The 2023 NFL offseason is officially underway. Free agents are coming off the board very quickly, with some of the biggest impact players available finding new homes. With the biggest free agency moves already having been made, the next big event on the NFL calendar that deserves extra attention is the 2023 NFL Draft.

ESPN’s draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently released his most recent mock draft. Of course, everyone is going to pay attention to the top picks, and he ended up having three quarterbacks come off the board in the first five picks. While most of the attention goes to the top picks, Kiper listed the entire first round, and surprisingly, he only had one Clemson player going off the board in the first round.

After entering the 2022 season at No. 4 in the rankings and being considered one of the favorites to win the National Championship, the Tigers finished No. 13 in the final AP poll after winning the ACC and losing the Orange Bowl to Tennessee. While the year didn't go as expected, some players had their moments and put their names on NFL teams' radars. With that in mind, let's see where Kiper has one Clemson star going in his latest mock draft, and take a look at another star he didn't have getting taken in the first round at all.

DT Bryan Breese – No. 29 to the New Orleans Saints

Surprisingly, Bryan Breese is the only Tiger that Kiper projected to go in the first round of his newest mock draft. Kiper has the defensive tackle going to the New Orleans Saints with the No. 29 pick, which the Saints acquired in the trade that sent Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos to be their new head coach.

New Orleans recently added quarterback Derek Carr in free agency to fill the biggest hole on their roster, but there are still quite a few areas on the Saints roster that need reinforcements. One position that Kiper considers a hole for the Saints is their defensive tackle spot.

The Saints managed to sign both Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd in free agency to help out at this position, but as Kiper notes, neither of these guys have ever been full-time players, which means that the front office could still be looking for help here.

That is where Breese enters the picture. Kiper said that the Clemson product had a “fantastic workout” at the combine, and because of that, he listed Breese as one of the players who saw their stock rise exponentially in this new mock draft.

In his final season with the Tigers, the defensive tackle appeared in just eight games due to injuries, registering 15 total tackles and one pass breakup. More importantly, though, Breese managed to rack up 3.5 sacks, which is impressive considering he's an interior lineman who missed quite a bit of time on the season.

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Even with his season getting cut short by injuries, Breese still managed to earn Second-team All-ACC honors in 2022. With that nod, Breese ended up receiving All-ACC selections in all of his three years at Clemson. He was a first-team member in 2020, when he also won ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, and was part of the all-conference third-team in 2021.

As for the Saints, they could certainly use some help on defense. Last season, they allowed 2,218 total rushing yards, which was the ninth-worst mark in the league. Their 14 touchdowns allowed on the ground also placed them in the bottom half of the league in that category.

With Breese, New Orleans wouldn't just be adding youth at the defensive tackle spot, but also someone who has been playing as a tackle for many years. The Saints would strengthen their defense via the draft after focusing on offense in free agency, and it seems like this could be a good fit for both sides if Breese is still on the board at this pick.

DE Myles Murphy – not projected to go in the first round

One big admission from Kiper's mock draft here that caught some attention was the fact that he didn't have Myles Murphy getting picked on the first day of the draft. After Kiper has Murphy getting selected at No. 20 by the Seattle Seahawks back in February, he's completely changed course, and now believes the defensive end won't hear his name called on Day 1.

In 13 games for Clemson this past season, Murphy had 45 tackles, 11 of which went for a loss, eight quarterback pressures, 6.5 sacks, and three pass breakups. Murphy eventually decided to sit out the Orange Bowl to prepare for the upcoming draft, but he still managed to earn First-team All-ACC honors as a result of strong play.

Interestingly enough, some draft analysts project Murphy to be a top 15 pick in this year's draft.'s Daniel Jeremiah has the defensive end going to the Houston Texans at No. 12, which would pair him with whichever rookie quarterback they end up taking with the second overall pick.

Kiper once had Murphy as the 15th-best prospect in the 2023 class, but he's been falling down Kiper's board ever since then. With a bit more than a month until the draft approaches, it seems like Murphy still needs to prove he is one of the top prospects available this year. If he does so, both he and Breese could end up being Day 1 selections.