Pupo’s way-to-early 2023 Mock Draft – 2 Rounds

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Now that the dust has settled on this year’s Draft, it’s time to take a look ahead to next year’s Draft. 2 Quarterbacks and an Edge rusher, headline next year’s crop. Here is my early look, at how I see the 1st and 2nd Round will play out next year. The order is how I project the season to go. I hope you enjoy!

1. Detroit = Bryce Young (Jr) QB – Alabama

  • I really thought long and hard of who will be the pick; Bryce Young, or C.J. Stroud? The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, just slightly edged out Stroud. I think everyone on the planet, has the Lions picking at the top, and picking a Quarterback. Detroit can get out of Jared Goff’s contract after next year, and they can start fresh under centre. If Young or Stroud were eligible for this years’ Draft, either is the first Quarterback off the board, no questions asked. Young did lose his top 3 Receivers to the NFL, but Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton should help Young out a lot, and Ja’Corey Brooks is coming off a fine Freshman year. Young’s production will drop a little bit, but it’s still good enough to go first overall. Young becomes the new face of the franchise in the Motor City.

2. Houston = C.J. Stroud (RsSo) QB – Ohio State

  • This is not a knock against Davis Mills. He’s simply going to have to play out of his mind for Houston not to finish near the bottom of the league, essentially taking them out of the running for a Quarterback. I can’t see that happening with his supporting cast, not being that strong. C.J. Stroud had an outstanding first year starting, taking over for Justin Fields. He had some big shoes to fill, and he was more than up to the task. His production should slip a little bit, with him loosing Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to the NFL, but he still will have another good year.

3. Chicago = Will Anderson Jr. (Jr) EDGE – Alabama

  • We all know if Will Anderson was eligible for this year’s Draft, he probably would have been the first pick. No offence to Travon Walker. It’s evident that the Bears need WR help, but with a player like Will Anderson still on the board, they can’t pass him up, especially after trading away Khalil Mack this offseason. He’s a true No.1 Edge rusher, with a chance to be one of the top five players at the position for the next decade. Look out.

4. Atlanta = Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Jr) WR – Ohio State

  • I don’t think that Marcus Mariota is going to last the entire season as the starter, meaning Desmond Ridder will get his shot. It will be too little of a sample size, to give up on Ridder, which is why I have them going in another direction here. Yes, they did just draft Drake London with the 8th pick, making him the first WR drafted, but Calvin Ridley’s future is up in the air, with him being suspended this upcoming season. Here’s some insurance. Smith-Njigba played predominantly from the Slot last season, but will move to the Outside this season, with Wilson and Olave gone. He did play Outside in the Rose Bowl, with them both opting out, and he put on an absolute show, catching 15 balls for 347 yards (a Rose Bowl record), and scoring 3 TD’s. Can he keep that up for a whole season on the Outside? We will see. In the end, I see him being the first WR drafted next April. All of a sudden, the Falcons have one of the best young WR core’s in the league.

5. Carolina = Jalen Carter (Jr) DT – Georgia

  • This was a bit of a tricky one. They did draft Matt Corral in the 3rd Round, but it’s fair to wonder, if they will pick a Quartebrack if they pick this high. I don’t see it happening. Jalen Carter might have been the best player on that entire Georgia team, yet alone the Defense last year, and he wasn’t even Draft eligible. He and 2020 1st Rounder Derrick Brown would be tough to gameplan against, week in and week out.

6. New York Jets = Paris Johnson Jr. (Jr) OT/G – Ohio State

  • Mekhi Becton’s future is up in question, after missing all but one game last season, but more help is needed anyway along the Offensive Line. Johnson has played mostly Guard so far during his time at Ohio State, but will move to Tackle this upcoming season. I see him having a great year, making him the first Offensive Lineman drafted next Spring. If he struggles on the outside, he can be slid inside. Either way, he will help keep Zach Wilson upright.

7. Jacksonville = Jordan Addison (Jr) WR – USC

  • In case you missed it, it was announced on Thursday, that the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner in Jordan Addison is heading to USC. He should be in for another big year with Caleb Williams throwing him the ball. The Jags signed Christian Kirk this offseason, but he isn’t a #1, and no other WR on the Jags roster is. Addison is a true #1 WR, who would instantly become Trevor Lawrence’s favourite target, and will help take his game to new levels.

