As the NFL draft approaches, mock drafts are in full force all over the internet. I decided to join in on the fun and create my own mock draft. I used a combination of research, analysis, and intuition to make my picks. I also took into account potential trades that could happen on draft day.
The mock draft process is always a fascinating one. It’s a chance to play general manager and try to predict what each team will do. I started by analyzing team needs and our player rankings. Then, I looked at potential trade scenarios that could shake up the draft board. Finally, I made my picks based on what I thought each team would do, not necessarily what I would do if I were in their shoes. It’s anyone’s guess what will actually happen on draft day, but here’s my take on it could play out.
Check out other Staff Mock Drafts
Doug Burrell’s 2023 Mock Draft (With Trades)
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
No surprises here as the Panthers draft the betting favorite as their franchise quarterback. Carolina becomes an instant playoff contender if Young lives up to the hype.
Will Anderson Jr, EDGE, Alabama
The Texans pass on a QB and take a player the Arizona Cardinals were targeting, while also addressing a need on defense. With Anderson gone, the Cardinals are suddenly open to trade away the 3rd pick.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
>>Trade with Arizona Cardinals
Houston becomes the first team to pull off a blockbuster Draft Day trade and send their 12th, 33rd and 73rd picks to the Cardinals’ 3rd overall pick. The Texans draft their QB of the future and have a fantastic start to the draft.
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
In a mild surprise, the Colts take Levis over combine-stud Anthony Richardson. Levis has been moving up the draft boards lately and Indianapolis is thrilled to get him here.
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Despite some off-the-field concerns, Seattle takes college football’s best DT.
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Lions look to improve on one of the worst defenses of 2022 and select PFF’s top cornerback prospect, who is expected to make an immediate impact.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Controversial pick as the Raiders draft a quarterback after signing Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year deal in the offseason.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Falcons seem intent on establishing the run and predictably draft the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. Robinson becomes an instant RB1 for fantasy teams.
Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Chicago is committed to Justin Fields and will look to provest their investment by beefing up the offensive line.
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
The rich get richer. The Eagles might’ve preferred Skoronski here, but they can’t pass up perhaps the best defensive lineman in the draft with this pick.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Tennessee didn’t get their QB, so they’ll take the best WR in the draft. Now they have to decide who will be throwing the ball to him. The pick indicates their sticking with Tannehill for one more season.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
>>Trade with Houston Texans
After moving down to the 12th pick, the Cardinals add help to one of the worst secondaries in the league. Gonzalez has an ideal blend of length, athleticism and speed and has incredible upside in the NFL.
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
In a surprising pick, Kincaid is drafted before Michael Mayer. But the Packers need pass catchers and Kincaid is the best receiving TE in the draft.
Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
New England’s plan for their first pick apparently leaked and they’re taking an offensive lineman, but something tells me Belichick will swerve and opt for defense instead. Van Ness has the potential to develop into an All-Pro in his career.
Paris Johnson Jr, OT, Ohio State
The Jets address their biggest weakness, other than QB, by adding Johnson to the offensive line. No trade with the Packers yet, but keep an eye on the second round.
Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
Washington adds size and speed to their secondary by picking Porter. In 106 snaps, Porter only allowed 68 yards on press coverage last season.
Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Steelers draft a big-bodied lineman who dominated defenders at the college level. Wright will provide some much-need depth and athleticism to Pittsburgh’s offensive line.
Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
Detroit continues to bolster their defense by taking their second defensive player in the first round. The Lions’ defense showed improvement as the season progressed last year and the addition of two first round talents could vault them into the top half of the league in 2023.
Brian Branch, S, Alabama
The Bucs need a lot of help and start by taking the best player available. Tampa has eight more picks to fill their other needs.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
>>Trade with Seattle
New York trades up and gets Seattle’s 20th pick in exchange for the Giant’s 25th and 57th picks. Desperate for a top wide receiver, and with other WR-needy teams ahead of them, New York didn’t want to risk missing out on one of their guys at the position.
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Chargers get their insurance policy for oft-injured stars, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Flowers has top-end speed and should quickly become one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets.
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Baltimore seems convinced they’ll resign Lamar, so look for them to address their needs in the secondary. Banks is a superior athlete with untapped potential. I expect John Harbaugh’s staff to get the most out of him.
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Minnesota gets their heir-apparent to Adam Thielan after the mini-run on wide receivers steer the Vikings towards Addison. The passing offense shouldn’t lose a step with Addison serving as a nice complement to Justin Jefferson.
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
The Jaguars fill an area of need by drafting Smith, who many analysts thought would be off the board by now. Despite being under-sized for his position, Smith should be an every-down player in the NFL.
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
>>Trade with NY Giants
Seattle adds their second defensive player in the first round and gives a much needed boost to their defensive unit. The Seahawks lost too many games despite having a top 10 scoring offense in 2022 and hope to change that with their first two picks.
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Cowboys draft their replacement for Dalton Shultz and give Dak Prescott another weapon on offense. Dallas fans rejoice as they think they have the second coming of Jason Witten.
Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Buffalo selects the best player available without any urgent need to fill and strengthens their already stout defensive unit.
Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
Cincinnati reaches a little bit to get one of the most exciting TE prospects in the draft. Though his opportunities could be limited in a crowded offense, LaPorta will creep into TE1 territory this season.
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Forbes is a good fit for New Orleans, providing a good skill set, versatility, and leadership to the defense. He was known as one of the best ballhawks in college.
Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
The Eagles draft their second EDGE rusher as the rest of the NFC drowns in their own tears.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
Kansas City shore up the D-line with one of the best defensive lineman in the draft. He has the size, strength and ability to disrupt the quarterback and make an immediate impact for the Super Bowl champions.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.