First & Jenn’s 2023 NFL Draft – First Round

Below is my first (and probably last) first-round mock draft for the 2023 NFL Draft. I never take into account any potential trades that happen, but I know they will be somewhere in the first round.

1. PanthersQB, Alabama, Bryce Young

Young’s incredible arm talent and elasticity are going to be greatly developed in the Panthers franchise. He’s going to be the dual threat the team needs with his mobility on his feet, giving him the ability to create space and get out of the pocket. He also excels in pacing his throws, which will help him if any potential younger defensive players come after him.

2. TexansQB, Ohio State, CJ Stroud

What can’t Stroud do? The man checks the boxes of an impeccable first round talent who can help the Texans succeed next season. Stroud has the ability to elevate the players around him with his great arm talent and velocity. He also has a consistent pace for quick and deep passes.

3. Cardinals EDGE, Alabama, Will Anderson Jr

Anderson Jr. has incredible athleticism that would make him go early in the draft if not for a team in need of a QB. His power and hand usage could aid in the defensive holes that the Cardinals had last season. If Gannon can use Anderson Jr. right, the Cardinals might be in for a major defensive facelift thanks to this powerful Alabama talent.

4. ColtsEDGE, Texas Tech, Tyree Wilson

Wilson has an incredible frame that will allow him to defend against opponents. Besides his long and dense frame, Wilson has an incredible athleticism with intense acceleration and high-energy initial burst to complement his explosiveness the second the ball is snapped. Already having speed on offense, the Colts would benefit from that matching capability on defense.

5. SeahawksCB, Oregon, Christian Gonzalez

Gonzalez possesses a unique skill set that the Seahawks could benefit from. He has incredible leverage for his athleticism and doesn’t panic under pressure or in mistakes. He has a laser-sharp focus on the QB at all times and his speed and length power him forward to attack.

6. LionsQB, Florida, Anthony Richardson

The team met with Richardson recently, so it’s almost a match made in heaven. He has tremendous arm strength and elasticity and is able to get the ball zipping through the sky to his offensive weapons. He could be a huge help to the Lions as they continue rebuilding.

7. RaidersOT, Ohio State, Paris Johnson Jr

Johnson Jr. has a way of bringing both leveraged power and finesse elements in his handwork while showcasing his incredible leg drive. The Raiders have a lot of picks in this year’s draft to focus on their needs and , but picking up someone like Johnson Jr. is a great start.

8. FalconsEDGE, Clemson, Myles Murphy

Myles Murphy is a powerful EDGE who’s ability in short-area bursts, consistent movements and his quick reload will make him an undeniable asset for the Falcons.

9. BearsOT, Georgia, Broderick Jones

Jones is a powerful player with consistency in his movement. He has quick bursts and incredible length that gives him the ability to knock off linemen and quickly get at the quarterback. Considering the quarterback questions in the NFC North, particularly on the Packers, Jones could have the advantage of preparing for any quarterback he has to get after.

10. EaglesDT, Georgia, Jalen Carter

The Eagles don’t have many draft picks, so they need to pick wisely with what they do have in order to address their issues. Carter is another Georgia gem who is only going to add on to the chemistry with Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis. The chemistry is what really helped the Eagles this year, and I think they’re only going to get better with Carter’s incredible athleticism and power. He is also an explosive playmaker and viable threat: everything the Eagles love.

11. TitansWR, Ohio State, Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba could potentially be the A.J. Brown replacement the team needs. Though he’s not quite up to the veteran WR’s level, Smith-Njigba possesses great acceleration and explosion off the line. He also has solid momentum. Sharpening these skills in the Titans organization, he may be able to be the missing piece the team needs.

12. TexansLB, Arkansas, Drew Sanders

Might be a risky pick here considering their other needs, but at this point I see Sanders being the next best player on the board. Might be worth seeing his skillset or trading. I also very well see the Texans trading up potentially with the Eagles and the Birds trading back if necessary.

13. JetsOT, Northwestern, Peter Skoronski

Skoronoski brings a level of power and explosiveness to his position. He has incredible athleticism and knowledge of the game, which will boost the protection of whoever the Jets will have at quarterback.

14. PatriotsCB, Illinois, Devon Witherspoon

Witherspoon is aggressive, yet physical. He is everything that Bill Bellichick can fine tune to help the Patriots thrive. Witherspoon possesses great power and is a reliable defensive back.

