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Davison Re-Does the 2023 NFL Draft

With draft season approaching, we're going to start a new series on the site: re-drafting the NFL Draft, and we'll start in 2023, and go as far back as we can until the 2024 Draft starts. In each scenario, draft-day trades will be ignored, and each draft will be viewed in a vacuum; drafting a star quarterback one year will not stop a team from taking one the next year, and the same will be true for all other positions.


Without further ado, let's get into the 31 picks of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.


1. Carolina Panthers

Real pick: Bryce Young

My pick: C.J. Stroud


It may be a little early to do this for this year's draft, and Young could still turn out the better quarterback in the long run. For now, the Offensive Rookie of the Year would be drafted first by the Panthers, who traded with the Chicago Bears to move up to the number-one selection. The selection of Stroud seems to have turned around the fortunes of a Texans franchise that hasn't had much success since they were founded in 2002. If Carolina went Stroud over Young, a move favored by then-head coach Frank Reich, the future of that franchise wouldn't look as bleak.


2. Houston Texans

Real pick: C.J. Stroud

My pick: Jalen Carter


In real life, Houston picked C.J. Stroud, but in this scenario, he is already gone to the Panthers, so the Texans will have to settle for who might have been the best rookie, period. An argument could be made for him, Stroud, or someone else we'll talk about a little bit later (spoiler alert: he's the next pick), but regardless, the Texans get Carter to anchor their defensive line, something that they tried to do by picking Will Anderson Jr. Anderson had a good rookie year and still could turn out to be the better player, but Carter already looks like one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL, so he is the pick here.


3. Arizona Cardinals

Real pick: Will Anderson Jr. (by Houston)

My pick: Puka Nacua


There isn't much the Cardinals didn't need in this draft, so we'll go with the best player available. That would be Puka Nacua, who arguably had the best rookie season for a receiver in NFL history after being drafted in the fifth round by the Rams. Nacua seems like a player who would slot in well wherever he goes, so there is little doubt that he would be the top target for the Cardinals’ quarterback, be it Kyler Murray or someone else.


4. Indianapolis Colts

Real pick: Anthony Richardson

My pick: Anthony Richardson


Richardson is more of a case of what could be rather than what is known. He took the league by storm in his first four games, leading the Colts to a 2-2 record and having seven total touchdowns to two turnovers before a season-ending injury and subsequent surgery on his AC joint. The promise that Richardson showed in those four games leads him to be the pick here, as the Colts are a solid team that might be a quarterback away from contending in the AFC (although, in my opinion, Gardner Minshew is a solid quarterback, and is much better than he gets credit for).


5. Seattle Seahawks

Real pick: Devon Witherspoon

My pick: Devon Witherspoon


If Jalen Carter doesn't win Defensive Rookie of the Year, it will be Witherspoon, and that tells you all you need to know about the Seahawks’ fifth overall pick. Witherspoon already looks like a top cornerback in the league, and he is helping a Seahawks defense that desperately needs assistance at the cornerback position. Witherspoon is the pick here, even if there are better players available.


6. Detroit Lions

Real pick: Paris Johnson Jr. (by Arizona)

My pick: Sam LaPorta


Detroit still gets their outstanding rookie tight end, but instead of drafting him in the second round, they get to pick him at sixth overall. LaPorta is already a top-five tight end in the league, and he led the league in fantasy football points at the position this year. For a group that looked like they might have had the worst tight end group going into the draft last year, LaPorta fills a need and stays with the team that drafted him.


7. Las Vegas Raiders

Real pick: Tyree Wilson

My pick: Zay Flowers


Flowers was arguably the best rookie receiver outside of Puka Nacua this year, and he would slot in nicely next to Davante Adams for the Raiders, who don't have much at receiver outside of him. The Raiders already have Maxx Crosby, one of the best edge rushers in the league, and instead of drafting Will Anderson Jr. or a cornerback (or quarterback), a receiver is the pick here, and Flowers is the one we'll select.


8. Atlanta Falcons

Real pick: Bijan Robinson

My pick: Bijan Robinson


Robinson was touted as the best player (talent-wise) coming out of the draft at any position last year by many outlets, and he showed that the hype was warranted in his rookie year. He may not have even been the best rookie running back this year (the other one will be coming up shortly), but he remains with the Falcons in this scenario, even if he wasn't used right this year. Here's to hoping that a new coach can harness the talent Robinson has, but even without the right coach this year, the talent is there.


9. Chicago Bears

Real pick: Jalen Carter (by Philadelphia)

My pick: Will Anderson Jr.


Anderson had seven sacks in his rookie year, and his presence in the underrated Bears defense would have bolstered the weakest part. The defense has traditionally been good enough to keep the Bears in games, and Anderson's presence (along with fellow edge rusher Montez Sweat) would immediately make Chicago's pass rush one of the best in the NFL.


