The goal for these comparisons is to match the play style and abilities of 2023 NFL draft prospects to an NFL player known for those play styles and abilities, the goal is NOT to predict a career or definitively compare between players . I’ve formed the comparisons after watching regular season games, reviewing scouting reports and dialing up a YouTube highlight video or two.
Bryce Young — Joe Burrow
Escapeability in the pocket, but not a runner
Dominated in the SEC, Heisman winners
Will Levis — Matthew Stafford
Ideal arm talent
Big body, harder to tackle
Good experience running plays under center, play action
C.J. Stroud — Geno Smith
Makes quick decisions in the pocket
Doesn’t rely on mobility
Ball placement gives receivers a chance
Anthony Richardson — Justin Fields
Off the charts athleticism
Strong natural arm
Hendon Hooker — Derek Carr
Able to identify open WR’s
Comfortable in the pocket
Average NFL arm strength
Tanner McKee — Jared Goff
Good in plays with timing
Longer release in throwing motion
Tall, durable physique
Quentin Johnston — Kyle Pitts
Athletic build that translates on field
Strong after the catch
Rashee Rice — A.J. Brown
Strong frame to win contested battles
Elusive and determined after the catch
Jordan Addison — Chris Olave
Excellent route runners
Elusive and electric with the ball
Similar physique (height/catch radius)
Jaxson Smith-Njigba — Jarvis Landry
Playmaker from the slot
Natural feel for open zones of the field
Josh Downs — Tyler Lockett
Same physique (height)
Great in contested catch situations
Jalin Hyatt — Jaylen Waddle
Fast, long strides that leads to separation
Bijan Robinson — Austin Ekeler/Miles Sanders
Powerful lower half with contact balance
Understands running lanes
Jahmyr Gibbs — Chrisitan McCaffrey
Electric kick / punt returner
Quick feet and acceleration to make defenders miss
Now that the NFL season has finished, each team has solidified their spot in the draft order and us fans can begin even more speculation. You can see my other mock drafts here, so as the draft process moves along you are able to see in real-time the changes of certain players and teams.
Keep in mind, these picks are what I think the teams should do, not what they will do.
This might not be the direction that Houston takes, however it’s the direction the NFL is taking; edge rushers are extremely valuable. Thibodeaux has shown glimpses of being able to develop into a cornerstone on defense.
There’s a lot of directions to go here, and some Falcons fans believe the ‘best player available’ is the best option. Burks might not fit that mold, but he’ll fit nicely into that offense to add some more stability.
They upgraded their secondary already this draft, so why not help out the first line of defense? Walker was a part of a historic college defense, so his college production might not tell the story. His athleticism and anticipation are off the charts for his size and position.
One of if not the most impressive player during the bowl season, Dean looks ready to be a defensive leader. Adding his instincts and traits to a defense with good pieces already (just not at LB) will make a positive difference.
No doubt CLE needs a playmaker on the outside to replace what OBJ was supposed to be. Although they should primarily be a running team, getting a WR who can consistently get open and make contested catches might add another level to the offense.
The most exciting team in the draft this year starts their first round trio of picks with a much needed boost in the front seven. Karlaftis can wreak havoc on offensive tackles with his power and relentlessness.
Yet again, PHI boosts their front seven on defense, because it just makes too much sense. Lloyd is the perfect player to boost a front seven – he’s good at tackling and plays downhill on the ball more often than not.
With an offensive line as bad as PIT, taking the most versatile linemen in the draft is a no-brainer. If last year’s K. Green can earn a starting spot, this K. Green will be able to win a starting job at any position other than center.
A deep WR class will start to make it’s run at some point in this draft. Olave was paired up with fellow first-rounder G. Wilson for his whole career, but breaking away from him could make Olave a bigger star, similar to Justin Jefferson’s storyline.
Traditionally DAL has a top tier offensive line, however they are trending away from that given their current age and skillsets at the position. They need to make a pick here to stabilize the offensive line for years.
If the top five WR’s are taken, don’t be surprised to see BUF boost their defensive line depth, which was put to the test (and failed) in their final game against KC. Wyatt would be the fourth member of last years Georgia team to be drafted in the first round.
Penning being left here would be a blessing for the Dolphins, who get this pick from the 49ers. It would boost the offensive line talent immensely and immediately, which MIA has shown they desperately need.
Mahomes and the new offensive line will be fine without taking an offensive player here. So, drafting a tremendous athlete that will hunt down the ball and cover in the slot can improve something else that struggled last year.
I couldn’t not include three QB’s in the first round, because I’ll probably place a bet near the draft at o2.5 taken. So, Corral gets to enjoy the bench for a year or so and then will inherit one of the leagues best young offensive line groups.
A couple of things should make for this mock draft to be more accurate and fulfilling than last December. First, the college bowl games have been played (or cancelled in some cases), giving scouts another chance to evaluate players’ attributes.
Additionally, the draft order is further along to being set. There is still one week left in the NFL season, however there’s a few less possibilities now that teams have just one game remaining.
The most speculative time of the year is nearing again, so it’s only right that we make predictions about an event that won’t happen for another five months!
As I created this mock draft, I decided on the player I believe to have the best potential for impact now and in future years for each team, given their roster, performance and draft history. This is in no way a ranking of player skill levels, only an educated guess on each organization’s million-dollar decision.