an OT that simply doesn’t concede pressure.

Not every first-round prospect has to be from another world physically, and Skoronski is the epitome of that.

11) Jacksonville Jaguars: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Murphy outpowers OTs, and Bryan Bresee does the same from the interior. Looking at him, you’d believe Bresee was an EDGE at a trimmed 6’5″ and 300 pounds. His movement skills at that size are ridiculous, making him a premier pass rusher on the inside.

12) Houston Texans (from CLE): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

6’6″ and 275 pounds with a 7+ foot wingspan shouldn’t exist. Yet, there stands Tyree Wilson. All the Texas Tech defender needs to do to set the edge against the run is stick one arm out. Entering the year, Wilson needed to prove his pass-rushing prowess, and with 3+ pressures in every game, it’s safe to say he has.

13) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Quentin Johnston breakout finally came, and it’s been glorious. Against Kansas and Oklahoma State, he exploded for 22 receptions, 386 yards, and two TDs. I mean, unless you are Tariq Woolen, how can CBs stop a 6’4″ and 215-pound WR with Deebo Samuel-esque tackling-breaking ability?

14) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

There are Swiss Army knives, and then there’s Trenton Simpson. The typical multifunctional tool is just that, multifunctional. But Simpson is multi-dominant, causing headaches for the opposition from any alignment.

The Clemson LB has the athletic ability to play safety and in the slot, the physicality to fill gaps from the box, and the twitchiness and strength to fly off the edge.

15) Las Vegas Raiders: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

There is nothing more pressing for the Raiders than rebuilding their offensive line. Olumuyiwa Fashanu is a giant step toward that goal, as the Penn State OT has made the leap from relative obscurity to first-round discussion.

Fashanu isn’t going to wow with his tools, but he’s a smooth operator who can drop an impressive anchor in pass protection.

16) New England Patriots: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

Speaking of Jack of all trades, Antonio Johnson played primarily in the slot before receiving more deep safety looks this season. Although it has been a bit of a transition, Johnson is a rangy 6’3″ defender with highly sought-after versatility.

MORE: Top 10 Offensive Tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft

The Texas A&M DB sheds blocks with ease due to his length, and he explodes downhill with a quick trigger. Leave it to Bill Belichick to get the most out of Johnson’s vast skill set.

17) New York Giants: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

Giants and needing a linebacker — a story as old as time. Noah Sewell can be the answer, with the bull-rushing capability of explosive edge rushers. He’s still developing in coverage, but Sewell is a tone-setter in the box that will disrupt offenses.

18) Tennessee Titans: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

Brother to Giants EDGE defender Azeez Ojulari, BJ Ojulari may be the better prospect. All he’s done since stepping on campus is torture opposing QBs. His pass-rush toolbox is expansive and predicated on speed. Ojulari isn’t the strongest against the run, but his ability to affect the passing game supersedes any question marks.

19) Indianapolis Colts: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Christian Gonzalez has the size/speed combo the Colts covet. The Oregon CB plays with brisk, patient feet and eyes, as well as a fluid change-of-direction ability. Although he’s taken his lumps this year, Gonzalez clearly has starter upside, and his ball production has ticked up since transferring from Colorado.

20) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Following a three-interception campaign, QBs just aren’t targeting Cam Smith this season. He exudes confidence and pairs his physicality with a solid athletic foundation to shut down his side of the field.

21) Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Unfortunately for the Bengals, there aren’t any interior linemen worthy of a first-round pick at this point. So, they snag a top-10 talent — regardless of positional value — in tight end Michael Mayer. He offers Joe Burrow yet another weapon in the passing game while also paving lanes for the backfield.

22) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

A running back in the first round? Not just any running back — Bijan Robinson. The days of selecting an RB in the top 10 are over, but backs of Robinson’s skill set are still worth Day 1 capital.

With defenses favoring two-high shells to limit downfield plays, Robinson can feast against lighter boxes, especially in Mike McDaniel’s offense.

23) Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Cowboys would be wise to shore up their defensive line and cornerback rooms, but if Jordan Addison is on the board, Jerry Jones won’t be able to help himself.

CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are already a solid one-two punch. Add in a slot WR that can take the top off the defense and work in space underneath, and you instantly have one of the most potent passing games in the NFL.

24) Baltimore Ravens: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Rashod Bateman is a solid piece on the outside, but the Ravens are in desperate need of WR help. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has played in just two games this season due to a hamstring injury, but he outproduced Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave for the Buckeyes last year.

Slot options don’t get much more reliable than Smith-Njigba, and he’s a constant threat with the ball in his hands.

25) Green Bay Packers: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

Three receivers come off the board in succession, with the Packers finally taking a weapon for Aaron Rodgers in Round 1. Rashee Rice may hail from the Group of Five, but his production can’t be understated. He recorded 70+ yards every game this year, including an 11-catch, 193-yard outing vs. Maryland.

Rice’s explosiveness, catching instincts, and playmaking ability would instantly earn targets from Rodgers as an X receiver.

26) Minnesota Vikings: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Joey Porter Jr. sports one of the longest builds at the cornerback position, and he has the fluidity and speed to stay in a WR’s hip pocket downfield. Porter is in the midst of a career year, and that’s shown with MDS users selecting him more than any other player for five weeks.

