2023 NFL Mock Draft: Bears add a weapon for Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
There were copious amounts of significant injuries heading into Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season, and even more after games ended this past Monday night.
The Chargers' losses may have contributed to an upset loss to the upstart Jaguars, and Myles Garrett's car accident could adversely affect the Browns' continuity on defense.
Every season injuries cloud what direction an organization may take, while simultaneously opening opportunities for collegiate prospects. This week's mock reflects some of those possibilities.
And we're using Tankathon.com's NFL Draft order.
1. Raiders: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Georgia
Despite signing renown sack artist, Chandler Jones (potential Hall of Fame candidate) and pairing him with Las Vegas' premier pass rusher, Maxx Crosby, the Raiders are tied for the league's lowest sack total (2). In addition to the paltry sack numbers, the Raiders have generated only 22 quarterback pressures (hurries + knockdowns + sacks) which currently ranks 25th in the NFL. Taking Anderson would be a great addition to a struggling, aging pass rush.
2. Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Incumbent starter Davis Mills plays competently, but Houston's win-loss record under his stewardship (2-11-1), reflects a need for a difference making franchise quarterback. Conversely, in sixteen games as a starter for the Buckeyes, Stroud's career completion percentage (71.6) and touchdown to interception ratio (60-to-7) screams game changing signal caller.
3. Seahawks: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Seattle is in rebuilding mode and needs upgrades at several positions on both sides of the ball. Possessing two first round picks, the Seahawks could jumpstart their resurgence by taking 2021 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Bryce Young. Over his last 19 starts, Young passed for 6,057 yards and 61 scores.
4. Falcons: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Robust and athletically gifted, Carter moves with almost inhuman suddenness into opposing offenses' backfields. Devoid of subtlety, Carter's violent hand swipes clear out offensive linemen ill prepared to deal with his physicality. Currently, Atlanta ranks 25th in overall defense and 30th in red zone scores allowed, so drafting Carter might pay immediate dividends for a suspect Falcons' defense.
5. Chargers: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
The AFC Conference is littered with elite receivers (Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Davonte Adams, Stefon Diggs etc....) and in order to compete against them teams require top tier defensive stoppers in their secondary. Ringo is a physical specimen (6-foot-2, 210 lbs) blessed with 10.43 speed (100 meters) and NFL level agility to stay glued to receivers.
6. Cardinals: Isiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
The Cardinals are tied for last in team sacks (2) and sadly, their best past rusher (J.J. Watt) is also the team's oldest (33) player. Possibly selecting Foskey instantly adds youth and improves the overall athleticism required at the edge position. Foskey possesses the speed to threaten the edge and the arm length to out leverage most blockers.
7. Eagles (via NO): Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
Bresee plays with a brute force ugliness that doesn't apologize for making things difficult for opposing teams. A lean interior defensive talent (6-foot-5, 300 lbs), he demonstrates an unusual ability to get "skinny" between double teams, powering past them behind the line of scrimmage. Both Fletcher Cox ($14 million) and Javon Hargrave ($13 million) are unrestricted free agents, so taking Bresee might offer financial flexibility for the Eagles.
8. Panthers: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Carolina employs the top pick from the 2018 draft (Baker Mayfield), as well as, the third-overall selection (Sam Darnold) at the same position and neither quarterback appears to be the solution. Both triggermen play erratically and their impatience greatly impacts the team's growth potential. Hooker, on the other hand, demonstrates great poise in the pocket and his leadership has vaulted his school into the nation's top 10 rankings.
9. Dolphins (via SF): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Murphy is an exciting player whose burst and power to speed transitions are mesmerizing to watch. Extremely aggressive at the point of attack, Murphy utilizes his brute strength to overpower opponents. His ability to rush the passer is equaled by his effectiveness and tenacity against the run.
10. Titans: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Drafting Treylon Burks addressed the physicality lost from wideout superstar, A.J. Brown's departure, but the pressing need for downfield speed is apparent in Tennessee. Addison (2021 Biletnikoff Awardee) moves with deceptive speed and a languid fluidity that creates easy separation from pass defenders. Four games into the 2022 campaign, Addison averages 16 yards per reception and tallied six receiving scores to date.
