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NFL Mock Draft 2023: Edition 5 (Final Edition)

Bryce Young, Alabama

1. Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

We've officially reached the point in the NFL Draft process where wild rumors seem to be coming out of nowhere, but don't be fooled: Bryce Young will be a Carolina Panther. The key for the Panthers the rest of the Draft will be surrounding the former Heisman winner with quality weapons, although Young has proven he can handle the playmaking load himself.

Previous Selection: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Other Possibility: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

2. Houston Texans

Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama

The 2023 NFL Draft really begins with the Houston Texans, who are the ultimate wild card at the top of the board. Their preferred quarterback, Young, is almost 100 percent going to be gone, and they haven't been heavily connected to any of the remaining trio of C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. It feels like Houston is going to wait on a signal-caller and instead add a dynamic edge rusher. Tyree Wilson seems to be trending right now, but Will Anderson Jr. is my best available here.

Previous Selection: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Other Possibility: Tyree Wilson, DE/LB, Texas Tech

3. Arizona Cardinals

Tyree Wilson, DE/LB, Texas Tech

Arizona is in perfect position to trade down to a QB-needy team and continue filling out their roster. However, I never do trades in my mocks, meaning that the Cardinals instead remain at pick No. 3 and take the best player available, Tyree Wilson. It's a testament to Wilson's skillset that he has become a likely Top 5 lock despite not working out due to a lingering foot injury from the fall.

Previous Selection: Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama

Other Possibility: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

4. Indianapolis Colts

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Rumors of a Draft night free fall for C.J. Stroud feel exaggerated to me. Something tells me that someone in the first round is trying to manufacture drama that could drop the signal-caller, but I don't envision him lasting past Indianapolis. Although his ceiling doesn't feel quite as high as a Will Levis or Anthony Richardson, Stroud arguably has the highest floor of any QB in this Draft.

Previous Selection: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Other Possibility: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

5. Seattle Seahawks

Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Although the Seahawks have chosen to bring back both Geno Smith and Drew Lock, don't overlook them being in play for a quarterback here, particularly if both Levis and Richardson are still available. But, the reality is that Jalen Carter is too enticing to pass up, even if the pre-Draft process has negatively impacted his stock. He's probably the most complete interior D-Line prospect we've seen since Ndamukong Suh, and Seattle needs to upgrade their front seven.

Previous Selection: Tyree Wilson, DE/LB, Texas Tech

Other Possibility: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

6. Detroit Lions

Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Detroit is another team that could create some chaos in the Top 10, as they go could go any number of different directions. Everything from Bijan Robinson to an impact corner feels in play, but Devon Witherspoon appears to be trending at this spot. The Illinois product seems to have overtaken Christian Gonzalez as CB1 on most boards, and offers unlimited potential at a need position.

Previous Selection: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Other Possibility: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

7. Las Vegas Raiders

Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Mocks all over the board for Las Vegas right now, who seem to want to be in contention but are playing in arguably the toughest division in the NFL. Raider brass brought in Jimmy Garoppolo, but I still think there's a real possibility they take a chance on a quarterback in the first round. Will Levis is the type of toolsy prospect that the Raiders have typically fallen in love with, no matter who is calling the shots in the front office.

Previous Selection: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Other Possibility: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

8. Atlanta Falcons

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Bijan Robinson is the prospect who perfectly epitomizes how strange of a Draft this will be. The stud tailback could go anywhere from the Top 5 to the late 20s based on how things shake up. Atlanta is the current betting favorite to land his services, particularly now that they've added several veterans to shore up their pass rush. Atlanta may have gotten a strong rookie season from Tyler Allgeier in 2022, but Robinson is too tantalizing to pass up.

Previous Selection: Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa

Other Possibility: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

9. Chicago Bears

Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

I've had this selection mocked here for awhile, and it just makes too much sense. Perhaps it's the Chicago-Northwestern connection that's clouding my judgment, but the reality is that Peter Skoronski is the safest offensive line prospect in this Draft and would bring immediate value in protecting franchise quarterback Justin Fields.

