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Jeff Ratcliffe’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft 4.0

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The 2023 edition of the NFL Player Selection Meeting – otherwise known as the NFL Draft – has arrived, and it’s time for the final 2023 NFL mock draft of the season. Of course, mock drafts are an exercise in futility, as it’s essentially impossible to get even remotely close to correct on all your picks. 

 

But the good news is that we now have ample betting odds to lean on in addition to intel from insiders, top-30 visits and team needs. Let’s put the pieces together for my final 2023 NFL mock draft.

2023 NFL Mock Draft

1. Carolina – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama 

Bryce Young is now -2000 to go first overall, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, and for good reason. He’s the best player in this class. Sure, Young is undersized, but he also possesses a Mensa-level football IQ and better tools than he often gets credit for.

2. Indianapolis (trade with HOU) – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Will Levis QB Kentucky

We have a trade. The Colts move up two spots to secure their guy. Indy has been on the record that they believe Will Levis is more than just a developmental prospect. He’s also the odds-on favorite to be the No. 2 pick.

3. Arizona – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

While there’s certainly a chance someone else trades up to this spot, the sportsbooks like Tyree Wilson to go here. He’s +300 on FanDuel which is ahead of C.J. Stroud (+350) and Will Anderson (+400). There’s no denying Arizona’s need along their defensive line. Wilson would give them a high-ceiling option at the coveted edge position.

4. Houston (trade with IND) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The Texans accomplish two goals with a trade down to this spot: 1) They accumulate more picks, and 2) They still land their signal-caller of the future. Yes, C.J. Stroud’s stock has fallen over the last month, but he’s still a rock-solid prospect who is arguably the best pure passer in this class. He’s also the second-favorite for this spot at +210.

5. Seattle – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

He’s the biggest wild card at the top of the draft, but it’s hard to deny Jalen Carter’s talent. Yes, the off-field stuff is concerning, but Seattle gets a nice discount on him in this spot. BetRivers currently has Carter’s over/under at pick 7.5 with odds of -143 on the under. In other words, don’t expect him to slide outside the top 6.

6. Detroit – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois 

The Lions are currently -145 to select a defensive back on Caesars Sportsbook, and Devon Witherspoon is +100 to go sixth overall on multiple books. And honestly, the story checks out. Witherspoon is an upgrade on veterans Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley.

7. Las Vegas – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

All signs point to the Raiders going with a corner in this spot, so they grab the favorite to go No. 7 in Christian Gonzalez. FanDuel currently has him at +300 to go here.

8. Philadelphia (trade with ATL) – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama 

Uh oh. The Eagles make a splash and move up the board two spots to grab Will Anderson. Will he fall this far? Most would say that isn’t likely, but there’s a legitimate path for him to still be available in this spot. While the Eagles are coming off one of the most impressive pass-rushing seasons in NFL history, they’re somewhat old at the position with Brandon Graham coming to the end of the line. Anderson would give them yet another premium pass-rusher.

9. Chicago – Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Justin Fields got a major weapon in DJ Moore, and now he gets some much-needed help along the offensive line.  Paris Johnson is currently the clear favorite to be the first offensive lineman drafted at -195.

10. Atlanta (trade with PHI) – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Many have connected Bijan Robinson to the Falcons over the last week, but it’s tough to see him go at No. 8. BetRivers currently has him even money at -114 on either side of pick 13.5, so this gets us closer to that pick while he still lands in Atlanta. Arthur Smith gets his bell-cow back, much like he had in Tennessee with Derrick Henry. Of course, if this did play out, then it would be RIP to Tyler Allgeier’s fantasy value.

11. Tennessee – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Recent odds movement suggest Anthony Richardson will be on the board longer than the other three top quarterbacks. BetRivers has him at -143 to go over pick 5.5. While this is a bit more of a fall than that line suggests, it’s well within the realm of possibility. In Tennessee, Richardson would get a redshirt year to develop behind Ryan Tannehill. Of course, Tannehill is only under contract through this season, so the Titans would then turn the page in 2024.

12. Houston – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

After going with Stroud, the Texans bolster their offensive line with the versatile Peter Skoronski. He’s able to play tackle or kick inside to guard. That’s good because Houston has a glaring need at left guard.

13. Green Bay – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Packers slide into this spot following the Aaron Rodgers trade and grab the extremely athletic edge out of Georgia. Nolan Smith is a tricky player to mock because Caesars currently has him a -200 to go under pick 12.5. Some have connected him to Philly at pick 10, but in this scenario the Eagles grabbed a better prospect and Smith lands in Green Bay’s lap. 

14. New England – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Even with the addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster, wide receiver remains a glaring weak spot for the Patriots. In Jaxon Smith-Njigba, they get a good one who really fits the mold of a Bill Belichick wideout. The Patriots are currently +200 to draft a wideout on FanDuel, which is tied with the offensive line as their most-likely positions for this pick.

