The 2023 NFL Draft is just a few days away, and excitement is building as teams prepare to make their picks. While there are always rumors of trades and teams moving up or down the draft board, Strike 7 Sports’ final mock draft will not include any transactions. With that in mind, let’s look at the top three rounds and predict who each team will select.
1. Panthers: Bryce Young, QB Alabama
The Panthers made a bold move to trade up to the top of the draft, and it’s clear they did so to select their franchise quarterback in Bryce Young. With Cam Newton’s tenure in Carolina long gone and Sam Darnold struggling to make an impact, the Panthers have searched for a reliable signal-caller for years. Young’s presence on the field will finally end the team’s carousel at quarterback.
2. Texans: Will Anderson, EDGE Alabama
As the rumors suggested, the Houston Texans passed on selecting a quarterback with the second overall pick. Instead, they went out of Alabama with the best edge rusher in the class, Will Anderson Jr. With new head coach DeMeco Ryans leading the way, Anderson has the potential to become a cornerstone player for the Texans for years to come. Anderson is a dominant pass rusher with excellent technique and a relentless motor. He can disrupt plays in the backfield and generate sacks with ease.
3. Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Despite receiving numerous calls from teams looking to move up in the draft, the Arizona Cardinals decided to keep their pick and address their needs on the defensive side of the ball. With the third overall pick, they select Tyree Wilson out of Texas Tech. Wilson is an explosive defensive lineman with a rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He can penetrate the line of scrimmage and disrupt plays in the backfield. With new head coach Jonathan Gannon leading the way, Wilson will have a chance to grow and develop into a dominant force on the Cardinals’ defensive line.
4. Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a good situation as Will Levis falls to them with the fourth pick. Levis, a former Kentucky Wildcat, is a talented quarterback with great physical tools and a high football IQ. While some may view this as a fall for Levis, the reality is that he landed in a great spot with a head coach in Shane Steichen, who has a track record of developing quarterbacks. Steichen’s expertise and ability to get the most out of his signal-callers will allow Levis to grow and improve his game.
5. Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Despite having a viable option at quarterback in Geno Smith, the Seattle Seahawks decided to plan for their long-term solution by selecting Anthony Richardson out of Florida with the fifth overall pick. Richardson is an athletic quarterback with great size, arm strength, and mobility. He can make plays with his legs and has a natural feel for the game. While Richardson may not be ready to start immediately, he will have time to learn and develop behind Smith.
6. Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Detroit Lions select Christian Gonzalez from the University of Oregon with the sixth overall pick. Gonzalez is widely regarded as one of the top corners in the 2023 draft class, combining size, speed, and athleticism. He has excellent ball skills and can play both man and zone coverage at a high level. With the Lions’ defense ranking at the bottom of the league in many statistical categories last season, Gonzalez has the potential to contribute and help improve the unit immediately.
7. Raiders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Although the Raiders could have used their seventh overall pick to select a quarterback to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo, they focused on improving their struggling defense by selecting Devin Witherspoon out of Illinois. Witherspoon is a lengthy, physical corner with good ball skills and a knack for making plays on the ball. He can potentially become a shutdown corner at the NFL level and should immediately improve the Raiders’ secondary.
8. Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Despite the availability of highly rated quarterback CJ Stroud, the Atlanta Falcons opted to focus on their defense in the 2023 NFL Draft. They selected Jalen Carter from Georgia to bolster their defensive line. Carter will have the advantage of working with the Falcons’ new defensive coordinator, Ryan Nielsen, who is renowned for building formidable defensive lines.
9. Bears: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
After trading out of the first overall pick with Carolina, the Chicago Bears opted to shore up their offensive line by drafting Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State with the ninth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Johnson’s selection reflects the team’s priority of providing better protection for their quarterback Justin Fields, and improving their run game.
10. Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Despite the common belief that running backs are not worth first-round picks, the Eagles saw the potential in Bijan Robinson to become a vital piece in their rushing attack, especially with the departure of Miles Sanders in free agency. With his combination of speed, agility, and power, Robinson has the tools to impact Philadelphia’s offense immediately.
11. Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
With the 11th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans pass on adding a quarterback and instead address their pressing need at offensive tackle by selecting Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern. As one of the top-rated tackles in the draft, Skoronski is expected to make an immediate impact for the Titans and provide a significant upgrade to their offensive line.
12. Texans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
For the second-straight time in the draft, the Texans shift their focus away from the quarterback position and instead look to bolster their offense by selecting USC wideout Jordan Addison with the 12th overall pick. This move demonstrates the Texans’ confidence in their current signal caller, Davis Mills, and their desire to provide him with another weapon in the passing game.
13. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, GB
The Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets come to terms on a blockbuster trade that sends Aaron Rodgers to the Big Apple and gives the Packers the 13th pick in the draft. With their first-round selection, the Packers address a pressing need at tight end by choosing Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. Known for his versatile skillset, Mayer has the potential to revamp a Packers offense that struggled in 2022 due to the loss of veteran players and the introduction of younger talent.
