Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 Mock Draft 11.0

In our final 2023 mock draft, the quarterback run gets shaken up a bit at the top, and the Buccaneers land on a plug-and-play starter for their offensive line


The 2023 NFL Draft is well nigh upon us, and the Big Boards are set, presumably, in the top-secret draft rooms at the headquarters of all 32 teams. There is time for us to conduct just one more mock draft before the real thing kicks off on Thursday night, and it happens to be my turn. Here is Staff Writer Brianna Dix's most recent mock draft, in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers landed Georgia tackle Broderick Jones.

So let's get right to it. No gimmicks in this one, just a straight attempt at predicting what the 31 selections of the first round will be. Mock trades are allowed and I have made two of them, both of them by teams hunting quarterbacks. I'll give the details of the trade up top so that I can concentrate on explaining my picks below.

Mock Trades:

1. Tennessee trades up from the 11th spot to get the third pick from Arizona. We have a blueprint for this because San Francisco traded up from number 12 to number three just two years ago in order to take Trey Lance. In addition to the pick swap, the 49ers sent first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-rounder in 2022 to the Dolphins. In this case, I think the Cardinals would want to get at least one pick back in the current draft, so let's make it a third this year (#72) and the Titans' next two firsts. Tennessee, which is already lacking its fourth-round pick, gets a sixth-rounder back from Arizona.

2. Houston trades up from their spot high in the second round to get back in near the end of the first round, swapping with Buffalo at number 27. It's a jump of just six spots so it costs the Texans a fourth-round pick this year and a fifth-rounder next year. The Buccaneers made this exact trade down last year, from 27 to 33, and picked up fourth and sixth-round picks. However, the Texans do not currently have a sixth-round pick this year or next-year.

Okay, let's get started. I'm not going to focus too much on the scouting reports for each player because you've probably heard it all by now. This is more about why these teams are making these picks.

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): QB Bryce Young, Alabama

We're just days away from the first pick, yet this draft still seems to have even less consensus in the top 10 than usual. That said, the notion that the Panthers have settled in on Young as the first pick gained a lot of traction in the last two weeks and I'm not going to buck the trend here. Young's wide array of elite-level talents is enough to make Carolina look past his outlier lack of size and try to get their quarterback position for the first time since Cam Newton left the building. (The first time, Newton left, that is.)

2. Houston Texans: EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama

While the Young-to-Carolina prediction solidified over the past couple weeks, the idea that Houston would definitely follow with another quarterback crumbled. The Davis Mills-Case Keenum-E.J. Perry depth chart seems less than ideal, but the Texans do admittedly have other holes on the roster plus a defensive-minded new coach. If Young is the only quarterback the team is sold on, they could trade, but if they move down too far they will likely miss out on a player as good as Anderson. I don't think they would go to seven or 11, for instance, and I highly doubt they would help their division foes in Indy get in position for the franchise quarterback they want. So they stay put and get what may be the best overall player in the draft, giving DeMeco Ryans' defensive rebuild a shot in the arm.

3. Tennessee Titans (from Arizona): QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Arizona probably would have grabbed Anderson if the Texans went with a quarterback, but this early curveball actually gave them something better: A golden ticket to sell to any team that covets C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. Unlike Houston, I think Arizona is willing to make a bigger move down because their needs are so widespread. They need picks, and lots of them, over the next couple years. So Tennessee makes a dramatic move to get their successor to Ryan Tannehill – a succession that could happen a lot more rapidly than the one in a certain show by the same name. It sure doesn't seem like Mike Vrabel is sold on Malik Willis, last year's third-round quarterback.

4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

The Colts don't have to move and they land arguably the passer with the highest ceiling among this year's top four candidates. There is plenty of disagreement in the draft-analysis community about just how raw Richardson is – some believe he is closer to being a finished product than Josh Allen was in 2018 – but Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles are on hand as reasonable options if it takes the Florida star a while to crack the lineup.

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): DL Jalen Carter, Georgia

The Seahawks recently had Carter in for a Top-30 visit and I'm going to guess that he was able to assuage their concerns over his perceived work-ethic issues. Carter may have whiffed his Pro Day by showing up in less than peak condition, but teams are always going to go back to the tape, and his is really, really good. Carter could be an Ndamukong Suh-type of cornerstone for a Seahawks defense that is putting a lot of effort into transforming its front this offseason. This is the addition that will bring it all together.

6. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams): CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

The Lions signed Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, but they also traded former third-overall pick Jeff Okudah to the Falcons, and Moseley has had trouble staying on the field. A cornerback still makes a lot of sense for the Lions here, especially if the Seahawks do beat them to Jalen Carter. Witherspoon or Christian Gonzalez? They probably can't go wrong either way, but Dan Campbell's team will value Witherspoon's fiery approach to the game and that's the tiebreaker here.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: QB Will Levis, Kentucky

After signing Jimmy Garoppolo (and Brian Hoyer, for that matter), the Raiders aren't necessarily dead-set on getting a quarterback in this draft. But they have to consider the opportunity when it falls into their lap. Garoppolo got a three-year deal but the Raiders could get out of if after one with a relatively unpainful dead cap hit if Levis takes charge early. Head Coach Josh McDaniels may have some things he wants to iron out in Levis' game, but the former Wildcat has the size, tools and toughness to develop into a star.

8. Atlanta Falcons: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

The Falcons have had what appears like a strong offseason so far, and they have definitely worked hard to solve their seasons-long issue of a vanishing pass rush, adding Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree and David Onyemata to join stalwart Grady Jarrett. They could continue that process with an edge rusher like Tyree Wilson, but I think they will instead look for another potential young star cornerback to pair with A.J. Terrell. Keep in mind also that the Falcons released veteran CB Casey Hayward last Friday.

9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina): T Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

It is likely true that some teams in the NFL will only evaluate Skoronski as a guard because of his "short" arms (by NFL left tackle standards), but a team willing to take him this high is probably going to give him a shot on the outside, where he was so dominant in college. The first unanimous All-American in Northwestern history, he only allowed six QB pressures last year despite playing more than 830 offensive snaps. Chicago is in a good position to take a chance on Skoronski because if he does not work out at left tackle they could clearly use an upgrade at both guard spots as well.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans): EDGE Tyree Wilson

I think the Eagles' dream scenario is Jalen Carter's troubles allowing him to fall to the 10th spot. I also believe they will think long and hard about Bijan Robinson here. But the Eagles are never shy about investing in the trenches, and it's not as if Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox are getting any younger. Howie Roseman got this pick last year in a nifty little trade with the Saints that paid off big time when New Orleans fell on some hard times. The Eagles still have their own pick at number 30 so they can still get a pretty good corner or running back later on Thursday night. To get a pass rusher of Wilson's talents, you usually need a top-10 pick.

11. Arizona Cardinals (from Tennessee): EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

Smith isn't as big as Wilson and he didn't have as many sacks in college, but he's got incredible physical tools and, like Wilson, the potential to develop into a star. The Cardinals, who could have had Wilson (or Jalen Carter) if they stayed in the third slot, will take their chances that Smith can reach the same ceiling because they also picked up so much extra draft capital in the trade. The Cardinals need help all over their depth chart, so the more picks the better.

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

No quarterback (spoiler alert: yet) but the Texans do get the first receiver off the board. In March, the Texans did as they were contractually required to do after employing Brandin Cooks for a couple seasons and traded him away. They did add Robert Woods and Noah Brown, but that hardly makes for a dangerous receiving corps. Smith-Njigba doesn't have elite size or speed but that didn't stop him from dominating at Ohio State because he's very quick and an outstanding route runner. His three-cone and short shuttle times were the best among all receivers at the Combine, which is a good measure of how suddenly he can change directions.

13. Green Bay Packers (from N.Y. Jets): WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

The Packers have a type when it comes to receivers and, honestly, Flowers doesn't fit the profile. They like their receivers with more size, but they took care of that last year with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. The rest of their receiver depth chart currently reads as such: Samori Toure, Jeff Cotton and Bo Melton. The 5-9, 182-pound Flowers could give Jordan Love a different sort of weapon as a very sudden and shifty pass-catcher out of the slot. He was hugely productive at Boston College and is a tough competitor despite his size. After swapping picks with the Jets in Monday's Aaron Rodgers trade, the Packers could end up being in position to get Smith-Njigba, and I would give him the Ohio State receiver over Flowers if he falls one more spot.

