2023 NFL Mock Draft: CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson, More
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Richardson.
- With the combine and early part of free agency in the rear-view mirror, Nick Guarisco has his first NFL mock draft.
- Check out Guarisco's picks and draft breakdowns below for all 31 first-round picks.
In a special collaboration with Action Network, you’ll find the debut version of Nick Guarisco’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft below.
Guarisco (@FantasyLawGuy on Twitter) ranked in the top six in mock draft accuracy from 2019-2021 at NFL Mock Draft Database, which grades the accuracy of mock drafts industry-wide, including longtime draft analysts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
See where he has C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, Bryce Young and more going in his mock below.
2023 NFL Mock Draft
Click on a team for further analysis of Nick Guarisco’s NFL Mock Draft.
|1||Panthers||C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State|
|2||Texans||Bryce Young, QB, Alabama|
|3||Cardinals||Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama|
|4||Colts||Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida|
|5||Seahawks||Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech|
|6||Lions||Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon|
|7||Raiders||Will Levis, QB, Kentucky|
|8||Falcons||Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas|
|9||Bears||Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois|
|10||Eagles||Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern|
|11||Titans||Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State|
|12||Texans||Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia|
|13||Jets||Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia|
|14||Patriots||Brian Branch, S, Alabama|
|15||Packers||Luke Van Ness, DE, Iowa|
|16||Commanders||Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State|
|17||Steelers||Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee|
|18||Lions||Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson|
|19||Buccaneers||Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma|
|20||Seahawks||Jaxon Smith-Njiba, WR, Ohio State|
|21||Chargers||Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia|
|22||Ravens||Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland|
|23||Vikings||Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU|
|24||Jaguars||Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina|
|25||Giants||Jordan Addison, WR, USC|
|26||Cowboys||Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame|
|27||Bills||Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson|
|28||Bengals||Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah|
|29||Saints||Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt|
|30||Eagles||O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida|
|31||Chiefs||Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College|
|*The Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick.|
2023 NFL Draft Predictions
1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
After serving up significant draft capital and WR DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears in order to move up from No. 9 to No. 1, the Panthers are a near lock to select their favorite franchise quarterback. The bold move comes after years of subpar quarterback play, of which aggressive owner David Tepper has grown tired.
Interestingly, C.J. Stroud’s odds to be the first overall pick increased in the betting market prior to the announcement of the trade. Once the trade was announced, though, a massive shift occurred, making Stroud the new favorite to be the top selection.
Local beat writers have shared beliefs that Carolina is targeting either Stroud or Bryce Young. Moreover, fans are connecting the dots that lead to Stroud.
Head coach Frank Reich’s quote about what he looks for in a quarterback seems to match Stroud’s strengths. Furthermore, Reich’s history of starting QBs with “prototypical” size is at least notable, considering Young’s small stature. An emphasis on accuracy seems to rule out Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. It also doesn’t seem like Tepper is willing to be even more patient than he has on these high-ceiling prospects to develop.
Team Needs: QB, WR, DE
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Based on what I’m hearing and reading, it seems like Bryce Young will be Houston’s pick here, assuming he is available.
I believe the Texans will see Young’s potential deficiencies mitigated because Houston plays at least 10 games each year indoors. I also think the Texans, amid a full rebrand of the team, need a “face of the franchise” to build both the team and the fan support around. There are also the connections between the team’s front office with Nick Saban, who coached Young. The Texans pick again at No. 12.
Team Needs: QB, WR, DE, OT, C, LB
3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
This feels like a potential trade-down spot for two reasons. First, the Cardinals sit in a sweet spot for QB-needy teams — Indy, Las Vegas or Tennessee — to move up. Second, Arizona has a plethora of needs and could use the extra picks in its rebuild.
The Cardinals’ greatest need perhaps lies along the defensive line. The team lost its best three linemen – DE Markus Golden, DTs J.J. Watt and Zach Allen – on a defense that already struggled to pressure quarterbacks. New head coach Jonathan Gannon comes from a Philadelphia team that prioritized a strong pass rush, evidenced by the fact the 2022 Eagles were the first team in NFL history to have four players record at least 10 sacks.