10. Philadelphia Eagles

Real pick: Darnell Wright (by Chicago)

My pick: Dalton Kincaid


Kincaid's pick might seem like a reach, but Philadelphia doesn't have many needs, and Kincaid could pair nicely with Dallas Goedert to make a one-two punch for the Eagles’ tight ends group. Christian Gonzalez or Jahmyr Gibbs could have been picked here, too, but the Eagles’ cornerback duo of Darius Slay and James Bradberry is one of the best in the league, and D'Andre Swift bolsters a very underrated Eagles running back group.


11. Tennessee Titans

Real pick: Peter Skoronski

My pick: Christian Gonzalez


Gonzalez could easily have gone much earlier than now, but the teams ahead either had more pressing needs than cornerback. Gonzalez only played in four games for the Patriots before suffering a season-ending tear to his labrum, but before he got hurt, he was the front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He looks like a classic Bill Belichick cornerback pick and someone who will turn out to be a great player, and he would fit well in a defense that needs help at cornerback.


12. Houston Texans

Real pick: Jahmyr Gibbs (by Detroit)

My pick: Will Levis


Levis isn't the best player available at this point, but he fills a dire need for the Texans now that they don't have C.J. Stroud. Levis was probably the third-best rookie quarterback this season (after Stroud and Richardson), but that's not meant to distract from the fact he had an underrated season. In nine games as a starter, he compiled a 3-6 record with nine total touchdowns and eight total turnovers, averaging just over 200 passing yards per game. If Levis were a Texan, he may have had a better rookie season than he had in Tennessee; there is little doubt that if Houston had Levis instead of Stroud this season, they wouldn't have been as good as they were, but with Levis, the Texans could still have a potential franchise quarterback on their hands.


13. Green Bay Packers

Real pick: Lukas Van Ness

My pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba


With their real pick, the Packers picked Lukas Van Ness, who had four sacks in his rookie season without starting a game, but in our re-draft, we're picking Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who had an impressive rookie campaign in Seattle despite being situated behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in the depth chart. Smith-Njigba had 628 yards on 63 targets and four receiving touchdowns, and he would bolster an extremely young receiver core in Green Bay with an elite threat.


14. New England

Real pick: Broderick Jones (by Pittsburgh)

My pick: Kobie Turner


“Who?” you might ask. Turner was a third-round pick for the Los Angeles Rams, and he found a nice spot alongside Aaron Donald on the defensive line, tallying nine sacks and being a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year. New England's defense is the strong suit, and they could have improved an already solid defensive line with Turner's selection.


15. New York Jets

Real pick: Will McDonald IV

My pick: Brian Branch


Branch was an outstanding pick for the Detroit Lions this year, as he had three interceptions (including one that was returned for a touchdown in Week 1 against the Chiefs) and forced a fumble while tallying 13 pass deflections. Since the departure of Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams, the Jets have been trying to revamp their safety spot, and the selection of Branch, who can play cornerback or safety, would have helped them in their quest.


16. Washington Commanders

Real pick: Emmanuel Forbes

My pick: Joey Porter Jr.


Washington needs corners, so they stick with the same position in my re-draft, but instead of picking Emmanuel Forbes (who was decent as a rookie), they are picking who was probably the third-best rookie cornerback this year after Gonzalez and Witherspoon. Porter only had one interception in his rookie season, but he deflected 10 passes and is already the leader of a Steelers’ corner core that was suspect before this season, but he has already shored up the corner spot on his side of the field. Had the Commanders picked Porter, they would already have fixed one of their corner spots, but the selection of Forbes wasn't a bad one, either.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Real pick: Christian Gonzalez (by New England)

My pick: Broderick Jones


In real life, the Steelers traded up to pick Jones with the 14th pick, but in my re-draft, he has fallen to the Steelers at 17, so he's the pick here. Jones played in all 17 games as a rookie and started 11, but his biggest impact is as a leader of a much-improved Steelers offensive line. With the addition of Jones, the Steeler's offensive line went from being one of the worst in the league in 2022 to being a mid-pack one in 2023.


18. Detroit Lions

Real pick: Jack Campbell

My pick: Jahmyr Gibbs


It's telling that a team had a great draft when a re-draft sees them select players they already selected in real life, and that's the case for the Lions. Both of the Lions’ re-drafted first-round picks have seen them take players they took in the real 2023 NFL Draft, with Sam LaPorta going at sixth overall and Jahmyr Gibbs at 18th. The rookie Pro Bowler had over 1,200 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns in his rookie year, and his addition helped make the Lions’ offense one of the best in the league. While Gibbs’ selection was scrutinized at the time of the draft, it certainly paid off in the long run.


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Real pick: Calijah Kancey

My pick: Emmanuel Forbes


Forbes was a solid corner in his rookie year in Washington, and his addition to the Bucs defense would help to fix the weakest part of it. In 12 games and 10 starts, Forbes had one interception and 10 deflected passes, and his addition would immediately make him a starter with the Bucs.


