2023 two-round NFL mock draft: Matt Anderson’s mock draft 4.0

With the NFL Draft less than a month away, teams have been busy utilizing free agency and trades to strengthen their rosters. However, it’s the draft that can truly separate the contenders from the pretenders. While some teams have used these opportunities to address their immediate needs, others have set their sights on long-term development.

With so much at stake, the pressure is on for teams to make the right choices in the draft and set themselves up for success in the coming seasons.


1. Carolina Panthers: Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

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The Panthers moved all the way up to ensure they could get the quarterback they wanted. While there are other players with higher upside, Stroud is the safest pick in this draft when it comes to the quarterback position, and pairing him with new head coach Frank Reich should ensure success from the beginning.

2. Houston Texans: Alabama QB Bryce Young

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The Texans could go a few different routes here but they can’t miss out on finding their franchise quarterback. Young is a posied playmaker that can do it all. While his size has been listed as a concern, he has the ability to extend plays, make elite throws and scramble if needed.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Georgia DL Jalen Carter

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The Cardinals lack any sort of disruption on the defensive line. Luckily for them, they can draft arguably the best prospect in the draft at third overall. On the field, Carter is one of the most disruptive playmakers in this class. He has an arsenal of pass-rush moves combined with the ability to help in the run game. Carter will instantly help the Cardinals’ defense.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Florida QB Anthony Richardson

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The Colts could be tempted to go and trade for Lamar Jackson, but in the event they don’t, taking Richardson would be the next best option. Richardson has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft class. He possesses great arm strength and the ability to improvise should the play fall apart. He is the quintessential dual-threat quarterback. The Colts could be in for a treat should Richardson hit his ceiling.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

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The Seahawks are content watching the quarterbacks fall off the board, as they have their eyes set on rebuilding their defense. Will Anderson is the perfect fit for Seattle. Not only is Anderson a fantastic locker-room presence, but he is also a stud on the football field. Anderson possesses the power to be a dominant pass rusher and run defender which will help the Seahawks’ young secondary next season.

6. Detroit Lions: Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon

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Witherspoon and the Lions seem like a perfect match, especially with head coach Dan Campbell. Witherspoon has the confidence and physicality that match everything the Lions have built thus far in Detroit. Witherspoon has the potential to be a lockdown corner who shuts down half the field. Combining Witherspoon with the rest of the Lions’ defense will leave NFC North opponents trembling.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Kentucky QB Will Levis

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Quarterback is not a necessity for the Raiders anymore, especially after they signed Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. For head coach Josh McDaniels, he is likely searching for his guy. Levis will be afforded the ability to sit behind Garoppolo for at least a year, which will help his development. There are mixed opinions on Levis, but he does have elite-level arm strength and  Devante Adams will help ease Levis into the NFL.

8. Atlanta Falcons: TCU WR Quentin Johnston

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The Falcons appear to be going with Desmond Ridder as their quarterback this season, which means they need to give him the weapons to succeed. Johnston is one of the higher-ranked wide receivers in this draft class. Drafting him here would give Ridder a big-bodied wide receiver to pair with Drake London and Kyle Pitts to best set them up for success.

9. Chicago Bears: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

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The Bears move back and continue their rebuild by snagging one of the best cover corners in this draft. Gonzalez is a smooth corner with the speed to match up with any wide receiver in the league. This is a solid addition for a team just looking to get good players on their roster.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

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The Eagles’ secondary is getting older and preparing for the future has merit at 10th overall. Porter Jr. is a physical cornerback who excels in man coverage and has the stature to match the city of Philadelphia. The Eagles are a perfect landing spot for Porter Jr., as it will allow him to develop and learn behind these veterans with less pressure until it’s his time to shine.

11. Tennessee Titans: Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

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Earlier this offseason, the Titans released longtime tackle Taylor Lewan, leaving a void at the tackle position. Luckily for the Titans, they can fill this gap at 11th overall by selecting Skoronski. He has exceptional hand technique and footwork, making him one of the most polished prospects in the draft. If the Titans select Skoronski, they won’t have to worry about the tackle position because he will be able to start immediately.

