The 2023 NFL Draft is just days away and NFL teams are finalizing their big boards and start to focus on draft day. This 2023 NFL Mock Draft answers the biggest questions on where the quarterbacks will be going, potential trades and big surprises.
In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft I will be focusing on the first round and finally give my thoughts on what the Dolphins will do with their first pick in this years draft.
Top 10 Mock Draft
1) Carolina Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud
As of now, the betting market has QB Bryce Young to be selected first. However, I believe new Panthers Head Coach Frank wants a prototypical QB for the scheme he’ll bring to Carolina in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft
2) Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young
The connections are too great for Bryce Young to not be selected by Houston. Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans have spoke highly of Young. While Young does not fit the mold of your typical NFL Passer, he’s reminiscent of another QB (Kyler Murray) that was taken high with other elite traits at the QB position.
3) Detroit Lions (Projected Trade with Arizona): QB Anthony Richardson
Now this will make the biggest headlines in the 2023 NFL Draft if this actually happens. Yes, Jared Goff has done well with the Lions last year, but having Richardson in this Lions offense, with this many weapons and a good OL would set the Lions up for success in the future.
4) Indianapolis Colts: QB, Will Levis
Mayo loving QB Will Levis has been making waves in the pre-draft process. Scouts and NFL Media are raving about Levis playing in a pro-style offense at Kentucky. The Wildcat prospect has enough tools to work with, athleticism and ran a pro style offense with no run game, a bad OL and subpar receivers in the SEC. new HC Shane Steichen has worked with many QB’s in the past and could fit him up to be the next Colts QB.
5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): DL Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter is exactly what the Seattle Seahawks need in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. The Georgia Bulldog prospect is a monster up front, pairing him up with Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed is another step in revamping their front four and getting back to playing Championship caliber defense.
6) Arizona (Projected Trade with Arizona): EDGE Will Anderson
This is the best scenario for the Cardinals as there becomes a frenzy on QB’s and they take the best player available in the draft and gain picks to start their rebuild. Anderson is a blue chip prospect and the best player at his position. He has the athleticism, build, and arm length to make relentless plays against the pass and run
7) Las Vegas Raiders: OT Paris Johnson
With Jimmy Garoppolo as their new Qb, the Raiders will need protection up front. Johnson has the a really nice prototype at OT-size, length, and quickness- for the Raiders to become a nasty unit up front. Kolton Miller is their LT for now and Johnson has only played a year at LT, he’s versatile enough to play RG. He’s an elite run blocker that will pave the way for Josh Jacobs.
8) Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Tyree Wilson
The Falcons need help with their pass rush, especially as they were ranked 26th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate. Wilson gives the Falcons a player with elite traits and measurables in a rotating pass rush group that will develop his skills and pass rush moves.
9) Chicago Bears (from Carolina): OT Peter Skoronski
The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of any and all offensive linemen to protect QB Justin Fields. The best available OL for Ryan Poles on the board is Northwestern Peter Skoronski. According to the Bears evaluation chart, Length is a big requirement to play OT. Skoronski fits as a Guard with his measurables.
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans): RB Bijan Robinson
Death, Taxes, and Howie Roseman picking up value as one of the best General Managers in the NFL. Analytics be damned! Bijan rules and the Eagles try to continue to surround newly paid QB Jalen Hurts with more talent to make another run at the Super Bowl. Robinson and Hurts’ gravity with their legs will put defenders in a bind.
The Middle picks
11) Tennessee Titans: OT Broderick Jones
The Titans lost a lot of veteran offensive lineman in free agency and need to get younger, especially with Tannehill and Henry getting older. Tennessee gets bigger and stronger up front with the big UGA Bulldog. Jones has insane upside and is a great fit for Tennessee’s power running game.
12) Houston Texans (from Cleveland): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Jaxson Smith-Njigba might be the best WR in this years class and certainly the first WR taken in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. While JSN might not be super fast, he’s an exceptional route runner, creates separation and gets downfield. He’ll pair up well in Houston with Bryce Young and John Metchie III.
13) New York Jets: OT Darnell Wright Tennessee
The rest of the world is waiting on the Aaron Rodgers saga, I’m not. The Jets need help at their Tackle position. The Jets depth chart at Tackle is paper thin and Wright becomes their best OL regardless of whoever is playing QB.
14) New England Patriots: EDGE Nolan Smith
The New England Patriots do not have any other pass rushers under contract beyond 2023 besides Matthew Judon and 2021 draft pick Ronnie Perkins. Smith is an athletic freak. He’s comparable to Haasan Reddick and gives Bill Belicheck a versatile player in the front seven.
15) Green Bay Packers: EDGE Myles Murphy
The Packers are currently looking to select a pass rusher in the draft and Murphy is the best option on the board. Murphy is a higly athletic pass rusher along the lines of what GM Brian Gutenkest likes in pass rushers. Murphy’s explosive off the edge but needs to better his technique against the run.
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16) Washington Commanders: CB Devon Witherspoon
Washington is in dire need of a cornerback and Witherspoon is the first corner off the board. Witherspoon’s the best corner on the board and offers position flexibility. Witherspoons learning curve in the Commanders defense would be minimal as Illinois ran a similar style in 2022.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Christian Gonzalez
Gonzalez is one of the many corners the Steelers have brought in for a draft visit and also need secondary help. At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, he is an ideal size to matchup with bigger and stronger wide receivers at the NFL level especially in the AFC.
