As I stated in my previous NFL Mock Draft 2.0 earlier in the year I am dropping another Way Too Early Mock Draft. If you like it, hate it or have some questions let me know Friday at 9:30pm EST on our live show “The Second Half Draft Show” on YouTube.
1. HOU – Bryce Young – QB – Alabama
This is makes too much sense. Mock draft, actual draft, not sure there is anything to discuss. He is the most consistent player snap-to-snap, game-to-game in college football. Productive, a winner and a leader who is calm, cool and collected.
2. CAR – Jaren Hall – QB – BYU
With Carolina in flux, they need someone who can come in immediately and man the offensive ship. If you don’t know, this is one of my guys for the 2023 NFL Draft. There aren’t a lot of folks talking about him but I do believe this will change once bowl season starts. His top ability is ball placement and he can play with his back to the defense which opens up your offense.
3. CHI – Will Anderson – EDGE/OLB – Alabama
I know offensive line is a must but with the Bears trading away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, they are in need of star power on defense. This would be a dream scenario for the Bears as Anderson would have been the first pick off the board last year in 2022 NFL Draft.
4. LVR – Jalen Carter – DT- Georgia
The best player in college football the past two seasons. A game wrecker up front no matter who has been lined up in front of him. Adding Carter to this underachieving defensive line room creates one-on-one matchups for both Max Crosby and Chandler Jones.
5. SEA – DEN – BJ Ojulari – EDGE/OLB – LSU
Arguably the best pure pass rusher if he declares in the 2023 NFL Draft and at this point in the college football season he is a game wrecker. Super explosive off the edge who can more than hold his own in the run game. Boye Mafe, Poona Ford, and now Ojulari that is a solid core of players to rush the passer and defend the run.
6. DET – (from LAR) – Christian Gonzalez – CB – Oregon
Corner back #1! In this mock draft and for the foreseeable future. WHY? He has size, speed, ball-skills, production and a fluid mover. Opposite Jeff Okudah the Lions will have locks on the perimeter or if they want to get cute they can mix and match both inside and out.
7. HOU – CLE – Rashee Rice – WR – SMU
Guys we all thought would be at the top of the wide receiver board, Boutte, Smith-Njigba, Neyor to name a few, are not for various reasons and this leaves opportunity for guys who no one was checking for previously. Or perhaps someone’s dark horse rises to the top and shows they belong. Well folks, I can tell you Rashee Rice belongs. He belongs so much so he is my WR1 in the 2023 class. He is productive, has ball-skills and wins consistently at the stem of his route.
8. PIT – Paris Johnson Jr. – OT – Ohio State Pittsburgh can’t run, average well below four yards a carry, and struggle to protect the passer. They need to sure up the front five. The plan they implemented this offseason for their offensive line was a joke and we all knew this, except for the Steelers front office. Johnson Jr. is now back home at tackle, playing his natural position and flourishing.
9. JAX – Joey Porter Jr. – CB – Penn State
Porter Jr. has the pedigree as his dad played in the league. He is also big, strong, physical, and long with outstanding recovery speed. Jacksonville has a lot of talent on defense but the cornerback position is one that is lacking. Porter Jr. can be CB1 both on the outside or inside matching up if needed.
10. PHI – NO – Tyree Wilson – EDGE – Texas Tech
Take a brief reprieve for this mock draft and check out this pervious conversation from our live show every Friday at 9:30pm EST regarding on Tyree Wilson.
11. GB – Jordan Addison – WR – USC
With Allen Lazard set to be a free agent after this season, this only leaves Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson as options for Aaron Rodgers in the foreseeable future. Insert Addison who gives the Packers’ a combination of what Doubs and Watson can give you. Addison gives you a third big-play threat, but more importantly, he’s a more reliable target than Doubs or Watson.
12. ARI – Olu Fashanu – OT – Penn State
Young, big, strong and athletic, Olu can take the place of Kelvin Beachum whose contract is expiring and will give the Cardinals a boost right away on the right side of the line at tackle. With Fashanu being so young he will have plenty of time to grow into the position. Fashanu outside the Top 10 in this mock draft may be a steal.
13. DET – Trenton Simpson – LB – Clemson
This Detroit defense is missing a sexy, splash, dynamic and consistent playmaker. Simpson covers all of those needs and makes plays from the second level, back end, at or behind the line of scrimmage.
14. IND – C.J. Stroud – QB – Ohio State
Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Jacoby Brissett, Sam Ehlinger = quarterback purgatory = picking in the middle of the draft and out of position for selecting one of the top guys and possibly forcing you to trade up. However, in this mock draft it just so happens to work in the Colts’ favor. While I have my concerns with Stroud and his ability to use his feet and play off schedule, I do believe he can take the Colts to the next level and possibly beyond.
15. ATL – Peter Skoronski – Northwestern This is a team that has needs all over the roster but continue to win despite there deficiencies. With that said this is an easy choice here where board meets need and whether he plays guard or tackle he will be a plug and play player.
