Putting Together a 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the First Round

Putting Together a 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the First Round

The month of April quickly snuck up on football fans and that can only mean one thing – it’s NFL mock draft season. The draft order is subject to change between now and draft day – and is almost guaranteed to change once the draft clock begins – but that’s not stopping anyone from making an NFL mock draft. 

The 2023 NFL Draft is the 88th edition of the popular event, which sees NFL teams select rookie talent for an opportunity at improving their roster for many years to come. This year’s event will be held outside of Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, marking the first time Kansas City has hosted the NFL Draft. 

The first round of the draft will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 27 with each team having 10 minutes to make their selection. The draft will continue with the second and third rounds at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 28, while the remaining four rounds (4-7) will begin at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 29. 

RELATED: Chicago Bears Become 13th NFL Team to Trade No. 1 Overall Pick in NFL Draft — Do You Remember the 12 Other NFL Teams to Do So?

Revealing Our 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the First Round

Putting Together a 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the First Round
via Shutterstock (Rick3)

In the months leading up to the draft, everyone puts their knowledge of the league to the test with an NFL mock draft – which is a prediction of where certain players will get drafted and which team they’ll be drafted by. For the most part, no one is ever correct and the draft remains unpredictable throughout.

This year’s draft has already seen some movement in the first round – starting with the Chicago Bears trading the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers. We also have five teams without a first round selection – the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers. 

There are four teams currently scheduled to pick twice in the first round – Houston Texans (2 and 12), Seattle Seahawks (5 and 20), Detroit Lions (6 and 18), and Philadelphia Eagles (10 and 30). To put our knowledge to the test, let’s put together a 2023 NFL mock draft for the first round as it stands right now. 

(We are going about this first round as if no draft-day trades are made)

1. Carolina Panthers Select QB C.J. Stroud

The Carolina Panthers made it known that they’re after a quarterback by trading up to the No. 1 overall pick. They’ll get to pick their quarterback of choice, which I think will be C.J. Stroud. Over the past two seasons, Stroud has thrown for 8,123 yards, 85 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He’s 6’3’’ and 215 pounds, giving him the size to succeed at the NFL level – all he needs to do is make the transition. 

2. Houston Texans Select QB Bryce Young

The Houston Texans have been searching for their quarterback of the future ever since Deshaun Watson requested a trade. With Stroud off the board, I’d be surprised if they don’t take the next best option in Bryce Young. Over the past two seasons at Alabama, he has thrown for 8,200 yards and 79 touchdowns – adding 7 rushing touchdowns. He’s only 6’0’’ tall, but that doesn’t mean he can’t succeed in the NFL. 

3. Arizona Cardinals Select OLB Will Anderson Jr. 

The Arizona Cardinals recently signed Kyler Murray to an extension, so they won’t be needing a QB. With that said, they very well could be trading this pick to maximize their intake, but that would be silly with Will Anderson Jr. on the board – perhaps the most talented defensive player in the draft. In 41 career games with Alabama, Anderson had 204 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks, and one INT. 

4. Indianapolis Colts Select QB Will Levis

The Indianapolis Colts have signed several veteran quarterbacks over the past few years, but none of them have panned out – meaning they’re in desperate need of a franchise QB. With Stroud and Young off the board, they’re best bet is drafting Will Levis – who threw for 5,232 yards and 43 touchdowns over the past two seasons with Kentucky. He also had 11 rushing touchdowns, nine of which came in 2021. 

5. Seattle Seahawks Select DE Tyree Wilson

A lot of people are going to want Seattle to go after a quarterback here, but they have Geno Smith for the next three years and they’re better off filling out their roster with talent – starting with their defensive line. In 35 games with Texas Tech and Texas A&M, Tyree Wilson recorded 121 tackles, 32.0 tackles for loss, 17.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass defensed. He has a big body that’ll transition well into the NFL.

6. Detroit Lions Select DT Jalen Carter

Jalen Carter is a 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle who spent three seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. In 35 games played, he recorded 83 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks, 4 passes defensed, and 2 forced fumbles. He didn’t have a good Pro Day or Combine and was involved in some off-the-field struggles during the draft process. He’s a bit of a risk, but the talent and skill is there. 

7. Las Vegas Raiders Select DE Myles Murphy

Myles Murphy is a 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end who spent three seasons with the Clemson Tigers. In 35 career games played, he recorded 116 tackles, 36.0 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 6 forced fumbles. The Raiders are going to need all the help they can get on defense – something Murphy can help provide in a big way lining up alongside Maxx Crosby on the defensive line.

8. Atlanta Falcons Select CB Christian Gonzalez

Christian Gonzalez is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback who spent two seasons with the Colorado Buffaloes and one season with the Oregon Ducks. In 30 career games played, he recorded 128 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions (all last season), and 17 passes defensed. The Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the league last season, but a cornerback would go a long way in helping their pass defense.

9. Chicago Bears Select OL Peter Skoronski

Peter Skoronski is a 6-foot-4, 294-pound offensive lineman who spent three years with the Northwestern Wildcats. He played in 33 games and became the first ever Northwestern player to ever be named a Unanimous First Team All-American in 2022. The Chicago Bears proved they’re all-in on quarterback Justin Fields and made some quality moves in free agency – so let’s get their QB1 some protection!

