2023 NFL Mock Draft: CJ Stroud slides out of top five?
By Luke Allen
14. New England Patriots: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
New England, in recent memory, has zigged while the rest of the league has zagged. That hasn't gotten them very far in terms of building a winning team, so Bill Belichick decides on selecting the highly-touted pass rush specialist from Iowa, Lukas Van Ness. Van Ness didn't see as much playing time as you'd like for a first-round pick, but he showed flashes of greatness when he did see the field. And he's huge.
15. Green Bay Packers: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
The Green Bay Packers in all likelihood will be without Aaron Rodgers in 2023. The incumbent starter, Jordan Love, only has 83 passing attempts in his career after being drafted in the first round three years ago. The Packers, who didn't have a stellar receiving corps to begin with, already lost WR Allen Lazard to free agency. Green Bay selects a wide receiver who's always open to make life easier on the young Jordan Love and take some pressure off Christian Watson.
16. Washington Commanders: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
This pick stings for all the Yinzers who had hoped to land Porter Jr. one spot later at #17. But the son of Pittsburgh legend Joey Porter ends up in Washington, as they continue to bolster their defense. Perhaps Washington was hoping for one of the quarterbacks would drop to the middle of the first round, but the Commanders are happy to grab one of the best corners in the draft, who has great size and length.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
The pain of missing out on Joey Porter Jr. goes away fairly quickly as the Steelers select offensive tackle Darnell Wright, out of Tennessee. The right tackle responsible for protecting Hendon Hooker in 2022 is a late riser on many draft boards after a solid campaign this past year and a stellar combine, pro day and senior bowl. Darnell Wright looks every bit of the part of an NFL offensive tackle as Kenny Pickett's life gets a lot easier.
18. Detroit Lions: DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
After drafting the top cornerback in the draft, the Lions are on the clock again with the 18th pick. Detroit continues building on the defense, adding defensive tackle Calijah Kancey. A prospect compared to the likes of Aaron Donald and John Randle, Kancey is an interior pass rush specialist, poised to make an immediate impact in the league. Size may be a concern on paper, but on film, Kancey was a wrecking ball for opposing offenses.