The NFL Draft season is underway. This first edition will feature a few trades. As we get closer to free agency, these trades and potential selections may alter.
Trade Alert: IND receives 2023 1.01 and a 2024 6th-round pick, CHI gets 2023 1.04, 2023 2nd, 2024 1st-round pick and 2024 2nd-round pick
1. Indianapolis Colts via CHI select QB Bryce Young, Alabama
The Indianapolis Colts trade up here and stop playing their favorite game of renting veteran quarterbacks. Some will argue that Young doesn’t have the prototypical size for the quarterback position, but we’ve seen smaller quarterbacks succeed in the league. Young lands in a solid situation in Indianapolis with young offensive stars in Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.
2. Houston Texans select QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
The Texans get jumped by their division rival in the choice of the first quarterback off the board, but Houston still lands their quarterback of the future in CJ Stroud. With tons of capital coming the next few years, Stroud is in a favorable situation in Houston with a younger head coach and knows what it takes to help the team.
3. Arizona Cardinals select EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
JJ Watt retires and the Arizona Cardinals land a stud EDGE rusher in Will Anderson to help fill that void. An impressive 2022 stat line from Anderson Jr. featured 10 sacks, 17 TFL, and 51 tackles. He should make an immediate impact for the Cardinals defense.
4. Chicago Bears via IND select DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
The Chicago Bears trade down and still land the prospect who fits best in their system and that is Jalen Carter. A possible game-changer to bolster the Bears defense, which has some promising pieces already. Carter is a big step towards filling out all the empty holes.
Trade Alert: CAR gets 2023 1.05, SEA gets 2023 1.09, 2023 2.39, and a 2024 2nd-round pick
5. Carolina Panthers via DEN select QB Will Levis, Kentucky
The Carolina Panthers make a bold move trading up for a quarterback of the future, giving Seattle more capital over the next two years with gaining extra second-round picks this draft and next draft for the cost of only moving back four picks. The talk of the town is the upside of Will Levis with his great arm strength and solid mobility, which has traits similar to Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen coming out of Wyoming. That isn’t my comp for Levis, but they do have similar traits coming out of college.
6. Detroit Lions via LAR select CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
The Detroit Lions focus on this draft should be defense, something that could have helped them in their push for the playoffs last year. A step towards a better defense would be adding Christian Gonzalez alongside Jeff Okudah, who had a stellar season in 2022 after coming back from an Achilles injruy. Gonzales has high CB1 upside and has tremendous size for the position at 6’2″ and 201 lbs.
Trade Alert: GB gets 2023 1.07, 2023 4.110, and a 2024 2nd-round pick, LV gets Aaron Rodgers and a 2024 4th-round pick
7. Green Bay Packers via LV select OT Parris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
A blockbuster deal here by sending Aaron Rodgers to Las Vegas to be alongside his former WR1 in Davante Adams. The Green Bay Packers gain an extra first-round pick this year, which they use on some offensive line help in Ohio State’s Parris Johnson Jr. With David Bakhtiari’s injury history and age factor, this could be his possible long-term replacement. For now, he will fill out much-needed depth on the offensive line.
8. Atlanta Falcons select EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
The Atlanta Falcons have a desperate need in the pass-rush game and they get a really dynamic prospect here in Tyree Wilson. The Falcons recently hired former Saints defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielson as their defensive coordinator. Nielson has coached some great pass rushers such as Cam Jordan, Trey Hendrickson, and Marcus Davenport to name a few. Wilson will be in more than capable hands to develop into the best pass-rusher he can be under Nielson in Atlanta.
9. Seattle Seahawks via CAR select EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Seattle Seahawks get an interesting young piece added to their defense in the trade back with Myles Murphy here. He should rotate well alongside Boye Mafe, Uchena Nwosu and Darrell Taylor. Murphy arguably has the best upside out of all of them.
10. Philadelphia Eagles via NO select CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Another easy pick here with James Bradbury becoming a free agent this upcoming offseason. Devon Witherspoon makes sense for Philadelphia, as he has been shooting up boards as a top cornerback prospect. Even if Bradbury re-signs, Witherspoon would be a great pick as Darius Slay is an urestricted free agent in 2024.
11. Tennessee Titans select OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
With the Tennessee Titans likely to cut offensive tackle Taylor Lewan in the offseason due to the salary cap, the front office is in line to draft his replacement, which explains drafting the Northwestern product in Peter Skoronski. He has caught some slack for not having the longest of arms, but that doesn’t take away from his skill set, which is that of an NFL-ready tackle.
12. Houston Texans via CLE select WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
The Houston Texans go offense heavy in the first round, as they have lots of capital within the rest of the Draft to focus on defense. By selecting Stroud earlier in the Draft, and the likelihood of trading away current WR1 Brandin Cooks in the offseason, the board has fallen well for the Texans to draft a new future WR1 in Quentin Johnston.
Trade Alert: BAL gets 2023 1.13, 2023 3.74, 2024 1st-round pick, 2024 2nd-round pick, 2024 4th-round pick, and a 2025 3rd-round pick, NYJ gets QB Lamar Jackson and OT Ju’Wuan James
13. Baltimore Ravens via NYJ select QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
The last trade of this trade-heavy mock is yet another quarterback blockbuster deal. It has been reported that the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson are around $100 million apart in contract negotiations. I see the New York Jets making a great offer here. In return, the Ravens get a quarterback prospect with a strong arm and tremendous upside in Richardson. If coached correctly, Richardson can fit in with the Ravens’ run-first scheme.
14. New England Patriots select OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
Isaiah Wynn has had a streaky career to this point in his career with New England and it likely ends in the team letting him walk. As a result, it opens up a spot at offensive tackle for New England. The front office select a prospect with high upside in Broderick Jones, who could be a plug-and-play option for the Patriots offense.
