With Just Hours To Go Here is Our Final Round 1 Mock For The 2023 NFL Draft

By Ian John
April 27, 2023

At the end of the NFL Scouting Combine back in February, we gave you our snap Mock Draft (V1.0) after what was an impressive combine for some, while a questionable one for other future NFL talent.

Since then, much had changed to alter the draft picture, most notably the Chicago Bears trading away their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft for a slew of first round picks, plus wide receiver DJ Moore, to the Carolina Panthers.

However, trades such as Aaron Rodgers moving from the Packers to the Jets, Derek Carr moving to the Saints, Jimmy Garoppolo to the Raiders and even Jarrett Stidham’s move to the Broncos all have altered the feel of the draft as we head to the first pick.

Bet365 Sport is still offering odds on which player will be picked in any of the first ten positions in the draft, while Bryce Young’s odds of being picked first the Panthers has come right in from 1/9 yesterday to a huge 1/28 today.

In the meantime, CJ Stroud’s odds have drifted massively to 25/1 to be picked first by the Panthers, when at the time of the Combine, his performances had him down as the favourite to go ahead of Young.

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So, let’s quickly recap what my Mock V1.0 was after the combine this year and when the Bears still held on to that number one pick.

Our Post Combine Mock Draft V1.0 – From February 2023

  1. Chicago Bears – EDGE – Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)
  2. Houston Texans – QB – Bryce Young (Alabama)
  3. Arizona Cardinals – DT – Jalen Carter (Georgia)
  4. Indianapolis Colts – QB – C.J.Stroud (Ohio State)
  5. Seattle Seahawks – EDGE – Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
  6. Detroit Lions – CB – Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
  7. Las Vegas Raiders – QB – Anthony Richardson (Florida)
  8. Atlanta Falcons – EDGE – Myles Murphy (Clemson)
  9. Carolina Panthers – QB – Will Levis (Kentucky)
  10. Philadelphia Eagles – EDGE – Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)
  11. Tennessee Titans – OT – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
  12. Houston Texans – CB – Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
  13. New York Jets – OT – Darnell Wright (Tennessee)
  14. New England Patriots – OT – Broderick Jones (Georgia)
  15. Green Bay Packers – TE – Darnell Washington (Georgia)
  16. Washington Commanders – OT – Paris Johnson Jr (Ohio State)
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB – Joey Porter Jr (Penn State)
  18. Detroit Lions – TE – Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB – Bijan Robinson (Texas)
  20. Seattle Seahawks – WR – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)
  21. Los Angeles Chargers – CB – Deonte Banks (Maryland)
  22. Baltimore Ravens – WR – Quentin Johnson (WCU)
  23. Minnesota Vikings – EDGE – Keion White (Georgia)
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT – Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh)
  25. New York Giants – WR -Zay Flowers  (Boston College)
  26. Dallas Cowboys – TE -Dalton Kincaid (Utah)
  27. Buffalo Bills – OG – O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida)
  28. Cincinnati Bengals – OT – Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse)
  29. New Orleans Saints – DT – Mazi Smith (Michigan)
  30. Philadelphia Eagles – RB – Jahmyr Gibbs (Eagles)
  31. Kansas City Chiefs – EDGE – Nolan Smith (Georgia)

Since then a number of these players have seen their draft stock increase markedly over the past couple of months.

On The Up

Players that seem to have shot up the draft boards of teams in the past few months include:

  • QB – Will Levis (Kentucky)
  • WR – Zay Flowers (Boston College)
  • QB – Bryce Young (Alabama)
  • RB – Bijan Robinson (Texas)
  • CB – Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
  • QB – Hendon Hooker (Tennessee)
  • WR – Jaxon-Smith Nijgba (Ohio State)
  • OT – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)

On The Slide

Of course, if players move up the draft board, others fall, and here are some of the players whose draft stock seems to have fallen over the last couple of months.

  • QB – C.J.Stroud (Ohio State)
  • EDGE – Jalen Carter (Georgia)
  • EDGE – Myles Murphy (Clemson)
  • EDGE – Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)
  • TE – Michael Meyer (Notre Dame)
  • DT – Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh)
  • CB – Deonte Banks (Maryland)

Plus, we can now factor in some more specific team needs based on the players that teams have signed during Free Agency, as well as those that have been traded from one team to another, or who have hit Free Agency and have left a gap in the roster at their former club.

2023 NFL Draft – Trade Speculation

For this mock, I have also tried to consider some of the likely (or not) draft trade speculation, where one team may try to trade up or down the draft in order to secure a player. Some of the rumours that have been doing the rounds recently include:

  • The Houston Texans may look to trade out of the 2nd pick if Bryce Young is drafted by the Panthers. The Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and even the Tennessee Titans in 11th have been linked with a potential trade here.
  • Alternatively, the Texans may look to trade up for the Arizona Cardinals 3rd pick in the draft, with the Texans offering the Cardinals some of their draft capital to move up from 12th pick in the draft to third to pair with their 2nd pick of the draft.
  • The Cardinals have also been linked with a trade down with the Colts (who hold pick number 4) and the Colts have also been linked with Pick number 2, if the Texans are ready to trade that pick.
  • There is also some speculation that the Eagles could bundle their 10th and 30th picks in Round 1 to move up the draft to snag a top target, most likely a defensive lineman or an Edge Rusher.
  • I do expect there to be more trades in the draft this year than in previous years and I can see some teams trading back to acquire draft capital. New England are one team that regularly do this but I can see others following suit especially lower down that first round.

So with that in mind, here is my final Mock Draft V2.0 ahead of the real 2023 NFL.Draft First Round which starts 1am UK Time.

Remember, the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first round pick in 2023 through a punishment from the NFL.

Our Pre-NFL Draft 2023 Mock Draft V2.0

  1. Carolina Panthers – QB Bryce Young (Alabama)

Panthers make the consensus pick of the most talented and NFL-ready QB in the draft.

  1. Houston Texans – EDGE Will Anderson Jr (Alabama)

This is the pick that will decide if we see a lot of teams seeking to trade up or down. If Houston selects a QB here (most likely either Will Levis, CJ Stroud or even Hendon Hooker) then the likes of the Colts, Raiders and any QB needy team will likely seek to trade up to the 3rd spot.

However, a pick of the best player in the draft here would I think, calm the rush on quarterbacks and instead put the focus on a team wanting a top ranking defensive player to trade up to number 3.

  • Arizona Cardinals – Traded to Philadelphia Eagles – EDGE – Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)

My first big move of the draft sees the Eagles bundle together their two first rounders this year, or maybe a first rounder this and next year, to move up to 3 to take Wilson who will join their fearsome edge rush corps.

  • Indianapolis Colts – QB – Will Levis (Kentucky)

The Colts are believed to be very keen on Levis ahead of CJ.Stroud and they’ll nab the Kentucky star here.

  • Seattle Seahawks – DL – Jalen Carter (Georgia)

Seattle could go for a QB here with Anthony Richardson still available, but Carter is still the best player in the draft for many and being available at number 5 may be too good for the Seahawks to pass on.

  • Detroit Lions – CB – Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)

I’ve liked this pick for Detroit since the combine and I see Detroit nabbing the best corner in the draft if Jalen Carter does not fall into their lap.

  • Las Vegas Raiders – CB – Christian Gonzales (Oregon)

After taking Jimmy G in a trade from the 49ers, the Raiders look set for a couple of years at least at QB, allowing them to address their leaky secondary with one of the best players in the draft.

  • Atlanta Falcons – RB – Bijan Robinson (Texas)

The Falcons need weapons for Desmond Ridder and establishing a run game with the best Running Back in the draft makes sense on many levels for Arthur Smith.

  • Chicago Bears – OT – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)

Having snagged some quality wide receivers, the Bears need to protect Justin Fields and take the best offensive lineman in the class to be an immediate upgrade to the O-line at Guard or Tackle.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (from Eagles) – OT – Darnell Wright (Tennessee)

The Cardinals also need to protect their star QB Kyler Murray and with Wright’s stock increasing since the draft, he would be a very good pick up here.

  1. Tennessee Titans – QB – C.J.Stroud (Ohio State)

It would be a big fall from grace for Stroud if he drops to the Titans, but he would be a good fit in Tennessee where he can start the season behind Ryan Tannehill before taking over as the face of the Titans rebuild.

  1. Houston Texans – QB – Anthony Richardson (Florida)

If the Texans do not take a QB with their first pick of the first round, they will with their second unless all their targets are off the board. Richardson looks a great fit here but if he has gone, don’t’ rule out the Texans moving for either Will Levis (if available) or Hendon Hooker.

