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2023 NFL Draft

Saunders: Three-Round Mock 2023 NFL Draft



Steelers Bryce Young 2023 NFL Draft

It’s one week to the 2023 NFL Draft, and I’ve put together my best shot at a three-round mock draft.

Last year, I predicted four picks in the first round correctly and got another two players to the right teams, but in a different place due to trades. There will be a couple trades involved in this mock, including one with the Steelers, but probably not as many as real life. We’ll see if I can do better this year. I’ll also do a no-trades first round mock next week.

Love it? Hate it? Did I totally screw up your team’s needs? Let me know in the comments.

1) Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young, Alabama

Wouldn’t be my pick, but it sure seems like this is the way they’re heading. Either way, can’t really make a bad choice between Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Carolina has its QB. Hard work remains.

2) Houston Texans: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

I can’t imagine anyone doing anything else, but there is still somehow chatter. Some franchises could screw up a one-car funeral.

3) Arizona Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

I’m sure they’d trade down, but I don’t know who would feel the need to trade up at this point. The offense might struggle with the transition to a new coaching staff, but Arizona’s defense has always been its strength anyway.

4) Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

The Colts finally stop attempting to kick the can down the road and take a chance on a young quarterback. Richardson might have the best tools in the draft, but will need some time to put it all together.

5) Seattle Seahawks: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

The talks of a big slide were always crazy. Carter is just too good to fall very far. He did well enough in the interview process to make most teams comfortable with him and the tape shows the best player in the draft class.

6) Detroit Lions: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Dan Campbell’s defense keeps getting better. If they get good play from Jared Goff again, they should be a playoff team.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Lots of ways the Raiders could go here and they’re always tough to predict. They had to figure they’d have a good shot at a quarterback here before they signed Jimmy Garoppolo. Wilson is the best player on the board and Chandler Jones only had 4.5 sacks opposite Maxx Crosby. Wilson is a difference maker.

8) Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

It feels like Robinson is too good to be stuck in the usual running back slots down in the 20s, but this is probably the pick in this mock I feel the least good about. Tyler Allgeier is a good player and Cordarelle Patterson is fun. Can only run it so much, even with Desmond Ridder at quarterback. Will Levis is certainly an option, but I’d give Ridder a real chance first.

9) Chicago Bears: Trade down to No. 11 with Tennessee, along with No. 53 for No. 41.

Tennessee Titans: QB Will Levis, Kentucky

The Bears make a ton of sense as a trade down here. They don’t need a quarterback. Plenty of other teams do. There’s only one top guy left. Tennessee takes the bait for a pretty reasonable cost of swapping second-round picks.

10) Philadelphia Eagles: Trade down to No. 19 with Tampa Bay Buccaneers for No. 50.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

The Eagles big needs are safety, running back and defensive tackle. The only problem is that there aren’t any of those to be taken here. Missing the boat on quarterbacks, Tampa takes a swing at the best tackle in the draft and starts rebuilding its offense with the line.

11) Chicago Bears: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern 

The Bears ceded their choice of tackles by trading down, but they were still comfortably in line to get one. They guy from just down the road shouldn’t disappoint.

12) Houston Texans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State 

Houston’s depth chart at wide receiver is almost embarrassing. There’s no point in having a top rookie quarterback and not giving him anyone to throw to. Smith-Njigba is the best prospect in the receiver class.

13) New York Jets: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

If they’re getting Aaron Rodgers, and it sure seems like they are, they need to keep him upright. Jones has start-now ability plus some untapped potential in his pass protection.

14) New England Patriots: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee

The Patriots seem to really like Wright, and he could fit next to Michael Onwenu on the right side of the line to make a powerful run-blocking tandem.

15) Green Bay Packers: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

Rashan Gary can’t do it all by himself and Van Ness has the versatility to fit in a number of places in Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme.

