Lance Zierlein 2023 NFL mock draft 3.0: Ravens select C.J. Stroud after trade; Patriots pick QB

With the 2023 NFL Draft drawing closer, here is how I see things playing out when the festivities begin on April 27 in Kansas City, Missouri. As always, I am projecting where I believe players will go, not necessarily where I think they should go.

NOTE: 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.

Bryce Young
Alabama · QB · Junior

There has been a lot of smoke around C.J. Stroud in this spot, but Young checks more boxes and makes more sense as a game-ready option for Frank Reich.

Tyree Wilson
Texas Tech · Edge · Senior (RS)

If the Texans miss out on Young, they might not be a lock to take Stroud. With needs along the defensive front and two 2023 first-round picks, the choice could be between Wilson and Will Anderson Jr.

Will Anderson Jr.
Alabama · Edge · Junior

If the Texans pass on a quarterback at No. 2 overall, this slot could become a hot spot for teams looking to trade up for Stroud. For now, we will stick with the top pass rusher on the board.

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


If a trade is going to get done for Lamar Jackson, you would think Baltimore would like it to happen before the draft -- especially if the deal is with the Colts, who hold the fourth overall pick. It would be hard to pass on Stroud in this spot.

Seattle Seahawks
(via DEN)
Jalen Carter
Georgia · DT · Junior

Carter might be the most talented player in this draft and the Seahawks need interior help. If the team is comfortable with Carter after examining his off-field issues, GM John Schneider could turn the card in for him.

Detroit Lions
(via LAR)
Devon Witherspoon
Illinois · CB · Senior

The Lions have added cornerbacks via free agency to help bolster their ailing unit, but they still need a top dog. Witherspoon's ballhawking could make him a coveted selection here.

Will Levis
Kentucky · QB · Senior (RS)


With 12 picks in this year's draft and additional capital in 2024, Houston spends some to move up for the strong-armed but erratic QB from Kentucky.

Christian Gonzalez
Oregon · CB · Junior

Gonzalez is one of the most physically and athletically gifted prospects in the draft. The Falcons should be excited to add him to a secondary in need.

Chicago Bears
(via CAR)
Lukas Van Ness
Iowa · Edge · Sophomore (RS)

A big-time athletic tester with upside, Van Ness has the potential to play multiple spots along the defensive front. His best football is still ahead of him.

Peter Skoronski
Northwestern · OL · Junior

Skoronski immediately steps into the right guard spot and offers swing tackle value if the Eagles need him to play outside at some point.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Ohio State · WR · Junior

I wanted to give the Titans an offensive tackle in this spot, but their need for help at wide receiver appears to be even more pressing right now.

Las Vegas Raiders
(via CLE)
Darnell Wright
Tennessee · OT · Junior


Cornerback should be an option here, too, but supply and demand points to tackle. Wright has good size and strength. He was impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine and can get the job done at right tackle.

Broderick Jones
Georgia · OT · Sophomore (RS)

If the Jets and Packers finally agree to an Aaron Rodgers trade, protecting the quarterback will be crucial. Jones can compete right away at right tackle and offer insurance at left tackle.

Anthony Richardson
Florida · QB · Sophomore (RS)

There’s reportedly tension between Bill Belichick and Mac Jones. In this scenario, the Patriots look to deal Jones for a draft pick and choose to develop the dynamic but raw Richardson.

Dalton Kincaid
Utah · TE · Senior

The Packers add a fantastic pass-catching option with the ability to handle a high volume of targets from a young quarterback looking for stability.

Paris Johnson Jr.
Ohio State · OT · Junior

The Commanders can use Johnson at either tackle position or guard early on, but he's ultimately going to be drafted to hold down the left tackle spot in the future.

Deonte Banks
Maryland · CB · Junior (RS)

Banks should come in and compete for a starting spot. A bonus is that he can learn under the guidance of a player who boasted similar athletic talent when he entered the NFL in 2011: Patrick Peterson.

Michael Mayer
Notre Dame · TE · Junior

After grabbing the top ballhawk in the draft sixth overall, the Lions switch to the other side of the ball for this pick, adding a solid "Y" tight end with the ability to make tough catches and bolster the running game.

Nolan Smith
Georgia · Edge · Senior

Veteran linebacker Lavonte David could be gone after this year, and the pass rush needs improvement. Why not add a dynamic athlete with elite football character who can play off the ball or rush off the edge?

Myles Murphy
Clemson · Edge · Junior

Uchenna Nwosu's contract is due to expire after the 2023 season. Murphy can slide right into one of the edge spots and immediately upgrade Seattle's run defense while potentially rushing inside on sub-packages.

Jalin Hyatt
Tennessee · WR · Junior

Hyatt's vertical talent should allow Chargers QB Justin Herbert to make more explosive plays over the top while loosening up the coverage underneath and creating lighter boxes for the running game.

Zay Flowers
Boston College · WR · Senior

It's not out of the question that the Ravens go with a guard or edge rusher here, but Flowers adds a much-needed pass-catching element to Baltimore's offense, no matter who is at quarterback.

Bijan Robinson
Texas · RB · Junior


Buffalo can smell the Super Bowl, and the best way to get there might be to jump up and lock in a three-down back who can take pressure off QB Josh Allen and help the Bills control games more efficiently.

Joey Porter Jr.
Penn State · CB

Need meets talent here. Porter has the ability -- and, as the son of former linebacker Joey Porter, the NFL bloodlines -- to come in and compete for a starting spot right away.

Brian Branch
Alabama · CB · Junior

The smart, tough and consistent Branch can play nickel or step right into the safety spot that opened up with the free agency departure of Julian Love.

Quentin Johnston
TCU · WR · Junior

Dallas picks up help for not only QB Dak Prescott, but also for receiver CeeDee Lamb -- Johnson's ability to win the deep ball could make life easier on everyone.

Drew Sanders
Arkansas · LB · Junior


Sanders spent one season at inside linebacker and absolutely filled up the stat sheet at Arkansas. He's big and a solid athlete; he can be a capable pass rusher for Minnesota to deploy when needed.

Luke Musgrave
Oregon State · TE · Senior

Musgrave is an above-average run-blocker as a college prospect and has a ton of upside as a pass-catcher. Bengals QB Joe Burrow has a history, dating back to his time at LSU, of using tight ends to exploit opposing defenses.

New Orleans Saints
(via SF through MIA, DEN)
Calijah Kancey
Pittsburgh · DT · Junior (RS)

Kancey plays with terrifying first-step quickness as a penetrator and a pass-rusher. He lacks the size for usage on early downs, but he could have game-altering potential if the Saints are able to slow opposing offenses on first down.

Keion White
Georgia Tech · Edge · Senior (RS)

White has the frame to take over inside for Fletcher Cox in the future as well as the athleticism to be a big power end who can develop into a run-stopper with rush abilities.

Cedric Tillman
Tennessee · WR · Senior (RS)

Tillman totaled 17 catches for 352 yards and two touchdowns in games against Georgia and Alabama in 2021 when he was fully healthy. With his high ankle sprain behind him, this is a steal.

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