11. Steelers: Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State
Pittsburgh's yard per carry average (4.1) is just below league average (4.4), and through three games its offense produced just two rushing scores. The Steelers struggle converting third downs (33 percent), ranking 25th in the NFL. Better offensive line play should improve those crucial areas and Johnson's elite run blocking plus pass protecting acumen, could help from day one.
12. Bengals: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Cincinnati is a shutdown cornerback away from developing as a suffocating defense. Porter is an elite athlete with incredible agility and lateral quickness to mirror most receivers. A physical corner, Porter enjoys mixing it up with receivers at the snap, yet, his smooth footwork allows for instant recovery across the gridiron.
13. Patriots: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
Traditionally, New England uses stout inside linebackers among its second level defenders. Sewell is a powerfully sculpted interior linebacker, whose size (6-foot-3, 250 lbs) and strength enables him to ward off blockers while making bone-jarring tackles.
14. Jets: Antonio Johnson, FS, Texas A&M
Johnson may very well be the most dynamic prospect in this draft class. Imbued with an organic, unencumbered athleticism, Johnson impresses with positional versatility suitable for any defensive backfield spot. Physical against the run, he is also an intimidating presence in pass coverage.
15. Commanders: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia
Jones' physical attributes are suited to playing left tackle at the next level. Excellent size (6-foot-4, 315 lbs) and impressive arm length allow him to sting and stymie power rushers. His quick feet and loose lateral movement help keep tempo with speedy edge defenders. Plus, considering the elite level defenders from the University of Georgia he's practiced against the past two years, Jones is already primed for NFL competition.
16. Lions: Andre Carter II, EDGE, Arm
Carter may be the first service academy student athlete to be drafted in the NFL's opening round since the 1940s. A ruling in 2019 enacted a new policy allowing military academy, students with professional sports aspirations, the opportunity to defer service time. Excellent news for Carter, who led the nation last year with a 37.7 percent pass rush win rate.
17. Colts: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
Edge rushing specialist, Yannick Ngakoue is an unrestricted free agent on his fifth team in four years. Although he's productive (56.5 sacks in 98 career games), Ngakoue's price tag ($13 million) may be more than Indianapolis wants to match. Anudike-Uzomah is similarly athletic to Ngakoue, but offers a more reasonable controlled price range with the upside of youth.
18. Bears: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
Chicago's promising second year signal caller, Justin Fields' current stat line (51.1 percent completion rate / 297 passing yards / two passing scores to four interceptions) screams..."help!" Perry offers excellent height and a solid vertical leap to pair with an encompassing catch radius. His ability to stretch defenses downfield should clear the underneath routes defenders are impeding, by aggressively pressing Bears receivers from getting open.
19. Chiefs: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
The Chiefs' primary receiving target is tight end, Travis Kelce, a perennial All-Pro. However, Kansas City becomes virtually unstoppable on offense when there's a number one receiver on the field with Kelce. The departure of speedster Tyreek Hill, removed the Chiefs' hold-your-breath deep threat and number one boundary receiver. Boutte isn't nearly as fast, but his slick route running and dazzling after the catch ability, presents game breaking elements that were lost when Hill left.
20. Texans (via CLE): Gervon Dexter Sr, DL, Florida
The 6-foot-6, 312 pound, Dexter is a massive human that moves like an locomotive through most offensive lines. Because the Gators use multiple defensive fronts, Dexter's ability to align anywhere along the line of scrimmage increases his value at the next level. Strong at the point of attack, he generally out muscles opponents and stuffs running plays in his direction. Surprisingly quick, he successfully shoots gaps, routinely penetrating into opposing teams' backfield.
21. Giants: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Simpson is a do-it-all defender with elite athleticism and a versatile toolbox which allows him to dominate games. He's a special player with the ability to blitz off the edge, shed blocks to stuff ball carriers, or glide into space and eliminate underneath passing lanes. The Giants would very much like to have a dependable three-down linebacker to pair with edge rushing rookie phenom, Kayvon Thibodeaux.