14. New England Patriots: T Paris Johnson, Ohio State

I think the Patriots would consider an edge rusher here, but there is enough depth at that spot to wait until the second round. Is, say, Lukas Van Ness that much more of a sure thing than, say, B.J. Ojulari or Adetomiwa Adebawore? It's been more than a decade since the Patriots took an offensive tackle in the first round (Nate Solder in 2011), and Trent Brown has only played one full season in the last four. I don't think Riley Reiff is a long-term solution at right tackle, either.

15. New York Jets (from Green Bay): T Broderick Jones, Georgia

The Jets' current tackle depth chart is topped by Mekhi Becton, who has played one game over the past two seasons, and 2022 fourth-round pick Max Mitchell, who was decent in five starts at right tackle last year but also battled health issues. New York's interior line is in pretty good shape, led by Alijah Vera-Tucker, but the Jets need to tighten up the edges for Rodgers, to make sure the 39-year-old quarterback has sound protection.

16. Washington Commanders: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

It feels like Robinson's stock is on the rise despite the league-wide devaluation of his position. He's just too talented, and I'm concerned that he won't even make it this far. But I never found a landing spot for him prior to the Commanders, who have a couple more pressing needs (guard, linebacker) but just can't pass up on the talent. As Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht noted the other day, while you want to get a 10-year player with your first round pick (and running backs generally have shorter careers), that doesn't always happen anyway. Robinson can do it all and is even a gifted pass-catcher who can line up in the slot like a wideout.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Joey Porter, Jr.

I know this is a little too neat, but if the Steelers have Porter and Maryland's Deonte Banks similarly rated, why not pick the one whose name would juice the fan base a bit. Pittsburgh lost cornerback Cam Sutton in free agency, and while they did add Patrick Peterson that hardly seems like a long-term solution. Porter's game needs some polish but he is big and physical and extremely competitive. He did not give up a single touchdown in coverage at Penn State last year.

18. Detroit Lions: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

I wish Bijan Robinson had fallen to this spot because that would be a ton of fun, but a playmaking tight end the Lions could move all over the formation is pretty tasty, too. Detroit traded T.J. Hockenson midseason last year, and their current tight end depth chart starts with Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra. Add Kincaid, who caught 70 passes last season at Utah and has the speed and agility to make plays down the seam, to a pass-catching corps that starts with Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds and D'Andre Swift and you've got something to make opposing DCs sweat.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: T Darnell Wright, Tennessee

Recent mock draft trends make me wonder if Wright will actually still be on the board here, as there are plenty of teams that could use a right tackle upgrade and the Tennessee standout definitely looks like he could step right in from Day One. However, this is how the board fell for me this time, so I'm taking advantage at a clear position of need. Wright played both right and left tackle at Tennessee but he was dominant last season on the right side, so this pick is coming with a Tristan Wirfs shift to the left end of the line. The 6-5, 333-pound Wright is huge and powerful and he has the sort of nasty demeanor that sets the tone up front.

20. Seattle Seahawks: WR Jordan Addison, USC

Yes, the Seahawks still have Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but their current projected slot receiver is Dee Eskridge, who has a total of 17 catches over two NFL seasons. Adding Addison would give 2022 Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith an exciting trio of receivers to work with in "11" personnel, which has become the most common offensive grouping in the NFL. Addison would likely work out of the slot, where his sudden acceleration, shifty moves and crafty route-running could make him an instant impact player for Seattle.

NA. Miami Dolphins: FORFEITED

21. Los Angeles Chargers: DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson

The Chargers need speed in their receiving corps but I'm not liking the value here. This draft doesn't have as much top-end receiver talent as we've become accustomed to seeing in recent years, but there are plenty of small-quick-fast guys (Josh Downs, Tyler Scott, Tank Dell) that will go on the second day of the draft. Instead, the Chargers make a nod towards maybe, just possibly, having a run defense this season. Bresee is big and powerful and played all over the interior line at Clemson, though he ran into some injury issues along the way. This particular gap-plugger also has a pretty high ceiling as a pass rusher, too.