14. Patriots: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Patriots secure their offensive line’s future by selecting Darnell Wright out of Tennessee with the 14th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. As the contracts of Trent Brown and Riley Reiff are set to expire after the 2023 season, Wright’s selection ensures that the Patriots have a promising young tackle to anchor their line for years to come.
15. Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Jets’ acquisition of Aaron Rodgers was a major move with a significant benefit – retaining their first-round draft pick. With Rodgers as their new quarterback, the Jets wasted no time using the 15th overall pick to solidify their offensive line by selecting Broderick Jones from the University of Georgia.
16. Commanders: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
The Commanders’ decision to draft a defensive end in the first round may catch some fans off guard, but it actually makes sense for the team’s plans. With top defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young likely demanding hefty contracts in the near future, and with Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne already secured to new deals, the Commanders must plan to maintain a strong defensive front. Clemson’s Myles Murphy gives the team a promising prospect who can learn from and eventually replace some of the current stars on the defensive line.
17. Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
The Pittsburgh Steelers made a savvy move by signing veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson to a two-year deal in free agency. Still, they clearly have further plans to bolster their secondary. With the 17th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they selected Penn State standout Joey Porter Jr., a promising young cornerback with the potential to take their defense to the next level.
18. Lions: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The Detroit Lions have a chance to add a dynamic weapon to their already potent offense in the 2023 NFL Draft. With the 18th overall pick, they select Utah tight end, Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid is a versatile and athletic tight end who can stretch the field and create mismatches against linebackers and safeties. He has excellent hands and route-running ability, which makes him a reliable target for Jared Goff.
19. Buccaneers: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
After patiently waiting, former Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud has finally found his new NFL home. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were quick to snatch him up with the 19th pick in the 2023 draft, showing their confidence in his potential. Stroud’s arrival will add another layer of competition for the Buccaneers’ quarterback position as he joins the battle with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask to potentially take over from the legendary Tom Brady.
20. Seahawks: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
The Seattle Seahawks continue to benefit from the Russell Wilson trade that occurred a year ago. With the 20th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they select the best-rated guard in the draft, O’Cyrus Torrence. Torrence has the potential to be a game-changer in the Seahawks’ offensive line and provide some much-needed protection for Geno Smith. His versatility and athleticism make him an attractive pick for any team needing a guard, and the Seahawks are lucky to have him fall into their lap at this point in the draft.
21. Chargers: Jaxon Smith-Ngiba, WR, Ohio State
The Los Angeles Chargers already have a formidable receiving core featuring stars like Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Joshua Palmer. However, they clearly felt that adding another talented wideout would help to bolster their offense further. With the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they selected Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a promising young receiver with a bright future ahead of him.
By selecting Smith-Njigba, the Chargers are making a statement about their long-term plans for their receiving corps. While they already have a strong group of receivers in place, they are clearly thinking ahead and investing in the future of their offense.
22. Ravens: Calijah Kancey, DT, PITT
Calijah Kancey, a standout defensive tackle out of the University of Pittsburgh, caught the attention of pro scouts with his impressive pass-rushing abilities during his college career. Kancey recorded an impressive 14.5 sacks in just two seasons with the Pitt Panthers, a number that rivals the sack production of some of the top edge rushers in the country.
With the departure of veteran defensive end Calais Campbell to the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens were in need of a disruptive force on their defensive line. The Ravens wisely selected Kancey with the 22nd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, recognizing his potential to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks and disrupt offensive game plans.
23. Vikings: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
The Minnesota Vikings made a bold move in the 2023 NFL Draft by selecting quarterback Hendon Hooker out of Tennessee with an eye toward the future. With Kirk Cousins set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season, the Vikings wisely addressed their need for a long-term solution at the quarterback position by selecting Hooker in the first round.
24. Jaguars: Brian Branch, SAFETY, Alabama
The Jacksonville Jaguars made a smart move in the 2023 NFL Draft by selecting former Alabama safety Brian Branch with the 24th pick. Branch is widely regarded as one of the top safeties in this year’s draft class, and his impressive skill set and on-field production make him an ideal fit for the Jaguars’ defense.
25. Giants: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
The Giants made a savvy move in the 2023 NFL Draft by addressing their most pressing defense needs with the selection of linebacker Drew Sanders out of the University of Arkansas. With the 25th pick in the draft, the Giants landed a player with a rare combination of size, speed, and athleticism that makes him an ideal fit for their defense.
Sanders was a standout performer in college, earning a reputation as a hard-hitting, versatile linebacker who could make plays all over the field. His ability to rush the passer, drop back into coverage, and stuff the run make him a valuable asset for any defense, and the Giants were wise to target him with their first-round pick.
26. Cowboys: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
The Dallas Cowboys wasted no time addressing the gap left by Dalton Schultz’s departure during free agency. The team swiftly filled the void by selecting Darnell Washington, a talented tight end from the University of Georgia. Standing at an impressive 6’7″ and weighing in at 264 pounds, Washington brings an imposing physical presence to the position, allowing him to excel at both run blocking and receiving.