Arizona is in a prime spot to grab either Will Anderson or Tyree Wilson, two players who, according to Daniel Jeremiah, teams reportedly have very closely graded on their boards. Although it’s too early to predict a trade-down scenario in a mock draft, I could see Arizona moving down to grab either an offensive lineman or a cornerback.
The Cardinals’ starting offensive line made 44-of-85 possible starts (32nd) last season, and lost several interior OL bodies (Rodney Hudson, Billy Price, Sean Harlow, Justin Pugh, Cody Ford, and Max Garcia), all of whom made starts at either LG or C. Josh Jones is also a free agent in 2024. Prioritizing Kyler Murray’s health is paramount considering the three-year trend of him starting spry and either fading or getting hurt down the stretch.
Cornerback is also a glaring need and has been for years. The team lost Byron Murphy and Antonio Hamilton is a free agent. Gannon’s Eagles also had two prolific CBs.
Team Needs: D-Line, iOL, CB
4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
It’s still early, but if the draft begins as I currently expect, the Colts will be deciding between Anthony Richardson or Will Levis as their new franchise quarterback. Both are seen as high-ceiling prospects with great traits, though both have flaws that need to be refined.
It’s become apparent NFL teams are more enamored with Levis than fans are, chalking up his underwhelming 2022 season to injuries, among other things. I could see either quarterback being the pick.
My current lean toward Richardson here is based on new head coach Shane Steichen. The former Eagles offensive coordinator played a role in developing Jalen Hurts as a passer, which would be the hope for Richardson, who has the potential to be a lethal dual-threat QB.
Although Richardson is a massive gamble for a first-year head coach, Steichen may have a comfort level that few others would. It helps that owner Jim Irsay may also want to swing for the fences.
Team Needs: QB, CB, LB
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
“There’s a difference here. … But the guys up front really make a difference. [Arik] Armstead is unbelievably talented. He’s a problem every snap. [Nick] Bosa is a problem every snap; we breathe a sigh of relief when he has to take a break so we can go ahead and get after it. These guys make enough stuff happen and they demand so much focus in the game plan and the approach because they’re going to do something to you if you don’t. That’s a big difference than what we have.” – Pete Carroll
This candid Carroll quote following a blowout playoff loss to the 49ers speaks to the team’s desire to acquire an impact defensive lineman.
Fortunately, Seattle is in a nice spot to do just that. If a QB-needy team trades with Arizona to move up to third, the first four picks should be quarterbacks, allowing Will Anderson Jr., who many believe is the best overall player in this draft class, to slide to the fifth pick.
At worst, Tyree Wilson is a high-ceiling player who several teams have rated equally or even higher than Anderson (per Daniel Jeremiah). The Seahawks have shown some tendencies toward drafting traits over production.
There have been rumors about Seattle taking advantage of this early selection to take a quarterback. However, Carroll and the Seahawks may believe that the team is good enough to compete now in a weak NFC with the help from immediate contributions of two first-round picks.
Team Needs: DE, iOL, WR
6. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The fact that Detroit has two first-round picks has led some to believe drafting a quarterback for the future is in play. But here, the top four quarterback prospects are not available.
The Lions may use this pick on a defender regardless, given the struggles over the years on that side of the ball, coupled with the fact that the offense progressed significantly last season. Thus, the expectation should be that the Lions go defense, particularly a player who impacts pass defense.
The defensive line is far from settled. There are several quality depth pieces at both DE and DT, but not many high-end starters (if any), outside of Aidan Hutchinson. The recent signings of CBs Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley may move the needle toward a pass rusher, but the right one has to be available.
Lukas Van Ness is a polarizing prospect who NFL teams tend to view more favorably than fans, but I’m not sure the Lions deem him worthy of the sixth overall pick. Moreover, the presences of Sutton, Moseley and Jeff Okudah (whose contract may expire after this season), should not preclude the Lions from selecting a corner.
Devon Witherspoon is getting a lot of buzz, but Christian Gonzalez remains the betting favorite to be the first defensive back selected, so I’ll lean toward the latter for now.
