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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles grab Combine freak in latest mock draft

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1. Carolina Panthers (by CHI) – QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State

The Panthers traded with the Bears to get their man, and Stroud is that guy. He had a tumultuous college career and excelled at the Combine. The question is can he finally shake the specter of Ohio State’s QBs: awesome in college, underperforming in the pros. We will see.

2. Houston Texans-QB Bryce Young, Alabama

He’s not NFL size for a QB, but he’s got everything else: intelligence, creativity, athleticism, arm strength. His ability to improvise is second to none. He ran a pro system in Alabama, so he’s ready for day one. Seems to be cut from the same cloth as Jalen Hurts, nothing really seems to reach him. That will be key as he begins his NFL journey with a 3-win team.

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3. TRADE: Washington Commanders (from ARI) – QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

The Commanders are trading their top two picks in the 2023 draft (16th, 47th overall) plus a No. 1 from 2024 for Cardinals in a bid to step up and snag their franchise QB in Richardson. While a little raw, his natural talents will make a fantastic weapon for Eric Bienemy, OC freshman.

4. Indianapolis Colts – QB Will Levis, Kentucky

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts try to move up to the big three in the QB class, but they’ll get a solid consolation prize in Levis if they stay here. Levi’s is polished, but he certainly should be better; he’ll be 24 before he plays a down in the NFL.

5. Seattle Seahawks (by DEN) – DL Jalen Carter, Georgia

Carter could – and probably should – go first overall in this draft. But as always, quarterbacks are the top priority this time of year. Georgia drafted five defensive players in the first round last year and Carter may be better than them all.

6. Detroit Lions (by Rams) – CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Gonzalez was the top CB candidate to enter the Combine and did nothing to hurt that ranking, driving a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 41.5-inch vertical. Its combination of size and strength is the best in its class. A starter for the first week.

7. Las Vegas Raiders-EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama

Expectations are high for Anderson, and rightly so. He’s averaged nearly a sack per game over the past two seasons, with 48 TFL over that span. He’s probably the most pro-ready player in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team or two didn’t try to spin and jump into the draft to snag it.

8.Atlanta Falcons-EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Long and strong, Wilson built the NFL from the start. While he still needs some work on his fundamentals, he’s had seven sacks each of the past two seasons. He should provide much-needed help to a pass rush that ranked 31st in the NFL with just 21 sacks.

9. Chicago Bears (from CAR) – CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

Illinois led the nation in goal defense last season, and Witherspoon was a major reason behind that. He abused receivers at the scrimmage line, which can be a blessing and a next-level curse if he doesn’t temper his approach. He may struggle early on to play in the zone scheme, but you don’t have to worry about pocketing him to play man.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from NE) – DL Calijah Kancey, Pitt

The Eagles would rather draft the best available player than need him, but I don’t care. My mock draft, my rules. Kancey is disruptive and about as athletic as can be expected for his height. He ran the fastest 40-meter dash for a DT since they started keeping track of things like this and tracked down a guy named Aaron Donald who also drove to Pitt.

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That being said, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Eagles went down a bit in the first round to add some picks since they only have three in the first six rounds of the draft. Howie Roseman would do well to trade into his teens and replenish the depth lost by freehand.

11. Tennessee Titans – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

He missed most of 2022 with a hamstring injury, but he showed at the combine he’s healthy and ready to go. He posted the fastest times among WRs in the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill. So much for the skeptics’ claims of its lack of speed.

12. Houston Texans (by CLE) – WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

Houston is whipping up their franchise QB and now they have a #1 target to get the ball in Johnston, who has the strength, size and speed to take anything to the next level.

13. New York Jets – OT Peter Skoronski, Northwest

The Jets need help down the offensive line, and Skoronski can play any position you need. He has the power to thrive in the NFL, but what really stands out is his fundamentals. There is almost never a misstep in its mechanics.

14. New England Patriots – CB Joey Porter, Penn State

Porter is the best man in the draft. Ridiculous length, not the fastest in the world, but he makes up for it with hand placement and game intelligence.

