It’s another year, and that means another Marketing Mock Draft. As always, I try to fill out these picks by keeping marketability and the ability to sell the pick to the respective fan bases as the main reason and driving force behind the picks. I try to limit football logic and scheme fits as much as possible (they come into play, but I do really try to steer away from it).
The point of this NFL mock draft is to get you thinking about the money side of things, about the business side of football in terms of marketing and branding. It’s meant to get you thinking about what’s going to increase sales for tickets, jerseys, concessions, luxury suites, etc.
Those things all play a factor in building out NFL rosters, but I think this exercise is fun because it relies on those variables as the most weighted factors in the player-team fits you’re about to see.
With that being said, welcome to Robert Judin’s 2023 Marketing NFL Mock Draft!
2023 Marketing Mock Draft
1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI)
Anthony Richardson QB, Florida
When you have Frank Reich and Josh McCown, you should feel comfortable in your ability to nurture a young quarterback. Carolina picks Anthony Richardson here in this mock draftwith the understanding they don’t need to throw him out there right away because they signed Andy Dalton to a one-year deal, and the NFC South is in a state of flux where it’s really anyone’s division at this point. Flip the bird to anyone saying that he needs to start day one because of where he’s drafted. Build for the future; play the long game. In my opinion, that’s what Dave Tepper would see, along with the ability to drive ticket sales and merchandise sales by marketing Richardson as the second coming of Cam Newton. That’s not me saying Richardson to Newton is an apples-to-apples comparison. I’m saying that putting Richardson in a No. 2 jersey (his high school number) and promoting him as a newer, faster model of the Panthers’ former MVP would drive revenue.
2. Houston Texans (via CLE)
Tyree Wilson EDGE, Texas Tech
By now, you all know how geography plays a major role in this process. Tyree Wilson grew up in Texas and attended high school in New London, Texas. My angle here, if I were the Texans, would be to get a local kid with an enticing skill set. Sell it to the fan base as DeMeco Ryans finding the next big piece of his young defense—the dude he’s going to tab to fill the Nick Bosa role in the front seven, just as Ryans oversaw in San Francisco. You could have also gone with Will Anderson Jr. here, drawing a tie to his and Ryans’ background as former Alabama players. But I felt like the Texas factor was too big to pass up in this scenario.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Bijan Robinson RB, Texas
Now, remember, I try to limit football logic as much as possible when doing these picks, placing a higher value on what’s more likely to generate revenue. Bringing Bijan Robinson back home to Arizona would be a fruitful endeavor for the Cardinals. The organization would definitely see boosts in jersey sales. I mean, just picture it. You walk into the team store and see Kyler Murray’s No. 1 jersey hanging side-by-side with Robinson’s No. 5 jersey. No one knows if this new regime in Arizona will actually be able to churn out wins. But I do know Murray and Robinson could form one hell of a duo and cause fits for defenses. The pictures, graphics, and videos of the two of them perfectly executing read options and blowing by defenders would dominate on social media.
4. Indianapolis Colts
C.J. Stroud QB, Ohio State
There aren’t a lot of west coast vibes in Indianapolis. But what the Colts could do here is simply ease fans’ minds by providing a young, relatively mobile, accurate quarterback to give them hope for the future. Indianapolis could play off of the southern California connection between C.J. Stroud and Michael Pittman Jr., but even taking that a step further, if the chemistry works out on the field, you could portray the franchise as having a modern rendition of the Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Edgerrin James years. Again, I’m not saying this group will be a quartet of NFL Hall of Famers. What I am saying is that, at least for a few seasons, fans can be sold on the possibility that Stroud, Pittman, Alec Pierce, and Jonathan Taylor could eventually find similar shades of success—maybe even producing a Super Bowl.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
Bryce Young QB, Alabama
Yes, we get it. Bryce Young is small. Go ahead and check that one off your bingo card. I seem to recall Pete Carroll and the Seahawks finding success with another short, highly elusive, accurate quarterback. Now, is Young going to be the next Russell Wilson? No one knows. But again, that is the way you sell it to the Seahawks faithful. Geno Smith is a feel-good story with how he played in 2022. But there’s also a reason Seattle gave itself an easy out in the contract. You market Young as the evolution of what Wilson was … but without the inflated ego. Instead of “let Russ cook,” it becomes “Bryce being Bryce,” as the entire pacific northwest watches Young work his magic while evading pressure and somehow finding Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf on broken plays for 40-yard touchdowns. And the cherry on top of it all is you put Young back on the west coast.
