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2023 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Updated)

Athlon Sports 1/31/2023 Bryan Fischer
© Provided by Athlon Sports

Here's a look at how the first 31 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft may go when it takes place on April 27 in Kansas City.

The NFL season has come down to just two teams. Yet for the rest of the league beyond Super Bowl-bound Kansas City and Philadelphia, draft season is just beginning with the Senior Bowl kicking off in Mobile and the Scouting Combine just around the corner.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft Order

It's still early, but with all that in mind, here's a look at who could go where in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Note: The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering violations.

1. Chicago Bears — Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama

The Bears will be listening for just about any offer they get, but if they stay put atop the draft, Anderson will land in the Windy City after being the best defensive player in college football the past two years by a wide margin.

2. Houston Texans — C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The debate as to who QB1 will be might end up being something that gets decided just minutes before Commissioner Roger Goodell takes the stage. Stroud might be a slightly safer pick after a masterful performance in his final game and with better measurables than Young.

3. Arizona Cardinals — Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech

J.J. Watt has ridden off into the sunset and the team needs some new building blocks up front on defense. Enter Wilson, a 6-foot-6 terror off the edge who seems to live in the opposing backfield.

4. Indianapolis Colts — Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The selection of a head coach will play a big role in what direction the Colts go with their top draft pick, but in the event they opt for QB help by way of free agency or trade, Johnson could end up as a Day 1 starter plugging the gaping hole up front they've had for several years.

5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver) — Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Carter is the latest freakishly powerful interior disruptor out of Athens and has the ability to impact the offense on just about every snap. Given the way Pete Carroll plays defense, he could have a big role in the Pacific Northwest as a centerpiece up front.

6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) — Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Taking another corner in the top 10 might worry draft-obsessed Detroit fans still not thrilled at the development of Jeff Okudah. Gonzalez is a much different prospect, however, and could help solidify a defense that had plenty of issues giving up the big play.

7. Las Vegas Raiders — Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

It's been pretty clear that the Raiders have moved on from Derek Carr, which opens the door for them to spend the draft capital on Young and begin a new era in the desert with the playmaking QB who should team up well with Davante Adams.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Sure the Falcons need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, but the best way to help young QB Desmond Ridder and see if he can be the long-term guy under center is by surrounding him with weapons. Enter Johnston teaming up with Drake London and Kyle Pitts to form the most physical trio of pass catchers in the league.

9. Carolina Panthers — Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Owner David Tepper has made it clear that he wants a long-term solution for the QB position, and if that doesn't get accomplished through free agency, it will be done in the draft. Levis has all the physical tools to be a franchise guy and could be a great project for new head coach Frank Reich.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) — Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa

The NFC champs don't have a ton of needs given their position with such a young and deep team, but pending departures up front could allow them to look to reload with another pass rusher. Van Ness brings a bit of versatility and flashes a ton of potential with the way he explodes off the line.

11. Tennessee Titans — Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

Skoronski is going to be a heavily debated prospect given his arm length, but he's a plug-and-play guy right away at either guard or tackle the way he's so technically sound. The Titans have lost a little bit up front and could see some departures along the line, but this pick takes care of that in a big way.

12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland) — Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

There are no shortage of issues with the defense in Houston, which means they could go just about any direction with this pick. Murphy has a high motor and a huge amount of upside, which should make him a great selection for the incoming coaching staff looking for a building block in the trenches.

13. New York Jets — Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

No matter who is at quarterback for the Jets moving forward, they'll need a cleaner pocket in which to operate. Jones ticks off just about every box you could after being the left tackle for the back-to-back national champions.

14. New England Patriots — Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter's father was a pain in the rear for Bill Belichick for many years, so it only makes sense that he wants to ensure a second generation doesn't do it some more. The younger Porter pairs great instincts with a frame that should give the Pats a true No. 1 corner again.

15. Green Bay Packers — Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

We'll see what Aaron Rodgers is doing this time next year, but regardless of what happens at QB for the Pack, they need some more weapons. After getting by with aging veterans for too long, they can use this top-15 pick to get Mayer and instantly provide some juice on third down and in the red zone.

