NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft (2023)

The 2023 NFL Draft is set to begin April 27 and it’s time for the last mock drafts to start rolling in. We dipped our toes in the water with a three-round mock draft of our own. There are no trades projected, but there will assuredly be plenty at the top of the draft.

Scroll below for projections for all 102 picks in the first three rounds of the draft.

First round

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago) – Alabama QB Bryce Young

Let’s just pencil this one in already. With Young canceling his remaining pre-draft visits about a week ago, and with the Panthers having traded up about a month ago, there’s little mystery left with this year’s No. 1 overall pick. Despite some questions about his size, Young is the most well-rounded signal-caller of the class. The debate starts with the next QB taken ...

2. Houston Texans – Kentucky QB Will Levis

There seems to be an infatuation with Levis that isn’t necessarily backed up by the tape. Houston is in need of a quarterback, but there are two scenarios where Levis goes here. The first is this one, where Houston takes him. The second is the Texans deciding they don’t yet want/need a quarterback and trade down to a team that does want Levis. Realistically, all of the quarterbacks are options here.

NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft (1)

3. Arizona Cardinals – Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

Wilson’s draft stock has increased over the last few weeks, with analysts pointing to his massive size and uncharacteristic foot speed. He’s even garnered comparisons to NFL Pro Bowlers Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett — who are both three inches shorter than the 6-foot-7, 271-pound Wilson. We expect him to be the first non-QB off the board.

4. Indianapolis Colts – Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

Indianapolis is in dire need of a quarterback and seems to be out of the business of taking on one-year veterans and hoping they work out. Stroud is a safe bet to be a starting-level quarterback and should be able to step in right away and help the Colts out. New head coach Shane Steichen helped develop Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, but Stroud is far less of an athlete than the Eagles’ quarterback. Still, Steichen should be able to get him where he needs to go at the next level. No. 4 is a likely landing spot for a QB, regardless of who might trade up.

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Alabama EDGE Will Anderson

His college accomplishments are well-documented. He twice won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s best defensive player, started for Alabama as a true freshman (and was named FWAA Freshman of the Year), and led the nation with 17.5 sacks and 34 tackles-for-loss in 2021. He might not be as dominating at the next level — there’s some question about his 2022 dip in production — but he’s widely seen as a safe pick and exceptional talent.

6. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) – Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon

Detroit head coach Dan Campbell loves players that work hard in practice and play with a certain level of intensity. Witherspoon, without a doubt, fits that mold. He’s an undersized cornerback but plays up in size thanks to his physicality and toughness. And that’s to say nothing of how good he is in coverage. He should be a long-term starter wherever he ends up.

7. Las Vegas Raiders – Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

It wouldn’t surprise us to see the Raiders trade out of this spot and/or go for a quarterback, especially with Derek Carr heading to New Orleans. But, if head coach Josh McDaniels opts to stay here with three QBs off the board, we see the Raiders taking the best cornerback available. Sure, Las Vegas needs to find its QB of the future — but it also needs to come away from the draft with several defensive starters to help shore up last year’s No. 26 scoring defense.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Texas RB Bijan Robinson

Robinson is a top-5 prospect in this class, but the value usually just isn’t there to take a running back in the top 10. That being said, Atlanta should be willing to take the risk as the head coach and general manager combo in Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot need to see results sooner rather than later as they enter their third year. Robinson will make an immediate impact as a generational back who can do a little bit of everything.

NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft (2)

9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina) – Georgia DT Jalen Carter

There’s no sense in ignoring the NFL-sized elephant in the room. Carter might be the most talented player in this draft class — but he was also involved in a January crash that killed two people. He escaped serious charges, receiving 12 months of probation and 50-80 hours of community service, but there are obvious questions about his character. Still, if we’ve learned anything about the NFL, talent and potential typically lead to second chances. And Carter’s get-off, pass-rush (and swim move) and power/hand-placement are all elite.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans) – Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman always values the trenches, which should limit the pool here. Carter is an option if he falls, and so is Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr., but Smith has the type of athleticism off the edge that gives him double-digit sack upside. He’s no slouch against the run either and should be able to step in and help out fairly quickly for a team that just made the Super Bowl.

