2023 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 and Betting Market Analysis
I’ve gone through the updated betting marketplace according to DraftKings, and have updated the odds and pick projections to give you a snapshot of how each team and player’s respective betting markets have moved since my Mock Draft 1.0 on April 11th when the Draft markets first expanded.
Froton’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0
1) Carolina Panthers (from Chicago)
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
This pick had been settled science after Young rocketed from (+220) on April 6th, to (-200) on April 11th, to a cost prohibitive (-2,000) as the calendar flipped to 4/25 last night. Then the scurrilous Will Levis Reddit post happened, and I woke up in sunny San Diego to find Young was at (-1,600) and Levis (+600). As I hit the send button on this column, Bryce Young is down to (-1,000) with Levis at (+450). Let the games begin…
2) Houston Texans
CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Where Young going #1 is now a foregone conclusion, Stroud plummeted in the first pick projections going from (-105) as of 4/9/13 to (+155) in an 18-hour span, and now sits at (+900). With Young off the board Stroud went from being the clear favorite here at (-155), to (+350) behind the new (-125) favorite Will Levis. There was movement on the defensive side of the #2 overall market, with Will Anderson slightly moving from (+350) to (+330), which is the same odds as Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson. I’m going with my gut here and bet on Houston to stay the course with Stroud in spite of numerous S2 related slights thrown his way by potentially nefarious actors with designs of selecting Stroud themselves. I think we’re seeing a clear case of NFL Draft Subterfuge.
3) Arizona Cardinals
Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
Two weeks ago Anthony Richardson was the (-110) favorite to be selected here, with the common belief being that AZ will trade out to acquire extra assets and address their many roster deficiencies. However, the market has shifted to Stroud (+230) as the slight favorite with Anderson and Wilson both listed at (+250). Recent smoke has the long-limbed Wilson as a potential option here, but i’m going to stick with Anderson since he thoroughly dominated the best conference in football for two straight seasons and is as good a bet as you can make on the defensive side of the ball from this class. Anderson is currently (-185) to go Over 3.5, which is understandable considering the uncertainty at the top of the draft. If this holds, Anderson would hit on his (+145) Under prop.
4) Indianapolis Colts
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Jim Irsay has no reasonable alternative to start the season at quarterback and reaches for the quirky, 24-year-old Levis (6'4/229) here over the high-ceiling of 20-year-old physical specimen Anthony Richardson. Levis is actually the favorite to be taken at the #2 pick at (+130) and also here at (+130), so something has got to give at one of these spots. Stroud is next-in-line at (+200) while Anthony Richardson is a real nice value at (+340) here, and the consensus choice of Indy beat writers. There’s no value in Levis at his number, but I’ve taken a speculative shot at AR’s 3.4-to-1 odds since the Colts are taking a QB, it’s just a matter of which one.
5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
It was a tough call between Wilson and Jalen Carter here, as Carter is currently slotted at (+400) to be selected by Seattle, with Tyree Wilson (+350) close on Anderson’s heels. The brand-new favorite is Anthony Richardson at (+225), with the physical freak becoming the favorite literally overnight. Seattle is the organization that controls how the rest of the dominoes in the top-10 fall IMO.
6) Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams)
Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Two weeks ago, the #6 pick market had Gonzalez, Witherspoon and Wilson as the top-3 most likely options. Witherspoon has taken a commanding (-130) favorite position while Carter moves into the second spot at (+380). I know CB is in the frontal cortex of Lions fans, but pairing up Aidan Hutchinson on the outside with Jalen Carter on the interior lays the foundation for a devastating defensive front. Off the field concerns aside, Carter was arguably the best player on the “five first round selections” Georgia Bulldogs 2021 defense and this draft has significantly more talent at cornerback than IDL. With Detroit’s two firsts and two seconds to address other needs I’m investing in the best player, at the best positional fit, with attractive (+380) juice. Carter cashes his (+165) Under 6.5 wager as well.
7) Las Vegas Raiders
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Quite literally the most physically gifted quarterback to ever test at the NFL Scouting Combine, it feels like destiny for a team that is known for drafting based on athleticism/speed to take Anthony Richardson. He can sit under the McDaniels learning tree while Jimmy G guides the offense until AR is ready to step up. With AR’s odds of going at #7 currently sitting at +1,100, there’s a nice payoff at this draft slot. The Raiders are (+275) to take a QB regardless of draft position with their first pick, and (+400) to take AR in general. AR’s individual market is heavily juiced to the Over 4.5 (-330).
