The 2023 NFL Draft is still six months away, but the top picks are beginning to take shape. Let’s do a way too early top five mock draft. Some things in the NFL never change, like the usual bad teams being bad and beginning to secure top selections in the upcoming draft.
April’s draft is going to be full of high end talent, and this draft looks to be much more healthier in terms of quarterbacks. There are several very talented signal callers in 2023’s draft, and some of the teams currently picking in the top five will surely take advantage.
So far, here are the top five teams for April’s draft in order:
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- Carolina Panthers
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
Let’s dip into the mock draft world and do a way too early 2023 NFL mock draft!
Way too early 2023 NFL mock draft
With the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama.
What we know about the Lions so far is two things:
- Dan Campbell is not a good head coach and might not make it through the 2022 season
- The Lions’ offense is largely solid, but their defense is putrid, so say the least
Anderson is exceptional. He’s not the biggest at 6’4″, 235lbs, but his athleticism and power are a lethal combo. He had 17.5 sacks last year and has 6.0 this year. Putting him opposite Aidan Hutchinson would be a nice duo to help the Lions’ defense get back to being bad instead of disgustingly bad.
Unfortunately, it seems that Davis Mills will not be the long-term answer in Houston. However, he’s shown plenty to be a high quality backup, and there’s nothing wrong with that. CJ Stroud quarterbacks the Ohio State Buckeyes, so he already has a bit of a disadvantage, since some like to scout the helmet and not the player.
Stroud threw 44 touchdown passes against six interceptions last year, and he’s thrown 29 touchdowns against four interceptions this year. He’s got multiple years of dominance in college and a very high completion percentage, which are desirable traits for teams looking for a quarterback.
The Texans are going to have to take a swing in 2023.
Bryce Young’s lack of size is going to be talked about for his entire career, but he’s got crazy arm talent. Could he on a similar trajectory to Tua Tagovailoa? Perhaps. They are both undersized, played at Alabama with top shelf talent, and have nice arm talent.
Young doesn’t appear to be the runaway QB one in his class, but I’d expect him to test very well at the combine and his pro day. The Panthers desperately need to find a solution at quarterback, and like the Texans, will need to take a swing in 2023.
This is how teams are built for the long run. The front offices need to, at some point, make a big decision like this. Bryce Young may not be an NFL quarterback, but that’s a gamble that a team is going to make.
I think the last time the Steelers picked this high in the draft, the NFL wasn’t a thing. The Steelers are having an uncharacteristically bad season, but after their 15 year stretch of being a very good team, this was bound to happen.
Kenny Pickett might be it. He might not, but I don’t expect them to try and replace him already. He’ll get 2023, at least to prove that he is an NFL quarterback. The one area the Steelers need help is along the offensive line.
Paris Johnson can play both guard and tackle, which is rare in the NFL. There do seem to be more players along the o-line who can play multiple positions, but being able to do it effectively is a different story.
The Steelers simply need to beef up their line for 2023 to give Kenny Pickett a fair shot. Paris Johnson can do that.
The second AFC South team currently picking in the top five is Jaxon Smith-Njigba. JSN seems to do everything well but the top-end speed, which isn’t a massive deal. He looks to be a slot receiver at the next level, and the Jaguars need to keep surrounding Trevor Lawrence with more talent.
Their defense appears to be nearly set. It’s a strong unit that won’t need a ton of attention in the offseason, but their offense could use another difference maker or two. JSN is a great route runner and could form a lethal trio with Christian Kirk and recently acquire but currently suspended Calvin Ridley.