One Player Each Team Should Target in the 2023 NFL Draft

Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) warms up before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) warms up before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will Levis, potential target of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Will Levis. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

I believe that left tackle is a much bigger need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Will Levis is not a top player in the 2023 NFL Draft in my mind, but I do like the pairing of Levis and the Bucs. Tampa Bay will roll out Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, as it looks, in 2023. Neither of those players are viable long-term options.

Levis has the arm and the playing experience to operate the down-the-field passing scheme that the Bucs have operated in recent years. New offensive coordinator Dave Canales comes over from the Seattle Seahawks, who have operated a similar system with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as their Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Geno Smith had a breakout season in 2023 with Canales as the Quarterbacks Coach, so he may be able to find similar success with the young Levis.

New Orleans Saints – Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

The New Orleans Saints lost multiple important pieces in the middle of their defensive line in free agency this offseason in Shy Tuttle and David Onyemata (both to division rivals, I may add). They brought in Khalen Saunders, but they must continue to add pieces to revamp their defensive front if they want to stay a top defensive unit in the league moving forward.

Mazi Smith is a very talented defensive tackle that can stuff the run and get after the passer. He has a powerful anchor and can take on multiple blocks but also possesses impressive athletic burst off the snap. The entire defensive line will need rejuvenated in the coming seasons and adding a player like Smith is a great start.

Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

I don’t think that Bryce Young is the perfect fit for the Carolina Panthers. I would rather take C.J. Stroud or even Anthony Richardson if I was new head coach and play-caller Frank Reich. But that isn’t what’s important. If everyone in the Panthers front office and on the coaching staff agrees that Bryce Young is their guy, and they have a plan for how they want to use him, then he is who they should draft.

There is no doubt that Young can be a great player in the NFL. He is a dynamic playmaker off-schedule with great feel for the game. He throws with impressive anticipation and touch and did so even without the high-end receivers that Alabama quarterbacks are used to having.

I truly think his size, however, should be a legitimate concern for NFL teams. Not a deal-breaking concern, but at the very least a tie-breaking concern. I think Stroud, with his stature and frame, would be a better option in Reich’s offense. But if the coaching staff loves Young and has a plan for him, then they need to get him after making such a drastic move up to the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Atlanta Falcons – Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson

The Atlanta Falcons have been completely reloading on the defensive side of the ball this offseason for new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen who comes over from the New Orleans Saints. The one spot on the defense that I think the Falcons are still lacking, even after adding veteran edge rusher Bud Dupree, is a true 4-3 defensive end.

The Falcons will look to be versatile on defense in 2023, but in a four-man front, having a Cameron Jordan-type defensive end would be a great move. A defensive front of Clemson’s Myles Murphy, Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata, Calais Campbell, and Dupree would be as solid as it comes. Murphy, still just 21 years old, was a five-star recruit out of high school and was productive in his three years at Clemson. He has great size and athleticism and is getting lost in the talk of top edge rushers in the 2023 NFL Draft. Most rumors link Atlanta to Georgia’s Nolan Smith, but I think Murphy is a better fit and a sleeper to go earlier than expected in the first round.