8. New York Giants = Kayshon Boutte (Jr) WR – LSU

  • If anyone can fix Daniel Jones, it’s Brian Daboll. I really think Jones is going to make strides in 2022, and I see them keeping him at least another year. Some players take time to develop. Kadarius Toney was rumoured to be traded, but that has cooled down as of late. Kenny Golladay, and Sterling Shepherd aren’t #1 WR’s. An alpha is needed. Boutte is my WR1 heading into this upcoming College season. He was having an outstanding 2021 season (38 rec, 509 yards, 9 TD’s) in 6 games, before going down with a leg injury, and missing the rest of the season. He’s going to come back with a vengeance this season, cementing himself as a high first round pick.

9. Washington = Peter Skoronski (Jr) OT – Northwestern

  • Along with the Panthers, it’s fair to wonder if the Commanders will pick a Quarterback, if they pick this high. I don’t see it happening. Even if Carson Wentz plays the entire season, Sam Howell needs a chance. Washington needs to beef up the Offensive Line, to keep whoever is under Centre upright. Skoronski is the latest elite Left Tackle, to come out of Northwestern.

10. Indianapolis = Jaxson Kirkland (RsSr) OT/G – Washington

  • The Colts are another team that can take a Quarterback, but I see them going in a different direction here, in particular Offensive Line. Matt Ryan played fine last season in Atlanta, with an average to below average supporting cast. They still have yet to find a replacement for Anthony Castonzo, and they get it here with the selection of Kirkland. Kirkland was supposed to enter this year’s Draft, but backed out due to an ankle injury. He should cement himself as one of the top Tackles in College Football this season.

11. Piitsburgh = Zion Nelson (Sr) OT – Miami

  • The Steelers aren’t going to be good as last year, with Big Ben hanging it up. That Offensive Line needs help and Nelson can provide help immediately. I had Zion Nelson going in the 1st Round last year, but he didn’t have quite the year many expected him to have. I see him cleaning his game up, and jumping back into the 1st Round.

12. Houston (from Cleveland) = Bryan Bresee (RsSo) DL – Clemson

  • The Texans have a lot of holes on their roster, but the next biggest one after Quarterback, is the interior of their Defensive Line. Bresee’s season was cut short last season to 4 games, after a torn ACL, but should come back strong this season. He has experience playing all over the line, but he’s better suited to play the interior. He would help anchor that D Line.

13. Philadelphia (from New Orleans) = Jordan Battle (Sr) S – Alabama

  • Is Jalen Hurts the answer? That’s the biggest question for the Eagles. I think he’s going to make improve this upcoming season, meaning the Eagles will keep him at least another year. Both Safety positions for the Eagles can be upgraded. Battle surprised many by returning to Tuscaloosa for his Senior season, but should elevate his Draft stock throughout this season. He would be welcomed with open arms in Philly.

14. New England = Kelee Ringo (RsSo) CB – Georgia

  • I see New England taking a bit of a step back this year, with all of their division rivals getting better. J.C. Jackson is gone, but even if he was still there, more help would have been needed. Ringo had an excellent season, after missing his true Freshman year due to a labrum injury. He had a pick 6 in the 4th Quarter of the National Championship Game, icing the victory for the Bulldogs. He would be the teams new #1 Corner right away.

15. Minnesota = Myles Murphy (Jr) EDGE – Clemson

  • The Vikings are an interesting team. It seems like their always on the verge of going deep into the playoffs, but it just never materializes. Harrison Phillips can be upgraded. Danielle Hunter has missed time due to injury the past two years, so they get some insurance here with this pick. Murphy has caught everyone’s attention, back when he was a true Freshman two years ago. He would instantly give that Vikings pass rush, a much-needed boost.

16. Seattle (from Denver) = Eli Ricks (Jr) CB – Alabama

  • Drafting Coby Bryant in the 4th Round was a nice pick, but more help is still needed at Corner. Sidney Jones, and Artie Burns both can be upgraded. Ricks missed time due to injury last season at LSU, but since then he’s transferred to Alabama, and is looking to get back into form. He was arrested a few weeks ago for speeding, and possession of marijuana. That is something to keep an eye on. Ricks would fit nicely in Seattle.

