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Jaxon Smith-Njigba Rises, Will Levis Falls



Pro Days are wrapping up, and we’re seeing some late movement on big boards. As the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, it’s time to look at a mock with Pro Day data involved. Will C.J. Stroud take back the QB1 title? Did Will Levis do enough to stay in the top 10? We discuss that and more in this mock draft.

2023 NFL Mock Draft

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

The Carolina Panthers still have options even though they moved up. They could stick with their pick, but they could also trade back to get some more capital. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they stay put and get an elite prospect at quarterback.

C.J. Stroud calls himself a ball placement specialist, and it’s easy to see why. The number of incredible throws that have been shared on social media over the last few months continues to grow, and it’s a big reason why he’s a top prospect. With the Panthers in a rebuild, adding a quarterback of his caliber fits right into their mission.

2) Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

If your consolation prize is Bryce Young, then I think you’re doing pretty well. Young brings great arm talent to the NFL, and his ability to create under pressure also stands out. He’s one of the more poised prospects we’ve seen in recent history, and that helps him produce when the pocket collapses.

MORE: Should Bryce Young Be the No. 1 Overall Pick in 2023?

The Houston Texans just extended Laremy Tunsil, which provides Young with some security up front. The Texans still need to add some more talent to the line, but Young, for the time being, can work his magic to extend plays.

3) Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

It appears the Arizona Cardinals will attack the defensive line through the draft, and their first pick should yield a plug-and-play prospect. Will Anderson Jr. could be the first pick if the right team trades up, but Arizona hopes he falls to them here. He’s a game-changer on the edge and should help the Jonathan Gannon era get off to a good start.

4) Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Anthony Richardson has all of the tools to be the best quarterback in this class. At his peak, he’s better than everyone else. He just needs to be more consistent. The ceiling is enticing, and the Indianapolis Colts could be sold if he drops to them here.

With a cannon for an arm, Richardson, at a minimum, sells more tickets and grows interest early on while he develops. With the Colts cutting Matt Ryan, it’s obvious that the offense will be handed over to a younger player. If that guy is Richardson, there will be plenty to be excited about in Lucas Oil Stadium.

5) Seattle Seahawks: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Make no mistake about it, “settling” for Myles Murphy is something many teams would love to do. Murphy might not be Will Anderson Jr., but the gap between the two isn’t as big as you might think.

Murphy started as a freshman for Clemson, and all he’s done is improve his game year after year. He entered as a long athlete still learning the intricacies of the position, and now he’s a more polished player who’s also added some weight and power to his frame.

6) Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

After the NFL Combine, Christian Gonzalez remains CB1 for me. He’s a player with good length and ball skills, and he displayed his athleticism at the Combine. With C.J. Gardner-Johnson at safety, the Detroit Lions are looking for someone to dominate opposite Jeff Okudah, and Gonzalez would be a great fit. He’s a developing player who’s yet to hit his peak and has plenty of tools that will help him right away.

7) Las Vegas Raiders: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

With Jimmy Garoppolo signed, quarterback is no longer a need for the Las Vegas Raiders, which allows them to keep this pick and not sacrifice draft capital to move up and get their guy. Now they can focus on other positions.

One of those positions coincides with their new signal-caller, as Las Vegas needs someone to help keep Garoppolo upright. Paris Johnson Jr. continues to be at the top of the tackle discussion, and his size makes him a great addition to the Raiders’ line.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Jalen Carter falls in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, but not out of the top 10. We should expect the same to happen in the actual draft, but it would be a major shock if he falls further than this.

Atlanta Falcons fans just had to drive an hour and a half to see their potential future star defensive tackle play this year — even less when Georgia played in their stadium for the SEC Championship Game. Carter is a monster on the field, and he’s going to be a player you can count on to make plays. If Atlanta sees him fall, they won’t hesitate to make the call.

9) Chicago Bears: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Now that the Chicago Bears are in the position they want in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, it’s time to move past the idea of Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter coming to the Windy City. It would be nice to add one of those two players, but it’s not essential. With this pick, they can still address a position of need.