12. Houston Texans: Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

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After securing their quarterback of the future, head coach DeMeco Ryans gets a pass rusher to build around. Wilson possesses a unique combination of size and strength, coupled with the versatility to play across the defensive line, which will allow a coach like Ryans to fully utilize his potential

13. New York Jets: Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.

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With the Jets primed to add Aaron Rodger to a deep roster, getting him protection should be a priority. A former five-star recruit, Johnson has experience at both right guard and left tackle which will help the Jets build their best five. His strength and athleticism give him a high ceiling and that’s perfect for the Jets.

14. New England Patriots: Iowa EGDE Lukas Van Ness

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The Patriots are always tough to predict, but Bill Belichick likes a fiery defensive lineman and Van Ness fits that mold. His skill set is a little raw, but he has the length and strength necessary for an edge rusher. By selecting Van Ness here, the hope is that he can be developed to reach his full potential. If any coach can tap into that potential, it’s Belichick.

15. Green Bay Packers: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

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All indications are that the Packers are moving forward with Jordan Love as their quarterback. They could go for a wide receiver but they can’t pass up on a pass-catching tight end like Kincaid. He’s a solid route runner who can help stretch the field giving Love another weapon to ensure success from day one.

16. Washington Commanders: Maryland CB Deonte Banks

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The Commanders have one of the best defensive lines in all of football and they building up their secondary should be their focus. Banks is a physical corner who has the ability to play outside corners and match up against the top receivers. The Commanders continue to build one of the most dominant defenses on paper.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Oklahoma won 45-13.

The Steelers should come out of this draft with improved protection for Kenny Pickett. Harrison has the ideal size and length of an NFL tackle, and his athleticism matches his physical attributes. There are some inconsistencies in his game, but proper coaching at the next level will help him become a consistent player for years to come.

18. Detroit Lions: Pittsburgh DL Calijah Kancey

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Kancey is a physical player by nature but his size is the main concern evaluators have with him. Even with those concerns, the upside is there with a relentless motor and has a knack for sifting through traffic and making impact plays. The Lions bolstered their defense on day one of the NFL draft.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

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The Buccaneers recently signed Baker Mayfield to be their quarterback for the upcoming season, making it crucial to surround him with as many weapons as possible. Mayer is one of the top tight ends in the draft class and possesses the versatility to pose a threat in the passing game, while also being an asset with his blocking abilities

20. Seattle Seahawks: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

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The Seahawks got younger on defense last season and found some gems giving them the ability to add players with upside. Bresee can disrupt the run and the pass and has the play strength to be a pest for offensive linemen. Getting two defensive lineman is an ideal scenario for the Seahawks.

21. Las Angeles Chargers: Boston College WR Zay Flowers

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The Chargers’ receivers are getting older and they need to ensure that Justin Herbert continues to explosive weapons. Flowers is an electric playmaker with speed and run-after-the-catch ability. He can instantly elevate the Chargers’ offense and has the versatility to line up both in the slot and outside.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

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The Ravens are getting one of the NFL Combine’s stars in Smith. He is a versatile edge rusher who can also help in coverage if needed. Smith brings physicality, patience, and a plethora of pass-rushing moves. He has all the traits the Ravens could want to instantly upgrade their defense

23. Minnesota Vikings: Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

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The Vikings are running to the podium to select one of the surest wide receiver prospects in the draft. Smith-Njigba is an exceptional route runner who can identify coverages and find soft spots in the defense while having some of the best hands in this wide receiver group. Pairing him with Justin Jefferson would give the Vikings one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Clemson EGDE Myles Murphy

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The Jaguars could use some help on the defensive side of the ball especially with pass rushers. Murphy is an athletic prospect who possesses great initial burst to pair with his strength. While Murphy is a raw prospect, he has great upside and could develop into a star at the next level.

