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NFL Mock Draft
NFL Draft

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Battle For QB1 Heating Up

  • Damian Parson
  • January 25, 2023
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It is finally 2023 NFL Draft season, ladies and gentlemen. The conference championship games are next weekend and the Senior Bowl is a week away. Teams are getting ready for the information to be dished out over the next few months. Here at TDN, we have been completing full draft reports since early November. The draft order is almost completely set. I am tasked with NFL Mock Draft duty this week. Go ahead and dive into my NFL Mock Draft 5.0!

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Parson 5.0

NFL Mock Draft

1. Indianapolis Colts (via CHI)*

Will Levis QB, Kentucky

IND gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 1)
CHI gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 4), 2023 2nd-round pick (No. 36), 2024 1st-round pick

The Indianapolis Colts do not wait until pick No. 4 to find/select their next quarterback. They have been searching since the retirement of Andrew Luck. Will Levis has the physical and athletic tools teams are willing to bet on. He has, “Truck Traits” to hitch your team too if he develops and takes that next step. His arm talent is easily top 10-12 in the league right now. Combined with his running ability, Levis could fit in well with this run-oriented/play-action-built offense.

NFL Mock Draft

2. Houston Texans

Bryce Young QB, Alabama

Houston is going to be on their third coach in three years. They need stability, leadership, and a culture. Bryce Young does not measure up physically to his QB counterparts in this draft class, but he is a true natural leader and winner. His combination of poise/mental toughness, improvisational skill, and passing skills are enough for a team to buy in on Young as their QB of the future.

NFL Mock Draft

3. Arizona Cardinals

Will Anderson Jr. EDGE, Alabama

The Cardinals are making the necessary hires in the front office to make forward progress. Being in a position to add a blue-chip talent can not be understated. Will Anderson Jr. gives the Cardinals a go-to edge rusher to replace the losses of Haason Reddick and Chandler Jones. Anderson’s explosiveness, power, and motor will be a great benefit to this front seven.

4. Chicago Bears (via IND)*

Jalen Carter IDL, Georgia

CHI gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 4), 2023 2nd-round pick (No. 36), 2024 1st-round pick
IND gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 1)

Trading out of the first overall selection was the right move in this NFL mock draft for the Bears—especially if it means being able to add an absolute stud like Jalen Carter in the process. Carter’s a game-wrecking talent on the defensive interior. His ability as a run defender and interior pass rusher is game-changing. Chicago needs a blue-chip playmaker.

NFL Mock Draft

5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)

Tyree Wilson EDGE, Texas Tech

Seattle made the playoffs and beat the low expectations set upon them in the preseason. Their defensive line needs upgrading to help this team reach its next plateau. Tyree Wilson has the build, length, and power to play in multiple positions, whether it’s defensive end, 3-technique, or some standup edge. Wilson has a high ceiling due to his physical traits but needs refinement. Bet on the traits.

6. Carolina Panthers (via DET)*

C.J. Stroud QB, Ohio State

CAR gets
: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 6)
DET gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 9), 2023 3rd-round pick (No. 93), 2024 1st-round pick

Carolina has the framework and foundation set to usher in a new quarterback to take over the NFC South. Here, they are aggressive to select the best and most pure passer in C.J. Stroud. Stroud proved versus Georgia that he has the mobility to hurt defenses with his legs and extend plays. Picturing him behind this stout Panthers offensive line and throwing to D.J. Moore is exciting.

NFL Mock Draft

7. Las Vegas Raiders

Paris Johnson Jr. OT, Ohio State

The Derek Carr era has ended and there will be a new QB in town. Protecting that person will be pivotal, of course. Jermaine Eluemunor played well at right tackle this season but will be a free agent. Paris Johnson Jr. began his career on the right side of Ohio State’s OL. His athleticism, length, and potential are real. This would give the Raiders two-bookend tackles.

NFL Mock Draft

8. Atlanta Falcons

Christian Gonzalez CB, Oregon

The Falcons have a few needs to address on the defensive side of the ball. Luckily their needs are strengths of the draft class. A.J. Terrell is one of the best young cover corners in football. Atlanta needs to find a CB2 to put across from him. Christian Gonzalez is the best pure cover corner in this class as a top-tier athlete with fluid movement skills and ball production to match. Gonzalez and Terrell have lock-down potential.

