Hub Arkush's second 2023 mock draft: Teams starting to nail down draft boards
With the 2023 NFL draft now just days away, all 32 teams are starting to lock down their boards and focus on whether or not there may be more trades to be made and how they could impact players availability.
With roughly the top 20 to 26 best players now pretty much identified, it just comes down to which teams think they know something about certain players other clubs haven't figured out.
I'm still watching more tape and making more phone calls, but based on what I've learned to date, here is my second crack at a mock draft.
1. Carolina Panthers -- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
What we know for sure is the Panthers made this trade to get their quarterback, and Young has been the best quarterback in college football for the last two seasons despite being undersized.
2. Houston Texans -- C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
I've had the Texans taking Will Anderson here and using their 12th pick for their QB, who they have to get because after 26 games we know Davis Mills isn't going to be the answer. But Stroud is just too close to Young's ceiling. Anthony Richardson and Will Levis aren't. And there is no guarantee the Texans can get any of them if they don't do it now.
3. Arizona Cardinals -- Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
The Cardinals get the best player available. Anderson just also happens to fit their greatest need.
4. Indianapolis Colts -- Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Gardner Minshew may be the present at QB in Indy, but he isn't the future. Richardson has easily the most talent of any QB in this draft, but he isn't ready yet. He is a gamble worth taking.
5. Seattle Seahawks -- Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
The best player available at this point, and at a team's area of greatest need. He's raw but Wilson's size and athleticism are off the charts.
6. Detroit Lions -- Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Witherspoon is worthy of a top 6 pick and the Lions must improve their defensive backfield.
7. Las Vegas Raiders -- Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The Raiders have committed to Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and now they have to fix their defense. Like so many of my top picks, Carter is a risk, but he's the best defensive player in this draft.
8. Atlanta Falcons -- Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Falcons have to rebuild their defense and a lockdown cover corner is a good place to start.
9. Chicago Bears -- Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Bears are highly unlikely to do this but they should. Robinson is the best player in this draft. He will immediately provide Justin Fields the most help he can get and Robinson at No. 9 would be like winning the lottery. The player he reminds me of the most is Walter Payton.
10. Philadelphia Eagles -- Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
The Eagles will take Robinson when the Bears don't, but I can't use him twice in my mock. Smith's ceiling would just be too high for Philly to pass.
11. Tennessee Titans -- Peter Skoronski, OT/OG, Northwestern
The Titans have to address their O-line, and even though it is uncertain whether Skoronski will be a tackle or guard, the Titans have to address both spots.
12. Houston Texans -- Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Assuming they already have their QB, now they have to get him the best receiver on the board. I believe that's Johnson, who happened to play his college ball in Texas. The Texans should know all there is to know about him.
13. N.Y. Jets -- Paris Johnson, Ohio State
Is Aaron Rodgers a Jet yet? When it happens they better have someone to protect him.
14. New England Patriots -- Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Patriots need an elite No. 1 receiver. In 2021, Addison was the best in college football at Pittsburgh before transferring to USC.
15. Green Bay Packers -- Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The Pack could go wide receiver here but there will be plenty of good ones in the second round. Kincaid is the best tight end in this draft with the ability to be special.
16. Washington Commanders -- Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
The Commanders have a serious need at cornerback and Porter has great size, excellent blood lines (the son of former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter) and he could be the best player on the board at this point.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Steelers have to address their offensive line. Jones has been flying up draft boards in recent weeks.
18. Detroit Lions -- Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
The Lions have to upgrade their defense. I have them taking the best cornerback in the draft at No. 6. Their next greatest needs are edge rusher and defensive line. It's not clear where Van Ness will end up, but he has played them all.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
This will be a surprise to many but Baker Mayfield isn't the long-range answer, and Levis' upside is too good for the Bucs to pass.
20. Seattle Seahawks -- Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Seahawks could get lucky here as Smith-Njigba could have been a top 10 pick a year ago, but he injured a hamstring in 2022 and played just three games.
21. L.A. Chargers -- Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Chargers would jump on Smith-Njigba if he's still on the board, but they'll also be very pleased to fix their tight end spot with Mayer, who is ready to contribute right now.
22. Baltimore Ravens -- Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Flowers is smaller than you'd like but he's a gifted pass catcher with excellent ball skills and quickness. He lines up outside and in the slot and goes full speed all day long.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
The Vikings are surprised Murphy is still on the board as he has great size, an explosive first step and he has played standing up on the edge and all over the D-line.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Brian Branch, S, Alabama
The Jaguars have needs at cornerback and safety. Branch is a college corner who may project there or as the best safety in the draft.
25. N.Y. Giants -- Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
The Giants have a real need. Banks has excellent height and bulk for a cornerback and he is extremely physical.
26. Dallas Cowboys -- Keion White, Edge, Ga. Tech
White is an athlete with excellent size and room to add more weight. He could end up almost anywhere on the defensive line with a great first step and all kinds of athleticism.
27. Buffalo Bills -- Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Gibbs is a bit short but has plenty of bulk and outstanding speed. The Bills have a real need at the position. Gibbs is arguably the best player still on the board.
28. Cincinnati Bengals -- Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
He's a right tackle with tremendous mass and power. If he gets his hands on you, the play is over.
29, New Orleans Saints -- Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
Kancey is small to play up front and too big for linebacker, but he has exceptional explosive power and is an excellent interior pass rusher.
30. Philadelphia Eagles -- Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Great size and bulk to play anywhere on the defensive line, and he played all four positions at Clemson.
31. Kansas City Chiefs -- Will McDonald, Edge, Iowa St.
The Chiefs need pass rushers. McDonald is a developmental prospect, but he has solid movement skills and closes extremely well. He appears to be a natural on the edge and is very disruptive.