16) Washington Commanders: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

With the offensive line picked over already, the Commanders go to their second option and land a long-term starting cornerback in Witherspoon.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

For the second year in a row, the Steelers search far and wide for their top draft pick, only to end up with the guy right down the street. Porter is pretty much BPA here and gives the Steelers something they don’t have in their trio of current corners: size and physicality.

Top others considered: DL Calijah Kancey, DL Bryan Bresee, WR Quentin Johnston

18) Detroit Lions: DL Calijah Kancey, Pitt

Calijah Kancey next to Aidan Hutchinson might be enough to get Aaron Rodgers to hurry along that trade and get out of the NFC North for good. Killer draft for Detroit’s defense.

19) Philadelphia Eagles (from Tampa Bay): DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson 

Howie Roseman does it again. The Eagles drop nine picks and still get their pick of top needs. Nobody navigates the draft better. Bresee makes the most sense, as a future replacement for Fletcher Cox.

20) Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson

Jalen Carter and Myles Murphy in the same draft class is almost unfair.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

The Chargers need to get more out of Justin Herbert. Johnston gives them another speedster to put across from Mike Williams and help clear space underneath for Keenan Allen.

22) Baltimore Ravens: WR Jordan Addison, USC

Jordan Addison grew up an hour outside of Baltimore and now he’s coming home to join Odell Beckham Jr. as the second half of the Ravens’ 1-2 punch in trying to lure quarterback Lamar Jackson back into the flock.

23) Minnesota Vikings: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland

The Vikings need to replace Patrick Peterson and they can do it with one of the most athletic cornerbacks ever tested at the NFL Combine. Banks doesn’t have to play full time right away, but he could move Andrew Booth into the slot on some passing downs.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

Brandon Scherff is not living up to his contract and Ben Bartch is a free agent after 2023. Enter the giant Gators guard from just up the road in Gainesville.

25) New York Giants: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

The Giants need more targets for Daniel Jones. With Parris Campbell already signed, a bigger receiver would be preferable, but there are none worth this draft slot. They’ll have to make due with the undersized but dangerous Flowers.

26) Dallas Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

The Cowboys’ big unrecovered loss in free agency was tight end Dalton Schultz. It just so happens this is a deep class and they still get the first pick of the litter at No. 26.

27) Buffalo Bills: OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

Another team that could use a running back but won’t find one here, the Bills have an unsettled situation at right tackle and can greatly add to the options with Harrison, who is a solid pass protector for a team that loves to throw the ball and run out of pass sets.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

Everything I said about the Cowboys, except swap Dalton Schultz for Hayden Hurst. Bengals take the second pick of the tight end group and land Kincaid.

29) New Orleans Saints: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

This feels too low for the speed demon edge rusher, but I’m not sure where else he’d have gone. Saints in love with this pick.

30) Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jaylin Hyatt, Tennessee

With respect to Olamide Zaccheaus, the Eagles could use another passing weapon. Hyatt is the best one left on the board.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

The edge rusher moves three hours south and gets to keep everything he owns red and yellow.


32) Pittsburgh Steelers: Trade down to No. 40 with New Orleans Saints for picks 115 & 146

New Orleans Saints: QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

With 20 hours or so to stare at the draft board, and no obvious Steelers targets falling, Omar Khan gets someone to fall in love with the idea of making sure they get the last viable quarterback on the board. New Orleans has a fourth and a fifth to add to the Steelers draft haul, and the board won’t look all that different for Pittsburgh in eight more picks.

The Saints get their quarterback of the future in Hendon Hooker, and do it without needing to use a first-round pick.

Top others considered: OT Dawand Jones, TE Darnell Washington, DB Brian Branch

33) Houston Texans: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State

34) Arizona Cardinals: DB Brian Branch, Alabama

35) Indianapolis Colts: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia

36) Los Angeles Chargers: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

37) Seattle Seahawks: OC John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota

38) Las Vegas Raiders: CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

39) Carolina Panthers: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

40) Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

Jones probably would have been near the top of the Steelers board at 32. Now he has to be at the top at 40. The lack of a pre-draft visit after it had been reported is concerning, but Jones’ upside is so high, this pick is worth it.

Top others considered: DL Mazi Smith, TE Luke Musgrave, LB Drew Sanders 

41) Chicago Bears: OL Cody Mauch, North Dakota Sztate

42) New York Jets: DL Mazi Smith, Michigan

43) New York Jets: TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

44) Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

45) Green Bay Packers: TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa

46) New England Patriots: CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami

47) Washington Commanders: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

48) Detroit Lions: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

49) Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Jack Campbell, Iowa

If Cole Holcomb can be the three-down inside linebacker the Steelers think he can be, then they can lock up their linebacker tandem for a long time in getting a sideline-to-sideline run defender in Campbell.

Top others considered: EDGE Keion White, DT Gervon Dexter, DT Keeanu Benton

50) Philadelphia Eagles: EDGE Keion White, Georgia Tech

51) Miami Dolphins: OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse

52) Seattle Seahawks: WR Josh Downs, North Carolina

53) Tennessee Titans: C Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin

54) Los Angeles Chargers: DT Gervon Dexter, Florida

55) Detroit Lions: TE Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State

56) Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE B.J. Ojulari, LSU

57) New York Giants: OG Steve Avila, TCU

58) Dallas Cowboys: LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State

59) Buffalo Bills: WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

60) Cincinnati Bengals: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

61) Chicago Bears: EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

62) Philadelphia Eagles: S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

63) Kansas City Chiefs: WR Rashee Rice, SMU

64) Chicago Bears: DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin


65) Houston Texans: CB Julius Brents, Kansas State

66) Arizona Cardinals: OC Luke Wypler, Ohio State

67) Denver Broncos: EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu, USC

68) Denver Broncos: OT Blake Freeland, BYU

69) Los Angeles Rams: EDGE Derick Hall, Auburn

70) Las Vegas Raiders: DT Siaki Ika, Baylor

71) New Orleans Saints: WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma

72) Tennessee Titans: WR Tank Dell, Houston

73) Houston Texans: CB Clark Phillips III, Utah

74) Cleveland Browns: RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

75) Atlanta Falcons: S Jordan Battle, Alabama

76) New England Patriots: WR Jayden Reed, Michigan State

77) Los Angeles Rams: OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

78) Green Bay Packers: S Sydney Brown, Illinois

79) Indianapolis Colts: WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati

80) Pittsburgh Steelers: DL Karl Brooks, Bowling Green

Brooks can play on the edge, but I see him as a future three/five-technique player for the Steelers. He’s a guy that could immediately upgrade their rotational depth while providing some long-term upside.

Others considered: TE Luke Schoonmaker, EDGE Andre Carter II, WR A.T. Perry

81) Detroit Lions: OG Chandler Zavala, NC State

82) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Cory Trice, Purdue

83) Seattle Seahawks: WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss

84) Miami Dolphins: TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan

85) Los Angeles Chargers: EDGE Andre Carter II, Army

86) Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State

87) Minnesota Vikings: LB Nick Herbig, Wisconsin

88) Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Henry To’oto’o, Alabama

89) New York Giants: CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse

90) Dallas Cowboys: RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M

91) Buffalo Bills: RB Tyjae Spears, Tulane

92) Cincinnati Bengals: S Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State

93) Carolina Panthers: WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

94) Philadelphia Eagles: LB Dorian Williams, Tulane

95) Kansas City Chiefs: OT Wanya Morris, Oklahoma

96) Arizona Cardinals: WR Michael Wilson, Stanford

97) Washington Commanders: TE Brenton Strange, Penn State

98) Cleveland Browns: S Jartavius Martin, Illinois

99) San Francisco 49ers: CB D.J. Turner, Michigan

100) Las Vegas Raiders: S J.L. Skinner, Boise State

101) San Francisco 49ers: OT Tyler Steen, Alabama

102) San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Byron Young, Tennessee