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Murph’s Penultimate NFL 1st Round Mock Draft

What might the first round look like with trades galore and a few surprises?

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is almost here and...smoke and rumors is flying out of the NFL Media and agents so fast you’d think a new pope had been selected.

How might the first round look heading into tomorrow?

Let’s take a gander at some of the latest rumors, player fits, and opinions, using the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator:

  1. Bryce Young, QB - Panthers

Seems almost a lock, unless this whole shebang has been about them trying to get the Texans to move up a spot

2. Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texans

Wilson’s got rare size and arms and possibly more versatility than Will Anderson at the next level, although he has a foot injury and hasn’t ever had double digit sacks

3. (TRADE) C.J. Stroud, QB, Titans

Makes too much sense with the Ohio State connections at OSU. The Cardinals get a 3rd, a 2024 1st and 2024 2nd to make this selection and hop down to 11.

The Titans, meanwhile, can add a playmaker with their pick and even win for a year with Tannehill unless they deal him.

4. Will Levis, QB, Colts

I’d rather see Anthony Richardson be the pick here for Shane Steichen but it feels like they are going to see his upside similar to developing well like Jalen Hurts

5. Will Anderson, Edge, Seahawks

Nearly everyone thinks Jalen Carter is going here...well I don’t think that happens. Anthony Richardson would be an incredible pick here for Seattle

6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Lions

Feel like this could be Anderson, Carter or even a guy like Richardson.

I also think that this might be flipped and we see Devon Witherspoon with his punishing tackling fitting HC Dan Campbell here ahead of Gonzalez.

7. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Raiders

End of the day I think that they could be in on moving up to 3 for Stroud as well or go with a wildcard here like another corner

8. Nolan Smith, Edge, Falcons

That Atlanta defense and offense ain’t looking too shabby.

9. Jalen Carter, DL, Bears

He might go to Seattle, but I think they’ll take the risk if he falls here ahead of the Eagles pick and he’s an impact DL if his head is right and he can stay in shape. If he ends up an Albert Haynesworth though, well...

10. Broderick Jones, OL, Eagles

Philly gets the 2nd top guy on their board, unable to move up for Will Anderson at 3 and despite trying to the past few picks trying for Jalen Carter knowing his former teammate Jordan Davis is already there in Philly. Instead they add another Cam Jurgens to prep for an aging Lane Johnson’s departure

11. (Trade) Peter Skoronski, OL, Arizona Cardinals

I’d love it if Arizona traded back with the Raiders and did see Richardson/Gonzalez go at picks 5 and 6 so they could get picks and Will Anderson. Maybe this or NE/MIN is a ways further but they should be able to get a top 5 guy on their board at this pick.

12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Texans

Green Bay gets sniped for their WR, though they’ve been tied to Bijian Robinson as well

13. Lucas Van Ness, Edge, Packers

Think they wanted JSN but will go with an edge rusher at this slot, one ahead of where the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots are picking

14. Anthony Richardson, QB, Patriots

Seems to connect the dots...Mac Jones being used as trade bait, NE signing Cam Newton in the past...Bill takes a chance on a top quarterback

15. Darnell Wright, OT, Jets

He’s had questions but might be a top pass protector and falls to the Jets here with this pick

16. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Commanders

Had him falling due to well...some with size concerns and that he might only play nickel CB. Bijian could go here as well.

17. Anton Harrison, OL, Steelers

Don’t be shocked if they make a move up into the top 10 or 11 picks

18. Bijian Robinson, RB, DET

The Star RB’s fall ends here, with the Lions who add a back instead of a QB or a corner

19. Deonte Banks, CB, Bucs

Think he goes ahead of Joey Porter Jr.

20. Jordan Addison, WR, Seahawks

Their long-term Tyler Lockett replacement, and I could see them also liking a few other guys as well as Addision going earlier despite his size. He could also fall out of round 1 entirely.

21. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Chargers

Replacing Austin Ekeler with a cheaper and better version. A TE or Zay Flowers works here too.

22. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Ravens

He’s small but like Budda Baker, the NFL loves him. Ravens need corner help.

23. Brian Branch, S, Vikings

They’ve been rumored to be making a move up to possibly add a quarterback, and Branch could go to the Jags with the next pick but we’ll see if he finds a place in the Minny secondary

24. Mazi Smith, DT, Jaguars

Jags get an athletic space-filling DT, who surprisingly goes ahead of Brian Breese

25. Joey Porter Jr, CB, Giants

Giants take a cornerback here who might not be quite the stud Forbes is but isn’t as much of a risk, either with his size profile

26. Michael Mayer, TE, Cowboys

Jason Witten 2.0 and Jerry loves his skill position players.

27. (TRADE) John Michael Schmitz, OC, Arizona Cardinals

I could see JMS gone ahead of this to the Giants or even the Jets in a trade back, but Arizona leaps a few teams who might take him by sending DeAndre Hopkins to the Buffalo Bills and Pick 34 for the 27th overall pick.

Even IF JMS would have been there at pick 34, if he hits, you’ll want that 5th year option as he seems to be the one first round center who fits Arizona in this draft with how tall OC Joe Tippman is.

28. Will McDonald IV, Edge, Bengals

Man, rich get richer as the Bengals land a pass rusher. I think they wait to deal WR2 Tee Higgins to a team after this year and draft someone in a stronger WR class. What they need is help getting after the quarterback

29. Hendon Hooker, QB, Saints

I could see the Texans hopping up as well, Saints have reportedly done homework on all the QB’s this year and doesn’t it sort of fit their GM mentality of “go for it” to just grab any QB in the first round who might be left?

30. Bryan Breese, DT, Eagles

Having been denied Jalen Carter earlier, the Eagles get another top DT on the board, one who might be safer and just as good as Carter as an athlete in the long-term

31. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas City

Karlaftis last year as the dominant man and this year nabbing a high-upside athlete puts the Chiefs still as the team to beat in the AFC.

Thoughts, Cards fans?

Final mock will be dropped the morning of the draft, with a trio of 7-round Mocks for the Arizona Cardinals (two trades and a stick ‘em and pick ‘em) tomorrow in the afternoon.

Go Cards.