Protecting Justin Fields will be a huge priority for the Bears this year. They already added a downfield threat in DJ Moore, but now Fields needs time to connect with his new receiver. Broderick Jones brings the right attitude to the league and will be key to Fields’ growth.

10) Philadelphia Eagles: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham both re-signed with the Eagles, which is huge for the future of their franchise. Neither will be with the team long term, but they can pass their knowledge down to the future defensive linemen that join the team.

Tyree Wilson should benefit from both players. At 6’6″, 271 pounds, he brings size and athleticism to the edge. Graham can help hone Wilson’s moves on the edge, and Cox can give him pointers on how to utilize his power to create leverage. It’s a good fit for a team looking for another championship and for a player ready to take another step.

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

The Tennessee Titans signing Andre Dillard lessens the urgent need to add a tackle and gives the team more flexibility to address other positions. Whether the offense runs through Ryan Tannehill or Malik Willis (or maybe someone else), they’re going to need options. Derrick Henry can’t run through everyone like he did in high school.

Questions about his hamstring will be the top concern surrounding Jaxon Smith-Njigba. If he can erase those concerns, he’s a first-round pick. He’s a great route runner who’s ready to show that he can make an impact again, and the Titans’ offense will open up more if they can add him.

12) Houston Texans: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

With the Texans adding Bryce Young already in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, they look to secure another weapon on the outside. They signed Robert Woods to a two-year deal, but they’ll need a younger player to hold things down long-term.

Quentin Johnston is not as tall as we once thought, but his skill set can’t be denied. He’s electric after the catch and showed a knack for coming down with 50-50 balls. Young and Johnston could be the connection the Texans need to get back on track.

13) New York Jets: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Peter Skoronski fills multiple needs for the New York Jets in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. If they don’t end up trading for Aaron Rodgers, someone needs to protect the quarterback better. Whether that’s on the inside or on the edge. Skoronski’s a proven winner who can be a versatile weapon by moving across the line.

14) New England Patriots: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

The New England Patriots signed Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson to help protect Mac Jones, but both come to the Patriots on short-term deals. New England still needs someone who will be the future protector of Jones’ blind spot.

MORE: Pro Day News and Rumors

Darnell Wright hasn’t received a ton of attention in the offseason, but he’s a proven winner who’s faced elite competition. Will Anderson Jr. even endorsed Wright’s abilities recently, and the tackle is beginning to climb into the first round of many 2023 NFL Mock Drafts thanks to his Combine performance.

15) Green Bay Packers: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

With Aaron Rodgers most likely out the door, Jordan Love would enjoy seeing more weapons to utilize. Christian Watson already showed good upside, but the Green Bay Packers can help him with the addition of Zay Flowers.

Flowers doesn’t have Watson’s size, but he’s an explosive playmaker that can make any quarterback’s life easier. If Rodgers somehow remains on the team this year, he’ll enjoy this pick just as well.

16) Washington Commanders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Will Levis should fall if you ask me. The upside is there, but the lack of consistency and the accuracy issues worry me if I’m a team in need of a quarterback. Still, someone’s going to take him, and it’s probably going to be higher than this.

If Levis can continue developing as a passer, then the concerns shouldn’t be an issue down the road. In this 2023 NFL Mock Draft, he joins a Washington Commanders offense full of potential. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel just need someone to get them the ball. That could be Sam Howell, but the Commanders may want another player to compete for the job too.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Mike Tomlin has plenty of options to take at corner this year, but how fun would it be to get Joey Porter Jr. to Pittsburgh? His name would make this pick great, but it’s his game that would make it even better.

Porter’s length and coverage skills are the biggest reasons he’s a first-round pick, and the Steelers’ secondary needs someone of his caliber to help out. He’d also learn plenty from veteran Patrick Peterson, who just signed with the team this offseason.

18) Detroit Lions: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Detroit’s defense returns a good core of pass rushers on the edge, and Calijah Kancey gives them the perfect complement. His explosive first step puts blockers at a disadvantage immediately, and he’ll most likely face one-on-one matchups to exploit that on a frequent basis.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

If you talk to people in the Iowa program, they have nothing but good things to say about Lukas Van Ness. While he didn’t start for the Hawkeyes, he made the most of his opportunities. His length and athleticism make him a problem, and he helps a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team most likely looking to rebuild.

