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NFL mock draft 2023: Updated first round projection ahead of bowl season

Here’s our latest projection of the 2023 NFL Draft.

As the college football regular season comes to a close, NFL Draft prospects are putting the finishing touches on their draft stocks. Most guys will be playing in bowl games or opting out, so this is the last time they’ll be seen in true game situations until possibly the Shrine Bowl or Senior Bowl.

The third iteration of the mock draft quite possibly might be the toughest. With team order and needs shifting all the time, the placement of players gets tricky. This time, we had some new players enter the first round, and a different order as a whole. The draft order was provided by Tankathon and was done prior to Cowboys-Colts and Bucs-Saints.

2023 NFL mock draft: Post-bowl season projection

Pick Team Player Position College Year
Pick Team Player Position College Year
1 Houston Texans Bryce Young QB Alabama Junior
2 Chicago Bears Jalen Carter DT Georgia Junior
3 Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) Will Anderson EDGE Alabama Junior
4 Detroit Lions (via LAR) C.J. Stroud QB Ohio State Junior
5 Carolina Panthers Will Levis QB Kentucky Senior
6 Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) Bryan Bresee DT Clemson Junior
7 Jacksonville Jaguars Quentin Johnston WR TCU Junior
8 Arizona Cardinals Peter Skoronski OT Northwestern Junior
9 Las Vegas Raiders Myles Murphy EDGE Clemson Junior
10 Indianapolis Colts Anthony Richardson QB Florida Sophomore (RS)
11 Atlanta Falcons Kelee Ringo CB Georgia Sophomore (RS)
12 Green Bay Packers Jordan Addison WR USC Junior
13 Houston Texans (via CLE) Tyree Wilson EDGE Texas Tech Senior
14 Pittsburgh Steelers Paris Johnson Jr. OT Ohio State Junior
15 Detroit Lions Joey Porter Jr. CB Penn State Junior (RS)
16 New England Patriots Kayshon Boutte WR LSU Junior
17 Los Angeles Chargers Josh Downs WR North Carolina Junior
18 Washington Commanders Trenton Simpson LB Clemson Junior
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Christian Gonzalez CB Oregon Sophomore (RS)
20 Seattle Seahawks Clark Phillips III CB Utah Sophomore (RS)
21 Tennessee Titans Cam Smith CB South Carolina Junior (RS)
22 New York Jets O'Cyrus Torrence OG Florida Junior
23 New York Giants Rashee Rice WR SMU Senior
24 Miami Dolphins VACATED
25 Denver Broncos (via SF) Broderick Jones OT Georgia Sophomore (RS)
26 Baltimore Ravens Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR Ohio State Junior
27 Cincinnati Bengals Michael Mayer TE Notre Dame Junior
28 Dallas Cowboys Bijan Robinson RB Texas Junior
29 Kansas City Chiefs Jared Verse EDGE Florida State Sophomore (RS)
30 Minnesota Vikings B.J. Ojulari EDGE LSU Junior
31 Buffalo Bills Zay Flowers WR Boston College Senior
32 Philadelphia Eagles Isaiah Foskey EDGE Notre Dame

How far do the offensive linemen fall?

With the news that Penn State OT Olu Fashanu was returning to college for another year, teams needing offensive line help might have to re-adjust their boards. Fahsanu was young at 19 years old, but was thought to be some people’s OT1. The premium tackles could go off the board early, and force teams to go elsewhere.

Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski is first off the board to the Arizona Cardinals. He’s not the biggest or has the longest arms, but he’s an absolute technician with strong hands and the ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line, crucial for a team like the Cardinals who need help everywhere. Paris Johnson Jr. goes next to the Steelers, who need a franchise left tackle. Johnson is a terrific athlete and an easy mover, but needs help with technique. Georgia’s Broderick Jones is raw, but arguably the best athlete of the top three tackles. Denver could use his athleticism.

Bijan Robinson doesn’t go far

The Dallas Cowboys currently have an issue on their hands. Tony Pollard is going to be free agent this year and Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t have guaranteed money on his contract for the first year of his career. The Cowboys certainly won’t want to pay both, and Pollard could demand a high price tag in free agency.

What if they pay neither, and stay inside the state to draft Texas’ Bijan Robinson?

Robinson is a complete back, with the strength to run between the tackles and the speed to turn every play into a potential house call. What stands out the most about Robinson is his agility, however. He can stop and start on a dime, and create holes where most holes shouldn’t be. Getting a back like Robinson on a rookie deal could make sense for Dallas.

Jalen Carter is the first defender off the board

The debate between Jalen Carter and Will Anderson should be a fun one for this draft cycle. Both are massively impactful defensive linemen who change the game in different ways. However, the Bears decide to go with Carter instead of Anderson with the 2nd pick. Matt Eberflus’ defenses in Indianapolis didn’t really take off until trading for DeForest Buckner. Getting an impactful pass rusher on the interior is crucial to his defense.

Carter is a big player at 6’3 and 310 pounds, but my goodness is he quick. He’s got heavy hands and such sudden explosiveness that it catches interior defenders off guard. There are some injury issues, but the Bears would love an instant impact guy like him on the team.