2023 NFL Mock Draft: Jalen Carter tracks for Bears at No. 2


The collegiate regular season is complete and conference championships have concluded. Currently, college football players are in the process of declaring for the NFL or deciding to return for another campaign.

Evaluating injured players with truncated seasons will be difficult, as will assessing athletes that produced disappointing statistical results. Are Anthony Richardson and Will Levis really franchise signal callers, or just superior athletes playing at quarterback? Is wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba healthy and worthy of a first round selection? Hopefully, this week's mock clears up any uncertainties surrounding your favorite team. Enjoy.

NFL Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.com.

1. Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State 

Despite throwing two interceptions in the season finale against bitter rival Michigan, Stroud still completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 349 yards and two scores. On the season, Stroud managed a 6-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio (37:6) in leading the Buckeyes to an 11-win regular season. Stroud's consistency and competitiveness will strongly influence his selection as the No. 1 overall pick.

2. Bears: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

More than likely, if the Bears remain in this position, they'll trade down for more draft capital. However, if Chicago makes a selection with the No. 2 pick, targeting Carter vastly improves the team's ability to pressure quarterbacks and stuff the run. Carter's quickness and power might help level an inadequate playing field for Chicago's inept defense.

3. Seahawks (via DEN): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Twelve games into their season, the Seahawks are the fith-worst team in points allowed per contest (25.3). Seattle's inability to apply ample pressure on opposing quarterbacks coincides with the 18 aerial scores they've allowed in 2022. Drafting a talent like Anderson, with his career 58.5 tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks, would undoubtedly improve Seattle's ability to limit opponents' scoring chances.

4. Lions (via LAR): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Should the Lions make a choice at No. 4, it's likely they choose Young, arguably the best overall quarterback prospect entering the draft. Young is a phenomenal decision-maker who delivers clutch moments full of accurate passes and timely results. Young's 75 touchdown passes to only 12 interceptions indicate how effective he could be at the next level.

5. Eagles (via NO): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Murphy keeps things simple, beating opponents with explosive surges that force them into playing on their heels, his ability to strike fast helps in out-leveraging blockers, while his strength allows him to forcefully redirect his opponents. Murphy can rush from either side and creates enough havoc to keep offenses off schedule and in a continuous state of flux.

6. Panthers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Levis may be the most unpredictable wildcard in the upcoming draft. Opinions on him range from surefire top five pick to his possibly being a mid-third round selection,to being an over-hyped Carson Wentz clone (and not in a good way). Unless the Panthers trade up for either Stroud or Young, chances are they may talk themselves into taking Levis over any other quarterback in the draft.

7. Jaguars: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia 

The AFC Conference is littered with elite receivers (Ja'marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Davonte Adams, Stephon Diggs etc....) and in order to compete against those teams one requires top-tier defensive stoppers in their secondary. Ringo is a physical specimen (6'2, 210 lbs) blessed with 10.43 speed (100 meters) and NFL-level agility to stay glued to receivers.

8. Cardinals: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern

A sound technician with exceptional upper body strength, Skoronski plays with a nastiness that discourages defenders ill equipped to handle his power. Skoronski is arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft class, routinely producing top notch performances on a weekly basis. Skoronski is a respected pro prospect who flashes day one starting potential. According to PFF, Skoronski is the highest rated pass blocker (92.4) in the nation.

9. Colts: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

Foskey's suddenness off the edge makes him a special talent that commands respect from offensive tackles. His ability to chase down ball carriers for backside stops, plus his improved awareness in thwarting trap runs and screen passes, makes Foskey extremely difficult to scheme against. Essentially, the Colts need a player like Foskey whose ceaseless motor and physicality overwhelms opponents.

10. Falcons: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

If only the Falcons' star interior defensive lineman, Grady Jarrett, had help alongside him when pressuring offensive lines. Should the stars align, Jarrett, a former Clemson Tiger, may get help from one of his alma mater's current NFL hopefuls. A lean interior defensive talent (6'5, 300 lbs), Bresee demonstrates an unusual ability to get "skinny" between double teams and create chaos behind the line of scrimmage. 

