Pre-NFL Draft 2023 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba Rise After Strong Combines

This our third and final update before the NFL Draft.

With the NFL Combine and collegiate pro days in our rearview, it’s time for a massive update to our 2023 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft before the dust finally settles at the 2023 NFL Draft. Players such as Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Anthony Richardson balled out at the NFL Combine, which will only boost their respective dynasty profiles.

We’ll provide you with a final update after the NFL Draft, but here is the third version of our 2023 first-round dynasty rookie mock draft, based on a 12-team SuperFlex league.


Previously: Unchanged

Everyone expected the generational talent to destroy the NFL Combine and Bijan Robinson did just that. Robinson cemented his status as the clear 1.01 after posting a 4.46 40-yard dash at 215 lbs and showed off his explosiveness with a 37-inch vertical and a 10’4″ broad jump.

Those who tanked for Bijan will be rewarded with a franchise-altering workhorse running back.


Previously: Unchanged

After the Panthers acquired the No. 1 overall pick, they’ve thrown up a few smokescreens by mentioning their love for the consensus top three quarterbacks. However, CJ Stroud dazzled at the NFL Combine and Ohio State Pro Day and fits the mold of a Frank Reich starting quarterback, standing at 6’3″ and 214 lbs. Stroud built off his Sugar Bowl masterclass by dropping dimes all over Indy and Columbus and he’s the overwhelming betting favorite to go No. 1 overall (-330) to a Panthers team that added a number of veterans to its offense.


Previously: Unchanged

Bryce Young had a disappointing NFL Combine after sizing up at 5’10” and declining to throw in front of NFL teams. As a result, this likely locked Stroud in at No. 1 overall. But, make no mistake about it: Bryce Young is an absolute baller once he steps under center. He is a gamer who wills his team to win and can make all the throws.

Yet, his size is a major, major concern. Outside of Drew Brees’ years in New Orleans, quarterbacks standing at 6 feet or smaller simply cannot stay on the field or put up fantasy points for an entire season. Like Kyler Murray, Young will flash at times, but his size will be a serious question mark throughout his career. If I were set at the quarterback spot, I’d select Jaxon Smith-Njigba over him.


Previously: 1.05

Unlike most early rookie mock drafts (who don’t watch college football until scanning through a few YouTube clips in February), Jaxon Smith-Njigba checked in at WR1 in our previous update and only made me look smarter after his dominant NFL Combine and Pro Day.

Smith-Njigba measured in at 6’1″ and a sturdy 196 lbs. He led all wideouts in the all-important 3-cone drill (6.57 sec) and shuttle (3.93 sec), which was shown on the field as college football’s route running savant. He also silenced the doubters and idiots by running between a 4.50-4.53 40-yard dash. Most importantly, he looked like his 2021 self after missing 98% of the 2022 season while running routes in Indy and will be a day-one target hog in the NFL — like his former Buckeye teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.


Previously: 1.04

Make no mistake about it. I love Jahmyr Gibbs. However, dropping to 1.05 is more about JSN destroying the combine and his pro day than an indictment on Gibbs. The former Bama running back checked in at 5-foot-9 and a shade under 200 lbs, but he showed off his silly speed with a 4.36 40-yard dash. The acceleration and straight-line speed pop on tape with the ball in his hands. Gibbs will be a dependable PPR monster as a legitimate Swiss Army Knife out of the backfield.


Previously: Unranked

Anthony Richardson legitimately broke the NFL Combine, vaulting him into the top five picks of the NFL Draft and the first half of the first round of rookie mocks. While I am personally not a huge fan of quarterbacks who suck in college (53.8 completion percentage), Richardson has the tools, the draft capital, and the immense upside that could dominate fantasy leagues for years to come.

As noted above, AR-15 scored the highest quarterback Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of all time, above the likes of Cam Newton and DK Metcalf, and equivalent to Calvin Johnson. Yet, with only one starting season under his belt and real accuracy issues, Richardson is the ultimate high-ceiling, low-floor quarterback prospect who could either break fantasy football or absolutely suck.


Previously: 1.06

I’ve been flipping between Quentin Johnston and Jordan Addison for quite some time, mostly because they are polar opposite prospects. Johnston is a physically imposing wideout, standing at 6’3″ and 208 lbs. He’s also super athletic and a beast after the catch. At TCU Pro Day, he posted a 4.48u 40-yard dash, and at the combine, he showed off his explosiveness with a 40.5″ vertical jump and 11’2″ broad jump.

When watching Johnston, he makes me think of the late-great Demaryius Thomas due to his electricity after the catch at his size. Johnston has his warts for sure, such as his lack of touchdowns in the Big 12, his inconsistent hands, and his unpolished route-running. But, I’m betting on the upside and tape here.


Previously: Unchanged

On the flip side, Addison is a slender (173 lb), elite route-runner who will be a 100-catch slot receiver for years to come. The former Biletnikoff Award winner is a gamer who put up all-word numbers at Pitt with Kenny Pickett before transferring to USC, but his measurables and testing metrics were sub-par compared to the top of this receiver class.

Next to JSN, Addison is the second-best natural separator in the class, which makes him a safer pick than Johnston, who has a higher ceiling and many more holes in his game than Addison. Yet, I’ll stick with the higher upside receiver over the surer prospect with the lower ceiling.


Previously: 1.08

Nothing has changed with my thoughts and analysis regarding Will Levis. As expected, he showed off his rocket arm at pro day and looked like the Hulk with his shirt off. But, just like Richardson, the God-given physical gifts are outweighing his actual on-field performance. His accuracy and ball placement are far below Stroud and Young, and his lowered Konami ceiling puts him behind Richardson. Levis will be an early-to-mid first-round pick, but he’ll still be a project in the NFL. If I needed a quarterback and couldn’t get one of the top three, I’d wait for next year’s quarterback class.


Previously: 1.12

Up two spots from our Pre-NFL Combine update, Zach Charbonnet is one of the most intriguing running back prospects in this class. Once viewed as a plodder, Charbonnet quieted his doubters by running a very respectable 4.53 40 at the combine. Although he checks in 30 lbs less than AJ Dillon, he possesses similarities with his running style and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Charbonnet proved to be a three-down workhorse during his seasons at Michigan and UCLA, where he totaled 566 rush attempts and 75 receptions over 40 games.


Previously: Unranked

Hand up. I slept on Zay Flowers during my previous update. I’ve long been a fan of the BC product, but for some reason, I ranked Josh Downs and Kayshon Boutte (puke) ahead of him. Zay Flowers stayed loyal to BC when he could’ve gotten the NIL bag elsewhere and still put up numbers in a below-average situation.

Similarly to Josh Downs, Flowers is on the shorter side (5’9″), but it doesn’t impact him much on the football field due to his quickness, straight-line speed, route running, and ball skills. He also posted an elite combine, running a 4.42 40 with a 2.53 20-yd split and a 1.49 10-yd split.

Plus, Flowers announced he will be attending the NFL Draft, meaning he will have first-round draft capital to his name. Plain and simple, Flowers is a stud and he’ll be a fantasy starter for years to come.


Previously: 1.11

There were a number of candidates for the 1.12, but I’m giving the edge to the lightning-quick receiver out of North Carolina, Josh Downs. The former Tarheel can win from the slot and on the outside due to his elite athletic profile and smooth route running.

Ever since stepping on the field at Chapel Hill, Downs has dominated. He snagged 101 receptions as a true sophomore and then followed it up with another 94 receptions as a junior. While he’s built like a smaller slot (5’9″, 171 lbs), he can beat man coverage, get vertical with his 4.48 40-yard dash, and can surprisingly come down with the football in contested situations. Downs is a high-upside receiver with big-play ability (22 touchdowns at UNC) at the end of the first or beginning of the second round of rookie drafts.


Kendre Miller (RB, TCU), Sean Tucker (RB, Syracuse), Zach Evans (Ole Miss), Tank Bigsby (RB, Auburn), Devon Achane (RB, TAMU), Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee), Cedric Tillman (WR, Tennessee), Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame), Darnell Washington (TE, Georgia), Dalton Kincaid (TE, Utah), Hendon Hooker (QB, Tennessee)



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