Discover more from The IDP Show
2023 Rookie Mock Draft 1.0
Bobby kicks off rookie draft season with his first mock draft, this one focused on the first 24 picks in a 12-team league.
With the Super Bowl in the books, we turn our attention to rookie season and everyone’s favorite pastime in February: mock drafts! In this article, I’ll take a stab at mock drafting the first 24 picks in a 12-team league. My goal is to figure out where we need to draft not only our favorite running backs but also the talented IDPs as well.
No one wants to be caught sleeping on a 1st-round wide receiver; conversely, it’s a bad look when we reach too high for a linebacker. Over the coming months, I’ll put out three more versions of my mock draft to reflect the news and updates we get. Up through and even after the NFL Draft, we will be locked in to help you nail your rookie drafts. Let’s kick things off in this 1.0 version with the 1.01 pick.
1.01: Bijan Robinson
It’s difficult to watch the tape on a guy like Robinson and think there is a more talented athlete coming out of the 2023 NFL Draft. Robinson could be the next Saquon Barkley with a dash of Todd Gurley, which to me means he’ll be an elite dynasty asset in no time. I think he is landing spot-proof.
1.02: Jaxon-Smith Njigba
JSN looks to be quite the talent at WR. Though he lacks a bit in the size department, he makes up for that with his route running. He is the clear WR1 to me.
1.03: Tank Bigsby
This is going to be contrary to most analysts but I really like Bigsby’s tape. Yes, the name “Tank” is appropriate but he also has the quickness to make defensive players look foolish. Bigsby is a plug-and-play RB in most NFL systems.
1.04: Jamyr Gibbs
Gibbs is only going to disappoint us if we continue to compare him to our beloved Alvin Kamara. I would argue that Gibbs is a better running back but not as good as AK in the passing game. His elusiveness is great and he will contribute to most teams as a great RB2 or a somewhat skeptical RB1.
1.05: Zack Evans
When NFL GMs watch Evans’ tape, I think they’re going to fall in love. His quickness and elusiveness remind me of a young Miles Sanders with even higher upside. He needs to improve in the receiving game in the NFL to make the elite tier.
1.06: Davon Achane
Achane is likely higher than consensus in my mock and will probably fall in rookie drafts due to other big names and bigger school players going ahead of him. Sleep on Achane at your own risk, though. If you can snag him later than this, he’ll be a delight.
1.07: Zay Flowers
No one will have Flowers as the WR2 in this class, and that’s alright. My argument for having him here is that after JSN, there is a clear drop in talent. And while Flowers does lack a bit in size, he makes up for it with his hands and in-air ability. Just remember: April showers can elevate Zay Flowers. (I’ll be here all week!)
1.08: Sean Tucker
Sean Tucker could be good. Then again, he could also not be good. I’m torn. His tape is good enough to make eyes pop and his size is prototypical RB size for the NFL. I’m going to need to see draft capital before Tucker moves any higher for me.
1.09: Jalin Hyatt
Have you ever stayed in a Hyatt Hotel? It’s either one of the nicest places you’ve ever stayed or a bug-invested, skin-crawling experience. I’m afraid Hyatt will be the same. I lean more towards Hyatt being great, as his catch radius and in-air ability look fantastic. But he could also bust. Buyer beware.
1.10: Jordan Addison
Addison is impressive. He could end up being the WR2 behind JSN or could even battle JSN as the WR1. I can’t articulate why I don’t like Addison more. As we get closer to the draft, my feelings will change based on how the NFL views Addison.
1.11: Kayshon Boutte
I am not going to let LSU tint my mindset on Boutte. I get he went to a wide receiver factory, one that has produced Justin Jefferson and Jamar Chase in recent years. Let’s make it clear right off the bat, though: Boutte is not JJ or Chase. He could compete as a WR2 for teams but Boutte lacks the elite traits of his LSU predecessors.
1.12: Josh Downs
I normally don’t draft smaller-frame wide receivers with the traits that Downs has. But, Josh Downs is not most players. I could see Downs even as high as WR3 after the combine and the draft. He could really impress as we get closer.
2.01: Quentin Johnston
I might get a lot of hate for this pick at 2.01. A lot of people have Johnston as their WR2. I just don’t like what I see. Unimpressive route running, only decent downfield ability, and a body catcher. The NFL might eat Johnston up, so beware.
2.02: Will Anderson
Our first IDP comes at 2.02, which feels safe enough. Anderson has been talked about for years now because he has elite traits for an EDGE. The difficulty for me will be when to take Anderson compared to his offensive counterparts. Depending on how the guys above him shake out, Anderson could be a riser. Stay tuned.
2.03: Michael Mayer
Oh baby! Mayer could be the tight end we’ve spent years longing for. If he goes to a good quarterback (Jacksonville), he could be a 1st-round rookie pick. I’d do it.
2.04: Zack Charbonnet
Another selection for which I’ll catch some grief. Charbonnet is the running back whose production I worry most about. I think he is only average at everything. Not great traits, not great tape, and I think he is seen by most as a mid-1st rounder in rookie drafts with IDP. He is my Quentin Johnston of the running backs.
2.05: Bryce Young
I don’t really care about the two quarterbacks. Take your pick between Young and Stroud. Could they be good? Sure. Could they be bad? Also sure.
2.06: CJ Stroud
See Bryce Young.
2.07: Roschan Johnson
If Bijan Robinson wasn’t at Texas, could Johnson be a mid-1st round draft pick in our rookie drafts? I argue yes. Johnson will have the opportunity, as he did at the Senior Bowl, to make a name for himself aside from Robinson. Johnson is “my guy” in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smart GMs will see the elite—yes, elite—talent he possesses.
2.08: Dalton Kincaid
I know I gushed about Mayer but Kincaid could fit the bill, as well. Kincaid needs to improve as a blocker to stay on the field. His tape reminds me of Mike Gesicki: he’s a miscast player who fits the bill more as a wide receiver than a tight end.
2.09: Israel Ibanikanda
Ibanikanda is a sleeper in this draft. He won’t have high draft capital but his on-field production could exceed that. I really like the upside Ibanikanda is going to provide.
2.10: Tyree Wilson
Wilson is long and rangy. He has the body type and the elite bend coming off the edge that every single NFL defensive coordinator can use to great effect.
2.11: Lukas Van Ness
I need to see how NFL GMs value Van Ness. I like his size and athleticism, but with a good landing spot and decent draft capital, Van Ness could be elevated come May.
2.12: Trenton Simpson
We see our first linebacker come off the board at 2.12. Simpson anchored a good Clemson defense for several years. Placed with the right defensive scheme, Simpson could flourish. I don’t think Simpson is the type of player you reach for, though.
The IDP Show is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
There you have it! The first 24 picks in a 12-team rookie draft as I see them on February 13. Stay tuned, as I’ll have 2.0 in March, 3.0 in early April, and 4.0 right after the draft. I also plan to do more rounds in future mock drafts. Should be fun!
Subscribe to The IDP Show so you don’t miss an episode!