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2023 NFL mock draft: C.J. Stroud slides, Bijan Robinson to NFC East, Raiders land QB

Even though no one will be able to get the 2023 NFL mock draft ‘right’, as the entire process is unpredictable for the best draft experts and even for those in front offices across the league. Still, the practice of projecting where top prospects like C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Jalen Carter, and more will land is too fun not to participate in.

Draft day is a hectic time for everyone involved, from eligible draft prospects to scouts to the individuals working the phone lines trying to execute a last-second trade. Watching a prospect slide down the draft board is never ideal, but the drama it provides surely is captivating.

Meanwhile, the paranoia that ensues after a franchise ‘reaches’ for a prospect the public didn’t think was in drafting range is just as good. There’s so much to enjoy about draft day, we could go on for days. But until April 27 arrives, we’ll just have to settle for another mock draft.

With all of that in mind, let’s dive into our updated 2023 NFL mock draft with projections for Rounds 1-3. Picks are made by Matt Johnson and Andrew Buller-Russ.

2023 NFL mock draft: Raiders, Lions land quarterbacks

1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News

The Carolina Panthers will draft Bryce Young with the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They are taking a pro-ready starter who can instantly step into a leadership role. Young is savvy beyond his years, with an intellect that some in the NFL compared to great offensive coordinators. Combine with a brilliant mind and leadership with excellent accuracy, above-average mobility and a high ceiling as a passer, you’ve got a franchise quarterback for the Panthers. — MJ

Related: Bryce Young’s S2 score, rave reviews for intangibles

2. Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr, EDGE, Alabama

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Whether the Houston Texans aren’t high on C.J. Stroud because of his connection to Deshaun Watson or due to the recent headlines, it seems they won’t be taking a quarterback. It’s a risky gamble and a reminder of why they are in this position, but Will Anderson Jr is more than a consolation prize. He can deliver double-digit sack seasons and earn multiple Pro Bowl selections, all while delivering excellent run defense. Anderson is a great building block for the defense DeMeco Ryans is trying to build. — MJ

Related: 2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings

3. Arizona Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals would strongly prefer to trade down in the 2023 NFL Draft, but there’s a realistic possibility the offers aren’t there. In this case, Arizona takes Tyree Wilson. He boasts one of the longest wingspans of any player ever at his position, with athleticism and power that offers an enticing potential. He needs NFL coaches to help him develop pass-rush moves and improve his first step after the snap, but Wilson’s upside is even higher than Anderson’s ceiling – MJ

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Syndication: The Courier-Journal
Jeff Faughender/Courier Journal and USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

Will Levis isn’t the highest-rated player available nor the highest-graded quarterback on our 2023 NFL Draft board. However, the buzz connecting the Kentucky quarterback to the Indianapolis Colts is undeniable. He fits some of the schematic things Shane Steichen did with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia and everyone in the NFL thinks this is a good fit. Only time will tell whether or not the Colts are right, but Levis would be their starting quarterback in 2023. — MJ

5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are willing to take risks when the upside justifies the gamble. Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter has off-field concerns, but he might be one of the very few players with Hall-of-Fame upside. Carter is the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft class, he fills a need on Seattle’s defense and the Seahawks are expected to take him. — MJ

Related: Jalen carter hammered by NFL scouts for poor work ethic, effort level

6. Detroit Lions (via LAR): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

No player has taken more hits from anonymous scouts than C.J. Stroud in the last few days. Leaked S2 scores, questions raised about his commitment and helmet scouting is in full force. If Stroud falls to the sixth pick, the Detroit Lions have to take him. Stroud isn’t necessarily the type of quarterback who needs to sit in his rookie season, but he could benefit from it. With Detroit not committing to Jared Goff long-term, this is a perfect opportunity for the Lions to snag their franchise quarterback of the future. — MJ

Related: NFL executive calls C.J. Stroud a bust and undraftable over leaked S2 score

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Syndication: USA TODAY

The Las Vegas Raiders shouldn’t pass on an opportunity like this one. Anthony Richardson might not be the most NFL-ready passer in the 2023 class, but he’s the only one who offers MVP-caliber upside. Josh McDaniels is an excellent teacher for young quarterbacks and Jimmy Garoppolo is a willing mentor. If the Raiders find themselves in a scenario where they can land Richardson without even needing to trade up for him, they have to make the fastest pick in the draft. — MJ

Related: Anthony Richardson scouting report

8. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons draft needs in 2023 start with an edge rusher, but there isn’t one worth taking in this spot. So, Atlanta grabs the top cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft. Christian Gonzalez profiles as a No. 1 cornerback, bringing the mix of height, athleticism and fluidity that is found in only the best at his position. Pair him with A.J. Terrell and the Falcons’ improving defense might actually be a strength for the team next season. — MJ

9. Chicago Bears (via CAR): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

NFL: Combine
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears know Peter Skoronski better than just about any NFL team. A local product who dominated at Northwestern, it really shouldn’t matter if he’s an offensive tackle or left guard. Chicago needs a great offensive lineman and Skoronski is arguably the best in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Put him anywhere and Justin Fields will feel a lot safer in the pocket. — MJ

Related: Chicago Bears mock draft 2023

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

NFL: Combine
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Depending on which Philadelphia Eagles draft rumors you believe, they’re either targeting the line of scrimmage or running back Bijan Robinson. While the best running back in the 2023 NFL Draft would fit perfectly in Philadelphia, investing the 10th pick in him seems too rich. If Howie Roseman isn’t trading down, we’d bet on him taking the versatile pass rusher who could be a rotational contributor in 2023 and a starter the following year. — MJ

Related: Philadelphia Eagles mock draft 2023

2023 NFL Draft predictions: Seahawks land WR, Jets take OT

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

If the Tennessee Titans are unable to move up for their quarterback of the future, they need to create a better-supporting cast for the next face of the franchise. Paris Johnson Jr. isn’t as polished as Skoronski, but he offers a far higher upside as a pass-blocking left tackle. He will just be the first move toward overhauling this offense in the years ahead. — MJ

Related: 2024 NFL mock draft

12. Houston Texans (via CLE): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The top four quarterbacks will be off the board by the 12th pick and there’s little sense in trading into the top 10 for a quarterback you aren’t high enough on to draft second overall. Wide receiver is a consideration here, but this team might first want to build a defense that Ryans can use. Devon Witherspoon is a top-10 prospect and pairing him with Derek Stingley Jr. would help transform the Houston Texans defense into a top-15 unit. — MJ

13. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Rashan Gary is recovering from an ACL tear and Preston Smith is on the wrong side of 30. The Green Bay Packers need more edge rushers and Myles Murphy is exactly the type they would take a chance on. He offers prototypical size (6-foot-5) and athleticism (9.71 RAS), but he’ll need the Packers’ coaching staff to help him become a consistent pass rusher. — MJ

Related: Dynasty rookie rankings 2023

14. New England Patriots: Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State

The New England Patriots don’t just need a cornerback, they need someone who offers excellent length and plays with tenacity. The son of the iconic linebacker, Joey Porter Jr provides the intelligence, pedigree, mentality and size (6-foot-2) that Bill Belichick will love. Plus, the Patriots’ coaching staff would help him develop as a No. 1 corner on the outside. — MJ

Related: New revelations on rift between Bill Belichick, Mac Jones

15. New York Jets (via GB): Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

There are legitimate concerns regarding Darnell Wright’s willingness to work, which could impact his ability to teach his ceiling. However, he is outstanding in pass protection and was the only player in college football who held his own against Will Anderson Jr and Georgia’s defensive line. The New York Jets need a right tackle and Wright could become one of the best in the NFL. While there are risks with him, it’s worth taking if Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback. — MJ

Related: NFL scouts rip Darnell Wright’s work ethic, love for football

16. Washington Commanders: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

While cornerback is a bigger need for the Washington Commanders, they’d also be wise to help out offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. A playoff contender can’t build its offense around Sam Howell, but it can be tailored around Bijan Robinson. While not as explosive as Saquon Barkley, Robinson is a three-down back who can reach All-Pro status very quickly. — MJ

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The Pittsburgh Steelers are clearly focused on the offensive and defensive lines in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. In this scenario, Broderick Jones is the best player available among the two respective positions. Broderick Jones needs some refinement, but the necessary adjustments are all coachable. He will take some lumps in his rookie season at left tackle, but he offers the highest upside of any offensive lineman and the chance of having an excellent left tackle for the next decade-plus should seal the deal for Pittsburgh. — MJ

Related: Greatest NFL dynasties ever

18. Detroit Lions: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Following the suspension of Jameson Williams and the release of Quintez Cephus, wide receiver becomes a much bigger need for the Detroit Lions. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is our highest-rated receiver, but he’s too similar to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Quentin Johnston, whose ceiling is a No. 1 pass-catcher, is the best fit for the Lions. — MJ

Related: NFL offense rankings 2023

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Few teams are better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at finding ways to mold and develop great athletes with restrictive size issues on the defensive side of the ball. Nolan Smith is small (6-foot-2, 238 pounds), but he’s also an outstanding athlete who brings great intelligence and instincts. He’ll be a rotational player in 2023, but Tampa Bay can help him evolve into a great player. — MJ

Related: NFL teams that should tank for Caleb Williams

20. Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

It’s a dream scenario for the Seattle Seahawks in our 2023 NFL mock draft. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the player Seattle is reportedly willing to trade up for, is available with the 20th pick. He complements Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf perfectly, too. Add Smith-Njigba to this passing attack and the Seahawks’ offense will be a top-three offense in the NFL. — MJ

NFL mock draft 2023: Houston Texans find their QB

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

This selection gives coach finally Brandon Staley the interior pass-rushing menace he enjoyed during his days with the Rams. Adding an athlete like Calijah Kancey to complement Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack can turn an average pass-rush unit into a great one.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers mock draft

22. Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

A true athletic freak, Deonte Banks has CB1 potential for a team that finished 26th or worse in passing yards allowed each of the past two seasons. Not only is Banks sticky in coverage, but he also isn’t one to shy away from contact. A future of Kyle Hamilton and Banks roaming the field should make for a swarming defensive unit. — ABR

Related: Baltimore Ravens mock draft

23. *Houston Texans (via MN): Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

  • TRADE: Houston Texans trade 33rd and 65th overall picks to the Minnesota Vikings for the 23rd overall pick

After deciding C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson weren’t the right fit, the Texans pounce on the opportunity to secure Hendon Hooker after adding two potential impact defenders with their earlier picks. Hooker’s ACL recovery may not allow him to play immediately, but the Texans aren’t facing immediate pressure to contend. Instead of spending a ton of draft capital on their future QB, they pay just a second and third-round selection while securing the precious fifth-year option, should Hooker become a star. — ABR

Related: NFL teams ‘blown away’ by Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, likely to be Round 1 pick

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

With Calvin Ridley joining Trevor Lawrence’s cache of weapons, the Jaguars are going to score plenty of points in 2023. Once the playoffs arrive, they’ll need to get stops. Brian Branch can help both against the pass and as a run defender, where he’s an extremely efficient tackler. — ABR

25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Adding Darren Waller gets Daniel Jones a big target who can stretch the seams, but the G-Men still need more talent at the receiver position. Some may say Jordan Addison has the ceiling of a 1B option largely due to his smaller frame at 5-foot-11, but Odell Beckham Jr. faced the same questions. Addison can run every route on the tree and has no trouble creating separation. Sound familiar? — ABR

Related: 3 logical New York Giants targets with first 3 selections in NFL Draft

26. Dallas Cowboys: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

It’s not hard to envision Bryan Bresee quickly becoming a star with the Dallas Cowboys. After ranking 22n in rush yards allowed, it’s clear they have a huge need for an interior presence. Bresee may not be the run-stuffing lineman the Cowboys need, but he’d be another high-upside defender who could become a game-wrecker in the NFL. — ABR

Related: Dallas Cowboys mock draft

27. Buffalo Bills: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

If the Bills are serious about reducing Josh Allen’s workload, one way to do so would be by giving him yet another weapon. Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis can continue to be deep ball specialists, and Flowers, with his blazing speed, can too. But Flowers can also help cause problems underneath, becoming a dominant option racking up yards after the catch. — ABR

Related: Buffalo Bills reportedly want to trade up in Round 1, identifying 3 potential targets

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Irv Smith Jr. was brought aboard, and he offers above-average upside. But Michael Mayer takes that to the next level as a complete tight end capable of blocking and catching with the best of them. With how well both operate as pass-catchers/blockers, there’s a role for each in this offense.