NFL Mock Draft

9. Detroit Lions (via CAR)*

Myles Murphy EDGE, Clemson

DET gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 9), 2023 3rd-round pick (No. 93), 2024 1st-round pick
CAR gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 6)

Aidan Hutchinson was as good as advertised as a rookie. James Houston came in as a designated pass rusher and led the team in sacks. A full-time edge remains a need for the Lions. Myles Murphy defends the run and pass well to be on the field on all three downs. Murphy, Houston, and Hutchinson could create a dynamic and versatile pass-rush package on third downs to harass opposing quarterbacks.

NFL Mock Draft

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)

Bryan Bresee IDL, Clemson

Hosting the NFC Championship Game and holding the 10th pick in the draft should not be a real thing. Well, here we are. Let’s add more help on their defensive line. Fletcher Cox is not getting any younger. Bryan Bresee is an outstanding complement to Jordan Davis on the defensive interior. Davis can handle double teams, freeing up Bresee as a single-gap penetrator. This defensive line continues to stack talent and depth.

NFL Mock Draft

11. Tennessee Titans

Broderick Jones OT, Georgia

Once the AFC South leader before a tough second-half schedule and collapse. Taylor Lewan has not played a full season in a few years. The Titans can save more than $14 million dollars by cutting bait. Broderick Jones is an athletically-gifted mover at left tackle. His raw power and athleticism fit this zone-blocking scheme well. He would slide into the starting role as a rookie.

NFL Mock Draft

12. Houston Texans (via CLE)

Quentin Johnston WR, TCU

A new quarterback is in the fold with Bryce Young, now let’s add some more weapons at this point in the NFL mock draft. My WR1, Quentin Johnston has the size, ball skills, and incredible athleticism to assume the X-receiver role. The speed to threaten defenses downfield is his best trait. He has some growing to do with the technical aspects of the game. Young and Johnston could grow together to change the status of the Texans’ passing offense.

NFL Mock Draft

13. New York Jets

Brian Branch SAF, Alabama

Robert Saleh’s defense was outstanding this year. Continuing to add high-impact players to it is never a bad thing. Brian Branch fits the hybrid safety/nickel defender role perfectly. He is good in coverage and tackles well in run support. This secondary becomes even better with this addition with the Dolphins and Bills’ passing offenses in the division.

NFL Mock Draft

14. New England Patriots

Jordan Addison WR, USC

There was a lot that wasn’t right for the Patriots’ offense in 2022, and it began with their choice of OC. It spilled to the weapons around Mac Jones. Jordan Addison would be a nice addition to this passing attack. Addison is a talented route-runner and run-after-catch threat. He could be the No. 1 option for Jones in 2023 and beyond.

NFL Mock Draft

15. Green Bay Packers

Lukas Van Ness EDGE, Iowa

Want to talk about a riser? Lukas Van Ness is rising up boards as we enter draft season. He has an enticing size/frame with explosive power. There is an upside and untapped potential with Van Ness as a power edge rusher. He would add more talent to improve this front seven for the long term.

NFL Mock Draft

16. Washington Commanders

Joey Porter Jr. CB, Penn State

The Commanders were close to a playoff berth this season. I expect Sam Howell to be the starting QB in 2023. That said, improving their defensive secondary should be a priority. They do not have a CB1 on the roster. Joey Porter Jr. gives them that caliber of talent. He has NFL bloodlines and is a man-to-man corner with good instincts. Rivera finds his CB1.

NFL Mock Draft

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Peter Skoronski OT, Northwestern

The Steelers’ weakness entering the season was their offensive line. Peter Skoronski is some people’s top offensive tackle in the class. He is technically refined and intelligent. Regardless if he plays OT or is kicked inside at guard, get the best five players on the front line for Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris.

NFL Mock Draft

18. Detroit Lions

Devon Witherspoon CB, Illinois

The Lions’ pursuit to improve their defense continues with their second pick in this NFL mock draft. Dan Campbell loves toughness and physicality, and CB Devon Witherspoon embodies this perfectly. His tackling in space and in run support is better than most CBs that I have studied. Pairing him with Jeff Okudah sounds like a dream come true.

NFL Mock Draft

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kelee Ringo CB, Georgia

Tom Brady is on his way out of Tampa as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. While quarterback is a need, Todd Bowles’ defense has multiple DBs on expiring deals. Kelee Ringo can step in as a day-one starter with his combination of size, speed, and strength. I believe Bowles can get the best out of Ringo in coverage to keep retooling his defense.

NFL Mock Draft

20. Seattle Seahawks

Anthony Richardson QB, Florida

A surprise pick? When you have as many as the Seahawks, why not make luxury selections? Anthony Richardson has the best set of physical and athletic tools at the QB position in this class. With Geno Smith in the fold, Richardson does not have to play right away. A strong-minded and great coach like Pete Carroll will set this young man up for success. Richardson can sit and learn for at least a year before getting the job as the potential franchise QB.

21. Miami Dolphins

[Pick forfeited]

NFL Mock Draft

22. Los Angeles Chargers

Michael Mayer TE, Notre Dame

Justin Herbert got his first experience of the postseason during wild-card weekend. I envision the goal is to continue to build a powerhouse offense around the elite-caliber star quarterback. Michael Mayer is the best tight end in the class. He run blocks well, runs good routes, and has an incredible feel for coverages. Whether working the middle of the field or detaching as a big slot receiver, Mayer would be a lot of fun in this offense.

NFL Mock Draft

23. Baltimore Ravens

Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Ohio State

A new offensive identity will be seen in 2023 for the Ravens, I believe a deal with Lamar Jackson will be done this offseason, too. That said, improving the wide receivers around him is a high priority. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a route-running savant. He would give Jackson a true separator that he has never had. A trio of Smith-Njigba, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews would give Jackson the best weapons of his career.

NFL Mock Draft

24. Minnesota Vikings

Cam Smith CB, South Carolina

The Vikings had a successful season under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, but their defense let them down all year—they were one of the worst units in the league. Inject Cam Smith into this secondary and thrive. Smith is a twitchy mover that plays with legitimate swag and toughness—all things the Vikings’ defense needs.

NFL Mock Draft

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Rashee Rice WR, SMU

Trevor Lawrence and Co. made tremendous strides in year two and the first year of Doug Pederson’s head coaching reign. A new WR1 is headed to Duval County next season in Calvin Ridley. Why stop there? Rashee Rice has the size/frame and ball skills to be their X or Z wide receiver. If you want to take Lawrence’s game to the next level, this is a step in that direction.

NFL Mock Draft

26. New York Giants

Clark Phillips III CB, Utah

Brian Daboll is the coach of the year and I do not believe it is close. To make the playoffs with this talent-needy roster and Daniel Jones at quarterback is magical. Wide receiver and cornerback remain two of their top needs this offseason. Clark Phillips III is a flat-out dog in coverage. His ability to take the football away may be his best trait. He will fit well in Wink Martindale’s man-heavy defense.

NFL Mock Draft

27. Dallas Cowboys

Siaki Ika NT, Baylor

Dallas’ defense is good but could become great with some more help. Siaki Ika is a big mountain that is difficult to move on the defensive interior. Think about having a physical, space-eating DT that could allow Parsons and Lawrence to see more solo matchups by occupying interior OL. Ika will keep those off-ball linebackers clean to scrape freely to the football.

NFL Mock Draft

28. Buffalo Bills

Andrew Vorhees IOL, USC

The Bills remain one of the top dogs in the AFC. Unfortunately, they did not protect their home turf versus Cincinnati. One of the issues that continue to show up is the interior offensive line—especially with multiple OL headed to free agency. Andrew Vorhees is extremely experienced and versatile. He is a plug-and-play starter from day one.

NFL Mock Draft

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Darnell Washington TE, Georgia

The Bengals showcased they are a balanced team and do not mind playing a physical brand of football. Hayden Hurst is on an expiring contract at the tight end position. Even if he returns, Darnell Washington would take this physical style of play to another level. Washington is an outstanding in-line blocker in the run game and a huge target running up the seams off play-action. Joe Burrow would give him opportunities on this loaded offense.

30. Denver Broncos (via SF)

Cody Mauch OL, North Dakota State

2022 was not kind to the Broncos. After hiring Nathaniel Hackett and trading multiple picks for Russell Wilson, the onfield play never met the hype. Hackett was fired after one season and rightfully so. Left guard Dalton Risner is headed to free agency. Protecting Wilson and opening running lanes will be key for 2023 success. Cody Mauch will bring versatility and toughness. I love the combination of him and Quinn Meinerz on their interior offensive line to move bodies in the running game.

NFL Mock Draft

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Dawand Jones OT, Ohio State

The Chiefs remain the creme de la creme of the AFC with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid at the helm. They have an issue at the offensive tackle position. Orlando Brown Jr. did not play great this season and wants to be paid top-tier money. Dawand Jones is a massive human being with nimble feet. He will move bodies in the run game and keep Mahomes upright on passing downs.

NFL Mock Draft

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Bijan Robinson RB, Texas

Low-hanging fruit, right? Yeah I know, this feels like a move that is inevitable. This is the only landing spot that makes remote sense for Bijan Robinson. He is an incredibly talented player but RB is a luxury position. Philadelphia is the best team in the NFC and could add him to make their offense nearly unstoppable.

NFL Mock Draft: Round 2

NFL Mock Draft

33. Pittsburgh Steelers (via CHI)

Deonte Banks CB, Maryland

Pittsburgh needs more help in its secondary. Deonte Banks is a riser for us here at TDN and would fit well in Mike Tomlin’s defense.

NFL Mock Draft

34. Houston Texans

O’Cyrus Torrence IOL, Florida

Houston has improved in multiple key areas: QB, WR, and IOL. O’Cyrus Torrence brings vertical power to this offensive line.

NFL Mock Draft

35. Arizona Cardinals

DJ Turner CB, Michigan

Finally, a cornerback in Arizona. New faces in the building mean better decisions (hopefully).

NFL Mock Draft

36. Chicago Bears (via IND)*

Cedric Tillman WR, Tennessee

CHI gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 4), 2023 2nd-round pick (No. 36), 2024 1st-round pick
IND gets: 2023 1st-round pick (No. 1)

Justin Fields needs more help at the WR position. Cedric Tillman is a good route-runner with a big body. He’d pair well with Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney.

37. Los Angeles Rams

Derick Hall EDGE, Auburn

Derick Hall brings explosiveness, length, and power versus both the run and pass—a legit need for this Rams defense.

NFL Mock Draft

38. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)

Kayshon Boutte WR, LSU

Geno Smith and Anthony Richardson will have fun throwing to DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and the dynamic RAC threat Kayshon Boutte.

NFL Mock Draft

39. Las Vegas Raiders

John Michael Schmitz IOL, Minnesota

We do not know who will be under the center for the Raiders. Regardless, they need to build up the interior offensive line. John Michael Schmitz is one of the best at the position to add.

40. Carolina Panthers

Jahmyr Gibbs RB, Alabama

D’Onta Foreman has done very well in the place of Christian McCaffrey after the trade, but McCaffrey’s skill set has no rival on the Panthers’ roster currently. Jahmyr Gibbs fixes that. C.J. Stroud in the first round of this NFL mock draft and Gibbs next up sounds good to me.

41. New Orleans Saints

Tuli Tuipulotu EDGE, USC

Cam Jordan is not getting any younger. Tuli Tuipulotu has the tools to learn behind Jordan early in his career.

NFL Mock Draft

42. Tennessee Titans

Zay Flowers WR, Boston College

Ryan Tannehill should return for a healthy 2023 season. He threw to one of the worst WR corps in the league. Adding Zay Flowers to Treylon Burks is a great way to upgrade the position.

43. Cleveland Browns

Keeanu Benton IDL, Wisconsin

The Browns have struggled with interior defensive linemen for a while now. Keeanu Benton is a physical 0-tech who can disrupt opposing rushing attacks.

NFL Mock Draft

44. New York Jets

Jaelyn Duncan OT, Maryland

The Jets have been without Mekhi Becton due to injuries more than once. Jaelyn Duncan can be his insurance or kick inside to guard.

NFL Mock Draft

45. Atlanta Falcons

Josh Downs WR, North Carolina

If Desmond Ridder is QB1 heading into the season, get more help around him. Josh Downs is arguably the best route-runner in this class. He and Drake London complement each other perfectly.

NFL Mock Draft

46. Green Bay Packers

Marvin Mims WR, Oklahoma

Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are two big, explosive outside receivers. Marvin Mims can play anywhere, in the slot or rotate outside to create mismatches.

NFL Mock Draft

47. New England Patriots

Colby Wooden IDL, Auburn

Bill Belichick loves to add more talent and versatility to his defensive line. Colby Wooden allows him to do that again.

NFL Mock Draft

48. Washington Commanders

Anton Harrison OT, Oklahoma

The Commanders have a need for an offensive tackle. Anton Harrison is a strong and fluid mover at the position. Get the best five on the field.

NFL Mock Draft

49. Detroit Lions

Tucker Kraft TE, South Dakota State

No more T.J. Hockenson, so a cheaper, yet talented replacement is in order. Tucker Kraft provides all of that.

NFL Mock Draft

50. Pittsburgh Steelers

Trenton Simpson LB, Clemson

Trenton Simpson would give this Steelers front seven a dynamic and explosive player on the second level.

NFL Mock Draft

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Keion White EDGE, Georgia Tech

Todd Bowles will have fun scheming up ways to use an explosive and athletic 290-pound defensive lineman.

52. Miami Dolphins

Luke Musgrave TE, Oregon State

Mike Gesicki is headed to free agency, leaving a hole at TE. Luke Musgrave has the size and athleticism combination to win in this offense. He competes as a run blocker as well.

NFL Mock Draft

53. Seattle Seahawks

Joe Tippmann OC, Wisconsin

Joe Tippmann can slide into the center position, but I believe he can play guard also. Nonetheless, his power and football intelligence will be an upgrade on the IOL for Seattle.

NFL Mock Draft

54. Chicago Bears (via BAL)

Isaiah Foskey EDGE, Notre Dame

Isaiah Foskey has high-end athleticism and is a dynamic mover to threaten off the edge, something the Bears need on defense.

NFL Mock Draft

55. Los Angeles Chargers

Jalin Hyatt WR, Tennessee

The Chargers did not have their patented deep pass option without Mike Williams in the playoffs. Jalin Hyatt sprinting downfield underneath a 60-yard bomb from Justin Herbert is too enticing to pass up in this NFL mock draft.

56. Detroit Lions (via MIN)

Drew Sanders LB/EDGE, Arkansas

Detroit continues to build this team in Dan Campbell’s image: Tough, versatile, and biting kneecaps. Drew Sanders fits the bill nicely.

NFL Mock Draft

57. Jacksonville Jaguars

Mazi Smith IDL, Michigan

Josh Allen and Travon Walker are an athletic duo off the edges. Mazi Smith brings that power and space-occupying frame/talent to help them on the interior.

NFL Mock Draft

58. New York Giants

Xavier Hutchinson WR, Iowa State

Kenny Golladay has been a major disappointment for the Giants. Xavier Hutchinson gives Daniel Jones a bigger receiver that he can learn to trust.

NFL Mock Draft

59. Dallas Cowboys

Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB, TCU

Trevon Diggs is one of the better CBs in the league. He does not have a consistent running mate across the field. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson can be that and adds some much-needed attitude to this secondary.

NFL Mock Draft

60. Buffalo Bills

Jordan Battle SAF, Alabama

One Jordan leaves, and another one steps in. Jordan Poyer is headed to free agency leaving a void at SS. Jordan Battle can step into this versatile role well.

NFL Mock Draft

61. Cincinnati Bengals

Matthew Bergeron OT, Syracuse

Left tackle Jonah Williams has accounted for more than 20 sacks allowed over the last two seasons. Matthew Bergeron gives the Bengals a young option to push Williams or replace him.

62. Carolina Panthers (via SF)

Isaiah McGuire EDGE, Missouri

The Panthers regret allowing Haason Reddick to leave in free agency. Isaiah McGuire is a juiced-up and violent-handed rusher to pair with Brian Burns.

NFL Mock Draft

63. Kansas City Chiefs

Nolan Smith EDGE, Georgia

Nolan Smith is a physical and violent edge defender. On passing downs, he can allow George Karlaftis to kick inside.

NFL Mock Draft

64. Philadelphia Eagles

Kyu Blu Kelly CB, Stanford

Philadelphia’s defense should continue to be fun to watch. Kyu Blu Kelly creates a nice tandem with star CB Darius Slay.


What did you think of the fifth edition of Damian Parson’s 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 and stay tuned next week for the next edition of TDN’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft series.

Written By

Damian Parson