2023 NFL mock draft: C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young in high two — who’s subsequent?

The NFL season has reached its halfway level, and we’ve two months’ price of knowledge from the 2022 faculty soccer season. The NFL Draft continues to be six months away, however workforce wants are coming into focus, so we are able to start to whittle down among the candidates who might be taken within the first spherical.

1. Detroit Lions: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud checks all of the bins, however there’s one which’s out of his management: Ohio State QBs who dominate within the Massive Ten have not carried out the identical within the NFL. Lots of people did say the identical about Massive 12 QBs earlier than Patrick Mahomes hit the NFL like a comet.

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud & Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker are the highest Heisman candidates

Ohio State's C.J. Stroud & Tennessee's Hendon Hooker are the top Heisman candidates

FOX Sports activities’ RJ Young shares his high 5 Heisman candidates after Week 7 of the faculty soccer season. C.J. Stroud of the Ohio State Buckeyes continues to be on the high, however Tennessee Volunteers QB Hendon Hooker shot up the ranks after main the Volunteers to an exhilarating win over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

There are numerous questions on his 5-foot-10, 180-pound body holding up within the NFL. He is really smaller than Tua Tagovailoa. Young’s penchant for unbelievable passes makes him an alluring prospect, nonetheless.

3. Carolina Panthers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

He opened eyes final yr with 24 TD passes and 9 TD rushes, however Levis is working a lot much less typically this yr — maybe on account of a foot damage. At 6-foot-3, 230 kilos, he is bought a sturdy body and an enormous arm and will contend for the highest general decide.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound cross rusher is extremely twitchy, and lining up reverse T.J. Watt, can be a nightmare for QBs. Anderson led the nation with 17.5 sacks final season. The Steelers desperately want offensive line assist, however you possibly can’t cross up TJ Watt and Will Anderson on the identical defensive position. 

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The stud cross catcher has barely performed this season after struggling a leg damage in opposition to Notre Dame within the opener. Nevertheless, he is nonetheless projected as the perfect receiver within the draft after a monster sophomore season (95 catches, 1606 yards, 9 TDs). I feel he immediately turns into Trevor Lawrence’s No. 1 possibility, even after the Calvin Ridley commerce.

6. Las Vegas Raiders: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Halfway via the 2022 season, Skoronski is pulling away as the perfect deal with within the draft. He is additionally the highest-graded deal with within the nation per Professional Soccer Focus, permitting only one sack this season.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

Foskey has the scale (6-foot-5, 265 kilos) and pace to be a dominant edge rusher within the NFL. Final yr’s 11 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss have invited additional consideration, however his stats are barely down (7 sacks, 9 TFL). The Bucs protection has been an enormous letdown this season, and so they may use the cross rush.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (by way of New Orleans): Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

He has been beginning since his freshman yr, and the previous top-five high-school recruit is usually a terror. The 6-foot-5, 275 kilos defensive finish might be the right match reverse one other former Clemson star, Christian Wilkins. The Eagles have two growing old edge rushers in, Brandon Graham and Robert Quinn.

9. Houston Texans (by way of Cleveland): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Whereas Johnson Jr. began at proper guard final yr, he is now starring at left deal with for the Buckeyes. This season, he is allowed simply two pressures and nil sacks. You’ll be able to’t go fallacious with two Ohio State stars within the high 10, and the remainder of the picks can skew in direction of protection.

10. Seattle Seahawks (by way of Denver): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

He is been slowed by an MCL damage, however his eye-opening sophomore yr (8.5 TFL, 3 sacks) on a protection loaded with 2022 NFL Draft picks has invited Chris Jones comparisons. Taking a quarterback right here might be in play, relying on how Geno Smith performs within the second half of the season. 

11. Arizona Cardinals: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

The No. 1 recruit within the 2020 recruiting class has been hampered this yr by a kidney an infection after a torn ACL final yr. However when Bresee is wholesome, he is among the finest linemen within the nation. The Cardinals must blitz as a result of they don’t have any cross rush since Chandler Jones signed elsewhere.

12. Chicago Bears: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

This former five-star recruit lastly turned a starter this yr, and he is allowed only one stress whereas defending Stetson Bennett. The Bears are determined for offensive line assist to guard Justin Fields. Jones is working his manner into being a first-round decide. He is within the second tier of tackles within the draft.

13. Inexperienced Bay Packers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Pittsburgh switch is a speedy expertise who dominates in house. Addison can be an enormous addition to the struggling Packers receiving group. 

14. Detroit Lions (by way of LA Rams): Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Verse is a switch from Albany, the place he was the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Yr. He is made a huge impact for the Seminoles with 8.5 TFL and 4 sacks, together with a monster effort in opposition to LSU (2 sacks, 2.5 TFL). The Colts could also be in for an enormous overhaul this offseason — entrance workplace, coaches and gamers. 

