2023 NFL Mock Draft: Ohio State's C.J. Stroud takes over at No. 1

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

NFL Mock Draft: C.J. Stroud takes No 1; Jalen Carter remains at 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

There are a few remaining college postseason games to play, but for the most part, the 2022 campaign is coming to a close.

Several prominent prospects took advantage of the additional game play and either improved their status, or cemented themselves as sure first rounders. Both C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) and Bryce Young (Alabama) performed almost flawlessly and look to be top five quarterback selections in April's draft.

Who else will impress or possibly regress after all the games are played? Regardless, our mocks will chart the ebbs and flow of this mercurial process. Enjoy.

NFL Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.com.

1. Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Don't blame Stroud for the Buckeyes' loss against Georgia in the Peach Bowl playoff game. Throughout the contest, he played with confidence and competence, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 348 yards and four scores. Stroud passed well on rollouts, threw comfortably from the pocket, maneuvered purposefully under pressure and demonstrated a willingness to run with toughness. Essentially, Stroud performed like a future franchise quarterback and potential top pick in the draft.

2. Bears: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Carter is the type of generational athlete that could transform an entire organization's forturnes, and Chicago desperately needs an upgrade of talent on its lackluster roster. Chances are the front office will trade down to acquire more draft capital and subsequently more prospects. However, if Chicago keeps the second pick, Carter's ability to create disruption and cause chaos could be the catalyst needed to jump start the Bears' defense.

3. Seahawks (via DEN): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Questions persist about Young's physical stature and possible durability issues as a quarterback in the NFL. Although he lacks prototypical size to play at the next level (6 foot, 194 pounds), Young performs with precision when executing game plans. In his final collegiate contest against Kansas State (Sugar Bowl), Young completed 71.4% of his passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns.

4. Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

J.J. Watt recently stated that the 2022 season would be his last, so with his departure Arizona loses its best pass rusher. In the 22 games Watt played for the Cardinals, he's recorded 11.5 sacks to go along with 43 total tackles and eight passes defended. Arizona should pounce on the chance to draft Anderson if he's available with the fourth overall pick. Anderson, much like Watt, can instantly alter the momentum and flow of a contest with game-changing results.

5. Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Colts fell far from their preseason expectations and find themselves reassessing their team trajectory and assests. Over the past several years, the Colts chose to hinge their fortunes on the arms of Hall of Fame-caliber passers, or discarded veterans with something to prove. If Levis is available by this pick, expect the Colts to try a different tact and possibly select a promising quarterback with above-average athleticism and untapped potential.

6. Lions (via LAR): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Murphy keeps things simple, beating opponents with explosive surges that force them into playing on their heels. His ability to strike fast helps in out-leveraging blockers, while his strength allows him to forcibly redirect his opponents. Murphy can rush from either side and creates enough havoc to keep offenses off schedule and in a continuous state of flux.

7. Falcons: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Bresee is freakishly quick for a man his size (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) having registered a 40-time of 4.7 seconds. In addition to his short area quickness, Bresee's weightroom strength (bench pressed 435 pounds) translates onto the field by consistently out leveraging opponents. His ability to align as either a three-technique or five-technique defender makes Bresee's versatility an asset many NFL coordinators covet.

8. Raiders: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

A sound technician with exceptional upper body strength, Skoronski plays with a nastiness that discourages defenders ill-equipped to handle his power. Arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft class, Skoronski routinely produces top notch performances on a weekly basis. Skoronski is a respected pro prospect who flashes day one starting potential. According to PFF, Skoronski is the highest rated pass blocker (92.4) in the nation.

9. Panthers: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Wilson is the type of irritatingly effective edge rusher that opposing teams hate battling while also being the kind of versatile athlete emblematic of Carolina's defensive style of play. Wilson can either set the edge or maneuver beyond it, causing disruption and chaotic uncertainty in offensive backfields. Playing the opposite end from Carolina's best edge rusher, Brian Burns, Wilson could significantly contribute to formulating a formidable one-two pass rushing tandem for the Panthers.

