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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 Mock Draft 10.0

Next up in the series, see how the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft could turn out for each team

AP Images Bucs mock 10.0

The 2023 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, creating additional intrigue and speculation. Both the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Days have concluded, which adjusted the draft stock of prospects in this year's class. The dust has settled from the free agency craze, providing clarity on draft boards for all 32 teams.

Trades: The Bears-Panthers trade sent a shockwave through the NFL and next (explained below), the Lions trade up from Pick Six to third with the Cardinals to take the top edge rusher of the class – costing them a third this year and a fourth in 2024.

On to the first-round selections:

1) Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

The Panthers sent the Bears the ninth overall pick in this year's draft, the second-rounder acquired from the 49ers (61st overall), along with next year's first-round pick, a 2025 second-rounder, and wide receiver DJ Moore in exchange for the No. 1 overall choice in this year's draft. With the top slot, the Panthers select C.J. Stroud, who produced arguably the most impressive throwing session at the Combine. Stroud layers the football with precision to all areas of the field and places the ball away from defenders. He identifies coverages well pre-snap and although he did not consistently attack defenses by using his legs, Stroud showcased improved improvisation skills against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal, extending plays outside of the pocket. Stroud can carve up defenses with outstanding touch, rhythm and poise from the pocket as a passer.

2) Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young, Alabama

The Texans are in a rebuild phase entering the 2023 season and take Bryce Young, the most heralded signal-caller of this year's class. Although his 5'10 stature has generated concerns regarding his long-term durability at the NFL level, he has the processing skills and intangibles to be an impactful starter. Young has experience playing in a pro-style system at Alabama and possesses rare vision and a compact release, along with the ability to create outside of structure. He is accurate from any arm angle and is adept at identifying pre-snap blitzers and eluding rushers with savvy moves. Young has the improvisation skills and instinctive pocket presence to make him a special player in the NFL.

3) Detroit Lions (from Arizona): Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

The Lions need to bolster their defensive front after addressing the cornerback position by signing Cam Sutton and they move up to take the best edge rusher in the class, Will Anderson Jr. Anderson Jr. will add an infusion of youth to the unit that boasts the Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up, Aidan Hutchinson. The "Terminator" and back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year plays with contact balance to generate leverage and displace blockers. Anderson Jr. has an explosive first-step, an impressive arsenal of rush moves and a closing burst. He lined up in a variety of spots rushing from both a standup position and with his hand on the ground. Anderson Jr. has game-wrecking potential in the NFL with elite play speed as both a pass rusher and run defender. He would help solidify the Lions' front, elevating their pass-rush prowess in 2023.

4) Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson Jr., Florida

Following the retirement of Andrew Luck, the Colts went the veteran, short-term route at the quarterback position, with the revolving door of Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and most recently Matt Ryan. Now they will target a young, developmental project in Anthony Richardson Jr. Richardson has become one of the most polarizing players in the 2023 draft class with arguably the highest ceiling but inconsistency/ inaccuracy concerns. Richardson upped his stock at the Combine, recording a record of 40.5 inches in the vertical leap and ran a blazing 4.43 (first among quarterbacks) in the 40-yard dash. He can make explosive plays as both a rusher and a passer, including his potential to gash with the deep ball. Richardson can effectively throw while on the move, executing rollouts and bootlegs. He is a threat on zone reads and in short-yardage situations. Although he lacks refinement, Richardson's speed and arm strength present a fascinating ceiling.

5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Last season, Seattle finished 29th in pressure percentage (4.7 percent) and 22nd in sacks (34), ranking in the bottom third in both categories. Upgrading the defensive line is on the Seahawks' top priority list and the club takes Tyree Wilson with the fifth overall pick. Wilson's athletic traits make him a nightmare for opponents, as he consistently generates early control of reps. With rare length, speed and power, Wilson has the foundational tools to affect the game at the NFL level. His elite tackle range and closing acceleration allow him to blow up plays in the backfield, disrupting screens and sweeps.

6) Arizona Cardinals (from L.A. Rams through Detroit): DL Jalen Carter, Georgia

After the release of Markus Golden and the retirement of perennial Pro Bowler J.J. Watt, the Cardinals bolster the defensive line with their first overall pick. Every NFL club will have to do their due diligence on Jalen Carter, who despite the immense talent is linked to maturity concerns. Arizona takes the risk and selects Carter, a dominant force in Will Muschamp's 3-4 base scheme at Georgia. He flies out of his stance with a lethal combination of burst and power. Carter is a menace in the backfield and consistently commands double teams. Carter's vision to locate the football and react is impressive. He overwhelms guards and can play in an odd or even front. Carter has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber player and the Cardinals take him off the board.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Now that the Raiders have their quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, they turn their attention to the secondary. Las Vegas has a reliable option in outside cornerback Nate Hobbs, but the team needs another outside corner who can match up against top-tier receivers. Oregon's Christian Gonzalez fits the bill. He has the size and speed profile to keep stride with vertical threats and possesses fluidity to turn and run in any direction. Gonzalez has the length to bully releases and blanket receivers. In a pass-heavy league, the Raiders go after the consensus top cornerback prospect in this year's class to solidify the back end.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Edge Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

