Anderson Graduates to Bears in GTM Mock Draft
NFL Draft - Welcome to draft season! Unless you're a Miami Dolphins fan. Or a 49ers, Broncos, Rams, Texans, or Browns fan. If so, congratulations on your tampering/acquisitions, but your first night of the draft will likely be less interesting than the rest of the league's. For the rest of you, here's an early look at the rookies you might be cheering for this fall.
The draft, by its nature, is hard to predict—look back at my first mock draft from 2022 if you need evidence of how much things can change between the Super Bowl and draft day. Here is a quick reminder about the ground rules I'm using for this mock draft:
- I'm not projecting any trades, though I expect some movement at or near the top of the draft that should make this mock even more irrelevant than usual.
- I am only taking these factors into account when formulating my mock selections:
- the player's Expected Draft Position, as measured at Grinding the Mocks;
- the drafting team's most mocked players and positions;
- the drafting team's history of selecting players earlier or later than expected;
- the approximate breakdown of players by Expected Draft Round for Actual first-round draft selections at this point in the draft process
According to Grinding the Mocks historical data, this mock draft should include:
- ~23 players with a first-round Expected Draft Round;
- ~6 players with a second-round Expected Draft Round;
- ~2 players with a third-round Expected Draft Round.
Grinding the Mocks 2023 NFL Mock Draft No. 1
Picks marked with an asterisk were acquired via trade.
1. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson, ER, Alabama
If this pick doesn't get traded, which I eventually expect it to be, then drafting a player at a premium position like pass-rusher makes a ton of sense and Will Anderson fits the bill of a premier prospect. Many football illuminati were saying just last year that Anderson was robbed of the 2021 Heisman Trophy by a player on his own team (see next pick)!
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The "Davis Mills playing a backup as a starting quarterback" experiment has been fun (Mills ranked 25th and 31st in passing DYAR in 2021 and 2022), but the Texans need a passer with real upside if they're going to be future contenders. Young has a very good chance of being the 1.1, with only questions about his measurables giving some analysts pause.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The Cardinals are in a similar situation to the Bears: they seem set with their current option at quarterback. I could easily see this pick being Will Anderson or Jalen Carter if the status quo holds as both are blue-chip defenders.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Given his lackluster production at Kentucky in 2022, I expect Levis' QBASE projections to be pretty poor, à la Josh Allen, whom he will be compared to a lot this cycle. Be prepared for the ad nauseum debate about the merits of Levis and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, with a shade of the Justin Fields vs. Zach Wilson/Mac Jones debate from 2021.
5. Seattle Seahawks (*): Tyree Wilson, ER, Texas Tech
The Seahawks decide for the time being to ride with Geno Smith as their quarterback and begin the process of upgrading their underachieving defense with Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson, one of this cycle's biggest risers and Grinding the Mocks' ER2 in the 2023 class. If this pick happens, it will spawn plenty of (Russell) Wilson for (Tyree) Wilson jokes for years!
6. Detroit Lions (*): Joey Porter, CB, Penn State
While the Lions ended 2022 ranked ninth overall in DVOA, a strong offense masked a weak defense (ranked fifth and 29th, respectively). In a secondary that features underachieving 2020 top pick Jeffrey Okudah and little else in terms of upside prospects, the Lions select Penn State's Joey Porter (and if you remember his dad as a player … sorry, you are, once again, old!).
7. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
2022 seemed to play out similarly to 2021 for C.J. Stroud, and the next step in his game that analysts were looking for didn't fully manifest until the College Football Playoff against Georgia, a game that many will bring up (and likely overweight) in their evaluations of him. Stroud probably won't be the runner at the quarterback position that former Buckeyes star Justin Fields is, but he might be a better pocket passer, which makes him more than deserving of a top-10 selection.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, ER, Clemson
Draftniks seem confident that fixing the Falcons' 30th-ranked defense is a bigger issue than addressing quarterback, despite recent investments in offensive skill players and poor offensive results. Clemson's Myles Murphy has the high-end athleticism and traits that NFL teams are looking to take a chance on at edge rusher.
9. Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Panthers seemingly tried everything at the quarterback position in 2022: former top prospects (Baker Mayfield/Sam Darnold), XFL projects (P.J. Walker), and intriguing draft picks (Matt Corral). Drafting Florida's Anthony Richardson seems like a way to start fresh with a quarterback who has drawn Cam Newton comparisons due to his rushing ability and strong but inaccurate arm.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (*): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Eagles were able to pry a top-10 draft pick from the Saints by being patient and capitalizing on the discount rate that most teams apply to future draft picks. With James Bradberry likely leaving after a one-year deal, the Eagles can replace him with a top-10 talent who has great NFL bloodlines and pair Darius Slay with Devon Witherspoon, who has risen quickly up draft boards with his strong play for a stingy Illini defense in 2022.
11. Tennessee Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The Titans were somewhat competitive with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback in 2022 and an island of misfit toys at wide receiver, but without him they were mostly lost. Peter Skoronski follows in fellow Northwestern alum Rashawn Slater's footsteps by being rated as one of the top offensive linemen in his draft class and continues his legacy of high-end pass protection.
12. Houston Texans (*): Jordan Addison, WR, USC
It makes a ton of sense for the Texans to double down on adding foundational pieces to their offense by pairing Bryce Young with a top wide receiver such as Jordan Addison. Addison's versatility as an outside receiver and in the slot should raise a lot of comparisons to the Eagles' DeVonta Smith, who also has a slender frame, excellent athleticism, and great hands.
13. New York Jets: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
The Jets offense was both good enough to make Garrett Wilson the offensive rookie of the year and bad enough to make Zach Wilson's time as starting quarterback short. The Jets can raise the floor of an offensive line that spent consecutive first round picks on linemen (Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker) by bringing in a top-flight prospect such as Ohio State's Paris Johnson to add both quality and depth for the future.
14. New England Patriots: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Year-in and year-out, it seems to be a fool's errand to predict whom the Patriots are likely to select in the draft; we just know it's usually not who we think it will be. In a tight end class high on talent, Bill Belichick throws draftniks a curveball by selecting Utah's Dalton Kincaid, a tight end who can offer a lot more in the passing game than Hunter Henry or Jonnu Smith and has the ability to reinvigorate an uninspiring Patriots passing offense.
15. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, ER, Iowa
The Packers have historically tended to stray away from offensive skill positions in the first round of the draft, and I don't expect that to change. Upgrading a defense that played below expectations with some pass-rush punch is in order, and Iowa's Lukas Van Ness has both power and speed in his arsenal. He would team nicely with burgeoning star Rashan Gary and established veteran Preston Smith.
16. Washington Commanders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Carson Wentz experiment was an abject failure for the Commanders, but given that each of the top four prospects are off the board, they won't reach for a quarterback here. Instead, they'll address their secondary, which was middling in 2022 and also happens to be their most mocked position (all five of their most mocked players at this pick are cornerbacks) by drafting Oregon's Christian Gonzalez, who was another big riser in Grinding the Mocks data.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Given that the Steelers have not hidden their intentions well when drafting players in the first round recently (Devin Bush in 2019, Najee Harris in 2021, and Kenny Pickett in 2022), 2023 might not be far behind with the cornerback and offensive tackle as the Steelers' top positional needs in Grinding the Mocks data. Selecting Georgia's Broderick Jones makes a lot of sense here. Jones is a mauling lineman whom the Steelers would like given how successful Georgia has been in the trenches winning the College Football Playoff behind a strong line.