10. Eagles (via NO): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Ringo showcases sprinter speed (4.3 40-time) and at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, his ceiling projects higher than most of his draft class peers. Explosive and fluid in his movements, Ringo's loose hips allow for a seemless shadowing of receivers. His above average change-of-direction ability, aggressive man to man coverage skills and his proficiency in zone schemes makes Ringo a targeted asset for NFL teams.

11. Titans: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston is a legit aerial weapon with long striding acceleration, above average leaping ability and an impressive catching radius. As a boundary receiver, Johnston posesses NFL caliber size (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) and speed (4.4 40-time) that should threaten opposing teams' coverage schemes. In his last two games (Big 12 Championship, Fiesta Bowl), Johnston dominated the defensive backs covering him, tallying 302 receiving yards on 10 catches including a 76-yard touchdown reception.

12: Texans (via CLE): Jordan Addison, WR, USC

To say the Texans struggle to score points would be overstating the obvious. Houston ranks 30th in points scored per contest (16.1) and fields an offense with statistics found languishing in the league's bottom third. Addison is an exceptional route runner, who can shift gears while making precise cuts that create organic separation from defenders. Displaying uncommon body control, Addison gracefully makes difficult catches appear effortless.

13. Jets: Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State

A natural athlete with easy lateral fluidity in and out of his sets, Johnson projects as a NFL left tackle. An intelligent player who executes blocks well into the second level of defenses, he's the type of agile blocker required in today's more open offensive style of play. Johnson's enviable blend of size, length, strength and awareness showcases a high ceiling worthy of a day one selection.

14. Commanders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Hands down Anthony Richardson is the most athletically gifted quarterback in this draft class. Physically, there are several easy comparisons to former NFL MVP and Carolina Panthers' quarterback, Cam Newton. Both have demonstrated uncommon athleticism, speed, power and agility for men their size. If Washington drafts Richardson, he'll have a chance to develop under head coach Ron Rivera just as Newton did.

15. Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Among the more experienced defensive back prospects in this draft class (1,704 college snaps played), Porter is extremely nuanced in various techniques for covering receivers. He's excellent in diagnosing routes and utilizing measured anticipatory skills that successfully mirror pass catchers. Throughout Porter's career he's amassed 20 passes defended and over 100 total tackles while at Penn State.

16. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Both of Green Bay's most utilized tight ends (Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis) are free agents heading into 2023. Drafting arguably Notre Dame's best and most accomplished tight end in school history could only improve a passing game still adjusting from the trade of all-pro wideout Davonte Adams. Now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, Adams was recently named to the 2022 AFC Pro Bowl team.

17. Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez plays with a confident certitude that compliments his athleticism. His ability to pivot cleanly showcases an acceleration that gains immediate upfield access when challenging pass catchers. This long-limbed defender competes tenaciously for 50/50 jump balls, with an astounding 42-inch vertical that challenges any catch radius.

18. 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.

19. Seahawks: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

A transfer from the Albany Great Danes (FCS Division), this season Verse developed into an edge rushing problem for FBS offenses, tallying 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks for the Seminoles. The Seahawks are rebuilding and essential to that process is accumulating players that can pressure passers and stress the line of scrimmage. Verse's aggression and production reflects the type of player head coach Pete Carroll covets for his tough-minded defenses.

20. Jaguars: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

Rarely confused or displaced by stunting blitzers, Jones' fundamental approach to the game is enhanced by his elite athleticism and above average strength. Excellent size (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) and impressive arm length allows Jones to sting and neutralize power rushers. His quick feet and loose lateral movements help in keeping tempo with speedy edge defenders. Jones may be the most athletically gifted offensive line prospect in the 2023 draft class.

21. Buccaneers: Jaylin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Hyatt possesses phenomenal speed and make-you-miss agility, consistently frustrating defenders' attempts to stop him in the open field. His ability to accelerate and de-accelerate makes him dangerous either from the slot position or as a boundary receiver. Aside from four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans, the Bucs' receiving corps is either aging or constantly dealing with injury and missed games. The 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner's upside oozes with vast untapped potential that could provide an immediate impact.