15. Indianapolis Colts: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Sure, Hooker turns 25 in January, however how are you going to deny the leap he is constituted of being a working QB at Virginia Tech to successful from the pocket at Tennessee? He is solely six months older than Kenny Pickett and a way more polished NFL product. He can have round 40 faculty begins by the tip of his profession and would be the most polarizing QB prospect within the NFL Draft, given his age (he turns 25 in January).

16. Cincinnati Bengals: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The son of the previous Steelers nice is an All-American expertise who, by season’s finish, may need a case to be the perfect cornerback within the nation. The Bengals will probably be on the lookout for an edge rusher or defensive again, each with a watch on defending Buffalo. Porter Jr. was solely focused twice by C.J. Stroud within the loss to the Buckeyes, allowing solely two catches for 23 yards.

17. New England Patriots: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

There’s some Gronk within the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mayer, who was an All-American in 2021 and is on his strategy to that honor once more. Given the dominance of Kelce, Kittle and Mark Andrews, can Mayer sneak into the High 10?

Tight finish Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Preventing Irish dives to attain a landing through the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.

18. Washington Commanders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Has morphed into maybe the perfect cowl cornerback in faculty soccer and is a big cause Illinois is likely one of the largest surprises within the nation, going from twenty ninth in scoring protection to first. The William Jackson signing was a bust, and the Commanders desperately want CB assist. 

19. Atlanta Falcons: Andre Carter, Edge, Military 

The 6-foot-7 edge rusher ranked second within the nation in sacks final yr and was the primary Military participant in 31 years to make first-team All-American. No Military participant has been taken within the first spherical since 1947. The manufacturing is there; how excessive he’ll go will rely on how he exams on the mix.

20: Miami Dolphins (by way of San Francisco): Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

He went from being a two-star recruit to among the finest defensive gamers within the Massive 12 final yr, registering 11 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. He is on observe to high these numbers this season, and the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder initiatives as one of many high edge rushers within the draft. 

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC

I would joke they need to draft a coach as a result of they maintain falling sufferer to accidents. Extra importantly, they can not cease the run, it doesn’t matter what band-aids they placed on the road. Tuipulotu (6-foot-4, 290 kilos) is likely one of the greatest play-making linemen on this draft class, taking part in inside and outside and even dropping into protection when essential.

22. Seattle Seahawks: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Smith left the Florida recreation with a shoulder damage, in order that bears watching, however his instincts, pace and energy will make him a coveted cross rusher. With high-profile video games arising, Smith can increase his personal profile and garner dialogue for the highest 15.

23: New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Fashanu has been dominant beginning at left deal with, permitting no sacks and only one stress in Massive Ten play. One other plus, he’s but to be penalized on the season. The Jets are determined for an LT, and the Mekhi Becton period has been fraught.

24 Miami (forfeited)

25. Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Ravens must maintain taking probabilities on receivers, and the 6-foot-4 Johnson can be an enormous add — assuming he falls this far. There are studies he is run a 4.4-second 40-yard sprint and has a 42-inch vertical. If he exams off the charts on the NFL Mix, we’ll hear top-15 chatter.

26. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

This 6-foot-2 nook is within the Sauce Gardner mildew, and the way he does in opposition to Tennessee’s star receivers this weekend may vault Ringo into being the perfect DB within the class. He has sprinter pace and may even clock a 4.3 40, which may vault him into the highest 15.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

His dad performed within the NFL, and his uncle is Dre Bly is the present UNC cornerbacks coach and former NFL nook. Downs has been one of the productive receivers within the nation over the past two seasons. At 5-foot-10, 175 kilos, he is a burner, and if he runs within the 4.3 ballpark, he is going within the high 20. Downs could be the downfield weapon the Cowboys want.

28. New York Giants: Riley Moss, CB, Iowa

A Massive Ten star all through his profession, he is 6-foot-1 and an athletic freak, with a 42-inch vertical and the quickest short-shuttle time of any participant since Kirk Ferentz has been at Iowa.

29. Tennessee Titans: Brian Department, CB, Alabama

The Tide secondary was torched in opposition to Tennessee — however they did not throw at Department. He allowed simply two receptions (on 5 targets) for 14 yards and one rating. He is given up solely 98 whole yards in eight video games, per Professional Soccer Focus. The Titans have drafted an SEC participant within the first spherical 4 of the final 5 years.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Clark Phillips, CB, Utah 

Phillips is a bit undersized, however he is a artful cornerback with top-end pace which was on show in his matchup in opposition to USC’s Jordan Addison. He solely gave up one catch in man-to-man protection down the sphere in that matchup. 

31. Buffalo Payments: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Watching him dance and speed up out of the backfield may remind you of Alvin Kamara. He may have a Breece Corridor-type influence for whoever drafts him. The Payments tried to commerce for Karama final week; now they get a less expensive, youthful model.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Steve Avila, G/C, TCU

Offensive line depth has been examined all through the league this yr, and anticipate extra inside offensive linemen to creep into the tip of the primary spherical and early second spherical. Avila was a guard in highschool and has performed proper guard and proper deal with at TCU earlier than shifting to middle final season. 

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