The Way-Too-Early 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Will the Vikings Take Their QB of the Future?

Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates after a defensive stop on fourth down in the second half the NCAA Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Cincinnati Bearcats 27-6. Cotton Bowl Cincinnati Bearcats Alabama Crimson Tide Ac 428

The college football season is underway, and given I am a self-proclaimed NFL Draft nerd, this felt like a good time to put out my way-too-early mock for the 2023 NFL Draft. This group forecasts to have a much better QB class than 2022, creating another wrinkle to this class. Because of that, this class looks like another one for the Vikings to take a stab at a quarterback. There also is, once again, a surplus of talent along the defensive front, and it will become apparent as this draft goes on. So, without further ado, here is the way-too-early edition of the 2023 NFL mock draft.

NOTE: The draft order comes from NFLMockDraftDataBase.com.

1. Atlanta Falcons- EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

The Falcons desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball, and they get one of the most disruptive edge rushers in recent memory with the first overall pick.

2. Houston Texans- QB Bryce Young (Alabama)

Davis Mills has been a solid fill-in, but when you’ve got a chance to get major talent at the QB position, you can’t pass it up. Bryce Young will try to bring back the Houston Texans franchise.

3. Seattle Seahawks- QB C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)

Russell Wilson got traded to Denver, and that left Seattle with a void at the QB position. They turn to CJ Stroud to lead the rebuild.

4. Chicago Bears- WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

Ohio State runs the Bears offense as Justin Fields gets a viable weapon in former teammate Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

5. New York Jets- EDGE Myles Murphy (Clemson)

The Jets addressed the secondary early in the 2022 draft, and now they get one of the best pass-rushers in the 2023 class by taking Myles Murphy.

6. Detroit Lions- QB Will Levis (Kentucky)

This feels like a Dan Campbell favorite at the QB position. Will Levis is a burly dude with some mobility and a strong arm. Perhaps he can be the new Matthew Stafford for the franchise.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Jordan Addison (USC)

Jacksonville is a dynamic receiver away from being a serious threat on the offensive side of the ball, and now Trevor Lawrence gets arguably the most explosive playmaker of the group.

8. Carolina Panthers- OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)

There are certainly bigger tackles in this draft class, but none are as nasty in the trenches as Peter Skoronski. The Panthers need to bring some young talent to their o-line, and this is a great start.

9. New York Giants- CB Kelee Ringo (Clemson)

James Bradberry left the Giants this offseason and joined the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles, creating a void in the Giants secondary. This cornerback class isn’t as deep as 2022, but Kelee Ringo is at the top of the list.

10. Washington Commanders- DL Jalen Carter (Georgia)

One of the most disruptive forces on a historic 2021 Georgia Bulldogs defense remained at the program, and in this draft, the Washington Commanders get their interior defensive line force to pair with Chase Young on the outside.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Paris Johnson (Ohio State)

The Steelers hypothetically have their QB in Kenny Pickett, and now it’s time to focus on creating an ideal situation around him. Finding a left tackle with versatility across the offensive line is a step in the right direction.

12. Philadelphia Eagles- CB Eli Ricks (Alabama)

The Eagles have a strong secondary right now, but both James Bradberry and CJ Gardner-Johnson are free agents at the end of the year. If Philly is serious about making Jalen Hurts their QB, they have to start thinking about having to pay him in a couple years, so perhaps they opt for a cheaper option at CB.

13. Minnesota Vikings- QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)

The Vikings could go Kayshon Boutte here, but this feels like as good an opportunity as any to snag a potential QB of the future. Kirk Cousins is under contract through 2023, but Anthony Richardson provides an intriguing dual-threat skill that could appeal to the new regime in Minnesota.

14. Houston Texans- WR Kayshon Boutte (LSU)

It’s been a tumultuous start to the 2022 college football season for Kayshon Boutte, but there’s no doubt he’s a talented football player. Houston gives Bryce Young a target to throw to right away.

