Way Too Early Mock Draft
Updated: Feb 2
Photo Credit: Orlando Ramiraz/USA Today Sports
1.01 Austin Ekeler, RB, LA Chargers
Ekeler is an almost uncontested first round pick for next year. Not only is he the focal back for an electric, Justin Herbert led offense, but Ekeler has finished as the second highest scoring back for the second year in a row. This year he set a career high 107 receptions while amassing over 1,600 all purpose yards. Ekeler is a high caliber RB who is a PPR gem.
1.02 Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Fran 49ers
CMC managed to put up a healthy season and found an environment that he can thrive in. He is no longer the workhorse back he was for Carolina, but he is just as efficient and explosive as ever. CMC's TD upside should only get better with another year in San Fran, and should manage to be able to remain a high caliber elite RB. CMC landed as the 3rd highest scoring back this year, despite playing with 4 different QBs this year. CMC was still a duel threat back who ran for over 1,100 rushing yards and caught 85 passes for over 700 yards. Run CMC should continue to produce hits in next years campaign.
1.03 Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
What more is there to say about Jefferson. He lead the league with 124 receptions. He led the league with 1,771 receiving yards. He tied for 5th with 8 receiving TDs. And finally he was the highest scoring WR this year. He has never landed below a top 10 WR in his 3 year career, and should continue this into next year. Taking WRs this early used to be a taboo thing to do, but if you break the norms for Jettas, it will be a slam dunk pick.
1.04 Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins
Tyreek Hill overcame doubts about his potential connection with Tua when he exploded for a career high in receptions and yards while landing as a WR3 in fantasy. Since his second year, Hill has not landed below WR6, except for a 2019 campaign where he was only able to play 12 games. Tyreek is an explosive threat who is going to be the focal point of the Miami offense for years to come.
1.05 Saquan Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Saquan Barkley bounced back big after a couple of injury-ridden seasons. Barkley landed as a RB 6 while putting up a career high in rushing yards. Brian Daboll was able to turn the Giants into a playoff-caliber team, with Barkley as the focal point in the offense. 2023 could see a lot of the same, and if Daniel Jones remains QB, Barkley should be in for another good season.
1.06 Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Chase dealt with an injury this year, setting him back a couple weeks, but was still able to set a career high in receptions and putting up a 1,000 yard season. Chase and Burrow have a special connection that should continue to develop for many more years. A receivers 3rd year is typically their jump so expect a lot from Chase in 2023.
1.07 Cooper Kupp, WR, LA Rams
Kupp will fall in a lot of drafts for various reasons including injuries, QB concerns, coaching concerns, etc. Kupp was the third receiver in points per game, along with managing a 75 receptions, 812 yards, and 7 total touchdowns before going out with an injury in Week 10. Regardless of all the questions going into the Rams 2023 season, the only answer we know is that Cooper Kupp is going to be the focus of that offense.
1.08 Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
It is hard to have Jacobs this low after a fantastic 2022 campaign, but questions regarding the Raiders are overwhelming. Jacobs landed as the highest scoring RB, amassing over 1,600 yards for 12 touchdowns. Jacobs set career highs in both rushing and receiving yards, while tying his high in touchdowns. Jacobs was in a contract year, but did more than enough to earn a new one. The Raiders organization is in an interesting situation though, as they are clearly shifting away from the Derek Carr era. If the Raiders decide a clean slate is in the cards, then Jacobs could get paid nicely to run for a different team. In all likelihood, Jacobs should be able to run with the black and silver again next year.
1.09 Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Age is bound to hit Henry at some point. It is just impossible for a back to take the beating he has to not see some decline. Until that point though, it is still worthwhile to take Henry. The King landed as a the 4th highest scoring back this year, rushing for just under 1,500 yards. The one thing Henry significantly improved this year was his work as a receiver though, setting a career high 379 receiving yards on 32 receptions. Henry has shown that he can still handle a big workload as the lead workhorse for the Titans.
1.10 Steffon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
Diggs had a small slump towards the end of the year, but that did not stop him from landing as a top 5 WR this year. Josh Allen is still a top QB in the NFL, and the Bills remain one of the best offenses in football. Diggs is a premier weapon who should continue to thrive. Diggs has not landed below the 7th highest scoring receiver since his arrival in Buffalo, and should continue this trend into 2023.
