This week, an ESPN NFL Draft Analyst released his preseason 2023 NFL mock draft (subscription required), giving his preseason predictions for every first-round pick.
ESPN’s Jordan Reid has three Clemson defenders coming off the board in the top 20 picks and two in the top 15, starting with junior linebacker Trenton Simpson to the Miami Dolphins with the 12th overall selection.
“Simpson, one of my favorite prospects to study this summer, is as versatile as they come, and there isn’t much he hasn’t already shown on the tape,” Reid wrote. “He makes impact plays as a blitzer. He flips his hips and runs in coverage. And he sets the edge as the end man on the line of scrimmage. The Dolphins need a defensive playmaker at the second level, and Simpson racked up 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks last season.”
Reid projects redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Bresee to be taken three picks after Simpson and has Bresee going to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15.
“The Eagles’ draft outlook rests on the shoulders of quarterback Jalen Hurts,” Reid wrote. “GM Howie Roseman gave the team a lot of flexibility by picking up an additional first-rounder, and if Hurts doesn’t take the next step, Philadelphia might use one of the picks on a QB — or package them to move up for one. But with Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox both potentially nearing free agency, the Eagles might also opt to address the interior of the defensive line for a second consecutive year. Bresee is a quick-footed and powerful 3-technique who flashes on tape but needs to stay healthy as he returns from a torn ACL that limited him to only four games in 2021.”
Reid sees Clemson junior defensive end Myles Murphy teaming up with Bresee at the NFL level as well, as Reid’s mock draft also projects Murphy to be taken by the Eagles.
Reid has Murphy going to the Eagles with the 18th overall pick, three picks after Bresee.
“More help in the trenches? Roseman understands what has made him successful during his time as Philadelphia’s GM: having depth along the defensive front,” Reid wrote. “Murphy is an intriguing edge rusher who is still piecing together his overall game. But he has the length, strength and quick first step out of the starting blocks, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise should he turn himself into a top-15 pick. The Eagles had just 29 sacks last season, 31st in the NFL.”
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