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NFL Mock Draft
NFL Draft

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Marino 1.0

  • Joe Marino
  • August 22, 2022
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You hear that? It’s the sound of football fans across the globe clearing their calendars until next February because IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR! College football starts this week and the NFL season isn’t far behind. After months of summer scouting and studying NFL depth charts, it’s time to deliver my first 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

There is so much that will happen between now and draft day, so use this NFL mock draft as a tool to get familiar with the top talent available in the class and where team needs could fall. And a couple of housekeeping notes. First, the draft order was determined by reverse Super Bowl odds according to BetOnline. Secondly, I hope your favorite team goes undefeated. Now, let’s get into this NFL mock draft.

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Marino 1.0

NFL Mock Draft

1. Houston Texans

Will Anderson Jr. EDGE, Alabama

The rising crop of quarterbacks should produce a few first-round selections, but at this point in the process, none are inspiring enough to select over Will Anderson Jr. In Anderson Jr., Houston is getting a blue-chip defensive talent that has the ceiling to develop into one of the elite defensive playmakers in the NFL.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Jalen Carter IDL, Georgia

The Falcons roster is a work in progress that features a mix of exciting young talent with notable holes throughout. While Atlanta found a couple of young edge rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Falcons need more meaningful assets alongside Grady Jarrett along the interior defensive line.

Jalen Carter is a dynamic playmaker with the size, athleticism, and power to elevate the Falcons’ defense.

3. Seattle Seahawks

Myles Murphy EDGE, Clemson

The Seahawks are a team in transition with a roster in need of help at a number of places. With that in mind, Seattle has usually prioritized the defensive line and Myles Murphy fits their typical mold. Murphy is a power rusher that excels at reducing rush angles and destroying the width of the pocket while also defending the run at a high level.

4. Chicago Bears

Jaelyn Duncan OT, Maryland

After studying the top tackles this summer, the one I’m most enamored with is Jaelyn Duncan. I love his blend of size, length, mobility, power, and control. He possesses the highest ceiling of any offensive line prospect I have evaluated for the rising class to this point and would provide a much-needed piece for the Bears’ offensive line to build around.

5. New York Giants

Will Levis QB, Kentucky

It’s early, but I’d love to see Brian Daboll align with Will Levis as his guy to build around. Levis is built like an action figure and features a rocket launcher for a right arm with impressive mobility. Sure, he needs to develop when it comes to processing and ball placement, but he has the type of skill set and overall makeup worth betting on. And stylistically, he’s pretty similar to the quarterback Daboll enjoyed success with in western New York.

6. Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young QB, Alabama

Maybe Baker Mayfield will thrive in Carolina and prove that he’s the guy, but at this point, that remains to be seen and the Panthers have only Matt Corral at quarterback signed beyond this season. With a pick this high, there’s likely new leadership for the Panthers at head coach and/or general manager.

The current regime has passed over opportunities to pick a quarterback higher in the draft. While that has left Carolina without a clear direction at the most important position in football, it has helped stabilize the remainder of the roster. That said, pulling the trigger on a passer like Bryce Young makes a ton of sense in this NFL mock draft. Young is a creative playmaker that is accurate and athletic while showcasing plenty of toughness despite being undersized.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Michael Mayer TE, Notre Dame

I’m sure this selection will be met with criticism over positional value. Well, before you fire off those tweets, familiarize yourself with Doug Pederson’s history with tight ends, Mayer’s skill set, and what he could mean for Trevor Lawrence.

Mayer is a savvy football player that understands how to get open at all levels of the field while displaying consistency at the catch point. I love how competitive and tough Mayer is. He is an extremely high-floor prospect that is an ideal complement to what the Jaguars already have in place at the offensive skill positions.

8. Detroit Lions

Eli Ricks CB, Alabama

I’m excited about the direction of the Lions and the types of football players added under Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes. It’s clear they have a type when it comes to highly competitive players that are also dynamic when it comes to physical traits. Eli Ricks falls right in line with those tendencies.

Ricks is a plus athlete with great size but is also an alpha on the field that is sticky in coverage and features exciting ball skills. He is the total package at corner.

9. New York Jets

Bryan Bresee IDL, Clemson

There’s a lot to like about how the Jets roster has improved under Joe Douglas but the interior defensive line is an area that concerns me. While I like the penetration ability of Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and John Franklin-Myers, this defense is missing a true anchor in the middle.

Bryan Breese is a powerful run defender that can also wreak havoc by making plays in the backfield. His pairing with Williams would fortify the Jets’ interior defensive line by making them more stout against the run and even more dynamic rushing the passer.

10. Washington Commanders

CJ Stroud QB, Ohio State

The Commanders have an appealing stable of offensive playmakers and a solid offensive line. However, serious questions remain at the quarterback position where Carson Wentz is coming off two very disappointing seasons.

