For some, mock drafts are an essential part of the pre-NFL Draft experience. Not only does it give people the opportunity to play general manager, but it’s also a decent way to feel out how this year’s actual draft may play out. You can draw a sense of how things could realistically play out and which players may be available when.
Of course, reality doesn’t care about your mock draft or a specific publication’s Big Board. These are simply opinions and the actual draft is a constant reminder that NFL employees often have strong disagreements with media and fans.
Take, for example, this quote from Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes last week where he says—in the most respectful way possible—that your mock drafts are stupid.
“There’s also a lot of information that I don’t expect the people that are putting out the mock drafts to know, and it’s not their fault. They’re not in medical meetings. I look at them, I respect them, but it’s not always going to be right. And then you’ve just got to make the best pick that you can and be confident with it. Post-draft and immediate draft grades, when the pick didn’t line up with those mocks, you’ve got to be willing and comfortable to take the thrashing because they didn’t line up with the mock.”
It’s all a guessing game without the bevy of information NFL teams have, so every year, we like to take that guessing game to an extreme.
The “Random Names Out of a Hat” mock draft started back in 2013 from Pride of Detroit founder Sean Yuille as a way to poke fun at former Lions general manager Matt Millen. Back then, the randomized gods handed the Lions quarterback Geno Smith—a laughable pick at the time, but oddly not all that ridiculous 10 years later. If you’re curious, here’s how the random mock has turned out over the past decade:
- 2022 Random Hat Draft
- 2021 Random Hat Draft
- 2020 Random Hat Draft
- 2019 Random Hat Draft
- 2018 Random Hat Draft
- 2016 Random Hat Draft
- 2015 Random Hat Draft
- 2014 Random Hat Draft
- 2013 Random Hat Draft
A quick note on the methodology here. I put the top 31 prospects—as determined by Arif Hasan’s 2023 NFL Draft consensus big board—into a hat. I drew each name individually and just went down the draft order. Obviously, there were no trades.
Without further ado, here are the results from our 2023 Random Hat Mock Draft:
1. Carolina Panthers — OT Darnell Wright
2. Houston Texans — EDGE Myles Murphy
3. Arizona Cardinals — CB Christian Gonzalez
4. Indianapolis Colts — QB Anthony Richardson
5. Seattle Seahawks — RB Bijan Robinson
6. Detroit Lions — DT Calijah Kancey
7. Las Vegas Raiders — EDGE Lukas Van Ness
8. Atlanta Falcons — QB Bryce Young
9. Chicago Bears — CB Deonte Banks
10. Philadelphia Eagles — DB Brian Branch
11. Tennessee Titans — CB Joey Porter Jr.
12. Houston Texans — G O’Cyrus Torrence
13. Green Bay Packers — EDGE Nolan Smith
14. New England Patriots — TE Michael Mayer
15. New York Jets — OT Broderick Jones
16. Washington Commanders — TE Dalton Kincaid
17. Pittsburgh Steelers — QB Will Levis
18. Detroit Lions — OT Peter Skoronski
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB Jahmyr Gibbs
20. Seattle Seahawks — WR Jordan Addison
21. Los Angeles Chargers — OT Paris Johnson Jr.
22. Baltimore Ravens — DT Jalen Carter
23. Minnesota Vikings — TE Darnell Washington
24. Jacksonville Jaguars — EDGE Tyree Wilson
25. New York Giants — DT Bryan Bresee
26. Dallas Cowboys — CB Devon Witherspoon
27. Buffalo Bills — WR Quentin Johnston
28. Cincinnati Bengals — WR Zay Flowers
29. New Orleans Saints — EDGE Will Anderson Jr.
30. Philadelphia Eagles — WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
31. Kansas City Chiefs — QB C.J. Stroud
Which picks do you think are likely to actually happen? Maybe Bresee to the Giants? Richardson to the Colts? is there any chance the Lions take Skoronski or Kancey, but in reverse order of this mock?
Offer your thoughts on the mock by scrolling down to our comment section.