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NFL Mock Draft 2023: Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins, and Daron Payne Trades Impact Round 1

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With the Super Bowl fallout curtailing, it’s officially #DraftSZN. Plenty of offseason moves and trades will occur before the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off in April, and we project a handful below. This may only be a one-round 2023 NFL Mock Draft, but there’s more than enough excitement to fill all three days.

NFL Mock Draft 2023: Trades Send Draft Into Chaos

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Projected Traded Players

  • Jalen Ramsey to the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets
  • Tee Higgins to the Houston Texans
  • DeAndre Hopkins to the New York Giants
  • Daron Payne to the Detroit Lions

1) Indianapolis Colts (From CHI): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Trade: Colts receive pick No. 1; Bears receive picks No. 4, No. 35, No. 79, 2024 first-round pick, and 2024 second-round pick

The Colts are one of a few franchises that must take a swing at quarterback this year. To turn a 3-2 count hit with bases loaded and two outs, Indianapolis trades up to make their selection a bunt. Bryce Young is the safest QB prospect in this class, with his size being the most significant knock on his profile.

2) Houston Texans: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Bobby Slowik is the Texans’ new offensive coordinator under DeMeco Ryans. He had been with the 49ers since 2017 and was the passing game specialist (2021) and coordinator (2022) with Trey Lance in-house. Could he push for a similarly “toolsy” prospect as his new QB1? It’s February, so, as Kevin Garnett once said, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

Anthony Richardson has all the physical tools to be an elite NFL quarterback. And with his presence on the ground, his floor may actually be higher than some project.

3) Carolina Panthers (From AZ): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Trade: Panthers receive pick No. 3; Cardinals receive picks No. 9, No. 39, No. 93, and a 2024 first-rounder

After Young, C.J. Stroud is the only QB prospect that fits Frank Reich’s five pillars at the position (toughness, accuracy, footwork/finish, playmaking, X-factor). And when you add in size thresholds, Stroud is likely the only one Reich has his eyes on this class.

MORE: Which Quarterback Is Best for Panthers Head Coach Frank Reich To Build Around?

As a result, the Panthers trade up with the Cardinals to secure the new face of the franchise. They’ll need to provide Stroud with more weapons outside of DJ Moore, but the defense is ready to win now.

4) Chicago Bears (From IND): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

While the Bears might be able to trade down once more, they won’t want to miss out on the blue-chip talent at the top of the draft. After shipping off most of their defensive stalwarts the last two years, Chicago begins their retooling with arguably the best player in the draft: Jalen Carter.

5) Seattle Seahawks (From DEN): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

This is a dream scenario for the Seahawks. They haven’t had a difference-maker on the defensive line for at least half a decade. Will Anderson Jr. changes that from Day 1, and although he could stand to expand his pass-rush repertoire, he already has the skill set to torture opposing tackles.

6) Tennessee Titans (From LAR via DET): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Trade: Titans receive pick No. 6; Lions receive picks No. 11, No. 41, and a 2024 fourth-rounder

There are a handful of OTs with a starter ceiling, but their floors are much lower. So, the Titans, who recently released left tackle Taylor Lewan, decide to bypass the ambiguity and make a move for Peter Skoronski. Some evaluators see him as a guard-only prospect due to his smaller arms, but like another former Northwestern OT (Rashawn Slater), Skoronski will prove them wrong. 

7) Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The West Coast New England Patriots, I mean Las Vegas Raiders, revamp the offensive line with Paris Johnson Jr. GM Dave Ziegler values versatility and athleticism on the offensive line, both of which are among Johnson’s top traits. Whoever starts under center in 2023 (Mac Jones, anyone?), they’ll feel more secure with Johnson up front.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

After going offense in back-to-back first rounds, the Falcons finally show the defense some love. Myles Murphy isn’t quite as dominant as you’d want from a top-10 pick, but he has all the tools to develop into a consistent impact-making EDGE — something Atlanta hasn’t boasted since … John Abraham?

9) Arizona Cardinals (From CAR): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The Cardinals are in an interesting position. With a new HC/GM combination and a QB rehabbing a torn ACL, they are unlikely to be competitive next season. Christian Gonzalez is the premier size/speed threat on the outside opposite Byron Murphy, assuming they get a deal done.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Devon Witherspoon is the cover corner in the class. The Eagles acquiring his services after reaching the Super Bowl is an embarrassment of riches. Even if they can’t re-sign James Bradberry and/or C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Witherspoon bolsters a defense that was on the top of the league last season.