20) Seattle Seahawks: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

Tyler Lockett can’t play forever, but the Seattle Seahawks find his replacement in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Josh Downs dominated in the slot over the last couple of years with North Carolina, and he can take his game to the next level by learning from Lockett.

Throw in the fact that Downs would join an offense that also features D.K. Metcalf, and Geno Smith should feel pretty good about his future with the franchise. Downs is just the next piece in that puzzle.

21) Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Justin Herbert has plenty of weapons on offense, but the biggest issue has been keeping them healthy. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams create stress on the defenses, but both struggled to stay on the field last year. The Los Angeles Chargers need to add some more talent that can add depth and still produce at a high level.

Insert Jordan Addison. The former USC star is a smooth route runner with good ball skills. He’s a master separator, something that Allen knows a thing or two about, and allows Herbert to find another reliable threat downfield.

22) Baltimore Ravens: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Devon Witherspoon just feels like a Baltimore Raven to me. He brings the right attitude to the position and plays the game with a burning passion. He may not have the size of some of the other corners in this class, but Baltimore doesn’t care about that in this 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

23) Minnesota Vikings: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

With Dalvin Tomlinson gone in free agency, the Minnesota Vikings could use someone to make an impact up the middle. Bryan Bresee, when healthy, can be an absolute unit on the field.

At 6’5″, 300 pounds, he’s a big player that produces a ton of power in his frame. He also brings underrated athleticism to the next level and would make Minnesota’s defensive line a major problem this year.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The uber-athletic Deonte Banks shined at the NFL Combine, and he helped ensure he’ll have a great chance of being drafted in the first round. Even while he’s still developing, Banks can play right away for the Jacksonville Jaguars thanks to the combination of his athleticism and film.

25) New York Giants: John Michael Schmitz, OC, Minnesota

The New York Giants could use a long-term option at receiver, but they also signed three players to help in that regard. So, for now, New York looks to the offensive line to protect Daniel Jones and his $40 million arm.

John Michael Schmitz gave Minnesota plenty of consistent play in college and showcased his versatility at both guard and center. New York gets depth at both positions with Schmitz, and they get a player that finishes plays whether his opponent wants to or not.

26) Dallas Cowboys: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Imagine pairing Leighton Vander Esch with Trenton Simpson. What a duo that would be for the Dallas Cowboys. Simpson is an athletic linebacker that brings a good pop with his frame. While he played behind a dominant defensive line, Simpson was a major factor for the Tigers’ defense, and he could do the same for Dallas.

27) Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

We could add playmakers to the Buffalo Bills’ offense because that’s fun to do, but it also helps to add a guy that can make life easier for the current playmakers on the offense. O’Cyrus Torrence is a massive player that moves people with relative ease. If you want a tone-setter in the trenches, you’re getting one with him.

28) Cincinnati Bengals: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

The Cincinnati Bengals paid Orlando Brown Jr. a lot of money, and for good reason. Protecting Joe Burrow is serious business, and the Bengals could send the right message by adding another massive tackle.

Dawand Jones and Brown would give Cincinnati the biggest tackle duo in the league and would ensure they have a top-tier tandem for quite some time. Jones would allow them to trade away Jonah Williams if Cincinnati wants to acquire more picks.

29) New Orleans Saints: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Derek Carr already has Chris Olave as a go-to option, but there’s no doubt he’d be thrilled to have another if the New Orleans Saints find a way to add Michael Mayer. Mayer is a well-rounded tight end who became a better pass catcher last year, and he should find his way into the starting lineup fairly quickly.

30) Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

There’s plenty of fluctuation among the top linebackers in this 2023 NFL Draft class, and Drew Sanders is one of the more intriguing options. He transferred from Alabama to Arkansas, where he played multiple positions for the Razorbacks.

MORE: NFL Draft News and Rumors

His spot in the NFL may not be defined yet, but he’s an athletic player who has plenty of ability to learn a new position if need be. At worst, he’s an LB that can make plays all over the field and gives the Eagles someone that’s comfortable both in the trenches and in coverage.