Team Needs: D-Line, CB, OG, TE
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Signing Jimmy Garoppolo should not preclude the Raiders from taking a quarterback at Pick 7 (or earlier); in fact, the move should encourage it. Garoppolo is the perfect bridge quarterback due to his familiarity with Josh McDaniels, and also because he’ll likely last the perfect amount of games before he inevitably gets hurt, allowing a raw, developing rookie QB to take the reins.
There seemed to be more buzz at the NFL Combine about Will Levis being a good fit for McDaniels’ offense. If the Raiders don’t love Levis, or if another team leap frogs them (Tennessee, Washington?), the Raiders will look to shore up an extremely patchy defense.
Cornerback and defensive tackle are major concerns, but it is too early to draft the latter. Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon are options here if a quarterback is not.
The right guard and right tackle spots could stand to be upgraded, but this seems rich for an offensive lineman in this class, especially considering Las Vegas’ problems on defense.
Team Needs: QB, DT, CB, TE, O-Line
8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The current regime seems to be valuing safety (floor) and character from its high-end draft picks and appears in no rush to grab its franchise quarterback until the rest of the team is built well enough around that position. Accordingly, I do not foresee Atlanta making an aggressive play for a quarterback … yet. If one falls here, it could be a different story, but,this front office seems methodical and patient. Perhaps the team wants to give Desmond Ridder a shot so that they can evaluate him.
That said, the Falcons have spent some money in free agency to fill some of the roster’s many holes. The two largest gaps that remain are unquestionably at pass rusher and wide receiver. At WR, is nothing behind Drake London, but considering that this receiver class is weak, and also accounting the fact that Atlanta spent its last two top-10 selections on pass catchers, the team shouldn’t address WR here.
For the second straight year, the Falcons finished last or near last in almost every statistic that measures the ability to pressure, hit or sack opposing quarterbacks. The question then becomes whether Atlanta loves a pass rusher like Lukas Van Ness or Nolan Smith. If it does not, cornerbacks Witherspoon or Gonzalez could certainly be in play here.
Atlanta has reportedly done extensive homework on this CB class, and it could be another situation where the team selects a DE in Round 2, which was their approach last year.
RB Bijan Robinson is also a wild card here. In his annual conference call with the media, Daniel Jeremiah mentioned that most teams consider Robinson an elite prospect, and he alluded to Robinson potentially going in the top 10. Positional value was put aside when this regime had no issues with taking a tight end with the fourth overall pick two years ago (the highest one has ever been selected).
Moreover, coach Arthur Smith comes from Tennessee, where he designed the offense around Derrick Henry. Tyler Allgeier played well down the stretch last season, but it’s doubtful Atlanta sees Allgeier as a legitimate reason to pass on the generational talent.
So, it would make sense for the Falcons to trade down into the teens, as they should still be able to secure Robinson, a cornerback or a pass rusher.
Team Needs: QB, DE, WR, CB
9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Bears moved back to No. 9 and added WR DJ Moore. Thus, it seems unlikely now that Chicago will take a WR, considering the recent investments in DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool (oops).
The defensive line is a major area of concern, particularly defensive tackle, where DTs Angelo Blackson, Armon Watts and Mike Pennel are free agents, with Justin Jones’s contract expiring next offseason. While UGA DT Jalen Carter makes a ton of sense – on paper – to fill those gaps, it’s hard to predict how fall he will slide due to character concerns. No one should be surprised whether the Bears nab Carter up here or if Carter slides much further. I cannot justify mocking him this early until we get a better read on that situation.
Cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez should be in play, but both may be gone by this point. Again, DE Lukas Van Ness is a name that keeps popping up, but there is certainly an element of risk there.
All of these factors add to Chicago potentially considering going with the BPA (best available player on its board, regardless of position). Yes, many would find it preposterous if Chicago took Bijan Robinson here. Running back is a devalued position, but it also happens to be a significant need for the Bears, who may seek to revolve their offense around the ground prowess of Justin Fields and Robinson.
Offensive line is also a consideration, but the Bears return all five starters and brought in guard Nate Davis. A lot of the team’s struggles on the O-Line were due to injuries (the starting unit made 63 of 85 possible starts) and Fields’s propensity to hold on to the ball too long. In this situation, the Bears could opt to take Robinson, a generational talent, in an attempt to hide Fields’ weakness (passing) and pronounce his strength (running).
