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Dvorchak’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency meaningfully wrapped up and the combine in the rearview mirror, it’s time for another mock draft. If you want to see what has changed between the week after the Super Bowl and now, here’s my Mock Draft 1.0.

NFL Mock Draft 2.0

1. Carolina Panthers

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (via the Bears)

Since my last mock, the Panthers have traded up with the Bears to land the face of their franchise. Sportsbooks quickly moved Stroud to the favorite to be taken first overall. There has since been some steam on Bryce Young, but Stroud remains in the driver’s seat. Stroud has the frame and the arm of a future Pro Bowl quarterback plus the college stats of a No. 1 overall pick. It’s hard to see the Panthers going in another direction.

2. Houston Texans

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young’s efficiency measurables are very similar to Stroud’s. He also played in a slightly harder conference and has a Heisman Trophy (among many other awards) to his name. Stroud also plays significantly worse under pressure. I still think Stroud is the first pick, but it’s far from a settled debate. Assuming Stroud does come off the board first, it’s a phenomenal year for Houston to have the second overall pick.

3. Indianapolis Colts (projected trade with Cardinals)

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

This is the only trade I have projected right now. The Colts have not been subtle about their plans of drafting a quarterback and the only way to lock in their choice of the passers beyond Stroud and Young is to move up a pick. Richardson broke the combine a few times over and has a cannon attached to his shoulder. I think he’s an easy choice over Will Levis.

4. Arizona Cardinals (projected trade with Colts)

Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama

With Jalen Carter‘s stock falling because of off-field issues, Anderson is the runaway favorite to be the first non-quarterback to hear his name called. It’s possible the Cardinals take Carter or even a cornerback here, but Anderson is the safest pick and the selection with the highest ceiling.

5. Seattle Seahawks

Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

The Seahawks are also a candidate to draft Carter, but they were burned by Malik McDowell in 2017 and haven’t taken a significant shot on a player with character concerns since. Wilson is a big, versatile defensive end with 14 sacks over the past two years.

6. Detroit Lions (via the Rams)

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The Lions made considerable moves to improve their cornerback room via free agency, but smart teams don’t let middle-of-the-road veterans block them from drafting blue-chip players. Gonzalez has the stats and the tape of a shutdown corner at the NFL level.

7. Las Vegas Raiders

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The Raiders are a strong candidate to take QB Will Levis, but Jimmy Garoppolo gives them enough cover to hold off on taking a quarterback for another year. Instead, they are opting to bolster their barren cornerback room with a player considered by some to be the top defensive back in this class.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

The Falcons have had the league’s weakest pass-rush for years and need to address that with multiple players in this draft. A top-three talent in the class, Carter is only falling this far because of off-field issues. He is one of the best defensive tackle prospects of the past decade and would instantly improve Atlanta’s defensive line.

9. Chicago Bears (via the Panthers)

Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

The Bears need more help in the trenches for Justin Fields. The young quarterback has taken 89 sacks in 27 starts since entering the league. Johnson is the tackle most likely to come off the board first and he has a Grinding the Mocks ADP of 10.4.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via the Saints)

Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Van Ness’s stock has been booming ever since he crushed the combine. He blazed a 4.58 forty at 6'5/272 in addition to acing the agility drills. The former Hawkeye has fewer reps under his belt than most other prospects, but the Eagles aren’t drafting him to start in Week 1. Always looking to build through the trenches, GM Howie Roseman can get a rotational pass-rusher for 2023 and a player with superstar potential down the road in Van Ness.

11. Tennessee Titans

Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Ryan Tannehill‘s play has trended downward ever since his breakout season with Tennessee in 2019. He’s still a starting-caliber passer, but it’s becoming clear that he isn’t going to march the Titans through the AFC and into a Super Bowl. Levis is raw and may need to sit for a year, but that works out well for a Tennessee franchise that will hold on to Tannehill for one more year before letting him walk in free agency next offseason.

12. Houston Texans (via the Browns)

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The Texans have moved on from Brandin Cooks and added Robert Woods to their receiver room since my last mock draft. They had one of the league’s more underwhelming receiving corps even with Cooks in the fold. Now they should consider themselves desperate at the position. Luckily for them, JSN is in a tier of his own and is still on the board when they take the podium in this hypothetical draft.

13. New York Jets

Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Left tackle Mekhi Becton has appeared in one game over the past two years. He has reportedly cut weight and is nearing “in the best shape of his life territory”. However, I don’t see GM Joe Douglas gambling with Aaron Rodgers’ left tackle for the final years of his career. If things work out and Becton is able to play without any issues, Skoronski, who is slightly undersized to play tackle, can kick in to guard.

14. New England Patriots

Joey Porter, CB, Penn State

Porter is commonly mocked to the Patriots and it’s easy to see why. He’s a physical, press corner who excels in man coverage. I noted him as an ideal fit for New England in my AFC East Team Needs and Prospect Fits article.

15. Green Bay Packers

Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Packers should probably add some help at receiver to see what they have in Jordan Love, but they are more likely to make the boring pick and bolster their defensive line. At 6'2/238, Nolan Smith is on the lighter side for a defensive end, but he showed that he makes the most of his svelte frame with a 4.38 Forty at the combine. Eric Froton isn’t bothered by the size either, ranking him as a top-three EDGE in this year’s class.

