2023 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles grab Combine freak in latest mock draft
Eagles grab Combine freak in latest mock draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
1. Carolina Panthers (from CHI) – QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
The Panthers traded with the Bears to get their man, and Stroud is that guy. He had a dynamite college career, and shined at the Combine. The question is, can he finally shake the spectre of Ohio State QBs: fantastic in college, subpar in the pros. We shall see.
2. Houston Texans – QB Bryce Young, Alabama
He doesn’t have NFL height for a QB, but he has everything else: smarts, creativity, athleticism, arm strength. His ability to improvise is unrivaled. He ran a pro system at Alabama, so he’s Day One ready. Seems cut from the same cloth as Jalen Hurts, nothing really seems to get to him. That will be key as he starts his NFL journey with a 3-win team.
3. TRADE: Washington Commanders (from ARI) – QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
The Commanders trade their top two picks in the 2023 draft (16th, 47th overall) plus a 2024 #1 to to Cardinals to move up to grab their franchise QB in Richardson. While he is somewhat raw, his natural talents will be a fantastic weapon for first-year OC Eric Bienemy.
4. Indianapolis Colts – QB Will Levis, Kentucky
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts try to move up for one of the big 3 in the QB class, but they’ll get a solid consolation prize in Levis if they remain here. Levis is polished, but he had certainly better be; he’ll be 24 before he plays a down in the NFL.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) – DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
Carter could – and probably should – go #1 overall in this draft. But as always, quarterbacks are the top priority this time of year. Georgia had five defensive players drafted in the first round last year, and Carter may be better than them all.
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams) – CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Gonzalez was the top CB prospect entering the Combine and did nothing to hurt that ranking, running a 4.38 40-yd dash and a 41.5-inch vertical. His size/strength combination is best-in-class. A Week One starter.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama
The expectations for Anderson are high, and rightfully so. He averaged nearly a sack a game over his past two seasons, with 48 TFL in that span. He’s probably the most pro-ready player in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team or two doesn’t try to wheel and deal to jump up in the draft to snag him.
8. Atlanta Falcons – EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Long and strong, Wilson has the NFL build out of the gate. While he still needs some work on his fundamentals, he had seven sacks in each of the last two seasons. He should provide much-needed help to a pass rush that ranked 31st in the NFL with just 21 sacks.
9. Chicago Bears (from CAR) – CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Illinois led the nation in scoring defense last season and Witherspoon was a significant reason why. He man-handled receivers at the line of scrimmage, which can be a blessing and a curse at the next level is he doesn’t become more measured with his approach. He may struggle early to play in the zone scheme, but you don’t have to worry about plugging him in to play man.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from NO) – DL Calijah Kancey, Pitt
The Eagles like to draft the best player available, rather than for need, but I don’t care. My mock draft, my rules. Kancey is disruptive, and about as athletic as they come at his size. He ran the fastest 40-yd dash for a DT since they started keeping track of such things, nosing out some dude named Aaron Donald, who also went to Pitt.
All that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me too much if the Eagles moved down a bit in the first round to add some picks, as they have just three in the first six rounds of the draft. Howie Roseman would do well to trade down into the teens, and backfill the depth lost to free agency.
11. Tennessee Titans – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
He missed most of the 2022 dealing with a hamstring injury, but he showed at the Combine that he’s healthy and ready to go. He logged the fastest time among WRs in the 20-yd shuttle and the 3-cone drill. So much for skeptics’ claims about his lack of quickness.
12. Houston Texans (from CLE) – WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Houston gets their franchise QB off the rip, and now they have a #1 target to get the ball to in Johnston, who has the strength, size and quickness to do it all at the next level.
13. New York Jets – OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
The Jets need help all along the offensive line, and Skoronski can play whichever position you need. He has the strength needed to achieve in the NFL, but what really pops is his fundamentals. There’s almost never a misstep in his mechanics.
