NFL Mock Draft: Bears meet Alabama's Will Anderson at No. 1 overall

Share

The Monday following the end of the NFL regular season generally involves significant organizational changes, otherwise referred to as firings.

Yes, that next step is often necessary for several non-playoff teams who immediately dive into the process of evaluating and re-evaluating athletic talent along with their respective front office capabilities as soon as the final seconds tick on Week 18's play.

Several teams have already removed elements from their organizational structure, these changes will greatly impact free agency and the draft. So, for now these are the most likely prospects and the teams that may draft them. Trust me, the changes will continue with each new variable that's introduced from this week on.

Enjoy.

NFL Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.com.

1. Bears: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

I'm fully convinced there is a 90+ percent chance the Bears will trade away the first overall pick for more draft capital. There are so many areas of concern for Chicago that it might be considered gross negligence to not secure more draft picks by trading down. However, if by some happenstance Chicago chooses to take a player No. 1 overall the best non-quarterbacking playmaker would be Will Anderson. He is a defensive catalyst who can alter the landscape of any game at any moment.

2. Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Questions persist about Young's physical stature and possible durability issues as a quarterback in the NFL. Although he lacks prototypical size to play at the next level (6-foot, 194 pounds), Young performs with scalpel-like precision when executing game plans. In his final collegiate contest against Kansas State (Sugar Bowl), Young completed 71.4% of his passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns.

3. Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

It is unfair for someone Carter's size (6-foot-3, 310 pounds) to move as swiftly and forcefully past other humans like they were weighted blocking bags. Carter is extremely athletic, having performed as a lead blocker in goal line situations and scored a touchdown as an eligible receiver. His intimidating style and volatile approach to disrupting plays is next-level, must see TV.

4. Colts: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

As it turned out, the Buckeyes came extremely close to dethroning Georgia in last week's Peach Bowl semi-final playoff game (42-41). Throughout the contest, Stroud played with confidence and competence, completing 67.6% of his passes for 348 yards and four scores. Stroud passed well on roll outs; threw comfortably from the pocket; maneuvered purposefully under pressure and demonstrated a willingness to run with toughness. Essentially, Stroud performed like a future franchise quarterback and potential top-five draft prospect.

5. Seahawks (via DEN): Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Murphy is an exciting player whose burst and power to speed transitions are mesmerizing qualities to watch. Extremely aggressive at the point of attack, Murphy utilizes his brute strength to overpower opponents. His ability to rush the passer is equaled by his effectiveness and tenacity against the run.

6. Lions (via LAR): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

A two-time national champion, it would be a mistake for pundits to mistake Ringo's low defensive stats for ineffectiveness on the field. Ringo showcases sprinter speed (4.3 40-time) and at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, his ceiling projects higher than most of his draft class peers. Ringo's above-average change-of-direction ability, aggressive man to man coverage skills and his proficiency in zone schemes makes him a targeted asset in this top ten.

7. Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky 

Well, current Raiders coach Josh McDaniels all but escorted estranged quarterback Derrick Carr out of the team's facility and future plans. Considering McDaniels is the guy that drafted Tim Tebow in the first round and sent Jay Cutler (Bears all-time leading passer) packing, having him select a franchise signal caller might be questionable. What isn't up for debate, is just how athletically gifted Levis is and how tantalizing his potential projects at the pro level.

8. Falcons: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Bresee is freakishly quick for a man his size (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) having registered a 40-time of 4.7 seconds. In addition to his short area quickness, Bresee's weight room strength (435 pound bench press) translates onto the field by consistently out-leveraging opponents. Bresee's ability to align as either a three-technique or five-technique defender makes his versatility an asset many NFL coordinators covet.

9. Panthers: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Wilson is the type of irritatingly effective edge rusher that opposing teams hate battling while also being the kind of versatile athlete emblematic of Carolina's defensive style of play. Wilson can either set the edge or maneuver beyond it, causing disruption and chaotic uncertainty in offensive backfields. Playing the opposite end from Carolina's best edge rusher, Brian Burns, Wilson could significantly contribute to formulating a formidable one-two pass rushing tandem for the Panthers.

10. Eagles (via NO): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Among the more experienced defensive back prospects in this draft class (1,704 college snaps played), Porter is extremely nuanced in various techniques for covering receivers. He's excellent in diagnosing routes and utilizing measured anticipatory skills that successfully mirror pass catchers. Throughout his career, Porter has amassed 20 passes defended and over 100 total tackles while at Penn State.

11. Titans: 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 possesses NFL caliber size (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) and speed (4.4 40-time) that should threaten opposing teams' coverage schemes. During the Big 12 Championship and the Fiesta Bowl, Johnston dominated the defensive backs covering him, tallying 302 receiving yards on 10 catches including a 76 yard touchdown reception.

12: Texans (via CLE): 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, 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.

13. Jets: 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.

14. Patriots: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez plays with a confident certitude that compliments his athleticism. His 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 any kind of catch radius.

15. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

For the third season in a row, the Packers have lost their final game played at home with little to no production from the tight end position. In those aforementioned games, over a combined three seasons, Green Bay's tight ends registered 11 receptions for 79 yards and just one touchdown. Drafting Notre Dame's best and most accomplished tight end in school history could only improve a passing attack that struggles on crucial downs in close games.

16. Commanders: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Simpson moves with a video game-like suddenness, startling opponents into poor decisions and effectively causing chaos on the offensive side of the ball. The type of three-down linebacker that lines up anywhere on the field, in 2022 Simpson not only lined up on the defensive front he also played in the slot and defended within the box. Simpson's versatility is exactly what Washington could use to bolster its inconsistent second unit.

17. Steelers: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia

Rarely confused or displaced by stunting blitzers, Jones' fundamental approach to the game is enhanced by his elite athleticism and above average strength. Featuring excellent size (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) and impressive arm length allows Jones to sting and neutralize power rushers. His quick feet and loose lateral movements help in keeping tempo with speedy edge defenders. Jones may be the most athletically gifted offensive line prospect in the 2023 draft class.

18. Lions: 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 26 contests, Branch tallied 145 total tackles with 19 tackles for loss and 16 passes defended. Branch is truly one of the best back end, hybrid defensive prospects in the upcoming draft.

19. Buccaneers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

If the 2021 Biletnikoff Award were to last this far into the draft, Tampa would be insane to ignore such a fortuitous gift falling into its proverbial lap. Addison is a scheme-proof, quarterback friendly receiver, who can execute the entire route tree and merge seamlessly with any level of pass thrower. Catching a combined 25 touchdowns as a member of two teams (Pittsburgh 17, USC 8) in his last 25 games played, epitomizes how effective Addison can be.

20. Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

In a rebuilding season, the Seahawks making it to the playoffs was an unexpected accomplishment. In addition, the resurgent play of Geno Smith as a starting signal caller might redirect Seattle's team-building decisions. Richardson struggled some in 2022 as well and was doubted by many to be first round material, but finished strong by season's end. It's possible the Seahawks see a little of Smith's perseverance in Richardson's tenacious playing style.

21. Jaguars: Dawand Jones, OL, Ohio State

Jones is a massive human (6-foot-8, 359 pounds) who plays to his size, dominating in the run game and providing solid pass protection. Blessed with an impressive 89-inch wingspan and enormous hands (11 and 5/8ths), Jones utilized all that to help prevent any sacks from his right tackle position in 2022. Despite his gargantuan size, Jones showcases above-average flexibility and knee bend, both of which help him establish and maintain effective leverage against opponents.

22. 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.

23. Giants: Jaylin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

New York requires a consistent and dependable downfield threat to help its anemic and imbalanced offensive attack.Hyatt possesses phenomenal speed and make-you-miss agility, consistently frustrating defenders' attempts to stop him in the open field. His ability to accelerate and decelerate makes him dangerous either from the slot position or as a boundary receiver. The 2022 Biletnikoff Award recipients upside oozes with vast untapped potential that could provide an immediate impact.

24. Ravens: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Cam Smith is better in zone coverage than man-to-man schemes, but 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 a nickel slot defender on certain passing downs. A clever boundary defender, Smith has recorded six picks in his last 30 games played.

25. Chargers: 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 playmaking skills accounted for six interceptions, two of which were returned for scores. Phillips also defended six passes in 12 games.

26. Cowboys: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

The transfer portal in college football provides immediate opportunities for players to proactively change their situations for the better. Sanders, who began his career at Alabama and for two years (15 games) tallied just 33 tackles and one sack, is proof of that. After transferring to Arkansas for the 2022 season, Sanders became wildly productive, registering 103 tackles including 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 5 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles in only one season.

27. Bengals: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

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

28. Vikings: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Witherspoon finished second in the Big Ten conference with 14 passes defended and added three interceptions on the season. His closing speed, high football I.Q. and concept visualization skills makes Witherspoon an intriguing prospect to NFL evaluators. According to PFF (Pro Football Focus), Witherspoon is this season's top rated coverage cornerback with a 92.5 rating.

29. Broncos (via SF): Anton Harrison, OL, Oklahoma

Currently, the Denver offensive line is a source for anguish this season, giving up a league worst 63 sacks. Adding salt to the Broncos' offensive misery, is an impotent scoring attack that's produced only 11 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing scores to date (lower third in the NFL). Harrison gravitates to punishing defenders on run plays, but is adept at pass blocking from either tackle position.

30. Bills: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Having led the nation in yards from scrimmage (1,894), 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.

31. Chiefs: Jaelyn Duncan, OL, Maryland

Duncan is a fifth-year senior who flashes a ton of ability and athleticism, but needs to become more consistent, especially in pass protection sets. A proportionally long-limbed athlete (6-foot-6, 320 pounds), Duncan competitively establishes leverage by extending his lengthy arms and maintaining his balance with adequate knee flexibility. Duncan will get the chance to improve his draft status after receiving an invite to this year's Senior Bowl.

32. Eagles: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame 

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

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us