31) Kansas City Chiefs: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Mazi Smith might not be as polished as some of the other defensive tackles in this class, but he’s well on his way. His freakish athleticism and power help him stand out, and the Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of veterans that can help him unleash that on a consistent basis.

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Eyes on Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Ramsey, Injuries, and Offensive Line




The Miami Dolphins’ offseason program turns to home this week with the start of organized team activity (OTA) practices.

What are the biggest storylines as Mike McDaniel enters his second year as Dolphins coach? We break them all down in our 2023 Miami Dolphins OTAs preview.

2023 Miami Dolphins OTAs Preview

This week marks the start of Phase Three of the NFL’s voluntary offseason program. The league allows teams to hold 10 days of OTA practices, under these conditions: No live contact, but individual, 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Year 4 Tua Tagovailoa

The last time we saw Tua Tagovailoa on the practice field, Kris Kringle hadn’t yet begun his flight.

That will change this week. Tagovailoa has long been cleared medically after a second stint in the concussion protocol ended his season prematurely.

Observers will be watching Tagovailoa for two things:

  1. Does he look mentally and physically sharp after multiple brain injuries in 2022?
  2. Is he in line for another leap forward in McDaniel’s system?

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Tagovailoa was the league’s most efficient passer in 2022 but could only watch the team’s first playoff appearance since 2016 due to health.

“It’s been a lot better of an offseason knowing that I don’t have to learn a new system,” Tagovailoa said last month. “I don’t have to learn new formations, new motions, new snap points, new cadences. It’s good to know that I already have a year under my belt within the offense. There’s always going to be nuances, but it’s not like a drastic change. So this is really good.

“I mean, this is good because of the guys that we have as well that have been with us last year under the same system. We’re all really, really excited to get things going.”

Other Miami Dolphins Injuries

Tagovailoa was one of more than a dozen Dolphins players who couldn’t finish the season.

A long list of significant contributors ended the year on injured reserve, including projected 2023 starters Emmanuel Ogbah (triceps), Nik Needham (Achilles), Austin Jackson (ankle), and Brandon Jones (knee).

That doesn’t even account for stars like Bradley Chubb and Xavien Howard, who played hurt much of the year.

“I’m healthy now,” Howard said earlier this offseason. “All I needed was some rest. With a groin injury, week in and week out, especially playing defensive back and playing a lot of man [coverage], it put me down a little bit. But I’m better now. I feel like I’m going to do better this year also. I’m just ready for it.”

Vic Fangio’s Time

The anticipation locally to see what new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can do with what, on paper, is a talented group is second only to the excitement of seeing Tagovailoa back on the field.

Fangio was the Dolphins’ biggest free agent signing this cycle, and while we have a general idea of what Miami will look like schematically, he did promise some new wrinkles in 2023.

“There’s a few things that I came up with that I’m anxious to try,” Fangio said. “We’ll try them in OTAs at some point and then in training camp as a good fit for the other things we do.”

Jalen Ramsey in Aqua and Orange

We mentioned the Dolphins were loaded on defense. The trade for Jalen Ramsey in March is a big part of that talent stockpile.

Ramsey — a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro — was a relative steal for Miami. All it took was a mid-round draft pick and a backup tight end.

MORE: Miami Dolphins 2023 Schedule

Ramsey’s coverage skills and position flexibility will make him a valuable chess piece for Fangio.

“This defense, this secondary, you look at it on paper, it’s something that you would definitely want to be a part of,” Ramsey said after the trade. “I know I’m not the only person who wanted to be a part of it and will want to be a part of it in the future.”

Offensive Line Questions

After a series of injuries to Tagovailoa in 2022, you’d think that protecting him would be priority No. 1. But the Dolphins made no major moves on the offensive line this offseason, other than switching position coaches. (Matt Applebaum is out, and Butch Barry is in.)

They should feel good about three spots in their starting five — Terron Armstead at left tackle, Connor Williams at center, and Robert Hunt at right guard.

But there better be an open competition at the other two spots. Liam Eichenberg (left guard) and Austin Jackson (right tackle) are big-time question marks.

Pushing them for spots in the starting lineup will be Robert Jones, Dan Feeney, Isaiah Wynn, and Cedric Ogbuehi, among others.