Team Needs: D-Line, CB, RB
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans): Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The Eagles have major needs at DT (losing Javon Hargrave, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, with Fletcher Cox set to hit free agency after next season), LB (with both starters Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards departed), and safety (with both starters Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson departed), but the value is not there at this spot unless the team wishes to take a massive risk on DT Jalen Carter’s major red flags or select Brian Branch, which seems a little rich for Howie Roseman taking a safety.
Historically, Philadelphia has prioritized the trenches. RG Isaac Seumalo is a free agent, and this is probably going to be C Jason Kelce’s last season. Moreover, the Eagles cannot realistically expect their starters to make 95/100 possible starts (third).
This is all worth mentioning because No. 10 is looking like a nice spot to select one of the top-rated offensive linemen. The early consensus of contenders for this appears to be among Paris Johnson Jr., Peter Skoronski, and Broderick Jones. Both Skoronski and Johnson Jr. could start at guard immediately and have the versatility to shift to right tackle if needed. (We have seen how different the Eagles’ offense looks when Lane Johnson is out.)
Team Needs: CB, LB, DT, S, iOL
11. Tennessee Titans: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Interestingly, the Titans could be a sleeper team to make an aggressive trade up for a quarterback. It may not be a coincidence that the team has reportedly been listening to offers about RB Derrick Henry. This appears to be Ryan Tannehill’s final season in Tennessee, and it was evident how far away the team believes Malik Willis is from starting (see Dobbs, Josh).
Assuming the team stays put, addressing either the offensive or defense line or cornerback appears likely. The Titans’ starting offensive linemen made only 57 of 85 possible starts (27th) and lost LT Taylor Lewan, RG Nate Davis, and C Ben Jones in free agency. Is the team really expecting Andre Dillard, Dillon Radunz and Daniel Brunskill to replace them?
Additionally, Tennessee’s pass defense has been a liability (unlike its dominant run defense), in part due to cornerback play; Caleb Farley is not reliable, Terrance Mitchell is a free agent, and Kristian Fulton is entering the final year of his contract. It doesn’t help that a few reserve safeties are free agents too. There were pass-rush issues last season, but the Titans may believe that signing Arden Key and Harold Landry’s return may help.
Finally, it’s too early to address Tennessee’s other big needs at WR and LB.
Team Needs: WR, O-Line, CB, LB
12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland): Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia
Working under the assumption that a quarterback is selected with Houston’s first pick, Houston pretty much has a blank canvas to work with and can take a BPA approach.
The Texans addressed their offensive line by reaching for OG Kenyon Green near this spot last April, but because this looks like a nice spot for O-Line, it is worth mentioning that both LT Laremy Tunsil and RT Tytus Howard are entering the final years of their contracts. RG Shaq Mason and C Scott Quessenberry are as well.
Consequently, it’s possible Houston doubles down on O-Line in back-to-back years in order to protect its new QB investment.
Another position that could help the Texans is wide receiver, but the team may not be thrilled with this year’s class, hence the signing of Robert Woods. Still, it is a need, as Woods looked a little older, while Brandin Cooks is an annual trade candidate. TEs Jordan Akins and O.J. Howard are also FAs.
On defense, all positions are open for business — but we can likely eliminate LB, S and DT at this spot for various reasons. That leaves us with pass rushers or cornerbacks.
The Texans drafted Derek Stingley Jr. with the third pick in last year’s draft. Nevertheless, CBs Steven Nelson, Desmond King and Tavierre Thomas are free agents in 2024. At defensive end, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Rasheem Green and Mario Addison are no longer with the team. In addition, Jonathan Greenard, Jerry Hughes and Chase Winovich are free agents next offseason.
The complete lack of certainty in the future for Houston’s pass rush should draw the team toward fixing this. Houston is a team that can be patient while Van Ness develops.
Team Needs: WR, DE, OT, C, LB
13. New York Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
At this point, it’s unclear whether the Jets or the Packers will be picking here (re: Aaron Rodgers trade). If the 13th pick is indeed New York’s, smart money would be on the team taking an offensive lineman, especially if Rodgers is on the team.
