Yes, it’s only the middle of October, but you know you need that mock draft.
The entire first round of the 2023 NFL draft is covered here, with the draft order courtesy of Tankathon. The Carolina Panthers get things kicked off with a new quarterback, the Miami Dolphins still have a chance to make a much-needed first-round selection, and the 6-0 Eagles find themselves in position to make a top-five pick.
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
The Panthers' search for their first post-Cam Newton franchise quarterback hopefully comes to an end here. Stroud has been lighting up defenses this year and looks to have all the skills necessary to be a long-term starter in the NFL. If Stroud can hit, the Panthers might end up having the most settled quarterback situation in the NFC South as all the other teams run through transitions at the position.
Alabama EDGE Will Anderson
Will Anderson is probably the best prospect in the 2023 draft. For a team that didn’t expect to find themselves in this position, and paid Derek Carr this past offseason, adding Anderson makes too much sense. Anderson and Maxx Crosby would give the Raiders a dominant pass rush duo for the future. In the short term, he would slide in next to Chandler Jones to start his career.
Alabama QB Bryce Young
Jared Goff has had some nice moments for the Lions, but it’s time for Detroit to get more dynamic at the position. Bryce Young has the tools to be that guy. Young already has experience throwing to former Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, so hopefully it would be a quick start for Young and the Lions.
Georgia DT Jalen Carter
The Texans get to use the first of their premium first-round picks on a premium player. Jalen Carter has been injured for a good chunk of this season, but when he’s healthy he’s dominant in all facets of his game.
Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
Philadelphia is in range for a top-five pick thanks to their trade with the Saints from last year's draft. Murphy is another pass rusher to add to an already-tough defensive line.
6. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)
Kentucky QB Will Levis
A dice roll at quarterback here for the Texans. They nabbed a dominant defensive lineman with their first pick and now take a swing at franchise quarterback. Levis offers more upside than Davis Mills and has the experience to start early as a rookie.
Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
Ohio State OT Paris Johnson
It’s officially the Kenny Pickett era in Pittsburgh. They’re going to need some help on the offensive line to make sure he succeeds — and Najee Harris could use the line boost, too.
Clemson DL Bryan Bresee
The Cardinals need to inject youth and athleticism into their defensive line. Bryan Bresee gives them a high upside do-it-all lineman to facilitate that need.
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Trevor Lawrence has taken strides this year, but the Jaguars still haven’t given him a No. 1 target to really lean on. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a chance to be that guy for Lawrence and the Jaguars.
11. Chicago Bears
USC WR Jordan Addison
Pick a wide receiver, any wide receiver. The Bears need weapons and Jordan Addison can add speed and playmaking ability.
Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
The Commanders get a great prospect here, giving them a quietly good bookend duo with Charles Leno Jr. at the other tackle spot.
13. Atlanta Falcons
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
Atlanta could use a cornerback to pair with A.J. Terrell for the long term. Joey Porter Jr. has the explosive ability to make plays early in his career and has physicality that would be a nice fit in Dean Pees’ system.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Florida QB Anthony Richardson
Geno Smith might be playing well enough to start next year for the Seahawks, but they can take a potential flier on a franchise quarterback here. Anthony Richardson has elite arm strength to go with top-tier speed for the position, although he's raw. It might be a long shot, but he has the athletic profile every team seeks.
Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
Here’s another talented receiving option for head coach Zac Taylor. The only thing the Bengals are missing as far as receivers go is a dominant tight end. Mayer is about as good as it gets as far as tight end prospects go.
TCU WR Quentin Johnston
A big, talented wide receiver for Mac Jones (or Bailey Zappe?) to grow with. The Patriots need to keep adding receiving talent to this offense, and Quentin Johnston might end up being the best wide receiver in the draft.
17. Miami Dolphins
Forfeited due to tampering
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte
Kayshon Boutte is a wild card in the 2023 draft. He has all the talent to be a great wide receiver, but it hasn’t come together in the way he hoped. That’s good enough for the Packers, who need anyone who can boom into a superstar as Aaron Rodgers winds down his career.
19. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers)
Georgia OT Broderick Jones
The Dolphins got this pick from the 49ers in the Trey Lance trade, and man do they need it. Their other first-round pick was forfeited due to the Tom Brady tampering situation. Their offensive line could use a boost and Jones has developed into a quality prospect who can play right tackle across from Terron Armstead.
Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey
Edge depth is never a bad thing and the Buccaneers haven’t been shy about acquiring it. Here’s another young edge to pair with Joe Tryon-Shoyinka for the future of their defense.
21. Baltimore Ravens
Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan
A local player to help the Ravens protect Lamar Jackson and boost their running game. They’ve been looking for a replacement for Orlando Brown on the right side of their line for a few years, and here’s someone who can finally fill that role.
22. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)
South Carolina CB Cam Smith
The Lions get a cornerback here to help shore up a pass defense that hasn’t stopped anyone this season.
Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson
This is a tricky spot for the Colts, but Antonio Johnson is a good prospect to nab at this point in the draft. Safety talent is becoming more important in the league and it can never hurt to have too many talented defensive backs.
24. Tennessee Titans
Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith
He is a do-it-all edge defender who would make a nice combo with Harold Landry when he gets back from injury next season. Smith would give head coach Mike Vrabel a player who projects to the role that he had with the Patriots.
Texas Tech EDGE/DL Tyree Wilson
A physical defender who can do a little bit of everything in head coach Brandon Staley’s front. Getting snaps over Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack will be tough, but Wilson can be an effective third defensive lineman.
26. New York Jets
Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
The Jets get a speedy, effective linebacker to put at the second level of their defense. Simpson would fit in well with the aggressive, fast defenders that the Jets have already collected.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Oregon LB Noah Sewell
Sewell would give the Cowboys a linebacker they can count on and allow Micah Parsons to solely be an edge player. Sewell has the speed and physicality that Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn really likes.
28. New York Giants
Utah CB Clark Phillips III
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is never going to stop being who he is as a play-caller, so here’s a cornerback to help him in his quest of being the most blitz-happy defensive coordinator in the league.
Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Alabama CB Eli Ricks
The Vikings could use a young, talented player for their secondary. Eli Ricks has the size, length and athleticism to make him a coveted cornerback prospect.
31. Buffalo Bills
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
The only thing the Bills don’t have on offense is a dominant running back. Robinson is one of the most talented players in the draft, but falls right into the Bills' laps here.
Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs
The Eagles get a premium pass rusher and now a running back that looks like a carbon copy of Alvin Kamara. Not a bad first-round haul at all.
Teams without a first-round pick
37. Cleveland Browns
Alabama S Jordan Battle
The Browns need secondary upgrades in a big way. Here’s someone to potentially replace Grant Delpit, who has really struggled this season.
Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker
It’s about time for the Saints to just start taking dart throws at quarterback. Hooker has had a breakout season for Tennessee and might be what the Saints are looking for in terms of big-play ability.
53. Los Angeles Rams
Miami OL Zion Nelson
Have you seen the Rams block this season? They need anyone with a modicum of talent to come in there and stand in front of Matthew Stafford.
Georgia TE Darnell Washington
George Kittle and Darnell Washington would give the 49ers a tight end duo that can block better than the vast majority of offensive lines. That’s the kind of support Trey Lance needs as he gets back into the lineup next season.
69. Denver Broncos
Stanford QB Tanner McKee
Juuuuuuust in case this Russell Wilson situation continues to get worse by the week.