14. New England Patriots – CB Joey Porter, Penn State
Porter is the best man corner in the draft. Ridiculous length, not the quickest in the world, but he makes up for it with hand placement and game smarts.
15. Green Bay Packers – TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
He only played one year of football in high school, but he has caught on very quickly at Utah, catching 70 passes for 890 yards and eight scores this past season. Jordan Love gets a sure pair of hands out of the gate with the Pack’s first pick.
16. TRADE: Arizona Cardinals (from WAS) – EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
Murphy was in the backfield quite a bit at Clemson, notching 36 TFL and 18.5 sacks over his three years there. He’ll give an immediate boost to the Cardinals’ lacking pass rush.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Another late bloomer, Van Ness didn’t start playing football until the eighth grade. A little inconsistent, but he makes enough big plays, and has the drive to continue to improve.
18. Detroit Lions – EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
He popped at the Combine with his 4.39 40-yd dash time. He translates more as a 3-4 outside linebacker than a 4-3 end, but if he can get a bit thicker and keep his ridiculous mobility, he can make a big difference up front.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DB Brian Branch, Alabama
A very solid anchor to an already strong defense. Branch doesn’t do anything poorly, or slowly. Maybe the most football smarts of any player in the first round.
20. Seattle Seahawks – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
He will most likely be a slot in the NFL. Definitely has the quickness and elusiveness to be a nightmare with the ball in his hands.
21. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State
Protecting Justin Herbert should be Job One for the Chargers. Paris Johnson will help, whether they put him at guard or tackle. Just needs to add a bit more strength.
22. Baltimore Ravens – CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
The Ravens grab the Baltimore native to help his hometown team. Banks has a lot of what NFL teams look for: size, straight-live speed, athleticism. If he learns the craft and becomes more instinctive than reactive, he could be a superstar.
23. Minnesota Vikings – OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
He’s green, but very talented. Gifted athletically; ran the fastet 40 at the Combine, starred in basketball in high school. He will give Christian Darrisaw a run for the starting left tackle spot in camp.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
Harrison didn’t impress at the combine, and I think that caused him to sink a bit. Doug Pederson will happily snap up the Oklahoma man, who has all the physical tools, but needs to build strength to win and keep a starting NFL job.
25. New York Giants – DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson
The Giants couldn’t stop anyone from running the ball last season. They address that with Bresee, an athletic, instinctive player who is very hard to block – even with double teams – if he’s on his game.
26. Dallas Cowboys – RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
With Ezekiel Elliott on his way out, Dallas makes the splash draft pick they’ve been known for for decades. Robinson was a monster at Texas, finishing fourth in school history in rushing yards. But will that come with a price? He had more than 500 touches over the past two seasons. That’s a lot of miles on his tires before he even gets to the pro level.
27. Buffalo Bills – TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
While he’s not the quickest or the fastest of the bunch, Mayer is part of a small sample size nowadays: a tight end who can help you in the run game and the pass game. Very sure hands, and good luck tackling him 1-on-1.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – DL Mazi Smith, Michigan
The Bengals’ defense adds another anchor to the middle in Smith, a strong, physical player who will gets some early-down work. Needs some work on getting off the ball at the snap, or it will cost him at the next level.
29. New Orleans Saints (from DEN) – WR Jordan Addison, USC
The Saints get a slot receiver for their new QB Derek Carr. Addison had a nice hand in building up Kenny Pickett’s draft stock at Pitt before transferring to USC. The best YAC receiver in the 2023 class.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Roseman goes guard here, and Torrence brings plenty to the table. He’s a big dude, even by NFL standards (6’5”, 350 lbs), and dominates in the run game. I question if he would thrive in an Eagles offense that requires guards to get up and move, not just bulldoze.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
Big Red plugs the hole left by JuJu Smith-Schuster with Downs, who was a monster out of the slot for UNC. He had nearly 200 catches over the past two seasons, 19 of those for touchdowns. He also measured among the fastest 10-yd splits at the combine, which as a slot receiver, may be more important than your 40 time.