10. Philadelphia Eagles Select OL Broderick Jones

Broderick Jones is a 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman who spent three seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. He started all 15 games for the Bulldogs last season and was named to the AP All-SEC First-Team. The Philadelphia Eagles lost both Andre Dillard and Isaac Seumalo in free agency and, while they have some players who can step in and start, Jones is both an answer right now and in the future. 

11. Tennessee Titans Select QB Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 236-pound quarterback who spent three seasons with the Florida Gators. In his first year as a full-time starter last season, he threw for 2,549 yards and 17 touchdowns – but he had one of the most impressive combines and pro days of all the QBs this year. With Ryan Tannehill getting older and Malik Willis not as impressive as we thought, the Titans can use him. 

12. Houston Texans Select WR Quentin Johnston

Quentin Johnston is a 6-foot-4, 193-pound wide receiver who spent three seasons with the TCU Horned Frogs. In 30 career games played, Johnston recorded 115 receptions for 2,190 yards and 14 touchdowns – including 60 catches for 1,069 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. The Texans are already drafting a quarterback early in the first round, but that QB is going to need some weapons and Johnston’s a good one!

13. New York Jets Select OL Paris Johnson Jr.

Paris Johnson Jr. is a 6-foot-6, 313-pound offensive lineman who spent three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes. He’s a consistent and reliable starter who received second-team AP All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors last season. Whether the New York Jets roll with Zach Wilson or end up trading for Aaron Rodgers, they’re going to need some quality protection along the offensive line. 

14. New England Patriots Select WR Jordan Addison

Jordan Addison is a 6-foot-0, 175-pound wide receiver who spent two seasons with the Pittsburgh Panthers and one season with the USC Trojans. In 35 career games played, he recorded 219 catches for 3,134 yards and 29 touchdowns – including 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021. The Patriots seem keen on rolling with Mac Jones as their QB, but he needs some weapons to throw to. 

15. Green Bay Packers Select WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a 6-foot-0, 197-pound wide receiver who spent three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes. In 13 games during the 2021 season, he recorded 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine TDs. Unfortunately, injuries kept him out of most of the 2022 season. If the Green Bay Packers say goodbye to Aaron Rodgers and roll with Jordan Love this season, he’ll need some weapons to help him succeed. 

16. Washington Commanders Select CB Devon Witherspoon

Devon Witherspoon is a 6-foot-0, 170-pound cornerback who spent four seasons with the Illinois Fighting Illini. In 41 career games played, Witherspoon recorded 157 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, 5 interceptions (3 in 2022), 25 passes defensed (14 in 2022), 3 fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. Since the commanders lack a high-quality cornerback, we’re going with Witherspoon here. 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers Select CB Joey Porter Jr.

Joey Porter Jr. is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound cornerback who spent four seasons with the Penn State Nittany Lions. In 34 career games played, he recorded 113 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, 1 interception, 20 passes defensed (11 in 2022), and one fumble recovery. The Steelers had a good free agency and have already addressed a lot of their weaknesses, but they still need to improve their pass defense. 

18. Detroit Lions Select TE Dalton Kincaid

Dalton Kincaid is a 6-foot-4, 242-pound tight end who spent the past three seasons with the Utah Utes. In 26 career games played, he recorded 107 receptions (70 in 2022), 1,414 yards (890 in 2022), and 16 touchdowns (8 in 2022). The Lions traded away their top tight end midway through last season, so there’s an apparent need at the position. It would help Jared Goff and open things up for their receiving core. 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select RB Bijan Robinson

Bijan Robinson is a 6-foot-0, 215-pound running back who spent the past three seasons with the Texas Longhorns. In 31 career games played, he recorded 3,410 rushing yards (1,580 in 2022), and 33 rushing TDs (18 in 2022), while also adding 60 catches for 805 receiving yards and 8 receiving TDs. Tampa Bay has immediate need for a running back after losing Leonard Fournette, but they can also go OL here. 

20. Seattle Seahawks Select DT Bryan Bresee

Bryan Bresee is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Clemson Tigers. In 25 career games played, he recorded 51 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, 4 passes defensed, and one forced fumble. The Seahawks need help on defense and we already have them drafting a top defensive end in this draft, so why not shore up that defensive line with more talent. 

21. Miami Dolphins’ Pick Forfeited

The Miami Dolphins ended the 2022 season with a 9-8 record and would’ve been gifted the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but they were forced to forfeit their first round draft pick for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton. It’s quite a hefty punishment for a Miami team that’ll need young talent if they want to succeed in the AFC East – especially since they didn’t end up with Brady or Payton. 

21. Los Angeles Chargers Select TE Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer is a 6-foot-4, 249-pound tight end who spent the past three seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In 36 career games played, he recorded 180 receptions for 2,099 yards and 18 TDs – including at least 67 catches for 809 yards and 7 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. The Chargers could use a tight end and if they’re going to go for it, the 2023 tight end class is more elite than usual.

22. Baltimore Ravens Select DE Nolan Smith

Nolan Smith is a 6-foot-3, 235-pound edge rusher who can play linebacker or defensive end – he spent the past four seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. In 38 career games played, he recorded 110 tackles, 20.0 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed, 3 fumble recovery, and 3 forced fumbles. The Ravens need help everywhere, but I think addressing their pass rush is most important. 

23. Minnesota Vikings Select CB Deonte Banks

Deonte Banks is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback/defensive back who spent the past four seasons with the Maryland Terrapins. In 28 career games played, Banks recorded 83 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 11 passes defensed (8 in 2022). The Vikings are fairly set on the offensive side of the ball, but need several playmakers on defense. Banks would help replace Patrick Peterson

24. Jacksonville Jaguars Select OL Anton Harrison

Anton Harrison is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners. He started all 12 regular season games for Oklahoma last season and played in all 13 games in 2021 – he was also named to the AP All-Big 12 First Team last season. The Jaguars took a big step last season, but Harrison would help boost an offensive line that lost its starting right tackle. 

25. New York Giants Select WR Zay Flowers

Zay Flowers is a 5-foot-10, 177-pound wide receiver who spent the past four seasons with the Boston College Eagles. In 48 career games played, he recorded 200 catches (78 in 2022), 3,056 yards (1,077 in 2022), and 29 touchdowns – he can also be used in the run game. With the team committing to Daniel Jones with a big contract, adding a premier wide receiver would give him all he needs to succeed. 

26. Dallas Cowboys Select DT Calijah Kancey

Calijah Kancey is a 6-foot-0, 275-pound defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Pittsburgh Panthers. In 33 career games played, he recorded 91 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss (14.5 in 2022), 16.0 sacks (7.5 in 2022), 3 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. The Cowboys had a good offseason and already have elite edge rushers, but adding a defensive tackle will only make them better. 

27. Buffalo Bills Select OG O’Cyrus Torrence

O’Cyrus Torrence is a 6-foot-5, 347-pound offensive guard who spent three seasons with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and one season with the Florida Gators. He started all 11 games for the Gators last season and was the first Gators’ guard to be named a Consensus All-American. The Bills need to protect Josh Allen, who suffered 33 sacks last season. Torrence fills that need now and protects him for the future.

28. Cincinnati Bengals Select OT Dawand Jones

Dawand Jones is a 6-foot-8, 359-pound offensive lineman who spent the past four seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes. He has played in 28 career games, including 14 starts at the right tackle position – he’ll tower over pretty much everyone at the NFL level. The Bengals have never protected Joe Burrow well and have given up 124 sacks over the past three seasons. Jones can help ensure that doesn’t continue.

29. New Orleans Saints Select DL Keion White

Keion White is a 6-foot-4, 267-pound tight end turned defensive lineman who spent two seasons with the Old Dominion Monarchs and two seasons with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In 34 games played, he recorded 120 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble. The Saints lost two key edge rushers this offseason, so this makes sense.

30. Philadelphia Eagles Select DE Lukas Van Ness

Lukas Van Ness is a 6-foot-5, 264-pound defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Iowa Hawkeyes. In 26 career games played, he recorded 70 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, and 1 pass defensed. We have the Eagles shoring up their offensive line earlier in this draft, but now it’s time to shore up the defensive line with a proven edge rusher to help maintain their elite pass rush. 

31. Kansas City Chiefs Select DE Will McDonald IV

Will McDonald IV is a 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end who spent the past five seasons with the Iowa State Cyclones. In 48 career games played, McDonald IV recorded 125 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, 34.0 sacks, 7 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery, and 10 forced fumbles. After losing Frank Clark and Khalen Saunders to free agency, the Chiefs need all the help they can get on the defensive line. 

Do You Agree With Our 2023 NFL Mock Draft?

With the Carolina Panthers trading up for the No. 1 overall pick, it’s clear they’re interested in drafting the quarterback of their choice – and they have a healthy handful to choose from. Of course, they’re not the only team at the top of the pecking order interested in a QB of the future, so things might get messy early. 

That’s what makes an NFL mock draft so difficult to predict – you never know what’s going to happen and a lot of what teams are saying right now is just smoke and mirrors to try and sway other teams to go a certain route. It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse, which is why everyone has a different opinion. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 20 Underclassmen Who Are Forgoing Their Remaining Years of College Eligibility and Declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft

With that said, how do you think our NFL mock draft looks at this point in the offseason? Don’t worry, we’re less than a month away from the 2023 NFL Draft and we’ll find out on our own very soon. Will we surprise ourselves or will we be humbled right out of the gate? Only time will tell, so stay tuned!

About At The Buzzer

At The Buzzer, or ATB is the place for those who love sports, life, family, community, and so much more. We are far from the run-of-the-mill 24/7 sports news websites. We not only bring you what’s happening in the world of sports in terms of trades and breaking news, but we also bring you the news that goes on behind the scenes, like big life moments, and so much more. So take a minute and read one of our articles, we promise you won't regret it.