In 2022, the Falcons struggled to put pressure on the opposing quarterback (31st in sacks) and stop the run (23rd in run defense). Iowa's Lukas Van Ness is effective at both. His inclusion on a rebooted defensive line featuring free-agent signees Calais Campbell and David Onyemata, along with incumbent Grady Jarrett, will help bring the unit to new heights. With explosion out of his stance, power, twitch and strength to out-leverage, Van Ness has the high-end tools to make an impact at the next level. He comes with the versatility to play inside or outside, taking snaps inside over the B-gap for the Hawkeyes.

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

Providing Justin Fields with better protection up front is paramount for Chicago, resulting in a retool. The Bears take technician Peter Skoronski to bolster the offensive line in 2023. With controlled footwork and a detail-oriented approach, Skoronski is quick off the ball as both a pass blocker and run blocker, rarely in a disadvantageous position. With recognition, body control, balance and a disruptive punch, Skoronski has the potential to become an immediate starter in the NFL.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans): Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia

After the Eagles retained Darius Slay and James Bradberry, cornerback is no longer the team's most pressing need. Philadelphia will see the return of Josh Sweat and Tarron Jackson, along with Derek Barnett, but the club will lose Robert Quinn in free agency. The Eagles led the NFL in sacks last season en route to the Super Bowl and will look to build off that production in 2023. The Eagles select Nolan Smith, who became the first player since 2003 to weigh 238-plus pounds and post a sub-4.40 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of at least 40 inches at the Combine, to fortify the defensive front. There are concerns regarding Smith's sack production at Georgia -12.5 sacks over four years - however, the Bulldogs use players interchangeably and Smith was often asked to read or drop. With high football character, twitchy movement skills, powerful hands and rare ability to redirect and close in pursuit, Smith has the skills to be a dynamic defender in the NFL.

11) Tennessee Titans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

The Titans have a massive need at wide receiver and have not addressed it in free agency yet. Tennessee did not sign any of the top names on the market and watched Jakobi Meyers, Allen Lazard and JuJu Smith-Schuster get deals with other teams. On draft night, the Titans take Jaxon Smith-Njigba, widely touted as the best receiver of the class. Smith-Njigba may not have an elite size/speed profile but he is a savvy route runner with fluidity at the stem to out-leverage defensive backs. He was the slot receiver in Ryan Day's spread offensive attack and possesses short-area quickness and masterfully adjusts his tempo on routes to bait defenders out of position. Smith-Njigba would help solidify the Titans' receiving corps.

12) Houston Texans (from Cleveland): Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson

Houston possesses a lot of firepower in the 2023 NFL Draft. After taking Bryce Young with the second overall pick, the Texans address the trenches with the 12th overall pick. In free agency, the club added veterans Devin Singletary, Dalton Schultz and Jimmie Ward and will now look to fortify the defensive line with Clemson's Myles Murphy. Murphy has the coveted combination of get-off burst, powerful hands and strength that disorient blockers. He will continue to ascend at the NFL, adding diversity to his pass-rush arsenal to pair with his impressive, explosive traits. Murphy is a physical run defender and would add a much-needed boost to the Texans' defensive line.

13) New York Jets: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

The Jets have a need at tackle and Paris Johnson Jr. fills the vacancy. Johnson moved from right guard to left tackle as a junior in the Buckeyes' zone-based scheme, becoming the first Ohio State tackle to garner consensus All-American honors since 2015. He is athletic in space and quick out of his stance. Johnson is effective on pulls, showcasing his range in the run game, opening seams for rushers. With his size and quickness, Johnson will add another dimension to the Jets' offensive line.

14) New England Patriots: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

The Patriots' need reinforcements on defense and address the secondary with the 14th overall pick. New England did re-sign Johnathan Jones in free agency, but Devin McCourty's retirement leaves a vacancy. Devon Witherspoon, widely regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2023 class, has the versatile skillset that Bill Belichick covets, and he heads to Foxboro. Witherspoon has elite route recognition, coverage awareness and physicality as a tackler. He played both outside and inside corner at Illinois, primary playing man coverage. Witherspoon consistently disrupted passing windows, accumulating 26 passes defensed in 22 games over the previous two seasons. He possesses the athleticism and ball skills to become an immediate starer at the pro level.

