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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Every First Round Pick

The NFL offseason is coming to a close and we have an understanding of what each team looks like and where they might land in the standings for next season. Kade Kimble analyzes how the next draft may unfold.
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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Every First Round Pick

The NFL offseason is coming to a close and we have an understanding of what each team looks like and where they might land in the standings for next season. For some teams, this season may act as a pass-over until the next offseason when they may land a star player in the draft. 

Some teams may get a friendly bump in the draft by one pick, as the Dolphins will be forfeiting their first-round pick in a tampering situation. The pick was projected to go in the middle of the first round.

With that being said, let’s analyze what the next draft may bring in the first round.

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2023 NFL First-Round Mock Draft

31. Buffalo Bills: Zion Nelson, OT (Miami)

As a contending team, you can never have too much protection for your quarterback. The Bills would be taking the safe pick with Nelson, as he’s one of the best options from the offensive line in this draft.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Clark Phillips III, DB (Utah)

Adding a young cornerback to a very, very solid defense makes a ton of sense for the Bucs. They’ve proven they can surround Brady with young and old talent both and make it work. They’ve got the vets on defense and Phillips could help bring up the youth to a talented defensive group.

29. Cincinnati Bengals: Paris Johnson, OL (Ohio State)

One of the biggest weaknesses in the Bengals' 2021 Super Bowl runner-up run was their protection of Joe Burrow, and Johnson puts the Bengals in a much better position to protect Burrow. It feels like a much-needed hole while taking the top-ranked player of all the offensive line prospects.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Blake Freeland, OT (BYU)

The offensive line has been a point of emphasis for the Chiefs after it struggled at keeping Mahomes clean during last season. They’ve taken the right steps this offseason, but more help in next year's draft wouldn’t hurt at all.

27. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Michael Mayer, TE (Notre Dame)

Mayer would offer a nice go-to tight end that won’t make much noise with yards after the catch, but he’s a big body that can make some solid catches. He’d make a good pick up for a pass-heavy squad.

26. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Tanner McKee, QB (Stanford)

Great value this late in the draft for the Lions. They’d get a young prospect QB to go along with a young solid core of players that they’re building with now. When their young guys get another year of experience under their belt, they’ll be good for McKee to grow with.

25. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers): Bijan Robinson, RB (Texas)

A running back in the first round? It’s a compliment to Robinson and his talent. The dude is worth using a late first-round pick. Adding a young, solid running back to an already talented offensive core should be very enticing for the Dolphins.

24. Green Bay Packers: Nolan Smith, EDGE (Georgia)

Not necessarily a need for the Packers, but given the track-record Georgia’s defensive prospects have, it’d be a great pickup. They don’t need to draft a perfect fit, and if it works out the gamble would be good for them.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Akeem Dent, DB (Florida State)

Dent is a versatile DB that can play either Safety or CB. His coverage may be his strongest asset and has him as one of the best DB prospects in the draft. It's a seamless fit with the Eagles, who have had a solid history with good defensive backs.

22. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Trenton Simpson, LB (Clemson)

Simpson would be a great dual-threat linebacker for the Seahawks to help build their defense around as they launched a rebuild. The young linebacker is a solid pass rusher and could make some noise right away.

21.  Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE (Notre Dame)

Foskey would bring in great defensive depth to scare offensive lines each week. Their defense getting even more solid is a scary sight. Depth and talent both make Foskey a great fit to come in and be able to make an immediate impact. 

20. Baltimore Ravens: Noah Sewell, LB (Oregon)

The Ravens have a solid defense as is, and their corners are locked down assuming Marcus Peters is healthy. Rounding out their defense will be very beneficial because if any team can have no holes on their defense, they’re contenders. 

19. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Smith, QB (Florida) 

It’s time for the Colts to take a swing on a young QB to try and lock down some long-term comfort at the position. They’ve been swinging around with veteran QBs for some time now, and it’s time to try something new. They’ve got solid, young players on their offense, so it’s a good time to bring in a young QB.

18. Arizona Cardinals: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE (Kansas State)

It’s a solid opportunity to start building talent and depth on the front side of the defense for the Cardinals, and Anudike-Uzomah is the perfect player to take a swing on for them. He’ll have some big shoes to fill, but I have no doubt that he can do it.

17. Houston Texans (via Browns): Peter Skoronski, OL (Northwestern)

With their second first-round pick in the draft, the Texans could use more depth at the offensive line. No matter who is under center, if they’re not protected, their development will be hurt. Skoronski could turn the OL from not-so-good to very solid.