18. Detroit Lions: Keion White, ER, Georgia Tech
Despite investing significant resources in early picks on the defensive line (Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal, Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeill, and Julian Okwara), the Lions struggled both in pass and run defense in 2022. Drafting a player such as Georgia Tech's Keion White—another of this draft cycle's fast-rising prospects in Grinding the Mocks data—makes a lot of sense.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The rebuilding Buccaneers could jettison Leonard Fournette this offseason and might be in the market for a player such as Texas' Bijan Robinson. There probably won't be as big a gap between where a player will be on consensus big boards and their actual draft position in the 2023 draft, largely due to concerns about positional value at running back.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
Last year's Seahawks draft class was top-five in Grinding the Mocks' Draft Capital Over Expected metric and focused largely on upgrading the offensive line. In this draft, the focus shifts to improving on defense with additions of Tyree Wilson and now Arkansas' Drew Sanders, a highly athletic linebacker who can rush the passer and add an element of versatility that the Seahawks defense was missing in 2022.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The start of Justin Herbert's career has been a rollercoaster of emotions that have largely centered on the Chargers' poor luck and health, which have in turn largely centered on his offensive line's inability to protect him and his receivers being unable to get open. Depending on what path they decide to take in free agency, I could easily see them selecting an offensive lineman such as Tennessee's Darnell Wright, who was All-SEC as a senior and had an elite performance against Will Anderson, the top pick in this mock.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnson, WR, TCU
The Ravens were hoping for a second-year breakout from 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman in 2022, but that never materialized due to injury as Lamar Jackson threw to Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson much more than they had originally planned. Selecting an athletic playmaker in TCU's Quentin Johnson would add a vertical threat to the wide receiver room that they lost in 2022 when they traded Marquise Brown to Arizona.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
Garret Bradbury is slated to be a free agent and on the way out of Minnesota, and Wisconsin's Joe Tippmann would be a major upgrade at a position group whose performance as a unit is most often impacted by its weakest link. Tippmann is the top center in the class, and he would fit seamlessly into an offensive line room that includes cornerstones at tackle, promise at guard, and now a top talent at center.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Jaguars were one of the most improved teams in the NFL in 2022 due to competent coaching, heavy investments in wide receivers in free agency, and big improvement from Trevor Lawrence. The main area for investment that should reap immediate rewards is on defense, where Mississippi State's Emmanuel Forbes would be a great option to pair with Tyson Campbell at cornerback.
25. New York Giants: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Looking at Big Blue's wide receiver room and seeing the production they were able to get out of it despite trading 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney is remarkable, but an upgrade is necessary. Jalin Hyatt won the Biletnikoff Trophy in 2022 as Tennessee had its best season in years, and he torched Alabama for five touchdowns in an upset win with rare speed.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Darnell Washington is a unicorn of a player that could just as easily turn into a matchup nightmare as a receiver or as a blocker, where he was credited with being like an extra offensive tackle in Georgia's dominant running game in 2022. The Cowboys have never been shy to draft a player with unique abilities (see Micah Parsons) and unleash him.
27. Buffalo Bills: Brian Branch, S, Alabama
How can Brian Branch be your draftnik's favorite "under-the-radar" defensive prospect but last until 27 in this mock draft? That sneaky positional value: in previous drafts, top safeties such as Kyle Hamilton, Trevon Moehrig, and Xavier McKinney all were drafted later than their consensus big board rankings and mock drafts predicted.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: O'Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Despite investing heavily in offensive linemen in free agency, the Bengals ran into poor injury luck that badly impacted their chances at making it back to the Super Bowl in 2022. Adding O'Cyrus Torrence, a top performer at this year's Senior Bowl, at guard, where having subpar depth has hurt them previously, will be a top priority.
29. New Orleans Saints (*): Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
Even though Sean Payton moved on from the Saints last year, they were still able to trade him for a first-round pick, a savvy but desperate move for a team that ended up on the wrong end of their trade with the Eagles for Trevor Penning in 2021. The Saints could use help in a lot of areas, but the allure of adding a strong pass-rushing defensive tackle to their line leads them to Pittsburgh's Calijah Kancey, who, because of his small stature and alma mater, will receive some (unwarranted) Aaron Donald comparisons.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, ER, Georgia
With a roster poised to compete for years to come with high-quality starters and depth, the Eagles can afford to take a chance on a high-ceiling player such as Nolan Smith, whose draft stock would be higher if not for injuries that forced him to miss most of the 2022 season, including Georgia's playoff run. The Eagles historically love to stockpile draft picks at premium positions in the first round and would relish Smith falling to them here.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Derick Hall, ER, Auburn
The Chiefs could lose Frank Clark and potentially more from their defensive line in free agency, and they would benefit from adding more youth and depth to a position group that is more fragile than it looks. Auburn's Derick Hall is the type of player who would fit very nicely into the Chiefs' defensive scheme alongside 2022 first-round pick George Karlaftis, a defensive lineman who can convert speed to power and collapse the pocket.
