Miura's 1st Mock Draft of 2023

Looking at the roster, there really isn’t any glaring holes, which is probably the closest to a complete roster TT has ever had. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas that need improving, LB and FS are two spots that need an upgrade for their starter and there are many position groups that need their depth improved.

Starters: (In no particular order)

LB: Kenneth Murray, I don’t think I need to go into detail about Murray’s poor play, we all know he’s been a complete disappointment so far. For myself, I think LB has to be one of the top positions to upgrade. I just don’t see how this defense is going to be competitive if Murray’s contribution will not be limited. I’m of the opinion that TT must bring in a rookie to take snaps away from Murray because signing a 2nd FA LB doesn’t seem likely. Although I would like to see LB upgraded, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if TT doesn’t draft a TT at all.

FS- Alohi Gilman is the default starter at FS currently, which shouldn’t be the case because he’s just not very good nor has he shown at all that he should be a starter but rather a depth player filling in during a starter’s absence. Then there’s JT Woods who barely played last season, he pretty much red-shirted last year so it’s a safe assumption to think he’s not ready to be a starter. TT has not signed a FA to upgrade the FS spot so FS must be a target at some point in the draft.

CB- You have Mike Davis (in a contract year), ASJ, the injured JC Jackson, Deane Leonard, Ja’Sir Taylor, and a couple other guys that are taking up roster space, there are a lot of question marks with this group (when will Jackson be healthy, will he return to form, what does Leonard’s and Taylor 2023 role and responsibilities look like in 2023). There are many positives you could say about Davis returning to form and ASJ’s development but there’s still some big concerns about this group, another CB prospect seems needed. In particular, who’s going to play Slot, since Callahan has not been resigned.

Depth- (In no particular order)

WR: This is a group consisting of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer currently. There isn’t a hole but rather coaching staff has expressed interest to get faster at WR and there is a very strong fan desire/goal to improve the speed at WR. Both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were extended and their 2024 cap hit could make them cut candidates so there is a lot of talk about TT addressing some draft capital this year at the WR spot, I just don’t think it will be with a 1st round pick.

OC- Corey Linsley will be 32 years old by the time the 2023 season starts, he missed time last year with a knee injury, and he could be a 2024 cut candidate. Since Nick Hardwick’s retirement, Center play has been inconsistent primarily due to signing older vets (who have played very well when healthy) with nagging injuries and poor drafting. It would be prudent to draft a capable replacement/ depth player for Linsley, who for a couple reasons may not be able to playout the entirety of his 5 year contract with LAC.

OG- Behind Salyer and Johnson, the only depth guard is Jaimes, does TT roll with just one guard as depth? Is Jaimes ready to potentially see time on the field if injuries occur?

OT- The two starters are penciled in, followed by a bunch of garbage depth players, not a single one should see any significant playing time. Luckily, LAC had Salyer who could slide back to OT if needed.

TE#3: I’ve said it so many times, Tre McKitty is awful, he needs to go, he’s the lowest rated TE that meets the minimum snap count to qualify for PFF rankings. If you ignore the minimum snap count, he’s like 5th from the bottom! He is only entering his 3rd year and LAC doesn’t really save anything by cutting him, so his spot may be safe.

DLine: This group has SJD, Johnson, Fox, Ogbonnia, Merrill, Moa, and Hinton. They’ve all received less than average run defense grades by PFF, so perhaps TT targets a Dlinemen who’s strength is run defense?

EDGE: One of weakest depth groups on the roster. Mack could be a prime cap saving roster cut in 2024 and this year’s draft is said to be deep at EDGE, so it seems highly likely that EDGE will be addressed at some point in the draft.

In the first mock draft, no trade downs. Some of the players available are as follow; S Brian Branch, TE’s Mayer and Kincaid, DL Calijah Kancey, CB Deonte Banks and Cam Smith, and WR Zay Flowers. Branch initially has the most appeal due to his instincts and position flexibility, but he’s not particularly good at playing in off-man and Staley plays his CB’s with a large cushion, along with other reasons I hesitate to draft Branch to be the starter at FS or Slot CB (watching the game against Tennessee where Jalin Hyatt torched the Alabama secondary makes me hesitant to draft Branch in the 1st round). Both Mayer and Kincaid are available, I prefer Mayer due to his blocking ability, but LAC seems to have their TE group locked up. Perhaps TT brings on another TE due to Parham’s inconsistency and McKitty has been horrendous. Is it too soon for a CB? I think so. Last is Zay Flowers, who is an exciting prospect. He has speed and production but he doesn’t have size (TT has a history of drafting bigger WR’s), he would be the 4th WR behind Allen, Williams, and Palmer, how much play time could Flowers really get. Yes, injuries have hindered the WR group, and Allen could be cut in a cap saving move next year. However, when has TT ever drafted a player that would compete against a starter or another player he’s drafted? I think that TT thinks he has the WR shored up, if he invests at WR, I expect him to do it later in the draft. Since I’m not trading down in this scenario which means I have to draft someone, I’m taking Michael Mayer. For me, he’s a complete TE, he just lacks break away speed. He’s the best balance of being a pass catching weapon and an asset in blocking, he’ll immediately be the best run blocking TE on the roster. He’s turning 22 in July, didn’t miss time at Notre Dame, and he’s "Scheme transcendent."