27) Los Angeles Chargers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Rashawn Slater is an immovable object at left tackle, but right tackle has been a bit of a turnstile for the Chargers. Darnell Wright can amend such issues, as he put his talents on full display vs. Alabama.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

He’s an easy projection to RT, considering he’s started there in three of four seasons. Wright’s powerful hands and grip strength allow him to control defenders once he gets inside their frame, and his 6’6″, 330-pound frame creates easy displacement as a run blocker.

28) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jaren Hall, QB, BYU

Jaren Hall is in that tier behind Young and Stroud. His ball placement is outstanding, dropping numerous passes into buckets downfield. And he’s shown he can generate velocity from various arm angles.

Hall is an older prospect like Hooker, but as I mentioned with the Tennessee QB, the tape doesn’t lie. Hall’s athletic build also adds to his allure, as he can escape the pocket and make defenses pay with his arm and legs.

29) Kansas City Chiefs: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Let’s be honest — this selection should be vetoed by the other 31 NFL teams. Jalin Hyatt is a football player with track speed, not a track star playing football. Hyatt obliterates tackling angles in the open field, and once he gets even with a cornerback, he’s gone.

Imagine that type of game-breaking speed paired with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid? Oh, wait…

30) Philadelphia Eagles: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

After selecting a top-flight WR, the Eagles could go in multiple directions. But in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, adding to the pass-rushing rotation made the most sense.

Jared Verse tore up the FCS circuit while at Albany, and he hasn’t skipped a beat since transferring to Florida State. Learning to harness his speed and power behind Brandon Graham could do wonders.

31) Buffalo Bills: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

Brian Branch is the defender any coordinator would want in his starting lineup. He is stout in every facet, particularly against the run and as a tackler. But Branch is also sound in coverage, filling Alabama’s STAR role, which he ripped away from Malachi Moore last season. He was one of the only DBs not to get torched by Tennessee.

2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 2

32) Houston Texans
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

33) Chicago Bears
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

34) Carolina Panthers
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

35) Washington Commanders
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

36) Seattle Seahawks
Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

37) Pittsburgh Steelers
Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

38) Detroit Lions
Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee

39) Atlanta Falcons
Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

40) Arizona Cardinals
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

41) New York Jets
Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt

42) Jacksonville Jaguars
Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

43) Cleveland Browns
Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

44) New Orleans Saints
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

45) Seattle Seahawks
O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

46) Las Vegas Raiders
Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M

Barstool Betting Promo - Bet $20 Get $150
Win $150 with a $20 bet if either team completes one pass in the NFL game of your choice!

47) New England Patriots
Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse

48) New York Giants
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

49) Tennessee Titans
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

50) Indianapolis Colts
Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma

51) Miami Dolphins
Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC

52) Los Angeles Rams
Blake Freeland, OT, BYU

53) Cincinnati Bengals
Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

54) Carolina Panthers 
Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army

55) Dallas Cowboys
Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee

56) Baltimore Ravens
Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri

57) Green Bay Packers
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern

58) Minnesota Vikings
A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest

59) Los Angeles Chargers
Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

60) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

61) Kansas City Chiefs
Keondre Coburn, DT, Texas

62) Philadelphia Eagles
Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)

63) Buffalo Bills
Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 3

64) Houston Texans
Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

65) Chicago Bears
John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

66) New England Patriots
Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

67) Indianapolis Colts
Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland

68) Seattle Seahawks
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State

69) Pittsburgh Steelers
Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU

70) Detroit Lions
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

71) Atlanta Falcons
Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State

72) Arizona Cardinals
Cooper Beebe, OL, Kansas State

73) New York Jets
DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas

74) Jacksonville Jaguars 
Jaylon Carlies, S, Missouri

75) Houston Texans
Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

76) New Orleans Saints
Zak Zinter, G, Michigan

77) Denver Broncos
Carter Warren, OT, Pitt

78) Las Vegas Raiders
Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU

79) Miami Dolphins
Mark Evans II, OT, UAPB

80) New York Giants
Sedrick Van Pran, C, Georgia

81) Tennessee Titans
Cody Mauch, OL, Titans

82) Denver Broncos
Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson

DraftKings Promo - Bet $5, Win $150
Want to win a free $150 on the NFL this season? As a new user on DraftKings Sportsbook, you can bet $5 and win $150 if your team wins!

83) Miami Dolphins
Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford

84) Los Angeles Rams
Isaiah Land, EDGE, Florida A&M

85) Cincinnati Bengals
McClendon Curtis, G, Chattanooga

86) Carolina Panthers
Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska

87) Dallas Cowboys
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU

88) Baltimore Ravens
Akheem Mesidor, DL, Miami (FL)

89) Green Bay Packers
Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

90) Minnesota Vikings
Mike Morris, EDGE, Michigan

91) Los Angeles Chargers
JL Skinner, S, Boise State

92) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

93) Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

94) Philadelphia Eagles
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

95) Buffalo Bills
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

96) Cleveland Browns
K.J. Henry, EDGE, Clemson

97) San Francisco 49ers
Rejzohn Wright, CB, Oregon State

98) San Francisco 49ers
Ty Scott, WR, Missouri State

99) Kansas City Chiefs
Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC

FEATURED
PFN NEWSLETTER

Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!