11. Packers: Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State

A natural athlete with easy lateral fluidity in and out of his sets, Johnson projects as a NFL left tackle. An intelligent player who executes blocks well into the second level of defenses, he's the type of agile blocker required in today's more open offensive style of play. Johnson's enviable blend of size, length, strength and awareness showcases a high ceiling worthy of a day one selection.

12: Raiders: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Quick and agile for his size (6'6", 275 lbs), Wilson compliments his athleticism by utilizing his length (86 inch wingspan) to create leverage and manipulate blockers at the point of attack. So far, the Raiders' 3-year, $51 million signing of free agent edge rusher Chandler Jones, netted only 3.5 sacks and 30 combined tackles in 12 games. Las Vegas may luck into a younger more affordable option if Wilson is available by the 12th pick.

13. Texans (via CLE): Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston is a legit aerial weapon with long striding acceleration, above average leaping ability and an impressive catching radius. As a boundary receiver, Johnston posesses NFL-caliber size (6'4", 212 lbs) and speed (4.4 40-time) that should theaten opposing teams' coverage schemes. A career average of 18.7 yards per reception, makes Johnston the type of deep threat NFL evaluators spend time convincing general managers to draft.

14. Steelers: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

Jones may be the most athletically gifted offensive line prospect in the 2023 draft class - his size (6'4", 315 lbs) and impressive arm length allow him to sting and stymie aggressive power rushers. Jones' dominating physical attributes are suited to playing either tackle position at the next level, his amazing lateral quickness typically defuses pass rushers' attempts to speed past the edge, making him a highly sought after commodity.

15. Lions: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter Jr. sports prototypical size for a corner (6'2, 191 lbs) and enjoys mixing it up physically on the girdiron. Among the more experienced defensive back prospects in this draft class, Porter is extremely nuanced in various techniques for covering receivers. He's excellent in diagnosing routes and utilizing measured anticipatory skills that successfully frustrate pass catchers.

16. Chargers: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Simpson is a do-it-all defender with elite athleticism and a versatile toolbox which allows him to dominate games. A special player with the ability to blitz off the edge, shed blocks to stuff ball carriers or glide into space and eliminate underneath passing lanes, Simpson has, over his last 25 games played, tabulated 137 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

17. Patriots: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Smith is a patient defender who moves with quick feet, but is never panicked or over zealous in his coverage assignments. Better in zone coverage than man-to-man schemes, Smith is athletically and technically sound enough to compete in a variety of ways. A smooth player with NFL caliber speed, Smith can perform as a boundary corner or nickel slot defender on certain passing downs.

18. Commanders: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

Sewell is a powerfully sculpted interior linebacker, whose size (6'3", 250 lbs) and strength enables him to ward off blockers while making bone-jarring tackles. An intuitive player, Sewell is extremly adept at utilizing angles to pursue ball carriers and is quick enough to track them down for insignificant gains. Washington needs more talent at the linebacker position.

19. Buccaneers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Aside from four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans, the Bucs' receiving corps is either aging or constantly dealing with injury and missed games. Addison is an exceptional route runner, who can shift gears while making precise cuts, which create organic separation from defenders. Displaying uncommon body control, Addison gracefully makes difficult catches appear effortless.

20. Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Before the NFL season began, most pundits speculated that Seattle would use one of its two first round picks on a quarterback. However, the resurgent play of Geno Smith as a starting signal caller may redirect Seattle's team-building decisions. Richardson has struggled in 2022, causing some to doubt his first-round material, but his finish this season was strong. It's possible the Seahawks see a little of Smith's perseverance in Richardson's tenacious playing style.

21. Titans: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

Downs is a dazzling receiver with elite quickness, uncommon toughness and an adamant focus when pass catching. Over the past 24 games he's tabulated 195 receptions for 2354 yards and 22 aerial scores. The Titans need a dependable and productive receiver to help diversify an offense that's too reliant on running back Derrick Henry.

