With the 2023 NFL Draft less than a month away, mock drafts are everywhere. And at Pro Football Network, our Mock Draft Simulator is always free for everyone. Every selection is tracked, giving us a fun dataset to look at for trends among players and teams. Where does Will Anderson Jr. land most often, and is the fit right? Just because a player is mocked to a team often doesn’t inherently mean it’s a good fit.
NFL Draft Landing Spots
Over the next month, we’ll dive into some players and teams that tend to find one another most often in our mock drafts.
Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.
Arizona Cardinals – 52.6%
Seattle Seahawks – 10.1%
Others listed among the favorites were the Texans (drafting a QB), Broncos (how, exactly?), Dolphins (again, how?), and the Lions (possible). But the Cardinals and Seahawks feel like the two teams vying for Will Anderson Jr.‘s services.
It’s unlikely a team gives Arizona a package to move to No. 3 that they’d take for a non-QB. Their dream would be to pick up assets from the Colts to move back one spot and still draft Anderson while also adding some necessary draft capital to rebuild their shattered roster.
MORE: Will Anderson Jr. First Non-QB Taken in Latest Mock Draft
Anderson would fit like 99% of gloves we’ve seen people put on. Jonathan Gannon would deploy Anderson exactly like he should be, and he’ll be productive immediately because he is already a professional run defender on the edge. Just look at what Gannon was able to do with Haason Reddick. Anderson spoke about a Cardinals’ pairing at the NFL Combine.
“You can see what the coach did at Philadelphia. He had his guys on the edge going,” Anderson told reporters at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s something that I really like — get on the edge and go. So I’m very excited about that.”
The Seahawks are another good fit. They already have outside linebacker types in Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor, but there’s no such thing as having too many pass rushers. Anderson fits the Seahawks about as well as he does the Cardinals because of his endless versatility.
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
Los Angeles Chargers – 18.2%
Dallas Cowboys – 15.5%
Philadelphia Eagles – 12.4%
Bijan Robinson is one of the most intriguing and talented prospects in this draft class. But simply because he plays running back, he’s also one of the most controversial.
If the free agency market is any indication, It appears the “running backs don’t matter” narrative has finally seeped into the brains of front offices. But while the NFL draft has 32 picks in the first round (31 this year, thanks to Miami), the draft doesn’t have 32 first-round-caliber players. However, it’s largely believed that Robinson is one of those few who are.
So when does the talent overtake the devaluation of the position?
Our Mock Draft Simulator suggests it’s somewhere around the Chargers’ 21st pick. While using a first-round pick on a running back is treated like riding a dog like a small horse (shoutout, E-Trade baby), is it so wrong to have a player you can almost surely count on as being good at a relatively inexpensive rate for five seasons?
It’s not easy to weigh because many will point to recent Super Bowl teams and their runners as proof that using a high draft pick on a running back is the definition of foolishness.
MORE: Texas RB Roschon Johnson Could Be Drafted Relatively High
There’s no doubt that Kellen Moore would know exactly how to use Robinson. He’d be an absolute workhorse for the Chargers. However, that always comes with the risk that he’ll wear down quickly, much like Ezekiel Elliott did for the Cowboys after three seasons. However, the Chargers have other needs that should be addressed first, most specifically adding some speed at wide receiver, and the 21st pick could accomplish that depending on how the board falls.
The wrench in all this is that Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has requested a trade after not coming to terms with the team on a contract extension. Yet, Brandon Staley is steadfast in his desire to retain Ekeler.
“We want him to be a Charger,” Staley told NFL Network. “I think that that’s something that (general manager) Tom (Telesco) has said. It’s something I’ve said. We want this guy to be a Charger. We’re also respectful of his position, and we’re gonna see where it goes.”
Speaking of the Cowboys, the Texas product certainly makes for Dallas in one area; he’ll sell a metric crapload of jerseys, in turn making the Cowboys a lot of money. Pair that with Jerry and Stephen Jones’ constant calls for running the ball as often as possible, and you have your recipe for this selection with the 26th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Trading for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks addressed the Cowboys’ two most-pressing needs.
The Philadelphia Eagles are an intriguing option. Kenneth Gainwell is still on the roster, but adding a high-level replacement after losing Miles Sanders in free agency could be a route Howie Roseman goes with two picks in Round 1. Obviously, drafting Robinson happens at 30 and not 10.
Georgia DT Jalen Carter
Detroit Lions – 17.8%
Atlanta Falcons – 17.2%
Las Vegas Raiders – 16.9%
Chicago Bears – 15.4%
Seattle Seahawks -13.2%
Philadelphia Eagles – 12.4%
On behalf of the entire NFL, I vote not to allow Jalen Carter to fall to the Eagles in the draft. A quartet of Jordan David, Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, and Carter would be tough to digest for opposing offensive lines. Replacing Javon Hargrave with Carter to extend the life of Philadelphia’s dominant defensive line to what feels like the past two decades shan’t be allowed!
The Lions would be a fun fit. Carter would get to pin his ears back a bit playing alongside Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, and a whole host of other rushers along the defensive line. It would put Carter in an advantageous situation early on where he could win with athleticism as he learns the finer points of the position from a technical perspective because he would get more favorable matchups on the interior.
The storyline in Atlanta could be cool because Carter would effectively take the mantle over from Grady Jarrett eventually. However, the Falcons paid David Onyemata and still have Jarrett, while their EDGE play is a bigger defensive weakness at this point in time.
Chicago’s entire defensive front could still use a facelift, so drafting the best available defensive lineman with the ninth pick isn’t a bad option. Between Anderson, Carter, and Tyree Wilson, one of the three should realistically be there.
Seattle is interesting because they’ve never made a huge effort to add interior pressure as part of the package from a defensive tackle perspective. Guys like Michael Bennett could do it as big edge defenders, but additions like Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed might change the calculus. What Seattle plans on the defensive interior is a mystery.
The Raiders need offensive and defensive line help like nobody’s business. But they must wrestle with the optics of drafting Carter just a few years after Henry Ruggs. If they’re comfortable with the potential backlash and PR hit they’d receive from the pick, then it makes sense.