Editor's note: This mock draft was published prior to the March 1 news that Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter was the subject of arrest warrants for reckless driving and racing in Athens, Georgia, stemming from an ongoing investigation into a fatal Jan. 15 car crash. Carter was subsequently booked and released from jail.
With the start of the NFL Scouting Combine just around the corner (March 2-5 on NFL Network and NFL+), here's my second projection of the year for Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft. The quarterback carousel is going to shake up the outlook for the draft, with some big-name veterans potentially on the move this offseason. When the dust settles, I think we're going to see a heavy run on defensive linemen and cornerbacks in the first round.
- The NFL announced in August that the Miami Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game.
- Check out NFL+ for more in-depth analysis on Daniel Jeremiah's second mock draft.
I’m not projecting trades in a mock draft this early in the offseason, but I’ll be surprised if the Bears end up holding onto the No. 1 overall pick. That said, I don’t think they’ll move down beyond the range of one of the top defensive players.
Young is the best quarterback in the class. I’ll think he’ll fit beautifully with the Texans as they try to work their way up in the AFC South.
First edge rusher off the board? Over Will Anderson Jr.?!? There’s a lot of love for Wilson around the league. His combination of size, length and production has teams very intrigued.
The Colts need to turn the page on their recent approach to the game's most important position: cycling through veteran arms. Stroud will be a great fit with new head coach Shane Steichen in Indy.
Yes, this would indeed be a steal for the Seahawks. Anderson teams up with Uchenna Nwosu to give Seattle two explosive edge rushers.
Aidan Hutchinson was a home run pick last year, and fellow rookie James Houston IV was very productive in limited playing time. Murphy would give the Lions three outstanding young edge rushers.
The picture will be clearer after we get through the quarterback carousel in free agency, but as of now, the Raiders need someone at the position. Levis has incredible tools.
I expect Van Ness to put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’ll start capturing a lot of attention after he tests in Indianapolis.
For this mock, I’m assuming the Panthers don't trade up to land a quarterback and instead go the veteran route at the position. Skoronski can slide inside to play guard in Carolina, teaming up with Ikem Ekwonu to give the Panthers two building blocks for the offensive line. New head coach Frank Reich knows the impact of investing heavily in the line of scrimmage, having spent time on the Eagles’ staff before he left for Indianapolis.
An edge rusher wouldn’t surprise me here, but I think Witherspoon is the best corner in the draft. He reminds me a lot of former Eagles Pro Bowler Asante Samuel.
Given the uncertainty about Taylor Lewan’s future, Tennessee's offensive line must be addressed. (EDITOR'S UPDATE: Lewan tweeted on Wednesday that he is being released by the Titans.) Johnson needs to get a bit stronger, but he’s an outstanding athlete.
Houston instantly adds some firepower for No. 2 overall pick Bryce Young. The selection of Addison, along with the return of John Metchie III, would give the receiving corps a huge boost.
GM Joe Douglas continues to invest in the offensive line. The Jets have been crushed by injuries up front, so it’s imperative that they continue to bolster the unit. Jones has tremendous upside.
Bill Belichick nabs a height-weight-speed corner who can play the ball.
Kincaid is one of my favorite players in the draft. I think he’s the most dynamic pass-catching tight end in the class.
Washington's roster has a lot of needs to address, including cornerback. Porter Jr.’s value at No. 16 is too good to pass up.
Wright’s a plug-and-play right tackle for an offensive line that needs to be overhauled to protect last year's first-round pick, Kenny Pickett.
The Lions have the perfect situation for Richardson as he enters the league. He can sit behind Jared Goff for at least a year and then provide the rewards that come from building a team around a quarterback playing on his rookie contract.
The Bucs need to figure out what they’re going to do at quarterback in the wake of Tom Brady's retirement, but Robinson will take pressure off whoever is under center.
Seattle adds another weapon to complement Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Smith-Njigba is a pure route runner and will be a high-volume target.
Speed on the outside has been a missing element for the Chargers. Johnston fills that need.
Ozzie Newsome is still in the building, and Alabama players will always be coveted by the Ravens. Baltimore will value Branch's versatility and playmaking ability.
Banks has good size, and I think you’ll see his stock rise as the evaluation process unfolds. The cornerback is physical and tough.
Bresee battled through adversity at Clemson. I believe the former No. 1 overall recruit's best football is still ahead of him.
The Giants are desperate for some explosiveness at receiver. Hyatt provides plenty of it.
White has inside/outside versatility, and I think he’ll be one of the stars of next week's combine.
Buffalo could use some upgrades in front of Josh Allen. The Bills must continue to protect their most valuable asset by steadily investing in the O-line. Torrence will also help this offense in the ground game.
With Hayden Hurst heading for free agency, Mayer can step right into the lineup and win contested catches for the Bengals.
Flowers is one of the most enjoyable players to study in this year’s class. He'd be a lock for the top 15 if he were two inches taller.
The way the Eagles do business, I’d be shocked if they left the first round without an offensive or defensive lineman.
Smith is an outstanding athlete who reminds me a little bit of Haason Reddick when he was coming out of Temple. Smith would get a lot of pass-rush opportunities in Kansas City, thanks to the Patrick Mahomes-led offense.