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.
Revealing Our 2023 NFL Mock Draft for the First Round
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.
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!
20 Underclassmen Who Are Forgoing Their Remaining Years of College Eligibility and Declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft
The college football season is over and the end of the NFL season is quickly approaching, which can only mean one thing – the 2023 NFL Draft is just a few months away. Before we know it, football fans will get to see some of their favorite college players wear their new team’s jersey and draft hat for the first time.
The 2023 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place between April 27th and 29th in Kansas City, Missouri. As of January 23, the first 27 picks are already locked with the Chicago Bears earning the No. 1 overall pick after a very disappointing season. The Texans, Cardinals, Colts, and Seahawks round out the top-five.
Over the next few months, teams will take a close look at thousands of college football players that are made eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft. And while a majority of those players are seniors who have finished their schooling, there are also a hefty amount of underclassmen who will likely be selected on draft night.
20 of the Best Underclassmen Entering the 2023 NFL Draft
While senior college football players are automatically entered into the NFL Draft – unless they explicitly decline – the same can’t be said for underclassmen who wish to forego their remaining years of college eligibility to enter the draft. In fact, a player must be three years removed from high school to enter.
With that said, the NFL can grant special eligibility to anyone who meets that criteria, whether they’re a senior or not. Of course, they have to declare their intent prior to the January 16th deadline – which passed a week ago. Since no more players can declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, the field is now set.
The field includes 82 underclassmen – 69 of which were granted special eligibility and 13 of which had fulfilled their degree requirements. Since we’re most definitely going to see some of those players drafted in the first few rounds, let’s take a look at some of the greatest underclassmen in the 2023 NFL Draft.
20. Trenton Simpson
Trenton Simpson is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior linebacker who spent three years with the Clemson Tigers. He had a bit of a down year in 2022, but finished his college career with 165 tackles, 23.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles. He had 12.5 tackles for loss in 2021.
Simpson can certainly shine in the right system, but he’s not a plug-and-play type of linebacker. He’s best used as a nickel linebacker and excels in his coverage and pass-defense. He has incredible pursuit and doesn’t hold back when tackling someone. If the right team drafts him, he can make an instant impact.
19. Brian Branch
Brian Branch is a 6-foot-0, 190-pound junior defensive back who spent the past three seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He’s a versatile player who finished his college career with 172 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 interceptions, 23 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery, and a punt return TD.
Some NFL teams are going to view Branch as a cornerback, especially considering he had 14.0 tackles for loss in 2022 – for a defensive back, that’s pretty remarkable. With that said, he can also excel at the safety position and many experts have him pegged as one of the top safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft.
18. Lukas Van Ness
Lukas Van Ness is a 6-foot-5, 264-pound red shirt sophomore defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons (played two) with the Iowa Hawkeyes. He knows how to attack the quarterback, finishing his college career with 70 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, and one pass defensed in 26 games.
Van Ness is one of the more talented defensive lineman in this draft, despite never really starting a game for Iowa. He’s effective at both defensive tackle and defensive end, showing versatility along the line – something teams will value at the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s projected to go in the middle of the first round.
17. Michael Mayer
Michael Mayer is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior tight end who spent the past three seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He’s an all-around tight end that can help an offense as a receiver and a blocker. He finished his college career with 180 catches, 2,099 yards, and 18 touchdowns – 9 of which came in 2022.
Mayer is one of, if not the, best tight ends in the 2023 NFL Draft. The only real downside to his game is his lack of arm length, which comes as a disadvantage in the blocking game. With that said, he makes up for it with technique and power – not to mention his 800+ yards receiving in each of his past two seasons.
16. Peter Skoronski
Peter Skoronski is a 6-foot-4, 315-pound junior offensive tackle who spent the past three seasons with the Northwestern Wildcats. He’s expected to be a top-10 draft pick and is currently rated as the top offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft. A big reason why is his ability to both run- and pass-block.
He played in 23 games over the past three seasons and only allowed 5 sacks in those games – including just one sack last season. He’s not going to give the defensive line much to work with, is more athletic than most offensive lineman, is a born leader on the field, and leads by example with a high football IQ.
15. Drew Sanders
Drew Sanders is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior linebacker who spent his first two years with the Alabama Crimson Tide before transferring to the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2022. He finished last season with 103 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 1 interception, 5 passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles.
