The 2023 NFL Draft is a mystery, and no one seems to know what will happen
It’s official; the 2023 NFL Draft is finally here!
As the anticipation builds for one of the biggest events in the world of football, fans, and analysts are eager to see which young talent will be selected by their favorite teams.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding this year’s draft, as no one seems to have any idea what will happen. Are one of the top quarterbacks going to fall? Is Bijan Robinson going inside the top ten? Will the Raiders reach on a second-round prospect with their top-ten pick? There are so many questions we just don’t have answers for.
With so much uncertainty surrounding this year’s draft, the only thing that is certain is that there will be surprising picks throughout the entire first round. Without further ado, strap in and get ready for a wild ride as we attempt to predict the entire first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Carolina Panthers start the draft by getting their franchise quarterback
1. Carolina Panthers – Bryce Young, Quarterback, Alabama
At this point, it seems like Bryce Young is guaranteed to be the first pick in the draft. He is the number-one overall player on the consensus big board and the clear favorite to be the first pick at -1600, according to DraftKings.
There was some controversy on Tuesday, as a Reddit post claimed Kentucky gunslinger Will Levis was telling his friends and family that the Panthers would take him with the number one overall pick. However, this is Reddit we’re talking about, and there is no reason to take this claim seriously, no matter how much the betting odds shifted after it was posted.
Bryce Young may be small, but he is a wonderful passer who is great at extending plays and performing under pressure. The Panthers traded for the top pick in the draft to get their franchise quarterback, and all signs point to Bryce Young being their guy.
2. Houston Texans – Will Anderson Jr., Edge Rusher, Alabama
There have been a lot of reports recently that the Houston Texans will pass on a quarterback to take one of the top defenders in the draft. NFL.com’s Lance Zerlein, who has connections to the Texans’ organization, has said for weeks now that they will not select a quarterback with their first pick.
For a while, the consensus belief was the Texans would take Tyree Wilson. However, that has changed, and now Will Anderson Jr. is expected to be the pick. If the Texans go this route, this gives them a tremendous edge rusher who can rush the passer and the defend the run at high level. Anderson may not have the athleticism to be a clear blue chip prospect, but he is still an incredible player.
3. Tennessee Titans (via ARI) – C.J. Stroud, Quarterback, Ohio State
We know the Arizona Cardinals want to trade down and according to Underdog Fantasy’s Josh Norris, the Titans are willing to do whatever it takes to get their quarterback. C.J. Stroud would be a great choice here, as he is a top tier pocket passer with elite accuracy and ball placement who does a great job avoiding sacks. If the Titans want to secure their potential franchise quarterback, they need to get in front of the Indianapolis Colts, who are going with a quarterback at four.
4. Indianapolis Colts – Will Levis, Quarterback, Kentucky
The one thing we know for sure about this pick is that it will be a quarterback. The question is, which one will it be? Anthony Richardson or Will Levis?
Will Levis has been connected to the Colts a lot, and he is the betting favorite to be the fourth pick. However, there’s a chance the Colts have used him as a pawn to keep other teams from trading above them. It’s hard to tell what the Colts will do, but all signs point to Will Levis right now.
5. Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle, Georgia
There are contradicting reports about what the Seahawks will do here. Some people say they are going to take Jalen Carter while others say they’re no way they take him. However, there has been some movement in favor of Carter as most mock drafters are slotting him here and he’s become the betting favorite at -250, according to FanDuel.
Jalen Carter is a risky prospect due to his severe off the field issues, but he is also arguably the best player in the class who has elite athleticism and a wonderful production profile. He won’t fall outside the top ten and could go as early as number five. Anthony Richardson is someone to keep your eye on with this pick, but it looks like Jalen Carter might by the Seahawks’ guy.
6. Detroit Lions – Devon Witherspoon, Cornerback, Illinois
Devon Witherspoon to the Detroit Lions seems like one of the most likely pairings outside of Bryce Young to the Carolina Panthers. The Lions recently traded cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons, and Witherspoon is a perfect fit for the Lions’ defense.
Witherspoon is a physical corner with great athleticism who can play man and zone coverage at a high level. He is -130 to be the pick, according to DraftKings, and he would be good value as Witherspoon is the top-ranked corner on the consensus big board.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback, Oregon
A lot of people have fallen in love with Christian Gonzalez, and the Raiders are in desperate need of a cornerback. Devon Witherspoon would also be a good fit here if he’s available, but of course, he is already off the board in this mock.
Christian Gonzalez is the prototypical cornerback in terms of size and athleticism. He has rare movement skills, giving him an ultra-high ceiling at the next level. He would give the Raiders a potential lock-down cornerback for years to come.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson, Edge Rusher, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson falling to the Atlanta Falcons doesn’t happen in many mocks, but there is a real chance it will happen. The Falcons have been connected to Bijan Robinson and there has been chatter that they could trade back. However, I don’t think they trade this pick if Tyree Wilson or Christian Gonzalez are avialable.
Tyree Wilson is a big, powerful edge rusher with unreal length who overwhelms opposing offensive tackles with his upper body strength. Once he learns how to use his hands as a pass rusher, he could be extremely dangerous.
9. Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr., Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
If the Bears don’t go with an offensive tackle here, it would very surprising. Assuming they do go in that direction, it appears they may target Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. I expect Darnell Wright to be the pick if Paris Johnson Jr. is off the board. If Parison Johnson Jr. is still available, though, it’s hard to imagine the Bears passing on his elite length and mobility.
10. Philadelphia Eagles – Nolan Smith, Edge Rusher, Georgia
There have been recent reports connecting Nolan Smith to the Eagles. Reportedly, the Eagles and the Bears have shown the most interest in him prior to the draft, and the Eagles are rumored to be particularly high on him. Although Smith is undersized, he has exceptional burst and bend, which make him a tremendous pass rusher. He is also great as a run defender, which adds to his overall value as a prospect.