The 2023 NFL Draft is set to begin on Thursday, Apr. 27, and will end on Saturday, Apr. 29.
And with the event closing in so quickly, mock drafts are continuing to pop up more and more frequently.
ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper released his updated first-round predictions on Wednesday morning with a familiar name on the list.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper currently has Tennessee defensive end Byron Young listed as the No. 20 overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks. If that were to happen, Young would become teammates with former Vol Darrell Taylor, though the two never crossed paths in a Tennessee uniform. Taylor was drafted to Seattle in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“Young, another prospect who will be at the Senior Bowl, is intriguing,” Kiper wrote. “At 6-3, 245 pounds, he fits the mold of what Carroll wants from a front-seven defender, and he has some pass-rush upside. He had seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2022, showing off advanced moves.”
At the end of the regular season, Young had a choice on his hands. Would he skip out on Tennessee’s Orange Bowl appearance to stay healthy for the draft or play in the game to finish out the season with his teammates? Despite that tough decision taking up all of his free thoughts for weeks, Young decided to play with his teammates against Clemson.
Considering that Young ended up with 3 total tackles and two huge sacks in what was an extremely impressive game, it’s safe to say that Young made the right decision.
Now, the Georgetown, South Carolina native and Tennessee senior is projected as a first-round NFL Draft pick by one of the country’s leading analysts.
Byron Young ended the 2022 season with 22 solo tackles and 7 total sacks.
While Young was Tennessee’s only first-round mock projection, Mel Kiper did have a note at the end regarding 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt.
Kiper has the Kansas City Chiefs taking Boston College WR Zay Flowers with the final pick of the first round. That pick, though, almost went to Hyatt.
“I almost went with speedster Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), who is a better deep threat, but Flowers is more ready to contribute early,” Kiper wrote. “Hyatt had 15 touchdowns and averaged 18.9 yards per catch for the Volunteers in 2022.”