17. Baltimore = Jermaine Burton (Jr) WR – Alabama

  • After trading Marquise Brown on the opening night of the Draft, they need Receiver help. After 2 years at Georgia, Burton transferred to Alabama this past January. He should be the new #1 in Tuscaloosa, and should make an immediate impact. He could be in for a monster year, catapulting him into the 1st Round.

18. Philadelphia = Isaiah Foskey (RsJr) EDGE – Notre Dame

  • Derek Barnett hasn’t produced at the level as expected, and Brandon Graham is coming off a torn Achilles. Here’s some help. Foskey decided to return to School for his Junior year, and I think the decision will pay off. He would provide help as a rotational player early on, eventually taking over a starting role within a year.

19. Seattle = Noah Sewell (Jr) LB – Oregon

  • I think that Baker Mayfield will end up in Seattle, and they will be better off with him, as opposed to Drew Lock. Bobby Wagner is gone, and more help is needed at the Linebacker level. Sewell has been productive his first 2 years in Eugene, and is one of the best Linebackers in College Football. He and Jordyn Brooks would form one of the best young Linebacking core’s in the league. The second coming of the Legion of Boom might just be here.

20. Miami = Nolan Smith (Sr) EDGE – Georgia

  • Miami is going to be better, but I don’t thin ready to make a run yet. They could stand to improve their pass rush. Smith made the right decision to return for his Senior year, as he is now a first round pick. He might have to start off in a rotational role, but it won’t be long until he earns a starting gig.

21. Arizona = Clark Phillips III (Jr) CB – Utah

  • The Cardinals are close. DeAndre Hopkins being suspended for the first 6 games is going to hurt them in the long run. Byron Murphy Jr. will be a free agent next Spring, but even then, more help is needed in the Secondary. Phillips had a nice Sophomore Season, which has put him on Draft radars. He should provide immediate help to a Secondary that needs it.

22. Los Angeles Chargers = Derick Hall (Sr) EDGE – Auburn

  • The Chargers are another team that is close, but I feel their not ready to make a run just yet. Jerry Tillery might be gone next year, as his 5th-year option was declined, and Sebastian Joseph-Day can be upgraded. Hall enjoyed a breakout Junior year, collecting 9 sacks, while forcing 2 fumbles. Hall, Bosa, and Mack will be very tough to stop, game in and game out.

23. Green Bay = B.J. Ojulari (Jr) EDGE – LSU

  • Could this be another WR? For now, I’m going to say no. We have to see how Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs perform this season. The Packers need help along the Defensive Line. B.J. is the younger brother of Giants pass rusher Azeez Ojulari, who had a great Sophomore campaign, notching 7 sacks. That foreshadows what might happen this season.

24. Tennessee = Henry To’o To’o (Sr) LB – Alabama

  • Can you pronounce this guys name? If you can’t, I would suggest watching an Alabama game this Fall, and you will find how to. To’o To’o transferred to Alabama, after 2 years at Tennessee, and enjoyed his best year yet. I was a little surprised he didn’t enter this year’s Draft, but returning might make him a first round pick. He would be the teams new signal caller on Defense from Day 1.

25. Dallas = Brandon Joseph (RsJr) S – Notre Dame

  • The Cowboys might be the trickiest team in the NFL. It’s so hard to predict, if their going to take that next step. Dallas has needed a top level Safety for years. Malik Hooker is replaceable, and Jayron Kearse was only resigned to a 2 year extension. Joseph transferred to Notre Dame this past January, and should help anchor that Irish Secondary this Fall. He would give that Cowboys Secondary a much-needed boost.

26. Miami (from San Francisco) = Dawand Jones (Sr) OT – Ohio State

  • Liam Eichenberg played poorly last year as a Rookie, but that doesn’t mean he can’t improve this season. Terron Armstead was signed this offseason, but he will be 32 this year, and only played in 8 games last season. Here’s some help. Jones was named second-team All-Big Ten last year, after starting at Right Tackle (his first as a starter). Whenever he gets on the field, he would keep Tua upright.

27. Las Vegas = Joey Porter Jr. (RsJr) CB – Penn State

  • I know what your thinking. I wonder if he’s Joey Porter’s son. The answer is yes. Porter made the decision to return to Happy Valley for his Junior year, and I see the decision paying off. The Raiders could improve their Secondary, as Rock Ya-Sin can be upgraded. This upcoming season, will be his third year starting, so he will bring loads of experience to the table.