16. LAC – Siaki Ika – Baylor
As for now, I have Ika the best two gapping defensive linemen prospect landing with the Chargers in this mock draft. Just like last year the Chargers have struggled to stay healthy and not be marshmellowy up the middle. With the sceheme they run on defense you have to have a two gapping tackle who can hold his own and Ika can most definitely do that.
17. WAS – Anthony Richardson – QB – Florida
I mentioned Carson Wentz above so you know my feeling on him and Taylor Heinicke who I actually like but has a ceiling that won’t get the Commanders past the divisional round in the playoffs. While I don’t believe Richardson declares for the 2023 NFL Draft, Head Coach Ron Rivera is all too familiar with a quarterback who is drenched in and seeping talent and athleticism. I think all that is needed is for him to play and play some more.
18. NYJ – Cedric Tillman – WR – Tennessee
The Jets have an out after this year with only a 600k cap hit of dead money with Corey Davis’ contract. I figure now is a good time for his replacement who has big play ability down the field and has produced for the past two seasons even with injuries.
19. TB – O’Cyrus Torrence – OG – Florida
With the issue at left guard Torrence fills this need immediately as a plug and play player. He can also play tackle in a pinch but I don’t recommend it unless it’s a last resort. He has improved from last year to this year even with the level of competition he has played against in the SEC.
20. DEN – SF – Jaelyn Duncan – OT – Maryland
This would be a dream for the Broncos. While Duncan has some things to cleanup technically he has the potential to be the best tackle in the class. When his punch is out and anchor is down he is impossible to get through or around.
21. SEA – Derick Hall – EDGE/OLB – Auburn
Adding more to the defense here as the first pick was EDGE/Outside linebacker BJ Ojulari. Hall while at Auburn was the moving piece allowing others to eat or was used in games up front to apply pressure to the passer. Like Ojulari, he is stout in the run game which the Seahawks have been suspetcible too.
22. NE – Quentin Johnston – WR – TCU
While I saw Jaxon Smith-Njigba going here for his smarts and craftiness in past mocks he has not played much at all this year so I will reserve this for another who has. Johnston who is a big play waiting to happen is just what the Patriots need as they don’t have enough of this on the roster.
23. CIN – Clark Phillips III – CB – Utah
Board meets player, lock it up. Productive and can play both inside and out. He seems to just find the football tied for the FBS lead in interceptions this season.
24. BUF – Bijan Robinson – RB – Texas
As we know they were looking to acquire Christian McCaffrey before the trade deadline. We also know they like to throw the ball more than they run it. Well why not draft a guy who can give you both. Bijan has outstanding hands and can navigate small spaces better than any running back I have seen in a long long time.
25. BAL – Kelee Ringo – CB – Georgia
Final year of Marcus Peters’ contract, not sure if they are brining him back so enter Ringo, who is a good combination of size, speed and physicality. Ringo would be a perfect fit for this Baltimore defense as they leave their cornerbacks on an islands which suite Ringo just fine.
26. TEN – Zay Flowers – WR – Boston College
While I prefer Josh Downs to Flowers overall, I am going with Flowers given the fit, and it is a perfect fit if I say so myself. Although, the Titans traded for Robert Woods they have an out after this year with no dead money to incur. Flowers like Josh Downs can move, track the ball well and is dangerous with the ball in his hands.
27. DAL – Jared Verse – EDGE – FSU
Maybe the second best pure pass rusher in this draft. This is the second time a player from FSU in as many years bet on themselves after transferring and is making the most of it to the point where they are in talks to be a first round pick. We all remember EDGE Jermaine Johnson now with the Jets. The difference between these two is Verse has more pass rush moves and is the better prospect overall. This move adds to an already formidable pass rush that includes: Dorance Armstrong, Demarcus Lawrence, Michael Parsons, and Sam WiIliams.
28. NYG – Josh Downs – WR – UNC
Kenny Golladay a fraud, Kadarius Toney traded away and Sterling Shepard going into last year of his deal after coming back from an ACL injury. At this point in the draft why go in any other direction than wide receiver? Downs, who I believe is the top slot prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft has been extremely productive this year so much so that Drake Maye, UNC quarterback, has been in the conversation for the Heisman.
29. MIA – Forfeited
30. MIN – Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson – CB – TCU
I know Patrick Peterson said he’s not done but he will be at some point and that very well could be the case in Minnesota (one-year deal). Hodges-Tomlinson is a smaller cornerback but he plays much bigger than his size and has the twitch you want from the position. Furthermore, he’s always where he’s supposed to be, assignment football.
31. KC – Isaiah Foskey – EDGE/OLB – Notre Dame
With an expiring contract of Carlos Dunlap and one year remaining on Frank Clark ‘s deal going into next year, the Chiefs need a replacement opposite rookie George Karlaftis. Foskey gives the pass rush you want off the edge but can also drop back into coverage if you want to get cute as we know defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes to do.
32. PHI – Noah Sewell – LB – Oregon
The best cover linebacker in the 2023 NFL Draft who has good instincts to diagnose and slip by, under, or around blocks and can do some stack and shed. I really like to see what he looks like coming downhill in a attacking style defense. He would fit right in with what the Eagles do on defense.