We are about one month from the 2023 NFL Draft, and after some major trades, let’s put together a fresh new mock draft for April’s big day.
Perhaps the most significant move of the 2023 offseason thus far was when the Carolina Panthers traded all the way up to the first overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. The package going back to the Chicago Bears included multiple draft picks and wide receiver DJ Moore.
Even with the Panthers losing Moore, I have fallen in love with what they have done this offseason, and they are now in a perfect position to land their franchise quarterback.
2023 NFL Draft: Fresh top 10 mock after Panthers/Bears trade
There seems to be some indication that CJ Stroud will be the choice when the Carolina Panthers officially get on the clock in the 2023 NFL Draft. Joseph Person of The Athletic claims that “league insiders believe” that Stroud would be the move at #1.
He’s an excellent passer and has prototypical size. He’s someone in the mold of Jared Goff/Dak Prescott, which might be perfect for Frank Reich.
Depending on who you ask, Bryce Young is by far the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s run a pro style offense at Alabama and is perhaps the best pure thrower of the football in this class. Obviously, his size is a massive concern, hardly standing at 5’10” and weighing 200 pounds. He’s legitimately the size of a slot cornerback instead of a franchise thrower.
The Arizona Cardinals are such an interesting case to follow. They hired a new General Manager and a new head coach this offseason. The team also has massive holes all along their roster and their QB situation is shaky at best.
Kyler Murray might only hardly play in 2023 after suffering a torn ACL, and why should he rush back in a rebuilding year anyway?
Murray is an elite talent, but between the disastrous offensive line outside of a couple of pieces and a weak defense, the Cardinals might just want to stand pat and take the best defensive player in the 2023 NFL Draft. Everything on defense becomes much easier if you can get to the QB, and Will Anderson Jr does just that.
What might play to the Indianapolis Colts’ favor is they could end up standing pat with their fourth overall pick and still land their guy. If CJ Stroud is indeed the pick for Carolina, there is no use for Indy to pursue him.
Bryce Young is also likely gone to Houston and I’m not sure the Texans want to bother trading out of that pick either. Anthony Richardson is an absolute specimen of a player. He’s perhaps the best athlete in the entire draft and has qualities similar to Josh Allen, Justin Fields, and Michael Vick.
He’s the highest ceiling QB in this class and I’m sure Shane Steichen would love the chance to work with the Florida product.
Picking fifth overall by way of the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks are in a great position to fix their defense and show drastic improvement in 2023. The shock of the NFL this past season was Geno Smith turning into a franchise type player.
He was rewarded with a three year contract extension, but he’s also in his 30s and the uncertainty of whether or not he can keep his high level of play up might make the Seahawks draft a QB at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the fifth overall pick is too valuable to not take a stud defensive player to try and improve one of the worst units in the NFL from 2022.
With Jalen Carter sliding down the draft board a bit, the Detroit Lions take their chance on the Georgia product and nab him up with the sixth overall pick. The Lions are picking this high by way of the Los Angeles Rams in the Matthew Stafford trade.
Calls for the Lions to take a QB with this pick are ridiculous. Jared Goff was excellent in 2022 and the Lions’ defense was putrid, to say the least. Getting a people mover in Jalen Carter would do wonders for Detroit’s defense, and if that unit can at least perform at a slightly below average level, this is a double digit win team.
What exactly do the Las Vegas Raiders do with this selection? They just dumped Derek Carr for an inferior quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, but they also need to fix their defense AND need to find a long-term option at the QB spot.
I guess if they like Will Levis, now is there chance to try and find their long-term answer? Vegas could go a number of ways with this pick, but Josh McDaniels’ job is going to hinge on whether or not he can find al long-term answer at the QB spot as it was his regime who cut ties with Derek Carr.
Levis isn’t really anything special, but the size and arm are there.
The Atlanta Falcons have invested a bit in their defense this offseason, signing players like Jessie Bates III and David Onyemata. The Desmond Ridder experience might get a second showing in 2023, and if Ridder can be the guy, then the Falcons will be in good shape.
They can take their chance on Ridder being the guy and instead continue to add to their defense to try and fix that unit. Arthur Smith is entering a crucial year three, and the Falcons were able to put some points on the board in 2023, so I think this pick is on the defense.
This might be the perfect scenario for the Chicago Bears. Being able to trade down from the #1 overall pick, get a haul in return, and still likely get one of their top players on their draft boards would be absolutely stellar by Ryan Poles.
Paris Johnson is a mountain of a man and is a day one starter at left tackle for the Bears. Don’t look now, but if the Bears make a move like this, their offensive line core would feature Paris Johnson Jr, guard Nate Davis, and guard Teven Jenkins. That’s quite the core and going this route at #9 would be a giant help for Justin Fields.
This would be such an Eagles move, wouldn’t it? The Philadelphia Eagles were the NFC Champions in 2022 and were very close to winning another Super Bowl. The biggest question for them this offseason was how they were going to operate with their plethora of free agents.
Well, GM Howie Roseman has gone to work, bringing back Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce, James Bradberry, and Darius Slay. It’s an exceptional job and I’m truly not sure how he’s able to do it.
Well, the team did lose Miles Sanders in free agency to the Carolina Panthers, so why not draft his replacement in Bijan Robinson? The defense looks to be largely back together for 2023, so why not continue to add to the offense?