11) Detroit Lions (From TEN): Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

The Lions are in position to snatch the NFC North from the Vikings and Packers. Brian Branch can thrive in the slot while also moonlighting as a safety, giving Dan Campbell and Co. a versatile chess piece to pair with Jeff Okudah in the secondary.

12) Cincinnati Bengals (From CLE via HOU): Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Trade: Bengals receive pick 12 and a 2024 fourth-rounder; Texans receive WR Tee Higgins

With Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase’s contracts coming up, it’s difficult to see how the Bengals can work in Tee Higgins. It’s not impossible, but if Cincinnati were to ship him off, Houston should pick up the phone.

They do in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, and Cincy uses their newfound draft capital to shore up the offensive line. Dawand Jones is a mammoth at tackle, standing 6’8″ and 375 pounds, with nearly 37″ arms.

13) Green Bay Packers (From NYJ): BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

Trade: Packers receive pick 13 and a 2024 second-rounder; Jets receive QB Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has been in the headline-making business in the latter stage of his career, much like his predecessor. Now in the media capital of the world, he’ll make all the headlines he wants while the Packers hand the reigns to a QB not named Rodgers or Brett Farve for the first time since 1991.

MORE: NFL News and Rumors — Jets and Raiders in Play for Aaron Rodgers?

Rashan Gary could miss a few games to open the season with a torn ACL, and Preston Smith isn’t presumably in Green Bay’s long-term plans. BJ Ojulari meets GM Brian Gutekunst’s thresholds for athleticism and age (will turn 21 in April) while filling a valuable position of need.

14) New England Patriots: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Across Bill Belichick’s historic tenure in New England, the Patriots have selected one receiver in Round 1: N’Keal Harry, Arizona State (2019). Harry didn’t live up to his draft billing (57-598-4 receiving line across three seasons in Foxborough) and was selected over the likes of A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, and DK Metcalf.

But history won’t repeat itself with Quentin Johnston. Harry was a 6’2″, 228-pound possession receiver, whereas Johnston is a 6’4″, 215-pound freak of nature. His blend of size and explosiveness won’t last long on draft night.

15) Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Back on the clock, the Packers continue to make life easier for Jordan Love — finally. Michael Mayer is a QB’s best friend, working the short to immediate levels of the field while also holding his own as a run blocker.

16) Washington Commanders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

A new Commander in Chief is needed in Washington, and Will Levis may just be the man for the job. Will he be available at No. 16? The current consensus seems to think no, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Sure, Levis oozes arm talent. Yet, his pocket presence is suspect, and his accuracy is inconsistent at best.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Broderick Jones looks like an NFL offensive tackle, and for most of last season, he played like one. He’s still learning the ins and outs of the position, such as hand placement and patience, but he can be a franchise OT.

18) Washington Commanders (From DET): Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Trade: Commanders receive pick 18 and a 2024 fifth-rounder; Lions receive DT Daron Payne

Can the Commanders tag and trade Daron Payne this offseason? And for a first-rounder? The odds are low, but there’s still a non-zero chance. Detroit needs help up front, and rather than attempt to groom a rookie DT, they use their second first-round pick on a proven interior pass rusher.

Meanwhile, Washington gets younger and cheaper with Bryan Bresee. At 6’5″ and 300 pounds, Bresee is built more as an EDGE than a DT, but at his peak, he’s a violent disruptor all over the line.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The Buccaneers seem to have faith in Kyle Trask — at least right now –, and without a first-round worthy QB on the board, they’re forced to look elsewhere.

With Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean set to hit the open market, Tampa Bay would be wise to invest in their cornerback room. Deonte Banks plays like a smaller corner (6’2″, 205), with the ability to mirror nearly any WR he faced.

20) Buffalo Bills (From SEA): Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Trade: Bills receive pick No. 20; Seahawks receive picks No. 27, No. 91, and a 2024 sixth-rounder

The Bills have been so close, yet so far, and to get over the proverbial hump, they make a move up the board. Josh Allen has sorely missed a quick separator from the slot — exactly where Jordan Addison thrives. He knows how to route up corners and has the speed to affect all three levels of the field.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Even if the Chargers retain Keenan Allen, they are in desperate need of some juice in their receiving corps. Zay Flowers can provide just that, both vertically and horizontally. Possessing “now you see me, now you don’t” athletic ability, Flowers is a mismatch nightmare in space.

