Mock Draft Part 3
Written by: Joe Kwan
Buccaneers Select Bijan Robinson
Entering an offseason of uncertainty, the Buccaneers have several needs to fill. One area they must improve in is their league-worst rushing attack. Bijan Robinson has the kind of talent to boost Tampa Bay’s offense rushing offense into a top-ten unit. He’s that good.
Seattle Seahawks Select Joey Porter Jr.
LB (Penn St.)
Defensive line and cornerback feel like the two areas the Seahawks are going to want to hit early in the 2023 NFL Draft. With them selecting Murphy at No. 5 earlier in this mock, I have them looking at cornerback here. Tariq Woolen was a steal of a pick last year, tying the league high in interceptions (six) in 2022. Woolen measures in at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, and putting the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Porter on the other side would create quite the nightmare matchup for opposing offenses.
Los Angles Chargers Select Darnell Washington
Los Angeles brings in a player who will boost the offense significantly in multiple ways, starting with his immense physical blocking skills on the edge in pass protection and the run game, an area in which the Chargers had a problem this season. But Washington is also a matchup nightmare in the passing game with good hands, route running, and yards-after-catch ability over the middle of the field. You don’t come around 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds with the elite traits that Washington possesses, and having him on the field would go a long way toward helping Los Angeles be a complete offense.
Baltimore Ravens Select Zay Flowers
WR (Boston College)
The Ravens’ offense isn’t doing Lamar Jackson any favors these days, both in terms of their limited scheme that lacks balance, and the absence of explosive weapons in the passing game. Flowers may be undersized, but he’s a polished pass-catcher with elite quickness and route-running ability that could instantly help Jackson take this passing game to another level.
Minnesota Vikings Select Jaxon Smith-Njigba
WR (Ohio State)
The end of the first round provides a tough spot for the Vikings. Many of the top cornerbacks will probably be off the board, and although they have a need at safety, I doubt Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will spend yet another first-round pick on a safety.
The pass rush class is very strong, but without a top guy at this projected pick, the next-best option is Jaxon Smith-Njigba. In terms of general draft boards, Smith-Njigba would be one of the best players available, and he fills a need for this team.
K.J. Osborn has had his moments over the past two years, but I think he is best suited as a third receiver that can eat when defenses focus on others. Adam Thielen clearly is not the same player and cutting his salary is the only logical move from a business standpoint.
Enter Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a dynamic creator after the catch that was a top-10 player before this season started. A hamstring injury lingered throughout the season and kept him off the field for an Ohio State offense that sputtered at times – although their version of sputtering is quite different than most college offenses.
Jacksonville Jaguars Select Devin Witherspoon
A physical corner that has no issue playing man or zone, outside to the boundary, or inside at nickel, Witherspoon is a one-size-fits-all piece that can play anywhere within the Jacksonville defense. His willingness to attack at the line of scrimmage pops off the screen and his ability to mirror routes at all three levels should allow him to become a high-level perimeter defender from day one. Jacksonville enjoyed success with Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell playing opposite, but moving Williams into the slot would showcase a nice trio of corners for Pederson to deploy
New York Giants Select Rashee Rice
The Giants have several high profile free agents that could ultimately shape the direction they take in the 2023 NFL Draft. Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones are the headliners, but there are multiple starters not guaranteed to play in New York next season.
Right now, however, wide receiver projects to be the biggest need, with no pass catcher over 750 yards this year and Barkley the most targeted pass catcher on the team this year. This Giants mock draft gives Big Blue a big threat in the passing game.
At 6’2″, 203 pounds, SMU WR Rashee Rice has the size to play outside at the NFL level, with several eye-popping grabs on the boundary during his SMU career. Rice also has the speed and elusiveness to add yardage after the catch and creates easy separation with twitchy, deceitful movement.
Dallas Cowboys Select Kayshon Boutte
Boutte is an interesting prospect. He dominated in 2020, was limited to six games in 2021 due to injuries and then endured a slow start this past season. He ended up finishing relatively strong but decided to return to LSU for another season … that is until he changed his mind and declared for the draft weeks later. Regardless of his roller coaster of a college career, Boutte flashed his potential as an after-the-catch playmaker with a penchant for finding the end zone (14 touchdowns in first 16 career games). Without a clear No. 2 wide receiver, Dallas could certainly use someone like him.
Buffalo Bills Select Antonio Johnson
S (Texas A&M)
With Jordon Poyer turning 32 years old this elite Buffalo teams can use some youth at the safety position enter Antonio Johnson, Johnson flies around the field like he’s shot out of a cannon, looks to run through the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage, and is a wrap-up tackler in space. He can line up in deep centerfield or near the line of scrimmage, and that versatility makes him one of the best defensive backs in this class.
Cincinnati Bengals Select Jordan Battle
The Bengals likely won’t be re-signing Jessie Bates and fellow safety Vonn Bell also is a free agent. They should think about Johnson or Battle most as an immediate defensive need. Battle has the speed and quickness to excel in inside coverage and he can keep improving in run support.
Denver Broncos Select Drew Sanders
Sometimes when a prospect is talented enough, at a position of great enough need, you just add him and figure it out later. Obviously, that sentiment is a bit dramatic. Ideally, teams always have plans for NFL Draft prospects they’re considering. But with some prospects, like Drew Sanders, those plans can be very wide-ranging.
Sanders is a freak athlete at 6’5″, 230 pounds, who amassed 103 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, a pick, five pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 2022. He has the range and instincts to play in space but can also rush the edge with his burst and bend. He’s a chess piece who can change Denver’s dynamic.
Kansas City Chiefs Select Cody Mauch
Chiefs offensive tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie have had a rough go of it in 2022, consistently placing in the bottom 10 for pressures allowed at their position. Mauch is an intriguing replacement for one of them. He’s a former walk-on tight end who put on 80 pounds during his early years at North Dakota State to now be one of the most athletic tackles in the class. He’s an eraser in the run game, but for as well as he moves, his pass protection does need work.
Philadelphia Eagles Select Isaiah Foskey
DE (Notre Dame)
With some uncertainty surrounding the outside DL after this season, it makes sense a team that loves to build through the trenches would snatch up some more pass-rushing talent.
In 2021, Isaiah Foskey put up a great year for the Fighting Irish, totaling 10.0 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 52 tackles. Like Ringo, Foskey also brings size with him at an enormous 6’5″ and 260 lbs.
As FanNation’s Ryan Roberts explains, that size trait is what “allows him to make a variety of plays in pursuit, where he has a notable amount of range due to both his tackle radius and explosiveness.” Roberts also highlights Foskey’s strong hands.
Of course, there are still areas Foskey needs to improve on, particularly with being more disruptive and more aggressive with blocks. But given the possible immediate need, Foskey’s more than worth taking on the risk if he’s still here.