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Mock Draft

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Lance Zierlein 2023 NFL mock draft 1.0: Buccaneers select Tom Brady's successor

In my first 2023 NFL mock draft, I am using team needs and relying a bit more heavily on my prospect grades and evaluations, to determine who lands where in Round 1. As we get closer to April, though, my mock drafts will have less to do with how I see these players, and more to do with what I think teams want to do with each pick.


  1. The NFL announced in August that the Miami Dolphins will forfeit their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game.
  2. The order for Picks 30-31 is now locked in following the conclusion of Super Bowl LVII.
  3. Listed heights and weights are via school measurements.
Jalen Carter
Georgia · DT · Junior

I'm not making a trade projection in Mock 1.0, so we will give the Bears a dominant interior defender with the ability to help the run defense and pass rush.

Bryce Young
Alabama · QB · Junior

The entire city of Houston rejoices as the franchise pairs the fan-favorite quarterback with the fan-favorite head coaching hire, DeMeco Ryans.

Will Anderson Jr.
Alabama · Edge · Junior

The talented Alabama pass rusher joins a defensive unit in desperate need of more pressure off the edge.

C.J. Stroud
Ohio State · QB · Sophomore (RS)

It's hard to imagine the Colts wanting to turn to another veteran quarterback with limited upside. Instead, they go young and build for the future.

Seattle Seahawks
(via DEN)
Tyree Wilson
Texas Tech · Edge · Senior (RS)

Seattle is hoping to build a fearsome front, and it starts with the pass rush. Wilson is a long-limbed, athletic edge rusher, which is exactly what GM John Schneider covets.

Detroit Lions
(via LAR)
Christian Gonzalez
Oregon · CB · Junior

The Detroit Lions showed they mean business last year, but there is only so much business you can mean if you don't have a better secondary.

Will Levis
Kentucky · QB · Senior (RS)

One of the most polarizing quarterbacks in this draft lands in Las Vegas, where he will have a plethora of talented pass-catchers to target.

Drew Sanders
Arkansas · LB · Junior

Have I got good news for Falcons fans. You need linebacker help and a pass rusher, and it just so happens that this monster can do both!

Keion White
Georgia Tech · Edge · Senior (RS)

I had Bijan Robinson here -- and he's the better player right now -- but taking an edge rusher with upside here makes sense as the Panthers' new staff should have time to develop White's potential.

Devon Witherspoon
Illinois · CB · Senior

Witherspoon is a highly confident, ball-hawking cornerback with the type of energy that will fit right in with the Eagles and their fan base.

Peter Skoronski
Northwestern · OT · Junior

Skoronski is the most polished lineman in the draft. Selected as the Big Ten's best offensive lineman in 2022, he can help right away, but he might need to bump inside to guard to compensate for his short arms.

Houston Texans
(via CLE)
Jalin Hyatt
Tennessee · WR · Junior

Hyatt has almost unnatural speed, with the acceleration to leave man coverage in the dust. He not only is a deep threat, but he also helps move safeties out of the box.

Brian Branch
Alabama · CB · Junior

Smart, versatile and highly consistent, Branch can step in at nickel back or free safety to make the defense that much stouter.

Broderick Jones
Georgia · OT · Sophomore (RS)

It's time for the Patriots to jump back into the tackle market. They turn to the athletic Jones, who is still getting bigger and better.

Luke Musgrave
Oregon State · TE · Senior

I know, I know -- they don't draft wideouts in the first round. But how about a tight end? Musgrave is experienced blocking in a zone scheme and has dynamic pass-catching talent.

O'Cyrus Torrence
Florida · OG · Senior

Washington needs help at guard, and Torrence is coming off of a strong week at the Reese's Senior Bowl. He's big and powerful, and has the ability to start early in his pro career.

Joey Porter Jr.
Penn State · CB · Junior (RS)

I mean, come on. I get to put the long-limbed press corner and son of former Steelers All-Pro Joey Porter in this spot for Pittsburgh? How could I not?

Michael Mayer
Notre Dame · TE · Junior

The Lions could double up at cornerback in Round 1, but passing on a rock-solid tight end who can block and catch might be tough after dealing T.J. Hockenson before last year's trade deadline.

Anthony Richardson
Florida · QB · Sophomore (RS)

The Bucs are headed into rebuild mode whether they like it or not. They shoot for the moon with the big, dual-threat QB from Florida who has boom-or-bust potential.

John Michael Schmitz
Minnesota · C

Schmitz is a polished center with the strength and athleticism to play in any run scheme. He'll make the Seahawks' run game better and add to what's shaping up to be a talented, young O-line.

Paris Johnson Jr.
Ohio State · OT · Junior

Johnson is still a work in progress, but he has a chance to step in immediately and learn on the go for a team that is ready to win now.

Quentin Johnston
TCU · WR · Junior

If I were in the Ravens' draft room, I would be pushing to take Bijan Robinson in this spot. But Baltimore will likely be on a quest to find a legitimate pass-catching weapon, and Johnston has those traits.

Kelee Ringo
Georgia · CB · Sophomore (RS)

Ringo comes with great size (6-2, 210) and a championship pedigree. He's strong and physical, and should be an upgrade at the position for the Vikings.

Dalton Kincaid
Utah · TE · Senior

Quite frankly, I'm not sure Kincaid makes it to this spot. But if he does, Trevor Lawrence will get a playmaker from the slot with ridiculously sticky hands.

Trenton Simpson
Clemson · LB · Junior

Simpson has extremely rare speed as a linebacker. The Giants know they need to put players on the field who can run and chase the Eagles for years to come.

Deonte Banks
Maryland · CB · Junior (RS)

Banks has issues playing with his back to the ball, but he has great size (6-2, 205). Also, he possesses the fluidity and strength to play in any coverage the Cowboys ask of him.

Bijan Robinson
Texas · RB · Junior

Robinson is my fourth-rated prospect in the entire draft, so obviously I see this pick as a major steal for Buffalo. Robinson should take a considerable amount of pressure off of Josh Allen's shoulders.

Calijah Kancey
Pittsburgh · DT · Junior (RS)

Let's step outside of the box here. Kancey is right at 280 pounds but is ridiculously explosive with A+ rush talent. He can't play every down, but he can impact games from the interior.

New Orleans Saints
(via SF through MIA, DEN)
Myles Murphy
Clemson · Edge · Junior

I couldn't find a home for Murphy I liked higher up in this mock, so he tumbles down the board here. That's not a knock on the Clemson product, though, who has NFL size (6-5, 275) and can play stout at the point of attack. He's more solid than spectacular, but the Saints need help up front.

Jordan Addison
USC · WR · Junior

Like DeVonta Smith, Addison is thin-framed with outstanding ball skills. Adding Addison to the Eagles' receiver room will force defenses into even more pick-your-poison scenarios.

Derick Hall
Auburn · Edge · Senior

Hall has startling power as a bull rusher. Quarterbacks will feel like the pocket is caving in on them, with George Karlaftis and Hall mashing forward on passing downs.

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