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2023 NFL mock draft: C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young in top two — who’s next?

The NFL season has reached its halfway level, and we now have two months’ value of information from the 2022 faculty soccer season. The NFL Draft continues to be six months away, however crew wants are coming into focus, so we are able to start to whittle down among the candidates who could possibly be taken in the primary spherical.

1. Detroit Lions: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud checks all of the packing containers, however there’s one which’s out of his management: Ohio State QBs who dominate in the Big Ten have not finished the identical in the NFL. Lots of people did say the identical about Big 12 QBs earlier than Patrick Mahomes hit the NFL like a comet.

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud & Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker are the top Heisman candidates

FOX Sports’ RJ Young shares his top 5 Heisman candidates after Week 7 of the faculty soccer season. C.J. Stroud of the Ohio State Buckeyes continues to be on the top, however Tennessee Volunteers QB Hendon Hooker shot up the ranks after main the Volunteers to an exciting win over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

There are many questions on his 5-foot-10, 180-pound body holding up in the NFL. He’s really smaller than Tua Tagovailoa. Young’s penchant for unbelievable passes makes him an alluring prospect, nevertheless.

3. Carolina Panthers: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

He opened eyes final yr with 24 TD passes and 9 TD rushes, however Levis is working a lot much less typically this yr — maybe as a consequence of a foot harm. At 6-foot-3, 230 kilos, he is obtained a sturdy body and an enormous arm and will contend for the top general choose.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound move rusher is extremely twitchy, and lining up reverse T.J. Watt, could be a nightmare for QBs. Anderson led the nation with 17.5 sacks final season. The Steelers desperately want offensive line assist, however you may’t move up TJ Watt and Will Anderson on the identical defensive position. 

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The stud move catcher has barely performed this season after struggling a leg harm in opposition to Notre Dame in the opener. However, he is nonetheless projected as one of the best receiver in the draft after a monster sophomore season (95 catches, 1606 yards, 9 TDs). I believe he immediately turns into Trevor Lawrence’s No. 1 possibility, even after the Calvin Ridley commerce.

6. Las Vegas Raiders: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Midway by means of the 2022 season, Skoronski is pulling away as one of the best sort out in the draft. He’s additionally the highest-graded sort out in the nation per Pro Football Focus, permitting only one sack this season.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

Foskey has the scale (6-foot-5, 265 kilos) and pace to be a dominant edge rusher in the NFL. Last yr’s 11 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss have invited additional consideration, however his stats are barely down (7 sacks, 9 TFL). The Bucs protection has been an enormous letdown this season, they usually may use the move rush.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (by way of New Orleans): Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

He has been beginning since his freshman yr, and the previous top-five high-school recruit is usually a terror. The 6-foot-5, 275 kilos defensive finish could possibly be the proper match reverse one other former Clemson star, Christian Wilkins. The Eagles have two growing older edge rushers in, Brandon Graham and Robert Quinn.

9. Houston Texans (by way of Cleveland): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

While Johnson Jr. began at proper guard final yr, he is now starring at left sort out for the Buckeyes. This season, he is allowed simply two pressures and 0 sacks. You cannot go flawed with two Ohio State stars in the top 10, and the remainder of the picks can skew in direction of protection.

10. Seattle Seahawks (by way of Denver): Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

He’s been slowed by an MCL harm, however his eye-opening sophomore yr (8.5 TFL, 3 sacks) on a protection loaded with 2022 NFL Draft picks has invited Chris Jones comparisons. Taking a quarterback right here could possibly be in play, relying on how Geno Smith performs in the second half of the season. 

11. Arizona Cardinals: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

The No. 1 recruit in the 2020 recruiting class has been hampered this yr by a kidney an infection after a torn ACL final yr. But when Bresee is wholesome, he is probably the greatest linemen in the nation. The Cardinals should blitz as a result of they haven’t any move rush since Chandler Jones signed elsewhere.

12. Chicago Bears: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

This former five-star recruit lastly grew to become a starter this yr, and he is allowed only one stress whereas defending Stetson Bennett. The Bears are determined for offensive line assist to guard Justin Fields. Jones is working his means into being a first-round choose. He’s in the second tier of tackles in the draft.

13. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The Pittsburgh switch is a speedy expertise who dominates in house. Addison could be an enormous addition to the struggling Packers receiving group. 

14. Detroit Lions (by way of LA Rams): Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Verse is a switch from Albany, the place he was the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year. He’s made a huge impact for the Seminoles with 8.5 TFL and 4 sacks, together with a monster effort in opposition to LSU (2 sacks, 2.5 TFL). The Colts could also be in for an enormous overhaul this offseason — entrance workplace, coaches and gamers. 

15. Indianapolis Colts: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Yes, Hooker turns 25 in January, however how will you deny the leap he is constituted of being a working QB at Virginia Tech to profitable from the pocket at Tennessee? He’s solely six months older than Kenny Pickett and a way more polished NFL product. He may have round 40 faculty begins by the top of his profession and would be the most polarizing QB prospect in the NFL Draft, given his age (he turns 25 in January).

16. Cincinnati Bengals: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The son of the previous Steelers nice is an All-American expertise who, by season’s finish, might need a case to be one of the best cornerback in the nation. The Bengals can be in search of an edge rusher or defensive again, each with an eye fixed on defending Buffalo. Porter Jr. was solely focused twice by C.J. Stroud in the loss to the Buckeyes, allowing solely two catches for 23 yards.

17. New England Patriots: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

There’s some Gronk in the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mayer, who was an All-American in 2021 and is on his method to that honor once more. Given the dominance of Kelce, Kittle and Mark Andrews, can Mayer sneak into the Top 10?

Tight finish Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dives to attain a landing through the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.

18. Washington Commanders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Has morphed into maybe one of the best cowl cornerback in faculty soccer and is a big purpose Illinois is likely one of the largest surprises in the nation, going from twenty ninth in scoring protection to first. The William Jackson signing was a bust, and the Commanders desperately want CB assist. 

19. Atlanta Falcons: Andre Carter, Edge, Army 

The 6-foot-7 edge rusher ranked second in the nation in sacks final yr and was the primary Army participant in 31 years to make first-team All-American. No Army participant has been taken in the primary spherical since 1947. The manufacturing is there; how excessive he’ll go will rely on how he assessments on the mix.

20: Miami Dolphins (by way of San Francisco): Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

He went from being a two-star recruit to probably the greatest defensive gamers in the Big 12 final yr, registering 11 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. He’s on monitor to top these numbers this season, and the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder initiatives as one of many top edge rushers in the draft. 

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC

I’d joke they need to draft a coach as a result of they maintain falling sufferer to accidents. More importantly, they cannot cease the run, it doesn’t matter what band-aids they placed on the road. Tuipulotu (6-foot-4, 290 kilos) is likely one of the greatest play-making linemen in this draft class, taking part in inside and outside and even dropping into protection when crucial.

22. Seattle Seahawks: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Smith left the Florida recreation with a shoulder harm, in order that bears watching, however his instincts, pace and energy will make him a coveted move rusher. With high-profile video games developing, Smith can elevate his personal profile and garner dialogue for the top 15.

23: New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Fashanu has been dominant beginning at left sort out, permitting no sacks and only one stress in Big Ten play. Another plus, he’s but to be penalized on the season. The Jets are determined for an LT, and the Mekhi Becton period has been fraught.

24 Miami (forfeited)

25. Baltimore Ravens: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Ravens have to maintain taking possibilities on receivers, and the 6-foot-4 Johnson could be an enormous add — assuming he falls this far. There are experiences he is run a 4.4-second 40-yard sprint and has a 42-inch vertical. If he assessments off the charts on the NFL Combine, we’ll hear top-15 chatter.

26. Kansas City Chiefs: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

This 6-foot-2 nook is in the Sauce Gardner mildew, and the way he does in opposition to Tennessee’s star receivers this weekend may vault Ringo into being one of the best DB in the category. He has sprinter pace and may even clock a 4.3 40, which may vault him into the top 15.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

His dad performed in the NFL, and his uncle is Dre Bly is the present UNC cornerbacks coach and former NFL nook. Downs has been probably the most productive receivers in the nation during the last two seasons. At 5-foot-10, 175 kilos, he is a burner, and if he runs in the 4.3 ballpark, he is going in the top 20. Downs will be the downfield weapon the Cowboys want.

28. New York Giants: Riley Moss, CB, Iowa

A Big Ten star all through his profession, he is 6-foot-1 and an athletic freak, with a 42-inch vertical and the quickest short-shuttle time of any participant since Kirk Ferentz has been at Iowa.

29. Tennessee Titans: Brian Branch, CB, Alabama

The Tide secondary was torched in opposition to Tennessee — however they did not throw at Branch. He allowed simply two receptions (on 5 targets) for 14 yards and one rating. He’s given up solely 98 whole yards in eight video games, per Pro Football Focus. The Titans have drafted an SEC participant in the primary spherical 4 of the final 5 years.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Clark Phillips, CB, Utah 

Phillips is a bit undersized, however he is a artful cornerback with top-end pace which was on show in his matchup in opposition to USC’s Jordan Addison. He solely gave up one catch in man-to-man protection down the sphere in that matchup. 

31. Buffalo Bills: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Watching him dance and speed up out of the backfield may remind you of Alvin Kamara. He may have a Breece Hall-type impression for whoever drafts him. The Bills tried to commerce for Karama final week; now they get a less expensive, youthful model.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Steve Avila, G/C, TCU

Offensive line depth has been examined all through the league this yr, and count on extra inside offensive linemen to creep into the top of the primary spherical and early second spherical. Avila was a guard in highschool and has performed proper guard and proper sort out at TCU earlier than shifting to middle final season. 

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