2023 mock NFL Draft 3.0: Final 11th-hour edition (with trades)

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers, 49ers
Calijah Kancey #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Defensive Tackle. Panthers . Calijah Kancey. 29. player. 866.

On the clock: Pick No. 29: New Orleans Saints – Calijah Kancey, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh

Mock Draft 1.0 – Anthony Richardson, Quarterback, Florida
Mock Draft 2.0 – Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

If the New Orleans Saints want to take control of what is a wide-open NFC South, they need to beef up their pass rush which has been a huge hole for them in recent seasons. With EDGE Marcus Davenport gone, this is an even bigger need.

Calijah Kancey has some real Aaron Donald vibes as an undersized defensive tackle that has some spectacular skills as a pass rusher. He could easily sneak into the first round given the need for players who can get to the quarterback.

I’ve written before about my love for Kancey as a prospect and he only confirmed that at the NFL Combine. Not only did Kancey measure in at the combine bigger and heavier than expected (6-foot-1 and 281 pounds, both more than his collegiate measurements by an inch and a pound respectively) but he also shattered the drills and showed exactly what he can do.

Kancey had 31 tackles (including 14.5 tackles for loss) and 7.5 sacks this season for Pittsburgh. These stats weren’t a fluke either, as he had 33 tackles including 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2021. He looks like someone who could well outperform his draft spot and play like a top pick.