The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone. As always, the Draft provided plenty of surprises. Some players gained value by landing in great situations with higher than expected draft capital, others landed in less than optimal situations. Overall this rookie class may have lost a bit of it’s luster, but there are still plenty of players who can provide value and have a positive impact on your fantasy rosters.

For this post NFL rookie mock draft, we gathered a panel of seasoned DLF contributors to complete a quick mock draft for one quarterback leagues.

Here is a round-by-round look at the results, highlighting things that stood out, along with some comments from all of those involved. We will also point out the risers and fallers from the pre-draft mock that was done just before the NFL Draft in Kansas City. 

Round One

1.01 – Bijan Robinson, RB ATL
1.02 – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB DET
1.03 – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR SEA
1.04 – Jordan Addison, WR MIN
1.05 – Zay Flowers, WR BAL
1.06 – Quentin Johnston, WR LAC
1.07 – Anthony Richardson, QB IND
1.08 – Dalton Kincaid, TE BUF
1.09 – Zach Charbonnet, RB SEA
1.10 – Devon Achane, RB MIA
1.11 – Kendre Miller, RB NO
1.12 – Josh Downs, WR IND 

bijan robinson dg atl 300

Round One Recap

The first six or seven picks went relatively unchanged from our pre-draft iteration of the one quarterback mock. Dalton Kincaid was easily the biggest riser of the bunch, climbing almost one full round. Kendre Miller has shot up draft boards as well, proving landing spot matters a great deal in terms of how we value rookies.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Sean Tucker falling as far in mock drafts as he did in the NFL draft, except he was actually drafted here. Izzy Abankianda’s fans had all dreams of fantasy relevancy crushed.

Zay Flowers at 1.05 is curious, given the landing spot. Eric Dickens explains, “The Ravens selecting Flowers so highly in the draft was a signal of a changing offense and a need for another weapon in the passing game. He has a good chance to see a value spike once the season starts.” Good logic there.

It is also worth noting that even though this was a one-quarterback mock, the first version had the top three QBs going in the first round. We will see later that only Anthony Richardson maintained the pre-draft buzz of the trio. Bryce Young and CJ Stroud fell to the second and third rounds, respectively.


Round Two

2.01 – Tyjae Spears, RB TEN
2.02 – Michael Mayer, TE LV
2.03 – Sam LaPorta, TE DET
2.04 – Roschon Johnson, RB CHI
2.05 – Marvin Mims, WR DEN
2.06 – Jayden Reed, WR GB
2.07 – Jonathan Mingo – WR CAR
2.08 – Deuce Vaughn – RB DAL
2.09 – Rashee Rice, WR KC
2.10 – Bryce Young, QB CAR
2.11 – Zach Evans, RB LAR
2.12 – Jalin Hyatt, WR NYG 

marvin mims dg den 300

Round Two Recap

After the first eight or so picks, things really get murky. It is unfortunate because 2023 was supposed to be an above average draft class. You could argue that the 1.09 to 2.09 all have approximately the same value.

Something that stands out right regarding the second round was the tight end moving up a fair amount. Mayer waited around longer than anticipated at the Player Selection Meeting, but the fit could not be more perfect. The Notre Dame grad should find heavy usage right away out in Sin City.

Deuce Vaughn surprisingly went off the board at 2.08, jumping up almost a full round. Perhaps Mr. Hogue knows something we don’t, or he just hates Tony Pollard. But seriously, that pick amplifies our point about what a crap shoot things are after about the 1.08.

This is not to say there aren’t gems to be had. Roschon Johnson could be a star. Aaron St Denis says, “I will continue to pound the drum for Roschon all off-season. He may have fallen out on day two in the draft but landing in Chicago is almost perfect. He challenged Bijan Robinson for touches throughout his college career, winning the job from Khalil Herbert, and D’Onta Foreman won’t be able to hold him off for long.

Zach Evans is another player who could find his way into significant playing time early. The Rams and Sean McVay have shown no love for Cam Akers, or any other running back not named Todd Gurley, for that matter. Perhaps Evans breaks that trend, and at 2.11, why not take a stab at what should have been a day-two selection? 

Round Three

2.01 – Luke Musgrave, TE GB
2.02 – Cedric Tillman, WR CLE
2.03 – CJ Stroud, QB HOU
2.04 – Will Levis, QB TEN
2.05 – Chase brown, RB CIN
2.06 – Tank Dell, WR HOU
2.07 – Tank Bigsby – RB JAC
2.08 – Sean Tucker – RB TB
2.09 – Eric Gray, RB NYG
2.10 – Tucker Kraft, TE GB
2.11 – Michael Wilson, WR ARI
2.12 – Luke Schoonmaker, TE DAL 

cj stroud dg hou 300

Round Three Recap

We have officially entered the dart-throw stage of the mock. CJ Stroud is an outstanding value here and jumps off the page. Addison Hayes recognized this and had this to say about it, “I get that its 1QB, but this is a half-round discount on Young and almost a two-round discount on Richardson for a QB who has top-10 upside as well. It might be rough early on, but if Stroud turns into a Cousins/Carr type, you’re ecstatic about that with a 3rd round pick.”

The “Tanks” went back to back, and we are fond of both for various reasons. It was recently reported that Tank Dell and CJ Stroud hit it off swimmingly at the NFL Combine, and Stroud went as far as telling the Texans to draft Dell. Sold!

Tank Bigsby could play sooner rather than later with the fragility of Travis Etienne. Justin Taylor agrees and notes, “Travis Etienne hasn’t always been able to stay healthy, so I want Tank to back him, where an injury could boost him into the fantasy spotlight.”

Perhaps the most intriguing pick of the bunch was Sean Tucker at 3.08. The UDFA picked an excellent place to go in Tampa, with only Rachaad White of note on the roster at the position. Both are bigger backs, each weighing in at 210 pounds. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in camp.

We also saw three more tight ends get drafted, amplifying how scarce the position is. Folks are desperate for anything with a pulse at the position. Time will tell if the gambles pay off. 

The Big Board

Here is a look at how the draft shook out by round and by participant. 

a screenshot of a computer description automatically generated with medium confidence

All in all, you could say this was a pretty typical post-draft rookie mock draft result. Landing spots shifted the values of several players, both up and down. We see this happen in every draft. There was a lot of variation in later rounds, which serves to highlight how player values in rounds two and three of rookie drafts are darts throws which can lead to some unpredictable results. This year, it seems as if that is the case more than ever.

The big takeaway from this exercise is this – in your rookie draft, be ready for the unexpected. Find those later rounds targets who you really value and don’t be afraid to reach for them.