Free Agency always has a HUGE impact on the NFL Draft, and this year is no different as teams look to fill their immediate needs with veteran play-makers. The Falcons, Titans, Lions, and Commanders were ultra-aggressive in Free Agency's legal tampering period. Those considerations shaped this mock draft, as they will shape the 2023 draft this April. With that consideration, it is time to start the next portion of this mock draft with picks 11-20.
11. Tennessee - Brian Branch Safety - Before Free Agency, this pick would have been Offensive Tackle Peter Skoronski, but the Titans were able to sign former Eagles Tackle Andre Dillard. With the signing of the former first-rounder and drafting RT Nicholas Petit-Frere in the third round of last year's draft, the Titans draft the highest-rated safety on the board in Alabama Safety Brian Branch.
12. Texans - Peter Skoronski Offensive Tackle - The Texans took what some would call a massive risk in selecting the 5'10, under 200lb quarterback from Alabama with the second overall pick. They are happy to invest in keeping him safe by choosing the highest-rated offensive lineman in this year's draft in Skoronski. At 6'4, 313lbs, the first-team All-Big Ten Offensive Lineman will be an excellent insurance policy for QB Young.
13. Jets - Calijah Kancey Defensive Interior Lineman - Sheldon Rankins is a free agent, and the Jets want to ensure they can create consistent pressure up the middle. They pair this Aaron Donald clone with Quinnen Williams to create one of the league's best young interior defensive line tandems.
14. Patriots - Quentin Johnston Wide Reciever - Mr. Johnston wasn't supposed to still be on the board, as most believed he would go to the Texans to be paired with Bryce Young. The Texans' decision to protect Bryce Young sends the highest-rated wide receiver, in the eyes of some scouts, down the board into the loving arms of Bill Belichick. The Patriots' offense can use a boost at wide receiver as they try to get their offense back on track after the loss of Josh McDaniels.
15. Buccaneers - Myles Murphy Edge - Before Free Agency, this pick would have easily been Joey Porter, Jr., as the Bucs were expected to lose CB Jamal Dean. The Bucs, however, re-signed Dean today, locking in their starting cornerback for this season. They do however see Myles Murphy falling and make an aggressive move to get their guy. Murphy is a backfield disruptor that is scheme versatile and can easily play the edge in the Bucs' 3-4 approach. At 6'5, 275 lbs, the Clemson product has the size and the explosiveness needed to make the Bucs' defense scary for offensive linemen next season.
16. Washington - Joey Porter, Jr. Cornerback - The Commanders made a few free agency moves, signing LB Cody Barton, OL Nick Gates, and re-signing their star DT Daron Payne. While their defensive line looks a bit threatening with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Jonathan Allen in the lineup, their defensive secondary scares no one. The Commanders look to change that by drafting the son of one of the most feared defenders in NFL history.
17. Steelers - Paris Johnson, Jr. Tackle - the Steelers made headlines today by signing the once high-profile cornerback Patrick Peterson. That move does little to help protect the investment the Steelers made last year in QB Kenny Pickett. Pickett was the only QB drafted in the first round and had a fairly decent season. The Steelers look to build a hedge of protection around the young QB by selecting OT Paris Johnson, Jr.
18. Lions - Bryan Bresee Defensive
Interior Lineman - the Lions were set to be in the Jamal Dean sweepstakes, but the Bucs took him off the market early. They then went out and signed CB Cam Sutton to solidify their secondary. The Lions are still waiting to see the true talent of Jeff Okudah on display, but in the meantime, they complete the most talented young defensive line in football. James "The Problem" Houston, Adian Hutchinson, Jalen Carter (Pick 6), and Clemson's Bryan Bresee would put the league on notice that the Lions are for real.
19. Packers - (via trade with Tampa Bay) - Nolan Smith Edge - The Packers are eager to move into the Love era and thought about staying pat and drafting some wide receiver help in the form of WR Jordan Addison or Zay Flowers. Then they remembered, "We don't draft wide receivers in the first round." The Packers go after an edge defender that ran a faster 40 times than both wide receivers in Nolan Smith. Smith ran a blazing 4.39 at the combine and has become the "biggest riser" of the draft season, according to Todd McShay. The Packers don't want to risk losing the young defender and grab their guy here at 19.
20. Seahawks - Lukas Van Ness Edge - The Seahawks were tempted to form the best young backfield in football by pairing Texas running back Bijan Robinson with their stud RB Kenneth Walker III. However, they can't ignore how bad they were on defense last season. They gave up the 3rd most rushing yards in the league last season (2,554 yards), but they are making strides to fix that with the addition of Dre'Mont Jones. Jones has versatility and can play at multiple positions along the Seahawks' defensive line. Van Ness gives them an athletic, high-motor edge defender whose 4.58 40 can go a long way in helping to rebuild the respect of the Seahawks' defense. The 6'5, 264-pound edge defender has the versatility of Jones along the defensive front and could be a massive help to the Seahawks next season.
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