16. Washington Commanders — Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

As the lone NFC East team to not make the playoffs, the Commanders have a number of needs to figure out in the draft. Branch can play all over the back end and provides plenty of leadership for a team undergoing a bit of a transition.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers — Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Bresee ticks the boxes off in terms of size and the ability to fight through double teams to still wreak havoc on a play. That feels like a perfect fit for a team that loves gritty players on defense and needs to find some young blood to team up with T.J. Watt and Co.

18. Detroit Lions — Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

After trading away T.J. Hockenson, the Lions would love to find a replacement early on in the draft with the vast amount of capital they have at their disposal. Kincaid is a versatile weapon and will give a fun offense an additional dimension.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

The Illini defense made a ton of strides this past year, and Witherspoon's growth was a big part of it. He's got great instincts and a solid frame, and he really knows how to get in the head of opposing wideouts at the line or down the field when he's making a play.

20. Seattle Seahawks — O'Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida

The big man feels like a big fit for a team that loves to run the ball with Kenneth Walker III and doesn't mind spending early picks on guards that could really boost their overall offense.

21. Los Angeles Chargers — Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

The Chargers have made a living on landing talented, athletic defenders who slip in the draft for no apparent reason. Enter Simpson, who adds plenty of depth at the second level and could be a nice young star to combat a division full of mobile quarterbacks and tough-to-cover tight ends.

22. Baltimore Ravens — Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Lamar Jackson's future is up in the air and should get resolved soon enough. Either way, the QB is going to need a reliable target that can be a constant threat to defenses and the Biletnikoff Award winner who just played with a Heisman winner seems like a perfect addition.

23. Minnesota Vikings — Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Kirk Cousins will be 35 this season, which could very well end up his last in the Twin Cities. Richardson is extremely raw but he'd have the ability to sit behind the veteran for a year while providing a high-upside lane to keep the momentum going in 2024 and beyond with an interesting marriage of system and traits under Kevin O'Connell.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars — Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

The Jags had a ton of comebacks down the stretch last year but would be better served if they didn't get in the position to need to do that in the first place. Smith should help with that, providing an aggressiveness and playmaking ability that would serve an athletic defense well.

25. New York Giants — Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Some big question marks lie ahead for the G-Men with free agents like Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, but Smith-Njigba would at least give them a nice target to build around in the passing game with his sure hands and ability to find the open spaces.

26. Dallas Cowboys — Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

As good as the 'Boys were, they were severely depleted in the secondary when games mattered the most. Johnson provides some much-needed versatility while providing a nice bit of size for Dan Quinn's defense too.

27. Buffalo Bills — Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Drafting a running back in the first round elicits plenty of reactions, but the Bills are looking for one of those missing pieces, and Robinson is certainly worth it the way he does just about everything at an elite level.

28. Cincinnati Bengals — Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Hayden Hurst is set to be a free agent and Joe Burrow has not really had a reliable chain-mover that he can develop alongside. Enter Washington, who can be an extra tackle in the run game with his size while becoming an even bigger red-zone threat in the pros than he was in college.

29. Denver Broncos (via San Francisco/Miami) — Anton Harrison, OL, Oklahoma

Whoever the new head coach is in Denver will likely identify keeping Russell Wilson upright as a top priority in fixing the team's woeful offense. Harrison has been a mainstay for the Sooners at left tackle and is very light on his feet for somebody with his size.

30. Kansas City Chiefs — Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State

McDonald fits the criteria for athletes coming off the edge nowadays and, after an extremely productive stint in college, could have an even bigger impact getting after the quarterback in the NFL.

31. Philadelphia Eagles — Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

The Eagles were struggling to find depth in the interior and will be losing several defensive linemen to free agency or retirement this offseason. Teaming Ika up with Jordan Davis doesn't seem fair and might be the closest you can get to building a literal wall in the middle of a defense.

— Mock draft by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

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