Despite limited opportunities to showcase his receiving abilities at Georgia, Washington is a natural pass-catcher and has the potential to become a reliable target for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
27. Bills: Jalen Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
The Buffalo Bills are poised to have one of the most explosive passing attacks in the league, thanks to their dynamic receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. And with the recent addition of Jalin Hyatt, a speedy wideout selected with the 27th pick in the 2023 draft, the Bills’ passing game is set to become even more potent. The team also made a savvy move by signing free agent WR Deonte Hardy, who adds even more depth to their already stacked receiving corps.
Hyatt is a rising star in college football, having burst onto the scene in 2022 with a career-best performance that included 1,267 receiving yards, 67 receptions, and an impressive 15 touchdowns. But his dominant showing against the Alabama Crimson Tide really turned heads. In that game, he caught an incredible six passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns, leaving even the most talented defenders in the country unable to keep up with him.
28. Bengals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
The Bengals decided to bolster their offensive line by selecting Anton Harrison from Oklahoma with the 28th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Standing 6’4″ and weighing 315 pounds, Harrison has the ideal size and athleticism to play guard and tackle positions. The selection of Harrison also indicates the team’s desire to protect their franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow, and improve their run game.
29. Saints: Bryan Breese, DT, Clemson
The Saints are a team that is known to move up in the draft if the opportunity presents itself. However, if they decide to stay put, all signs are indicating that selecting a defensive tackle will be the move at 29. We project that they will take Clemson’s Bryan Breese. Bresee, a former five-star recruit, had an outstanding college career, earning All-ACC honors and being named a freshman All-American in 2021. At 6’5″ and 300 pounds, he has the size and strength to be a disruptive force in the interior defensive line. This pick also fills a need for the Saints, who lost key players on their defensive line during the offseason.
30. Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Lukas Van Ness had a productive college career, recording 19 sacks in three seasons with the Hawkeyes. He also possesses a quick first step and a variety of pass-rush moves that will allow him to be a productive player at the next level.
31. Chiefs: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
The Kansas City Chiefs, who held the final pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, opted to bolster their defense by selecting Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey in the first round. The Chiefs’ defense struggled at times during the previous season, especially in the red zone, and Foskey’s presence will provide a much-needed boost to their pass rush. Foskey was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school and lived up to the hype during his college career, tallying a combined 10.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss over his last two seasons with the Fighting Irish. His athleticism, size, and ability to disrupt the quarterback make him a valuable addition to the Chiefs’ defense.
32. Steelers: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
33. Texans: Nolan Smith EDGE, Georgia
34. Cardinals: Will McDonald IV EDGE, Iowa State
35. Colts: Adetomiwa Adebawore EDGE, Northwestern
36. Rams: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
37. Seahawks: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
38. Raiders: Warren McClendon, OT Georgia
39. Panthers: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
40. Saints: Keion White, EDGE, Georgia Tech
41. Titans: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
42. Packers: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
43. Jets: John Michael Schmitz, OC, Minnesota
44. Falcons: Steve Avila, OG, TCU
45. Packers: Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State
46. Patriots: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
47. Commanders: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
48. Lions: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
49. Steelers: Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC
50. Buccaneers: B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
51. Dolphins: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
52. Seahawks: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
53. Bears: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
54. Chargers: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama
55. Lions: Kelee Ringo, CB Georgia
56. Jaguars: Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
57. Giants: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
58. Cowboys: Zach Charbonnet, RB UCLA
59. Bills Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
60. Bengals: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
61. Vikings: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
62. Eagles: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
63. Chiefs: Marvin Mims Jr., WR Oklahoma
64. Bears: Andre Carter, EDGE, ARMY
65. Texans: Emil Ekiyor Jr., OG, Alabama
66. Cardinals: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
67. Broncos: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
68. Broncos: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
69. Rams: Matthew Bergeron, OT Syracuse
70. Raiders: Siaki Ika, DT Baylor
71. Saints: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
72. Titans: Israel Abanikanda, RB, PITT
73. Texans: Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska
74. Browns: Derrick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
75. Falcons: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
76. Patriots: Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
77. Rams: Nathaniel Dell, WR, Houston
78. Packers: Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
79. Colts: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
80. Steeler: DJ Johnson, EDGE, Oregon
81. Lions: Antonio Johnson, SAFETY, Texas A&M
82. Buccaneers: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
83. Seahawks: Braeden Daniels, G, Utah
84. Dolphins: Moro Ojomo, DT, Texas
85. Chargers: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
86. Ravens: Clark Phillips III, SAFETY, Utah
87. Vikings: Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Minnesota
88. Jaguars: Zacch Pickens, DT, South Carolina
89. Giants: Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
90. Cowboys: Nick Herberg, EDGE, Wisconsin
91. Bills: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington
92. Bengals: Nick Hampton, EDGE, Appalachian State
93. Panthers: Cameron Latu, TE, Alabama
94. Eagles: Byron Young, DT, Alabama
95. Chiefs: Jacqueline Roy, DT, LSU
96. Cardinals: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
97. Commanders: Ivan Pace, LB, Cincinnati
98. Browns: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
99. 49ers: Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina
100. Raiders: Jordan Battle, SAFETY, Alabama
101. 49ers: Carter Warren, OT, PITT
102. 49ers: JL Skinner, SAFETY, Boise State