20. Seattle Seahawks

Real pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba

My pick: Jordan Addison


Here's where the run on offensive skill positions starts. Seattle's real selection, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, was already selected in this scenario, so the selection is Addison, who started 14 games and had over 900 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 70 receptions. Addison played great in Justin Jefferson's absence in the middle of the season, and even with a suspect quarterback group throwing to him (outside of Kirk Cousins for the first eight games of the season before he was injured), Addison played well. Addison's addition to a Seattle offense that already has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett would make that group one of the best in the league, but it already is now with Smith-Njigba, too.


21. Los Angeles Chargers

Real pick: Quentin Johnston

My pick: Jack Campbell


Campbell was decent as a rookie on the Lions, and he played in all 17 games and started 12 while tallying 95 tackles, two sacks, and five TFLs on the season. The Chargers' defense is decent, but they could use someone like Campbell in the middle of the field, as that is where their defense lacks the most.


22. Baltimore Ravens

Real pick: Zay Flowers

My pick: Tank Dell


Dell's season ended with a broken fibula, but when he got hurt, he had 47 receptions for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns, which were all stats among the rookie leaders by that point in the year. Dell’s addition to a Baltimore offense lacking talent at receiver would help the Ravens give Lamar Jackson some more playmakers, especially now that they don't have Zay Flowers in this scenario.


23. Minnesota Vikings

Real pick: Jordan Addison

My pick: Paris Johnson Jr.


Johnson's addition to the Cardinals offensive line last year was much needed, as he started all 17 games and provided Josh Dobbs and Kyler Murray with a solid option on their blind side. If Johnson had been on the Vikings instead of the Cardinals, Kirk Cousins might have been protected better, and their season could have gone much differently.


24. Jacksonville Jaguars

Real pick: Deonte Banks (by New York Giants)

My pick: Christian Izien


Izien had a solid rookie season, especially for an undrafted rookie defensive back, and he had 65 tackles, two interceptions, two deflected passes, and forced one fumble. Izien's presence in a mediocre Jaguars secondary could have helped them win some of the games they lost down the stretch, and at the very least, they would have a very solid defensive back for years to come.


25. New York Giants

Real pick: Dalton Kincaid (by Buffalo)

My pick: Jayden Reed


Reed led the Packers in receiving yards this season with 793, and he became the first rookie to lead the Packers in receiving yards since Sterling Sharpe in 1988. Reed, who also had 10 touchdowns, would immediately become the top receiver on the Giants and Daniel Jones’ best target (outside of Saquon Barkley).


26. Dallas Cowboys

Real pick: Mazi Smith

My pick: Peter Skoronski


Skoronski would be more of a pick for the future on the Cowboys, as Zach Martin is at the age where he will start declining soon, but for now, he could slot in nicely at left guard or as a tackle. He battled some injuries this year, but he started all 14 games he played in, and he looks like he will be a fixture on the Titans' offensive line for years to come.


27. Buffalo Bills

Real pick: Anton Harrison (by Jacksonville)

My pick: De'Von Achane


Achane should have gone a while ago, but the only teams that needed a running back either had more pressing needs or picked a different one. Achane played great as a rookie on the Dolphins, and he rushed for 800 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games while averaging 7.8 yards per carry. His selection on the Bills would be more of a luxury pick, as they already have James Cook, who is a solid back in his own right, but the combined backfield of Achane and Cook would be one of the best in the NFL.


28. Cincinnati Bengals

Real pick: Myles Murphy

My pick: YaYa Diaby


Diaby was a bit of a surprise on the Bucs' offense this year, but he is a solid edge rusher that the Bengals could use to build around for the future. Diaby had 7.5 sacks, 12 TFLs, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble in his rookie year, and he could fill in nicely as a third edge rusher behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.


29. New Orleans Saints

Real pick: Bryan Bresee

My pick: Byron Young


Young was solid on the Rams this year, even if he slowed down later in the season after a great start. Young had eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for the Rams, and his presence in New Orleans would be solid, either opposite Cameron Jordan or as his eventual replacement.


30. Philadelphia Eagles

Real pick: Nolan Smith

My pick: Ivan Pace Jr.


Pace was one of the best-undrafted players in the league this year, and he was also a top 15 off-ball linebacker in the league. Pace had 102 tackles, and his presence in Philadelphia's defense would allow him to grow as a player while being protected by the strength and talent all across the defense.


31. Kansas City

Real pick: Felix Anudike-Uzomah

My pick: Rashee Rice


Rice starred as a rookie for the Chiefs, though he did suffer some drop issues. In the regular season, Rice had 938 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, but his best work came in the postseason. Rice started all four of the Chiefs’ playoff games, putting up 26 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown in those four games, including six catches for 39 yards in the Super Bowl. If Rice can continue to develop as he did at the end of the season, he could be the true No. 1 wide receiver the Chiefs have been missing since they traded Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins.



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