2.01 DeVante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Adams is an interesting person to try and predict for next season. Adams had a successful 2022 campaign, landing as a the WR2 in scoring despite QB troubles throughout the year. With Josh Jacobs in need of a contract and the Raiders moving away from Derek Carr and potentially Darren Waller, it is unsure how the Raiders will look in 2023. If Adams is still wearing a Raiders uniform next season, then he should be the lead receiver in the offense.
2.02 A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Brown showed the Titans what they were missing with a career year where he pulled in 88 receptions for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not only was Jalen Hurts an MVP candidate this year, but he also managed to put both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in great positions to produce. The connection should continue to strengthen into the upcoming years and the Eagles showed little reason to regress in 2023.
2.03 CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
CeeDee Lamb set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns this year, despite playing without Dak for a couple early weeks. Lamb should continue to elevate his play as the lead receiver for Dallas. In his 3 years with Dallas, Lamb has not landed as under the WR16 in scoring, and has improved every year. Lamb is one of the few receivers who consistently produces at a high level
2.04 Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Drafting Kelce should be on everybody's wish list going into 2023. Not only is he a high caliber fantasy scorer, but he is also the clear cut leader in TEs. The difference between Kelce and the next highest scoring TE (Taysom Hill) is almost 70 points. Drafting Kelce gives you a definitive advantage at one position unlike any other player. In fantasy football there are no guarantees, but drafting Travis Kelce is the closest that you can get.
2.05 Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Etienne had a stellar first full year, replacing James Robinson in all aspects of the game, along with joining Trevor Lawrence Etienne landed as the 16th highest scoring RB, accumulating over 1,400 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first season of playing. Etienne should make a huge jump in this improved offense in 2023, and may be a steal in the second round.
2.06 Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon took a step back from his previous years, but still landed as the 14th highest scoring RB this year. In 14 games, Mixon rushed for 814 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also tacking on 60 receptions for 441 yards (career year in receiving). Mixon might have improved as a threat out of the backfield, but he accumulated 30% of his points in his Week 9 dominant performance against Carolina (51/167.9 fantasy points). If Mixon would have put up his average performance in that game, he would have landed as the RB 31 in scoring, just below Cordarelle Patterson and Jeff Wilson Jr, and ahead of Antonio Gibson and D'Onta Foreman. Mixon is showing some clear signs of regression, but is still too good of a talent to drop below round 2.
2.07 Ken Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Ken Walker was a great pick up for fantasy managers this season, and did it as a rookie. Walker opened the season backing up Rashad Penny, but took the lead back role in Week 6. From Week 6, Walker landed as a top 6 RB, rushing for 790 yards and 8 touchdowns. Walker should continue to make strides under Pete Carroll, and could be a first round pick sooner rather than later.
2.08 Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen was a top QB all year long, landing as a top 5 receiver, even with the cancellation of the Bengals-Bills game. Allen is a top tier game changing QB. Him and Mahomes are going to be drafted as early as the first round and no later than the 3rd. Josh Allen will continue to be one of the few players that is going to competing for highest scoring player overall, let along just highest scoring player in his position.
2.09 Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions
The Sun God was underrated again going into this year, and once again proved people wrong. Amon-Ra took a significant step up this year, catching 106 receptions for 1,161 yards and 6 touchdowns. He landed as the 9th highest scoring WR this year, while leading the Lions to be one of the highest scoring offenses this year. The Lions future is great, and Amon-Ra will be a huge part in that.
2.10 Jonathon Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathon Taylor was the biggest bust this season without a doubt. Even though he had some bright spots, he landed a the 34th highest RB this year. Even ignoring his injury, he was the 20th RB in points per game. That production is inexcusable for the consensus #1 overall pick in fantasy drafts. There were a lot of reasons for JT's decline though, including the coaching. Jeff Saturday struggled as a coach, but did utilize JT more than Frank Reich was able to this year. QB struggles also played a big factor in his decline. JT's talent is undebatable, but his production will have to bounce back if he wants to return to a first round player.