The Jets’ starting unit made only 60-of-85 possible starts (26th) last season, which doesn’t include Mekhi Becton as a starter. Becton cannot be relied on – he was one of several tackles that finished last season on injured reserve. Additionally, starting C Connor McGovern and RT George Fant are free agents this offseason, while LT Duane Brown is a free agent next offseason.
This pick may be a nice spot to take one of the top three linemen. The Jets have a few other needs — particularly DT alongside Quinnen Williams — but all of the stated reasons make O-Line a strong bet if the Jets retain the pick.
Team Needs: O-Line, DT
14. New England Patriots: Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Wide receiver has to be considered New England’s weakest position. Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor are out of the picture, and Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker are set to be free agents in 2024. The team also just traded TE Jonnu Smith to Atlanta while Hunter Henry’s contract expires next offseason.
Accordingly, the Patriots’ pick here should be the ceiling for great tight end prospects like Dalton Kincaid or Michael Mayer. This could also be the ceiling for the draft’s top wide receiver, despite the recent free agency addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster.
However, the Patriots have historically not prioritized the WR position high in the draft, and Bill Belichick does not have a successful history when he does. Thus, offensive tackle may be an option. RT Isaiah Wynn is a free agent. LT Trent Brown is a free agent in 2024, as is LG Mike Onwenu. It’s unclear whether Calvin Anderson, Riley Reiff or Conor McDermott are viewed as long-term starters, though one may start at RT next season.
The Patriots did not have trouble pressuring opposing quarterbacks, but the secondary was not as strong. None of the team’s corners are studs, and the team must replace the enormous shoes of recently retired S Devin McCourty. S Kyle Duggar is a free agent in 2024. All of this makes a cornerback like Joey Porter Jr. or a safety like Brian Branch viable selections.
The Belichick-Saban connection is clearly worth mentioning here. Belichick may admire Branch’s versatility and experience playing both safety spots, as well as nickel corner.
Team Needs: WR, CB, OT, TE
15. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa
This is an extremely strong tight end class, which is ideal for a team losing its two starters, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. Even Green Bay’s third TE, Josiah Deguara is a free agent next offseason. The cupboard is bare, making Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer possibilities. The preference depends on how much the Packers prioritize athleticism and receiving ability or traditional in-line blocking.
Perhaps enhancing the need for receiving prowess is the lack of wide receivers behind Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs now that Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are gone. Losing Jarran Reed, Dean Lowry and Adrian Amos on defense is tough, but the Packers likely planned for this ahead of drafting DT Devonte Wyatt with the second of their two first round picks last April. Both of those first rounders last year were spent on defense, which makes me lean offense with this pick, regardless of whether Rodgers or Love is the quarterback. However, the Packers may have to stick true to the board.
I would be remiss not to mention the need at safety following Amos’s departure and due to the fact that Darnell Savage, whose play has declined, is entering the final year of his contract. Therefore, Brian Branch should be considered an option.
Another defensive option is taking an athletic pass rusher, such as Nolan Smith or Lukas Van Ness, seeing as Rashan Gary is coming off a torn ACL and is entering a contract year, while Preston Smith had a down year in 2022.
Team Needs: TE, S, WR
16. Washington Commanders: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Washington’s defense held its own last season despite missing Chase Young for most of the season. Cornerback was probably the most imperfect spot on its defense, and it would not be surprising to see the Commanders tackle that by selecting Joey Porter Jr.
That being said, I must admit I believe the team will lean toward offense with this pick if the board allows, particularly because that’s where the problems were last season and also because of the hiring of OC Eric Bieniemy.
Bieniemy already brought in one of his former players, RT Andrew Wylie, to upgrade the O-Line. While this offensive line lacks stars, it does have depth.
For these reasons, I propose Washington as a dark horse for offensive weapons like RB Bijan Robinson — Ron Rivera is old school with RBs and has soured on Antonio Gibson, whose contract expires next offseason — and Dalton Kincaid, who Bieniemy could see as his up-and-coming Travis Kelce.
The current board does not allow for these scenarios, so the Commanders must elect to shore up the back end of their defense.
Team Needs: QB, CB, TE
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee
The Steelers recently added veteran CB Patrick Peterson to replace Cam Sutton. Long-term solutions are still needed at corner, making Joey Porter Jr. an attractive option if available, obviously considering the Steelers’ connection to Porter’s father.
