A Minnesota Mock: 3 Top-10 QBs, WRs Galore, & a Vikings Pass Rushing Boost

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Pittsburgh
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Very soon, we’ll be inundated with NFL mock drafts. In fact, that craziness has already begun, but the bombardment will only intensify as the fateful day – April 27th – inches closer.

Rather than resist the massive mock draft wave, Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD has decided to grab a board and go along for the ride. A Minnesota mockery was born and contributors were sought.

In the end, we had 8 individuals contribute to the mock. Each participant made multiple selections and each can be found on Twitter:

The mock features some expected and unexpected moves, a bit of trading and a lot of wide receivers. Go ahead and check it out to see how things look in our sites’ first kick at the can.

A Minnesota Mock: Who is the Vikings’ Pick?

1) Carolina Panthers (originally Bears) — Pick by Henrique Gucciardi

  • The Pick: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State 
  • The Explanation: A new era is starting in Carolina and they need a new QB to lead them. Scott Fitterer made a bold move to hop up to select who they want; CJ Stroud is worth every pick (and DJ Moore) that the front office spent.

2) Houston Texans — Pick by Josh Frey

  • The Pick: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
  • The Explanation: The Houston Texans are in need of a franchise QB, and they land one of the best prospects in this draft class with the selection of Bryce Young. Despite some size concerns, Young has all the talent in order to be a stabilizing force for Houston.

3) Arizona Cardinals — Pick by K. Joudry 

  • The Pick: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
  • The Explanation: There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Jonathan Gannon. A defensive coach, Gannon will welcome the addition of an elite edge rusher. He’ll build his defense around Anderson, Isaiah Simmons, and Budda Baker. 

4) Indianapolis Colts — Pick by Dustin Baker

  • The Pick: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
  • The Explanation: The Colts are sick and tired of half-buttocks QB solutions since the shock retirement of Andrew Austen Luck. Stroud and Young are off the board, leaving Levis to Indianapolis – an organization with a marvelous track record in drafting quarterbacks. 

5) Seattle Seahawks (originally Broncos) — Pick by Janik Eckardt 

  • The Pick: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
  • The Explanation: Seattle’s defense needs help. Head coach Pete Carroll wants to return to the winning formula of the past that included a dominant defense and an effective running attack, so his team picks arguably the top defender in the draft, a dominant interior disruptor. 

6) Detroit Lions (originally Rams) — Pick by Cole Smith

  • The Pick: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
  • The Explanation: The Lions finished the 2022 season hot, but their defense was still putrid down the stretch. Despite adding the some help in free agency, the Lions run to the podium to add Witherspoon.

7) Las Vegas Raiders — Pick by Nate Powalie 

  • The Pick: Peter Skoronski, OT/OG, Northwestern
  • The Explanation: With one of the key quarterback dominoes already falling this off-season in Jimmy Garoppolo joining the Raiders, they need to address two needs. Interior offensive line and secondary. I think they address offense first here at No. 7 and grab the versatile Skoronski from Northwestern. He can play out on the edge, or he can move inside and partner with fellow stud OT Kolton Miller. 

8) Atlanta Falcons — Pick by Adam New

  • The Pick: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
  • The Explanation: Atlanta has a number of options here, including QB and EDGE, but opts for Christian Gonzalez. The Oregon cornerback has the potential to create a formidable partnership with A.J. Terrell, a first round pick from 2020. Terrell was second-team All-Pro in 2021 and Gonzalez has all the tools to reach such heights.

