The 2023 NFL Draft is finally upon us, marking the conclusion of mock draft season (well, 2023 mocks, at least). Gone are the days of “what I would do as the GM for every team.” It’s all about predicting how the first 31 selections will go. But that doesn’t have to be boring — for every pick in this first-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft, you’ll find a player comp, but not ones you’re used to…
Let’s have some fun just hours from the NFL’s Christmas, shall we?
2023 NFL Mock Draft
You’re about to read our latest first-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft, complete with analysis for all 31 selections. Don’t agree? Most won’t, but you can take the reigns as the GM with the FREE Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator, drafting and trading for every franchise!
1) Carolina Panthers (From CHI): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Player comp: Chris Paul, NBA
The Steph Curry comparisons have been thrown around, but the Chef is record-breakingly elite from range and quite literally changed how basketball was played. Chris Paul isn’t nearly the size outlier Bryce Young is for his sport, but at 6’0″, he isn’t far off. Both are elite distributors and simply dissect defenses while setting their teammates up for success.
2) Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
Player comp: Monkey D. Luffy, One Piece
Whether it’s due to his representation or a random test score, it appears the Texans are out on C.J. Stroud. And despite there being smoke of Will Levis going second overall (he’s the odds-on favorite to do so), I don’t buy it. So, Houston turns to the trenches, taking Will Anderson Jr. second overall.
With his length, speed, bend, and sheer durability, the Alabama EDGE resembles Luffy’s rubberfied yet Devil Fruit-powered frame. Well, Gear 2 Luffy, since any higher, and we’re talking about an entirely different level of size and strength.
3) Tennessee Titans (Mock Trade From ARI): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Player comp: Bo Callahan if his teammates went to his birthday party, Draft Day
Big Ten QB? Check. Top-of-class talent? Double check. Heck, Bo Callahan was a traditional pocket QB just like C.J. Stroud. Yet, by all accounts, Stroud’s teammates would go to his birthday party.
Oh, and I bet he wouldn’t lie about reading the entire playbook, either. Thus, the Titans feel comfortable making him their new franchise signal-caller.
4) Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Player comp: Shohei Ohtani, MLB
This is a lofty one, but at his absolute ceiling, Anthony Richardson could be a generational dual-threat star, similar to what Shohei Ohtani has done in the MLB.
The Japanese-born phenom will strike out your best hitter and crack a grand slam into the parking lot (if the Angels could ever get that many players on base). Meanwhile, Richardson has the arm talent to zip it 60+ yards downfield with ease and has the legs to coast 93 yards for a touchdown — Terrelle Pryor style.
5) Seattle Seahawks (From DEN): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Player comp: Goro, Mortal Kombat
Early Frieza was another option here, as we haven’t seen Tyree Wilson in his final form just yet. But Goro’s towering four-armed frame was too good to pass up. Wilson wins with sheer power and length, and although he isn’t a refined pass rusher, his floor remains higher than many have stated. Give him to renowned pass-rush specialist Brandon Jordan and watch the prince of the Shokan wreak havoc on the league.
6) Detroit Lions (From LAR): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Player comp: David Martinez without the cyberware, Cyberpunk Edgerunners
David Martinez didn’t let anyone get in his way en route to making a name for himself, and Devon Witherspoon plays with that same unabashed confidence. Witherspoon may not have a Sandevistan equipped, but he appears to be able to slow down time and read his opponent, consistently forcing contested windows.
7) Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Player comp: Satoru Gojo, Jujutsu Kaisen
For those of you who have watched Jujutsu Kaisen, as well as Christian Gonzalez play football, I think you know where I’m going with this. Everything seems effortless for Gojo, barely breaking a sweat to defeat seemingly undefeatable cursed spirits. And that’s how Gonzalez looks on the field. He’s such an easier mover with a similarly lean and long body type.
8) Pittsburgh Steelers (Mock Trade From ATL): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Player comp: Tyson Fury, Boxing
I have a gut feeling the Steelers trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft, and if they do, I believe it would be for an offensive tackle. So why not get in front of the Bears and Eagles and select the top OT in the class? Paris Johnson Jr. is a long, versatile athlete and can control defenders with accurate punches.
In the ring, Tyson Fury is known for an unpredictable fighting style, gearing his approach to each opponent. He has impressive footwork for a big man with a reach keeping most at bay — two traits Johnson mirrors on the gridiron.
9) Chicago Bears (From CAR): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Player comp: Saitama, One Punch Man
If Jalen Carter is there at No. 9, expect the Bears to throw a party in their war room as the pick is announced. On my board, Carter is the top-ranked prospect in the class. He makes light work of nearly every single offensive lineman, even dispatching two at a time if the moment calls for it.
Saitama needs only one punch to send antagonists six feet under (or splattered into millions of particles), and he’ll likely spend eternity longing for a fight that could make him feel something again. If Carter reaches his potential, he could find a nearly identical fate in the NFL.
10) Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Player comp: Judomaster, Peacemaker
I have to shout out SBNation’s Joseph Acosta for the PERFECT Peter Skoronski comp: The Cart Titan, Attack on Titan. But in an attempt to come up with my own, I landed on one of the best characters from John Cena’s Peacemaker: Judomaster. Skoronski is a technician that wins despite his shorter arms and height.
On top of providing moments of ROFL-worthy comedy, Judomaster decommissions the far bigger Peacemaker with technique, leverage, and movement skills, just as Skoronski does. And I’m sure Skoronski indulges in Cheetos from time to time as well.
11) Arizona Cardinals (Mock Trade From TEN): Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Player comp: Invincible, Invincible
Nolan Smith has the physical tools to be Omni-Man, but in his current state, he’s more akin to Invincible. The two have otherworldly tools but are still learning how to use them properly. If Smith does, he’ll be a defensive cornerstone for the talent-bereft Cardinals.
12) Houston Texans (From CLE): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Player comp: Din Djarin, The Mandalorian
#CrashForCaleb. #PrayForMaye. Whatever the hashtag is, Texans fans, it seems like it could be another year until you have your QB of the future. If Houston does go this route, they need to hit on their two first-rounders this year, which they do in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an ever-reliable WR that gets the job done, no matter the circumstances.
Din Djarin knows a thing or two about such a thing as one of the galaxy’s foremost bounty hunters. He isn’t the most mobile with a jetpack, but he’s crafty and utilizes every tool available to him. Imagine what Mando could do if he didn’t have to take care of a little green puppet ridiculously jumping around?
13) Green Bay Packers (From NYJ): Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Player comp: Steven Stamkos, NHL
Dalton Kincaid, you are a Packer. Green Bay may have pushed for the first-round pick swap in the Aaron Rodgers trade to get in the JSN sweepstakes, but with him gone, they go with the top pass-catching tight end in the class.
Last season, with Brant Kuithe on the sideline, Dalton Kincaid showcased unmatched ball skills and fluidity at the position. Steven Stamkos’ signature is the one-timer, immediately slapshotting a goal without maneuvering the puck. In a similar fashion, Kincaid hauls in passes and immediately takes them for the most yardage possible, thanks to his ball skills, body control, and fluidity.
14) New England Patriots: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Player comp: Jazz, Transformers
Jazz was my favorite transformer growing up. He was fast, entertaining, and cocky. But when in battle, he thrived when improvising, using his speed and flexibility to get the advantage over the Decepticons. Zay Flowers is just as electric with and without the ball in his hands, winning both vertically and horizontally. Let’s just hope Megatron never gets his hands on him.
15) New York Jets (From GB): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Player comp: Monstar, Space Jam
With Aaron Rodgers finally making his way to NY, the Jets must get their best five on the field up front. Broderick Jones is a tangible Monstar, possessing the first-off-the-bus physique of modern-day offensive tackles.
It helps that he actually played basketball before putting all his attention on football.
16) Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Player comp: Manuel Neuer, the other football
Joey Porter Jr. has the length every team covets from their No. 1 corner. But he’s also on the taller side, smothering the life out of any balls attempting to enter his vicinity. But that’s not where the Manuel Neuer connection ends. Neuer has one of the highest IQs in the sport, making up for some lapses in technique. And even when the ball is on the other side of the pitch, he’s alert and has a never-ceasing motor.
17) Atlanta Falcons (Mock Trade From PIT): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Player comp: Levi Ackerman, Attack on Titan
Bijan Robinson still lands with the Falcons … just 11 picks later than projected. Levi Ackerman is ruthless and calculated, killing countless Titans. But his true potential stems from his “awakened power,” which allows him to know exactly what to do and when to do it in order to win. Robinson may be an Ackerman with how he instantly recognizes holes incoming defenders, using ODM-aided jumpy cuts to evade and set multiple ankles up for shattering.
18) Detroit Lions: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Player comp: Bane, Batman
“No one cared who I was ’til I put on the helmet.” — Myles Murphy, probably. Murphy’s most eye-popping trait is his back-breaking power, but much like Bane, he’s more agile than perceived, able to defeat blocks with bend and lateral burst.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Player comp: Jason Williams, NBA
Jason Williams won a championship and was one of the flashiest passers the game has ever seen. Yet, he was never an elite point guard. Will Levis could walk a parallel path in the NFL, growing into an NFL starter who can make some jaw-dropping throws but isn’t nearly consistent enough from down to down.