29. New Orleans Saints: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

In an effort to buy Derek Carr more time, why not reinforce the offensive line? The entire interior needs work, with Andrus Peat and Cesar Ruiz ranking 68th and 59th among guards per PFF. O’Cyrus Torrence is a massive people-mover who can protect the pocket and provide a push in the running game. — ABR

Related: New Orleans Saints mock draft

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

The Eagles were nearly faced with a glaring hole this offseason before agreeing to new contracts with both Darius Slay and James Bradberry. While they’re both under contract through 2025, the Eagles need to plan for the future, and few GMs are more prepared than Howie Roseman. Forbes is a playmaking corner, and who better to learn from than Big Play Slay and Bradberry?– ABR

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan

Even the reigning Super Bowl champions have needs. For the Chiefs, it’s strengthening the trenches. Mazi Smith certainly fits the bill, having pumped out an impressive 34 reps on the bench press. But Smith also has rare athleticism with a quick first step. Perhaps learning a few pass-rush moves from Chris Jones can help Smith become a star. — ABR

2023 NFL mock draft: Day 2 projections

Following the conclusion of Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, Sportsnaut will release an NFL mock draft for Day 2 on Thursday night.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft picks by team

NFL mock draft: Round 2

  • 32. Pittsburgh Steelers (via CHI): Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
  • 33. *Minnesota Vikings: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
  • 34. Arizona Cardinals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
  • 35. Indianapolis Colts: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
  • 36. Los Angeles Rams: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
  • 37. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
  • 38. Las Vegas Raiders: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
  • 39. Carolina Panthers: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
  • 40. New Orleans Saints: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
  • 41. Tennessee Titans: Nathaniel Dell, WR, Houston
  • 42. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ): Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
  • 43. New York Jets: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
  • 44. Atlanta Falcons: Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE, Northwestern
  • 45. Green Bay Packers: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
  • 46. New England Patriots: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
  • 47. Washington Commanders: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
  • 48. Detroit Lions: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
  • 49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
  • 50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cody Macuh, OL, North Dakota State
  • 51. Miami Dolphins: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
  • 52. Seattle Seahawks: Steve Avila, OG, TCU
  • 53. Chicago Bears (via BAL): Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC
  • 54. Los Angeles Chargers: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
  • 55. Detroit Lions (via MIN): Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
  • 56. Jacksonville Jaguars: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
  • 57. New York Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
  • 58. Dallas Cowboys: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
  • 59. Buffalo Bills: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
  • 60. Cincinnati Bengals: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
  • 61. Chicago Bears (via SF): Joe Tippman, C, Wisconsin
  • 62. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami (FL)
  • 63. Kansas City Chiefs: Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army

The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering violations.

NFL mock draft 2023: Round 3

  • 64. Chicago Bears: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
  • 65. *Minnesota Vikings: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
  • 66. Arizona Cardinals: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
  • 67. Denver Broncos (via IND): DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
  • 68. Denver Broncos: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
  • 69. Los Angeles Rams: Chandler Zavala, G, North Carolina State
  • 70. Las Vegas Raiders: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
  • 71. New Orleans Saints: Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
  • 72, Tennessee Titans: Karl Brooks, EDGE, Bowling Green
  • 73. Houston Texans (via CLE): Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
  • 74. Cleveland Browns (via NYJ): Nick Herbig, EDGE, Wisconsin
  • 75. Atlanta Falcons: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
  • 76. New England Patriots (via CAR): Wanya Morris, OT, Oklahoma
  • 77. Los Angeles Rams (via NE): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
  • 78 Green Bay Packers: Anthony Johnson Jr., S Iowa State
  • 79. Indianapolis Colts (via WAS): Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina
  • 80. Pittsburgh Steelers: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
  • 81. Detroit Lions: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
  • 82. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
  • 83. Seattle Seahawks: Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
  • 84. Miami Dolphins: Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
  • 85. Los Angeles Chargers: Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State
  • 86. Baltimore Ravens: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
  • 87. Minnesota Vikings: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas
  • 88. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M
  • 89. New York Giants: Juice Scruggs, C, Penn State
  • 90. Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah McGuire, EDGE, Missouri
  • 91. Buffalo Bills: Kobie Turner, DL, Wake Forest
  • 92. Cincinnati Bengals: Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
  • 93. Carolina Panthers (via SF): Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC
  • 94. Philadelphia Eagles: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
  • 95. Kansas City Chiefs: Jartavius Martin, CB, Illinois
  • 96. Arizona Cardinals: Sydney Brown, S, Illinois
  • 97. Washington Commanders: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
  • 98. Cleveland Browns: JL Skinner, S, Boise State
  • 99. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State
  • 100. Las Vegas Raiders: K.J. Henry, EDGE, Clemson
  • 101. San Francisco 49ers: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
  • 102. San Francisco 49ers: Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

Related: Highest paid NFL players in 2023: NFL salaries by position, highest-paid NFL stars

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