16. Washington Commanders

Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The Commanders somehow appear to be rolling with Sam Howell as their starter in 2023. They would need to move up into the top-10 to change that, so instead, this scenario sees them add the best tackle on the board in an effort to give Howell a fighting chance in his first year under center from Week 1.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Like Howell, Kenny Pickett needs a better line in front of him for his team to get a true evaluation of his talents. Pickett showed some promise last year and the Steelers made progress on their line in free agency. Doubling down with Wright will help them find out if Pickett is the future of their franchise.

18. Detroit Lions

Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Having already addressed their cornerback room, the Lions are free at this spot to increase their ability to affect quarterbacks before the throw. Murphy is seemingly the end of this tier of EDGE players with Grinding the Mocks having the next player at his position coming off the board outside of the first round on average.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

This is admittedly one of the larger reaches in my second mock draft. However, tackle a premium position and the Bucs are in dire need of a replacement for Donovan Smith, who they cut earlier in the offseason, at right tackle. If they are going to reach, why not do it 6'8/374 beast of a tackle who played on the right side in college and will be asked to do so in Tampa Bay?

20. Seattle Seahawks

O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

This pick stays the same as my previous mock. Seattle upgraded their tackles in last year’s draft and can now spend their second first-round pick on an interior lineman. Torrence is the clear favorite to be the first guard or center drafted and is entering the league off the heels of consecutive top-five rankings at guard by PFF.

21. Los Angeles Chargers

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Another repeat, Kancey crushed the combine and proved his lackluster size might be more of an asset than a liability at the next level. Kancey isn’t the anchor in run-defense LA needs, but he’s no slouch against opposing backs either. He’ll also provide LA with a massive upgrade on the interior as a pass-rusher.

22. Baltimore Ravens

Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Whether or not Lamar Jackson is a Raven in Week 1, Baltimore needs to improve their receiving room that is currently inhabited by Rashod Bateman and almost no one else at the moment. Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely both get plenty of reps in the slot, allowing GM Eric DeCosta to take the only outside receiver with a first-round grade in this draft class.

23. Minnesota Vikings

Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

After cutting Adam Thielen, the Vikings are set to start K.J. Osborn as their second wideout and ...Jalen Reagor at WR3. They would add a free agent if they left the first day of the draft without a receiver, but I doubt they want to go down that road. Flowers will take over slot duties and plays with enough physical to move outside when necessary.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch was a slot corner at Alabama but will play a mix of slot and free safety at the next level. He has an incredible football IQ which will make the transition seamless for him even with a lack of experience. Branch will help cover a lot of the holes in Jacksonville’s secondary.

25. New York Giants

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The Giants reduced their need at receiver by acquiring Darren Waller, who can function as a de facto WR1. I still see them considering a wideout with this pick, but I think they ultimately push that need to Day Two. Corner is next on their list and Banks is a strong value late in the first round.

26. Dallas Cowboys

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

It broke Jerry Jones‘s heart to cut Ezekiel Elliott, but he did it knowing scientists had recently cloned the college version of Zeke and were ready to send him to the NFL. Robinson is a better prospect than Zeke was and the Cowboys only have Tony Pollard, who is coming off a fractured fibula and high-ankle injury, under contract for one season.

27. Buffalo Bills

Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Bills have Stefon Diggs as a do-everything receiver and Gabe Davis as a field stretcher, but they could use another threat over the middle, specifically out of the slot. Addison can fill that role in Week 1 and has an elite resume that includes winning the Biletnikoff Award as an underclassman under his belt.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

I could see Mayer going as high as No. 15 to the Packers. The Commanders and Lions are also in prime positions to add a tight end. The lack of early-career success for first-round tight ends will likely scare some teams off, but that’s a risk the Bengals can afford to take this late on the first day. Mayer is an elite receiving prospect and gets less credit than he deserves as a blocker.

29. New Orleans (via the 49ers)

Adetomiwa Adebawore, DT, Northwestern

I’ve listed Adebawore as a tackle, but he’s somewhere between a tackle and an end based on his size and usage at Northwestern. In New Orleans, he would most be used as a three-tech defender who can handle his own against the run and is dangerous to opposing passers. Having lost multiple defensive linemen in free agency, Adebawore would be an easy pick for GM Mickey Loomis to make.

30. Philadelphia Eagles

Bryan Bresse, DT, Clemson

I strongly considered having the Eagles take a receiver here, but the loss of Javon Hargrave in free agency will weigh heavily on Philly. I can see the Eagles working on both the interior and ends of their defensive line in the first round, culminating in the selection of Bresse as the night nears its end.

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Will McDonald, EDGE, Iowa State

McDonald has the size of an outside linebacker but played four and five-tech defensive end at Iowa State. It will be an awkward transition for him into the NFL, but the Chiefs can afford to give him opportunities to learn while also putting on some extra weight. Developing McDonald will be worth their time if they can harness his elite burst off the line that is backed by a strong production profile.