2023 NFL Mock Draft: C.J. Stroud goes No. 1 overall thanks to a trade

Taking into account the data from the PFN Mock Draft Simulator, this 2023 NFL Mock Draft is what you -- the fans -- have done with each pick.

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Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books, and though a lot has changed in this fan-drive 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we hit the Mock Draft Simulator data for some off-the-wall selections. Using the MDS data by highest average NFL draft position and total number of selections, here’s who the fans want most from their team in April.

2023 NFL Mock Draft | Round 1

The order for this 2023 NFL Mock Draft is derived from trades inside the Mock Draft Simulator and originates from the reverse Super Bowl odds that we used to set the original draft order. At some points, these picks are because trades took place by multiple users to get a specific player at a specific point. At others, the picks mirror their current projected draft position.

This mock draft is taken from what you — the fans — have told us you would do with your team’s pick. Each selection is based upon Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator results from this year and is based on which player is currently the highest-drafted player and at the highest ADP. We will assume trades at this point, but we won’t assume the details of the trade.

For instance, the New Orleans Saints users are apparently ready to move on at the quarterback position and a handful of users are trading for the first overall pick to guarantee a QB. With a litany of trade scenarios, we won’t project what users are trading and rather have just pegged that team in that average draft position with a trade moniker anointed.

In the event that the player with the highest ADP has already been selected, we chose the second-highest drafted player and so on until a player was available. We did that with teams that selected the same players at nearly the same ADP, going with the highest but also accounting for the percentage of draft picks. Any questions surrounding the ADP from the Mock Draft Simulator or how these picks were made, please reach out to @CamMellor.

1) [TRADE] New Orleans Saints: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Given that the Saints don’t have a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, moving up to No. 1 overall in this mock is crazy. As mentioned above, Saints fans want a quarterback, and they appear willing to give up quite a bit to make that happen. Is it worth it for C.J. Stroud? Probably.

At this point in the college football season, Stroud stands ahead of everyone. While we’re only a third of the way through the season, things obviously can change. Bryce Young should get plenty of chances to prove himself, and Stroud knows that he has a tough road ahead of him in Big Ten play. For now, he’s headed to New Orleans.

2) Atlanta Falcons: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

At this point, any Alabama player has plenty of familiarity with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, given their annual field trip there for the SEC Championship Game. So Will Anderson Jr. shouldn’t have any problem adjusting to his new home, and the Falcons get a tremendous player on the edge.

So far, Atlanta’s tied for 12th in the league with 2.3 sacks per game, an improvement from their 1.1 last year. Adding Anderson would help that number even more and could give them a player that’s the definition of a game changer.

3) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

It was a tough week for football teams in Houston. Houston Baptist lost 34-0 to Texas State. Rice lost to the Houston Cougars, and Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen said he was tired of his team. Texas Southern got pummeled by UTSA. Shoot, a professional Houston team hasn’t won a game since the Gamblers of the USFL won on June 19. The city’s looking for some good news.

Their fans decided Davis Mills isn’t the answer, so drafting the quarterback of the future is their priority in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Bryce Young gives them hope for the future, so long as people aren’t selling their kidneys like the Saints did to move up in the draft.

4) Carolina Panthers: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

If you took the power from Switowski and the quickness of Megget from The Longest Yard, you’d get Jalen Carter. Which, for the record, is unfair. Carter looks like he brings power with his frame, but what you don’t expect is the quickness. It’s something that Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis didn’t bring to the table (though both were good in their own regards).

Panthers fans are ready for a change, whether that’s through staffing or player personnel, so adding Carter to the squad is a welcomed addition. Carolina’s defensive line has the potential to be a menace for the next few years with him joining Derrick Brown on the inside.

5) Chicago Bears: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

At this point, Justin Fields is looking more like Brucie than Paul Crewe, so it might not matter who’s catching his passes. I do have faith that Fields can improve, and adding his former teammate would be a huge pick for the Bears. Jaxon Smith-Njigba‘s currently battling a hamstring injury, so it might be a while before we see him play in a game again.

6) New York Jets: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Michael Mayer can play, there’s no doubt about that. However, if the Jets selected a tight end with a top-10 pick, they’d never hear the end of it. No disrespect to Mayer, but he’s not Kyle Pitts. He’s a good overall prospect, but it’s tough to see Mayer going to New York this early with the team needing more help at other positions.

7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

At this point, fans are betting on traits with Kayshon Boutte in any 2023 NFL Mock Draft. In three games played this year, Boutte’s produced just 10 catches for 93 yards along with one rush for 41 yards.

While stats aren’t everything, Boutte also hasn’t put anything on film this year that makes him top-10 worthy, so this could be a stretch. Yes, Jacksonville needs a receiver, but there are better options on the board at this point.

8) Detroit Lions: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

One of Detroit’s team needs surfaced this past weekend on the final defensive drive. Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn ran about as untouched as you can in a game when he caught the game-winning touchdown. Outside of Jeff Okudah, the Lions don’t have much to hang their hat on in terms of cornerback. Kelee Ringo helps with that.

Dan Campbell’s looking to build something in Detroit, but right now, it’s a lack of talent that’s hurting those efforts. This team is seven points away from being 3-0, so it’s not due to a lack of trying. Sometimes, good players make better plays, and right now, the Lions just don’t have enough good players. Their fans hope to fix that with this pick.

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

One thing that’s evident is that Steelers fans are honing in on one position: offensive tackle. Through various 2023 NFL Mock Drafts, Pittsburgh’s slated to take someone that can give their QB time to throw. Paris Johnson Jr. remains one of the top OT prospects and gives Steelers fans what they’re looking for at that spot.

10) Houston Texans (from CLE): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

With Texans fans addressing a huge team need by taking Young third overall, they address another need with Clemson’s Myles Murphy. College teams continue to scheme away from Murphy, which says something given the amount of talent on the Tigers’ defensive line.

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

Good news for Giants fans — their top need will be available when they pick outside of the top 10. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they’ll have their pick from the linebacker position, and they go with an absolute monster. Noah Sewell joins a group that struggled to slow down Tony Pollard and the Cowboys’ rushing attack this weekend.

Sewell is a tackling machine, and he brings the right attitude when tackling a ball carrier. Giants fans are putting Sewell behind a defensive line that includes Azeez Ojulari, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Smart move.

12) Washington Commanders: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

In a division that requires you to face Jalen Hurts and (a healthy) Dak Prescott twice each season, you need playmakers that can move well. Trenton Simpson reminds Clemson fans of Isaiah Simmons in the way that he does everything for the defense.

The man can play some football. He can defend the run, he can drop back. It doesn’t make a difference. Simpson can block, score a touchdown, hold the ball, and kick the extra point. He’ll fill up the Gatorade cooler, walk the dog, and paint your back porch. Oh, and he can pass (rush)!

13) Seattle Seahawks: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Still the most polarizing prospect in the class of 2023, Will Levis still has plenty of questions surrounding his game. We’ve seen the traits, but the consistent play hasn’t followed. Decision-making remains a big question in Levis’ game, which shouldn’t be a surprise given that he puts the wrong condiments in coffee. Still, the raw traits are intriguing, and Seattle fans like what they see in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

14) New England Patriots: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

One of Jordan Addison‘s biggest obstacles this year will be getting touches. With so much talent on the team, it’s tough to stand out statistically. Still, Addison’s leading USC with 21 catches for 337 yards and six touchdowns. His ability to create separation on a consistent basis sets him apart, and it’s the biggest reason why Caleb Williams looks his way and why Patriots fans are quick to take him here.

15) Las Vegas Raiders: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

With SEC play around the corner, Nolan Smith gets plenty of opportunities to justify a team taking him in the first round. He has the traits you’re looking for in an edge rusher from great length to an explosive first step. Pairing Smith with Maxx Crosby gives the Raiders a dangerous duo on the edge, something that will help slow down the explosive offenses in the AFC West.

16) Arizona Cardinals: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

Like Smith, BJ Ojulari possesses the traits to make him a first-round pick. Good flexibility around the edge and good length make it difficult for offensive tackles to get their hands on him.

Arizona needs some youth on the defensive line, and they’ll get that with the LSU defensive end. If Ojulari continues playing the game with more power this year, a first-round projection will be the norm.

17) Tennessee Titans: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama

As the season progresses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a 2023 NFL Mock Draft with Eli Ricks in Round 1. It’s not that he’s been bad, but there’s a higher standard to be a first-round pick. Ricks just hasn’t played like it yet.

Currently, he’s not on the latest PFN Big Board, so there’s plenty of work to do. Ricks has first-round potential and a great frame, so it’s not outside the realm of possibilities.

18) Philadelphia Eagles: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Looking for a real-life example of Fulton Reed and Dean Portman? Look no further than Jordan Davis and Bryan Bresee. Ok, so it’s in football, but Davis and Bresee aren’t afraid to throw their weight around on the field. With Fletcher Cox on a one-year contract, the future of the Eagles’ defensive line could transition to two impressive specimens on the inside.

I mean, think about it. You either have to block Davis — the former basketball player who’s currently learning from one of the best in the game — or you have to face the 6’5″, 305-pound kid that started for Clemson as a freshman. Both Davis and Bresee boast good frames, but it’s that combined with their athleticism that will get you on a Mr.go30 video.

19) Dallas Cowboys: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Trevon Diggs reminded us this weekend that he’s a playmaker, and adding Cam Smith to the other side gives him less pressure to be the guy. Smith isn’t like Diggs, but he’s going to play physical with his receiver and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around to affect the route early. Lining up against CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup every day in practice will certainly tell us if Smith is legit or not as well.

20) Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Joseph, S, Notre Dame

Bengals fans loved Antonio Johnson in recent 2023 NFL Mock Drafts, but decide to go with Notre Dame’s Brandon Joseph in this one. He’s a natural playmaker on the back end of the defense, and he’d be the future of the secondary with former fellow Big Ten safety Dax Hill. With safety being a top need for the Bengals, drafting Joseph at this point in the draft would be a win for Cincinnati.

21) Minnesota Vikings: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

With cornerback being a need for the Vikings, Antonio Johnson might not be the play at this point in the draft. Maybe, if he’s still available still in the second round. However, at this point in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they’d need to trade up to get a corner they want. Johnson is a versatile weapon that can give Minnesota a player they can move around, but it might not be the right pick for them to help the defense.

22) Indianapolis Colts: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell, and Alec Pierce highlight a group of receivers that the Colts like. However, their fans want to make sure this is one of the best units in football. Quentin Johnston brings a big frame and great athleticism to the table, and he could quickly become Matt Ryan’s favorite target.

At 6’5″, Johnston possesses the ability to come down with the football in any situation against any competition. You throw it his way, and the odds are pretty high that he’ll come down with it. That makes any quarterback happy.

23) Philadelphia Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Want to know how serious Bijan Robinson is about playing football? The man fumbled for the first time since the Stone Age and didn’t take long to correct the mistake. Reports had him carrying a football around campus this week after fumbling against Texas Tech. The man doesn’t take anything for granted, and he’s trying to ensure that there won’t be many (if any) weaknesses in his game.

Eagles fans stated in the past that they wouldn’t want a running back in the first round, but you have to admit the potential backfield of Jalen Hurts and Robinson would be terrifying.

24) Detroit Lions: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

If you bought stock in Anthony Richardson, you’re going through the wildest ride ever. Those who haven’t sold their stock during the bear market are hoping the bull emerges soon.

Richardson’s showing exactly why he’s so exciting and so frustrating at the same time. You love to see the arm talent. His ability to throw the ball looks so effortless, and it’s leaving his hand like a fastball. It just comes down to the decision-making, which remains tough to watch. Detroit needs a quarterback, but at this point, they’ll need to move up to get one that has less risk.

25) Miami Dolphins (from SF): Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

Jordan Battle could be playing in the NFL right now, but his decision to return proved to be the right one. He’s putting on quality tape and has shown that he can play multiple positions for Nick Saban’s defense. Whether that’s near the line of scrimmage or covering deep, Battle rarely finds himself at a disadvantage.

26) Baltimore Ravens: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Clark Phillips III doesn’t have the biggest frame, but he brings the right mentality to the job. Pair that with the potential to learn from Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, and this pick could be the best one of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Phillips brings a gritty attitude to the position, and he pairs that with quickness that rarely puts him out of position.

27) Los Angeles Chargers: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

Taking over for Rashawn Slater wasn’t going to be an easy task, but Peter Skoronski took that challenge and ran with it. He doesn’t have the best frame in the class, but it’s hard to beat him with the technique he uses. Even when longer players get into his frame, his anchor allows him to thwart their pass rush with relative ease.

Protecting Justin Herbert will be the biggest priority, so adding Skoronski should prove to be a smart pick. Even if he doesn’t work out at tackle, he has a skill set to play on the inside as well, so you’re not losing if you take him.

28) Kansas City Chiefs: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

Isaiah Foskey is bringing a whole different energy to Notre Dame’s defense this year. He put in work in the offseason, and it’s showing. Last week against North Carolina, Foskey had a number of plays that displayed his strength and power. The Tar Heels didn’t have an answer for him, and it was a big reason why the Fighting Irish were able to slow down that offense.

29) Green Bay Packers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

It’s a small sample size in an offense that doesn’t require him to block for long, but Darnell Wright is quickly moving up draft boards. He brings a good frame to the table, but Wright’s putting his power and athleticism on display this year. Blocking for Aaron Rogers brings a whole new level of responsibility, but Wright can handle the weight on his shoulders.

30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

Inconsistent play remains Gervon Dexter‘s biggest obstacle, but the upside remains. A 6’6″, 300-pound wrecking ball, his draft stock can elevate if he can find a way to play at a high level more frequently. A commander of double-teams, Dexter will open things up for his future teammates frequently with teams struggling to move him out of his gap.

31) Buffalo Bills: Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

Henry To’oTo’o continues to improve his game, and it’s a big reason why he’s getting first-round attention. He’s become a more explosive playmaker for the Crimson Tide and is evolving his game into more of a threat as a pass rusher. Add that on top of great instincts and a high football IQ, and the Bills would love to add To’oTo’o in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Other 2023 NFL Draft picks

As promised, each team has selected multiple players in the first round, even those without a first-round pick. While most of these picks are not as frequent as the Saints users trading up for Stroud, the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos have moved into Round 1 from fan-based mock draft simulations. Here are their highest-drafted players.

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