11. Arizona Cardinals – Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
The Cardinals would take Paris Johnson if he made it to No. 11, but this mock draft paints a different picture. Instead, Arizona pivots to my highest-rated lineman in the class. Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski boasts flawless technique in pass protection and in the running game. His hand usage is impeccable, and Skoronski is always the low man in a scrum. He is precisely what Kyler Murray needs to stay healthy.
12. Houston Texans – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Even after passing on a quarterback earlier in the mock draft, Houston still sorely lacks talent at the wide receiver position. Whether it is Davis Mills, Case Keenum, or perhaps Trey Lance, life would be infinitely easier with Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the fold. JSN is arguably the best route runner available in 2023, and his mind-blowing short-area quickness makes him tough to corral in space. The Texans land a WR1 at No. 12.
13. Green Bay Packers – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Seeing Smith-Njigba come off the board right before Green Bay hit the clock stings, and the front office could look to Zay Flowers or Dalton Kincaid, but the pass catcher streak on day one continues for another year! Instead, the Packers take Nolan Smith, a versatile pass rusher who flexes potential in coverage and is already an elite run defender.
14. New England Patriots – Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
New England typically targets cornerbacks later in the draft, but Joey Porter Jr. is too good to let him slide past them. The son of a former NFL star, Porter knows what it means to be a professional football player and is built with Patriots’ DNA. The Penn State star possesses long arms and uses them to disrupt passing lanes regularly. Porter is capable of playing zone and man, with his best snaps coming in one-on-one situations.
15. New York Jets – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Jets finally pulled off a deal to land Aaron Rodgers in the Big Apple. Now it is time to give him some protection up front by bolstering the offensive line. Darnell Wright is a plug-and-play starter as a rookie, giving New York a young, higher-upside option over Duane Brown. Wright allowed zero sacks in 2022 and can hold his own in the run game.
16. Washington Commanders – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Deonte Banks played college football less than 10 miles from Washington D.C., and the Commanders need a CB1 to build the secondary around, making this an easy choice. Banks is the prototypical size for a boundary cornerback, and when he eliminates the penalties from his game, the former Maryland standout will be a lockdown corner on Sundays.
17. Chicago Bears – Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa
Lukas Van Ness is another player with a wide range of outcomes in the 2023 NFL Draft. If Chicago stays at No. 9, the Iowa defensive lineman might be the choice. In this mock draft, he falls to No. 17 after the Bears trade down and add an extra second-rounder. Van Ness is a perfect fit in Matt Eberflus’ system, offering him positional versatility all down the line with his patented power and deceptive speed off the edge.
18. Detroit Lions – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The tight-end class is highly-regarded in 2023 for good reason. Utah’s Dalton Kincaid becomes the first one off the board at No. 18, offering the Lions another high-end pass catcher following Jameson Williams’ suspension. Kincaid owns the best hands in the class and is sneaky after the catch.
19. Tampa Bay Bucs – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Broderick Jones has a top-five ceiling in the 2023 NFL Draft, but there is a long way to go to get there. At No. 19 in this mock draft, the Bucs snag the former Bulldog and name him the starter at left tackle, allowing Tristan Wirfs to remain in his spot at right tackle. Jones is a dominant force in the run game and has all the traits to be a reliable pass-blocker. Consistency in his technique and more on-field experience will help unlock his potential on the blindside.