2023 two-round NFL mock draft: Matt Anderson’s mock draft 3.0

With the NFL Combine now in the rearview mirror, teams across the league have a much clearer picture of the top prospects in this year’s draft class. With all this information in hand, front offices will now begin the process of finalizing their draft boards and strategizing for the upcoming NFL Draft in April. As the anticipation builds, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the potential top picks in this year’s draft and the teams that might be interested in them.

1. Chicago Bears: Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

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With the recent news of Jalen Carter, the Bears don’t want to risk missing out on one of the top players in the draft in a potential trade-down scenario. They take Anderson Jr. here, whose relentlessness and raw power are something that can help propel the Bears’ defense in their rebuild.

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. Carolina Panthers: Florida QB Anthony Richardson

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Panthers Trade 9th Overall, 39th Overall, and 2024 Future First to the Cardinals for 3rd Overall and 105th Overall.

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The Panthers see the first quarterback come off the board, and now they move up to go get their quarterback of the future. Richardson crushed the NFL Combine and had teams and fans in awe. With new head coach Frank Reich at the helm, it’s the perfect coaching environment to help develop Richardson into a potential star.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Ohio St. QB C.J. Stroud

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The Colts continue the run on quarterbacks here and get arguably the safest and best one in the class. Stroud has every ability you could want in a quarterback. Elite-level arm strength and accuracy combined with his quick processing are just a few traits that make him so appealing. The Colts get the guy they’ve been searching for since Andrew Luck’s retirement.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Georgia DL Jalen Carter

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The Seahawks just re-signed Geno Smith, so they can sit back and watch the quarterback market unfold in front of them while getting one of the top prospects in the draft. On the field, Carter is one of the most disruptive playmakers in this draft, which is perfect for a Seahawks defense that looks to build upon its young core’s success from last 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. This type of player, combined 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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The Raiders moved on from Derek Carr and have been linked to many quarterbacks thus far this offseason. While they miss out on any trades, they secure a quarterback that they can pair with head coach Josh McDaniels. There are mixed opinions on Levis, but he does have elite-level arm strength, and with Devante Adams at wide receiver, it could help ease Levis into the NFL.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

The Falcons have addressed the offensive side of the ball in recent drafts, but this year it’s time to bolster the defense. Wilson is a player with immense strength and versatility. The Falcons will need to work with Wilson to see where he fits best along the defensive line, but he has great potential that they could use.

9. Arizona Cardinals: Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

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Panthers Trade 9th Overall, 39th Overall, and 2024 Future First to the Cardinals for 3rd Overall and 105th Overall.

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The Cardinals trade back and end up with the NFL Combine’s star of the show. Smith is an athletic freak with great explosiveness. He’s got all the tools you could want to rush the passer and drop into coverage. The Cardinals end up with a great prospect and pick from the trade.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

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The Eagles played in the Super Bowl and now have a top-ten draft pick where they can bolster their defense. They draft Gonzalez here to give themselves a bonafide starting cornerback who can take his time transitioning to the NFL. Gonzalez is a fluid cover corner who can do it all for the Eagles.

11. Tennessee Titans: TCU WR Quentin Johnston

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The Titans have been rumored to be letting Derrick Henry search for trades this offseason. Could this be a transition to maybe becoming a more pass-heavy offense? The recently released veteran Robert Woods, and now they get a chance to give Ryan Tannehill a big-bodied receiver who can complement Treylon Burks. Johnston is arguably one of the best receivers in this class, and the Titans can trust him to come in and make an impact on day one.

12. Houston Texans: Ohio St. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

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The Texans got their franchise quarterback, and now they give him a weapon to ensure success from the jump. Smith-Njigba had one of the best NFL Combine performances we’ve seen in recent years. He’s easily the most natural receiver in this draft class, with some of the best hands you’ll see. Young and Smith-Njigba are a duo that Texans fans should be excited about.

13. New York Jets: Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

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This pick may inevitably be traded away, whether it’s for Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers. For the time being, it belongs to the Jets, and they are loaded with talent on their roster. Adding a tackle like Skoronski here could help protect whoever is playing quarterback for this team next year to ensure they get enough time to get the ball to their playmakers.

14. New England Patriots: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness

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It’s tough to predict who the Patriots will draft, as last year they took Cole Strange, who was a projected Day 2 pick in the first round. Nevertheless, Bill Belichick likes a fiery defensive lineman, and Van Ness fits that. His skill set is a little raw, but he’s got the length and strength you want in an edge rusher. If any coach can tap into that potential, it’s Belichick.

15. Green Bay Packers: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy

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With Dean Lowry a free agent, it makes sense for the Packers to find his replacement. Enter Myles Murphy, who is one of the best edge rushers in this draft class. He’s got explosiveness when he rushes off the line and is a great run defender. Putting Murphy in Green Bay would bolster that defensive line and get them back to contending.

16. Washington Commanders: Maryland CB Deonte Banks

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The Commanders have one of the best defensive lines in all of football, so now they can start building up their secondary. 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: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

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This just feels like a match made in heaven. The Steelers need help at the cornerback position, especially with Cam Sutton being an impending free agent. The storyline of Porter Jr. playing where his father once played is a perfect script for the NFL. He is an aggressive corner who matches head coach Mike Tomlin’s tone on defense. Porter Jr. should be able to step in early and help the Steelers out.

18. Detroit Lions: Pittsburgh DL Calijah Kancey

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Detriot already has a strong defensive line, and now they can add a player in Kancey, who turned heads at the NFL Combine. Kancey is a physical player by nature, but he does lack some size, which is the main concern evaluators have with him. Although he lacks size, he is relentless 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: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

The Buccaneers’ roster is getting older, but they still have some decent weapons on offense. They add to that core with Kincaid, who is essentially a wide receiver with tight-end size. He’s a fluid mover who can stretch the field and is a natural pass catcher. Whoever starts at quarterback for the Buccaneers, this offense will be set with players to pass to.

20. Seattle Seahawks: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

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The Seahawks got younger on defense last season and found some gems. After adding Carter earlier in the draft, they now pair him with Bresee, who is a mammoth defensive lineman. Bresee can disrupt the run and the pass and has the play strength to be a pest for offensive linemen. The first round could not have turned out better for the Seahawks.

Forfeited Pick by Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering violations.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Ohio St. OT Paris Johnson Jr.

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The Chargers need to ensure that Justin Herbert is protected. They have weapons across the board, but if Herbert isn’t given time, it’s tough for him to make great plays. Johnson Jr. is a safe pick for them, but it’ll ensure stability at tackle for the foreseeable future.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Boston College WR Zay Flowers

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The Ravens’ offseason is in shambles; they just transitioned their starting quarterback. Rashod Bateman went to Twitter to tell their general manager to stop pointing fingers at the wide receivers. It’s a mess. That being said, it feels like the Ravens need to add more weapons. Flowers is an electric playmaker with good speed and a run-after-the-catch ability. Whoever is at quarterback for the Ravens next year will be in good hands.

23. Minnesota Vikings: USC WR Jordan Addison

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The Vikings are running to the podium right now. Addison is the perfect complement to Justin Jefferson and can provide the Vikings with a great tandem at wide receiver for the next decade. Addison is a smooth route runner and has insane short-area quickness. He’s not a burner by any means, but he can come in and help keep the offense moving. This is a home run pick for the Vikings.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Flordia OG O'Cyrus Torrence

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O'Cyrus Torrence

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The Jaguars have all the weapons in the world on offense. Now they need to ensure they are helping to protect Trevor Lawerence. Torrence is a mauler at the guard position, and he can step in on day one and be a force on the offensive line for this team. It’s not a splashy pick, but it’s a nifty one.

25. New York Giants: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

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The Giants just extended Daniel Jones and franchise-tagged Saquon Barkley. With weapons at receiver, it makes sense to get Jones one more weapon, but this time at tight end. Mayer is a physical player who can not only help block but can be a receiving threat as well. He’s got great size and can be a vertical threat for this Giants’ offense.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michigan DT Mazi Smith

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The Cowboys could use a true run stuffer up front, which Smith provides. His biggest attribute is his strength, and he has the upside of potentially 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: Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison

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It’s important for the Bengals to continue to protect their franchise quarterback Joe Burrow at all costs. Drafting Harrison would ensure this. Harrison has sound technique while displaying good athleticism. The Bengals fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their quarterback is protected.

29. New Orleans Saints: Alabama S Brian Branch

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The Saints stop the fall of Branch and come away with what could be a steal. The Saints’ defense is in need of some help, and Branch can come in and be that player to help clean it all up for them.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald

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The Eagles are known for having a great defensive line. With Brandon Graham getting older, they can groom McDonald as an eventual replacement. McDonald has the skill set needed but is a bit raw. The hope is that Graham, who is a year behind, can help tap into that potential.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari

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With the news that the Chiefs are moving on from pass rusher Frank Clark, it makes sense for them to fill the void. Taking Ojulari here will not only give them a dynamic edge rusher for years to come, but they can pair him with last year’s first-round pick, George Karlaftis.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Georgia OT Broderick Jones

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33. Houston Texans: Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave

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34. Arizona Cardinals: Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes

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35. Indianapolis Colts: Ohio State OT Dawand Jones

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36. Los Angeles Rams: Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson

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37. Seattle Seahawks: Baylor DT Siaki Ika

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38. Las Vegas Raiders: South Carolina CB Cam Smith

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39. Arizona Cardinals (From CAR): Ohio State C Luke Wypler

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40. New Orleans Saints: Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson

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41. Tennessee Titans: Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

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42. Cleveland Browns: North Carolina WR Josh Downs

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43. New York Jets: Washington State LB Daiyan Henley

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44. Atlanta Falcons: Houston WR Nathaniel "Tank" Dell

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45. Green Bay Packers: Iowa LB Jack Campbell

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46. New England Patriots: Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron

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47. Washington Commanders: Arkansas LB Drew Sanders

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48. Detroit Lions: Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

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49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tennessee T Darnell Wright

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TCU C Steve Avila

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51. Seattle Seahawks: Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz

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52. Miami Dolphins: Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

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53. Los Angeles Chargers: Georgia TE Darnell Washington

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54. Chicago Bears: Northwestern EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore

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55. Detroit Lions: USC EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu

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56. Jacksonville Jaguars: Wisconsin C Joe Tippmann

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57. New York Giants: Stanford QB Tanner McKee

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58. Dallas Cowboys: Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

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59. Buffalo Bills: Illinois S Sydney Brown

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60. Cincinnati Bengals: Alabama CB Eli Ricks

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61. Carolina Panthers: Army EDGE Andre Carter II

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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