15) Green Bay Packers: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Robert Tonyan signed with the Bears in free agency and Notre Dame's Michael Mayer shores up the Packers' position group. Green Bay has reportedly met with all four of the consensus top tight ends in this year's class and Mayer is the most well-rounded of the bunch, profiling as the prototypical Y tight end, who is a threat as both a pass-catcher and as a blocker inline. He can generate yards after catch on intermediate/underneath routes and possesses a stout blocking technique. Mayer is adept at finding soft spots in zone, boxing out defenders and making himself available to the quarterback.

16) Washington Commanders: QB Will Levis, Kentucky

Sam Howell will enter the offseason program at QB1 but competition breeds success. The Commanders are hopeful that Howell, with his arm strength and mobility – can be the next long-term quarterback, ending the carousal in Washington. In a post-Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke world, adding young talent to the mix provides an upside. The Commanders select Will Levis to the quarterback room alongside Howell and journeyman Jacoby Brissett. Although Levis showed inconsistency on tape in 2022 at Kentucky – especially on the deep ball - he has the arm to deliver from various platforms. Levis's athleticism, size, toughness and velocity on throws create an upside, but he will need to continue to develop his ball placement in the NFL.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

With Bud Dupree signing with the Atlanta Falcons, the Steelers need to add depth to their linebacker corps. Pittsburgh's defense is predicated on its pass rush with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, but beyond, they are in need of re-tooling. Drew Sanders has the range, downhill agility and instincts to become an impactful off-ball/edge athlete. He is effective as a speed-to-power rusher and plays with a relentless motor. Sanders is a rising star that could become a versatile weapon in Steel City.

18) Detroit Lions: DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson

The Lions have Isaiah Buggs and Alim McNeill anchoring the middle of the line but need to add depth. Clemson's Bryan Bresee would be too good to pass on. Their line is led by second-year player Aidan Hutchinson and Bresee is another young, explosive force. Although his first two seasons were derailed by injuries which could affect his draft positioning, Bresee's attack mentality generates splash plays as both a pass rusher and run defender. He is a disruptor on both twists/stunts and commands the point of attack. Bresee would help solidify the Lions' defensive front.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

The Bucs have a pressing need at tackle following the departure of Donovan Smith and backup swing tackle Josh Wells. Although Tampa Bay added to its depth with veteran guard/tackle Matt Feiler, that does not prevent the club from dipping into the draft pool with the 19th overall pick. Improving the offensive line is still one of the biggest priorities, and the Bucs take Georgia's Broderick Jones. With powerful hands, movement skills, quickness off the snap and awareness vs. counters, Jones has the desired tools to become a longtime starter in the NFL. With the Bucs' expected to have a greater emphasis placed on the run game in 2023 under new Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales, Jones' mobility when working the second level or on the outside to seal, will help elevate a rushing assault, especially wide-zone runs featuring Rachaad White. The blindside protector in Athens would boost the Bucs' line around either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask. With stellar coordination skills and the ability to confuse the tempo of rushers with a violent punch, Jones is projected to be one of the first linemen off the board.

20) Seattle Seahawks: DL Caljah Kancey, Pittsburgh

The Seahawks made the decision to cut defensive tackle Al Woods and need to continue to revamp their defensive line by fortifying the interior. Kancey lined up everywhere from nose tackle to the edge in Pittsburgh's 4-3 base scheme and became the school's first All-American since Aaron Donald. Kancey's ability to win at the snap, lateral quickness, contact balance and prowess to affect the backfield all make him an intriguing prospect with a tantalizing ceiling.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jordan Addison, USC

The Chargers receiver corps. is loaded with talent as Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer are set to return in 2023, but adding speed/depth would solidify the cast of pass-catchers in L.A. In a pass-heavy league, you can never have too many offensive playmakers. The Chargers select Jordan Addison, providing Justin Herbert with another versatile target. Addison showcases precision in his route-running and possesses the vertical skills to win over the top of defenses. His short-area quickness and suddenness creates run-after-catch openings. While his size may raise concerns, Addison's cunning routes garner attention.

22) Baltimore Ravens: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

The Ravens' have a track-record of drafting first-round receivers but this year, cornerback is the spot to fill. Baltimore addressed the need at receiver, adding Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor, which will help whoever is under center in 2023. Marcus Peters is a free agent, and the Ravens need to replace the void opposite Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens select Joey Porter Jr., Penn State's bump-and-run cornerback. Porter Jr. can reroute receivers off the line of scrimmage with an effective jam. He is quick to react on screens and possesses a large tackling radius. Porter's aggressive play style can lead to a laundry list of flags but his ability to blanket receivers in press will attract suitors in the first round.