Sanders brings a lot of size to the linebacker position and has experience playing the EDGE, so he’s beaming with talent. Despite his size, he’s very fast and fluid with his movements on the field. He made the transition to an off-ball linebacker with Arkansas and it paid off well – he can do the same in the NFL.
14. Bijan Robinson
Bijan Robinson is a 6-foot-0, 215-pound junior running back who spent the past three seasons with the Texas Longhorns. He has consistently gotten better each year and went absolutely haywire in 2022. He finished the 2022 campaign with 1,580 rushing yards, 314 receiving yards, and 20 total touchdowns.
All in all, Robinson finished his college career with 3,410 rushing yards (back-to-back seasons of 1,100+ yards), 33 rushing touchdowns, 60 receptions, 805 receiving yards, and 8 receiving touchdowns. He came in 9th place in Heisman voting this past season, proving just how unstoppable of a RB he was.
13. Kelee Ringo
Kelee Ringo is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound redshirt sophomore defensive back who spent the past three seasons (played two) with the Georgia Bulldogs. He has been a key part of the Bulldogs’ defense, totaling 76 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, 4 interceptions, 1 defensive TD, and 15 passes defensed.
Ringo had two interceptions in each of the past two seasons and forced quarterbacks to a 67.7 QB rating when thrown to. He was named to the Coaches’ Freshman All-SEC Team in 2021 and named to the AP and Coaches’ All-SEC Second Team last season. He’s projected to go in the 2nd round, if not the 1st.
12. Broderick Jones
Broderick Jones is a 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior offensive tackle who spent the past three seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. He didn’t see a lot of action as a freshman, only appearing in 25 snaps in 2020. He was named a starter in 2021, playing in 11 games and only allowing two sacks at the left tackle position.
Jones followed that up with another strong showing in 2022, playing in 13 games and only allowing one QB hit – he didn’t allow a sack all season long. He was named to the AP All-SEC First-Team in 2022. Some of his strengths are his arms, grip, core strength, quickness, agility, high football IQ, and reflex.
11. Paris Johnson Jr.
Paris Johnson Jr. is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior offensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes. He didn’t see a lot of action as a freshman in 2020, only appearing in 26 snaps all year. In 2021, he won a starting role at guard and didn’t give up a single sack in 13 games.
In 2022, Johnson Jr. made the transition from guard to left tackle – a move that paid off for him. He played exceptional and only allowed two sacks – no QB hits – in 12 games. Many experts have him going in the top-half of the first round, likely between picks No. 10 and 15. He’ll be an immediate starter in the NFL.
10. Gervon Dexter Sr.
Gervon Dexter Sr. is a 6-foot-6, 303-pound junior defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Florida Gators in the SEC. He’s an every-down quarterback nightmare with his physical prowess, totaling 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 pass defensed last season.
In 33 career college games, he recorded 125 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 passes defensed, and 2 fumble recoveries. He’s one of the more physically-gifted players in the 2023 NFL Draft with a freakish combination of size, length, strength, speed, and fluidity. Will it translate?
9. Bryan Bresee
Bryan Bresee is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound three-year sophomore defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Clemson Tigers. He’s best-suited as a defensive tackle, having finished his 2022 campaign with 15 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 2 passes defensed in 10 games played.
All in all, Bresee finished his collegiate career with 51 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss (6.5 TFL as a freshman in 2020), 9.0 sacks (4.5 sacks as a freshman), 4 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. He only played in four games in 2021 before suffering a torn ACL that kept him out the rest of the year.
8. Christian Gonzalez
Christian Gonzalez is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound three-year sophomore defensive back who spent two years with the Colorado Buffaloes and one year with the Oregon Ducks (2022). He finished his impressive 2022 campaign with 50 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 4 interceptions, and 7 passes defensed in 10 games played.
Gonzalez is one of the best cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft and will make an immediate impact for whichever team selects him – which will likely be in the top-20. He was already a lockdown defender, but got even better when he transferred to Oregon. He had 0 interceptions in Colorado, but 4 with Oregon.
7. Anthony Richardson
I know – finally, a quarterback. Anthony Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 236-pound three-year sophomore QB who spent the past three seasons with the Florida Gators. He only played 10 games in his first two years and was able to redshirt his first year. Still, he showed glimpses of superstar ability in limited action.