  1. Green Bay Packers – EDGE – Nolan Smith (Georgia)

The Packers need help in a number of areas, and while they could go offense here, I think defense is more likely with Smith the best of the remaining Edge Rushers available, he seems a good choice here.

  1. New England Patriots – OT – Broderick Jones (Georgia)

We know Bill Belichick doesn’t rate the QB play in New England a great deal but part of that problem is the offensive line. Jones is a big unit from Georgia who would fit the Belichick system well.

  1. New York Jets – OT – Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State)

If Johnson falls this far, the Jets would be absolutely delighted to land a player that can come into their offensive line and protect Aaron Rodgers immediately.

  1. Detroit Lions – EDGE – Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)

After landing Aidan Hutchison last year, the Lions go back to the defensive line for their second first round pick, taking the best Edge Rusher available at the moment.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB – Joey Porter Jr (Penn State)

His father is a former Steeler, he went to Penn State and he would join native Pennsylvanians George Pickens and Kenny Pickett. This pick is one I’ve liked from the very start of the draft process.

  1. Washington Commanders – EDGE – Myles Murphy (Clemson)

With the Commanders not exercising the option for the fifth year of Chase Young’s contract, Edge becomes a need here and the Commanders address that by taking Murphy.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TE – Michael Meyer (Notre Dame)

I’m pretty sure the Bucs were hoping Bijan Robinson would fall to them here. In this mock, he doesn’t but they do address a real need on offense with the best TE in the draft in Meyer.

  • Seattle Seahawks – WR – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

It has taken a while, but the Seahawks finally draft a wide receiver in the draft, taking the talented Smith-Njigba with their second pick of the first round, which will start a rush of WR picks later in the first round.

  • Los Angeles Chargers – WR – Zay Flowers (Boston College)

With an offense lacking speed, the Chargers will look to address that with one of the more fleet of foot receivers in the draft in Flowers. Don’t be too surprised though if the Chargers move up a couple of spots, perhaps with the Bucs to try and nab Smith-Njigba.

  • Baltimore Ravens – WR – Jordan Addison (USC)

The Ravens may look to QB here if a top prospect is available, but a WR to go alongside Odell Beckham Jr would be a smart move and give the offense a better balanced approach rather than being rush-heavy.

  • Minnesota Vikings – CB – Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State)

The Vikings could draft a QB here, with Hendon Hooker a potential option, but I think the speed and hands of Forbes are a great fit for the Vikings, although they may need to bulk the corner up a little for the rigours of the NFL.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars – CB – Brian Branch (Alabama)

The Jaguars could go many ways with this pick, depending on who is available I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on either of the lines, or with a linebacker, but Branch is probably the most talented and versatile player left in the draft and he fits a need in Jacksonville.

  • New York Giants – OL – O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida)

The Giants need help at WR so that may be a consideration here, but with Daniel Jones inked to a new long term deal, protecting their Quarterback will be key to their success and Torrence is arguably the best player available in the draft.

  • Dallas Cowboys – TE -Dalton Kincaid (Utah)

The Cowboys lost Dalton Schultz in Free Agency so bringing in a ready made replacement, and many would say a big upgrade at the position, would make sense.

  • Buffalo Bills – LB – Jack Campbell (Iowa)

Linebacker is a position of need for the Bills and the top linebacker in the draft falls into their lap. They could be tempted with a higher profile player. Maybe a WR, but Campbell is the pick to build the team further.

  • Cincinnati Bengals – CB – Deontay Banks (Maryland)

Many drafts have Banks going higher in the draft, but here he falls neatly into the hands of the Bengals who will be seeking a quality corner from this draft. Banks fits the bill.

  • New Orleans Saints – DL – Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh)

Kancey may have shorter than preferred arms for a defensive tackle, but he makes up for that in all other areas and he addresses a real need for the Saints on that defensive front.

  • Arizona Cardinals (from Eagles) – RB – Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)

The Cardinals need to address their running game issues and James Conner is dependable but not an elite runner. Gibbs would offer them a chance to get a talent to take the pressure off Murray and the passing game.

  • Kansas City Chiefs – WR – Quentin Johnson (TCU)

The Chiefs always like to give Patrick Mahomes talent to work with. Johnson has already been working out with Mahomes earlier this month. Coincidence? I think not.

Remember, tune in tonight to see how the real NFL Draft pans out with the start time of 1am in the UK!

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