23) Minnesota Vikings: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland

The Vikings owned the NFC's worst pass defense in 2022 and they upgrade the secondary with Maryland's Deonte Banks. Banks' boasts a dog mentality that sets the tone and impresses with a quick diagnosis of run plays, downhill pursuit skills, improved ball-tracking and rangy speed. He showcases his physicality all over the field and would provide an energy boost to the Vikings' secondary.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Evan Engram but given Head Coach Doug Pederson's utilization of multiple tight end sets – Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert in Philadelphia – adding to the tight end room would open up the offensive playbook in Jacksonville. Dalton Kincaid has a quick release off the line, stays balanced through contact and is fluid in-and-out of breaks to make defenders miss. He needs to develop his strength and technique inline as a blocker but in one of the deepest tight end classes in memory, Kincaid is an elite pass-catcher with above-average ball skills. Kincaid has the tools to become a dynamic weapon out of the slot at the NFL level.

25) New York Giants: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

The Giants resolved their two glaring free agent issues heading into the 2023 offseason, locking in Daniel Jones on a four-year contract and placing the franchise tag on their top offensive playmaker, Saquon Barkley. New York now shifts to the receiving corps by adding Tennessee All-American receiver Jalin Hyatt. Hyatt has top-end speed that could force defensive coordinators to alter coverages, putting more resources on the back end with a lighter box. Hyatt could provide the Giants with the vertical threat that they desperately needed last season. Hyatt is lethal on crossers and field-stretching patterns and exploits off-man coverage with his blazing speed.

26) Dallas Cowboys: TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

The Cowboys opted not to re-sign free agent Dalton Schultz and need another quarterback-friendly target for Dak Prescott. Dallas selects Luke Musgrave, an impressive size/speed athlete with the route-running prowess and blocking ability to be a complete tight end at the next level. He is quick to his landmarks and opens his number to the quarterback – boxing out defenders – on comebacks, hitches and curls. Musgrave has powerful hands as a blocker and understanding of leverage to set the edge with chips. As a RAC threat, Musgrave would bolster the Cowboys' offensive arsenal, which features CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard.

27) Buffalo Bills: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

As the Bills look to dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, Bijan Robinson would take their offense to unimagined heights. Robinson dominates with the ball in his hands and would add another playmaker to the Buffalo squad that defensive coordinators must account for. He makes defenders miss in a multitude of ways and has rare contact balance. Robinson stacks moves together, which is a nightmare for defenses to gameplan around. He combines acceleration with top-end speed – a devastating pairing. It may not be the popular choice in the modern NFL to draft a running back in the first round given the wear and tear on the position long-term, but Robinson is no ordinary athlete. The one-cut mastermind is one of the most talented players in the class with elusive traits and stellar vision.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: S Brian Branch, Alabama

With Jessie Bates III now in Atlanta, the Bengals' need to bolster the back end. Brian Branch can do it all. He is sticky in man coverage and adept in run support. He was primarily responsible for nickel coverage at Alabama but has the awareness and range to line up in the post or split-safety in certain looks. Branch takes effective angles in pursuit of rushers and provides the flexibility to line up at nickel corner, in the box or back as a single-high safety. He is a well-rounded playmaker and instinctive slot defender with superb movement skills. At Alabama, coaches continuously piled onto his plate and Branch exceeded expectations, taking advantage of the workload.

29) New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver): DL Mazi Smith, Michigan

The interior of the Saints' defensive line underperformed in 2022, with their tackles accounting for just 11.5 of the club's 48 sacks. In free agency, New Orleans lost David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle to division rivals and needs to revamp its line. The Saints select Mazi Smith, a stout run defender with intriguing pass rush potential. With outstanding power, quickness, physicality and rare contact balance, Smith is suited for the interior. He played up and down the line at Michigan, bulldozing single blockers on an island. Smith held his own against double teams and would add star power to the Saints' defensive line in NOLA.

30) Philadelphia Eagles: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee

With Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson in place, the Eagles do not have a pressing need for a starting tackle. But Johnson turns 33 in May and has vocalized that he wants to play "maybe two more years" after the 2022 season. The Birds lost backup left tackle Andre Dillard in free agency to the Titans and will look to reload via the Draft with Darnell Wright. Wright has plug-and-play potential at right tackle and natural power. He is an impressive drive blocker, rarely getting bullied by achieving quick recoveries.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: Edge B.J. Ojulari, LSU

The Chiefs released Frank Clark, who accounted for more than 2,800 defensive snaps since arriving in Kansas City. Outside of Chris Jones, Clark had been the most influential player on the defensive line for Kansas City. His presence and production will be challenging to replace but the Chiefs work to fill the void by selecting LSU's B.J. Ojulari. Ojulari is fast and bendy, consistently disrupting the backfield (103 pressures over the previous two seasons). With unwavering effort and a variety of pass-rush moves in his arsenal to attack, Ojulari offers an explosive skillset to boost the Chiefs' defense. With rare pursuit skills and get-off agility, Ojulari projects as a dynamic stand-up edge rusher.

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