11. Tennessee Titans – Florida QB Anthony Richardson

Richardson is a wild card. On one hand, he has elite arm talent to go along with dual-threat ability a la Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts. On the other, he has fewer than 500 career college dropbacks, and his accuracy — 53.8% completion rate in 2022 — raises some eyebrows. He’s a boom-or-bust prospect that lacks polish but boasts the highest ceiling of the quarterbacks. QB isn’t the Titans’ most-pressing need, but it might be too difficult to pass up on Richardson here.

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland) – Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The Texans need a lot of help, but if they take a quarterback second overall, they’re going to need to find him some weapons. Smith-Njigba is the top wide receiver in the class and should step in from Day 1 while being able to play in the slot or on the outside. If Houston doesn’t take a wideout, expect to see a pass-rusher.

13. Green Bay Packers (from New York Jets) – Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness

The Packers have used 11 of their last 12 first-rounders on defense — so why stop now? Last season, Van Ness pushed around some high-level college linemen, such as Paris Johnson Jr., solidifying his “Hercules” nickname. And his bull-rush is otherworldly. He’s raw, but the Packers still have Rashan Gary, who’s in the final year of his contract. Van Ness has a lot of upside.

14. New England Patriots – Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.

Johnson might be the highest upside offensive lineman in the class and has the versatility to kick inside to guard in a pinch after starting there for a year at Ohio State. This is right around the range when a run on offensive tackles should begin and New England needs help there. The Patriots need help on the outside on both sides of the ball, so if Smith-Njigba is here or there’s another receiver they like, that could be an option.

15. New York Jets (from Green Bay) – Tennessee OT Darnell Wright

Offensive tackle is the Jets’ top need, so it stands to reason they’d be pretty happy taking one of this class’ top OL prospects. Wright flew up draft boards after a strong year at right tackle for Tennessee in a dynamic offense. He’d be an instant upgrade for a line that has 37-year-old OT Duane Brown and oft-injured OT Mekhi Becton, whose fifth-year option likely won’t be picked up.

16. Washington Commanders – Maryland CB Deonte Banks

Banks has been a riser throughout the draft process and could easily be the third cornerback off the board. The Commanders could go a number of directions, with offensive tackle as a major need too. Skoronski is an option here, as are Johnson and Wright if they make it this far.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

If Skoronski falls to this point in the draft, it’d be difficult to see Pittsburgh pass up on him. (If he’s not available, expect a cornerback to come off the board.) The Steelers’ offensive line has not been a strength the last few years and, with the offseason signing of OG Isaac Seumalo, offensive tackle is most definitely a priority in this draft. It’d be a surprise if the Steelers didn’t address OT and CB by Day 2.

18. Detroit Lions – Pittsburgh DT Calijah Kancey

Kancey is a bit of a risk because he’s undersized, but the Lions will need to address their pass rush. Last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson, has been as good as most would hope, but he can’t do it all on his own. Kancey provides a different dimension as an interior rusher. This pick depends on the No. 6 pick, however, and if the Lions go pass rusher there, then cornerback becomes more likely here.

NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft (3)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Georgia OT Broderick Jones

With Tom Brady’s retirement, quarterback is the Bucs’ top need — but good luck finding a good option at this point in the draft. That’s why we see Tampa Bay filling its No. 2 need at offensive tackle, especially with the offseason loss of LT Donovan Smith, a salary-cap casualty. Jones checks all the boxes, and his bully mentality should translate well to the NFL.

20. Seattle Seahawks – Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

Seattle is another team with multiple picks in the first round that will have its first dictate the second. Getting the top pass rusher in the class at No. 5, as we’ve projected, opens the door for corner here. Porter is a perfect fit in Seattle — he’s long and physical and fits the mold of previous elite Seahawks at corner like Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell.