Upgrading the pass rush also seems necessary, as the Steelers’ defensive strategy last season seemed to revolve around T.J. Watt. That suffered when Watt was forced to miss games last season. Some Watt injury insurance could be worth purchasing, making Will McDonald or Myles Murphy options.
The Steelers need a wide receiver behind George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, but they’ve historically preferred to wait on that position.
The team has been very active early in free agency, overhauling the interior offensive line. However, either offensive tackle spot could be upgraded, too. The offense was abysmal last season, and the team will want to do whatever it takes to put Kenny Pickett in a position to succeed.
For these reasons, defensive end and offensive tackle are the best two bets for this pick.
Team Needs: WR, DE, OT, CB
18. Detroit Lions: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
See pick No. 6 for a breakdown of the Lions’ needs.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
The Buccaneers have done a good job of filling in some of the gaps along a defensive line that had numerous free agents this offseason. The secondary needs bodies because the contracts of CBs Sean Murphy-Bunting and Dee Delaney and safeties Mike Edwards, Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal have all expired.
Additionally, the Bucs were this close to drafting S Lewis Cine in Round 1 last year. They were on the phone with him and told him he was going to be the pick before they moved back to take DT Logan Hall in Round 2.
For the record, I’m not still bitter for having mocked Cine to the Bucs in Round 1 last April. (That’s a lie. I definitely am.)
Nevertheless, there’s a clear need at safety, and the Bucs were clearly considering going with a defensive back in the first last year but did not.
Tampa Bay had major issues along the O-line last season, which was predictable considering the turnover in the unit before the season even began. Injuries did not help; the team’s starting five linemen to begin the season made only 55 of 90 possible starts (30th). Now, the unit lost RG Shaq Mason, while LT Donovan Smith is a free agent.
All of this puts Tampa Bay in the market for a tackle like Darnell Wright or Anton Harrison.
Team Needs: QB, OL, CB, S, LB
20. Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
As stated in the analysis for the fifth pick, the Seahawks will likely consider defensive linemen, and I would not rule out the team doubling up, perhaps taking a defensive tackle here if they take an edge player at No. 5.
However, there is a need at wide receiver behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. With those two on the outside, Smith-Njigba is an excellent fit here in the slot and would create a prolific trio.
Team Needs: DE, iOL, WR
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
There are a number of directions the Chargers could go here.
First, the team has not prioritized run defense in years, so a defensive tackle could help in run support. There are also some secondary concerns: S Nasir Adderley retired, CB J.C. Jackson got benched for poor play and CB Michael Davis is a free agent in 2024.
On offense, this could be Bijan Robinson’s floor due to the team’s recent negotiations with Austin Ekeler supposedly falling through. The Chargers also had quite a few injuries to wide receivers last season, which was one aspect that held Justin Herbert back. TE Gerald Everett is entering the final year of his contract as well. Finally, the left guard spot is open after Matt Feiler departed in free agency.
Though it is worth noting that the Chargers’ run blocking was weak by many metrics, it is hard to imagine the team taking an offensive lineman in the first round for the third consecutive year.
Team Needs: DT, LG, CB, RB, WR
22. Baltimore Ravens: Deonte Banks, CB Maryland
The three positions that Baltimore should be targeting with this pick are cornerback, wide receiver and pass rusher. Offensive guard is also a need with Powers departing in free agency and Kevin Zeitler being a free agent in 2024. However, this position is more likely to be addressed later in the draft.
There’s nothing behind Marlon Humphrey at cornerback now that Marcus Peters is a free agent. There is nothing behind Rashod Bateman, who has battled injuries and has not shown much, at wide receiver now that Demarcus Robinson is a free agent. Furthermore, Devin Duvernay and James Poche are free agents in 2024. At edge, Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul are free agents, leaving nothing behind Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh.
Team Needs: CB, WR, Edge, OG
23. Minnesota Vikings: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
With Adam Thielen released, the lack of wide receiver depth behind Justin Jefferson is glaring. Making matters worse is the fact K.J. Osborn is a free agent after the 2023 season.
