2023 NFL Mock Draft: Will Anderson Jr. Heads to the Windy City as the Chicago Bears Beef Up Their Defense

    The Chicago Bears beef up their defense, as Will Anderson Jr. heads to the "Windy City" with the first overall pick of our latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

    14 teams are heading for the NFL Playoffs, but for the other 18, the focus has already switched to the NFL’s annual selection event in April. In our latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft, we take a look at the players that each time might snag with their selections as the NFL postseason picture sharpens into focus.

    2023 NFL Mock Draft

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

    After inheriting the first overall pick on the last day of the NFL regular season, the Chicago Bears have instantaneously become the most talked about and exciting team in the 2023 NFL Draft. Talk of trading Justin Fields is ludicrous to me, but I almost entertained that scenario and the ramifications in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

    Without us bringing trades into these mocks just yet, the Bears stand firm and select Will Anderson Jr., the dominant pass rusher from Alabama. This selection takes the pressure off Fields by simply ensuring he isn’t having to chase games week in and week out. Having dominated college football, Anderson has the speed, ferocity, and power to be a disruptive force in the NFL for years to come.

    2) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

    With the Bears passing on a quarterback in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Houston Texans have the best QB in the class fall into their lap with the second overall pick. Alabama’s Bryce Young has the arm talent to terrorize NFL defenses at any range with particularly impressive short and intermediate velocity and accuracy. His poise, professionalism, and leadership, are the epitome of the face of a franchise.

    3) Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

    With the departure of Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim, the Arizona Cardinals could take any number of directions in April. New regimes like to establish their own identity and often don’t want their success tied to holdovers from the previous coaching staff or general manager.

    MORE: Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft

    However the new regime in Arizona establishes that new identity, winning football games starts in the trenches, and there are few (if any) players available in the 2023 NFL Draft that set the standard in the defensive trench more than Georgia star Jalen Carter. Carter is a ludicrous athletic force in all phases, propelling his 6’3″, 310-pound frame in an unthinkable manner. He also boasts high-level technical ability and incredible physical tools.

    4) Indianapolis Colts: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    There’s a genuine possibility that, come the opening night of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts will trade up to land their quarterback of the future. There’s certainly no doubt that QB is the direction they have to take in April.

    In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they stick at pick four, selecting Ohio State standout C.J. Stroud. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Stroud is built for the NFL and is an accurate passer with exciting arm talent. We saw in the CFB Playoff that he also can be impactful out of structure.

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

    With Geno Smith expected to come back having guided the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs, quarterback becomes less of an immediate need for Pete Carroll’s team. Instead, attention turns to finding a dominant defensive prospect to plug in and play from Day 1. That man is Myles Murphy, a 6’5″, 275-pound edge player with a practically unstoppable combination of size and strength.

    6) Detroit Lions (from LAR): Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

    Like the Seahawks picking above them, it’s probably time to acknowledge that the incumbent quarterback for the Detroit Lions — Jared Goff — has been playing at a level sufficient to not jump the gun on a passer in this class. Also, like the Seahawks, the Lions are blessed with two first-round picks that can turn them into a contender.

    With James Houston and Aidan Hutchinson causing havoc from the outside, the selection of Bryan Bresee in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft adds a ferocious interior prospect to give the Lions a terrifying defensive presence formed in the image of their head coach. The Clemson defensive tackle is an absolute monster who uses his size, strength, and power to cause maximum havoc in the backfield.

    7) Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

    Will we see Derek Carr driven out of Las Vegas this postseason? It seems increasingly unlikely that the long-term starter will be with the Las Vegas Raiders going into the 2023 NFL season. While Jarrett Stidham has been better than many expected in the time he’s spent under center this season, quarterback figures to be the biggest need for this team come April.

    While Will Levis is a quarterback prospect who has proved as contentious as he is talented, he has the tools to lead this Raiders team in a highly competitive division. There isn’t a tougher quarterback in this class, making him a great fit for this franchise. Meanwhile, his arm talent is undeniable, with a delivery that has more zip than a giant’s sleeping bag.

    8) Atlanta Falcons: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

    Although they added Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone in the previous cycle, don’t rule out the Atlanta Falcons striking for another edge rusher, especially if an elite talent on the interior of the defensive line isn’t available — as is the case in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

    While some might consider this a little rich for LSU edge BJ Ojulari, I’m a huge fan of what the brother of New York Giants outside linebacker Azeez brings to the table. He’s phenomenally flexible around the edge and is as explosive as dynamite off the snap. Excitingly, he possesses a developed pass rush toolbox and plan of attack that allows him to counter and manipulate as well as any edge prospect in the class.

    9) Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

    There’s a sense of inevitability that the Carolina Panthers will select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. They simply don’t have the answers in their room right now.

    While Anthony Richardson might be viewed as a two-year project by some NFL scouts, his combination of ludicrous downfield passing ability and possession of the most out-of-structure athletic ability in the class make him an almost irresistible selection for Carolina as they start afresh following the end of the Matt Rhule era.