21. Los Angeles Chargers – USC WR Jordan Addison

Chargers’ new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore voiced a desire to push the ball downfield more often, and Addison can most definitely stretch the field. It also doesn’t hurt that the Chargers’ wide receivers coach, Chris Beatty, coached and recruited Addison at Pitt before he transferred to USC. Addison is versatile, athletic and polished. He’s primed to become a Day 1 starter.

22. Baltimore Ravens – TCU WR Quentin Johnston

Adding Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver will help, but the Ravens still need better options aside from him. Johnston is long and athletic and is a good downfield threat. Of course, whoever plays wide receiver won’t matter nearly as much if star quarterback Lamar Jackson isn’t locked up long term.

23. Minnesota Vikings – Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes

With a new defensive coordinator in Brian Flores bringing in a new scheme, the Vikings again need some help at cornerback. And Forbes is a playmaker — he had six career pick-sixes in college — and a speedy corner who can hang with the NFL’s quickest receivers. We’re banking on Minnesota to address its needs with CB-WR with its first two picks, and with Forbes reportedly visiting Minnesota earlier this month, this selection would make a lot of sense.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars – South Carolina CB Cam Smith

The Jaguars took a leap last season, in large part because of their offense. They added plenty of defensive talent in last year’s draft, and that should continue this year as Trevor Lawrence continues to elevate the offense to new heights. This is a team that desperately needs starting-level corners, making that position the likely choice here.

25. New York Giants – Boston College WR Zay Flowers

Sure, the Giants made a great move in trading for TE Darren Waller last month. And there were some positive surprises in 2022 with the play of WRs Isaiah Hodgins and Wan’Dale Robinson. But this offense needs more playmakers for QB Daniel Jones, and Flowers can play outside or in the slot. He’ll help stretch the field with his 4.42 speed.

26. Dallas Cowboys – Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

The Cowboys lost tight end Dalton Schultz to the Houston Texans in free agency and are now in need of a starting tight end. Kincaid is the highest upside tight end in the class because he’s a good receiver but still needs to work on his blocking. Whether it’s Kincaid or Michael Mayer, tight end feels like the likely choice here.

NFL mock draft: Projecting the first three rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft (4)

27. Buffalo Bills – Arkansas LB Drew Sanders

Buffalo couldn’t afford to keep MLB Tremaine Edmunds, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Chicago. But the Bills still need a competent starter at this position, especially since they haven’t yet filled the spot through free agency. This isn’t a value pick — Sanders may not be a first-round talent — but Buffalo needs a good fit. And Sanders is often compared to, well, Edmunds.

28. Cincinnati Bengals – Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

Cincinnati’s offense continues to be one of the best in the NFL, and Mayer would only bolster that. He’s a well-rounded tight end who can help as a receiver and as a blocker — and the latter may be more important in Cincinnati for an offensive line that has struggled over the last few years.

29. New Orleans (from San Francisco via Miami and Denver) – Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy

With several vets leaving over the offseason, the Saints could use an upgrade on the defensive line — or at least some added depth — and Murphy fits the bill. He’s not as polished as a pass-rusher and might qualify as a slight project, but he boasts an incredible first step and great power. Some have compared him to the Buffalo Bills’ Greg Rousseau, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy go earlier. He could be a steal.

30. Philadelphia Eagles – Clemson DT Brian Bresee

As we mentioned above, Roseman loves finding help on the lines, and this is doubling down on that in the first round. Now, a trade down is likely given the Eagles’ relative lack of picks in this draft, but even if that’s the case, a defensive tackle — and even Bresee specifically — could be targets.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV

Take a look at the Chiefs’ schedule, and it’s pretty easy to see how valuable an additional edge rusher might be. In 2023, Kansas City’s defense will face athletic QBs like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert (twice), Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence. McDonald is an athletic and relentless pass-rusher, one who could help fill the void of salary-cap casualty Frank Clark.

