The 2023 NFL Draft is only a few short weeks away now. As mock drafts get re-mocked after Pro Days, the NFL Combine, and changing winds, the football world anxiously awaits to see which teams will head into May with success stories. CBS’ Ryan Wilson released a full seven-round mock draft that we will take a look at here. Can he get into the heads of GMs and coaches? And which QB will go first? Check out our analysis here:
Wilson sees CJ Stroud and Bryce Young going one-two, in that order, which follows the trend that just about every mock draft was predicting, but things have switched pretty dramatically toward Young getting the nod. Whether Young or Stroud is the first pick is still a question.
Then, Anthony Richardson heads to the Indianapolis Colts in Wilson’s projection, and Will Levis is kept waiting until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 19th pick to get drafted here. Hendon Hooker holds off to the third round in this mock.
Young is at -1400 at DraftKings Sportsbook to be the first overall pick, with Stroud behind him at +700. It would be an upset if Stroud went to the Panthers.
First defensive player taken
As expected, Alabama’s Will Anderson, Jr. is the first defensive player drafted in this mock, going third to the Arizona Cardinals. The edge rusher is as NFL-ready as you can ask a defender to be. Jalen Carter has been higher up in other mock drafts, but Wilson has him falling to the eighth pick, behind Luke Van Ness and Tyree Wilson.
I like Boston College’s Zay Flowers heading to the Chargers in this mock. The Chargers have an all-star in Justin Herbert, but their receiving corps has dealt with injury after injury in recent seasons. Some youth and depth certainly can’t hurt on that offense if Flowers can stay healthy. He is not a particularly tall receiver, especially by pro standards, but as a quick and slippery slot receiver, he could fit well with Herbert in Los Angeles.
It’s more of a lack of a pick — Wilson has Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughan going undrafted, which would be a huge snub and a huge steal for whichever team grabs him as a UDFA. Sure, he’s undersized, but that didn’t matter when he was putting up 100-yard games on the regular against some of the best teams in college football. Yes, the NFL is different, and I can’t guarantee success. But this seems like a major oversight in this mock.
Levis and Carter both go lower than expected in this draft, which is interesting, and could point to those off-the-field factors that have to be taken into consideration. Otherwise, there aren’t many surprises — the top cornerbacks and edge rushers of the class will go early, as will offensive tackles Paris Johnson, Darnell Wright, and Peter Skoronski. Wide receivers likely won’t start getting taken off the board until later in the first round, though Wilson has Jaxon Smith-Njigba going at No. 12.