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Joe 412’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft, Draft Day

by Joe 412


So, we finally made it!


It’s draft day 2023, and Steelers fans are edgy, waiting for the Commissioner to slip out

onto the stage in Kansas City shortly after 8pm EST and declare that the Carolina Panthers are

on the clock. The question remains, where will rookie GM, Omar Khan, go in round one? Will he

wait and stay at 17? Or will he pull a trigger on a trade, moving up to get his targeted prospect or

move back and gather more draft capital.


Here are my thoughts on this final day of speculation and my best guess as to where the

Black and Gold (and the rest of the league) goes:


Round 1


1) Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young - QB - Alabama


Bryce Young may be the only sure thing in this draft. He’s been in the crosshairs of Coach

Frank Reich for several weeks if not months now, and they will waste no time getting their

choice to the Commissioner’s desk, making it official.


2) Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr. - Edge - Alabama


Anderson, arguably the best defensive player in the draft, goes off the board here, filling a

giant hole on the Texans defense. Many fans will complain about passing on (no pun intended)

all the quarterbacks here, but with their stockpile of picks, the Texans could move back up in the

first to grab a signal caller if they wanted to…and found a willing seller (like Arizona at pick

three).


3) Tennessee Titans – CJ Stroud – QB – Ohio State


Tennessee trades up by giving up their #11 pick in the first round this year and perhaps their

round one pick in next year’s draft for the rights to grab their quarterback of the future.


4) Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis – QB – Kentucky


With the addition of quarterback, Gardner Minshew, in the offseason, the Colts nab strong-armed Will Levis at four, giving him a year to tutor behind their stopgap veteran. Levis is a bit of

a risk, but his arm is real, and his size is ideal. Consistency and adaptation to the pro game will

be keys to his success or lack thereof.


5) Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter – DT – Georgia


Seattle stays put and pulls the trigger on the bad boy of the class, Jalen Carter. Carter is

dominant and if he can get back to form after a horrible offseason and combine. Seattle may have

the best value in the draft with this choice when all is said and done.


6) Detroit Lions – Devon Witherspoon – CB – Illinois


After trading CB Jeff Okudah to Atlanta, the Lions draft their favorite corner prospect at six

to replace him. Witherspoon’s hard-hitting, rugged style fits the blue collar Lions and their Head

Coach, Dan Campbell, better than Christian Gonzalez...


7) Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Gonzalez – CB – Oregon


… who doesn’t have to wait long to hear his name called. In my humble opinion, Gonzalez

looks to be the next Stephon Gilmore and the Raiders find a day-one starter and possible future

pro bowler at pick seven.


8) Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson – Edge – Texas Tech


The Falcons get fortunate as Wilson slips to eight here, adding a piece to their pass rushing

effort once he is cleared to play. Wilson had season-ending foot surgery and still isn’t ready for

contact, but the doctors say he should be ready to go by the start of the season.


9) Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr. – OT – Ohio State


The Bears trade down and still get the best offensive tackle on the board in Paris Johnson Jr.

Johnson will start at left tackle on opening day, protecting another Buckeye, Justin Fields, in the

Windy City for years to come.


10) Philadelphia Eagles – Nolan Smith – Edge/OLB – Georgia


Yes, the sexy pick has been looking to Bijan Robinson, but what in GM Howie Roseman’s

history tells us that he’d expend a first-round pick, let alone a top ten pick on a runner? Nothing.

Enter Nolan Smith from Georgia, bookending a great pass rush with Haason Reddick as other

members of the NFC champions defense move on or age out.


11) Arizona Cardinals – Lukas Van Ness – Edge/DL – Iowa


With Houston stealing Will Anderson right before them at two, the Cards trade back and

watch Wilson and Smith go off the board before their new position at eleven. They need a pass

rusher, and Van Ness is their guy, conjuring memories of J.J. Watt for Cardinals fans.


12) Houston Texans – Jaxon Smith-Njigba – WR – Ohio State


The Texans move on from Brandin Cooks (now a Dallas Cowboy) and use pick twelve to

retrench the position with one of the top wide receivers in the draft—Buckeye wideout, Jaxon

Smith-Njigba. May be a bit high for any of the receivers in this year’s crop of route runners, but

Houston has a glaring need at wideout and “JSN” is the first of the pass catchers off the board

here.


13) Green Bay Packers – Myles Murphy – Edge - Clemson


After flip-flopping positions with the Jets (part of the Aaron Rodgers trade), the Pack shores

up a much needed pass rusher position by tapping Clemson Tiger, Myles Murphy, with the

thirteenth pick. Murphy is a good fit for Green Bay’s defensive scheme and should continue to

blossom at the next level.


14) New England Patriots – Bijan Robinson – RB – Texas


The unpredictable Bill Belichick passes on fixing obvious wholes at offensive line and the

defensive backfield and instead pulls the heist of the draft, stealing away with future pro bowler,

Bijan Robinson. Robinson is a three down back and can do it all, and Belichick can’t let his

value pass him by.