8) Atlanta Falcons
Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
And now we have the first potential “Bijan” spot, as the Texas RB resides at (+200) while a DL/Edge is the favorite at (-135). Nolan Smith has reportedly had top-30 visits with just about every team in the top-10. He ran an outrageous 1.47s 10-yard split (100th%) and 4.39s 40-yard dash (99.9th%) and is a known commodity to them from right down the road in Athens, GA. With a clear need to get younger and more dynamic defensively, ATL avoids the bright, shiny object and stays the course with a logical choice in Smith.
9) Chicago Bears (from Carolina)
Paris Johnson, LT, Ohio State
The Bears are widely favored (-180) to select a bodyguard for QB Justin Fields, with his former Buckeye teammate Johnson Jr. looking like the most appealing option. Peter Skoronski is also a possibility, but I’m leaning Johnson due to Skoronski’s likelihood of kicking inside. With additional selections at 52, 61 and 64 overall, Chicago will be able to address multiple positions of need in the late second round as well. There isn’t an obvious value play here, with DL at (+180).
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans)
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Patriots get the reputation for trading down, but Eagles GM Howie Roseman is fast becoming the standard bearer when it comes to wheeling and dealing, as Roseman has moved around a total of 11 first round selections since 2016. I originally had Witherspoon going here, but with recent reports that the NFC is terrified of Philly adding Bijan to the mix at (+300) odds, I think Philly tries to tighten their grip on their status as the conference alpha instead. Otherwise, I think the chalk (-180) projection of offensive line help is the most logical outcome.
11) Tennessee Titans
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
I went with Las Vegas to take Anthony Richardson, but Tennessee is the next most logical team to take the plunge with a trade-up if the Raiders don’t. Skoronski (6'4/313) can play anywhere on the line and has the tools to pick his fights in either hand or body leverage. The Outland Trophy finalist is adept at both redirecting speed rushers and walling off a spirited bull charge. Despite short 32.25” arms, Skoronski would be a much-needed stabilizing presence and a very safe selection, though JSN could be too tempting to pass up as well. I think that it’s pretty close between Skoronski and Broderick Jones (-125), but Skoronski’s high floor wins them over.
12) Houston Texans (from Cleveland)
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The building blocks for a potent Texans passing attack are now in place, as Houston manages to extract both of Ohio State’s star 2023 offensive players, JSN (6'1/196) and Stroud and bring them down to Texas. Smith-Njigba immediately becomes that vital alpha wide receiver that every quarterback needs to work with in order to be successful. His current Over/Under is (+240) to go Under at pick #12.5, which has moved from (+150) 2 weeks ago. JSN’s individual O/U of 12.5 (+240) returns a nice profit here, but it’s a small margin for him to slip out of the top-12.
13) Green Bay (from NYJ)
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Green Bay shores up their left side with Jones as they look to bolster the offensive line for new starting QB Jordan Love. Known for having quick feet and unnatural agility for his size, Jones is right there alongside Paris Johnson Jr. as the two most projectable true tackles in the class. His 84.1 PFF pass block grade is the third highest mark in the Power Five, while his excellent 9.56 RAS proves he has the requisite traits to make a smooth transition to the NFL. My gut tells me that the Pack wanted to trade up to get in front of the Patriots because they were concerned about a LT not being available. The Pack are currently (+330) to take an offensive lineman, with WR the favorite at (+175). Jones’ Over/Under is 14.5, so the Under hits here.
14) New England Patriots
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
I cannot fathom Bill Belichick using the 14th overall selection on a skill player knowing his track record of futility in that department and the relatively uninspiring group at this selection. The Patriots are currently (+225) to select a CB or OL, and +240 to take a WR. With their pick of the lot, the Patriots run to take the shutdown cornerback from Illinois that has been mocked in the top-10 pretty frequently. The offensive line run pushed CB down the board in this imminently flawed exercise, so the Patriots opt to stay in their draft slot rather than trade down like they usually do.