9) Chicago Bears (originally Panthers) — Pick by Henrique Gucciardi 

  • The Pick: Tyree Wilson, DL, Texas Tech
  • The Explanation: The Bears need to help QB Justin Fields if they want this rebuild to be a successful one, but a defense that was bottom 4 in yards and dead last in points and sacks also needs help. There isn’t a clear cut no. 2 edge after Will Anderson, so Ryan Poles takes his chances with Wilson, a player with all the tools to be great.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (originally Saints) — Pick by Josh Frey

  • The Pick: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
  • The Explanation: The Eagles halted their losses in the secondary by managing to maintain both James Bradberry and Darius Slay, but especially considering they have three other selections in the first two days, they can afford to use this one on a defensive back. It feels a bit early for a safety like Brian Branch, so Philly takes a long, physical corner in Joey Porter Jr.

11) Tennessee Titans — Pick by K. Joudry

  • The Pick: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
  • The Explanation: The Titans are a team in transition. Mike Vrabel gets some help up front by adding a talented offensive tackle to help replace Taylor Lewan. 

12) Houston Texans (originally Browns) — Pick by Dustin Baker

  • The Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
  • The Explanation: Milking the Deshaun Watson trade – as they should – for all it’s worth, the Texans choose the sure-thing WR in this year’s draft. Ohio State wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave splashed into the NFL with ease last year. Why wouldn’t Smith-Njigba?

13) New York Jets Tampa Bay Buccaneers (The Bucs acquired the 13th pick in exchange for the 19th, 82nd, and 153rd picks). — Pick by Janick Eckardt Pick by K. Joudry

  • The Pick: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
  • The Explanation: Life after Tom Brady won’t be easy. Thankfully, there’s now a plan in place. Richardson will begin working toward becoming Tampa Bay’s QB of the future – and possibly the present – for the Todd Bowles Bucs. 

14) New England Patriots — Pick by Cole Smith

  • The Pick: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
  • The Explanation: The Patriots could use some offensive line help here, and if Porter were to fall to them, he’d be tempting to shore up the cornerback spot. But with the top tackle and CB prospects off the board, the Patriots add the impressive Van Ness to continue fortifying their defensive line.

15) Green Bay Packers — Pick by Nate Powalie

  • The Pick: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
  • The Explanation: Apparently I’m sticking to a trend of teams addressing needs after their star quarterback is gone or will leave soon. For the Packers, it’s getting receiver help while Aaron Rodgers is pondering departure. He’s known for being an athletic wideout who can be capable of making multiple contested catches. At 6’3”, he’s got pretty decent size.

16) Washington Commanders — Pick by Adam New

  • The Pick: Brian Branch, S, Alabama
  • The Explanation: Washington add a versatile defender to their secondary. Brian Branch goes in and is immediately the team’s top slot cornerback, while also adding depth to the safety position.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers — Pick by Henrique Gucciardi

  • The Pick: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina 
  • The Explanation: The 29 passing TDs that the defense allowed were tied for 2nd worst last season, so improving coverage is a must. Pairing the potential of Cam Smith with the knowledge and experience of newly signed Patrick Peterson can give them a boost for 2023 and set up Smith to be their CB1 for years to come.

18) Detroit Lions — Pick by Josh Frey

  • The Pick: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
  • The Explanation: The Lions have created quite the defense this offseason, especially with their selection of Devon Witherspoon with the sixth overall pick. This allows them to splurge for their offense by adding Jordan Addison, joining Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams to create a terrifying trio at WR.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers New York Jets (See above for trade details) — Pick by K. Joudry Pick by Janik Eckardt 

  • The Pick: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
  • The Explanation: Quinnen Williams is one of the best defensive tackles in the league. By adding another potentially dominant player right next to him, the Jets defense could be scary for years to come. 

20) Seattle Seahawks — Pick by Dustin Baker

  • The Pick: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
  • The Explanation: Seattle signed Dre’Mont Jones in free agency from the Denver Broncos but can still get richer on the EDGE. The Seahawks ranked 28th last year per team pass rush win rate, and Murphy, from a brutally-good Clemson defense, can help fix it. 

