The 2023 DFL Draft — the first annual rookie draft of the league’s existence — is slated for about two weeks from today.
Here’s a little mock draft to whet your appetite.
1: Italy Emperors — Bijan Robinson, RB/ATL
The best player in this draft. After going full-tank mode last year, the Emperors need a young, explosive talent to lead their rebuild.
2: Australia Blue Heelers — Jahmyr Gibbs, RB/DET
The Lions appeared to draft Gibbs exceedingly early and then proceeded to nearly burn down their war room while celebrating. They love this guy and plan to use him a lot.
3: Saint Kitts & Nevis Shockers — Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR/SEA
Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, two pretty darn good rookie receivers last year, both heaped praise on JSN, calling the former Ohio State receiver better than themselves. Whether he makes the same immediate impact as they did or not remains to be seen.
4: Peru Gurus — Quentin Johnston, WR/LAC
Johnston landed in an ideal spot. Mike Williams, while good, is always hurt. Keenan Allen, while good, is old. Johnston landed with a great young quarterback and a talented offensive coordinator.
5: Sint Maarten Savages — Jordan Addison, WR/MIN
Addison may have landed in the best “produce-now” situation of any rookie receiver. The Vikings can sure sling the ball and they need someone to step up and take pressure off Justin Jefferson.
6: Peru Gurus — Zach Charbonnet, RB/SEA
Charbonnet could wind up being in a timeshare while collecting goal line and pass-catching duties, or he might take a backseat and wait for a Ken Walker injury. One never knows with Pete Carroll, but Charbonnet is a strong prospect.
7: Bolivia Llamas — Zay Flowers, WR/BAL
It’s not an ideal landing spot but he comes with terrific draft capital. The team intends to throw the ball more and he has the skill set to draw reps early.
8: Papua New Guinea Pigs — Dalton Kincaid, TE/BUF
He was the first tight end selected in a highly touted draft class, by a high-powered offense no less. Rookie tight ends generally take a while to adapt, but he has a bright future ahead of him.
9: South Africa Ballstrikers — Anthony Richardson, QB/IND
It’s generally not a good investment to reach on a quarterback in the first round, particularly one who comes with consistency questions. But in a league that is moving toward running quarterbacks, taking a shot on a freak of nature might not be so bad.
10: Kazakhstan’s Very Nice Team — Devon Achane, RB/MIA
Although diminutive in stature, Achane has good playmaking ability and lands in a wide-open backfield in a strong offense. There are rumors of Dalvin Cook headed to South Beach, which would hurt the rookie’s short-term prospects.
11: Ireland Shamrocks — Marvin Mims Jr., WR/DEN
Mims lands in a loaded wide receiver corps which makes his projections difficult to sort out. But a proven, trusted head coach was eager to trade up for him which makes his stock surely rise.
12: Colombia Capybaras — Tank Bigsby, RB/JAC
Bigsby was drafted in Round 3, which is not nothing. Still a Day 2 pick. And it’s clear the Jaguars do not trust Etienne to be the workhorse fantasy owners want him to be. If Bigsby carves out a short-yardage and goal line role, he could return decent value.
13: Italy Emperors — Bryce Young, QB/CAR
Italy takes a young quarterback to start the second round and help with their rebuild. Young is small in stature but plays with great poise and escapability.
14: Australia Blue Heelers — Kendre Miller, RB/NO
With uncertainty surrounding Alvin Kamara, the Saints are going to need some help at the running back position. The team brought in Jamaal Williams but he’s only a temporary solution. Miller has longer term value.
15: Italy Emperors — Jonathan Mingo, WR/CAR
Mingo has the opportunity to step in and earn meaningful reps right away. And playing with a quarterback who is a fellow rookie certainly helps with rapport.
16: Greece Trojans — Roschon Johnson, RB/CHI
The Bears’ backfield is up for grabs and Johnson has a great chance to take it. He might be the most well-rounded back on the team and the front office raves about him.
17: Sint Maarten Savages — Michael Mayer, TE/LV
Mayer joins a Raiders squad short on pass catchers. Whether he starts right away and earns many targets is the big question, but he has long-term value.
18: Italy Emperors — Rashee Rice, WR/KC
Rice landed in a terrific spot, he just has to capitalize off the opportunity. He seems to have mostly gadget players in front of him, so his prospects are promising.
19: Bolivia Llamas — Josh Downs, WR/IND
He’s shorter in size but a good slot receiver. He has a chance to be the No. 2 receiver in Indy.
20: Papua New Guinea Pigs — Jayden Reed, WR/GB
There is a lot up in the air in Cheeseland this year, where anything can go. Whether Reed gets on the field early or has to wait behind their other young receivers is the big question, but Reed has good YAC ability, which should earn him looks.
21: South Africa Ballstrikers — Sam LaPorta, TE/DET
After trading Hockenson last year, the Lions needed a tight end and they got a pretty good one in LaPorta. In an offense that is expected to be good this year, he has promise.
22: Kazakhstan’s Very Nice Team — C.J. Stroud, QB/HOU
The Very Nice Team needs a quarterback and they draft a good young one here. He should be a starter very early and has potential in a rebuilding offense.
23: Italy Emperors — Cedric Tillman, WR/CLE
Tillman has great size and landed in an offense with a good quarterback — supposedly. But he’ll have to work his way into the rotation of some decent receivers.
24: Colombia Capybaras — Luke Musgrave, TE/GB
The Capybaras have a veteran tight end on the roster already in Hockenson but they snag an impressive young specimen in Musgrave for depth and flexibility.
25: Italy Emperors — Tyjae Spears, RB/TEN
Spears has had knee issues and was drafted to back up Derrick Henry. So if he makes an impact, it’ll come from an injury to Henry or if the Titans use him creatively, as speculation suggests.
26: Australia Blue Heelers — Jalin Hyatt, WR/NYG
Hyatt is a blazing fast player and speed kills. But he landed in a woefully underwhelming passing scheme where he’s lost amongst a horde of bodies. If he can separate himself like he separates on a field, he has upside.
27: Peru Gurus — Michael Wilson, WR/ARI
Wilson has upside from a numbers perspective as he enters an offense with few established weapons. But from a production standpoint, playing for a team that appears to be tanking is a long-term proposition.
28: Greece Trojans — Puka Nacua, WR/LAR
There is some intrigue with Puka as he lands in a good offensive system with opportunity to compete with unestablished veteran backups.
29: Sint Maarten Savages — Zach Evans, RB/LAR
With Cam Akers having quite the mercurial career, anything is possible. It’s hard to imagine Evans slipping right in as a rookie and playing meaningful reps, but you never know.
30: Sint Maarten Savages — Chase Brown, RB/CIN
Joe Mixon had a little legal trouble this offseason, and while his job isn’t necessarily in jeopardy, the team does need a dependable running back behind him.
31: Bolivia Llamas — Tank Dell, WR/HOU
The nickname certainly is ironic, as the guy only stands 5’8 and weights 165 pounds. But with a team that is in flux and has no real established depth chart, anything is possible.
32: Papua New Guinea Pigs — Kayshon Boutte, WR/NE
A big-time player from a big-time college, Boutte lands in a less-than-ideal spot. The Patriots are definitely more of a running team, but Boutte can battle their less-than-stellar veterans.
33: Italy Emperors — DeWayne McBride, RB/MIN
McBride is a flyer for a team that gave up on Dalvin Cook. While he’ll start buried on the depth chart, he could have landed in worse spots.
34: Kazakhstan’s Very Nice Team — Tyler Scott, WR/CHI
Scott has blazing speed and could be a decent deep threat, but he’ll likely start on special teams and buried behind other veterans.
35: Ireland Shamrocks — Deuce Vaughn, RB/DAL
Vaughn is a shrimp of a player, but he plays big. The Cowboys need a complementary player for Tony Pollard, and there are a lot of bodies competing for that.
36: Kazakhstan’s Very Nice Team — Luke Schoonmaker, TE/DAL
Kazakhstan takes a shot on the Cowboys’ rookie tight end as Dallas looks for a replacement for Dalton Schultz.
37: Italy Emperors — Darnell Washington, TE/PIT
Washington is a beast of a man, but he enters an offense with a shaky quarterback and an established tight end already in place.
38: Australia Blue Heelers — Will Levis, QB/TEN
Levis slid in the NFL Draft and he’s likely to slide in the DFL one as well. There are questions about his game, but he’s worth a late-round flyer.
39: Saint Kitts & Nevis Shockers — Israel Abanikanda, RB/NYJ
Abanikanda is an intriguing prospect, but he slid in the draft and landed on a team with a locked-and-loaded stud. If Breece Hall doesn’t return right away from his injury, though, the team is more likely to look at a veteran.
40: Greece Trojans — Hendon Hooker, QB/DET
Greece takes a shot on Hooker as a potential long-term backup plan. Hooker will sit and wait on the bench for at least his rookie year.
41: Sint Maarten Savages — Evan Hull, RB/IND
We start to get into dart-throw territory here as the Savages select the Colts’ backup running back.
42: Peru Gurus — Sean Tucker, RB/TB
The Gurus already have one Buccaneers running back, so why not a dart throw on another? There’s not a lot of upside here, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they look elsewhere.
43: Bolivia Llamas — Chris Rodriguez Jr., RB/WAS
He’s not a very impressive prospect, but new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy supposedly likes him.
44: Papua New Guinea Pigs — Charlie Jones, WR/CIN
At this stage in the draft, you look for any positives you can find and Jones landed in a good offense.
45: South Africa Ballstrikers — Xavier Hutchinson, WR/HOU
I got nothing. Dude’s a big guy and he’s entering into a battle in an up-for-grabs depth chart.
46: Kazakhstan’s Very Nice Team — Parker Washington, WR/JAC
Another player who landed with a rising offense. He’s a long shot to make the team, let alone make much of an impact.
47: Ireland Shamrocks — Tucker Kraft, TE/GB
The second of two rookie tight ends the Packers selected … good luck figuring this one out.
48: Colombia Capybaras — Eric Gray, RB/NYG
The Capybaras select a backup to Saquon Barkley. Sure, why not? Reading the tea leaves and connecting the dots.
For the full draft in list format, click here.