15. Green Bay Packers-TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

He only played football for a year in high school, but he caught on very quickly in Utah, catching 70 passes for 890 yards and eight goals last season. Jordan Love gets a safe pair of hands out of the gate with the first pick of the pack.

16. TRADE: Arizona Cardinals (of WAS) – RAND Myles Murphy, Clemson

Murphy was pretty much in the backfield at Clemson, averaging 36 TFL and 18.5 sacks in his three years there. He’ll give the Cardinals’ missing pass rush an instant boost.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – RAND Luke Van Ness, Iowa

Van Ness, another late bloomer, didn’t start playing soccer until the eighth grade. A little fickle but he makes enough big games and has the urge to keep improving.

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18. Detroit Lions-EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

He showed up at the combine with his 4.39 40-yard dash time. He’s more of a 3-4 outside linebacker than a 4-3 end, but if he bulks up a bit and keeps his ridiculous mobility, he can make a world of difference up front.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DB Brian Branch, Alabama

A very solid anchor for an already strong defense. Branch doesn’t do anything bad or slow. Perhaps the most footballing of all first-round players.

20. Seattle Seahawks – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

He will most likely be a slot in the NFL. He’s definitely got the speed and heaviness to be a nightmare with the ball in hand.

21. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State

Protecting Justin Herbert should be Job One for the Chargers. Paris Johnson will help whether they are guarding him or attacking him. Just need to add some more power.

22. Baltimore Ravens – CB Deonte Banks, Maryland

The Ravens snap up the Baltimore native to help out his hometown team. Banks has a lot that NFL teams are looking for: size, straight-line speed, athleticism. If he learns the craft and becomes instinctive rather than reactive, he could become a superstar.

23. Minnesota Vikings – OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

He’s green but very talented. athletically gifted; ran top 40 at Combine, played basketball in high school. He will give Christian Darrisaw a run for the left tackle start at camp.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

Harrison didn’t impress at the combine, and I think that put him down a bit. Doug Pederson will happily snag the Oklahoma man who has all the physical tools but needs to build strength to win and retain an NFL starting job.

25. New York Giants – DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson

The Giants couldn’t stop anyone from running the ball last season. They address that with Bresee, an athletic, instinctive player who is very difficult to block – even with doubles teams – when in his game.

26. Dallas Cowboys – RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

With Ezekiel Elliott on the way out, Dallas makes the splash draft pick they’ve been known for for decades. A Texas monster, Robinson ranked fourth in school history in rushing yards. But will that come with a price? He’s had more than 500 touches over the past two seasons. That’s a lot of miles on his tires before he even reaches pro level.

27. Buffalo Bills – TE Michael Mayer, Notre-Dame

Mayer may not be the fastest or the fastest of the bunch, but these days he’s part of a small sample: a tight end that can help you in the run game and pass game. Very safe hands and good luck in the 1v1 duel.

28. Cincinnati Bengals – DL Mazi Smith, Michigan

The Bengals’ defense adds another anchor at center in Smith, a strong, physical player who will get some early down work. Needs some work to get off the ball on the snap or it will cost him the next level.

29. New Orleans Saints (by DEN) – WR Jordan Addison, USC

The Saints get a slot receiver for their new QB Derek Carr. Addison had a nice hand building Kenny Pickett’s draft roster at Pitt before joining USC. The best YAC receiver in class 2023.

30. Philadelphia Eagles – OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Fla

Roseman is on guard here and Torrence brings a lot to the table. He’s a big guy even by NFL standards (6’5″, 350lbs) and dominates the running game. I wonder if he would be successful in an Eagles attack where the guards have to get up and move, not just planing.

31. Chiefs of Kansas City – WR Josh Downs, North Carolina

Big Red plugs the hole left by JuJu Smith-Schuster with Downs, who was a monster from the slot for UNC. He’s had nearly 200 catches over the past two seasons, 19 of them for touchdowns. He’s also measured among the fastest 10-meter splits at the combine, which as a slot receiver can be more important than your 40 time.

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