Though just one month removed from the end of the NFL regular season, we continue full steam ahead on the road to the 2023 NFL Draft. Numerous prospects have made their mark on scouts and coaching staffs alike, and NFL.com’s Eric Edholm is the latest expert to weigh in with his inaugural mock draft.
Edholm detailed his picks for the first 31 names off the board, including the Giants' first-round choice at 25th overall.
Pick for No. 25: Quentin Johnston, WR; Texas Christian University
Analysis: "Isaiah Hodgins opened eyes late in the season, and Wan'Dale Robinson will be back from a torn ACL, but adding a lengthy playmaker with burst and 50-50 skills makes sense." --Eric Edholm
In 2022, Johnston's 1,069 receiving yards ranked second in the Big 12. He finished the season with the second-best single-season output in school history by a wide receiver. Johnston led his team in receiving yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons. His post-catch quickness and large frame are added weapons in his game play.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 215 pounds
2022 Stats: 14 games, 60 receptions for 1,069 yards (17.8-yard avg.), 6 touchdowns
Accolades: Biletnikoff Award semifinalist (2022), First-Team All-Big 12 (2022, 2021), Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 (2020)
Below are Eric Edholm's projections for the first five players selected in the 2023 NFL draft, along with analysis from the NFL.com draft expert.
5. Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech; Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)Analysis: "The SEC run ends with a long, toolsy, disruptive edge rusher out of the Big 12. Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe and Wilson could be a fearsome foursome up front in Seattle." --Edholm
Wilson played one year at Texas A&M (2019) before transferring to Texas Tech. As a senior in 2022, he led the Big 12 with 14.5 tackles for loss and finished second in the division with 7.0 sacks.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 275 pounds
2022 Stats: 10 games, 61 tackles (25 solo), 7.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Accolades: AP Second-team All-American (2022), AP First-team All-Big 12 (2022), Defensive MVP of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl (2021), AP All-Bowl Team (2021), All-Big 12 honorable mention (2021)
4. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky; Indianapolis Colts
Analysis: "It's easy to see how Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard would appreciate Levis, who oozes toughness, even if he's coming off a challenging 2022 season. If the Colts really want him, though, they might have to move up -- Levis will go high." --Edholm
Levis played two seasons for the Nittany Lions before transferring to Kentucky, where he boosted his draft stock significantly. He posted impressive statistics in 2021 and collected the most passing touchdowns (24) for Kentucky in a single season since Andre Woodson in 2007.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 232 pounds
2022 Stats: 11 games, 2,406 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 72 rushing attempts, -107 yards, 2 touchdowns
Accolades: Two-time Manning Award Quarterback of the Week (2021), Two-time FBS National Offensive Player of the Week (2021)
3. Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama; Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: "With J.J. Watt's retirement, the Cardinals lose more than a third of their 2022 sacks. Anderson wasn't quite as explosive and productive this past season as he was in 2021, but he is this draft's most electric pass rusher." --Edholm
In three years at Alabama, Anderson's 62 tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks rank second in school history. He finished fifth in 2021 Heisman Trophy voting upon completion of his best collegiate season.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 243 pounds
2022 Stats: 13 games, 51 tackles (24 solo), 10.0 sacks, 1 interception, 1 touchdown and 1 pass defensed
Accolades: Chuck Bednarik Award (2022), Lott IMPACT Trophy (2022), Rotary Lombardi Award (2022), Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP (2021), five-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week (2021), Football Writers Association of America National Freshman of the Year (2020), SEC All-Freshman Team (2020), AP Second-team All-SEC (2020)
2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama; Houston TexansAnalysis: "Young's small frame and shoulder injury during the 2022 season are concerns, but his field vision and anticipation skills are elite. New Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans also starred for the Alabama Crimson Tide." --Edholm
In three years at Alabama, Young notched numerous school records. He garnered a record-setting five-touchdown games (5) and finished second all-time with 8,356 passing yards. In his sophomore season, Young also tallied single-season school records with 4,872 passing yards and 47 touchdowns.
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 194 pounds
2022 Stats: 12 games, 3,328 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 49 rushing attempts, 185 yards, 4 touchdowns
Accolades: Heisman Trophy finalist (2021, 2022), Sugar Bowl MVP (2022), AP College Football Player of the Year (2021), Consensus All-American (2021), CFP National Champion (2021)
1. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia; Chicago Bears
Analysis: "Bears fans will spend the next few months projecting trades down and debating Carter vs. Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. In this trade-free exercise, Chicago lands the most impactful interior rusher in the 2023 class." --Edholm
Carter is a back-to-back CFP national champion who played in all but two games over three seasons at Georgia. Carter created pressure on 13 percent of his pass rushes last season and amassed a tackle on 17.1 percent of run-defense snaps, according to CBS Sports and TruMedia.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 310 pounds
2022 Stats: 13 games, 32 tackles (16 solo), 3.0 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
Accolades: CFP National Champion (2021, 2022), AP First-team All-American (2022), AP & Coaches First-team All-SEC (2022), Coaches Second-team All-SEC (2021)
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