It’s draft day every day here at TDN, so the notion that it’s ever too early for a 2023 NFL mock draft is silly. So allow me to welcome you to Draft Szn because truth be told, that’s a way of life for us.
Please be advised that the draft order is determined by reverse 2022 Super Bowl odds, so do everyone a favor and holster your frustrations about where your team is picking in this mock draft.
Without further ado, our way-too-early perfectly timed first mock for the 2023 NFL Draft!
- Houston Texans: QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
While the 2022 NFL Draft was lacking worthy quarterback talent at the top of the board, the same will not be true in 2023. Stroud’s blend of size, athleticism, arm talent, and intangibles profiles him as a potential No. 1 overall selection.
- Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama
Anderson is a blue-chip prospect that is among the most exciting pass rushers to enter the NFL in recent years. He would provide the Falcons with a game-changer in its front seven.
- Detroit Lions: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
General Manager Brad Holmes has assembled two stellar draft classes and has positioned the Lions well to go in on a quarterback. Bryce Young is developing quite the resume at Alabama and will be in the QB1 conversation entering the season.
- New York Jets: IDL Jalen Carter, Georgia
After all the defensive talent that Georgia put into the NFL season, some believe the best prospect on last season’s National Championship unit was Jalen Carter. He could pair with Quinnen Williams to give the Jets an exciting young defensive tackle duo.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The Jaguars are committed to Cam Robinson at left tackle but right tackle remains a concern unless Jawaan Taylor finds consistency. If not, Paris Johnson has the makings of the top blocker in next year’s class.
- New York Giants: QB Will Levis, Kentucky
If the Giants meet Vegas’ expectations, then things did not go right with Daniel Jones in a make-or-break season. Levis is built like an action figure with terrific mobility and arm talent. Head coach Brian Daboll had a lot of success with a player like that in Buffalo.
- Chicago Bears: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
The Bears are a work in progress with notable work left to do in building around Justin Fields. Smith-Njigba overshadowed both of Ohio State’s 2021 first-round picks in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.
- Carolina Panthers: QB Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
If the Panthers are picking this high in the order then obviously Sam Darnold isn’t the answer at quarterback—and neither is Matt Corral. Tyler Van Dyke was a revelation for the Hurricanes in 2021 and has the makings of an early selection at quarterback.
- Seattle Seahawks: LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
Noah Sewell is a special talent that jumps off the screen with his elite defensive playmaking skills. He would be a wonderful replacement for Bobby Wagner.
- Washington Commanders: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
The Commanders could create $12.5 million in cap space by moving on from Charles Leno after the 2022 season and Peter Skoronski is a dominant blocker that has the makings of a high selection that could serve as an ideal replacement.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
The Steelers still have notable question marks in the secondary and Kelee Ringo has the type of skill that has him destined to be among the first corners off the board in 2023.
- Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints): RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Running backs don’t often go this early in the draft, but ones like Robinson don’t come around often. He’s the ultimate blend of size, speed, power, receiving skills, physicality, and instincts.
- Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Vikings have a potent pair of edge rushers in Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith but both have notable injury concerns. Murphy is a power rusher that has met the high expectations of his high recruiting status at Clemson.
- Las Vegas Raiders: IDL Bryan Bresee, Clemson
The Raiders roster is coming together nicely under new general manager Dave Zeigler but the interior defensive line remains a concern. Bresee is a special talent that features an exciting blend of power and athleticism.
- New England Patriots: WR Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh
If Mac Jones is going to fully develop in New England, he has to be supported with better weapons at receiver. Addison is a three-level threat that collected 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.
- Philadelphia Eagles: EDGE Derick Hall, Auburn
The Eagles have some notable expiring contracts at defensive end, a position the team always prioritizes. Hall emerged as a star for Auburn and has a chance to take another step in 2022 as he cements his status as a future high pick.
- Miami Dolphins: IOL Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame
The Dolphins have made notable strides to improve the offensive line this offseason but can still find an upgrade at center. Patterson has been a stalwart for the Irish and can help stabilize the center position for the Dolphins.
- Tennessee Titans: WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU
The Titans needed wide receiver help before trading away A.J. Brown. Adding Boutte to go with Robert Woods and Treylon Burks gives Tennessee an exciting trio of weapons at receiver for whoever the starting quarterback is in 2023.
- Arizona Cardinals: CB Eli Ricks, Alabama
I can’t remember the last time the Cardinals truly had an ideal set of cornerbacks. A transfer from LSU, Ricks should come into his own at Alabama with every trait needed to develop into a first-round selection in 2023.
- Indianapolis Colts: WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
The Colts have a towering pair of receivers in Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce but are missing a dynamic yards-after-catch threat that can uncover quickly and win at every level of the field. That would change instantly by adding Downs.
- Baltimore Ravens: WR Dontay Demus, Maryland
The Ravens moved on from Hollywood Brown, partly to avoid paying him a contract extension, but did create a hole at receiver along the way. Demus offers an exciting blend of size and speed with a knack for making big plays down the field.
- Cincinnati Bengals: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
The Bengals feature a balanced roster but can certainly upgrade the tight end position. Mayer can bring back what Cincinnati had in Tyler Eifert when he was healthy.
- Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns): RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
If running backs get drafted in the first round they have to be special. Gibbs has been among college football’s best-kept secrets at Georgia Tech but transferred to Alabama. He won’t be under the radar for much longer.
- Dallas Cowboys: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
The Cowboys linebacker corps is littered with question marks and it’s a position that Dallas priorities. Simpson is an explosive linebacker with a high recruiting pedigree that emerged as a star for Clemson in 2021.
- Los Angeles Chargers: CB Tony Grimes, North Carolina
Corner remains a need for the Chargers and given the passing attacks in the AFC West, General Manager Tom Telesco has to change that. Grimes has every trait needed to develop into a first-rounder.
- Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos): EDGE BJ Ojulari, LSU
Ojulari is such an exciting pass rusher to watch given his burst, bend, and pass rush repertoire. He would give Seattle a much-needed pass-rushing presence off the edge.
- Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers): EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
The Dolphins are committed to Emmanuel Ogbah and have an emerging talent in Jaelan Phillips but NFL teams can never have enough options to play on the edge. Foskey is a balanced defender against the run and pass that would give the Dolphins yet another versatile option.
- Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): LB Henry To’o To’o, Alabama
Among the boxes left for Brad Holmes to check is finding a quarterback for his defense. To’o To’o has the size, speed, instincts, and physicality to be that guy for the Lions’ defense.
- Green Bay Packers: IOL Emil Ekiyor, Alabama
The Packers’ offensive line is coming together with the addition of Sean Rhyan but can still be upgraded on the interior if Elgton Jenkins is going to play tackle. Ekiyor is a mauler in the run game and a wall in pass protection.
- Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
The Chiefs are revamping its edge-rushing situation and George Karlaftis is a fine start. The next phase of the overhaul can be adding a dynamic talent like Nolan Smith who can do it all as an edge defender.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
The Buccaneers have some expiring contracts at the cornerback position to consider in the offseason and may need to look to the draft for replacement. Porter is everything the Buccaneers typically prefer in terms of size and physicality from the position.
- Buffalo Bills: S Jordan Battle, Alabama
The Bills’ roster is outstanding but is also becoming quite expensive so it could be challenging for Buffalo to meet Jordan Poyer’s contract demands. Jordan Battle is an intelligent player that can offer versatility, ball skill, physicality, and athleticism that can help fill the void should Poyer not be retained.