It’s that time of the year again! Its mock draft season with the NFL Draft starting April 27th-April 29th with Kansas City being the host city this season. This is our first mock draft before the combine in Indianapolis kicks off on February 26th. Here is the of many mock drafts I will write before the draft kicks off.
*Note: Only 31 picks in the first round this year as the Miami Dolphins forfeit their 1st round pick (#23) this season due to the Stephen Ross investigation*
Round 1, Pick #1
Indianapolis Colts (via Chicago Bears)
Trade: Indianapolis trades #4, #35, 2023 4th, 2024 2nd for 2023 #1 and 2023 5th
Selection: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
The Colts get their guy with CJ Stroud and give a load of picks to get him. It was warranted as they needed to get the player they wanted from the beginning. The most talented and NFL ready quarterback in this draft. He played in an NFL system with NFL talent scattered around him.
The only knock you have on him is that he couldn’t lead his team to victory in three key games during his tenure. He went 0-2 against Michigan and lost the playoff semifinal to Georgia. He will be a dangerous player in the new Shane Steichen led offense that Indianapolis will be implementing.
Round 1, Pick #2
Selection: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Along with Stroud, this is the most NFL ready QB in the class. He is well coached and has plenty of big game experience. He has also played with NFL talent during his years at Alabama. He is a bit undersized for the position but his weigh in at the combine will be critical.
If his weight comes in at over 195, then whoever drafts #1 may draft him as well. The weight is crucial because scouts want to make sure the small frame can take the hits he will endure behind that Texans (or any) offensive line.
Round 1, Pick #3
Selection: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
Arizona has weaknesses all over the roster and with a defensive minded coach taking over, Arizona grabs the best defensive player on the board in a position of need. Anderson was the top edge rusher in college and will be able to contribute immediately in Arizona.
Round 1, Pick #4
Chicago Bears (Via Indianapolis)
Selection: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The Bears decide to keep Justin Fields and trade down to get the player they wanted all along in Jalen Carter. He is the missing piece to Matt Eberflus’ Tampa 2 defense and will contribute from day one to a defense in need of a big playmaker.
Round 1, Pick #5
Seattle Seahawks (Via Denver Broncos)
Selection: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
If there is one thing GM John Schneider loves, it’s an impactful pass rusher. They are getting exactly that with Wilson. An experienced and lengthy athlete that will pair with an already strong defense.
Round 1, Pick #6
Detroit Lions (via LA Rams)
Selection: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
An over sized DB makes him the top of the class for his position. He has terrific ball skills and will pair well with Jeff Okudah on the opposite side. Expect Gonzalez to test well at the combine to confirm his top 10 status.
Round 1, Pick #7
Las Vegas Raiders
Selection: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
It appears the Raiders will be taking on a veteran quarterback so the pick here is offensive line. With a strong QB class next season they can wait one more season if needby. They struggled here last season and when in doubt, protect the most important position in all sports.
Round 1, Pick #8
Selection: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
No matter what direction Atlanta chooses to go with their quarterback, they will need protection. Ridder showed flashes at the end of the season and should get the chance to be the franchise quarterback. Johnson should help his cause with this pick.
Round 1, Pick #9
Selection: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
It appears that Carolina will be moving on from Sam Darnold under the new coaching staff with Frank Reich. Will Levis has been compared to Josh Allen and others say he is a complete and total bust after a poor senior season where he battled injury all year long. The upside outweighs the downside here and Reich takes his chance with Levis.
Round 1, Pick #10
Selection: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Philadelphia added some bodies early in season on the defensive line and now they can get younger at the position with the addition of Bresee. GM Howie Roseman is always smitten with top talent in the trenches. He will pair nicely with 2022 first rounder Jordan Davis.
Round 1, Pick #11
Selection: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
With the release of Taylor Lewan and the need the focus of a run heavy offense with Derrick Henry, the protection upfront continues to be a focus for this offense.
Round 1, Pick #12
Selection: Quentin Johnson, WR, Texas Christian
Texans take Bryce Young with the second overall pick and here they give Young his first true target to grow with. With star WR Brandin Cooks most likely being moved this offseason, Johnson brings size and speed to a position in need of depth and upgrade for a team in need of a big time playmaker
Round 1, Pick #13
New York Jets
Selection: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Don’t be surprised if Anthony Richardson gets consideration here with the failed Zach Wilson experiment the Jets are currently embroiled in. Jets GM Joe Douglas loves offensive lineman too much to pass up on them here at this spot in the draft.
Round 1, Pick #14
New England Patriots
Selection: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
With the incoming rumored release of Jonnu Smith, taking a TE here makes perfect sense for Belichick. The former basketball player gives you a complete tight end with elite skills and, most importantly, a far cheaper price than his predecessor.
Round 1, Pick #15
Green Bay Packers
Selection: Micheal Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Regardless if Aaron Rodgers returns, the Packers offense is always in need of pass catchers and elite TE play. Starting TE Robert Tonyan is now a free agent and Green Bay can pick up a cheaper option with skills in pass catching and blocking.
Round 1, Pick #16
Selection: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
A team full of needs is able to get a top CB prospect in the middle of Round 1. Witherspoon has all the tools to become a #1 CB on any NFL roster.
Round 1, Pick #17
Selection: Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
The family affair continues in Pittsburgh, with Joey Porter’s son returning to the organization. He has the length and range to be a top corner in the league very quickly.
Round 1, Pick #18
Selection: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Detroit continues to stockpile edge rushers with the selection of Murphy. With Hutchinson having a great rookie campaign, Detroit grabs depth here.
Round 1, Pick #19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Selection: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida Gators
Tampa Bay decides to roll the dice with Richardson. With Kyle Trask being the only QB on the roster currently, this allows competition in camp for the starting job. Richardson is a very raw candidate and has accuracy questions. But his potential is the true selling point for him. With new OC Dave Canales (who resurrected Geno Smith) coming aboard, he could be the perfect coach for Richardson in the coming years. Would be surprising if he is drafted this low by Draft night, just too much upside.
Round 1, Pick #20
Selection: O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida
Seahawks need some depth on the offensive line and Torrence brings them that. He may not start right away but brings them some needed help.
Round 1, Pick #21
Selection: Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Njigba missed the majority of the 2022 season with a hamstring injury. If he can stay healthy, this will bring some stability to the Chargers WR room, that was decimated with injuries last season. The status of Keenan Allen has yet to be determined as well.
Round 1, Pick #22
Selection: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Regardless of who is under center next season in Baltimore, WR continues to be a need of this franchise. With Greg Roman gone and Todd Monken in, the franchise should see more passing yards this season separating themselves from the run heavy offenses of the past. Addison brings big playmaking ability to the table.
Round 1, Pick #23
Selection: Brian Branch, CB/S, Alabama
Versatility is the game for Branch. Vikings need some help in the secondary and Branch can deliver in two positions, if needby.
Round 1, Pick #24
Selection: Luke Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
Van Ness has slid in the draft and Jacksonville takes the best available player right now. He was impactful at Iowa but never started a game and played both end and tackle at Iowa.
Round 1, Pick #25
New York Giants
Selection: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Have you seen the Wide Receivers room in New York? Golladay has been a disaster and Wan’Dale Robinson tore his ACL late in the season. With Daniel Jones (likely) to return but not guaranteed it’s important to shore up the position no matter the signal caller for next season.
Round 1, Pick #26
Selection: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
With the uncertainty surrounding both running backs Elliot and Pollard, Jerry Jones grabs the top RB prospect in the draft. Elliot has zero guaranteed money left on his contract and that makes him ripe for the unemployment line especially with the amount of "tread on his tires."
Round 1, Pick #27
Selection: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
Buffalo signed Von Miller in the offseason to help bolster the pass rush to combat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. With Miller aging and the knee injury he suffered towards the end of last season, Smith allows them some depth at that position.
Round 1, Pick #28
Selection: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oklahoma State
Hayden Hurst is a free agent and both Mayer and Kincaid are off the board. While they continue to need depth on the offensive line its important to keep the cupboard full for Joe Burrow.
Round 1, Pick #29
New Orleans Saints
Selection: Jalin Hiatt, WR, Tennessee
Hiatt is an elite talent, especially in the speed department. He ran 4.31 in high school. With the age and injuries to Micheal Thomas, Hiatt makes a lot of sense here.
Round 1, Pick #30
Selection: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Ideal size and speed can help Philadelphia stay at the top of the NFC. With starting CB James Bradberry not expected to return, Forbes allows a day one starter to take over and a much cheaper price.
Round 1, Pick #31
Kansas City Chiefs
Selection: Keion White, EDGE/DL, Georgia Tech
What do you give a team that has minimal weaknesses? Fill the depth chart with a versatile inside or outside defensive lineman. The Georgia Tech transfer (and former Tight End) will use the combine as his showcase.
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