Previous Selection: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

Other Possibility: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

10. Philadelphia Eagles

Nolan Smith, DE/LB, Georgia

What a luxury to be the Philadelphia Eagles. They played for a Super Bowl, locked down their franchise signal-caller, and now have a Top 10 selection to play with. There isn't an obvious need, particularly now that they've brought back both veteran corners that looked like they could leave over the offseason, so they take a chance on a boom-or-bust pass rusher in Georgia's Nolan Smith.

Previous Selection: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Other Possibility: Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa

11. Tennessee Titans

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Tennessee doesn't appear ready to completely blow things up just yet, but this Draft will be telling. The Titans have needs along both lines of scrimmage and could choose to add a receiver. But, I have a tough time dropping Anthony Richardson anywhere below pick 11, and the Titans are still looking for their long-term guy. Is it a bit repetitive after they took Malik Willis last year? Perhaps, but Willis was the 86th pick, and the front office already seems ready to move on.

Previous Selection: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Other Possibility: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

12. Houston Texans

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Houston would love if Richardson or another QB were to fall to them at this spot, but that feels unlikely. Instead, the Texans work on building out the rest of their roster, including landing a dynamic receiver to open up the offense. His disappointing 2022 aside, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is still widely considered the top wide out in this cycle, and would immediately jolt this offense.

Previous Selection: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Other Possibility: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

13. Green Bay Packers

Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa

Conventional wisdom suggests Green Bay finally adds a pass-catcher in the first round, but the Packers have been far from conventional in their drafting strategy lately. Instead, it feels like they'll take a chance on a player who fits what they want to do, and the high motor, high intensity Lukas Van Ness would bring an immediate edge to their pass rush.

Previous Selection: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Other Possibility: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

14. New England Patriots

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

This selection would be peak New England Patriots. They're able to land a sliding prospect in Christian Gonzalez, who is much better than this range may indicate, but could fall based on team need and preference. Now, the Patriots added a talented, proven corner into a defensive backfield that desperately needs young blood.

Previous Selection: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Other Possibility: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

15. New York Jets

Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

The Aaron Rodgers saga is officially over, as the Jets have their new star under center. Now, the key will be surrounding the future Hall-of-Famer with the right pieces, including upgrading the O-Line. Paris Johnson could easily go higher than this, but would be an ideal fit for the Jets and could spell the disappointing Mekhi Becton.

Previous Selection: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

Other Possibility: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

16. Washington Commanders

Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

The Dan Snyder selling the team drama continues to hang over Washington as they prepare for the NFL Draft, but the hope is that this will be the dawn of a new era in the nation's capitol. I don't hate the idea of the Commanders taking a swing at a quarterback if things work out, but there are more pressing needs to address. Chief among them being the O-Line, where aging tackles Charles Leno Jr. and Andrew Wylie, are getting older. Washington gets a long-term answer in Broderick Jones, who could slide inside as needed.

Previous Selection: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

Other Possibility: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

A decade-and-a-half after his dad's final season in Pittsburgh, Joey Porter Jr. lands with the Steelers in a revamped secondary. The long, physical corner had a dominant 2022 campaign for Penn State and now will get to stay inside the state and continue the Porter legacy.

Previous Selection: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Other Possibility: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

18. Detroit Lions

Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

The Lions are hopeful the addition of Devon Witherspoon at pick six can shore up their porous pass defense, but the front seven could also use some additional bite. Myles Murphy was highly productive throughout his time at Clemson and seems to have one of the higher floors of any D-Linemen in this Draft. With that being said, don't rule out Detroit taking a swing at Jahmyr Gibbs here, even after passing on Bijan earlier.

Previous Selection: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Other Possibility: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

After eight years, Tampa has officially decided to move on from Donovan Smith at left tackle. The expectation is that Tristan Wirfs will slide from right to left, potentially opening a starting spot up front. Enter Darnell Wright, a multiyear contributor at Tennessee who consistently worked against the best the SEC had to offer.

Previous Selection: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Other Possibility: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

20. Seattle Seahawks

Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett may be a formidable duo, but Lockett is now on the wrong side of 30 and you can never have too many dynamic receivers in the modern NFL. Seattle uses this selection to add a game-changer in Quentin Johnston, who I have rated as the No. 1 wide out of this year's grouping.

Previous Selection: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Other Possibility: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

21. Los Angeles Chargers

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The Chargers may have one of the most talented young quarterbacks in the league, but they also happen to play in an AFC that boasts Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and more. If they want to seriously compete for a conference championship, adding another disruptor on the back-end, like the ultra-quick Deonte Banks, feels right.

Previous Selection: Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

Other Possibility: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

22. Baltimore Ravens

Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Odell Beckham signing feels more like a peace offering than a serious move to upgrade Baltimore's receiver corps. This team should still look to add a young receiver somewhere early on in this Draft, and it would be ideal if one of the trio of Smith-Njigba, Johnston, or Jordan Addison lasts until this pick. Addison will be able to take the top off of defenses with his home run ability and could form a potent combo with Lamar Jackson, assuming the two sides are able to reconcile.

Previous Selection: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Other Possibility: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

23. Minnesota Vikings

Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

Smoke continues to swirl around the Vikings looking to trade up for a quarterback but if I were a betting man, I'd say it's much more likely they trade down and select Hendon Hooker. Yet, I still believe the organization will be content waiting on the position for one more year and instead investing further in a defense that was atrocious a season ago.

Previous Selection: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Other Possibility: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

There weren't many defenses worse against the pass than Jacksonville in 2022, and the Jaguars will need to address the position early on. It's unclear exactly what role Brian Branch will fill in the NFL, but his versatility will be an immediate asset. He could line up at nickel, safety, or even linebacker if needed, giving new DC Mike Caldwell a fun toy to play with.

Previous Selection: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Other Possibility: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

25. New York Giants

Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

This mock works out a bit unfortunately for the Giants, with runs on both their main areas of need, corner and receiver. If this does happen, New York could opt to move down, although Boston College's Zay Flowers is quite the consolation prize. The shifty, 5'9" dynamo could add an interesting element to this offense.

Previous Selection: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Other Possibility: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

26. Dallas Cowboys

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Beyond CeeDee Lamb, Dallas is perilously thin on capable pass-catchers. The situation was exacerbated when Dalton Schultz moved on to Houston. The Cowboys snag a replacement here in Dalton Kincaid, a matchup nightmare who seems to trending as the No. 1 tight end over Notre Dame's Michael Mayer.

Previous Selection: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Other Possibility: O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

27. Buffalo Bills

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

The Bills are right on the cusp of something special, but will look to add more firepower offensively this Draft. Taking a receiver probably makes the most sense, but with four already off the board, Buffalo instead invests in a first-round running back. Even with three capable tailbacks on the roster, Jahmyr Gibbs adds a playmaking element that few in this Draft do.

Previous Selection: Nolan Smith, DE/LB, Georgia

Other Possibility: O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

28. Cincinnati Bengals

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Joe Burrow is already terrifying enough for opposing defenses, and now you add another dangerous pass-catcher in Michael Mayer here? The Notre Dame product could slide into the second round if teams fall in love with Kincaid, but he would be an immediate upgrade over Cinncinnati's current No. 1 tight end, Irv Smith Jr.

Previous Selection: O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

Other Possibility: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

29. New Orleans Saints

Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

New Orleans needs help throughout their defense, but they were hit especially hard by defections across the defensive line. There are several options available here, but I like the idea of them adding Pitt's Calijah Kancey, an active, powerful force who proved to be a highly productive defender in college.

Previous Selection: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Other Possibility: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

30. Philadelphia Eagles

O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

This would be the perfect pick to trade for Philadelphia, who could take advantage of a team looking for a spot to take Hendon Hooker in the bottom of the first. If by chance they do stick firm, why not continue upgrading the offensive line? O'Cyrus Torrence is too strong of a prospect to drop into the second round.

Previous Selection: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

Other Possibility: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

31. Kansas City Chiefs

B.J. Ojulari, LB, LSU

The Chiefs have worked hard to upgrade their pass rush over the last two offseasons, taking George Karlaftis last year and signing Charles Omenihu. They have a chance to add another disruptor here in the form of B.J. Ojulari, a pure pass rusher off the edge and the younger brother of current New York Giant, Azeez.

Previous Selection: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

Other Possibility: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

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