22. Jets: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

Johnson is a dynamic, long-limbed, 6-foot-3 and 200 pound enforcer in the defensive backfield who can blitz the quarterback, cover any type of receiver and make bone-jarring tackles in run support. Johnson makes quick decisions and commits with measured abandon and ferocity that energizes his teammates. Like a coiled cobra, he strikes without mercy or guilt.

23. Giants: Jaylin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Arguably, Hyatt may be the most productive receiver of the 2023 draft class. Hyatt's 15 receiving scores are tied for first in the nation and his 1,267 yards are third among FBS receivers. It's quite possible that Hyatt moved from national obscurity to a potential day one draft selection.

24. Dolphins: FORFEITED

The Miami Dolphins forfeited one of their two first-round picks (plus a third-round pick in 2024) for tampering surrounding Tom Brady.

25. Broncos (via SF): Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

A former Big-12 co-Defensive Player of the Year, Anudike-Uzomah is a long-limbed and lean edge rusher, whose length capably staves off blockers until he leverages his strength past them. Effectively versatile, he can either play with his hands down on the ground, or standing in space before rushing the passer. Intelligent and instinctive, Anudike-Uzomah is a rising talent with a very high ceiling.

26. Ravens: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Verse's aggressive and productive play has catapulted him onto draft boards late this season, much like last year's Seminoles' standout, Jermaine Johnson II. Last season, Johnson "materialized" from obscurity to become the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a first round pick of the Jets. This year Verse developed into an edge rushing problem for offenses, tallying 14.5 tackles for loss and seven and a half sacks.

27. Bengals: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

The one aerial weapon the Bengals are without is a seam stretching tight end with blocking skills. Mayer would fit perfectly into Cincy's sophisticated passing schemes because of his effecient route running and NFL caliber catching prowess. Although he doesn't have downfield speed to threaten safeties, he does possess above average quickness to control the middle of the field and size enough to screen off defenders from passes.

28. Cowboys: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

Phillips is a sturdy, compact boundary corner with excellent anticipation skills, who plays bigger than his average size would indicate. More quick than fast as a coverage defender, Phillips wins through disciplined positioning and next level awareness. On the season, Phillips' ubiquitous play-making skills accounted for six interceptions, of which two were returned for scores. Plus, Phillips defended six passes in 12 games.

29. Chiefs: Gervon Dexter, DL, Florida

Dexter's impressive natural strength and solid base help him maintain leverage against linemen at the point of attack. The ability to quickly shed blockers makes him problematic for plays headed in his vicinity. Extremely athletic considering his size and length (6'6, 313 lbs), Dexter's flexibility will endear him to coordinators dreaming of where to align this scheme friendly defender.

30. Vikings: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez plays with a confident certitude that compliments his athleticism with an ability to pivot cleanly showcases an acceleration that gains immediate upfield access when challenging pass catchers. This long-limbed defender competes tenaciously for 50/50 jump balls, with an astounding 42 inch vertical that challenges the widest catch radius. Minnesota needs to prepare for football life without all-pro cornerback Patrick Peterson should he not return next season.

31. Bills: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

NFL scouts are impressed with Robinson's entire repertoire as a complete running back. Aside from his instinctive running style and next level burst past flailing defenders, evaluators rave about Robinson's pass protection skill set and willingness to block. Yes, Robinson is an adept pass catcher and accomplished runner, but it'll be his pass blocking that could make him a day one starter.

32. Eagles: Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch boasts a legitimate 40-time of 4.4 seconds with complimentary lateral quickness. A physical player, Branch's tightly muscled core and strong lower body create significant torque when driving through opponents on his tackles. Over the past 25 contests, Branch tallied 143 total tackles with 15.5 tackles for loss and 16 passes defended. Branch is truly one of the best back end, hybrid defensive prospects in the upcoming draft.

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