|Mock Draft Results
(Expected Draft Position Data as of 2/6/2023)
(* = Trade)
|5||SEA*||Tyree Wilson||ER||Texas Tech||6|
|6||DET*||Joey Porter||CB||Penn State||14|
|7||LV||C.J. Stroud||QB||Ohio State||3|
|13||NYJ||Paris Johnson||OT||Ohio State||9|
|15||GB||Lukas Van Ness||ER||Iowa||31|
|18||DET||Keion White||ER||Georgia Tech||20|
|24||JAX||Emmanuel Forbes||CB||Mississippi State||44|
14 comments, Last at 16 Feb 2023, 11:55am
#1 by serutan // Feb 14, 2023 - 2:14pm
Or a 49ers, Broncos, Rams, Texans, or Browns fan.
Kind of odd you mention the Texans given they have 2 picks in the first round.
Of course the Big Question that probably won't get answered until we're at least partially into pro day season is "Which QB that currently isn't considered a top prospect will be considered one by draft day?"
#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 14, 2023 - 2:44pm
If Stroud is there at 6, the Lions should take him (or trade down after the threat of doing so).
Goff has been fine. Better than expected, even. But you're looking a few years down the line for your next franchise.
#8 by LionInAZ // Feb 15, 2023 - 8:42pm
Disagree. Goff could still be an asset 10 years from now with competent coaching. Competing now means improving the defense. What's so certain about Stroud that would make him the first OSU QB to be better than the Terrelle Pryors, Mike Tomczaks, or Justin Fields of the past?
#14 by LyleNM // Feb 16, 2023 - 11:55am
Yeah, Burrow is hardly like Russell Wilson who played most of his college career at NCState before a final year at Wisconsin. He usually credits both schools. Burrow's time at OSU wasn't even that much like Hurts' time at Alabama.
#4 by IlluminatusUIUC // Feb 14, 2023 - 4:43pm
The Bills have been throwing top pick after big contract after top pick at the defense. It's time to get serious about building the offensive line. It's unfortunate that the top Center comes off the board in this mock, but the Bills need to be planning for Morse's retirement and upgrading the G position in the interim.
#5 by Pat // Feb 15, 2023 - 10:00am
With a roster poised to compete for years to come with high-quality starters and depth
I mean, Philly's got a well-stocked roster on offense, more or less, but practically all the defense is gone. I agree that they probably need a DL at the second pick, but you'd really like a guy who's more likely to come in and produce right away since you're losing Graham, Cox, and possibly Hargrave too.
I'm really hoping that Philly extends Hargrave before free agency, which may also free up cap space since he's currently going to void. But the FO gave up all their leverage to him in that contract, which is how they got him for a relatively affordable cost. So it's totally up to him.
If they lose Hargrave (which we'll know before the draft) I think DT's a way, way higher concern.
#7 by mehllageman56 // Feb 15, 2023 - 7:57pm
I don't understand why Stroud wouldn't be the first QB off the board. His only real competition is short and small by league standards, and therefore an injury risk. It's not like Levis has had a season like Zach Wilson's last year at Utah; 73% completion percentage for 3600 yards, 33 TDs to 3 interceptions, compared to Levis' 65%, 2400 yards, 19 TDs to 10 interceptions. Say Levis played in the SEC, well Ohio State's schedule wasn't exactly chopped liver, and Stroud torched Georgia, less yards but better completion percentage and more TDs than Young did in his first game against them last year.