21) Los Angeles Chargers — Pick by Janik Eckardt

  • The Pick: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
  • The Explanation: Keenan Allen, Mile Williams, and Josh Palmer all return for another season but Allen will turn 31 on draft day and the Chargers need weapons to fully utilize Justin Herbert’s greatness. Flowers’ explosiveness will give the WR room a player with a different skill set. 

22) Baltimore Ravens — Pick by Cole Smith

  • The Pick: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
  • The Explanation: With several of the top receivers off the board, the Ravens help out their secondary by getting one of their local guys. Banks may not have blown people away with his interception totals, but he had nine passes defensed last year. He stands at 6’2″, 205 pounds and ran a 4.35-forty.

23) Minnesota Vikings — Pick by Nate Powalie

  • The Pick: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt
  • The Explanation: With Dalvin Tomlinson joining the Browns in free agency, the interior d-line in Minnesota has an opening that needs addressed. Kancey, a redshirt junior, can help with providing pressure and can wreak havoc in the trenches. I think the Vikings hold off on going for QB insurance until the later rounds.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars — Pick by Adam New

  • The Pick: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
  • The Explanation: Trevor Lawrence started to show the league what he can do in 2022, leading the Jaguars to a surprise division title and a playoff win against the Chargers. To get the best out of him, he needs better protection. Step forward Broderick Jones, starting left tackle for back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs. Jones is a strong, physically gifted, and talented offensive line prospect who could play at guard as well as tackle. Jacksonville needs help at both positions.

25) New York Giants — Pick by Henrique Gucciardi

  • The Pick: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee 
  • The Explanation: New York’s defense was a scary unit under Don Martindale and the offense showed improvement with Brian Daboll at the helm. In a year that the WR corps was bad and Daniel Jones basically didn’t suck, the team made it to the divisional round, so a second year with this offense for Jones and a new wide receiver in the speedy Hyatt can help the Giants to take the fight to the Eagles and Cowboys for the NFC East throne.

26) Dallas Cowboys — Pick by Josh Frey

  • The Pick: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
  • The Explanation: The top running back prospect in this class stays in Texas. The Dallas Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott this offseason, and now, they need to find a running mate for Tony Pollard. Robinson will take loads of pressure off Dak Prescott and the Cowboys passing game.

27) Buffalo Bills — Pick by K. Joudry

  • The Pick: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
  • The Explanation: Admittedly, the dream was Robinson at 27, which would have been insane value for the Bills. Alas, Buffalo’s front office – manned by yours truly – had to pivot at the last minute. In Kincaid, Josh Allen is getting another receiving option to lean on as the Bills once again look to contend.

28) Cincinnati Bengals — Pick by Dustin Baker

  • The Pick: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
  • The Explanation: The Bengals employ Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Mike Hilton as prospective starting CBs, a decent group, to be sure. But as Mike Zimmer always said, “Cornebacks get hurt.” The Bengals wait on a TE until the next round and select Georgia’s Kelee Ringo. 

29) New Orleans Saints (49ers, Dolphins, and Broncos) — Pick by Janik Eckardt

  • The Pick: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan 
  • The Explanation: The departures of David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle leaves a hole on the interior defensive line and the Saints waste no time filling it. Smith impresses with NFL-level strength and can be a force as a nose tackle. 

30) Philadelphia Eagles — Pick by Cole Smith

  • The Pick: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
  • The Explanation: With talent abundent at the skill positions, the Eagles opt to beef up the trenches once again. They lost RG Isaac Seumalo in free agency.

31) Kansas City Chiefs — Pick by Nate Powalie

  • The Pick: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
  • The Explanation: After seeing Orlando Brown leave for the Bengals in free agency, the Chiefs will definitely look to help build up that O-line. And Wright is a plug-and-play day one starter. He works well in pass protection, and he does a great job of maintaining leverage.

Editor’s Note: Josh Frey has been building up a sizable library of draft profiles and write ups for PurplePTSD. Check out the site’s draft section for a ton of great information on this year’s prospects. This piece originally appeared on PurplePTSD.