22. Bills: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
How special is Skoronski? In 2017, he became the first freshman from Northwestern to achieve All-Big Ten post season honors. Skoronski is a practiced technician who operates with measured efficiency mixed with a little "nasty" to his game. The Bills could benefit from his strike-first approach to blocking and NFL ready skill set.
23. Cowboys: Jaquelin Roy, DL, LSU
Roy exemplifies classic attributes of a three-technique defensive linemen, ranging from his size (6-foot-4, 297 pounds) to his explosive first step. Roy displays the upper body strength required to succeed at the pro level, but it's his initial burst that separates him from his peers. Dallas should seriously consider taking an ascending talent like Roy, who can either collapse the pocket or sprint through it.
24. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
A physical blocker and adept pass catcher, Mayer could be the missing piece to an already effective Packers' offense. His ability to stay on the field regardless the down and distance, adds an element of surprise for teams uncertain of whether Green Bay is passing or running. He's strong enough to hold a block in order to fake a run play, then swiftly release into the open for a downfield pass reception. The Packers hope a talent like Mayer is available when they pick on April 27th.
25. Seahawks (via DEN): Derrick Hall, EDGE, Auburn
Hall creates thrusting power from a strong base and uses that to propel himself past edge blockers. His fluid hip maneuverability facilitates his power to speed transitions when rushing the passer. The Seahawks are rebuilding and essential to an effective rebuilt defense, is accumulating players that can pressure passers and stress the line of scrimmage.
26. Buccaneers: Henry To'o To'o, LB, Alabama
To'o To'o is a mission oriented player, who set personal bests last season with 111 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, to go along with four sacks. His anticipatory skills help position him effectively, in order to neutralize offensive plays before they fully develop. To'o To'o showcases excellent sideline to sideline range and is a committed tackler. He may be in position to become a day one selection, which is surely a mission he is on the way to completing.
27. Ravens: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Wilson is the type of irritatingly effective edge rusher that opposing teams hate battling, but the kind of versatile athlete emblematic of Baltimore's defensive style of play. Wilson can either set the edge or maneuver beyond it, causing disruption and chaotic uncertainty in offensive backfields. If ever there were a player who fit a specific team's personnel specs, it's Wilson for the Ravens' defense.
28. Vikings: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
Phillips is an intuitive ball hawk with receiving ability uncommon for most defensive backs. Phillips caught 29 touchdowns and tallied 1,645 receiving yards as a prep athlete. A hyper quick player, Phillips' projects as a slot defender in the NFL. However, his elite quickness and solid leaping ability expands his versatility as a boundary corner for the University of Utah. Whether in the slot or positioned outside the numbers in the NFL, the Vikings would benefit from adding Phillips to their roster.
29. Lions (via LAR): Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia
A twitchy, explosive athlete, Smith is a dogged (pun intended) defender in short areas, with the power to manipulate leveraging angles against blockers. He generates enough speed to overpower opponents rather than using brute strength to subdue them. Detroit is in desperate need of a linebacking talent who could control the middle of the field, and Smith is brimming with NFL potential.
30. Jaguars: Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC
The Jaguars are in an unfamiliar space, atop the AFC South's standings with the arrow pointing skyward. Taking a rocksteady blocker like Vorhees could further cement a burgeoning Jacksonville offense. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, Vorhees is a thickly anchored pass blocker who possesses above average knee bend and quick explosion to drive block at the next level.
31. Dolphins: FORFEITED
The Miami Dolphins forfeited one of their two first-round picks (plus a third-round pick in 2024) for tampering surrounding Tom Brady.
31. Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Yes, Robinson fumbled in overtime against the Red Raiders, but it won't permanently scar his reputation as the most complete running back from this draft class. He still averaged a little over six yards per carry (6.4) for 103 rushing yards and two scores versus Texas Tech last week.
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