Richardson played in 12 games for the Gators last season and proved to be one of the best QBs in the nation. He finished the campaign with 2,549 passing yards, 17 passing TDs, and 9 interceptions. He also recorded 654 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns in 2022. He most likely won’t be a day-one starter.
6. Joey Porter Jr.
Joey Porter Jr. is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound four-year junior cornerback who spent the past four seasons with the Penn State Nittany Lions. He’s the son of Joey Porter, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 199 and retired with 98.0 sacks. Unlike his father, Porter Jr. matches up with receivers, not lineman.
With that said, Porter Jr. has that ‘dawg’ in him – something that made his father dominant in the NFL. He’s aggressive when mirroring receivers and knows how to get his hands on the football – he only had one career interception at Penn State, but had 11 passes defensed in 2022 alone. He’ll be a first-rounder.
5. Myles Murphy
Myles Murphy is a 6-foot-5, 275-pound junior defensive end who spent the past three seasons with the Clemson Tigers. As a freshman in 2020, he recorded three fumble recoveries (career-high), 10.5 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks. He followed that up with 14.5 tackles for loss (career-high) and 8.0 sacks in 2021.
He continued to terrorize opposing quarterbacks in 2022, finishing with 40 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. With 18.5 career sacks, he’ll make an instant impact in the NFL and will likely be drafted in the top-10. He’s going to be a tough player for anyone to pass up.
4. Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter is a 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior defensive lineman who spent the past three seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. He has been one of the most consistent and dominant interior defensive lineman in all of college football the past two seasons – notching at least 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks each year.
Carter is almost a lock to be drafted in the top-five, but some experts – including Mel Kiper – have him going No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears, if a trade isn’t made, of course. He’s as explosive in the pass-rush as he is in the run-stop. He will make an immediate impact for the team that drafts him.
3. Will Anderson Jr.
Will Anderson Jr. is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior linebacker who spent the past three seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He’s one of, if not the best defenders in the draft and finished in 5th place in Heisman voting in 2021 – he finished that season with 101 tackles, 31.0 tackles for loss, and 17.5 sacks.
Anderson finished his college career with 204 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 defensive touchdown, 4 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. He’s unblockable in a variety of situations and is just as effective rushing the quarterback as he is stuffing running backs. He’ll be taken in the top-5.
2. C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound three-year sophomore who spent the past three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes. He didn’t see any action as a freshman in 2020, but was named starter in 2021 and 2022. He threw for 8,123 yards, 85 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 25 games during that span.
Stroud finished in 4th place in Heisman voting in 2021 and 3rd place in 2022. He has averaged 4,000+ yards and 40+ touchdowns per season. He’s accurate with his throws, can throw the ball anywhere on the field, and seems to play some of his best football when stakes are high. He’ll be a top-five pick in 2023.
1. Bryce Young
Bryce Young is a 6-foot-0, 195-pound junior quarterback who spent the past three seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He didn’t see a lot of action in 2020, but has been the team’s starting QB the past two seasons. In that time, he threw for 8,200 yards, 79 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions as a starter.
Young had an incredible 2021 season that saw him win the Heisman Trophy after nearly throwing for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns – he was 128 yards and 3 touchdowns short. He has a great feel for the pocket and doesn’t have a problem moving around to find his target. He’ll be a top-five pick in 2023.
Other Notable Players Who Declared for the 2023 NFL Draft
The underclassmen above will likely be some of the first players taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, but that’s not to say there aren’t any seniors worth keeping an eye on. In fact, some of the best football prospects are seniors with no college eligibility remaining and some will have an instant impact once in the NFL.
Some of those non-underclassmen to keep an eye on include Will Levis (QB), Tyree Wilson (EDGE), Devon Witherspoon (CB), Nolan Smith (EDGE), O’Cyrus Torrence (OL), Will McDonald IV (EDGE), Dalton Kincaid (TE), Tyrique Stevenson (CB), Jaelyn Duncan (OL), and Andrew Vorhees (OL).
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The 2023 NFL Draft is going to be extremely exciting with talent across the board. Several teams will take a shot at a franchise quarterback, some will satisfy other positions of need, and some will be looking for the best available player – either way, we can’t wait to see where some of the best rookies will land.
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- 1 20 Underclassmen Who Are Forgoing Their Remaining Years of College Eligibility and Declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft
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