6. Detroit Lions
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE, Alabama
This is another one that could have gone quite a few ways. But I felt like the ultimate best case for Detroit to try and make money off the field would be to give Aidan Hutchinson a running mate, a Kobe to his Shaq … straight up D2 The Mighty Ducks Bash Brother style with Hutchinson and Will Anderson Jr. Those two coming off the edge would be scary. The Lions did find instant sack production with James Houston IV, too, but with those three sack artists teaming up and being rounded out by other young, promising defenders like Malcolm Rodriguez and Kerby Joseph, Detroit—and its knee-biting mentality—can formulate and sell the next dominating defense for at least a half-decade. We’ve seen “Purple People Eaters.” We’ve encountered a “Steel Curtain.” We’ve witnessed the “Legion of Boom.” Imagine if Dan Campbell’s Lions elevate to that level. The franchise could see a huge profit marketing the “Den of Doom,” as the NFL’s hottest, stingiest defensive unit.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Will Levis QB, Kentucky
Let’s get weird … like Will Levis-level weird. This just seems like an ideal fit. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas and meandered about the strip knows it’s an odd place. The Raiders can certainly sell the character that is the banana-peel-eating, mayo-in-coffee-drinking, big-armed thrower of pigskins that is Levis. Seriously, can’t you just imagine Levis dressing up as Elvis for Halloween and singing “My Heart Will Go On” next to Celine Dion on stage at her Las Vegas residency? Sprinkle in a few 60-yard dimes, and I can easily see the Vegas locals buying Levis jerseys and T-shirts that read “Levis Vegas.” If it all translates to success on the field, then Sin City could become “Win City.” The marketing potential is through the roof with this one.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Jalen Carter IDL, Georgia
This is as simple as it gets. You can pitch to fans that you landed arguably the best player in the class at pick No. 8. Jalen Carter dominated at Georgia and helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships, including their first title in 40 years. The Falcons fan base would drool over the pairing of Carter and Grady Jarrett. From Athens to Atlanta, it’s never a bad idea to capitalize on the power a name like Carter’s carries regionally.
9. Chicago Bears (via CAR)
Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Ohio State
This one was pretty easy as well. You reunite two former Buckeyes teammates with Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Justin Fields, strengthening the connection between the Bears and the Big Ten powerhouse. Additionally, a city like Chicago, which has historically prided itself on running the ball and playing strict defense, all of a sudden falls in love with an aerial attack that features Smith-Njigba, D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, and whomever else Ryan Poles brings in this offseason. I could easily see Smith-Njigba quickly becoming a fan favorite in Chi-town. The trio of him, Fields, and Moore could be a cash cow for the Bears. And with Aaron Rodgers finally out of the NFC North, a prominent passing game propelling the Bears to the top of the division would be an incredible opportunity to monetize.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
Broderick Jones OT, Georgia
This one doesn’t need to be too hard of a sell. You take Broderick Jones here in this mock draft because Jalen Hurts is the real deal, and you need to make sure Hurts stays healthy. The Eagles fan base knows its roster is in great shape with a significant amount of draft capital stored up. Using this pick on Jones would not be a hard sell. He won’t sell many jerseys, but maybe there’s a Philly cheesesteak marketing opportunity built in there somewhere. Regardless, as long as he gives Hurts time to facilitate the offense, everything will be solid in Philly.
11. Tennessee Titans
Myles Murphy EDGE, Clemson
This is another one that really could have gone a few different ways. I came very close to just pulling the trigger on giving the Titans Hendon Hooker. They need a quarterback. Playing off of the connection to the Tennessee Volunteers could have been very easy. But I also thought it could be perceived as a large overreach by Titans fans at No. 11 overall. Ultimately, Myles Murphy made sense here in this mock draft because Mike Vrabel can add another key piece to his defense and just sell the fan base on adding a key contributor in the front seven. With that said, it’s also not too far of a drive from Murphy’s hometown in Georgia, or Clemson for that matter, to Nashville.
