3-Round 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Who Will the Panthers Take at 1?

Jan 31, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich speaks at his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 31, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich speaks at his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports /
6 of 8
Broderick Jones, 2023 NFL Mock Draft pick 17 by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Broderick Jones (59) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

17. PIT-Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The Pittsburgh Steelers need help at cornerback and on the defensive line. But I believe that the biggest need lies on the offensive line. Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor CANNOT be starting tackles in the NFL next season.

Instead, the Steelers land the blindside protector for the back-to-back defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. Jones is a physically imposing presence who can dominate both in pass protection and in the run game. Pittsburgh must protect Kenny Pickett if they want him to truly develop into a dynamic NFL quarterback.

18. DET-Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

I mentioned earlier that you would notice a trend for the Detroit Lions early in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, addressing the defensive side of the ball. After landing the top cornerback, the Lions land a versatile piece for their defensive line.

Bryan Bresee is another guy that was highly-recruited to Clemson, and can play up and down the line. He is an excellent penetrator, spending a ton of time in the backfield. Alongside Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill, Bresee should be very disruptive for this new-look Lions defense.

19. TB-Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are another team facing a possible rebuild with a roster that has numerous needs. How free agency plays out will certainly narrow down the positions that the team could target in the first round of the 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Here, Todd Bowles goes with a freakishly athletic and imposing corner, that thrives in zone coverage. Kelee Ringo was once a consensus “CB1” for this draft class, but has seen his draft stock tumble in recent months. I think with proper coaching, like from Bowles, Ringo still has elite potential and can become a cornerstone for a rebuilding Bucs franchise.

20. SEA-O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

After beefing up their defensive front, the Seattle Seahawks do the same for their offensive line. After finding a couple promising tackles in last year’s draft with Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, it is important for the team to add some pieces inside to round out the unit.

O’Cyrus Torrence is a dominant force that will open up tons of running lanes for young running back, Kenneth Walker III. He can help protect re-signed quarterback Geno Smith, and gives a young team another piece to build around.

21. LAC-Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Right tackle is a position that I think the Los Angeles Chargers desperately need to address this offseason to help protect star quarterback Justin Herbert. But I am coming around to the popular thought of adding another dynamic receiver to this Chargers offense.

Keenan Allen is as solid as they come, but it is far from “dynamic” at this point in his career, and Mike Williams is effective down the field, but struggles to stay on it. A player like Zay Flowers can really help elevate this new-look offense under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Flowers is undersized, but is dynamic at all three levels. He can take a short throw the distance, has shown flashes of ability to separate on intermediate passes and is truly elite down the field. His speed is truly a mismatch and will help open things up for Herbert, Moore and the L.A. offense.

22. BAL-Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Baltimore Ravens, whether Lamar Jackson is under center or not, need to add another effective wide receiver. Rashod Bateman is solid, but has some injury issues. Jackson had a good connection with Hollywood Browns before he was traded to Arizona, but really has not had dynamic wide receivers throughout his time in Baltimore.

Quentin Johnston is a big body who is very effective with the ball in his hands. He uses his size well to box out defenders and can go up and get a tightly contested throw. Jackson has had some smaller receivers in Baltimore, and some effective tight ends. He hasn’t had much in between. Johnston would be a revelation for Jackson, or whoever is playing quarterback for the Ravens in 2023 and beyond. Plus, we already know he looks good in purple!

23. MIN-Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Making it an official “run” on wide receivers at this point in the 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Minnesota Vikings go with former Pitt and USC receiver Jordan Addison. Addison was a top wideout at Pitt before transferring to USC, where he was solid as well.

With the Vikings releasing veteran receiver Adam Thielen, the team needs to get a complement for Justin Jefferson. As dynamic as Jefferson is, having a player like Addison to lure some of the coverage will be critical to the success of the offense. Addison separates with the best of them and would provide Kirk Cousins with another reliable target as they look to compete in the NFC.

24. JAC-Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

The Jacksonville Jaguars were a delightful breakout team in 2022. Under new head coach Doug Pederson, the Jags offense was very impressive under Trevor Lawrence. Where the team needs to improve is on the defensive side of the ball.

