OPINION: This year, in a galaxy far, far away, the Vikings actually hit on a first round pick
Hello and welcome to the 2023 NFL Reporter Mock Draft. We are your hosts, Hayden Lee and Michael Hackler. Contrary to popular belief, we are the best source for NFL draft content. Proceed with caution and probably a Chipotle Burrito or three (feat. LeBron), this one is going to take a long time.
DISCLAIMER: This mock draft will not include trades because we are not NFL Draft Analysts and figuring out the trade compensations is just too much. Stay mad.
Pick 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
Young is the consensus number one pick after some teams deemed C.J. Stroud to be undraftable due to his low IQ. So basically, Young falls into the laps of the Panthers because Stroud is stupid. He is lucky that he gets to play with Adam Thielen who will no doubt be a great mentor and safety valve for the young QB.
Pick 2: Houston Texans: EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
You would think that a team with Davis Mills starting for the team in 2022 would take a QB with the number two pick, right? Well, let me introduce you to the Texans. They will not do anything predictable, ever. However, Anderson Jr. is a can’t-miss prospect who led the SEC in sacks in 2022 with ten total takedowns, and even showcased his ball-hawking skills by recording an interception. Anderson Jr. is the safest pick in the draft, and the Texans secure his services at no. 2 overall.
Pick 3: Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
This is the most obvious trade-down spot of all-time. The Cardinals are short on talent and need too many players to stick and pick, but with this mock not including trades, they select Tyree Wilson. Another safe pick, Wilson had a very promising year that was a vast improvement from last year, earning him the comparison of 2022’s no. 1 overall pick, Travon Walker.
Pick 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Will Levis, Kentucky
The Colts have been linked to Levis for some time, and the mayonnaise-drinking fanatic has been the favorite for the spot ever since January. An exciting pick for the Colts who are one of the least exciting teams Hayden has ever seen.
Pick 5: Seattle Seahawks: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
A very high upside player, and while the floor is low, he needs to decide just how high his ceiling is. And after drawing comparisons to Josh Allen, it shows just how highly some people think of him.
Pick 6: Detroit Lions: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
If the Lions can get past his off-the-field issues, they will be rewarded with one of, if not the best defensive players in this draft.
Pick 7: Las Vegas Raiders: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, Hayden, but I think that this guy just has Raiders written all over him. The Raiders have never had a good secondary, and maybe Witherspoon can help? Probably not. They might be moving back to Oakland soon, lol.
Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Nolan Smith is one of the more polished edge rushers in this year’s draft, and with his connection to Georgia, we feel that this pick just fits.
Pick 9: Chicago Bears: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
Having played with Justin FIelds already, and being one of the more agile tackles in the draft, the fit here seems to be perfect. Johnson Jr. has all the tools to succeed on one of the worst offensive lines in the league.
Pick 10: Philadelphia Eagles: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Of course the Eagles have this pick. When all seems right in the world, the Philadelphia Eagles rise to power again and make us all realize how stupid it is to tear down a city just because of a football team. But that’s neither here nor there. The Eagles have the luxury of this no. 10 pick because the Saints are clueless, so why not add possibly the best offensive player in the draft?
Pick 11: Tennessee Titans: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
As we said before, C.J. Stroud had such a low score on his NFL IQ test that many teams now seem to feel like he should sit a year before starting. Personally, we feel like he should sit a year because he said he looked up to Michael Vick and Deshaun Watson. Like bro, do you want a career? Before the test, he was regarded as one of the higher touted prospects in the draft. But now he draws the comparisons of Jared Goff and Dak Prescott. Ouch.
Pick 12: Houston Texans: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
This one came down to WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba or CB Christian Gonzalez, but ultimately we felt that CB was better value at this spot. With the Texans hiring a new defensive-minded head coach in Demeco Ryans, it would make sense for them to try to build up the defense on a very poorly constructed roster.
Pick 13: Green Bay Packers: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
I really hate making the Packers better, but logically speaking, Kincaid would make sense. They have been relying on Mercedes Lewis and his prehistoric body to carry Aaron Rodgers to relevance. Whatever. Moving on.
Pick 14: New England Patriots: DB Brian Branch, Alabama
The New England Patriots desperately need wide receiver and tackle help in this year’s draft. This is how I know Bill Belichick will take a defensive player at 14. If the pick isn’t traded. I’ve seen this become a possible Van Ness spot as well, as his popularity is rising and rising.
Pick 15: New York Jets: T Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Wow. The Jets just acquired one of the best QBs of all time in Aaron Rodgers, but still keep a first round pick in the top half of the draft? And their biggest position of need is one that hasn’t been flying off the board? This is a dream for the Jets, who probably still won’t make the playoffs next year because Jets.
Pick 16: Washington Commanders: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
The Washington Commanders lost two corners in free agency, and after replacing one of them with former Minnesota Viking Cameron Dantzler, they’re primed to take another in this year’s draft.
Pick 17: Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Joey Porter Sr. played for the Steelers. They will take this guy. And the Steelers suck in the secondary, so this just makes sense.
Pick 18: Detroit Lions: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Their 2022 first round receiver was suspended due to gambling, so why not gamble on a player who barely played in 2023 but was exceptional when he was on the field in 2022. Smith-Njigba is a slot-type receiver who may clash with Among Us St. Brown, but his talent is undeniable, and the Lions can’t pass up on him in this scenario.
Pick 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
While trying to figure this one out, we asked this question. Who is the other tackle on the Buccaneers? When we figured out it was Donovan Smith, we landed on Jones to the Bucs.
Pick 20: Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
He’s fallen this far, and this seems like a player that the Seahawks defense could really benefit off drafting this late in the first round. One of the more under the radar players, we think he’ll have a bright future in the NFL.
Pick 21: SHOULD BE THE DOLPHINS. (TUA SUCKS) PICK FORFEITED.
Pick 21: Los Angeles Chargers: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
The Chargers have two great receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but those guys play two very different roles. Allen is more of a move-the-chains guy and Williams is a 6’4” freak of nature who dominates when he is healthy. That’s the problem. He’s never healthy. That and the fact that Flowers is one of the fastest receivers in this draft makes him the field-stretcher that would completely unleash Justin Herbert in 2023.
Pick 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Jordan Addison, USC
One of the more polarizing players in the draft, Addison displays tremendous YAC ability and is electric after the catch. He has always seemed to be one of the better route runners in the class. Hopefully he can establish himself with a productive rookie season.
Pick 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
After losing our precious son Adam Thielen, the Vikings need to replace his services immediately. This pick could very well be QB Hendon Hooker if the Vikings don’t trade up to select a top four QB, but as the board sits now, Johnston is the pick. Johnston has the desired size and speed that you would want out of a first round wide receiver, but he still has to clean some things up. We hate how he performed at the 4-cone drill in the combine, but when the hell will he ever be running around cones in the NFL? He will be running circles around Jaire Alexander on the way to a 17-0 Vikings season and a Super Bowl title in honor of Kirk’s last year.
Pick 24: Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Although the Jags franchise tagged Evan Engram, they could really help out Trevor Lawrence with the selection of Mayer. Mayer is a great blocker, and an even better pass catcher. One of the easiest selections in the draft. Pairing your long term quarterback with a potential franchise tight end. Worked out for the Chiefs.
Pick 25: New York Giants: LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
Finally, the first linebacker is selected with the 25th overall pick. Jack Campbell is a true sideline to sideline player who is also maybe the most aggressive tackler in the draft. A great prospect who has impressed at player meetings all week, and is no doubt rising up boards as we speak.
Pick 26: Dallas Cowboys: QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia
The Cowboys are going nowhere with Dak Prescott, and Stetson Bennett is one of the winningest quarterbacks college football has ever seen. He reminds us a lot of Jerry Jones in quarterback form. Adding Bennett to the pool of weapons that the Cowboys already possess would make them a perennial cellar-dweller in the NFC East.
Okay, now that Mohamed is mad (Arsenal sucks), let’s get to the real selection.
DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Kancey has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald due to his size and short arms, but that’s where it stops. Just because he is from Pittsburgh and has a similar build does not mean he will become an all-time great. He is a great prospect that should help a Cowboys front seven that can always use more help around Micah Parsons.
Pick 27: Buffalo Bills RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Gibbs poses an Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey type of threat. A player defenses truly need to plan for. With the departure of Devin Singletary, even the addition of Patriots superstar Damien Harris will not be able to fill the massive void of speed in the locker room. Though I am a very big fan of Dalvin Cook’s younger brother James, I think a talent like Gibbs is hard to pass up on.
Pick 28: Cincinnati Bengals: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
Three tight ends in the first round? Yes. After losing the tight end with the best name in the NFL, the Bengals turn to the combine standout Washington. One of the best blocking tight ends who can also catch passes from Joe Sheisty? Say no more.
Pick 29: New Orleans Saints: OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Torrence might be the best guard in the draft. Time will tell, but he seems to be one of the most pro ready players in the entire draft. He is agile, strong, and if he stays healthy he can be an anchor for an already solid offensive line.
Pick 30: Philadelphia Eagles: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t seem to have too much to improve on. EDGE is an area of need for every team, as you can’t have too many players in rotation running at the opposing quarterback. Van Ness has also fallen dramatically in this scenario, so leave it to the EagLes to pick him up.
Pick 31: Kansas City Chiefs: DT Bryan Breese, Clemson
The Super Bowl champions are not flawless, and interior defensive line can be an area of concern for the Chiefs. So why not take a flier on one of the best prospects in the draft that fell due to injury. It can’t hurt right?
Pick 32: Michael Hackler: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
Believe it or not, we actually cleared this up with Roger Goodell and Michael will be announcing this pick at the NFL Draft and no one else will be able to acquire his services. Congratulations, Michael. Shoutout Josh Gordon and sorry Griffin, the Browns are still terrible. At least Weeden worked out though.
If you actually got this far, we appreciate your dedication. This concludes our first round mock draft, you can thank us when you go 31 for 31 at your draft parties. Skol.
Write to Hayden Lee and Michael Hackler at firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Header Photo: A streetcar arrives at Union Station, home of the 2023 NFL Draft, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The draft will run from April 27-29. (Charlie Reidel/The Associated Press)