Second round

32. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Chicago) – Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

33. Houston Texans – Georgia Tech EDGE Keion White

34. Arizona Cardinals – Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison

35. Indianapolis Colts – Alabama S Brian Branch

36. Los Angeles Rams – Florida OG O’Cyrus Torrence

37. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore

38. Los Vegas Raiders – Kansas State CB Julius Brents

39. Carolina Panthers – LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari

40. New Orleans Saints – Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

41. Tennessee Titans – North Dakota State OL Cody Mauch

42. Green Bay Packers (from Cleveland through New York Jets) – Michigan DT Mazi Smith

43. New York Jets – Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz

44. Atlanta Falcons – Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo

45. Green Bay Packers – Georgia TE Darnell Washington

46. New England Patriots – Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

47. Washington Commanders – Michigan CB DJ Turner

48. Detroit Lions – Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Baylor DT Siaki Ika

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs

51. Miami Dolphins – Ohio State OT Dawand Jones

52. Seattle Seahawks – Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave

53. Chicago Bears (from Baltimore) – Wisconsin OC Joe Tippmann

54. Los Angeles Chargers – Auburn EDGE Derick Hall

55. Detroit Lions (from Minnesota) – TCU OC Steve Avila

56. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tennessee EDGE Byron Young

57. New York Giants – Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton

58. Dallas Cowboys – Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson

59. Buffalo Bills – Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

60. Cincinnati Bengals – Florida DT Gervon Dexter

61. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco via Carolina) – Iowa LB Jack Campbell

62. Philadelphia Eagles – Utah CB Clark Phillips II

63. Kansas City Chiefs – Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron

Third round

64. Chicago Bears – Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey

65. Houston Texans – South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens

66. Arizona Cardinals – Northwestern CB Cam Mitchell

67. Denver Broncos (from Indianapolis) – USC EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu

68. Denver Broncos – Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson

69. Los Angeles Rams – North Carolina WR Josh Downs

70. Las Vegas Raiders – Alabama OT Tyler Steen

71. New Orleans Saints – South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft

72. Tennessee Titans – Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims Jr.

73. Houston Texans (from Cleveland) – South Carolina CB Darius Rush

74. Cleveland Browns (from New York Jets) – Ohio State EDGE Zach Harrison

75. Atlanta Falcons – Illinois S Sydney Brown

76. New England Patriots (from Carolina) – Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman

77. Los Angeles Rams (from New England via Miami) – Louisville EDGE Yaya Diaby

78. Green Bay Packers – SMU WR Rashee Rice

79. Indianapolis Colts (from Washington) – Appalachian State EDGE Nick Hampton

80. Pittsburgh Steelers – Arkansas C Ricky Stromberg

81. Detroit Lions – Iowa TE Sam LaPorta

82. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Missouri EDGE Isaiah McGuire

83. Seattle Seahawks – Nebraska WR Trey Palmer

84. Miami Dolphins – Penn State TE Brenton Strange

85. Los Angeles Chargers – Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker

86. Baltimore Ravens – Purdue CB Cory Trice Jr.

87. Minnesota Vikings – Cincinnati WR Tyler Scott

88. Jacksonville Jaguars – Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

89. New York Giants – TCU RB Kendre Miller

90. Dallas Cowboys – Utah OL Braeden Daniels

91. Buffalo Bills – Alabama S Jordan Battle

92. Cincinnati Bengals – UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet

93. Carolina Panthers (from San Francisco) – Wake Forest WR A.T. Perry

94. Philadelphia Eagles – Penn State S Ji’Ayir Brown

95. Kansas City Chiefs – Houston WR Nathaniel Dell

96. Arizona Cardinals – Auburn RB Tank Bigsby

97. Washington Commanders – Washington State LB Daiyan Henley

98. Cleveland Browns – Maryland CB Jakorian Bennett

99. San Francisco 49ers – Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan

100. Las Vegas Raiders (from Kansas City via New York Giants) – Fresno State QB Jake Haener

101. San Francisco 49ers – Florida State DB Jammie Robinson

102. San Francisco 49ers – Clemson EDGE KJ Henry

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