12. Houston Texans (via CLE)
Christian Gonzalez CB, Oregon
This was another easy one. Houston can snag arguably the best cornerback in the draft class outside the top 10 and pair him with Derek Stingley Jr. on the perimeter. DeMeco Ryans continues to add young pieces to the core of his defense, and Christian Gonzalez, just like with Tyree Wilson, gets to play the hometown hero card, as he’s originally from Carrollton, Texas.
13. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ)
Jordan Addison WR, USC
The Packers would wait until they actually traded Aaron Rodgers away to draft a wide receiver in the first round. With Jordan Love stepping into the starting quarterback role, Green Bay taking Jordan Addison would make sense here in this mock draft because the angle they would take is to supply Love with, not just another weapon on the outside, but a weapon in the passing game who can separate and be a go-to target on key downs for Love. Packers fans would love a “Jordan to Jordan” connection being dialed up on Sundays.
14. New England Patriots
Zay Flowers WR, Boston College
Whether it’s Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe orchestrating the offense up in Foxboro this season, the Patriots need to add some speed to their wide receiver room. I think you instantly establish a fan-favorite connection by drafting Zay Flowers. The Boston connection is already baked in, and he’s considered by many to be the best run-after-catch wideout in the class. Fans in New England should easily buy into this pick and start snatching up those Flowers jerseys as soon as they drop.
15. New York Jets (via GB)
Paris Johnson Jr. OT, Ohio State
The Jets already brought in one of Aaron Rodgers’ buddies with the addition of Allen Lazard. That being said, I did heavily consider a wide receiver here. But it ultimately seemed like protecting Rodgers and preparing for any and every scenario regarding Mekhi Becton was a move the Gang Green faithful would appreciate. Paris Johnson Jr. can play in the cold weather, and he’s a former Ohio State teammate of 2022 rookie sensation Garrett Wilson. If Becton can regain his form, then you’re working with bookend offensive tackles, and that’s an easy sell.
16. Washington Commanders
Devon Witherspoon CB, Illinois
Washington snagging the best cornerback left on the board in the middle of the draft felt like it would be a welcomed move for its fan base. I’m pretty sure Commanders fans would buy in on the potential of having a lockdown corner with experience playing in colder climates. If Chase Young and the rest of that defense can find their old magic, an aggressive-style cornerback like Devon Witherspoon would go a long way in balancing out the talent in that unit.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Joey Porter Jr. CB, Penn State
Is this the biggest need for the Steelers? Debatable. What’s not up for debate is how awesome it would be to see Joey Porter Jr. making plays in black and yellow like his dad did so many years ago. Pittsburgh would lose its mind over the legacy factor, and the Steelers’ marketing team would brand and market the hell out of that draft selection. You can already envision the live broadcasts for Porter Jr.’s first game, as it finds Joey Porter Sr. somewhere in the stands, watching his son follow in his footsteps with his old team.
18. Detroit Lions
Michael Mayer TE, Notre Dame
Drafting a tight end in the first round may cause some pain for Lions fans, but the angle on this one is a bit different than a few years ago. It’s not too far of a drive from South Bend to Detroit. Michael Mayer is certainly known well in that Midwest footprint. I think the sales pitch here to Lions fans would be that the team performed ahead of schedule in 2022 and found success offensively with Amon-Ra St. Brown emerging as a budding star in the NFL. With Jameson Williams set to come back in Week 7, the trio of St. Brown, Williams, and Mayer could be a dynamic bunch, and the Notre Dame tight end could prove to be a useful safety blanket for Jared Goff. The fans in Detroit would certainly welcome another offensive weapon, I’m sure.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
O’Cyrus Torrence IOL, Florida
This should be an easy win for the Buccaneers’ marketing squad if this pick gets made. The offensive line was battered last season. Gainesville is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Tampa, and there’s already one Gator on the roster in Kyle Trask. Plug O’Cyrus Torrence in next to Tristan Wirfs and provide a needed boost to that front line. Play off of the fact that Torrence earned an All-American brick for his lone season at Florida, and cash in as he reignites the thought of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the minds of Gator nation.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Luke Musgrave TE, Oregon State