LAC pick 21- Michael Mayer TE

LAC pick #54: Noah Sewell LB

LAC pick #85: Marvin Mimms WR

LAC pick #125: Isaiah McGuire EDGE

LAC pick #156: Jakorian Bennett CB

LAC pick #200: Juice Scruggs OC/OG

LAC pick #239: Warren McClendon RT

LB, Noah Sewell, Oregon: IMO, Sewell and Jack Campbell are the only LB’s that are worth drafting. This group of LB’s is full of undersized prospects, who lack good processing and play recognition skills, or have some other deficiency like being piss poor in coverage. I like Jack Campbell as a prospect and I thought Campbell would be a good complement to Kendrick’s, but as I understand currently, Kendrick’s will not be the LB responsible for pass rushing. Campbell’s best usage is not in rushing the passer or coming down hill to tackle an RB. Sewell, he’s your down hill tackler, and he’s been noted as being a very violent tackler. I’m taking Sewell with the 2nd round pick because I’m sold on drafting Marvin Mims in the 3rd.

WR, Marvin Mimms, Oklahoma: You want a WR with speed that can stretch the field without having to spend day one capital, then Mims could be your answer. Joe Marino scouted Mims and had much to say about him, here’s just a portion, "Mims has the makings of a dynamic WR2/3 at the next level that provides field-stretching ability to his offense in addition to having a dangerous yards-after-catch skill. Perhaps he won’t be an extremely high-volume target but his skill set improves the offensive spacing with his athleticism and ability to win at every level of the field." Mims could shuffle the WR depth chart and perhaps push Guyton off entirely, and make his impact with a small workload, he also brings ST value as a KR/PR.

EDGE, Isaiah McGuire, Missouri: Behind Bosa and Mack, the depth is not good. However, I don’t see the need to draft an EDGE player very high when they’ll be spending a year behind the starters. EDGE is a position group that is said to be deep, so I say test the depth and take a slightly developmental EDGE like McGuire. Isaiah McGuire has size, the physical traits, a good athletic profile, he’s good as a run defender, but he just needs some more time to continue adding strength and improve his technique which he could do so by learning behind Bosa and Mack.

CB, Jakorian Bennett, Maryland: After Bennett, the CB prospects take a big dive, he’s the last prospect that doesn’t come with some big issue, isn’t severely undersized, or isn’t a big developmental project. Bennett is best as an off-coverage CB, he fits what Staley needs from his CB’s and I think he could be a starter sooner rather than later. He’s been noted as a player with positional flexibility, CB, NB, S. He also ran the 40 in 4.30, so he has speed.

OC/OG, Juice Scruggs, Penn St.: TT has had formal interviews with Juice Scruggs, so he was/is on their radar, he could very well be a serious target. What I like about Scruggs is that he could fill the need for both Guard and Center depth. Does he last until the 6th round though?

RT, Warren McClendon, Georgia: I highly doubt McClendon lasts this late in the draft, so I don’t see this pick as being realistic. I’m not going to take the 7th round very seriously, instead I’ll just use it as an opportunity to highlight certain players. Warren McClendon, not to be confused with McClendon Curtis, is a RT from Georgia, who would be a great option as a backup RT for LAC. I’m not so sure he could be a swing tackle (he pretty much played exclusively at RT fore Georgia and hasn’t given up a sack since 2020) but he could take over for Pipkins if needed to. Playing for Georgia has allowed him match up against some of the best EDGE players in the nation. This team currently has 6 tackles on the roster, not including Jamaree Salyer, so maybe TT doesn’t target OT at all, the back ups are garbage though.

I expect to receive the most criticism for the Mayer pick in the 1st, and since I failed to acquire safety help, perhaps I should have drafted Branch in the 1st. All in all, even with 7 picks, I think I addressed some key areas that I mentioned above, it won’t be possible to hit all areas of weakness though. Two months into doing scouting and research for the 2023 draft, I’m feeling less like a trade down is absolutely necessary for TT to solidify the roster, the opportunity to make impactful improvements is possible without a trade down.

Trade Downs

In the trade down draft scenario, I’m still focusing on acquiring specific players. I’m aware that TT has never traded down and the likelihood of him doing so is highly unlikely. Regardless, the take away here is to get a sense of what LAC would have to do to acquire specific players. There are some scenario's that could allow LAC a trade down. Let's indulge/ delude ourselves and just have fun with this. These three trades are possible, it's just a matter if the teams are interested in making the trade. I’m being fairly conservative about the trade downs, if you were to test the trade downs yourself, you could negotiate additional picks but I just don’t see the extra pick as being realistic.

LAC trades away the 21st pick for...

New Orleans- 40 & 71

Houston- 33 & 65

Phoenix- 34 & 66

There’re two more trades that are technically possible, I just don’t see SEA wanting to trade up to have three 1st round picks, and Tennessee doesn’t have as much draft capital so I question if they have interest in gaining a 1st rounder at the cost of losing multiple picks when they currently only have six picks.

Seattle- 37, 52

Tennessee- 41, 72

I understand that most of these trades do not net LAC a positive draft capital difference, I will point out that not all trade downs end in acquiring more net value. For more information on this, check out the link below. Regardless of which trade partner (from above), the picks are somewhat close in range and since I’m targeting specific players, anyone of these scenarios will work for what I’m trying to achieve.

I used PFF(multiple setting configurations),,, and, in the mocks that I ran. In each of the mocks, the trades below were all accepted and sometimes offered up front, so they’re possible. In each of the different simulators I made it a point to draft the same players as close to the same order as possible, to test the range of when players could be drafted because not all simulators have same draft board so you will see at times certain players be drafted sooner or later. I usually got 5 out of 7 players using the same pick, there was some variance of course. In particular, with PFF, their Advanced Settings allow you to choose on a spectrum from Public vs PFF Board. Having the settings placed on different ends of the spectrum is when I saw the most variation of when players would be drafted. Based on last years observations, I think the settings is most accurate when you set the settings to the center of this spectrum. Overall, I got a tremendous amount of overlap, and depending on the simulator and their specific boards, some players may seem like a reach, but I’ll elaborate when speaking about the players drafted later on.

LAC pick 21- traded away

Early 2nd round traded pickup: EDGE Tuli Tuipolotu

LAC pick #54: Noah Sewell LB

Early 3rd round trade pickup: Jordan Battle

LAC pick #85: Marvin Mimms

LAC pick #125: Jaylon Jones CB-

LAC pick #156: Juice Scruggs OG/OC

LAC pick #200: Jonah Tavai

LAC pick #239: Tre Tucker WR

EDGE, Tuli Tuipolotu, USC- Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Adetomiwa Adebawore, and Tuli Tuipolotu are usually available when drafting with an early round trade pick up. I would be content with any of the three but lately I’ve been higher on Tuli Tuipolotu since he’s the younger prospect and excels at defeating blocks. He just doesn’t finish well, his tackling is going to be the top area for improvement.

LB, Noah Sewell, Oregon- I’ve already expressed my thoughts on the rookie LB group. Taking Sewell is a bit of a reach for the 2nd round, but I’ll have to take him early considering there are other players in the 3rd I want to target.

S, Jordan Battle, Alabama- After the 3rd round, good luck finding a Safety that could start, Battle seems to be the last prospect before a drop off to depth and developmental prospects.

WR, Marvin Mims, Oklahoma- I’ve already spoken to why I’m targeting Mims, but now with DeAndre Carter gone, Mims can be the KR/PR.

CB, Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M- If I’m drafting with PFF, Jones is not available by this time, but when drafting with most other simulators, Jones is available. Regardless, this is not a player that I’m entirely sold on. Based on what CB’s are left on the board, I think it’s too late to find a decent CB prospect that doesn’t come with big deficiencies, isn’t too old, or doesn’t have injury serious injury concerns. I think I would prefer to draft Warren McClendon or Juice Scruggs with this pick just to make sure that they’re secured.

OC/OG, Juice Scruggs, Penn St. OG/OC- Here’s your back up behind Linsley and he offers depth at Guard too.

DL/DE/EDGE, Jonah Tavai, SDSU- This is a player that there’s just not very much information on but what I do know about him is very exciting. Just do yourself a favor and watch the 2023 SDSU vs San Jose St. game. Tavai’s draft project varies wildly, from 5th round to UDFA. What I would like to note is that he’s 6’0’’, 290lbs, played over 700 snaps the previous two seasons while still posting amazing PFF grades. His motor and endurance are excellent. Since he went to SDSU, he rarely faced strong college competition, but he did dominate over who he played. This guy could be LAC’s answer to bring in players to improve the run defense.

WR, Tre Tucker, Cincinnati- 5’9,’’ 182lbs, 4.32 40 time. He’s a shorter beefy guy with blazing speed. If he’s there in the 7th, I’d give him a shot but I doubt TT would.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.