15) New York Jets (from Green Bay)
Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Jets have everything they need in terms of offensive weaponry, now they need to shore up the line to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. With the trade down, the Jets miss out on the premium LT options, but the giant UT right tackle shut down Will Anderson during the 2022 season before taking the Senior Bowl by storm, earning offensive line MVP honors and elevating Wright (6'5/333) to the first-round discussion. There is a lot to like about him, as it’s remarkable how polished his sets are in comparison to other linemen that had some physical advantages over him and do NOT tell him he cannot play LT or Darnell Wright might slide in your DMs. With the Jets (-270) to take a OL, there isn’t a lot of value here, with DL/Edge the next in line at (+280)
16) Washington Commanders
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The market consensus is (+125) for the Commander’s to select a CB and (+220) to take an offensive lineman. With the top-4 OL off the board, I’m banking on Washington pivoting to take Gonzalez (6'1/197) who has the length and physicality that NFL defensive coordinators covet on the perimeter and goes to a Washington team that would like to add a lockdown young corner to their defense. Gonzalez is (+180) to be the first cornerback selected, down from (+115) two weeks ago and I love his Over 8.5 (-110) prop.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
Fate dictates Pittsburgh’s pick here, as they keep the Porter family legacy intact by taking Joey Porter Jr. The odds are split evenly between OL (+115) and CB (+115) here but with the big OL run in front of them, the Steelers play the board as it lies and benefit from it. Porter Jr. goes Under 19.5 (+120) in my opinion.
18) Detroit Lions
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Banks (6'0/197) lit up the Combine by running a 4.35s 40-yard dash (98th%), 1.45s 10-yard split (99th%) and a 42” vertical (99th%). He has been one of the biggest risers from the cornerback group thanks to his verified measurables and ability to play in multiple different coverages. Banks is a logical choice for a Lions franchise that just selected Jalen Carter with the sixth pick after taking Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall last year. Banks O/U is 20.5 (-120) and I think that play hits.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
The Bucs are (+150) to take an offensive lineman, but pivot to Edge (+200) here since Iowa game wrecking DE Van Ness is still on the board. Against Ohio State’s two standout 2023 first-round caliber Tackles, Van Ness bear-pawed the gargantuan 6'82/374-pound RT Dawand Jones and demonstrably got the best of Paris Johnson Jr. He played almost exclusively three-tech in 2021, but moved along the formation this season (172 snaps Inside/59 OVT/227 OUT) which allowed Van Ness to be isolated against tackles as opposed to navigating the interior. He should immediately be an upgrade on the Tampa Bay defensive front.
20) Seattle Seahawks
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
The Seahawks are a little tough to pin down here because they have two first-round and two second-round selections with which to mix and match. Torrence (6'5/330) is a premium interior offensive lineman who transferred from Louisiana to Florida to follow HC Billy Napier at his new SEC East job. While his 6.15 RAS may be uninspiring, his large frame, wide hands, and long arms suggest he shouldn’t have any problem operating from a phone booth at the next level. With the desire to shore up their line and clear lanes for Kenneth Walker, the Seahawks select Torrence and turn their attention to their #37 pick.
21) San Diego Chargers
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Bolts were (+160) to take a wideout two weeks ago, a line which has ticked up to (+125), with Tight End and DL/Edge both checking in at (+300). Clearly the market is expecting the Chargers to arm QB Justin Herbert with offensive another weapon, but which one? Despite a relatively lackluster Combine performance where he posted a middling 5.95 RAS, Addison has the skillset to replace Keenan Allen as he ages out of the league.
22) Baltimore Ravens
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Johnston (6'3/208) gives the Ravens a big outside receiver to pair with Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman, as Baltimore braces for what life after Lamar Jackson could look like. The market has remained constant in favoring Baltimore to take a corner (-120), but the gap at wideout has increased from (+160) to (+200). The board also dropped DL from (+500) to (+400), firming up the top three. I’m going with the assumption that the ownership will at least try to make the case to Lamar Jackson that they want to put him in a position to succeed. With the big picture of the franchise dictating this direction I like the Ravens to go wideout for (+200), which QJ goes Under 26.5 (+130).
23) Minnesota Vikings
Zay Flowers, WR, BC
Skol disciples are starved for a dependable outside corner, as is reflected in the (+200) status for the Vikings to take a DB. However, with the dynamic Zay Flowers (5'9/182) still available, Minnesota opts to provide Kirk Cousins with a credible WR2 next to Justin Jefferson. The odds for Minnesota to take a wide receiver in round one has moved from (+210) on 4/11 to (+175) and the current favorite. Also telling was Zay Flowers moving from O/U 24.5 at the time of my first mock draft to O/U 22.5, juiced (-165) to the Over.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars
Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
Cornerback has jumped from (+200) to (+120), taking a commanding lead of the favorite status. DL (+250) and OL (+300) round out the rest of the favorites. Murphy (6'5/268) was ranked as the seventh overall player from the 2020 prep cycle according to 247Sports and produced at a high level immediately. He didn’t test at the Combine but ran a 4.53s 40 (99th%) with a 1.59s 10-yard split (95th%) and a 4.29 Shuttle (87th%) at his pro day for an excellent 9.71 RAS. This selection would give Jacksonville a pair of ferocious, cost-controlled defensive ends in Travon Walker and Myles Murphy for the next 4+ years. Murphy goes Over his 18.5 O/U (-180) in this scenario.