22. Patriots: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Witherspoon finished second in the Big Ten conference with 14 passes defended along with three interceptions on the season. His closing speed, high football I.Q. and concept visualization skills makes Witherspoon an intriguing prospect to NFL evaluators. According PFF (Pro Football Focus), Witherspoon is this season's top rated coverage corner back, with a 92.5 rating.

23. Giants: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

New York requires a consistent and dependable downfield threat to help its anemic and imbalanced offensive attack. Arguably the best receiver entering the 2023 draft class, Smith-Njiba finished last season with a string of five consecutive games over 100 yards, culminating with an electric performance in the 2022 Rose Bowl (15 receptions, 347 yards, 3 touchdowns). Although he's missed several games in 2022 due to injury, Smith-Njigba is an intriguing option going forward.

24. Ravens: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

Foskey wins with a ceaseless motor and a physicality that overwhelms opponents and his suddenness off the edge makes him a special talent that commands respect from offensive tackles. Foskey's ability to chase down ball carriers for backside stops, plus his improved awareness in thwarting trap runs and screen passes, makes him extremely difficult to scheme against.

25. Chargers: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Phillips is a sturdy, compact boundary corner with excellent anticipation skills, who plays bigger than his average size would indicate. More quick than fast as a coverage defender, Phillips wins through disciplined positioning and next level awareness. On the season, Phillips' ubiquitous playmaking skills accounted for six interceptions, of which two were returned for scores, along with six defended passes in only 12 games.

26. Bengals: O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

When selecting players this far down the draft board, teams generally acquire individuals that shore up minor areas of concern. Cincy's offensive line is average, but adding another quality lineman further insulates the offense from untimely injuries. Torrence works well in space and does an excellent job of attacking the second level of defenses with effective consistency. He's powerful enough to move the pile and mean enough to do so with practiced prejudice.

27. Vikings: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Cam Smith is better in zone coverage than man-to-man schemes, but is athletically and technically sound enough to compete in a variety of ways. A smooth player with NFL caliber speed, Smith can perform as a boundary corner, or nickel slot defender on certain passing downs. A clever boundary defender, Smith has recorded six picks in his last 30 games played.

28. Cowboys: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

Having recorded a bench press of 425 pounds, Sewell easily transitions weight room strength to on-the-field productivity. Powerful and rangy, Sewell is an athletically instinctive playmaker at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds. Over the past 26 games, Sewell amassed 170 tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss, with eight passes defended and two interceptions. The Cowboys could definitely use a versatile run stuffing deterrent like Sewell, especially if Dallas declines to re-sign free agent linebackers Anthony Barr and Leighton Vander Esch.

29. Broncos (via SF): Anton Harrison, OL, Oklahoma

Currently, the offensive line is a source for anguish this season, giving up a league worst 61 sacks. Adding salt to Denver's offensive misery is an impotent scoring attack that's produced only 10 rushing touchdowns and 15 passing scores to date (lower third in the NFL). Harrison gravitates to punishing defenders on run plays, but is adept at pass blocking from either tackle position.

30. Bills: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Having led the nation in yards from scrimmage (1,894), NFL scouts are impressed with Robinson's entire repertoire as a running back. Aside from his instinctive running style and next level burst past flailing defenders, evaluators rave about his pass protection skill set and willingness to block. Yes, Robinson is an adept pass catcher and accomplished runner, but it'll be his pass blocking that could make him a day one starter.

31. Chiefs: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch boasts a legitimate 40-time of 4.4 seconds with complimentary lateral quickness. A physical player, Branch's tightly muscled core and strong lower body create significant torque when driving through opponents on his tackles. Over the past 26 contests, Branch tallied 145 total tackles with 19 tackles for loss and 16 passes defended. Branch is truly one of the best back end, hybrid defensive prospects in the upcoming draft.

32. Eagles: 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. Efficiently, over his last 25 games played, Simpson tabulated 137 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Download

Download MyTeams Today!