15. Green Bay Packers select TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
The Packers who already made a splash earlier in the mock and now get their tight end of the future in Michael Mayer, who is the consensus TE1 of this class. He does everything you need in a tight end and should be a solid contributor right away for Green Bay on offense. It helps that veteran Robert Tonyan is also a free agent this offseason.
16. Washington Commanders select DB Brian Branch, Alabama
Washington snags a versatile slot cornerback/safety hybrid in Brian Branch, who succeeds best playing up near the line of scrimmage. The Commanders already have reliable safeties in Darrick Forrest and Kamren Curl on the back-end, so Branch fits best in the slot and should be a playmaker on defense for Ron Rivera in a very crucial year for the head coach.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers select CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Clearly already having ties to the team, being the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter Sr, he fills a big need for the team. Cam Sutton is hitting the free agency market and the Steelers have two picks in the second round where they can focus on the extremely deep offensive line class.
18. Detroit Lions select DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson
The Detroit Lions bulk up on the defensive line along side Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeil by selecting Bryan Bresee from Clemson. He falls slightly here from where he was originally projected, but promising prospects often fall in the NFL Draft. The Lions take advantage, walking out of the first round with a top-tier cornerback and defensive line prospect.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed both Sean Murphy-Bunting to hit free agency and Jameal Dean to hit free agency. Selecting a cornerback in the first round could very well be at the top of the team’s priority list. Cam Smith is a strong pick and has good size and length for the position. The 6’0″, 190 lb prospect should test well at the NFL Combine to increase his draft stock.
20. Seattle Seahawks select ILB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
The second pick for the Seattle Seahawks addresses the team’s need at the linebacker position. Veteran Jordyn Brooks may not return to the team until partway through next season, allowing Trenton Simpson to find playing time early. He fits Seattle’s system well, and even when Brooks comes back, both he and Simpson will fit well together.
21. Los Angeles Chargers select WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
With small rumblings that Keenan Allen could be a cap casualty, this pick just makes a lot of sense for the Los Angeles Chargers. Even if the Chargers retain Allen for the 2023 season, the offense statistically had one of the slowest-ranked wide receiver cores across the league last season. Adding a player with the immense skill set of Jaxon Smith-Njigba will increase the Chargers talent in the slot position.
22. Baltimore Ravens select WR Jordan Addison, USC
The Baltimore Ravens add firepower on their offense alongside Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, and JK Dobbins in Jordan Addison. Addison gets some slack for his size, but his skill set outmatches those claims. Small receivers often succeed in the NFL and he can easily get help in bulking up while maintaining his current speed.
23. Minnesota Vikings select CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
The Minnesota Vikings desperately fill a need at the cornerback position with Georgia’s Kelee Ringo. Veteran Patrick Peterson likely doesn’t return to the defense in 2023 and the defense was never not very deep at the position to begin with. Ringo has great size for the position, listed at 6’2″ and 210 lbs.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars select OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
The Jacksonville Jaguars fill out more depth on the offensive line with O’Cyrus Torrence, the Florida product. Torrence is a versatile player who could kick out to offensive tackle or eventually take over for Brandon Scherff, who will be a free agent in 2024.
25. New York Giants select WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
The New York Giants add a massive need at the wide receiver position with a speedster out of Boston College in Zay Flowers. He also happens to be a very refined route runner and has sure hands, but is just on the smaller side height-wise. Adding someone who can get open deep will open up the playoff chances for the Giants.
26. Dallas Cowboys select RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Tony Pollard could hit free agency without the franchise tag and Ezekiel Elliott is nearing the end of his expensive contract. The Dallas Cowboys should draft the best running back in the class in Bijan Robinson. The Cowboys are a team who have just drafted the best player available before, with Ceedee Lamb being the previous example when many felt they had a good tandem at wide receiver in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Now, Dallas has a versatile stud in the backfield with multiple years of control.
27. Buffalo Bills select S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M
The Buffalo Bills likely not to re-sign Jodan Poyer this offseason, and Micah Hyde’s deal becomes a free agent in 2024. Questions are surfacing whether Damar Hamlin can suit up next year or if it makes sense for the Bills to draft a safety. Johnson happened to be the best available at this pick, bringing some sort of security to the position in Buffalo.
28. Cincinnati Bengals select OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
The Cincinnati Bengals still trying to figure out their answer at offensive line with them drafting a hopeful franchise tackle in Anton Harrison. Jonah Williams is on the last year of his respective deal and hardly preforms up to his potential. His replacement could easily be Harrison, who for now will serve as much-needed depth.
29. New Orleans Saints via SF select EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
The New Orleans Saints draft another defensive end, as Marcus Davenport likely leaves the franchise in free agency and signs elsewhere. Van Ness comes in and is very comparable to a guy like Trey Hendrickson, who was developed in the Saints system. The Saints defensive coordinator did leave for the Falcons job, but with Dennis Allen being the head coach and former defensive coordinator, you can expect a similar system.
30. Philadelphia Eagles select DL, Keion White, Georgia Tech
The Philadelphia Eagles go back to the defensive line in the first round this year after selecting Jordan Davis in 2022. The front office will now add Keion White with Javon Hargrave pending free agency, as well as Suh and Cox. White could immediately fill a role on the Eagles defensive front and make a big impact.
31. Kansas City Chiefs select OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
The Kansas City Chiefs fill out some offensive line depth with Dawand Jones, who looked great at the Senior Bowl week. Orlando Brown is a pending free agent and at this point, we have to assume he could be gone, leaving his possible replacement to be Jones. Even if Kansas City brings back Brown, Jones fills right in at right tackle, replacing Andrew Wylie.
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