15) New York Jets – Peter Skoronski – OT/OG - Northwestern


The Jets need to fix that offensive line now that newly acquired QB, Aaron Rodgers, arrived

earlier this week. Skoronski can play tackle but will likely move inside and play guard for Gang

Green.


16) Washington Commanders – Deonte Banks – CB – Maryland


The Commanders need a corner, and they don’t have to go far from home, traveling just up

the road to take rising CB, Deonte Banks. Banks began to climb many war room boards once

coaches started to study film, and he makes himself the third corner taken in the class of 2023 at

the turning point of the first round.


17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Broderick Jones – OT – Georgia


Jones somehow slips to the Steelers who waste no time presenting the card to the

Commissioner. Jones is young (missed one of his three years due to COVID) and may end up

becoming the best left tackle in this draft when all is said and done.


18) Detroit Lions – Calijah Kancey – DL - Pitt


The Lions took a corner with their first pick in round one and stay on the defensive side of

the ball by adding to their line with Pitt’s Calijah Kancey. Kancey is super athletic, molded in the

form of a modern-day John Randle and Coach Dan Campbell is excited to place him next to stud

edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson.


19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Richardson – QB – Florida


Tampa stays put, and the luck of the draft falls their way. Richardson is available at nineteen

and can study under stopgap QB, Baker Mayfield, for a year before assuming the reins in 2024.


20) Seattle Seahawks – Jordan Addison – WR- USC


The former Biletnikoff Award winner goes to the Pacific Northwest to play alongside Tyler

Lockett and DK Metcalf. The Seahawks could also add to their ailing defense here, but Pete

Carroll decides to gift Geno Smith with another offensive weapon in selecting Addison.


21) Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Kincaid - TE – Utah


More weapons please, for QB, Justin Herbert, and Kincaid’s the best pure pass catching tight end at a position of need for the Chargers.


22) Baltimore Ravens – Zay Flowers – WR – Boston College


The Ravens are desperate for pass catchers and one of the fastest risers, Zay Flowers,

reminds Baltimore’s management too much of former wide receiver, Steve Smith. Boom goes the

dynamite—and now the Ravens have added two perimeter guys in Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr.

to lure Lamar Jackson back into the fold.


23) Minnesota Vikings – Hendon Hooker – QB – Tennessee


The Vikings find their eventual replacement for QB Kirk Cousins and in choosing Hooker,

will allow the injured signal caller to learn from the bench and from the training room before

taking over in 2024.


24) Jacksonville Jaguars – Joey Porter Jr. – CB – Penn State


The Jags need a corner, and Porter is still on the board at #24. Too good to pass up, and the

Steeler legacy packs his bags for Duval County.


25) New York Giants – Brian Branch – S – Alabama


The Giants need a wide receiver but instead, they choose to fill the void left by departed

Safety, Julian Love. Branch is a tackling machine, capable of helping in run support while also

playing in three safety or three corner schemes. He played the Star position at Alabama and

excelled, and we all know Nick Saban puts starting DB’s into the league with regularity.


26) Dallas Cowboys – Michael Mayer– TE – Notre Dame


The Cowboys could continue to build their defense here, but instead fill an obvious void left

by the departure of Dalton Schultz. Mayer is an imposing, sure-handed pass catcher and reminds

this writer of Mark Bavaro. Don’t worry Mr. Prescott…the hole is filled at tight end.


27) Buffalo Bills – Quentin Johnston – WR – TCU


The Bills try to trade up but instead are left at #27 and gold falls into their laps. Possibly the

best receiver in this class, Johnston joins an already lethal offense in Buffalo. Look out, AFC.


28) Cincinnati Bengals – Darnell Washington – TE – Georgia


The Bengals secretly were hoping for Kincaid or Mayer to fall, but the behemoth tight end

from Georgia is still on the board at #28 for Cincy.


29) New Orleans Saints – Adetomiwa Adebawore – DE/DT – Northwestern


The Saints' defensive line was pillaged in the offseason, losing three free agents to other

teams and leaving a big breach to fill. “Once more unto the breach,” screams Dennis Allen, and

the Saints target the athletic and hybrid Adebawore with the twenty-ninth pick. New Orleans was

dead last in 2022 in pass rush win rate and one of the worst in run stop win rate. Adebawore can

help improve both those stats in 2023 playing both edge and the three-technique for the Saints.


30) Philadelphia Eagles – Jahmyr Gibbs – RB – Alabama


Taking Nolan Smith earlier in the draft, the Birds addressed the need at edge/outside linebacker. With their 2nd pick in round one, they address the other glaring need—running back.

The Eagles let Miles Sanders fly south to the Panthers and brought in Rashaad Penny, but

Penny’s injury history will be a concern for the E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES. Gibbs is a versatile, Reggie Bush-like player that gives them options in the slot as well as a “lightning” to Penny’s “thunder.”


31) Kansas City Chiefs – Darnell Wright – OT – Tennessee


The big right tackle somehow slips to the very bottom of round two and allows the Super

Bowl Champions to replace Andrew Wylie in one fell swoop. It’s good to be the champs and the

hosts of the draft.

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