CJ Stroud’s ability to step into Ohio State’s offense last year and get all of the Buckeyes’ weapons involved was impressive. Stroud has the mobility, accuracy, and size to become a franchise quarterback and he should take a step forward in 2022 to solidify his status as a top pick.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

Kelee Ringo CB, Georgia

Pittsburgh has Minkah Fitzpatrick and some solid pieces around him in the secondary, but the unit is very upgradable. The Steelers don’t have a true No. 1 corner, which Kelee Ringo has the makings to become.

Ringo shined in his first season as a starter for Georgia in 2021, mostly due to his size and athleticism. He should take a step in 2022 and affirm his status as a high first-round talent that is an ideal fit for the Steelers.

12. New England Patriots

Kayshon Boutte WR, LSU

Consider me underwhelmed with the wide receivers the Patriots have around Mac Jones. In Kayshon Boutte, New England would receive an explosive athlete with the ability to win at all levels of the field. He’s the do-everything talent that the Patriots are currently missing from their wide receiver corps.

13. Arizona Cardinals

Cam Smith CB, South Carolina

I like what the Cardinals have in Byron Murphy at corner but the rest of the depth chart is underwhelming. Cam Smith is a twitchy athlete with outstanding coverage instincts. He is an alpha on the field with impressive ball skills. Smith has every trait needed to be an impact starter in the NFL and give Arizona another option to build around a corner where the options are currently lacking.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)

Isaiah Foskey EDGE, Notre Dame

Howie Roseman never stops investing in the defensive line, and with Brandon Graham’s contract set to expire, the Eagles could have a need at defensive end.

Isaiah Foskey is a balanced defender that has a diverse repertoire of rush moves to go with his ability to defend the run. The Irish have Foskey play all over the defensive front seven, which is a testament to his versatility and physical upside.

15. Tennessee Titans

Trenton Simpson LB, Clemson

I know Titans fans have resisted the idea of picking a linebacker in the first round, but Trenton Simpson would be such an exciting fit for the Tennessee defense. First of all, his upside in coverage and in space is extremely high, which is an element currently missing to the second level of the Titans’ defense. Secondly, I trust Mike Vrabel to maximize the versatility that Simpson offers and how that can elevate the unit overall. This would be a fun fit.

16. Minnesota Vikings

Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Ohio State

The Vikings have one of the most exciting young offensive playmakers in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, but Adam Thielen is entering his age-32 season and his production has been uneven over the last few seasons so adding a talent like Jaxon Smith-Njigba makes sense.

Smith-Njigba is a crafty route-runner with outstanding ball skills. He would round out the Vikings’ receiving corps and provide a long-term answer alongside Jefferson.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

Paris Johnson Jr. OT, Ohio State

There’s a lot to like about the direction of the Raiders but when I consider why Las Vegas might not return to the postseason in 2022, my concerns are rooted in the offensive line. Paris Johnson Jr. has the makings of a quality starter that by the end of 2022, will have experience at both tackle and guard, enabling the Raiders to get their best five on the field.

18. Houston Texans (via CLE)

Bijan Robinson RB, Texas

The Texans are deep into a rebuild, so staying true to the best player available philosophy is smart considering there are needs everywhere. Taking away positional value, Bijan Robinson is one of the five best football players in the rising class. He has the potential to impact a team in a similar way to what Jonathan Taylor has brought to the Colts with his blend of size, speed, power, and receiving ability.

19. Indianapolis Colts

Quentin Johnston WR, TCU

Chris Ballard often talks about how he likes unique football players and that’s exactly what Quentin Johnston is. A 6-foot-4 and 215-pound receiver, Johnston is incredibly explosive and his ability to get in and out of breaks at his size is rare. His presence will help make the Indianapolis passing game more expensive to go with Taylor at running back and chain-movers at the rest of the weapons.

20. Philadelphia Eagles

Jahmyr Gibbs RB, Alabama

Since LeSean McCoy was traded in 2014, the Eagles’ running back room has mostly been pieced together with little stability. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders’ contract is set to expire.

Jahmyr Gibbs is a do-everything back that features explosive speed to hit the home run and impressive power. He is a dynamic receiver that can help maximize all the talent that Philadelphia has along its offensive line.

21. Dallas Cowboys

Noah Sewell LB, Oregon

I love what Dallas has in Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence, but the team needs more options that can dictate the action in the front seven. Noah Sewell is an aggressive tone-setter that could stabilize the middle linebacker position and allow the Cowboys to continue tapping into the versatility that Parsons offers.

22. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)

Anthony Richardson QB, Florida

Real quick, when was the last time the Seattle Seahawks invested a first-round pick on a quarterback? The answer is Rick Mirer in 1992. In fact, the only other time Seattle picked a QB in the first round was in 1991.

Seattle currently doesn’t have a long-term answer at quarterback on the roster and the 2023 NFL Draft could present a logical opportunity for the Seahawks to invest a top pick at the position. With 66 career passing attempts entering the 2022 season, Anthony Richardson has far from proven himself as a first-round quarterback but he has the size, arm talent, and mobility to get there.

23. Cincinnati Bengals

Peter Skoronski OT, Northwestern

The Bengals did well to bolster their offensive line this offseason, but I don’t think the work is complete—especially at guard. A college left tackle, Peter Skoronski’s game translates nicely to playing guard in the NFL where the Bengals currently have a need. Skoronski’s control, range, and consistent footwork should make him a quality starter at the next level.

24. Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Harrell WR, Alabama

The Ravens’ offense is lacking a field-stretcher and Tyler Harrell could provide that and more to the unit. While slotting him in the first round is a projection at this point, he has world-class speed, good size, and plenty of flashes of quality ball skills to this point in his college career. He averaged 28 yards per catch at Louisville and I can’t wait to see him at Alabama. This could be a Jameson Williams 2.0 situation.

25. Miami Dolphins (via SF)

Kyu Blu Kelly CB, Stanford

The Dolphins were the most challenging team to project at this point. The roster has developed nicely under Chris Grier in recent years and the remaining needs don’t align well with what is available at this point in my NFL mock draft. When looking at Miami’s expiring contracts and cap situation, it could be challenging to retain Nik Needham, who has developed into a quality slot corner for Miami.

Kyu Blu Kelly is a highly-competitive corner that is sticky in man coverage but is also an asset as a tackler and run defender. He could thrive in a slot role for Miami while also providing long-term appeal as an option on the perimeter.

26. Green Bay Packers

Brian Branch SAF, Alabama

Of the Packers’ last 12 first-round picks, 11 have been defensive players—the exception is Jordan Love in 2020. With that in mind, I’m going to focus on defensive options for Green Bay and Brian Branch makes sense, especially considering Adrian Amos is on an expiring contract.

Branch is a versatile defensive back that can play in deep alignments and in the slot. He is an aggressive and physical tackler that would provide even more versatility to the back end of the Green Bay defense.

27. Los Angeles Chargers

Henry To’o To’o LB, Alabama

The Chargers found several upgrades for their defensive line this offseason, creating the opportunity for Tom Telesco to focus his efforts on the second level. Drue Tranquill is an expiring contract and Kenneth Murray not only needs to develop but needs a running mate.

Henry To’o To’o is a true MIKE linebacker that can play downhill and holds his own in space. He has the range, processing skills, and mindset to be an impact defender in the NFL.

28. Detroit Lions (via LAR)

Tyree Wilson EDGE, Texas Tech

The Lions added Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal in the 2022 NFL Draft to help reload their defensive end room, but there is still room to add more to the group. Tyree Wilson has a frame engineered for playing defensive line in the NFL with flashy athleticism and plenty of length. He projects well to playing all across the front and could help Detroit become more multiple with its scheme. Wilson has the makings of a big-time riser this season.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Jordan Addison WR, USC

Tyreek Hill is a Dolphin and Mecole Hardman has a lot to prove in his role as a more heavily featured piece in the Chiefs offense. A talent like Jordan Addison would be a match made in heaven to add for Patrick Mahomes. He is an elite vertical threat with dynamic post-catch ability.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Christian Gonzalez CB, Oregon

Forecasting the Buccaneers is difficult and really depends on what players Jason Licht is able to bring back. With that in mind, both Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are expiring contracts, which could lead to an investment at corner.

Christian Gonzalez fits the recent Buccaneers mold of long, athletic, and physical options. Gonzalez should become a household name now that he is part of the Oregon defense.

31. Buffalo Bills

Antonio Johnson SAF, Texas A&M

The Bills are another team that tough to forecast when it comes to their draft intentions. Once again it is contingent on what players leave and who Buffalo is able to keep. With expiring contracts in Jordan Poyer, Dawson Knox, Rodger Saffold, and Tremaine Edmunds, to go with other key depth players, Buffalo is in a tight spot. For the sake of this 2023 NFL mock draft, let’s live in a world where Poyer is not extended, creating a need at safety.

Antonio Johnson is a versatile defender with outstanding instincts. He is a physical player that serves as a tone-setter for the Aggies’ defense and would give Buffalo an option to move forward with if a deal with Poyer can’t be reached.

 

What did you think of the first version of Joe Marino’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft? Let us know what you think on Twitter and Instagram. and stay tuned next week for the next edition of TDN’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft series.

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Joe Marino