25) New York Giants
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Giants are eager to move on from the ill-fated selection of manufactured-touch slot receiver Kadarius Toney and acquire a playmaker who can run a more advanced route tree. Addison (5'11/173) would have been my choice here, but he’s gone. New York was a heavy favorite to take a WR at (-110) two weeks ago, but CB has moved into pole position, going from (+200) to (+140) currently. I could also see the NYG going with an offensive lineman, but I think the wiry, ballhawk Forbes fits nicely here.
26) Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
With their pick of tight ends still available, Dallas goes after their next Jason Witten with Kincaid (6'4/246). With ND TE Michael Mayer checking in 16 pounds lighter than his billed weight of 265, and a pedestrian 4.7s 40-yard dash that ranked 11th out of the 2023 TE class, i’m backing Kincaid as the TE1 and making this selection for the Cowboys accordingly. While Cowboys taking a TE currently pays out +200, DL dropped from +225 to +450, with RB leaping over both of them to become the +175 favorite. I find it hard to believe Bijan lasts this long, so it’s going to likely take a trade up. Accordingly, I think tight end is a good play here, with Kincaid going Over his 24.5 O/U (-120) and hitting his (+115) first TE taken prop.
27) Buffalo Bills
Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
Two weeks ago the markets favor Buffalo taking a linebacker here at (+175), but that has dipped to (+275) with WR getting the bump on the other side going from (+275) to current favorite status at (+200) The fanbase is also looking for a complimentary outside receiver to line up with Stefon Diggs and second-year slot receiver Khalil Shakir. I think the second round is going to be fertile hunting ground for wideouts, so I am taking a defensive player and going with my LB1 in Drew Sanders. The Arkansas LB was (+115) to be the first LB taken two weeks ago, a play which I recommended. It has now cratered to (-170) and is cost prohibitive at that price.
28) Cincinnati Bengals
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
This pick feels like a layup, with newly signed stopgap TE Irv Smith providing a bridge for Mayer to get acclimated and then take over the starting gig in 2024. QB Joe Burrow would have another weapon and the selection of Mayer (6'4/249) and hitting the DraftKings’ (+125) line on the Bengals taking a tight end. I could certainly see a cornerback going here as well at (+250). Mayer is a comfortable favorite to be the first TE taken (-160) but doesn’t hit the mark in this mock draft.
29) New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver)
Calijah Kancey, DL, Pitt
I really like Kancey and think New Orleans should run up to the podium to plant the 6'1/281-pound dynamo in the middle of their defensive front for the next five years. The Saints were heavy favorites to take a DL two weeks ago at (-160), which was a pretty high line for a team selecting 29th since there are so many variables in front of them to account for. The market has leveled out, with DL slotted at (+100) while OL is pretty close behind at (+200). In mid-April, WR (+380) and TE (+450) were also reasonable possibilities, but those odds have plummeted to WR (+650) and TE (+700).
30) Tennessee Titans (from Philadelphia Eagles)
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
I’m sticking to my guns from my Mock Draft 1.0 and think Philadelphia trades down, and while I could certainly see Houston pulling a trade up if rumors of them wanting to go D with their first pick are true, but with Tennessee missing out on a top-QB and Hendon Hooker sliding to the end of R1, the Titans pull the trigger to move up so they have the pivotal 5th year of team control on Hendon Hooker‘s rookie deal. The current Hooker market sits at (+1,000) for the Titans/Bucs/Texans, (+700) to Seattle and (+350) to the favorite Vikings. I had to fight myself from taking him at #23 to Minnesota, but their need for a #2 WR opposite Jefferson was too pressing. Hooker cashes on the Under 31.5 (-145), as he is now favored to be selected in the first round.
31) Kansas City Chiefs
Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
The Chiefs pick up a dominant defensive line prospect in Bresee who was rated the number-one overall player from the 2020 prep class. Two weeks ago, the market for KC’s first pick was a three-way dance with DL as the slight favorite at (+175) with WR and OL close behind at (+200). Now, WR has taken the lead at (+150) with OL and DL (+200). The Chiefs are going with one of those three positions, it’s just a matter of which one. In this exercise, Bresee slipping to the end of R1 is too enticing to pass up and cashes his Over 29.5 (-140) prop.