Kyle Smith Final Mock Draft

Kyle Smith Final Mock Draft

2023 NFL Draft

Kyle Smith Final Mock Draft


Via Getty Images

In just a few hours, Roger Goodell will walk onto the stage in Kansas City under a thunderstorm of boos as the NFL Draft gets underway. Here’s how I am predicting the first round to play out (without trades). 

1. Carolina Panthers (Via CHI): Bryce Young – Quarterback, Alabama

This is a done deal. Everything that can be said about this pick has been. Bryce Young will be the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. 

2. Houston Texans: Tyree Wilson – Defensive Tackle, Texas Tech

This is where things get saucy. Will Anderson Jr. should probably be the pick here, but Demeco Ryans and company see a developmental edge rusher with the ability to kick inside. He may have a higher ceiling than Anderson, but his floor is much, much lower.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Paris Johsnon Jr. – Offensive Tackle, Ohio State

Smoke hot off the press is that the Cardinals are infatuated with Paris Johnson Jr. They need to bolster their offensive line and protect their investment in Kyler Murray, and Johnson does just that. 

4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson – Quarterback, Florida

Will Levis this. Will Levis that. Unless he’s the only remaining quarterback on the board by this point, he will not be the pick. The Colts go for the higher upside in Anthony Richardson. Richardson is inexperienced but has incredible arm strength, pocket maneuverability, and can take off in a hurry. Steichen gets his guy and the Colts jump off the carousel. 

5. Seattle Seahawks: Jalen Carter – Defensive Tackle, Georgia

This one seems too obvious for it to actually happen, but we’ll say it does. Carter is a game wrecker when he chooses to be. Pairing him with a freak like Dre’Mont Jones would create chaos for opposing offensive lines. 

6. Detroit Lions: Will Anderson Jr. – Edge Rusher, Alabama

Dan Campbell would be jumping for joy if Will Anderson falls to the sixth pick. Pairing the best edge rusher with last year’s best edge rusher in Aiden Hutchinson would be quite the duo in the NFC North. 

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Devon Witherspoon – Cornerback, Illinois

Passing up on C.J. Stroud could be risky, but with Garroppolo under contract, it’s easy to see why they would. Witherspoon fills an immediate need and can be a building block for that defense. 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Gonzalez – Cornerback, Oregon

The decision at eight is fascinating. The Falcons could go running back or offensive line, but they’ll continue to address their defense with Christian Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a  ridiculous athlete with the speed and agility to keep up with any receiver. Terrell, Okudah, and Gonzalez are one of the better cornerback rooms in the league. 

9. Chicago Bears (Via CAR): Peter Skoronski – Offensive Tackle, Northwestern

Deciding between Darnell Wright and Peter Skoronski is tough, but the Bears will opt for the more versatile guy. He fits their wide zone scheme and will provide some much needed boost to Justin Fields’s pass protection. 

10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via NO): Nolan Smith – Edge Rusher, Georgia

Another potential landing spot for Bijan Robinson, but the Eagles will opt for the more premium position. Smith is a firecracker off the edge with 4.39 speed. He gets past tackles in a hurry and can wreak havoc for any quarterback. 

11. Tennessee Titans: C.J. Stroud – Quarterback, Ohio State

Stroud’s fall ends and he goes to a perfect team. Mike Vrabel will get the most out of any player and would do wonders for the former Ohio State QB. Stroud would allow Tennessee to kick Tannehill to the curb and jump start their rebuild. 

12. Houston Texans (Via CLE): Will Levis – Quarterback, Kentucky

Levis could fall, but the Texans won’t be able to help themselves if he’s still available. They could opt for a wide receiver and push quarterback into 2024, but Levis’s arm talent as well as his experience in a Pro Style offense will force Houston’s hand. 

13. Green Bay Packers (via NYJ): Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Aaron Rodgers leaves and the Packers finally decide to invest a first round pick on a pass catcher. Jordan Love would certainly be happy and the Packers would have one of the more fun, young offenses in the league. 

14. New England Patriots: Bijan Robinson – Running Back, Texas

Belichick loves his running backs and he won’t hesitate to take one of the best prospects in several years. Robinson can do it all on the ground or through the air. He’s a threat to take any touch to the house and makes a living out of schooling defenders. If he played 20 years ago, he’d unquestionably be the first overall pick. 

15. New York Jets (via GB): Broderick Jones – Offensive Tackle, Georgia

With Aaron Rodgers now at the helm the Jets will focus on the trenches. Boosting the offensive line play is crucial to this “win-now” mode that New York is now in. Jones is a bit raw, but has the most power and upside out of any tackle in this draft class. 

16. Washington Commanders: Deonte Banks – Cornerback, Maryland

Banks is a hot commodity among draft Twitter right now, which usually means the NFL has always been high on him. The speedy corner from Maryland would be a day one starter for the Commanders and fill an immediate need. 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Wright – Offensive Tackle, Tennessee

In real life, I think this pick comes in a trade. The Steelers have made it known how desperate they are to build their offensive line in front of Kenny Pickett. Wright is a top-notch pass blocker and would immediately start at right tackle. 

18. Detroit Lions: Joey Porter Jr. – Cornerback, Penn State

For nostalgia’s sake, everyone wants Pittsburgh to take Porter Jr. But if he were to fall past 18, I imagine the Lions would pounce. Porter Jr. is a tenacious, long-armed cornerback who can make life difficult at the catch point. He’d be a perfect fit for Detroit’s system. 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anton Harrison – Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

Harrison has gotten some first-round buzz over the past few days, and Tampa Bay makes a lot of sense. There’s talk of moving Tristan Wirfs to left tackle, but if Tampa is able to draft Harrison, Wirfs can comfortably stay at right tackle. Harrison will need some work in the pros, but has all the tools to be a high-end starter. 

20. Seattle Seahawks: Joe Tippman – Center, Wisconsin

Another likely trade back scenario, Seattle finds itself in a tough situation. They opt for Joe Tippman, a bully of an interior offensive lineman who thrives off punishing defenders into the ground. His center-guard versatility and his ability to run block translates perfectly into Seattle’s offense. 

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Dalton Kincaid – Tight End, Utah

Gerald Everrett is a serviceable tight end, but upgrading the position makes a ton of sense. Kincaid is the most pure pass catcher in the entire class, receivers included. He’s a dynamic weapon who could wreck defenses across the middle. 

22. Baltimore Ravens: Zay Flowers – Wide Receiver, Boston College

The Ravens are definitely trying to swoon Lamar Jackson back into the building, and Zay Flowers adds some juice to the mix. Flowers can operate out of the slot or on the boundary and is arguably the best deep threat in the entire class. Bateman, Beckham Jr., and Flowers give the Ravens a trio to compete with anyone. 

23. Minnesota Vikings: Calijah Kancey – Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh

Adding a receiver like Jordan Addison would make a ton of sense, but the Vikings will opt for an interior disruptor in Kancey. Undersized and short armed, Kancey’s speed and athleticism is how he wins. If there’s any defensive coach to help him succeed in the league, it’s Brian Flores. 

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: O’Cyrus Torrence – Guard, Florida

Choosing between Brian Branch and Torrence is a difficult decision, but in the end, the Jaguars will choose to protect their franchise quarterback. Torrence is a monster of a human whose strength is his calling card. Trevor Lawrence would be a happy man with Torrence blocking for him. 

25. New York Giants: John Michael-Schmitz – Center, Minnesota

The Giants could opt for a receiver or cornerback, but adding a star caliber center could help take this running game over the top. Michael-Schmitz moves incredibly well and can climb to the second-level with ease. 

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer – Tight End, Notre Dame

Mayer should go higher, but it’s hard to find a perfect fit. Jerry Jones will see a lot of Jason Witten in Mayer and won’t be able to pass up the opportunity. While not the most athletically-gifted, Mayer does everything well and can be a true three-down tight end. 

27. Buffalo Bills: Mazi Smith – Defensive Tackle, Michigan

The Bills season ended because of a lack of interior pressure on Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon. Mazi Smith is the size of a nose tackle but can move to three-tech as well. He’s a powerful player and once he gets his hands on you, it’s over. 

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Emmanuel Forbes – Cornerback, Mississippi State

If Forbes was 15 pounds heavier going into the process, he’d be a no-brainer top-15 pick. But instead, he weighed in at 166 and that will surely push him down draft boards. The Bengals need depth at cornerback and a long-term answer if the team opts to not re-sign Chidobe Awuzie next offseason. 

29. New Orleans Saints (Via San Francisco): Lukas Van Ness – Edge Rusher, Iowa

New Orleans could use some help across the entire defensive line, and Van Ness will have them reminiscing about Trey Hendrickson. Van Ness is a young, raw edge rusher, but his bull rush can take down any offensive tackle. 

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Jahmyr Gibbs – Running Back, Alabama

After passing on Bijan Robinson at 10, the Eagles opt to add a dynamic weapon in Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs is the best pass catching back in the class and is a homerun hitter on the ground. Him and Hurts would be a fearsome duo in the backfield. 

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Quentin Johnston – Wide Receiver, Texas Christian

The Chiefs have been linked to a few wide receivers, but adding a big-bodied threat like Johnston could be the ticket to improving the offense even more. Mahomes has always succeeded with the little guys at receiver, so it would be fun to see him work with someone capable of winning contested catches down the field.


More The Wright Way Network