22. Baltimore Ravens: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland

Marcus Peters remains unsigned and probably isn't the answer opposite Marlon Humphrey anymore, and the Ravens have witnessed firsthand how important secondary depth is when the injury big bites. Banks is a solid 6-0, 200 pounds with the strength and patience to excel in press-man coverage, but he has the skills to stand out in zone looks as well.

23. Minnesota Vikings: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

The Vikings need a number-two receiver to play alongside Justin Jefferson after moving on from Adam Thielen, and here they land the best "big receiver" prospect in a draft full of small guys. Johnston stands 6-3 and 208 pounds, which paired with a respectable 4.51-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day makes for an intriguing size-speed combination. He's also good after the catch and averaged 19.0 yards per catch over three seasons at TCU.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: S Brian Branch, Alabama

The Jaguars seem like a team on the rise behind rising-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but their pass defense quietly ranked 28th in the league last year, so hitting the secondary early seems like a good idea. Branch could push 2021 third-round pick Andre Cisco at free safety, or he could end up in the slot, where he saw a lot of action for Alabama. Branch isn't the biggest safety and he didn't put up scintillating Combine numbers, but he's simply a playmaker with the kind of positional flexibility NFL coaches covet these days.

25. New York Giants: G O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida

This one seems pretty easy if Torrence makes it this far. The two tackle positions are in good hands with a pair of recent first-round picks but the interior line needs an infusion of top-end talent. The Giants committed to quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley (franchise tag) during this offseason and now need to provide some better blocking for both. Torrence is a big man (6-5, 330 pounds) who moves well can block on the run, and his long arms and big hands keep pass rushers off his body.

26. Dallas Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

This is another match that seems to make a lot of sense on paper. Dalton Schutz moved south to Houston but the Cowboys could plug Mayer right into that hole and get the tight end in this year's draft most likely to excel as both a blocker and a pass catcher. The Cowboys added speed to their receiving corps with Brandin Cooks and have a great pass-catching back in Tony Pollard, so adding another weapon at the tight end position could open up all kinds of options for Dak Prescott.

27. Houston Texans (from Buffalo): QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

I don't think the Texans can pass on a quarterback at the second spot with a plan to land another top QB prospect later. There are just too many variables to consider that anything close to a sure thing. However, I also don't think they'll pass on the opportunity if it happens to arrive, and here they are able to move back up for Hooker at not too painful of a price. Hooker is an older prospect at the age of 25 and he played in a fairly simple offense at Tennessee, but he's very athletic with a strong arm and he's clearly got a higher ceiling than Davis Mills. If anything, Hooker throws a very pretty deep ball. Could Hooker make it to Houston at the 33rd pick? Maybe, but by moving up into the first round the Texans get that very valuable fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: T Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

Tight end is tempting here but the Bengals still might not be done with a two-year project of putting together a more effective O-Line in front of star quarterback Joe Burrow. They signed Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle, and former first-round pick Jonah Williams doesn't seem particularly enthused at being moved to the right side. Williams has also struggled, and even though Cincinnati picked up his fifth-year option last year they still could look to move him. Harrison is a technician who moves well and did see some action at right tackle at Oklahoma, so he could probably make the switch.

29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver): EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

The Saints lost Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle in free agency, so they need to reload all over up front. The better value here is on the edge, where Van Ness has the raw skills that have led some analysts to project him as a top-10 pick. Given his relative lack of experience (zero starts at Iowa) and his still-developing toolkit of pass-rush moves, he seems more like a back half of the first round pick to me. The Saints take the chance that his speed, size and strength will add up to an impactful edge rusher in the NFL.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

The Eagles have a very talented roster, obviously, and they already added to their defense with Tyree Wilson earlier in their round. If the depth chart looks a little shaky anywhere it's at off-ball linebacker, where starters T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White departed in free agency. The current projected starters are Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow, and Sanders would represent an upgrade over either. He also adds some pass-rush ability, a la Micah Parsons, and could help the Eagles in that regard.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson

The Chiefs have moved on from Frank Clark, and while they did sign former 49er and Texan Charles Omenihu, he had just 11.5 sacks over his first four NFL seasons. Kansas City has a very young secondary and it would help that unit thrive to have a more effective pass rush up front. Murphy's stock has slipped a little bit over the last couple months but he still combines good size and a wide wingspan with an explosive ability to get off the line.

Related Content

Latest Headlines