It’s finally here, folks. The 2023 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET. The Carolina Panthers will kick it off with the first overall pick to get the proverbial ball rolling. What will the Giants and Jets do, though?
How the first round plays out is anyone’s guess at this point. If you look around the NFL area of the interwebs, you’ll see that plenty of people are providing their opinions and predictions as to what will happen in Kansas City. Mel Kiper Jr., one of ESPN’s resident NFL Draft experts, is one of those people.
He provided his final mock draft on Thursday morning before the real one actually takes place just a few hours from now. Kiper is expecting some chaos, including two trades. Neither one involves Gang Green or Big Blue, who hold onto the 15th and 25th overall picks, respectively.
For most of the offseason, the general expectation across the industry is that the Jets would take an offensive lineman. You know, to protect that “old guy” they’re installing as the starting quarterback for next season. But then, we heard some rumors earlier this week about New York potentially selecting Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (should he be available).
Ultimately, Kiper is projecting Gang Green to get help in the trenches by selecting Peter Skoronski, an offensive tackle/guard from Northwestern. For what it’s worth, he’s also projecting that Smith-Njigba will come off the board at no. 22 overall to the Baltimore Ravens.
As for the Giants, Kiper thinks they’ll give quarterback Daniel Jones another weapon to use in the passing game. That’d be wide receiver Jordan Addison from USC. Earlier this week, NBC Sports’ Peter King released a mock draft that had New York selecting Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer. In Kiper’s final mock, Mayer wasn’t on the board once the Giants get on the clock. He had the tight end getting taken by the Detroit Lions at 18th overall.
So, a final prediction from Kiper of the Jets taking an offensive lineman and the Giants selecting a wide receiver wouldn’t be a surprise for either squad. But, we’ll see what happens when it’s showtime.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.