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Lou Pickney's 2024 NFL Mock Draft


2023 NFL Mock Draft

Last Updated: April 26, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. CDT (Final Version)
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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2023 NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears) - Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (5-10 205)

The Panthers paid a premium to move up from #9 to the top spot, and they did so to draft a quarterback.

2. Houston Texans - Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech (6-6 270)

Over the past few months, people I've learned to trust during the past 20 years of running Draft King kept hinting that QB wasn't a lock here.

3. Arizona Cardinals - Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama (6-4 255)

This projection anticipates Arizona trading back from #3 to #7.

4. Indianapolis Colts - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (6-4 230)

The era of three RBs being selected in the top five (2005) feels like a distant memory in many ways.

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) - Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6-3 315)

Carter is an elite talent who was part of a dominant defensive line in Athens, GA. His situation is also complicated.

6. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams) - Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (6-0 180)

In this scenario, Detroit would have its choice of the entire cornerback class.

7. Las Vegas Raiders - CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio St. (6-3 215)

This anticipates Las Vegas trading up with Arizona to draft a quarterback at #3.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (5-11 215)

Great receiving skills. Excellent at pass protection. Special physical abilities that allow him to play his position in a way others simply can't.

9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina Panthers) - Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee (6-5 335)

Wright is perhaps the most NFL-ready of the bunch among the top prospects. His performance against Will Anderson Jr. last year was eye-opening for a player who was already known as a great run-blocker in Knoxville.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans) - Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (6-2 240)

It's interesting to me when teams coming off of a great season end up with a top ten selection. Plenty of options here for the Eagles.

11. Tennessee Titans - Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern (6-4 315)

New management means a clean slate, but this isn't your typical rebuild situation. Former GM Jon Robinson put together a serious playoff contender in Nashville; his mistake was not realizing the emotional impact that trading AJ Brown would have.

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio St. (6-1 195)

Remember that Houston also has seleection #33 and might be a contender to trade into the bottom part of round one to target Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker.

13. Green Bay Packers (from NY Jets) - Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (6-5 250)

The Packers would benefit greatly from adding a top-flight tight end prospect. I realize this has been the case for years in Green Bay, but now it actually matters with Aaron Rodgers in NYC.

14. New England Patriots - Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (6-1 195)

It's possible that Gonzalez will be off the board well before this spot. If not, it's a great need/ability fit for the Patriots.

15. New York Jets (from Green Bay) - Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia (6-5 310)

Protecting newly-acquired QB Aaron Rodgers is imperative for the Jets.

16. Washington Commanders - Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Miss. St. (6-1 165)

You can weigh in at 166 pounds and be given below-par evaluations on run defense, yet still be a viable first-round prospect if you're a corner with good height and remarkable pass coverage skills. This is the reality of the NFL in 2023.

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17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio St. (6-6 315)

This anticipates the Steelers trading up to get Johnson, who has been rumored to be in the mix as high as #3 overall.

18. Detroit Lions - Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa (6-5 270)

If the Lions land a cornerback at #6, it would free them up to select an edge rusher here at #18.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn St. (6-3 195)

Among the high-end OT/CB/EDGE prospects projected to be available here, the Bucs should be able to find a quality player at a need position at #19.

20. Seattle Seahawks - Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida (6-4 245)

This reflects an anticipation that Seattle would trade up to land Richardson.

X. Miami Dolphins - Forfeited

This would've been the twenty-first selection in the draft had it not been forfeited.

21. Los Angeles Chargers - Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah (6-4 245)

If a team drafting late first/early second *really* likes a specific slot receiver, this might be the best/last spot to trade up.

22. Baltimore Ravens - Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College (5-9 180)

It's a threat to agents when high-profile players represent themselves in negotiations. Keep that in mind whenever you hear strange reports about Lamar Jackson's contract talks, especially vague descriptions of negative emotion.

23. Minnesota Vikings - Jordan Addison, WR, Southern Cal (5-11 175)

Back-to-back slot wide receivers off the board in this scenario.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars - Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland (6-0 195)

Sometimes I think I'm busy. Then I look at Tony Khan's slate: Owner/Operator of All Elite Wrestling (second-largest pro wrestling company in the world, started from scratch in 2019 in an industry that's notoriously hostile to outsiders); Vice-Chairman and Director of Operators of Fulham Football Club in the Premier League; Senior President of Football and Analytics for the Jaguars; there's a bunch more (like Activist Artist Management), but you get the idea.

Tony hired several talented friends of mine when he started AEW. They're all still there and they never complain to me about anything with the company, which is unusual in that business. VERY unusual.

Anyway, thanks to Tony and his father Shad for being a reminder that you can work in major sports ownership and actually treat others with kindness and dignity.

25. New York Giants - Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU (6-3 210)

In this scenario, Johnston is still on the board for the Giants at #25. I'm not sure how realistic that actually is, but wide receiver evaluation variance can be considerable.

26. Dallas Cowboys - Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon St. (6-6 255)

Tight end is a need position for the Cowboys, and Musgrave has been a late riser on many boards. This also represents the thought that Dallas could trade back from #26 into the early part of round two.

27. Buffalo Bills - Steve Avila, OG, TCU (6-4 330)

The Bills might also consider Florida OG O'Cyrus Torrence here; offensive line is anticipated as a likely early target for Buffalo.

28. Cincinnati Bengals - Brian Branch, S, Alabama (6-0 190)

This is the range where I could see a team planning for 2024 trading up from Round 2 to nab University of Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, particularly if there are three tight ends off the board by this point.

29. New Orleans Saints (from 49ers via MIA/DEN) - Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson (6-5 275)

For teams not trading down, there should be a number of viable options at edge rusher still on the board in this range.

30. Philadelphia Eagles - Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama (5-9 200)

The big question with Gibbs is his pass blocking. The rest is gold: an exceptional receiver with great athleticism and the effort to match, and a gifted runner with tremendous field vision and change of direction.

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa St. (6-4 240)

Exceptional athletes with great pass-rush instincts and technique remain in high demand in the modern NFL.

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