16. Tennessee Titans: Myles Murphy, EDGE (Clemson)

A great way to fill a hole while maintaining the culture set by Vrabel is to pick up Murphy. He’d fit right into the culture and scheme, making him an immediate threat for the Titans. Great value for a mid-round pick. 

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15. Las Vegas Raiders: Bryan Bresee, DL (Clemson)

Bresee would be in a position to exceed all expectations with the Raiders. Their outside pass rushers are very solid and require much attention, paving the way for Bresee to make a big impact early.

14. New England Patriots: Cam Smith, CB (South Carolina)

The Patriots care about intangibles in the draft, and Smith’s frame and talent combined make him seem like a great fit for the Patriots and Belichick’s defense. It’s higher than I’d take Smith, but that’s what the Patriots do.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (via Saints): Antonio Johnson, DB (Texas A&M)

Johnson is a great modern defender as he’s very versatile on the field, and isn’t limited to one role. Johnson would help the Eagles secure a solid secondary for a long while. Being able to find that security on defense makes building a defense much easier for the Eagles.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR (USC)

While the Vikings won’t be able to land a dream QB, they can take a swing at an extra wide receiver to build around with Justin Jefferson, and they can worry about a QB at a later date. Speaking of Jefferson, he was their WR pick in the first round of the 2020 draft and it panned out great for them.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers: Garrett Williams, CB (Syracuse)

A young talent with high upside is a situation the Steelers could definitely find themselves in next year. Williams could provide a young building block for the secondary as the Steelers enter a new era and begin working their way back to playoff contention. 

10. Washington Commanders: Arick Gilbert, TE (Georgia)

A great blocking TE that can find himself open through his technique is a prospect that shouldn’t be passed on. Gilbert is a threat in the passing game, but could easily act as an extra blocker and no harm would be done.

9. New York Giants: Kelee Ringo, DB (Georgia)

The Giants have been building a young talented defense, and they could continue building off that with Ringo in the secondary. They’d be able to begin rounding out their defense and having strength almost everywhere on defense.

8. Carolina Panthers: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE (Alabama)

Although the Panthers may not want to stick with Baker Mayfield long-term, it may be their best option as taking a QB at pick no. 8 would be a big reach. Anderson Jr. would be great value, though, and the best player available. 

7. Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson Jr., OL (Ohio State)

It seems as if Justin Fields could be the QB of the Bears for the foreseeable future, so it’s time to start protecting him with Johnson Jr. Coming from Ohio State is a bonus, because they seemed to be loaded with NFL talent year after year.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayshon Boutte, WR (LSU)

It’s understood that Trevor Lawrence is the QB the Jaguars want to win with, and they’re doing everything to get him talent to play with. Boutte would be a great weapon for Lawrence to play alongside and excel with. Boutte has great WR1 potential, which would be great for the Jaguars to find early in the Lawrence era.

5. Detroit Lions: CJ Stroud, QB (Ohio State)

The Lions are fortunate enough to get their franchise QB in this situation. Great value at pick no. 5 as he’s got the big potential to turn the franchise around. The Lions have got a solid young core to build off of. 

4. New York Jets: Jalen Carter, DL (Georgia)

If you haven’t caught on, Georgia is going to bring a handful of solid first-round picks to the NFL from their defense. They’re very solid at producing great NFL talents. This time is no different and would continue to add to the Jets' solid drafting carried on from the 2022 draft.

3. Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Van Dyke, QB (Miami)

The Seahawks get the chance to draft high and bring in a top-3 pick in a QB. The post-Russell Wilson era will be interesting, and they’ll soon find that they need a franchise QB. Great arm talent to build around. 

2. Houston Texans: Will Levis, QB (Kentucky)

Levis may go a little higher than expected in this situation, but he’s got a great frame and potential as a passer which the Texans might be sold on as it’s clear they need to gamble on a potential franchise QB.

1. Atlanta Falcons: Bryce Young, QB (Alabama)

The former Heisman walks into a scenario to rebuild a team. His frame isn’t ideal, but his talent is, and fits the mold of a great NFL QB. A top talent, if not the best, at the QB position in this draft.

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Kade has spent his last 3 years writing about the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has also been following the NBA for the past 11 years. Just recently, Kade began co-hosting the Boomtown Hoops Podcast.

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