15. Las Vegas Raiders- DL Bryan Bresee (Clemson)

Ideally, the Raiders would just trade this pick given how they’ve done with first-round picks in recent history. That said, Bryan Bresee fills an immediate need on the defensive line.

16. New England Patriots- TE Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)

A very fitting name for a player to join the New England Patriots, Michael Mayer is a big-bodied target for Mac Jones at the tight end position.

17. Tennessee Titans- EDGE Nolan Smith (Georgia)

Once again, Georgia’s defense looks like one of the strongest units in college football, and Nolan Smith is a big reason for that. Tennessee will benefit from his talents.

18. Philadelphia Eagles- RB Bijan Robinson (Texas)

Similar to the CB situation, the Eagles have both Miles Sanders and Boston Scott entering free agency next offseason. Considering Bijan Robinson is an upgrade at the position in many ways, this is a no-brainer.

19. Baltimore Ravens- WR Quentin Johnston (TCU)

Baltimore has failed to get Lamar Jackson consistent weapons at wide receiver, and heading into the 2022 season, that is one of the biggest concerns around that team. Quentin Johnston is a solution.

20. Arizona Cardinals- EDGE Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame)

Chander Jones headed to Las Vegas, and Arizona has a few holes in their defense going into the 2022 season. Isaiah Foskey is a strong option to fill their need at EDGE.

21. Seattle Seahawks- LB Noah Sewell (Oregon)

Over the course of recent years, the Seattle Seahawks have had a very talented linebacker roaming the middle of the field in Bobby Wagner. He’s now a Los Angeles Ram, so Noah Sewell could be the next player to fill this role in Seattle.

22. Los Angeles Chargers- S Jordan Battle (Alabama)

The Chargers do not have a ton of holes right now, but safety could use some additional depth. It may be a bit high to be taking a safety in the first round, but Jordan Battle is an extremely talented player and should live up to this draft spot.

23. Miami Dolphins- LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson)

Trenton Simpson becomes the fourth Clemson defender to be selected in the first round. Miami needs a strong linebacker, and Trenton Simpson fills that role.

24. Indianapolis Colts- CB Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State)

If the Colts aren’t going to get a top-tier QB anytime soon, they need their defense to carry the torch. Joey Porter is a hard-hitting corner that fits nicely.

25. Dallas Cowboys- LB Henry To’oto’o (Alabama)

Henry To’oto’o carries terrific length and size at the linebacker spot, and he is very experienced at the collegiate level. After being the anchor of the Crimson Tide defense, he heads to Dallas.

26. Cincinnati Bengals- TE Arik Gilbert (Georgia)

Cincinnati’s offense already had a number of weapons, but Arik Gilbert puts them over the top as a freakish athletic talent at the tight end position.

27. Detroit Lions- CB Cam Smith (South Carolina)

So far, the Jeff Okudah selection hasn’t worked out, and it’s put the Lions secondary behind the 8-ball. They take another stab at the position in 2023 with the seleciton of Cam Smith.

28. Green Bay Packers- S Antonio Johnson (Texas A&M)

The biggest receiver names are off the board, and once again, the Packers will not take a pass-catcher in the first round. Instead, they continue to build up youth in their secondary with Antonio Johnson.

29. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Jaelyn Duncan (Maryland)

Kansas City needs to keep their highly paid quarterback on his feet, and Jaelyn Duncan is a quick, explosive tackle that can get the job done.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Clark Phillips III (Utah)

There may be a temptation for Tampa Bay to go with a quarterback here, but it feels like they are still committed to giving Kyle Trask a chance. Because of that, they help out their defense.

31. Buffalo Bills- IOL Andrew Vorhees (USC)

Buffalo has a new RB in James Cook this year, but they may run into some trouble with their guards. It looks like a problem to fix in 2023 with Andrew Vorhees being their pick.

32. Atlanta Falcons- DL Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)

Technically, this is the first pick of the second round after Miami forfeited their first-round pick, but Atlanta continues to build the defense. This time, they take a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line with Tyree Wilson.


Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken