Mock draft season doesn’t end just because the first round is in the books.
The first round of the 2023 NFL draft was wild from start to finish, featuring six draft-day trades and a couple of stunning slides, including the ones for Kentucky quarterback Will Levis and Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer. Those two now headline the best available players on Day 2 of the draft.
Heading into Friday’s draft festivities, let’s take a look at my (Brendan Dzwierzynski) second-round mock draft, with analysis of many of the key picks to follow. I won the Sports On 580 first-round mock draft contest this year, not to brag, so let’s see if the magic continues to start off Day 2 in Kansas City.
Dzwierzynski’s 2nd round 2023 mock draft:
|32 – PIT||Joey Porter Jr.||CB||Penn State|
|33 – AZ (from HOU)||Kelee Ringo||CB||Georgia|
|34 – DET (from AZ)||Gervon Dexter Sr.||IDL||Florida|
|35 – IND||O’Cyrus Torrence||IOL||Florida|
|36 – LAR||Adetomiwa Adebawore||EDGE||Northwestern|
|37 – SEA||Steve Avila||IOL||TCU|
|38 – LV||Michael Mayer||TE||Notre Dame|
|39 – CAR||Josh Downs||WR||North Carolina|
|40 – NO||Darnell Washington||TE||Georgia|
|41 – TEN||Will Levis||QB||Kentucky|
|42 – GB||Brian Branch||S||Alabama|
|43 – NYJ||Joe Tippman||C||Wisconsin|
|44 – ATL||B.J. Ojulari||EDGE||LSU|
|45 – GB||Jonathan Mingo||WR||Ole Miss|
|46 – NE||Keion White||EDGE||Georgia Tech|
|47 – WAS||Cody Mauch||IOL||North Dakota State|
|48 – DET||Luke Musgrave||TE||Oregon State|
|49 – PIT||Drew Sanders||LB||Arkansas|
|50 – TB||Hendon Hooker||QB||Tennessee|
|51 – MIA||Matthew Bergeron||OT||Syracuse|
|52 – SEA||Derick Hall||EDGE||Auburn|
|53 – CHI||Isaiah Foskey||EDGE||Notre Dame|
|54 – LAC||Trenton Simpson||LB||Clemson|
|55 – DET||Cam Smith||CB||South Carolina|
|56 – JAX||Tucker Kraft||TE||South Dakota State|
|57 – NYG||Jalin Hyatt||WR||Tennessee|
|58 – DAL||Daiyan Henley||LB||Washington State|
|59 – BUF||Dawand Jones||OT||Ohio State|
|60 – CIN||Sam LaPorta||TE||Iowa|
|61 – CHI||Julius Brents||CB||Kansas State|
|62 – PHI||Antonio Johnson||S||Texas A&M|
|63 – KC||Marvin Mims||WR||Oklahoma|
Pick 32, Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
In my original mock draft, I had Porter ending up with his dad’s team’s arch rival, the Baltimore Ravens. Things are a little more rosy in this prediction, with Porter ending up where his dad was a superstar linebacker for many years. He should compete for starting snaps right away.
Pick 36, Los Angeles Rams: Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE, Northwestern
The Rams will make their first pick of the draft early Friday night, and adding some pass-rushing juice along their defensive line should be paramount. Adebawore is something of a project and his exact role may not be nailed on immediately, but he’s an outrageous athlete with a ton of potential both on the edge and from the interior.
Pick 38, Las Vegas Raiders: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The slide finally stops for the tight end who many draft analysts believed was the best in a strong class. Only one of those players, Dalton Kincaid, went in the first round, so there are plenty of great options on Day 2. Mayer, a typical inline tight end, has plus traits across the board even if he’s not “elite” at any one thing. With this selection, the Raiders find their long-term replacement for Darren Waller.
Pick 41, Tennessee Titans: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Finally, the slide is over for Reddit’s favorite first-round quarterback prospect. This reminds me of the 2019 draft when some analysts had Drew Lock going to the Denver Broncos in Round 1, only for him to fall to the second. It’s the same situation here for the Titans and Levis. He isn’t a perfect prospect by any means, but Tennessee needs a long-term quarterback option and Levis wouldn’t have a ton of competition from Malik Willis.
Pick 45, Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Life’s three inevitabilities are death, taxes and blowhards on Packers Twitter freaking out to an embarrassing degree when the Packers don’t take a receiver in the first round. Mingo’s best collegiate season was his last one, and his athletic profile should be more than enough to pass Green Bay’s typical benchmarks. Don’t worry, Jordan Love will eventually get another weapon.
Pick 50, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
I never quite got the hype around Hooker as a potential first-round pick, even though mock draft authors throughout the offseason tried to will it into existence. He’s one of the oldest players in this draft and he’s coming off a late-November torn ACL. Tampa Bay is entering a transition period in its quarterback room, though, and Hooker would compete with Kyle Trask and Baker Mayfield to fill Tom Brady’s former job.
Pick 60, Cincinnati Bengals: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
It was something of a shock when the Bengals passed on Michael Mayer in the first round, but they fill their gaping hole at tight end with LaPorta here. Cincinnati’s tight ends room is fairly barren, even after adding Irv Smith Jr. in free agency. LaPorta was the best player on a dismal Iowa Hawkeyes offense in 2022, and should be able to flourish with competence around him, let alone receiving passes from one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.
Pick 61, Chicago Bears: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
I have heard from my sources (a close friend of mine who’s passionate about the Bears) that the ideal move here is a center, specifically Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz. I apologize for the letdown, but that defense has plenty of holes and also needs to be addressed. There are plenty of quality cornerbacks available, but Brents brings a physicality and scheme versatility to the table that’s hard to pass up.
Pick 63, Kansas City Chiefs: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
We cap off our final mock draft with another good pick for the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs follow up Thursday’s EDGE selection of Felix Anudike-Uzomah with maybe the most underrated wide receiver in the class. You can trust his hands, he knows how to separate and he’s a big-play threat. That certainly sounds like a Chiefs wide receiver.