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Luke Musgrave Packers
NFL Draft

Mocking The Mock Draft: Best, Worst Picks From Sanchez 7.0

  • Justin Melo
  • March 29, 2023
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The 2023 NFL Draft is officially less than one month away. Pro Day season is dominating the headlines now that the all-star circuit and NFL Scouting Combine have concluded. TDN’s scouting staff is deep into their cross-check process. The Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 overall selection to the Carolina Panthers. More shake-ups will arrive.

I’ve been selected to dissect our latest 2023 NFL mock draft, which was completed by in-house staff member Keith Sanchez. 

March’s TDN100 update has served as a reference point for both Sanchez’s mock draft and my analysis. I’ve identified my favorite selections, value picks, and the best overall prospect not selected. I also have some question marks. Let’s dive into our latest 2023 NFL mock draft.

Favorite pick: Michael Mayer TE, Detroit Lions (No. 18 overall)

I admire the fit between Dan Campbell’s culture and Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. Some may argue positional value, but the Lions are in an excellent position to draft a top-ranked tight end due to possessing two first-round selections. Mayer is also my No. 1 ranked tight end and I believe we’re blowing his athletic concerns out of proportion.

The Lions desperately require upgrades at tight end after trading T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings. Some took that as an indication that general manager Brad Holmes doesn’t value the position, but I believe it was simply a case of Detroit admitting their relationship with Hockenson had run its course. Mayer is a dual-threat tight end that fits Detroit’s hard-nosed approach.

Best Value: Darnell Washington TE, Las Vegas Raiders (No. 39 overall)

The Las Vegas Raiders are also in the tight end market after trading Darren Waller to the New York Giants earlier this month. Head coach Josh McDaniels once coached Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in New England. McDaniels holds a special appreciation for the position.

I possess a first-round grade on Darnell Washington, so this represents excellent value for Vegas. He’s made in Gronkowski’s mold as a weapon that can thrive both as a pass-catcher and as an in-line blocker. Washington’s skill set is what McDaniels craves at the position, more so than what Waller offered. Washington can play the “Y” and block for Josh Jacobs, or he can create for himself up the seam.

Biggest Question Mark: Luke Musgrave TE, Green Bay Packers (No. 15 overall)

I possess a first-round grade on Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave—he is a legitimate difference-maker. I don’t have an issue with the value for the Packers, I’m more so opposed to Musgrave’s landing spot in Green Bay. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with Sanchez’s ideology.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has never valued the tight end position. Most recently, he allowed Robert Tonyan to sign with their division rival Chicago Bears. The Packers desperately need upgrades at tight end, hence Sanchez’s selection. I just can’t see Gutekunst spending a premium top-15 selection at the position. He’s likely to draft a defensive lineman.

Best Scheme Fit: Matthew Bergeron OT, Los Angeles Rams (No. 37 overall)

Matthew Bergeron enjoyed an outstanding performance at his Pro Day. Bergeron’s easy movement skills were on display via an elite 7.27 result in the 3-cone drill. Bergeron also posted 29 reps on the bench press and had a 30.5-inch vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Bergeron is a supreme athlete and that makes him an excellent fit for Sean McVay’s zone-based scheme. The Rams have holes at multiple offensive tackle and guard spots. Bergeron is plug-and-play at either one.

Best Player Not Selected: Trenton Simpson LB, Clemson

The No. 35 overall prospect in the latest TDN100 update, I was stunned to see Clemson’s Trenton Simpson nowhere to be found in Sanchez’s latest mock draft. Linebackers are a devalued position nowadays, but let’s not get too carried away, Keith!!

Simpson is a positionless defender that could impact the game in a variety of manners. A hybrid talent that can play off-ball linebacker or as an overhang defender in the slot, opposing offensive coordinators have to account for Simpson. A creative defensive coordinator could maximize Simpson’s talents.

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Justin Melo