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2023 NFL Draft: Mock 2.0 (Part Two)


With all of the trade buzz surrounding the top 10, my version 2.0 of the top 10 is running in the opposite direction. The only trade that I am acknowledging is the one that already happened between the Bears and the Panthers. In a world full of “what-ifs” and bold predictions, we are keeping this one simple.


1.) Carolina Panthers – C.J. Stroud, Quarterback / Ohio State


The Panthers traded up to grab their franchise quarterback. Many experts have Stroud going at number 1 and I am in full agreement. Stroud fits the prototypical mold for a QB, standing 6’3” and weighing in at 218 lbs. Concerns about Bryce Young’s size will separate Stroud as the top choice. The Panthers signed Adam Thielen and DJ Chark in the offseason, giving whoever ends up under center some security while they develop.


2.) Houston Texans – Bryce Young, Quarterback / Alabama


Young has been compared to Drew Brees by his former coach at Alabama, Nick Saban, and the Texans hope that’s the guy they are getting with the second pick in the draft. Young left the combine as the top-rated quarterback, even as questions about his size dominated headlines. Playing in the SEC is as close as you can get to NFL caliber gameplay in college and Young’s abilities should translate well. Expect Houston to go WR at 12 to get Young more help.


3.) Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson Jr, EDGE / Alabama


Anderson adds explosiveness off the edge for an Arizona team that had trouble getting to opposing quarterbacks after losing Chandler Jones and his 10.5 sacks in 2021. The Cardinals phones have been blowing up, like the a woman whose number got put on the stall of a truck stop bathroom, to try to pry the 3rd pick away. In the end, they stay put and take the best defensive player in the draft.


4.) Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson, Quarterback / Florida


Indy tries not to overthink the pick and they are overjoyed that they weren’t jumped by the like of Atlanta or Las Vegas to get Richardson. New Indianapolis HC Shane Steichen oversaw the development of Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia and would likely have a field day with the ways he could use Richardson. Still a wild card after throwing for 17 TDs and 9 INTs in his final season at Florida, AR-15 should be an exciting addition with an incredible high ceiling due to his ridiculous athleticism.


5.) Seattle Seahawks – Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback / Oregon


Seattle snuck into the playoffs last year, just to be whomped by Big Cock Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers. Purdy threw for 332 yards and 3 TDs in his first ever playoff game against a mediocre Seattle secondary. Insert Gonzalez, who snagged 4 INTs to end his college career and ran a blazing 4.38 second 40 yard dash at the combine. Seattle was once dominant with the Legion of Boom, and they look to recreate that success building around Gonzalez and Ryan Neal.


6.) Detroit Lions – Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle / Georgia


Carter has had his issues since the season ended but Detroit won’t let him slip past them at number 6. After landing Aiden Hutchinson in last year’s draft, the Lions land a beast that is known for disrupting opposing backfields. If Dan Campbell can help Carter with his character issues, the Lions could end up with an All-Pro player and the steal of the top 10.


7.) Las Vegas Raiders – Will Levis, Quarterback / Kentucky


Jimmy Garappolo signed a three-year deal with the Raiders this offseason to, presumably, be the guy for the next couple of seasons. But Josh McDaniels can’t turn down the chance to grab Levis after he slips all the way to pick 7. Levis has a cannon arm and would be an ideal quarterback for someone like Davonte Adams, who desires a QB that can stretch the field. The Garappolo contract has an out after year one so the Raiders wouldn’t be on the hook for a massively overpaid backup if Levis took over.


8.) Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson, EDGE/ Texas Tech


Atlanta has been building a solid defense by adding Safety Jessie Bates and Defensive End Calais Campbell this offseason. Adding a physically gifted pass rusher in Wilson may push them into the elite conversation. Wilson had had at least 7 sacks in each of his last two seasons, which would be a third of the Falcons sack total from a year ago. The Falcons may be costing me some hockey tickets this season.


9.) Chicago Bears – Peter Skoronski, Offensive Tackle / Northwestern


The Bears have decided to put everything they have behind Justin Fields as the future of the franchise. Now they need to find a way to protect him. Braxton Jones was a nightmare in 2022 and the Bears gave up 58 sacks during the season. Skoronski is the top-rated tackle in the draft and should allow Fields to save his legs for designed runs, instead of running for his life.


10.) Philadelphia Eagles – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE / Iowa


Philly has the benefit of having two first rounders and while having very few holes after their trip to the Super Bowl. The Eagles let Robert Quinn walk this offseason but do still have Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham on the outside. Van Ness brings tons of power and explosiveness, given his nickname “Hercules”, and his 13 sacks during his college career shows he has a knack for getting to the quarterback. He would allow the Eagles to rotate pass rushers and possibly add to their dominant sack totals from last season.

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