28. Kansas City = Quentin Johnston (Jr) WR – TCU

  • JuJu was only signed to a 1 year deal, and Mecole Hardman is a pending free agent after the season. Even then, I still think they need some help at Receiver. Johnston had a nice Sophomore year, hauling in 33 passes, for 634 yards, and scoring 6 Touchdowns. He could be in for a big year this Fall. There’s a good chance, he’s the #1 right away in KC.

29. Detroit (from Los Angeles Rams) = Trenton Simpson (Jr) LB – Clemson

  • The Lions just got their new signal caller on Offense, now were going to give them their new signal caller on Defense. They need some help at the second level. Simpson is one of the best Linebackers in all of College Football, and could have a breakout year.

30. Cincinnati = Cam Smith (RsJr) CB – South Carolina

  • I see the Bengals taking a little bit of a step back this year, falling to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game. Bengals fans, have a lot to be excited for in the future. Eli Apple was resigned to a 1 year contract, but even his he’s retained, they can still use some help. Smith is starting to gain some notoriety from the Draft community, and with another good year, he can be a first round pick.

31. Tampa Bay = Michael Mayer (Jr) TE – Notre Dame

  • This year, we didn’t see a TE go in the opening round. We almost didn’t see it again this year, but the Bucs change that with this pick. Mayer has been widely known, after his true Freshman year in South Bend, and might be the best TE in College Football. I’m sure Gronk would leave once Brady retires, and they get his replacement here.

32. Buffalo = Andre Carter II (Sr) EDGE – Army

  • Your probably thinking to yourself, “Who is this guy”? Well if you don’t know who he is, I would suggest go and watch some tape on him. He quietly finished tied with Will Anderson for the most sacks in the regular season with 15.5, and they both played 13 games. That’s saying something. He would be the first Black Knight drafted since 2008, and the 4th highest of all-time.

 

2nd Round

33. Detroit = Brenton Cox Jr. (RsSr) EDGE – Florida

34. Houston = Blake Freeland (Sr) OT – BYU

35. Chicago = Marvin Mims (Jr) WR – Oklahoma

36. Atlanta = Jalen Catalon (RsJr) S – Arkansas

37. Carolina = Josh Downs (Jr) WR – North Carolina

38. New York Jets = Owen Pappoe (Sr) LB – Auburn

39. Jacksonville = Habakkuk Baldonado (RsSr) EDGE – Pittsburgh

40. New York Giants = Garrett Williams (RsJr) CB – Syracuse

41. Washington = DeMarcco Hellams (Sr) S – Alabama

42. Indianapolis = Antonio Johnson (Jr) DB – Texas A&M

43. Pittsburgh = Akeem Dent (Sr) S – Florida State

44. Cleveland = Zion Tupuola-Fetui (RsSr) EDGE – Washington

45. New Orleans = Byron Young (Sr) DL – Alabama

46. New England = Zach Harrison (Sr) EDGE – Ohio State

47. Minnesota = Tyler Van Dyke (Jr) QB – Miami

48. Seattle (from Denver) = Carter Warren (RsSr) OT – Pittsburgh

49. Baltimore = Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (Sr) CB – TCU

50. Philadelphia = Bijan Robinson (Jr) RB – Texas

51. Seattle = Zay Flowers (Sr) WR – Boston College

52. Miami = Demani Richardson (Sr) S – Texas A&M

53. Arizona = Will McDonald IV (RsSr) EDGE – Iowa State

54. Los Angeles Chargers = Robert Scott Jr. (Jr) OT – Florida State

55. Green Bay = Jayden Reed (RsSr) WR – Michigan State

56. Tennessee = Zacch Pickens (Sr) DT – South Carolina

57. Dallas = Tony Grimes (Jr) CB – North Carolina

58. San Francisco = Tykee Smith (RsJr) S – Georgia

59. Las Vegas = Nick Broeker (Sr) OT – Ole Miss

60. Kansas City = Broderick Jones (RsSo) OT – Georgia

61. Los Angeles Rams = K.J. Henry (RsSr) EDGE – Clemson

62. Cincinnati = Gervon Dexter (Jr) DT – Florida

63. Tampa Bay = Emil Ekiyor Jr. (RsSr) G – Alabama

64. Buffalo = Tyler Davis (Sr) DT -Clemson

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