15. NY Jets – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia 

The Jets move back two spots but still end up grabbing Broderick Jones. Offensive line is currently -300 for this pick, which is one of shortest odds for a position of first pick for any team. Protecting Aaron Rodgers is an obvious priority.

16. Washington – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

The Commanders have a lot of needs, but the two biggest are corner and offensive line. While corner is the favorite, Darnell Wright has gained steam over the last few weeks. He’s currently a slight favorite to go over pick 15.5 at -125 on BetRivers.

17. Pittsburgh – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Mike Tomlin and company stay in-state for this pick and take Joey Porter. Corner is the chalk pick for the Steelers here, with FanDuel currently offering +100 odds for the position. This would also mesh well with Porter’s line of pick 19.5. He’s currently -150 to go under that pick on Caesars.

18. Detroit – Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

After addressing corner with their first pick, the Lions beef up their defensive interior with the ulta-athletic Pitt product. FanDuel currently has the combo of Witherspoon at pick 6 and Calijah Kancey here as the most likely pairing at +700.

 

19. Tampa Bay – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa 

The Bucs address a position of need and manage to get a little value in the process. Lukas Van Ness isn’t a can’t-miss prospect, but his physical traits and freakish athleticism make him a very interesting draft-for-ceiling guy. FanDuel currently has the Bucs at +250 to go defensive line, which is second behind offensive line at +175. This would be a bit of a fall for Van Ness, as Caesars currently has his line at pick 12.5. However, he is -200 to go over that pick.

20. Seattle – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland 

With Jalen Carter already in the hopper, Pete Carroll and John Schneider stay on the defensive side of the ball and grab a rangy perimeter corner in Deonte Banks. Caesars currently has Banks at -145 to go under pick 20.5.

21. LA Chargers – Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch is one of the most difficult players to mock in this draft. There’s no denying his talent, and he’s every bit of a first-round pick. But much like running back, safeties tend to get devalued in today’s NFL. However, his versatility and ability to cover the slot addresses multiple needs for the Chargers.

22. Baltimore – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson  

The Ravens are favored to go corner in this spot, but edge is also a position of need. Myles Murphy would be an upgrade on Tyus Bowser. He’s currently -120 to go over pick 18.5.

23. Minnesota – Jordan Addison, WR, USC 

We really have two main directions the Vikings could go in here, as both wideout and corner are the co-favorites at +175 on FanDuel. With Jordan Addison, Minnesota adds a strong complementary piece to Justin Jefferson. His field-stretching ability meshes well with Jefferson’s ability to excel in the intermediate area of the field. Addison is currently -140 to go over pick 22.5.

24. Jacksonville – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

This is the first appearance of Emmanuel Forbes in any of my mocks, but I was compelled to include him after seeing him at -625 to go in the first round on BetRivers. Jacksonville is also favored to draft a corner in this spot at +175 on FanDuel. 

25. NY Giants – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Brian Daboll made things work at wide receiver this past season, but the Giants need to bring in more talent at the position. They get just that in the versatile Boston College product. FanDuel currently has the Giants at +125 to take a wide receiver, which is the shortest odds of any position. Zay Flowers is -155 to go over pick 23.5.

26. Dallas – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Dalton Schultz is out, so the Cowboys get themselves their tight end of the future, who is very much like a tight end of their past. Many have compared Michael Mayer to long-time Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. Connecting the betting dots here, tight end is the favorite position for the Cowboys here at +175, and they’re also the favorite to draft Mayer at +350.

27. Buffalo – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma 

The Bills aren’t favored to go offensive line in this spot, but it’s hard to deny the need. Anton Harrison is the top tackle left and is -560 to go in the first round.

28. Cincinnati – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Giddy up. The Bengals are favored to draft a tight end with their first pick on both FanDuel (+170) and Caesars (+120). Dalton Kincaid is -180 to go over pick 23.5 and would give Joe Burrow yet another dynamic weapon in the passing game.

29. New Orleans – Will McDonald, EDGE, Iowa State 

The Saints enter the offseason very light along their defensive line, so they scoop up a high-ceiling edge option in Will McDonald. FanDuel currently has the Saints at +100 to go defensive line with their first pick, and McDonald is -400 to go in the first round on BetRivers.

30. Philadelphia – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

We could go conservative here, but the Eagles have an opportunity to address a position of need with a high-ceiling option in Jahmyr Gibbs. He fits the fast-break style of the Eagles offense and is currently -143 to go in the first round.

31. Kansas City – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

We’ll end this thing on a high note, giving Patrick Mahomes a big-bodied weapon who can move after the catch. This might seem a bit late for Quentin Johnston, but he’s currently -136 to go over pick 27.5 on BetRivers. The Chiefs are also +200 to select a wide receiver with their first pick.

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