Josh Frey’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft (2.0): Big Trade Shakes Up the Top 10

Josh Frey's 2023 NFL Mock Draft (2.0)
Sep 3, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Utah State Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-0. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Chicago Bears made a blockbuster trade with the Carolina Panthers to move the No. 1 overall pick, so before free agency takes over the headlines for the next few weeks, here is the latest 2023 NFL mock draft ahead of the frenzy.

1. Carolina Panthers (trade w/ CHI): Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

The Carolina Panthers made a blockbuster trade to move to the top of the draft in an attempt to solve their QB problem once and for all. CJ Stroud is the safest choice at the top.

2. Houston Texans: Alabama QB Bryce Young

Questions regarding Bryce Young’s small stature were temporarily put to rest when he measured in at over 200 pounds at the NFL Combine. Additionally, he possesses the best improvisational skills of anyone in this draft. Houston should be happy to land him at No. 2.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

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 draft now truly begins with the Arizona Cardinals. They could be another team looking to trade down, but for now, let’s give them a potential star in Will Anderson.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Kentucky QB Will Levis

The Colts have had a revolving door at QB ever since Andrew Luck’s retirement, and Will Levis could be Indy’s hope at closing that door for good.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

The Seahawks nailed their 2022 draft with some elite athletes like Kenneth Walker and Tariq Woolen, and now, they get another one by taking Tyree Wilson in 2023.

6. Detroit Lions: Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon

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Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Devon Witherspoon (31) celebrates a win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions desperately need to get better on defense if they hope to be true contenders next season. Devon Witherspoon displays terrific instincts at corner, and he should thrive at the NFL level.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Florida QB Anthony Richardson

The Raiders parted ways with longtime QB Derek Carr this offseason, and unless they swing a move for a veteran QB, they could be looking at taking one in the draft. Anthony Richardson is the final available of the top four and carries great upside into the NFL.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

The Falcons largely are put together on the offensive side of the ball at this point in time, so they turn to the defense and grab Christian Gonzalez, who terrorized PAC-12 offenses during his time at Oregon.

9. Chicago Bears (trade w/ CAR): Georgia DL Jalen Carter

Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) sacks Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Kentucky and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Georgia won 30-13. News Joshua L Jones

Right now, it’s difficult to say just how far Jalen Carter’s off-the-field issues will cause him to fall in this draft. However, it’s hard to imagine him falling outside of the top 10 right now given his talent.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

The Eagles have allowed Darius Slay to seek a trade, so it seems to make sense that they would try to replace him in the draft. Joey Porter is a long, uber-athletic defensive back who can immediately be a starter in the NFL.

11. Tennessee Titans: Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.

As they watch their division-rival Colts and Texans load up on QBs, the Tennessee Titans could be a sneaky candidate to trade with the Cardinals and steal one of them. However, they also have a need at offensive tackle, and Paris Johnson is a physically-imposing presence to play left tackle.

12. Houston Texans: Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The Texans likely will trade Brandin Cooks at some point this offseason, so why not go get a younger version of that receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba? Houston got their starting QB, and now they also have a WR to go with him.

13. New York Jets: Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

Regardless of what the Jets do at the quarterback position in 2023, they absolutely need to find a way to improve their offensive line. Peter Skoronski can fill in at that right tackle spot immediately, allowing Alijah Vera-Tucker to kick inside to guard.

14. New England Patriots: TCU WR Quentin Johnston

Vikings Draft Thermometer: WR Quentin Johnston
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs after a catch in the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots need to get more dynamic on offense, and TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston possesses great size, length, and athleticism. Mac Jones finally has a consistent weapon to pass to.

15. Green Bay Packers: Alabama S Brian Branch

There are a number of questions in Green Bay’s secondary right now, and foremost among them is at safety considering the uncertainty around Adrian Amos’ future with the team. Brian Branch is a physical player at the position that set the tone for a defense.

