football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Mock Draft
NFL Draft

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Don’t Shy Away From Franchise QBs

  • Kyle Crabbs
  • October 17, 2022
  • Share

Mid-October is here and that brings a lot more than just a bunch of spooky decorations in your neighborhood, extra point-commercial-kickoff-commercial transitions on Saturdays, and pumpkin spice lattes. It brings the beginning of a new chapter of the NFL mock draft cycle. Gone are the “Super Bowl odds” draft orders. WE HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE IT TO “CURRENT DRAFT ORDER” SEASON! So with that in mind, as you crack open my third NFL mock draft of this cycle, bear in mind that the only entity you need to be mad at for where your team is picking is your team itself.

I did thoroughly enjoy the change in order, as it cast several major changeups into the NFL mock draft experience and offered a fresh perspective of the prospects and team needs. And by the time I come back on the clock again for Draft Network mock drafts, which will be around Thanksgiving, we’ll have a much better defined draft order that will look more closely like the final standings. There’s a lot of ballgame left this season, but for where we are at right now, this is the best forecast I can muster.

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Kyle Crabbs 3.0

NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers

CJ Stroud QB, Ohio State

The Panthers finally get their long-waited choice at quarterback. Sure, they’ve invested a lot in the position, but this is the first time the team has actually gotten the pick of the litter. I expect owner David Tepper and the new coaching staff to eventually land on the most productive big-name player at the position. To this point in the season, that is CJ Stroud. Stroud doesn’t necessarily have the best individual traits, but he’s got good skills across the board and the Panthers’ offensive structure should be able to support him quickly.

NFL Mock Draft

2. Las Vegas Raiders

Will Anderson Jr. EDGE, Alabama

This is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. The Raiders don’t have a need at quarterback and while a trade down here could be enticing, landing the best overall talent to pair with Maxx Crosby amid Chandler Jones’ quiet season feels like the right move for the Raiders to construct a fearsome long-term pass-rush duo.

NFL Mock Draft

3. Detroit Lions

Will Levis QB, Kentucky

Did you watch Kentucky outlast Mississippi State on Saturday night? If you did, you saw a quarterback battle through a foot injury and a shoulder injury to lead his team to victory. That toughness is sure to catch the attention of Dan Campbell—as are the physical tools that Will Levis offers at the position. Playing in an offensive system that has a lot of parallels to many pro systems, Levis’ two years as a starter in Lexington should serve as helpful learning experiences as he transitions to the NFL.

NFL Mock Draft

4. Houston Texans

Bryce Young QB, Alabama

Houston could feasibly pass on a quarterback here or risk going best player available and then doubling back with the Browns’ selection. But I’d rather be safe than sorry with a Philadelphia team that could drop out looming. Bryce Young is an instinctual player who has experienced ample success on the biggest stage in CFB. He’s also a great leader and has high-level intangibles—which you’d have to imagine would entice the Texans.

NFL Mock Draft

5. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)

Myles Murphy EDGE, Clemson

The Eagles’ pass-rush group is one that will be in flux over the next few years. Brandon Graham is currently on an expiring contract, Derek Barnett will be in the final year of his deal in 2023, and Josh Sweat is scheduled for an $18.7M cap hit in 2024. The Eagles can and will navigate these waters, but the stability of the group isn’t necessarily something I’d feel good about. Enter Myles Murphy, who on a rookie deal can bring cheap labor to the room. He has been a productive player for the Tigers—he’s leading the team in both sacks and TFL—and his athleticism on the edge should give him a chance to make an impact early.

NFL Mock Draft

6. Houston Texans (via CLE)

Jordan Addison WR, USC

Woah, nelly. How’s this for an offensive revival?! Adding Young and Jordan Addison adds a lot of college hardware to the offensive depth chart and also adds a lot of explosiveness to a group that has found some life in RB Dameon Pierce but not much else. This is a long-term build for the Texans, but the talent added with these two picks changes the expectations in Houston for the timeline.

NFL Mock Draft

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jalen Carter IDL, Georgia

Like Las Vegas, the Steelers don’t need a quarterback—they just drafted one. Instead, they get a scheme-transcendent interior defensive lineman in Jalen Carter to step into the mix and offer the Steelers even more disruptive play inside to pair with Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt in the front seven. After all, Pittsburgh is known for that fearsome defense!

NFL Mock Draft

8. Arizona Cardinals

Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Ohio State

The Cardinals need wide receiver help, period. They’ve got other needs too, but the absence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba this season for the Ohio State offense allows a “BPA” to fall into Arizona’s lap. Kyler Murray surely will love this third addition alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Hollywood Brown on the perimeter.

NFL Mock Draft

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Peter Skoronski OT, Northwestern

The Jaguars’ offense has shown more signs of life with Doug Pederson behind the play sheet, but their offensive personnel is still in need of some polish. The Jaguars have a need at the tackle position and Peter Skoronski feels like the right fit for Pederson’s offense. He’s technically refined and projects much better as a pass protector than the duo currently in-house for Trevor Lawrence and Co.

NFL Mock Draft

10. Chicago Bears

Broderick Jones OT, Georgia

The Bears need a little bit of nasty up front. Well, actually they need a lot of nasty up front. Broderick Jones brings plenty to the left tackle position as the Bears look to form a new identity. With a former offensive lineman in Ryan Poles as the GM and the team’s early affinity to running the ball, one has to assume Jones’ traits will be appealing to a Chicago team that desperately needs improved play in the trenches.

NFL Mock Draft

11. Washington Commanders

Cam Smith CB, South Carolina

William Jackson III appears to be headed for a split with the Commanders, which leaves the secondary vulnerable and ready for some new blood. Cam Smith is a strong corner who can play in most any scheme. He’s a proper blend of size and traits to step in and fill the void for a Commanders team that, at the very least, needs a third corner moving forward—if not a CB1.

NFL Mock Draft

12. Seattle Seahawks

Kelee Ringo CB, Georgia

You’ve heard all about Seattle and big corners, right? Now imagine pairing Tariq Woolen with Kelee Ringo… my goodness. Talk about length, athleticism, and ball skills on the outside. This is a long-term play to bring Seattle back to their former strength defensively in the secondary.

NFL Mock Draft

13. Atlanta Falcons

Gervon Dexter Sr. IDL, Florida

Gervon Dexter Sr. pairing with Grady Jarrett gives the Falcons a stout pair on the defensive interior, helping this team to rebuild the line of scrimmage with physical players. Dexter Sr. has some added versatility to fulfill a number of roles on every kind of down and distance and pairs with some of the Falcons’ rookie pass rushers on the edge to further remold the front.

NFL Mock Draft

14. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)

Tyree Wilson EDGE, Texas Tech

Tyree Wilson is, like Ringo, very much a “Seattle” kind of pick. He’s an explosive hybrid player in the front who gives Seattle further flexibility to play mismatches up front. Whether he’s aligned on the edge or in the B-gap, I think he can either control the point or shoot gaps—further bolstering a Seattle defense in transition.

NFL Mock Draft

15. Cincinnati Bengals

Trenton Simpson LB, Clemson

Woo buddy do I like this fit for the Bengals in this NFL mock draft. Cincinnati has an impactful linebacker in Logan Wilson and a defense that has plenty of talent, but a true weapon in Simpson gives a lot of personnel flexibility. You won’t find a more versatile linebacker in college football and I truly believe he can play all three downs without some of the concerns that most hybrid linebackers bring.

NFL Mock Draft

16. New England Patriots

Joey Porter Jr. CB, Penn State

The Patriots have suddenly found their bite this season but their defensive depth chart still needs some added talent—particularly in the secondary, which is where so much of their defensive success has been forged under Bill Belichick. Few prospects are hotter this season than Joey Porter Jr.—don’t blame him for Penn State’s big letdown against Michigan. Porter Jr. has been one of the most effective man-coverage corners in all of college football this fall.

NFL Mock Draft

17. Green Bay Packers

Michael Mayer TE, Notre Dame

Green Bay’s offensive transition has already leaned into a more run-heavy approach, but how about a player who can pick up both the run game AND the pass game in Michael Mayer? Robert Tonyan has a place close to Aaron Rodgers’ heart but the team would likely be wise to start thinking about life with and without Rodgers for the long haul.

NFL Mock Draft

18. Miami Dolphins (via SF)

Brian Branch SAF, Alabama

The Dolphins’ secondary is in shambles these days. You’ve got Byron Jones on the PUP, Nik Needham left in Week 6 on a cart, rookie UDFA Kader Kohou missed this week as well, and former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene hasn’t made an impact in three years. Jones’ financials will be hard to move on from, but adding a defender like Brian Branch who can play in the slot gives Miami more versatility to work with around standout safety Jevon Holland and third-year player Brandon Jones (a viable starter but not a plus player in coverage).

NFL Mock Draft

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cameron Ward QB, Washington State

Tampa Bay has an expiring contract in Tom Brady that leaves a major, major hole on the depth chart moving forward. With a lot of expiring contracts and a lot of work ahead of them, it is reasonable to think that the Buccaneers may be a team in major transition. If that is the case, why not take a superbly gifted quarterback prospect to develop and build around moving forward? Ideally, Cameron Ward doesn’t play as a rookie. Can Kyle Trask take the reins in the short term? Ward is the choice here because I’m not sure we’ll see Florida QB Anthony Richardson make the leap. But you can very easily build a case for that choice as well if Richardson declares. Neither he nor Ward is sure to declare, but I think Ward has built a more consistent resume through the first half of 2022.

NFL Mock Draft

20. Baltimore Ravens

Christian Gonzalez CB, Oregon

The Ravens’ defensive effort this season has been better in recent weeks, but as you look out across the roster, you can see a few areas that could benefit from reinforcements. One such position is cornerback, where the Ravens tout Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Is Peters a long-term fixture at this point? If he’s not, looking at Christian Gonzalez will certainly excite. He can play man, he’s smooth enough to play in zone, and he’s a tremendous athlete. With some of the Ravens’ pressure tendencies, one would think there’s a fit here.

NFL Mock Draft

21. Detroit Lions (via LAR)

Bryan Bresee IDL, Clemson

Detroit is continuing to add to the “team culture” component of its roster construction. The addition of Levis on offense gives the team a tough, hard-nosed, and talented player. Bryan Bresee can serve as the equivalent on the defensive side while adding much-needed talent to a defensive front that has faced a tough transition away from Matt Patricia the last few years.

NFL Mock Draft

22. Indianapolis Colts

Isaiah Foskey EDGE, Notre Dame

The Colts’ season hasn’t necessarily gotten off to the kind of start most expected. And as we move forward, the Colts have to figure out who they are. We could go offensive tackle here—we certainly have a need on the left side. We could go with a wide receiver here, although I don’t love the value. With Isaiah Foskey, you get a player to absorb Yannick Ngakoue’s role and make sure that, when healthy, the defense is the backbone of the group.

NFL Mock Draft

23. Los Angeles Chargers

Paris Johnson Jr. OT, Ohio State

The Chargers have worrisome situations at both tackle spots but one of those spots will get resolved with the return of injured Rashawn Slater next season. The other tackle spot? Well, that’s up for debate. And that’s why I’m targeting Paris Johnson Jr. in this NFL mock draft, who played on the right side of the line before transitioning to left tackle this season for the Buckeyes.

NFL Mock Draft

24. Tennessee Titans

Jaelyn Duncan OT, Maryland

The Titans’ offensive line isn’t the staple that it was several years ago and with the latest injury to OT Taylor Lewan, there appears to be more potential change looming on the horizon. 2022 rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere has claimed the right tackle gig and appears to be locked in for the time being. But the left side of the line has sore spots at both tackle and guard without Lewan, leaving Tennessee without much firepower to push the line. Duncan is an effective run blocker who should be able to offer renewed juice if the team moves on from Lewan.

NFL Mock Draft

25. New York Jets

Antonio Johnson SAF, Texas A&M

The Jets are enjoying one of the NFL’s most productive rookie draft classes early on in 2022, but the team still has several areas of need that must be filled before they can take the next step. One of those is a versatile safety—you won’t find many more versatile than Antonio Johnson. I like his fit in this zone system to play on the hash and around the box.

NFL Mock Draft

26. Dallas Cowboys

Bijan Robinson RB, Texas

This is not a typo. Bijan Robinson staying in Texas to play for the Cowboys is a really fun, thought-provoking idea. The Cowboys obviously know him well—he’s right in their backyard. And with Tony Pollard set to hit free agency and Ezekiel Elliott looming as a potential cap casualty, there’s a transition to be made here. Even more intriguing is that Elliott could be a post-June-1 move, where he’ll actually save the Cowboys significant cap for next year. That means Dallas could draft Robinson and then have peace with transitioning away from Elliott in the summer. The running game has carried Dallas amid their hot start without Dak Prescott, so you can be sure they’ll continue to be mindful of keeping the running game lively going forward.

NFL Mock Draft

27. New York Giants

John Michael Schmitz IOL, Minnesota

The Giants’ surprising start is thanks in large part to the effort to pound the rock and win the line of scrimmage. Offensive tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal are doing their part on the ground to pave way for RB Saquon Barkley, but the scary part is that the interior has even more room for improvement. Enter John Michael Schmitz, a physical player who appears to be versatile enough to play either guard or center. Want to keep stacking that positive culture? Double down on your strength and make it a true identity.

NFL Mock Draft

28. Kansas City Chiefs

Jahmyr Gibbs RB, Alabama

Another first-round running back for the Chiefs? Sure! Why not? The run on offensive tackles didn’t leave a lot of inspiring selections right here for a potential Orlando Brown Jr. replacement and the last top running back (Clyde Edwards-Helaire) is entering into a contract year in 2023 as things currently stand. Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco have been productive players, but imagine Jahmyr Gibbs in the Chiefs’ screen game. His versatility is a toy for Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes that I can’t pass on.

NFL Mock Draft

29. Minnesota Vikings

Darnell Washington TE, Georgia

Irv Smith Jr. is an effective receiving option when he’s healthy and on the field, but lest we forget this Vikings team has RB Dalvin Cook and a desire to run the football. You know who would help to pound the rock, especially amid a looming transition away from QB Kirk Cousins? Darnell Washington, that’s who. Washington is an absolute mauler in the run game and I love what he can bring as far as a different flavor to the Vikings’ TE room.

NFL Mock Draft

30. Buffalo Bills

Henry To’o To’o LB, Alabama

So this team kind of stinks to mock for. Anyone have an established NFL player on the block that the Bills can acquire for this pick? Someone to help them impactfully? Rodger Saffold being an expiring contract opens the door for a selection here on the offensive line. Same with Jordan Poyer at safety and Tremaine Edmunds at linebacker. That last player is the position that I feel is the best merger of value in the draft and likelihood of departure (although Saffold is no shoo-in to return). Henry To’o To’o wins in all phases and could feasibly step into a role with the Bills to deliver comparable success in their complex defense.

NFL Mock Draft

31. Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Battle SAF, Alabama

All the rage these days? Playing with three safeties. The Eagles have a super flexible player in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and a promising talent in Marcus Epps. The third safety role is one that could really offer some optimal personnel versatility for the Birds—and he pairs with Murphy to give Philadelphia some added dynamic play on defense to extend their winning window.

 

What did you think of the third edition of Kyle Crabbs’ 2023 NFL Mock Draft? Let us know what you think about this or any of our NFL Mock Drafts on Twitter and Instagram and stay tuned next week for the next edition of TDN’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft series.

Written By

Kyle Crabbs