20. Seattle Seahawks – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Seahawks went with a traitsy pass rusher at No. 7, but general manager John Schneider opts to go with a less conventional option at 20. Boston College’s Zay Flowers is a spark plug with the ability to score any time he touches the ball. He lacks the size that Seattle typically looks for in a receiver, but with Lockett on the downswing of his career, Flowers looks like an easy replacement.
21. Los Angeles Chargers – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Bijan Robinson should go earlier than this in the 2023 NFL Draft and almost assuredly will. However, finding a landing spot is not easy so Robinson makes it to his floor in this mock draft, arriving to the Chargers poised to take over the backfield. The Longhorn running back displays patience, vision, and a shiftiness that forces countless missed tackles. Robinson is phenomenal in the passing game as well, clearing the way for an Austin Ekeler divorce this offseason or next.
22. Baltimore Ravens – Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Mock drafts are weird sometimes, and Myles Murphy being available at 22 certainly fits the bill the ‘weird’. The Ravens could look to the wide receiver or cornerback room here, but with most of the top players already off the board, Baltimore does what Baltimore does best and takes the best player available. Myles Murphy is a freaky athlete who holds up well as a run defender and is a potential 10-sack-a-season guy in the NFL.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
The Vikings have been linked to Hendon Hooker for a couple of months, and with the first-round buzz picking up lately, Minnesota picks its successor to Kirk Cousins at No. 23. Hooker is an older prospect coming off an ACL tear, but redshirting the season and learning under Cousins is a great way to make the most of a bad situation. The Vols quarterback is an accurate passer and brings some mobility with him to the league.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
The Jaguars have promising pieces littered throughout the roster, but outside of Tyson Campbell, the secondary leaves much to be desired. Brian Branch can play multiple spots in the defensive backfield but specializes as a slot defender. The Alabama superstar is a hard hitter and possesses remarkable range and man coverage ability from the slot.
25. New York Giants – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Emmanuel Forbes is a hand-in-glove fit for Wink Martindale’s defense. Sure, in a perfect world, Forbes weighs more than 180 pounds, but his fluid hips, impressive ball skills, and confidence allows the Mississippi State alum to serve as a CB1 regardless of size. With 14 career interceptions, Forbes adds another element to the defense with his ball-hawking ability.
26. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Cowboys lost Dalton Schultz earlier in the offseason and did not replace him in free agency. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot are fine options at tight end, but neither player inspires much optimism in the fan base as the top option on the depth chart. Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer is a day-one starter who impacts the game as a blocker and as a chain-moving pass catcher downfield.
27. Buffalo Bills – O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida
The Bills must establish a run game before Josh Allen gets into his older age. The first step is not at running back, but rather in the trenches. Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence will be one of the better run blockers in the NFL upon arrival, and his anchor is as good as any in the class. Finally, some progress for Allen and Co.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Keion White, DL, Georgia Tech
Keion White is one of my favorite players in the 2023 NFL Draft, and if he were a couple of years younger, he would firmly be in top-10 discussions. The Bengals take the chance on White at No. 28, betting on his raw traits and hoping to develop better habits in terms of technique and fundamentals. Cincinnati cannot force a need in round one; they should take the best player on their board with their Super Bowl window wide open.
29. New Orleans Saints – Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern
The Saints traded Sean Payton to Denver earlier in the offseason and netted some draft capital in return, with No. 29 overall being the prize piece. With the selection, the Saints take another defensive lineman, hoping to finally replace the production of Trey Hendrickson. Adetomiwa Adebawore is a generational athlete still learning to rush the passer efficiently. He was asked to eat up double teams and play inside primarily at Northwestern, but in New Orleans, Adebawore can slide up and down the line.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
I debated with myself for quite some time on this pick for the Eagles. While Howie Roseman fought the urge to take Bijan Robinson earlier in the mock draft, he cannot fight the temptation when he sees Jahmyr Gibbs available at No. 30. Gibbs is cut from the same cloth as Alvin Kamara, using trademark explosiveness and shiftiness to embarrass oncoming tacklers. The Crimson Tide ball carrier is capable of attacking holes between the tackles as well, giving head coach Nick Sirianni a cheat code for his offense.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
Calijah Kancey is going somewhere on day one of the draft, even if it is No. 31 overall to the Chiefs. General manager Brett Veach should be looking for a potential Chris Jones replacement in the near future, and in this mock draft, one falls in his lap. Kancey is a disruptive presence on the interior, showing polish and refinement as a pass rusher and the willingness to strike down running backs between the tackles. Another draft, another steal for Kansas City… or should I say Kancey City?