    10) Philadelphia Eagles (from NO): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

    While the Philadelphia Eagles’ in-season additions point to a desire to add depth on the interior of the defensive front, there is arguably a bigger need to address on the edge. Exterior options don’t come much bigger than Texas Tech terror Tyree Wilson.

    At 6’6″, 276-pound, Wilson boasts an imposing frame made terrifying by an elite wingspan. That allows him to generate preposterous power that he uses to brutalize anyone in his path. Wilson also has genuinely awe-inspiring athletic traits to boot.

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

    Taylor Lewan? More like Taylor Le-Gone, am I right? That’s not to be disrespectful to a left tackle who has been a cornerstone of the Tennessee Titans offense, as even Lewan himself admits that it will be extremely unlikely for him to be suiting up for the Titans next time around.

    Tennessee lands a Day 1 replacement in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft in the form of Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. Despite just one full season of experience at the position, Johnson’s build (6’6″, 310-pound), power, strength, and athleticism allowed for a seamless transition outside this fall. He’s a premier pass protector and a run-defense wrecker, perfect for the Titans’ offense.

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

    Adding Alabama QB Young to the Texans’ offense without providing him with a top-level wide receiver would be like adding peanut butter to a PB&J but not adding jelly. It just won’t work.
    (editor’s note: peanut butter, on its own, on a good piece of toast is nothing to scoff at.)

    Thankfully, TCU WR Quentin Johnston is still available as Houston lands back on the clock in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. The Horned Frog freak has the size to be a threat on the boundary but deceptive athleticism to rip open a defense after the catch. He’s the epitome of a three-level threat for the Texans.

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

    The quartet of Zach Wilson, Mike White, Joe Flacco, and Chris Streveler, did enough this season to ensure that the New York Jets are not in a position to land a quarterback without trading up in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

    So, where do they turn from here? Whatever direction the Jets take under center, they need to solidify the offensive line, and there’s been no one more solid than Georgia’s Broderick Jones this season. He’s a violent people mover with explosive athleticism in both phases.

    14) New England Patriots: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Oregon

    The New England Patriots desperately need to support Mac Jones if they truly believe he’s their quarterback of the future. Whether that comes in the form of an actual, legitimate, offensive coordinator or in free agency, I don’t know. All I do know is that they’ve selected one first-round WR since 1996, and that didn’t work out so well. The chances of them grabbing a receiver here are slim.

    So in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Patriots address a defensive area of need, snagging Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. The nasty Nittany Lion gives New England’s defense a ferocious beast both in the run game and in coverage. Porter also boasts the size, length, and athleticism, to be impactful anywhere and everywhere on the field.

    15) Green Bay Packers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

    After missing out on the NFL Playoffs, the Green Bay Packers face a turbulent offseason of uncertainty. Will Aaron Rodgers continue to be the leader in Lambeau Field, or will Jordan Love be the one to bring a title back to “Title Town?”

    Whatever the answer to those questions, offensive tackle is a genuine need that they fill in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft with Anton Harrison. With his exquisite physical tools and a high football IQ, the Oklahoma offensive tackle is an ascending prospect.

    16) Washington Commanders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

    While there are quarterback questions for the Washington Commanders too, their porous pass defense is likely to be the center of attention as they pick outside of the prime spots for passers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez has everything you need to be a top-tier NFL CB. This season, he’s routinely displayed the enticing athleticism, football intelligence, and mind-blowing ball skills to lock up a first-round selection. Next up, locking down NFL wide receivers for fun.

    17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

    Protecting Kenny Pickett is the obvious priority for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the spring. Having watched Johnson, Jones, and Harrison, disappear before they’re on the clock leaves few options that meet their usual OT archetype.

    As a result, they pick up a cornerback anomaly in reigning national champion Kelee Ringo. The Georgia CB has the size to dominate on the boundary and boasts ludicrous athletic capability. The Steelers could lose three CBs to free agency but land a playmaker here.

    18) Detroit Lions: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

    With the Lions opting to ride with Goff in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, how do they take their offense to the next level? By adding a next-level pass catcher to bolster their wide receiver room, of course.

    MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

    A former Biletnikoff Award winner, Jordan Addison has shown he can be successful in different offenses by splitting his college experience between Pittsburgh and USC. He’s a dynamic speed threat with excellent route-running capability and a solid, reliable pair of hands anywhere on the field.

    19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the NFL Playoffs as the winners of the NFC South, but there’s plenty of work that needs to be done with their roster in the offseason. With several players from the secondary set to hit free agency, finding a top-tier coverage corner who is a physical enforcer at all levels of the field should be considered a must.

    Where can the Bucs find this rare breed, I hear you cry?! In Champaign, IL, where Devon Witherspoon has been at the very top of the game.

    20) Seattle Seahawks: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

    The Seahawks continue to build a defensive monster — the hallmark of their most successful seasons in recent history — in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Seattle struck gold late in the draft last year, landing Tariq Woolen, and the addition of Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes gives them a playmaking, lockdown, DB duo.

    While he holds the record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns in FBS history, Forbes is more than a statistical standout. The Mississippi State CB has high-level route recognition, the vertical athleticism to contest the catch point, plus the footwork and physicality to challenge anyone at the NFL level.

    21) Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are back in the playoffs behind the luxurious locks of Trevor Lawrence. Adding a wide receiver or two is the popular path to ensuring a repeat performance next season. However, with Doug Pederson’s propensity for tight end use, why not add a playmaker at that position instead?

    Especially when you can land a premier pass-catching TE like Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. Meanwhile, Mayer’s physicality and technicality as a blocker also help aid the Jags.

    22) New York Giants: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

    If the New York Giants — back in the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2016 — are to keep faith in Daniel Jones, they’ll need to provide him with some pass-catching assistance. The WR room is barer than Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

    That’s why, in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they snag one of the most dynamic pass catchers in all of college football. Josh Downs has the need, the need for speed, but he’s also a savvy route runner who can break ankles with his elite change-of-direction ability.

    23) Baltimore Ravens: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    Wide receiver is a trendy 2023 NFL mock draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens, and it’s easy to understand why. However, lining up Texas running back Bijan Robinson in the backfield with Lamar Jackson is enough to give any opposing defensive coordinator nightmares.

    Robinson runs routes and catches the ball as well as some of the WR talents in the class, providing an excellent outlet in the passing game in addition to his generational talent as a runner.

    24) Los Angeles Chargers: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

    Maximizing Justin Herbert’s rookie contract Super Bowl window is the key to this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Now, that could be attained by adding another impact wide receiver. However, I’m a Joshua Palmer believer, and if Herbert can be kept upright, the former Tennessee WR can be a star in the NFL.

    That’s why adding an offensive tackle like Peter Skoronski makes sense. There’ll be some concerns about his size and arm length, but the former Northwestern star is an elite technician and athlete.

    25) Dallas Cowboys: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

    Keeping former SMU pass catcher Rashee Rice in-state is not just for poetic imagery purposes. The Dallas Cowboys have a wide receiver problem, and Rice is most definitely the solution to it.

    It’s easy to write the narrative that he led the nation in receiving yards thanks to a high-volume passing game, but the SMU WR has the skills to pay the bills in the NFL. He has the size and body control to dominate the catch point, with speed and elusiveness to pose a dangerous after-the-catch threat.

    26) Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

    Six of the Cincinnati Bengals’ potential free agents next spring come from the secondary, including starting safety Jessie Bates III. While the selection of Dax Hill might cause pause for another defensive back dalliance in the first round, Brian Branch is an instant-impact playmaker all over the field.

    He’s comfortably the most reliable tackler in all of college football while possessing the speed and fluidity to be a force in coverage. He’s been the ultimate utility man during his time in Alabama.

    27) Minnesota Vikings: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

    Za’Darius Smith was a valuable addition to the Minnesota Vikings, forming a deadly pass-rush partnership with Danielle Hunter. But, what if we told you there was a way for the duo to become even more deadly?

    Siaki Ika is a gargantuan nose tackle who eats double teams for fun, allowing his teammates to thrive around him. And with a jaw-dropping athletic profile for a 6’4″, 358-pound behemoth, the Baylor prospect is a backfield threat himself while providing a roadblock against the run.

    28) Denver Broncos (from MIA): Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

    With the top offensive tackle prospects already off the table in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft — arguably the Denver Broncos’ biggest offseason need — they use the pick acquired in the Bradley Chubb trade to land another enforcer off the edge.

    Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey has put the “fight” into the “Fighting Irish”, using his size (6’4″, 260-pound), length, power, and relentless motor to be a wrecking ball who has made his living in the opposing backfield for the past three seasons.

    29) Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

    This is comfortably one of my favorite team-prospect matches to make in any 2023 mock draft, and if the board falls right, it’s exactly what the Buffalo Bills should do in April. Josh Allen is an elite creator, but why have him dance around when he could stand firm in the pocket and drop bombs on defenses for fun?

    Former Louisiana guard O’Cyrus Torrence followed his head coach to Florida and adapted to the SEC with aplomb. He’s a big, powerful people-mover in the ground game who showcases technical proficiency as a pass protector.

    30) Kansas City Chiefs: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

    While there’s a temptation to add an offensive weapon for Patrick Mahomes to play with at the back end of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the reality is that there are plenty of pass catchers available beyond these first 31 picks.

    MORE: PFN NFL Mock Draft Simulator

    However, there isn’t going to be an edge player of the caliber of Felix Anudike-Uzomah kicking around later on. The Kansas State pass rusher has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, and some of the top-tier mental attributes are already evident in his game.

    31) Philadelphia Eagles: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

    Historically, the Philadelphia Eagles are loath to select a cornerback or linebacker in the first round of the NFL Draft, despite both being regular positions of need. With two first-round selections in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, let’s buck this trend by adding Clark Phillips III — the sensational CB out of Utah.

    Don’t overthink his diminutive stature, as Phillips can compete at the catch point better than most of the 6’0″ CBs in this class. He’s a fluid and ferocious defensive back phenom.

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