22) Baltimore Ravens: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Keeping Lamar Jackson in Baltimore is priority No. 1, but No. 2 is bringing in some weapons. The last time we saw Jaxon Smith-Njigba fully healthy, he dropped a 15-347-3 receiving line on Utah in the 2021 Rose Bowl. Although he lacks “elite” physical tools, JSN is technically savvy with few holes in his game.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

It’s no secret the Vikings need CB help — something Minnesota fans are all too familiar with. They practically lived in “middle field open” looks, not trusting their outside corners. Joey Porter Jr. can change that, engulfing WRs with his albatross-esque wingspan.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

The Jaguars owned a top-15 offense last season and need the defense to catch up. Darious Williams struggled a bit in his role as a slot corner after starring on the outside for the Rams. Clark Phillips III allows him to return to his original position while giving Jacksonville a fluid, instinctual, and reliable option inside.

25) Arizona Cardinals (From NYG): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Trade: Cardinals receive picks No. 25 and No. 128; Giants receive WR DeAndre Hopkins and pick No. 180

Tyree Wilson may very well be off the board at this point, but that’s not a foregone conclusion. He’s a fifth-year senior that isn’t very explosive and needs to work on his pass-rush plan.

Nevertheless, Wilson’s boundless wingspan and hasty playstyle make him a nightmare for opposing tackles. His alignment versatility will be invaluable for a Cardinals defensive line that lost J.J. Watt to retirement.

26) Dallas Cowboys: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Bijan Robinson is more than a “bell cow.” He’s a running back prospect in the same ilk as Christian McCaffrey, capable of being the focal point of an offense. Robinson is a broken tackle machine — if defenders even get close enough to attempt one. If he’s available when the Cowboys are on the clock, expect Jerry Jones to sprint the card up himself.

27) Seattle Seahawks (From BUF): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Anderson at No. 5 and Kelee Ringo in the back end of Round 1? The Seahawks might just pack it up for the rest of the draft. Already deploying one size/speed demon in Tariq Woolen, Seattle would own the freakiest CB duo in the NFL.

Standing 6’2″ and 210 pounds, Ringo resembles a linebacker more than a corner. Yet, he’s one of the fastest players in the class, giving him a cushion if beat at the line. Ringo was destined to line up in a Pete Carroll defense.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

With offensive tackle checked off, the Bengals can give Joe Burrow an upgrade at tight end. Dalton Kincaid is a natural receiver with strong hands, YAC ability, and sought-after ball skills. At 6’4″ and 240 pounds, he’ll likely need to add some muscle mass, as that weight is an outlier at the position in the NFL.

29) New Orleans Saints (From SF via MIA via DEN): Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Lukas Van Ness is a power rusher through and through. It’s impressive how low he plays at 6’5″, blowing tackles into the QB’s lap. Yet, as a third-year player with less than 1,000 snaps under his belt, it’s clear he has room to improve.

The Saints should view that as a positive. If Van Ness adds more pass-rush moves to his toolbox and becomes more reactive, it’s open season on NFC QBs.

30) Los Angeles Rams (From PHI): O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

Trade: Rams receive pick No. 30 and a 2024 second-rounder; Eagles receive CB Jalen Ramsey

The Rams could probably secure a bigger haul for Jalen Ramsey’s services, but this is my 2023 NFL Mock Draft, and everyone is just living in it. Thus, I sent him to Philly because … who doesn’t want to see that secondary (outside of the NFC East)?

MORE: Jalen Ramsey Potential Landing Spots

As for the Rams, they begin remodeling the offensive line. Joe Noteboom and Rob Havenstein are satisfactory at tackle when healthy, but the interior needs solidifying. O’Cyrus Torrence is a brick wall on the interior. And while he’s immovable in pass protection, he’s a people mover in the run game.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

I debated Jalin Hyatt here, as his game-breaking vertical ability in Andy Ried’s offense would be inhumane. Still, Chris Jones has needed a running mate on the interior for far too long.

Calijah Kancey can be just that and then some, penetrating the backfield with awe-inspiring quickness thanks to his natural leverage and elite first-step burst.

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