25. New York Giants: USC WR Jordan Addison

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The Giants are all in with Daniel Jones and they need to give him every opportunity to succeed. Adding Addison here would give them a great weapon to add to the offensive side of the ball. Addison is a great route runner and can be a safety blanket for Jones. While his combine numbers left people with a sour taste in their mouths, Addison’s film proves that he’s a good receiver who will excel at the next level.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michigan DL Mazi Smith

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The Cowboys could use a true run stuffer up front and Smith provides that in droves. His biggest attribute is his strength while having the upside of becoming an efficient pass rusher. Smith also has a knack for sifting through traffic and making plays. Although he is a little bit raw, the Cowboys and Dan Quinn can help tap into that potential.

27. Buffalo Bills: Texas RB Bijan Robinson

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The Bills desperately need help for Josh Allen. They could look for a wide receiver here, but instead, they take the most electric playmaker we’ve seen in a while with Robinson. He could help jolt this Bills offense into territory we haven’t seen before with his ability to do a little bit of everything, including being an elite pass blocker.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: North Carolina WR Josh Downs

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The Bengals have a lot of money that needs to be paid out soon with Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow being due for contract extensions. By drafting Downs here, the Bengals ensure that they have a replacement for Higgins if he leaves. Downs is a speedy playmaker who would thrive playing with Burrow and Chase

29. New Orleans Saints: Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald

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The Saints lost edge rusher Marcus Davenport in free agency and now need to find a replacement. McDonald could be the answer. He possesses great size and length, as well as an exceptionally quick first step. While he still needs to polish some of his techniques, and NFL teams may want him to get a little stronger, his potential upside is great.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Alabama S Brian Branch

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The Eagles stop the fall of Branch and get a steal in one of the most versatile defenders in the draft. Branch possesses all the skills that one would want in a safety, including great speed and outstanding play recognition. Landing in Philly is a great opportunity for him to flourish.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: BJ Ojulari

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The Chiefs have moved on from pass-rusher Frank Clark, it makes sense for them to fill the void. Taking Ojulari here will give them a dynamic edge rusher for years to come and they can pair him with last year’s first-round pick George Karlaftis.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Washington State LB Daiyan Henley

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33. Houston Texans: Houston WR Nathaniel Dell

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34. Arizona Cardinals: Florida OG O'Cyrus Torrence

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35. Indianapolis Colts: TCU OG Steve Avila

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36. Los Angeles Rams: Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

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37. Seattle Seahawks: Wisconsin C Joe Tippmann

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38. Las Vegas Raiders: Georgia OT Broderick Jones

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39. Carolina Panthers: Northwestern EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore

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40. New Orleans Saints: Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes

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41. Tennessee Titans: Army EGDE Andre Carter

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42. New York Jets: Iowa LB Jack Campbell

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43. New York Jets: Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz

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44. Atlanta Falcons: USC EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu

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45. Green Bay Packers: Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson

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46. New England Patriots: Ohio State OT Dawand Jones

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47. Washington Commanders: Ohio State C Luke Wypler

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48. Detroit Lions: Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave

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49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

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50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stanford QB Tanner McKee

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51. Miami Dolphins: Iowa TE Sam LaPorta

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52. Seattle Seahawks: Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson

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53. Chicago Bears: Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron

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54. Los Angeles Chargers: South Carolina CB Cam Smith

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55. Detroit Lions: Arkansas LB Drew Sanders

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56. Jacksonville Jaguars: Florida State S Jammie Robinson

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58. Dallas Cowboys: UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet

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59. Buffalo Bills: Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

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60. Cincinnati Bengals: Alabama CB Eli Ricks

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61. Chicago Bears: Baylor DL Siaki Ika

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62. Philadelphia Eagles: Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton

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63. Kansas City Chiefs: Stanford WR Michael Wilson

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Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire