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Analyzing ESPN’s latest 2023 7-round NFL mock draft

We take a look at ESPN analyst Jordan Redi’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Will Anderson Jr. #31 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at the line of scrimmage during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on October 1, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 49-26. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft is less than a month away. Most prospects have had their pro days, so teams are wrapping up interviews and meetings and starting to solidify their draft boards. ESPN’s Jordan Reid took the time to put together a full mock draft.

That’s right, we are close enough to draft season that the first two rounds won’t cut it anymore, and he found a home for all 259 draft picks. Trades are on the board as Reid tries to get into the heads of each team’s GM to see if he can predict which direction they will go as they build for 2023 and beyond.


1. CJ Stroud, Carolina Panthers
2. Bryce Young, Houston Texans
4. Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
7. Will Levis, Las Vegas Raiders
55. Hendon Hooker, Detroit Lions
119. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Minnesota Vikings
151. Tanner McKee, Seattle Seahawks
171. Jake Haener, Los Angeles Rams
179. Aidan O’Connell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
192. Jaren Hall, New England Patriots
227. Stetson Bennett, New Orleans Saints
256. Max Duggan, Green Bay Packers

The consensus is that we will see four quarterbacks go in the first round this season. Stroud and Young are at the top, with Richardson moving into the QB3 rank after a strong Combine performance. The debate then starts with Levis and Hooker, who have been mocked as high as 7th to the Raiders or as low as second-round choices.

All told Reid mocked 11 quarterbacks to be drafted, and the landing spots are all intriguing for the future. Kirk Cousins’ time could be coming to a close soon in Minnesota, but it doesn’t feel like they could draft a more different quarterback with Thompson-Robinson wanting in the wings. While Aaron Rodgers’ future is uncertain in Green Bay, it feels like Duggan in the weening moments of the draft could be a steal.

First defensive player taken

3. Will Anderson Jr., Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are in for a rough season. They already play in a tough division, but they are clearly heading into their rebuild. They didn’t re-sign Zach Allen in free agency and really need to start rejuvenating their team with talent. After JJ Watt retired at the end of the 2022 season, EDGE became yet another glaring team need. Anderson should slot right in, ready to make an impact in Week 1.

Best pick

With 259 choices, it is tough to nail down which pick was best. Stroud to the Panthers, Tyree Wilson to the Lions, Nolan Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles, Darnell Wright to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Quentin Johnston to the Ravens all make a ton of sense. My favorite pick actually goes to the Vikings in the first round. Other mocks have them moving up to draft a quarterback, but Reid has them holding strong at 23. After releasing Adam Thielen, Reid has them replacing the veteran with rookie Jordan Addison to play alongside Justin Jefferson.

Worst pick

Again, this is really up to interpretation with the sheer number of selections to sift through. Personally, I like Zay Flowers the prospect, but I hate that Reid has him going to the Giants at No. 25. Yes, Flowers would boost their receiving corps, but he is 5 ft. 9. New York invested in Wan’Dale Robinson last year, who is 5 ft. 8. A guy like Jalin Hyatt, who is 6 feet tall and one of the fastest receivers in the draft. I like the position but I think the specific choice could have been better here.

Final thoughts

There is so much to digest in this draft. Sure, they all sound like great fits, but we wouldn’t know how successful this draft is until we get to the season. Reid did a great job of addressing team needs in the first few rounds and was consistent to the end of the draft. I personally don’t think Levis goes as high as he is being mocked, but it was pretty consistent from what we are seeing. Overall, it’s a solid mock draft that boldly predicts the landing spots of over 250 players.