While the team has a few nice, young pieces, adding more is a necessity to compete in a high-powered AFC. Brian Branch is a great nickel corner, who can play nearly anywhere in the secondary. Adding him to the likes of Tyson Campbell, Darious Williams, Rayshawn Jenkins and Andre Cisco would round out a very impressive, young secondary.

Bijan Robinson, 2023 NFL Mock Draft pick 26 by the Dallas Cowboys
27. Buffalo Bills — Bijan Robinson, RB, TexasSyndication Austin American Statesman /

25. NYG-Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

After signing Daniel Jones to a long-term deal, the New York Giants would be wise to continue to surround him with weapons. With most of the top wide receivers off the board, and Saquon Barkley returning under the franchise tag, the Giants go with the top tight end in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Dalton Kincaid is an ascending tight end prospect who is peaking at the right time ahead of the draft. He is a fluid route runner with impressive athleticism and size. He has great hands and is effective with the ball in his hands. If they are unable to land a top receiver, the top tight end is not a bad consolation prize for Jones and the Giants offense.

26. DAL-Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

I tried so hard to talk myself out of this pick, but the player is just too good to pass up. The Dallas Cowboys have already been connected to this Texas Longhorn, and Bijan Robinson is head and shoulders the best running back in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

With Ezekiel Elliott seemingly fizzling out on the back-end of his Cowboy career, and Tony Pollard ascending likely out of the team’s long-term price range, Dallas needs another answer at running back. The team did tag Pollard this offseason, but if they do not plan on extending him, Robinson can be the best of both worlds, with Zeke’s tough style of running and Pollard’s speed and effectiveness in the passing game all in one.

27. BUF-Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

If the Buffalo Bills are unable to retain veteran safety Jordan Poyer, safety becomes a glaring need for the AFC contender looking to get over the hump. Micah Hyde is still manning centerfield for head coach Sean McDermott’s secondary, but a Poyer departure would leave a void closer to the line of scrimmage.

With linebacker Tremaine Edmunds possibly leaving as a free agent as well, Buffalo really needs another piece that can be impactful over the middle of the field. Texas A&M’s Antonio Johnson can be that force, with the versatility to man up tight ends and running backs, and occasionally drop into zone and make plays on the ball.

28. CIN-Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

The Cincinnati Bengals completely revamped their offensive line last offseason after their Super Bowl run. Unfortunately for them, they will need to continue that once again this year. I believe that the team needs a cornerstone at the left tackle position, and Anton Harrison can be that player.

Harrison was the left tackle at Oklahoma and possesses the size and length that a pass-first team like the Bengals desire. He can hold his own against some of the best pass rushers in the nation, allowing the Bengals to move Jonah Williams inside to see if he is part of their plans for the future.

29. NO-Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Nolan Smith put on a show at the Combine, vaulting his draft stock up any 2023 NFL Mock Draft that you will see. He ran a blazing 40-yard dash after missing the end of the 2022 season with a pectoral injury.

By all accounts, Smith is a great leader and was the heart of the impressive Georgia defense throughout his time in Athens. The New Orleans Saints may be in need of a player like that with Cameron Jordan getting older, and Marcus Davenport potentially gone as a free agent.

The Saints drafted an edge prospect in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft with Payton Turner, and Smith is a great complement, with his speed and burst, for the powerful presence out of Houston. The Saints got their quarterback already in free agency, so they will need to reload their aging defense early in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft to shape their future.

30. PHI-Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

After going with a cornerback earlier in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles compensate for the potential loss of a few defensive tackles with Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey.

Philly is bound to lose at least a couple of the defensive tackles that they utilized last season, with Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph currently free agents. The Eagles drafted nose tackle Jordan Davis out of Georgia a year ago, and Kancey would be the perfect complement. He is slightly undersized, but is an elite penetrator and pass rusher. The young pairing would be outstanding for new defensive coordinator Sean Desai.

31. KC-Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

The Kansas City Chiefs decided not to franchise tag left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. once again this offseason. With Brown hitting the open market, the Chiefs may well be in need of a new left tackle. Here, they get a steal in Darnell Wright.

Going back to the Tennessee offensive line vault, after drafting guard Trey Smith in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, KC gets a riser who thrived at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Wright played right tackle at Tennessee, but has the size, footwork and power to dominate at left tackle.