18) Detroit Lions: CB Joey Porter Jr.
As the run on CB’s start, the Lions bolster their defense with an NFL Bloodline prospects. After the trade of Okudah, the Lions level up in the secondary. With Porter’s versatility means he’ll fill in anywhere he’s needed and a good schematic fit for the Lions.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Brian Branch
Todd Bowles needs a thumper in the middle of his defense and someone who can wear multiple hats while doing it well. Branch is that player. He’s a do it all defender with good instincts in coverage and speed as a blitzer. As of now the Bucs need a nickel defender and someone who has the ability to also play safety. Branch is the pick in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.
Rounding out the teens
20) Cincinnati Bengals (Projected Trade with Seattle): TE Dalton Kincaid
This is a pretty shocking trade to pull off, especially for a TE. However, this TE class is absolutely loaded and Kincaid is the best pass catching TE there is to help bring more firepower to an electric Bengals offense.
21) Los Angeles Chargers: WR Quentin Johnson
There are targets up for grabs in LA, and Johnston fits a similar profile to the type of receivers the Chargers have drafted in the past. Size, RAC, and toughness. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams aren’t getting any younger.
22) Baltimore Ravens: CB Deonte Banks
Deonte Banks stays home in Maryland in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Banks is a natural fit in Mike MacDonalds system and great in man coverage. Banks is a young infusion in a well tenured defensive back group that dealt with injuries last season.
23) Minnesota Vikings: WR Zay Flowers
It would not shock me if the Minnesota Vikings trade back to gain more draft capital, however; if a top WR2 prospect like Zay Flowers is avaliable, I think they take him. It’s a good move to pair up Zay Flowers with Justin Jefferson, two really good separators that can do damage against top CB’s.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Calijah Kancey
The Jaguars have a void in the interior of their defensive line. Calijah Kancey gives the Jaguars a young, but dominant core for the next couple of years. While Kancey does not have the measurables, he was disruptive and a productive force at Pitt and can line up anywhere on the front seven to make the Jaguars a multiple front.
25) New York Giants: WR Jordan Addison
An extremely productive receiver at Pitt with Kenny Pickett and at USC with Caleb Williams, Addison goes to newly paid Giants QB Daniel Jones to give the football Giants a brand new playmaker they have desperately needed into their offense. Addison is a refined route runner that can lineup in the slot and move around the field.
26) Dallas Cowboys: DL Bryan Bresee
This pick goes against the grain of what the Cowboys have done in the first round, they’re all about flashy players on offense, TE feels like a safe pick but they have pressing needs at defensive tackle. While Dallas’ defense is strong they need someone in the middle of the line to make it stout. Having Breese, coming off an ACL injury, but young and talented to play by Micah and DeMarcus Lawerence would set the Boys DL for the future
27) Buffalo Bills: EDGE Lukas Van Ness
Recent history suggest Bills draft defense in the first round, especially amongst the front seven. Buffalo gets a physical but raw defender in Lukas Van Ness in this 2023 Mock Draft. Van Ness is a project early on but having him learn the tools of the trade behind DaQuaon Jones, Ed Oliver, and Von Miller will benefit his development. His upside is not to be taken lightly. The Bills defense is built from the inside out, and the rugged Hawkeyes pass rusher would fit the culture and could be a critical rotational edge rusher as a rookie.
28) Seattle Seahawks (Projected Trade with Cincinatti): G O’Cyrus Torrence
In a whirlwind trade with the Cincinatti Bengals, the Seattle Seahawks get tremendous value in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. One of the best offensive lineman in the draft lands up in Seattle to form a young offensive line that provides a long term fixture at guard. Geno Smith gets another year to prove himself behind an OL that ranked 27th in the NFL per PFF with two rookie tackles.
29) New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver): DL Mazi Smith
The Saints need to shore up the interior of their defense, especially after losing three starters in Shy Tuttle, David Onyemata, and Marcus Davenport. The consensus points to Michigan prospect Mazi Smith to settle down in the Bayou. Smith is a classic run stuffer for a Dennis Allen Saints defense with athleticism on early downs. They ranked 24th against the rush, Mazi is a big bodied presence for the Saints.
30) Philadelphia Eagles: OT Anton Harrison
It’s like General Manager Howie Roseman loves Sooner Prospects. First Lane Johnson, then Jalen Hurts, next up in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft is Anton Harrison. Harrison just had a top 30 visit with the Eagles. Harrison is reloaded into the Eagles offensive line to continue their dominant run game and protect Jalen Hurts. Also, Eagles Coach Jeff Stoutland loved what Harrison was able to do in the pass rush drop drill at the Combine.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: TE Michael Mayer
Man would this be a selection for the Kansas City Chiefs. Pairing up one of the best TE prospects in this draft class with a future Hall of Famer in TE Travis Kelce. The Combination of Mayer and Kelce will be destructive for opposing defenses as the Chiefs would do damage in 12 personnel. Michael Mayer can do the dirty work in the trenches and pick up yards in the passing game.
51) Miami Dolphins: TE Darnell Washington
Darnell Washington is hard to miss if he’s available on the board. At 6’7 and 265 pounds, Washington is a freakishly good athlete that relies on his strengths to block in-line and can catch passes at his size. He’s hard to take down. It’ll take some time for Washington to become a tactful blocker in Miami, but he does strengthen the blocking aspect of Miami’s offensive line.
Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel