The Denver Broncos are orchestrating a trade for head coach Sean Payton, which involves the No. 30 overall selection, originally held by San Francisco. In today's thought exercise, we explore what New Orleans could do with that pick acquired from the Broncos.
At the top of the draft, there is some action due to the availability of quarterbacks. Prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to No. 8 overall from No. 13 overall, and then again to No. 2 overall for the right to select North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. An alternative trade scenario is also explored, in addition to the impact of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson sliding down the board.
The draft order below is now the official order based on team records and tiebreakers. There is not a No. 21 overall pick here, as that's the pick the Dolphins forfeited due to tampering violations.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
For more extensive draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Carolina traded up to No. 3 overall and then to No. 1 overall. It is a similar model that Philadelphia used to select Carson Wentz in 2016. Philadelphia sent players, including Kiko Alonso and the No. 13 overall selection to Miami in exchange for the No. 8 overall selection. Then, it flipped that to Cleveland for the No. 2 overall selection. With the No. 1 overall selection, the Panthers select Bryce Young.
Round 1 - Pick 2
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
Houston does not get its pick of quarterback at No. 2 overall, but C.J. Stroud could still prove to be an elite talent.
Mock Trade from Arizona Cardinals
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 253 lbs
Chicago attempts to upgrade its pass rush with the selection of Will Anderson Jr. The Bears want to move back from No. 1 overall without sacrificing the chance to select a top defensive talent like Jalen Carter or Anderson. A three-way trade with Carolina and Arizona makes that possible as the Cardinals trade back to pick up additional draft capital in Monti Ossenfort's first year.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'4" / 229 lbs
Will Levis is in line with the prototypical quarterback that Indianapolis has coveted under the direction of general manager Chris Ballard.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 314 lbs
Seattle is able to add pass rush help unconventionally as Jalen Carter joins the fold. The decision to take or pass on a quarterback was made for them with the top options coming off the board early.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 268 lbs
Detroit takes one of the few remaining blue-chip talents even though edge rusher is not the biggest need.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 313 lbs
Las Vegas has a hole to fill along its offensive line. Peter Skoronski has flexibility to play multiple positions. If right tackle does not work out, then the team should have no problem sliding him inside to guard.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 271 lbs
Atlanta supplements its pass rush with the selection of Tyree Wilson, who has elite size and the potential to become one of the best players to come out of this draft class.
Mock Trade from Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Oregon • Soph • 6'1" / 197 lbs
Arizona hired Monti Ossenfort from Tennessee as its next general manager. A vacancy remains at the head-coaching position and that could impact its thought process in the draft. As it stands, the Cardinals address a position that has been a weakness for quite some time after moving back from No. 3 overall to pick up additional draft capital.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Cam Smith showed significant improvement from 2021 to 2022. Philadelphia plays a higher percentage of zone coverage and Smith shows great awareness.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Tennessee may need to replace both starting offensive tackles so Paris Johnson is a good start. He played one season at left tackle after beginning his Ohio State career on the interior.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 298 lbs
The top pass rushers are off the board at this stage so Houston upgrades its defense in a different manner. Bryan Bresee is a former No. 1 overall recruit that has yet to reach that potential. The hope is that occurs with the Texans.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Alabama does a lot of pattern matching in the secondary and that requires communication. Nick Saban trusted Brian Branch to fulfill that role in his defense. New York has two quality boundary cornerbacks and now it has another intelligent player in the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Drew Sanders LB
Arkansas • Jr • 6'4" / 235 lbs
Drew Sanders is an Alabama transfer who primarily played an off-ball linebacker role, but also showed the capability to rush the passer when given the opportunity.
Mock Trade from Green Bay Packers
Round 1 - Pick 15
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
With Anthony Richardson still available, Seattle saw an opportunity to trade up and select a physically gifted, but raw quarterback prospect without giving up significant assets in return. The Seahawks can re-sign Geno Smith to a short-term contract and allow him to tutor Richardson.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 181 lbs
Cornerback options are dwindling so Washington acts fast. Devon Witherspoon is a fiery competitor with the intelligence to play man and zone coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 193 lbs
The Nittany Lion begins his career where his father spent eight of his 13 seasons.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Kelee Ringo is impressive from a height, weight and speed perspective. He was no stranger to getting twisted around at the route stem but shows great recovery speed. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn should be a valuable resource for Ringo.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Clemson • Jr • 6'2" / 235 lbs
Lavonte David is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason. Tampa Bay has a lot to sort out this decision with Tom Brady's decision and replacing the offensive coordinator. If a rebuild is initiated, Simpson would be a good complement to Devin White.
Mock Trade from Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 20
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 249 lbs
Michael Mayer is a well-rounded tight end who should serve as a quality pass catcher for Aaron Rodgers in addition to being a blocker in that Shanahan-style scheme.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Los Angeles has used first-round picks on offensive linemen each of the past two years. The Chargers make it three straight with the selection of Broderick Jones, who flips to the right side. It is conceivable that the Chargers go offense early and often with a need at tight end and to add productive speed at wide receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Texas • Jr • 5'11" / 215 lbs
Baltimore has struggled to keep running backs healthy. Bijan Robinson is a top-10 overall talent who could revamp the run game alongside a healthy Lamar Jackson.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Would Minnesota prefer a more explosive edge rusher like Nolan Smith or a better run defender like Lukas Van Ness? Minnesota elects to pick Van Ness to learn from Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 264 lbs
Jacksonville needs to continue adding offensive talent for Trevor Lawrence. Darnell Washington is a massive target in chain-moving situations who doubles as a valuable blocker for Travis Etienne. The Jaguars are essentially getting two first-round picks with Calvin Ridley expected to join the team this offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 26
TCU • Jr • 6'3" / 208 lbs
In this scenario, New York invests in Daniel Jones after an impressive season. Quentin Johnston is a tall target with sky-high potential. The Giants are able to pair Johnston with Wan'Dale Robinson long-term.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Nolan Smith EDGE
Georgia • Sr • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Dallas may decide to give Sam Williams more repetitions next season rather than drafting a player like Nolan Smith. However, the Cowboys need to generate pressure from multiple spots.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 330 lbs
Generally speaking, Buffalo needs to do more to address the offensive line. Josh Allen's play has been able to mask some of the Bills' deficiencies but, in order to take that next step, Allen needs more.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Utah • Soph • 5'9" / 184 lbs
Cincinnati is planning for turnover in the secondary as cornerback Clark Phillips III and safety Daxton Hill were added in consecutive drafts. The Bengals defense is in good hands as long as Lou Anarumo remains defensive coordinator.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 30
USC • Jr • 5'11" / 173 lbs
Chris Olave was primarily lined up outside in New Orleans last season so there is room for Jordan Addison to work out of the slot. Michael Thomas is likely moving on so the Saints will need to upgrade its group of wide receivers.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 196 lbs
Kansas City has assembled a rag tag group of wide receivers but the long-term vision is unclear. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a down year hampered by injury but is a reliable outlet that could develop a rapport with Patrick Mahomes.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'2" / 198 lbs
In the event that C.J. Gardner-Johnson departs in free agency, Philadelphia drafts a replacement. If he stays, the Eagles likely do not go down this path as Gardner-Johnson is still very young and there is some redundancy in the skill sets.