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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting 31 first-round picks

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Allstate Sugar Bowl Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Christmas! Today is one of the most exciting days of the year for NFL fans looking forward to brand new possibilities as new, promising players join their favorite teams.

For the Eagles, the 2023 NFL draft feels incredibly important. The Birds are coming off a Super Bowl appearance and looking to make it back next year, hopefully earning a ring this time. With two first-round picks, plenty of options are possible. All things considered, here is how the first round could shake out.

1) Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

This feels written at this point. Unless Carolina has been smokescreening for some reason, Bryce Young will be their franchise quarterback. The former Heisman winner’s accuracy, toughness and leadership ability will bring Carolina into a new era.

2) Houston Texans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The passing on a QB here feels unlikely. The question becomes which quarterback do they land on. Will Levis has the size and arm strength to thrive as an NFL quarterback.

3) TRADE Tennessee Titans (Via Arizona Cardinals): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

The Titans may be nearing the end of the Ryan Tannehill era and this is a great draft to take a big swing on the next big thing. Anthony Richardson has a sky high ceiling and could develop behind Tannehill to eventually take over in Nashville.

4) Indianapolis Colts: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

While Richardson and Levis might go before CJ Stroud, the Ohio State signal caller is still the best quarterback in the draft for my money. Indianapolis gets a steady presence at QB from day one.

5) Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

Jalen Carter might need a really stable organization to help him transition to the NFL. The Georgia star has zero questions on the field and Seattle’s locker room would be a perfect fit for him.

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

The Lions miss out on the quarterback run and add a playmaker in their secondary. Christian Gonzalez is the best cornerback in this draft and a day one difference maker.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: Tyree Wilson, Edge, TTU

To me, Will Anderson is a better prospect, but it seems the NFL is really high on Tyree Wilson’s potential based on just how he is bigger and stronger than Anderson. Wilson is definitely a good player who will immediately contribute as a run defender and can generate pressure in the passing game off the edge.

8) Trade Philadelphia Eagles (via Atlanta): Will Anderson Junior, Edge, Alabama

If Will Anderson really does fall, the Eagles will be aggressive in snatching him up. Anderson is an unbelievable talent with great speed, power, and advanced pass rushing technique. Putting him in the rotation with Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat feels a bit unfair.

9) Chicago Bears: Paris Johnson Junior, OT, Ohio State

The Bears could go Bijan Robinson here or maybe draft another wide receiver, but protecting Justin Fields should be priority number one. Paris Johnson is the best tackle in the class and would instantly give FIelds a ton more security as a pass protector.

10) Trade Atlanta Falcons (via Philadelphia): Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

This feels a bit obvious at this point. Bijan Robinson is the best running back in the class and Arthur Smith loves running the damn ball. The Falcons already have some intriguing skill talent, but Bijan would help put the offense over the edge.

11) Trade Arizona Cardinals (via Tennessee): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The Cardinals are in a weird purgatory right now and their best bet is continuing to cater to their franchise quarterback. DeAndre Hopkins is probably done in Arizona and Kyler Murray will need a legit target when he returns from injury. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the best receiver in the draft.

12) Houston Texans (via Cleveland): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

DeMeco Ryans can build a defense in his image with Devon Witherspoon. The Illinois defender is a physical ballhawk that would pair perfectly with Derek Stingley.

13) Green Bay Packers (via New York Jets): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

It’s the Jordan Love show now and the Packers need to take seriously surrounding Love with talent. Quentin Johnston is a big bodied receiver who can create plays after the catch. With all the space that Christian Watson should create, Johnston should be able to thrive as a number two receiver.

14) New England Patriots: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Patriots have been anemic on offense over the last year. Jordan Addison would be a dynamic option for Mac Jones and company.

15) New York Jets (Via Green Bay): Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

The Jets are all in on Aaron Rodgers next year and getting him as many weapons as possible should be a priority. Michael Mayer is a pro-ready tight end prospect who should make an impact on day one as a pass catcher.

16) Washington Commanders: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Washington needs talent where they can get it. Broderick Jones is an excellent offensive lineman and would immediately give them a great tackle to protect Sam Howell’s (?) blindside.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

The Steelers need to keep building around Kenny Pickett. Darnell Wright is an excellent all-around blocker that could help the Steelers offense take the next step.

18) Detroit Lions: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

The Lions draft another defensive back to keep building their incredibly young defense. Brian Branch is a do-it-all defender that would pair with CJ Gardner Johnson and make a formidable safety duo.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

The Bucs need to prioritize adding high quality players at any position right now as they enter their post-Brady hangover. Peter Skoronski will be a 10-year pro at guard or tackle. He would be a great fit on a team on the brink of a rebuild.

20) Seattle Seahawks: Joey Porter Junior, CB, Penn State

The Seahawks find another long, athletic cornerback to pair with Tyrique Woolen as they continue rebuilding their defense.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The Chargers could stand to add more speed to their secondary. Deonte Banks is an extremely athletic defender and could take over quickly as the top cornerback in that secondary.

22) Baltimore Ravens: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa

The Ravens always prioritize the front seven and Lukas Van Ness feels like a Raven. He is a physical, athletic, and raw payer they could develop into an impact defender.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Hendon Hooker, Quarterback, Tennessee

At this point, it feels like someone is going to draft Hendon Hooker in the first round. After a stellar season cut short by an ACL injury, Hooker is poised to be one of the first few quarterbacks taken. Despite being an older, injured prospect, Hooker’s tape and locker room leadership has NFL teams very high on him. Minnesota may be looking beyond the Kirk Cousins era and Hooker could be their next hope.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kelee Ringo, Cornerback, Georgia

The Jaguars add some speed in their secondary with Kelee Ringo. Ringo is the best man-cover cornerback in the draft and would be a great fit in the Jacksonville defense with his size and athleticism.

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

The Giants are coming off a surprise playoff berth and need to keep building. They are a phenomenal running team but need more juice in the passing game. Zay Flowers is an excellent deep threat and would be a welcomed weapon in the Giants offense.

26) Dallas Cowboys: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

The Cowboys always know when to add more weapons to their offense. Darnell Washington is functionally another offensive lineman as a blocker and has immense potential in the passing game. He would be dangerous in the Dallas offense.

27) Buffalo Bills: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

The Bills keep swinging and missing on edge rushers and it hurts them in the playoffs. Here they add a dependable player in Murphy to give them some steady play on the edges.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Smith, Cornerback, South Carolina

The Bengals know they’re in direct competition with the Chiefs and Bills every year for a Super Bowl berth. The only way to counter them is more defensive pieces. Cam Smith is a big, long cornerback who could come in handy to slow their AFC rivals.

29) New Orleans Saints (via Denver): Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Nolan Smith is a hard prospect to project in terms of draft position. On one hand, he is a highly athletic defender who could play all over a defense. On the other hand, he is smaller, was not very productive, and is coming off a foot injury. The Saints need speed on their defense and would be thrilled if Nolan fell this far.

30) Philadelphia Eagles: Jahmyr Gibbs, Running Back, Alabama

The Eagles still need a legit threat in their offensive backfield. At this point in the draft, Jahmyr Gibbs would be a godsend. Not only does Gibbs have home run potential on every touch, he is one of the best receiving backs to come out of college football in a long time.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Patrick Mahomes had one of the best, most impressive quarterbacking seasons ever in 2022. Without a real top threat at wide receiver, Mahomes threw for over 5,200 yards, won MVP and a Super Bowl. Now the Chiefs can get him a real deep threat to work with. Jalin Hyatt might be a one trick pony at this point, but it is a really good trick.

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