16. Washington Commanders: Georgia OT Broderick Jones

The Commanders are in desperate need of an improved offensive line, regardless of who they start at quarterback next season. Broderick Jones is a mauler at tackle and provides an immediate upgrade at the position.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

Bryan Bresee was a dominant player on the interior of Clemson’s defensive line throughout his time there, and now, he joins the Pittsburgh Steelers who need a nice complement to T.J. Watt in the middle of their defensive front.

18. Detroit Lions: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy

Oct 8, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Myles Murphy (98) rushes against the Boston College Eagles during the second quarter at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Back-to-back Clemson Tigers go off the board in the middle of the first round. Detroit opts to stick with the defensive side of the ball by grabbing another of the more productive pass rushers from this past college football season in Myles Murphy.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Texas RB Bijan Robinson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to adjust to life after Tom Brady, and one way that they can utilize their still-strong offensive line is by getting a talented running back. Bijan Robinson is an elite talent at the position and well-worth a selection here at 19.

20. Seattle Seahawks: Pittsburgh DL Calijah Kancey

The Seattle Seahawks had some solid sack production in 2022, but they were inconsistent in terms of actually generating pressure. By snagging Calijah Kancey to pair with Tyree Wilson, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

Both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have had struggles with injuries over the past few seasons, so LA not only needs another consistent target for Justin Herbert to pass to, but they also need to make improvements at the tight end spot. Dalton Kincaid is a solution to both problems.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

It’s been well-known that the Baltimore Ravens need to get better at the wide receiver position. Hopefully Rashod Bateman makes a full return in 2023, but Jalin Hyatt gives them another elite, twitchy athlete to pair with him.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Boston College WR Zay Flowers

Sep 10, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) walks on the field during the second quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings made it official last week that they were going to let WR Adam Thielen go, and now, the wide receiver spot looks like one of the forefront needs of Minnesota’s offseason. Zay Flowers is certainly on the smaller side, but he is a sturdy receiver who can be a terrific route-runner.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

With Calvin Ridley coming back in 2023, the Jags are set up beautifully for 2023 on offense, but they need to get more consistent on the other side of the ball. Kelee Ringo brings a physical presence to the secondary and can be a cornerstone to build around.

25. New York Giants: Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

If wide receivers didn’t go in the early 20s, the Giants may be looking to take one with this pick. However, linebacker is another clear need for this team, so they snag one of the better off-ball linebackers in the class in Trenton Simpson.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Maryland CB Deonte Banks

If Dallas can find a true lockdown cornerback this offseason, they could finally be ready to take that next step towards Super Bowl contention. Deonte Banks looks like just that type of player.

27. Buffalo Bills: Florida IOL O’Cyrus Torrence

The interior offensive line for Buffalo needs some help and certainly is part of the reason that the Bills have struggled to establish a consistent running game over the past few years. O’Cyrus Torrence has been a bulldozer at guard for Florida, and he should help make the Bills o-line more well-rounded.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Georgia TE Darnell Washington

Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0) leaps over Oregon defensive back Bryan Addison (13) during the first half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff NCAA college football game between Oregon and Georgia in Atlanta, on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. News Joshua L Jones

Hayden Hurst is heading into free agency this offseason, and if the Bengals don’t want to give him another contract, then they could be looking to fill that position through the draft. Darnell Washington is a physical freak, capable of being a de facto sixth offensive lineman when needed.

29. New Orleans Saints: Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

Marcus Davenport is heading to free agency along with interior defensive linemen David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle, so the Saints should try to get more talented pass rushers through the draft to take the load off Cam Jordan. Nolan Smith recently put together an outstanding combine and showcased terrific speed and power at Georgia.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs

There have been rumors that the Eagles could take Bijan Robinson with the 10th overall pick considering how deep their roster is. However, when you can get another very talented player like Jahmyr Gibbs later on in the draft, why not just go after him and solidify the defense early on?

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness

Kansas City has had a propensity for taking ridiculously talented athletes with their early picks during their recent stretch of dominance, and Lukas Van Ness would be the latest example of this.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.