20) Seattle Seahawks: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
Player comp: Po, Kung Fu Panda
Mazi Smith may not have put up the testing numbers that were anticipated, but he still moves like a much smaller player. He isn’t the hand fighter Po is, but he eats space at 320+ pounds and is rarely moved an inch in his gap. Get Smith in a room with Master Shifu and some steamed pork dumplings, and he could come out a legitimate pass rusher from the interior with his tools.
21) Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Player comp: Anthony Davis, NBA
Quentin Johnston has the body to absolutely dominate contested-catch situations … but he doesn’t. In fact, he plays like a smaller player. As a Lakers fan, one of the most frustrating things is watching a 6’10” Anthony Davis opt for long mid-range shots instead of attacking the rim. Still, he scores with finesse, footwork, and technique in the low post, just as Johnston makes his mark as an explosive YAC threat underneath.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Player comp: Ditto, Pokemon
Outside of Witherspoon and, at times, Gonzalez, there wasn’t another corner I loved watching more than Deonte Banks this cycle. Ditto is the comp, as Banks can mirror and match nearly every WR across from him, timing contested catches like it’s second nature.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Player comp: Nightcrawler, X-Men
Nightcrawler isn’t the strongest or fastest mutant — though he’s satisfactory in both categories — but his eminent power is teleportation. Jordan Addison does just that on the football field, slipping into the blind spots in zone, throttling downfield behind the secondary, or snatching a pass that seemed outside of his catch radius. His weight (174 pounds) might scare some teams, but to that, I say, “turn on the tape.”
24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Player comp: The Mountain, Game of Thrones
Darnell Wright may not be the most mobile tackle, but oh, can he set an edge. Speed will give him issues around the arc, but there’s no going through Wright, as he showed against Will Anderson Jr. last season. And even when you think you beat him, the Tennessee OT will come back and finish the job — just ask the Red Viper.
25) New York Giants: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Player comp: Sisyphus’ Boulder, Greek Mythology
This one is self-explanatory. O’Cyrus Torrence is an immovable object on the offensive line, and even if a defender can get him off his spot once, they won’t be able to for an entire game.
26) Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Player comp: Armored Titan, Attack on Titan
Besides the blond hair and muscular build, Michael Mayer resembles the Armored Titan in his ability to blow up defenders in the ground game, move quicker than expected for a man his size, and his all-around versatility in all phases.
27) Buffalo Bills: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Player comp: Bloodhound, Apex Legends
Brian Branch is the “Beast of the Hunt,” as his vision seemingly turns grayscale while the ball and its trajectory turn red, allowing him to make plays all over the field with uncanny ease.
Even Bloodhound would be impressed by Branch’s ability to harness the Eye of the Allfather to envision plays before they occur.
28) Cincinnati Bengals: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Player comp: Thor, Marvel
At a shredding 6’7″ and 264 pounds, Darnell Washington wouldn’t look out of place in an Avengers movie. While Odin’s son is played as more of a comedic character in the Marvel franchise, imagine if he went for the head all the time. That’s Washington on the field. He’s still maturing as a pass catcher, and he may never be more than above average in that area, but he is an absolute God of Thunder in the open field.
29) New Orleans Saints (From SF via MIA via DEN): Keion White, DL, Georgia Tech
Player comp: Novice Kratos, God of War
From one God to another, Keion White has all the tools to be the God of War in the trenches. He’s nearly 6’5″ and 285 pounds with 34″ arms, ran a 4.79 40-yard dash, and jumped 34″ in the vertical and 9’9″ in the broad. Those are demigod numbers! If the Saints can turn White’s hands into the Blades of Chaos, opposing linemen would drop to their knees faster than Kratos falling off the cliff.
30) Philadelphia Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Player comp: Bullet Bill, Mario
Until he adds some pass-rush moves and a plan outside of a bull rush and speed-to-power, Lukas Van Ness is Bullet Bill, using all of his explosiveness in a straight line. The Eagles could select him at No. 10 overall, but either way, he’ll get time to hone his technique behind one of the best defensive lines in the league.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
Player comp: Cocaine Bear
If you’ve seen the movie, you get it. I mean, the bear ran down an ambulance at full speed, for QB’s sake! Calijah Kancey would be a terror next to Chris Jones, outplaying his lack of length and mass with a feral first step and penetrating ability as a pass rusher.
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