15. PackersWR, USC, Jordan Addison

Addison has excellent technique when the ball is within his vicinity. He has a great arm length and strong hands which will work well in the Packers’ offense. 

16. CommandersDT, Clemson, Bryan Bresee

The Commanders could afford to improve their defense, and Bresee is a reliable defensive tackle to do just that. He has incredible burst and power and is really good at leveraging his explosiveness. He also has great upper body torque and immense force against his opponents.

17. SteelersEDGE, Luke van Ness, Iowa

van Ness possesses rare explosiveness for someone of his size and stature. I think he would be a huge asset for the Steelers as he is versatile and still very young.

18. LionsS, Alabama, Brian Branch

I’m almost surprised to see Branch not go in the top 15, but that just goes to show how much incredible defensive talent there is. Branch is exactly the kind of guy the Lions will need him to be, especially with Aidan Hutchinson also in the backfield as a one-two-punch monster.

19. BucsRB, Texas, Bijan Robinson

Bijan Robinson could be the spark the team needs. Robinson has short-area athleticism and is light on his feet. He is fluid and flexible in his movements, but his best asset might be his vision and football instincts. Robinson is a threat to defenders, which will be an added boost for the Bucs.

20. SeahawksEDGE, Notre Dame, Isaiah Foskey

Foskey is an underrated defensive talent in this draft class. I love what he’s able to do on the field with his power and agility. He creates issues for offenses who need to scheme against him, which would be a huge asset for the Hawks.

21. ChargersCB, Penn State, Joey Porter Jr

Porter Jr. is an adaptable athlete, bringing his skills to the Chargers would elevate their pretty solid defense. Porter Jr. has a corrective twitch and impressive snap out of backpedal, decelerating wide receivers in the process.

22. RavensCB, South Carolina, Cam Smith

Should Marcus Peters’ depart from the team, Cam Smith could be the replacement the team needs. Smith has incredible recovery speed and is a versatile player. He has great technique, patience, and knows how to control leverage. He could develop really nicely in the Ravens defense.

23. VikingsCB, Georgia, Kelee Ringo

Ringo has an explosive first step that complements his quick and nimble footwork on the field. He’s a versatile player who could boost the Vikings’ defense who had some issues last season.

24. JaguarsCB, Maryland, Deonte Banks

Banks has a great opportunity to develop under Doug Pederson. He has some great skills already, like his exceptional short-area mobility. He’s an explosive athlete and can fine tune his skills to be an even better athlete in the Jaguars organization.

25. GiantsLB, Clemson, Trenton Simpson

With a lot of picks and minimal needs, the Giants will have their hand in every round, picking up talent they could use Simpson’s versatility. He is a powerful player who could fill in at slot, edge or deep safety and still dominate in each position.

26. CowboysWR, TCU, Quentin Johnston

Johnston is an impressive talent that could help the Cowboys offense start to get younger and faster. He’s a dynamic player who had 53 catches for 903 yards and five touchdowns during the Big 12 Championship.

27. BillsWR, Tenn, Jalin Hyatt

Hyatt ran a 4.31 40-yard dash and is noted to be a high-caliber player. The Bills could really benefit from someone like Hyatt due to his incredible athleticism, speed and power to get down the field. He’s light on his feet and is able to make plays when he gets the ball.

28. BengalsTE, Utah, Dalton Kincaid

I see Kincaid being a popular pick as many teams need a tight end. Will he go first overall? Maybe later in the draft between all the teams vying for an improved offense. Kincaid has excellent, consistent technique in addition to incredible arm length and strength.

29. SaintsTE, Notre Dame, Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer is a dangerous tight end who is the perfect size to fit in with the Saints’ scheme. He also has an impressive blocking attitude making him a versatile weapon that can give the Saints’ offense a boost.

30. EaglesRB, Alabama, Jahymr Gibbs

Granted, the Eagles don’t get Robinson at 10, they could snag this savvy running back at 30 to help develop over the years. Gibbs has amazing speed and impeccable footwork.

31. Chiefs EDGE, Georgia, Nolan Smith

Smith possesses the skills that could be fine-tuned in the defending Super Bowl champions’ organization. He has a great first step and downhill explosiveness that makes for opposing offensive nightmares. Three words to describe him would be: powerful, quick and versatile, just what the Chiefs could benefit from to make it back to another Super Bowl.

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