Noah Fant’s contract is up after 2023, and Bryce Young is going to need a reliable target over the middle of the field. The entire pacific northwest should know all about Luke Musgrave, who developed quite nicely at Oregon State with the Beavers these past few years. He’s a product of Bend, Oregon and will represent the region, giving the fan base someone to identify with off of the field as well. I think this player-team fit has the potential to be another fan-favorite type of situation. The loyal Seahawks fans in Seattle will fall in love with his reliable hands and his blend of size and athleticism. Plus, his skill set will allow Metcalf and Lockett more opportunities to break free on the outside. Musgrave is the nephew of long-time NFL assistant Bill Musgrave, a former NFL quarterback. So, you know fans will buy into the NFL pedigree and football IQ part of Musgrave’s game. I can see a lot of Musgrave merch being bought in Seattle.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Jahmyr Gibbs RB, Alabama
The situation with Austin Ekeler has yet to be fully resolved, and that might leave fans a little worried about the future of their beloved Chargers backfield. Los Angeles can ease their minds and provide itself with a prime opportunity to make a ton of money by selecting Jahmyr Gibbs here. The former Georgia Tech and Alabama running back has superstar potential, and with Justin Herbert already having reached stardom with his rocket arm and rapid development, Gibbs could be the beneficiary of a high-powered offense that allows him to utilize his talents as a runner and a pass catcher. That, in turn, could provide the Chargers with a ton of marketing opportunities if Gibbs can slide right in as the full-time starter in 2024—assuming Ekler is moved by then.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Deonte Banks CB, Maryland
The fans in Baltimore know all about and appreciate a solid secondary. By bringing in Deonte Banks, you present fans with the notion he can be a potential lockdown corner on the outside in yet another edition of a nasty, stingy Ravens defense. Obviously, the market already knows Banks well from his time at Maryland with the Terrapins. But the fact Banks was born in Baltimore makes this an easy opportunity for fans to buy into him as a player and person. The branding opportunities are plentiful as well. Imagine Banks shutting down George Pickens in another gritty matchup with the Steelers, and the camera flashes to some Ravens fans in the crowd wearing “Banks Closed On Sunday” T-shirts. Or if Banks gets a pick-six, the Ravens’ social media team can run with graphics playing off of their young cornerback “making a quick deposit” into the end zone. This might be my favorite pick of this marketing mock draft.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Julius Brents CB, Kansas State
Julius Brents is from Indianapolis and knows the midwest very well, having also played at Iowa and Kansas State. The Vikings fans are another fan base who appreciate a highly productive defense. With Patrick Peterson having moved on to the Steelers, it’s not too hard of a sell to the fans in Minnesota that Brents was a solid pickup. I can’t lie, though, I really wanted to put Jon Michael Schmitz here to put a Golden Gopher in purple and gold. It just seemed like the Brents pick would be a slightly easier pick to showcase to Vikings fans, especially having Garrett Bradbury locked up for three more years.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Darnell Washington TE, Georgia
This one was actually harder than I thought it would be. I had to ask myself over and over, “Which pick would get Jaguars fans truly excited about the direction the team is headed in?” I tried to think about what kind of player, if he met his potential, would get fans to spend the most money. That led me to Darnell Washington. He’s a mammoth of a human being and an athletic specimen. He’s just the kind of tight end target Trevor Lawrence would love to throw to in the red zone, and he’s especially the kind of player Jaguars fans would quickly grow to love and support. He’s played in Jacksonville each of the last three years when the Georgia Bulldogs met the Florida Gators. And I truly believe fans would be on board with the many options Washington would provide for Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley to get open on the perimeter. He might even remind them of Marcedes Lewis, who spent 12 years in Duval after being taken with the No. 28 overall pick in 2006. Of course, better quarterback play this time around would bode well for Washington, unlike the ones Lewis had throwing him the ball. All in all, this is a move to help Lawrence progress, and the Jacksonville fan base would love that.
25. New York Giants
Brian Branch SAF, Alabama
Giants fans already appreciate Xavier McKinney already and the skill set he provides on the back end of the defense. Let’s give them another former Alabama safety to pair with McKinney and replace Julian Love. Brian Branch’s high IQ and versatility would allow him to “branch off” and fulfill multiple responsibilities in Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme. New York would fall head over heels with Branch if he’s ranging sideline to sideline making plays at all three levels.