If the Vikings cannot find a receiver they love at No. 23, the team should look to take a defender. Cornerback depth is also particularly barren following the losses of Chandon Sullivan, Patrick Peterson and Cam Dantzler within the last year. The jury is still out on Andrew Booth, who only appeared in two games.
Team Needs: WR, DT, CB
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Although the Jaguars selected Travon Walker first overall in last year’s draft, there are reasons to prioritize the defensive line again. DEs Dawuane Smoot and Arden Key are free agents, while Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson are entering the final year of their contracts.
RT Jawaan Taylor departed, which may move Walker Little to a starting position, but left guard and center could use upgrades.
Reinforcements are also needed at cornerback behind starters Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell.
Team Needs: CB, OL, DE
25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Giants re-signed Darius Slayton and added Parris Campbell to the receiving corps. The team also added receiving TE Darren Waller. Getting back Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson will help the Giants in the slot.
Despite all of this, New York should still be in the market to add a receiver, especially one with some size.
Speaking of size, center and left guard can be improved.
Defensively, cornerback is certainly a concern. Fabian Moreau is a free agent, and Adoree Jackson, Nick McCloud, and Darnay Holmes are free agents in 2024. The team drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari recently, but Oshane Ximines is a free agent and Jihad Ward’s contract expires in 2024.
Team Needs: WR, DE, CB, iOL
26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The trade for Brandin Cooks erases Dallas’ immediate need for a wide receiver, but a solid tight end to replace Dalton Schultz could help the pass catchers.
Mike McCarthy has spoken praise for his defense recently, and he also mentioned that he wants to get back to running the ball more often. My bet is that this pick affects the running game, whether it’s a tight end who can block or a left guard.
Team Needs: WR, DT, CB, LG
27. Buffalo Bills: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Although the offense struggled after Josh Allen’s midseason injury, smart money should be on the Bills taking a defender with this pick based on the unit’s struggles as the season progressed.
Defensive tackles Ed Oliver, Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones are all free agents in 2024, leaving little at the position after this season. Reinforcements are needed at safety with Micah Hyde only playing in two games with a neck injury last year, and Hyde is entering the final season of his contract. Jordan Poyer was re-signed, but his play has fallen a little.
The Bills have lost several depth pieces at the position for various reasons, like linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who departed for Chicago.
Team Needs: DT, WR, LB, S
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Tight end will be popularly mocked here, not just because Hayden Hurst departed in free agency, but also because Mitchell Wilcox is also a free agent and Devin Asiasi is a free agent in 2024. Bodies are needed at the position, and this is an outstanding tight end class, with potentially three tight ends going between picks 15-31.
The secondary needs help, as well. It does not look like the team is bringing back CB Eli Apple. Also, Chodibe Awuzie is a free agent in 2024.
Meanwhile, at safety, the Bengals lost starters Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates in free agency. The Bengals foresaw this and drafted Dax Hill in the first round last year, but Hill has not proved worthy of starting just yet and there’s little depth behind him.
Team Needs: TE, S, CB, RB
29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco via Miami and Denver): Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt
Going into this offseason, the Saints had only two defensive linemen who played 100 or more snaps last season who were signed through 2024: DT Malcolm Roach and DE Payton Turner. That’s because DEs Tanoh Kpassagnon and Marcus Davenport, and DTs David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle and Kentavius Street are free agents this offseason, while DEs Cam Jordan and Carl Granderson are free agents next offseason.
The Saints added Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders recently, but this is clearly not enough. Although arguments can be made for selecting an offensive guard (LG Andrus Peat is consistently inadequate and RG Cesar Ruiz has one year left), the best bet is that the Saints take a defensive lineman in the first round.
Team Needs: DT, DE, OG
30. Philadelphia Eagles: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
See the 10th pick for analysis on the Eagles.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Chiefs believe that they have found their solution at left tackle to replace Orlando Brown, but a vacancy at right tackle still remains.
If the Chiefs have high expectations for Skyler Moore and Kadarius Toney, they did not show it last year. Mahomes can clearly excel without great wide receivers, but more capable bodies are needed, as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Justin Watson, and Mecole Hardman are free agents.
Defensive tackle is another bigtime need with Chris Jones’s contract expiring next offseason.
Team Needs: RT, WR, DT, S
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