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Ben Roethlisberger Admits To Rooting Against Kenny Pickett




Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t always lauded as a model teammate during his 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His early success led to actions (and allegations) that many would classify as immature, reckless, and arrogant. Incurring league discipline in the form of a four-game suspension to begin the 2010 season did seem to calm the embattled signal-caller down some, at least in terms of off-field actions.

But Roethlisberger was never one to bite his tongue. Particularly later on in his career, he’d provide the media with plenty of juicy sound bites. The two-time Super Bowl champ was not afraid to be candid when interviewed, even if that meant being critical of teammates or even higher-ups.

Ben Roethlisberger Admits To Rooting Against Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

That trait has continued into retirement. The only difference now is Roethlisberger, co-host of the “Footbahlin” podcast, can choose the subject. And with his direct successor, Kenny Pickett, as his guest … Roethlisberger gave a doozy of a sound bite to all of his listeners as well as to the second-year signal-caller who followed him.

Per Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora, “I’ll be completely honest,” Roethlisberger said. “And I’ll be super transparent here, and I’m gonna get blasted. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I mean, who cares at this point?

“I wouldn’t say that I wanted Kenny to necessarily fail, but when someone comes to replace you, and I still feel like I had it. Like, I hope he doesn’t come ball-out, because then it’s like, ‘Ben who?’”

As noted above, Roethlisberger’s never been afraid to speak his piece. And he’s worn his share of the blame plenty of times after a bad outing. But sometimes, when he served up a particularly juicy quote, it could seem like the six-time Pro Bowler was maybe deflecting a bit. But in this instance, Roethlisberger was owning his selfishness.

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He’s right that this quote may draw him some negative attention. But what Roethlisberger said shouldn’t be wholly surprising. In fact, it seems fair to say Roethlisberger should be commended for his honesty. After being at the top of his profession for nearly two decades, it can’t be easy to transition out and especially not to see your immediate successor excel. It’d likely make one feel, well, replaceable.

To Roethlisberger’s credit, he would go on to admit that, as the 2022 season wore on, he would become a bigger supporter of Pickett’s burgeoning career.

“As you started playing, I found myself rooting more and more for you. You know what I’m saying?,” Roethlisberger said. “We sat down here and watched games, and we were high-fiving, going nuts when you were leading the team and doing things.”

It can’t be easy to transition from ultra-competitor to retirement. That’s why the remaining members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins pop champagne every year when the last undefeated team takes a loss. It’s good to be (one of) the best.

But by softening his stance on, and later even rooting for Pickett, the man known as “Big Ben” took a big step into that transition.

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Tom Brady Agrees To Buy Minority Stake in Las Vegas Raiders, Pending NFL Approval




Former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has agreed to buy a small ownership share in the Las Vegas Raiders, per MMQB’s Albert Breer. The NFL must still approve the sale of ownership shares, which will not occur during the Spring League Owner’s Meeting in May.

Tom Brady Agrees to Raiders Ownership Share — What’s Next?

Ownership in one franchise precludes ownership in another franchise, per NFL rules — though Brady is free to sell shares of the Raiders if he wanted to pursue a stake in a different NFL franchise, as Josh Harris will do with his shares in the Pittsburgh Steelers if the NFL agrees to his decision to purchase the Washington Commanders alongside an ownership group.

Mark Davis will remain the majority owner of the Raiders and will represent the Raiders in all league affairs. Brady had already entered into an ownership agreement for the Las Vegas Aces with Mark Davis, where Brady also owns a minority share.

An ownership share would prevent Brady from being able to “unretire” a second time and pursue a contract with an NFL team but should not prevent his ability to enter into a contract with a network to work as a broadcaster, though his conflict of interest should be made clear whenever he’s on air.

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Brady is pivotal to one of the central moments in modern Raiders history, preventing their first potential Super Bowl appearance in the Rich Gannon era by way of the infamous “Tuck Rule Game” during the 2001 postseason, setting up his first Super Bowl appearance and win over the St. Louis Rams.

The Raiders would go on to make the Super Bowl the next year, losing to former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who they traded away to the Super Bowl-winning Buccaneers.

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