The 2023 NFL Draft is around two months away, which means that we are hitting the peak of the “mock draft season.”
ESPN’s Matt Miller has released his two-round mock draft (paid content) for the 2023 cycle, and seven players from the Big 12 landed in the mix.
Here’s where Miller had each of the Big 12 players and what he had to say about each of them.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver) – Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
Seattle is in a prime position for teams wanting to trade up and secure a quarterback, but general manager John Schneider doesn’t have to trade back. With two first-rounders, he can look to revamp his defensive line the way he did the offensive line with Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas last year. Poona Ford is a free agent, and Uchenna Nwosu has only one year left on his deal.
Wilson was red hot in 2022 with seven sacks, but it’s his length, power, and speed that excites scouts. He is 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds with length, which he uses to create separation and counter around, over, and under. Wilson isn’t on the level with Will Anderson Jr ., but he’s not far off.
10. Bijan Robinson (via New Orleans) – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Hear me out! The Eagles have few needs on a roster that has been beautifully built by general manager Howie Roseman, and they do not have a ton of draft capital overall with only two picks on Day 3. With Miles Sanders hitting free agency, the Eagles need a true RB1 to work with quarterback Jalen Hurts. Robinson can be that guy. He’d also be very affordable as the No. 10 pick overall compared to signing a Josh Jacobs or Saquon Barkley in free agency — or even franchise-tagging Sanders. And no team came close to the Eagles’ No. 1-ranked expected points added via the run in 2022 (29.5).
Robinson is the best running back prospect since Barkley left Penn State in 2018. He’s powerful at 6-foot and 220 pounds, and he has shown both fantastic speed in the open field and the best contact balance in college football. Scouts I’ve spoken to say Robinson’s best football is still ahead of him, too, as Texas didn’t use him much in the passing game (19 catches in 2022). With over 2,600 yards and 29 touchdowns in the past two years, he is without a doubt this draft’s best back and my No. 5 overall player.
22. Baltimore Ravens – Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
There will be tons of speculation between now and the draft about the Ravens’ long-term plans given the free agent status of quarterback Lamar Jackson . Until there’s more clarity, it’s best to move forward assuming the 26-year-old former MVP will return to the Ravens. And whether it’s Jackson or someone else at quarterback, wide receiver remains a giant offseason priority in Baltimore. Both Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay are returning next season off injury, so the Ravens not only need more talent at the position but also a healthy contributor.
Johnston has a high-level blend of size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and deep speed, which helped him average 18.9 yards per catch over his three-year career. Drops can be a factor for Johnston, who had six in 2022, but his big-play ability and extended catch radius are much needed in Baltimore. No other team had fewer receiving yards from the WR position than the Ravens’ 1,517.
34. Arizona Cardinals – Steve Avila, G, TCU
Many things need remaking in Arizona, but it all starts with the offensive line. Every position outside of left tackle D.J. Humphries could be upgraded and should be looked at closely this offseason. Avila impressed at the Senior Bowl with his power and how well he pulled and trapped in run-game drills. The Cardinals need a coach before we can talk scheme, but Avila fits any offense.
41. Tennessee Titans – Will McDonald IV, DE, Iowa State
The Titans are also impacted by the lack of talent at quarterback and wide receiver in this range, so they could bank on the depth at pass-rusher in this class and get a Year 1 contributor in McDonald . At 241 pounds, McDonald weighed in above expectations at the Senior Bowl. His quickness, loose hips and burst off the snap were notable throughout practice, too. The Titans have routinely missed on outside pass-rushers and would need McDonald to step right into the lineup.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
The Steelers got a cornerback and a center with their first two picks and now find a left tackle of the future here. Harrison could be a target for teams earlier on Day 2 due to great length, fluid movement and a lot of upside. He’s 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, and NFL scouts I’ve spoken to say they believe he’ll continue to improve once he gets in an NFL conditioning and strength program.
54. Los Angeles Chargers – Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
Los Angeles went edge rusher in Round 1 and tries to fix the run defense with Ika — the draft’s best nose tackle — here. He is massive (6-foot-4 and 358 pounds) and fits the modern nose tackle projection with his size, power, length and surprising quickness when allowed to rush the passer. The Chargers gave up 5.4 yards per rush last season, by far the worst in the NFL.