26. Dallas Cowboys
Peter Skoronski OL, Northwestern
The Cowboys have two really promising options at tailback with Tony Pollard as their main running back and Malik Davis as their No. 2. For them to find postseason success, they have to be able to efficiently run the ball, and fans know that. That’s where Peter Skoronski comes into play. Ideally, I would have preferred the marketing opportunities for Skoronski in Green Bay, where his grandfather, Bob Skoronski, won five NFL championships with the Packers, or even in Chicago with the Bears to layer in the rivalry element between the longtime NFC North foes. But this fit with Dallas works, too, as the Cowboys can paint this pick as getting the best offensive lineman on the board and showcasing their plan to kick Skoronski inside to guard with a mission to carve out holes for Pollard and Davis to exploit. Fans in Dallas appreciate a strong offensive line unit, and they’d buy into Skoronski as the pick here.
27. Buffalo Bills
Nolan Smith EDGE, Georgia
There are no geographic ties to the market in Buffalo here with the Nolan Smith pick. But it does provide the fan base with an intriguing option on the edge to pair with Greg Rousseau when Von Miller eventually moves on. Josh Allen may be the king of Buffalo, but that defense built by Sean McDermott has been stout since he became the head coach. Plucking Smith from the back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs would resonate, and his versatility and athleticism could get fans to buy into him as a complimentary piece to Rousseau, fitting in nicely with young defensive cornerstones that also include Ed Oliver and Kaiir Elam.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Emmanuel Forbes CB, Mississippi State
Bengals fans know what the offense can do with Joe Burrow at the helm. They know Ja’Marr Chase is a stud. They know Tee Higgins is a stud. Truth be told, I don’t think they ever worry about putting up enough points. But if they’re going to make it back to the Super Bowl, their secondary needs more talent. You throw in a versatile cornerback with ball production like Emmanuel Forbes, and Cincinnati will immediately support the move and the player. You frame it as adding an intelligent defensive back to help get the ball back for Burrow to put more points on the board. Plus, the Bengals can sell the combo of Forbes and Cam Taylor-Britt as a young, exciting cornerback duo to build around in the secondary.
29. New Orleans Saints (via DEN)
Quentin Johnston WR, TCU
Derek Carr needs another option on the outside, and everyone knows it. Saints fans know it. They know Michael Thomas can be elite when healthy, but he hasn’t been healthy. You take Quentin Johnston here because New Orleans will buy into his size and speed, and he’s well-known in the region being from Texas and having played at TCU. Even if Thomas’ days in NOLA are numbered, Johnston could form a dangerous duo with Chris Olave for many years—or at least that’s how you package it to the fan base in New Orleans.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
John Michael Schmitz IOL, Minnesota
Okay, hear me out. Eventually … I repeat, eventually, Jason Kelce is, in fact, going to retire. When? I don’t even think he truly knows. But it will happen. The Eagles do already have Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens on their offensive line, so why give them John Michael Schmitz here in this mock draft? Two words: communication and options. Picture it now. It’s 2026, and Kelce has finally hung up his cleats. Philadelphia is still rocking and rolling with Jalen Hurts, and their offensive line is playing as one with the entire interior meshing and communicating seamlessly. They have two quality options to play center—should anything happen injury-wise—and the former Golden Gopher is the one in the middle, having seen Dickerson and Jurgens already perform at guard. Or you can mix and match. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is the fact Eagles fans know how important Hurts’ ability to run is to their offense, and they need to keep him protected and carve out the running lanes. Is it a sexy pick? No. But it’s one I think would be easily marketable in time.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Darnell Wright OT, Tennessee
The Chiefs found gold with Trey Smith in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, which allowed them to rebuild their entire offensive line in one offseason by adding him with Creed Humphrey in the same draft. I believe Kansas City fans wouldn’t mind going back to the Tennessee Volunteers well and snagging Darnell Wright here to pair with Jawaan Taylor on the ends of their offensive line. This one doesn’t have to be too insightful. Whatever gives Patrick Mahomes more time to throw is going to be a strong move in the eyes of that fan base.
What did you think of the marketing mock draft 2023 NFL Mock Draft? Let us know what you think about this or any edition of our NFL Mock Draft series on Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget the 2023 NFL Draft will take place starting on Thursday night.
Why Trey Dean III Can Make Jets Roster As UDFA
- May 30, 2023
Christian Mahogany Will Soon Add To Boston College’s NFL Pipeline
- May 29, 2023