Sleeper teams that could target a QB in the 2023 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

As the NFL season approaches its midpoint, playoff contenders are starting to emerge. Meanwhile, some less fortunate teams are starting to face the reality that they might be drafting early come April. While some teams like the Lions and Commanders appear headed for a QB, some teams that look more “set” at the quarterback position could also target a QB come the loaded 2023 NFL Draft.

2023 NFL Draft: The Las Vegas Raiders

When the season began, the Raiders had hoped that they could turn last year’s playoff appearance into a division crown. Competing in the loaded AFC West, the Raiders are off to a dismal start, sitting at just 1-4 the Raiders will have to go on quite a run to compete with the Chiefs and Chargers.

If the season keeps going south in Las Vegas, could the Raiders target a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft? While it’s probably unfair to place the blame for this season on Derek Carr, it’s fair to wonder if he will ever be the guy to lead a team to a Super Bowl. With Josh McDaniels’ track record of moving on from incumbent quarterbacks, don’t be surprised if the Raiders end up moving on from Carr, who despite his extension has a pretty movable contract.

2023 NFL Draft: The Pittsburgh Steelers

With multiple quarterbacks expected to go early in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, the next sleeper team is the only team to take a quarterback in last year’s draft. When the Steelers took Kenny Pickett 20th overall last season, they likely hoped they found the long term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. While Pickett could still very well be the guy, the Steelers have struggled this season.

In limited playing time, Pickett has played fairly well. He is completing over 66% of his passes but is only averaging 171 yards per game and under 7 yards per attempt. Regardless of his stats, it’s still too early for Pittsburgh to know one way or another if Pickett is the long term answer. But if he plays most of the remainder of the season, which is expected, and the Steelers end up drafting early in the first round, they could do to Pickett what the Cardinals did to Josh Rosen.

2023 NFL Draft: The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans

So far into the season, neither the Bears nor the Texans appear super confidant with their young quarterback. Despite both teams having recently drafted their current starter, neither head coach or main decision maker is left with the organization.

With Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy gone from Chicago and David Culley and Jack Easterby gone in Houston both new administrations could look to put their stamp on the franchise. Meanwhile, with Davis Mills and Justin Fields both struggling, both teams could look to reset their quarterback rookie contract in the 2023 NFL Draft.