There's been a lot of discussion about Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, which player will end up as QB1, and what that could mean "With the First Pick," the NFL Draft podcast I co-host with former Viking general manager, Rick Spielman. And Williams is the best prospect I've seen since I started covering the draft for CBS back in 2018. Rick thinks Caleb is the best prospect he's seen since at least Andrew Luck in 2012:who are faced with that decision. Here's what I'll say: I've watched nearly every snap for both Williams and Maye this season because it's a frequent topic of conversation each week on
How good is Caleb Williams? Asked @spielman_rick on the @NFLDraftCBS pod who he'd take first, Caleb or...— ryan wilson (@ryanwilsonCBS) October 4, 2023
- Bryce Young
- Trevor Lawrence
- Joe Burrow
- Andrew Luck
- Payton Manning
- John Elway
Rick would take exactly one of the QBs above over Caleb. pic.twitter.com/776kuylIDY
That said, I've talked to people in the league that think Maye goes first, in part because of the perception that Williams' father may be too involved. I've also talked to teams that can't imagine Williams, solely on his talent, isn't QB1. Others have warned me that it will be closer than some people might think; Maye's 2022 tape is good and some of the inconsistencies we saw from him earlier in the 2023 season have more to do with learning a new offense.
Put another way: While I may favor Caleb, the race for QB1 appears to be wide open, which, if nothing else, will make things a lot more interesting over the next 163 days.
In the meantime, this WR class is stacked, which is why I have eight going in Round 1. Keep reading to see all 32 picks in version 3.0 of my mock draft.
For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on "With the First Pick" -- our year-round NFL Draft podcast with NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. You can find "With the First Pick" wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, etc. Listen to the latest episode below!
From Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 1
USC • Jr • 6'1" / 215 lbs
If Justin Fields has a strong second half of the 2023 season and convinces Chicago he's the long-term answer, maybe you go in another direction. Otherwise, you take Williams here, who is the best prospect in this draft class.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Drake Maye QB
North Carolina • Soph • 6'4" / 230 lbs
The Giants are on the hook for at least one more year with Daniel Jones, who tore his ACL and is done for the season. But even if they bring him back in 2024, Drake Maye should be the heir apparent.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Penn State • Jr • 6'6" / 317 lbs
The Patriots will have to trade up for one of the top 2 QBs -- or trade down for QB3 -- because their current 2024 starter isn't on the roster. But since there are no trades in this mock draft, they take the best offensive lineman -- also a huge need -- in Fashanu.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ohio State • Jr • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Kyler Murray didn't miss a beat in his return from an ACL injury that sidelined him some 11 months. And if he convinces Arizona that he's the long-term answer, they're taking Marvin Harrison Jr. here. Ask Josh Allen and Joe Burrow if they appreciated their respective organizations going out and getting game-changing receivers.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Joe Alt OT
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'7" / 322 lbs
The Packers, like a lot of teams in the top half of the first round, could be in the QB market. It's still too early to think about QB3 here, so in the meantime they grab Alt, who has had a fantastic season for the Irish.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
The Titans have a ton of needs, including offensive line, but they target the best CB in the draft to bolster a secondary that has Kristian Fulton and Sean Murphy-Bunting possibly hitting free agency after the season.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Round 1 - Pick 14
Nate Wiggins CB
Clemson • Jr • 6'2" / 185 lbs
Wiggins is a long, athletic corner who specializes in blanket coverage downfield. He needs to improve as a tackler, but the Chargers need to add depth to the position after the J.C. Jackson signing didn't work out.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Round 1 - Pick 17
Illinois • Jr • 6'2" / 295 lbs
Newton played on an Illini defense last season that included No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon and Day 2 selections Quan Martin and Sydney Brown. The defensive lineman will be the next in line to hear his name called early in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Emeka Egbuka WR
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 206 lbs
Egbuka's numbers are down this season, in part because of injury and in part because that's what happens when C.J. Stroud leaves for the NFL. But catching passes from Joe Burrow seems like the quickest way to get Egbuka back to his 2022 form.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Washington • Sr • 6'3" / 213 lbs
Penix Jr. has an injury history, but he has been healthy the past two seasons for the Huskies. And more than that, he has played out of his mind, not only as the best deep-ball passer in this class but also his ability to throw with anticipation and accuracy, and even win with his legs when he needs to.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 20
Round 1 - Pick 21
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 24
Chop Robinson EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'3" / 254 lbs
The Texans traded up for Will Anderson Jr. in the spring, and he's been as advertised. This time, they stay put and land another edge rusher in Chop Robinson, who is as active a pass rusher as you'll find in college football.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Round 1 - Pick 28
Round 1 - Pick 29
Ja'Lynn Polk WR
Washington • Soph • 6'2" / 204 lbs
Rome Odunze gets a lot of the pub for the Huskies -- and rightly so -- but do not sleep on Polk, who has eight touchdowns through the first 10 games of the season and is a threat to all three levels.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Texas • Jr • 6'4" / 196 lbs
Mitchell, a Georgia transfer, is another in a long line of big, physical, fast, twitched-up WRs in this draft class. The Chiefs have had mixed results finding consistent play from their young WRs in a post-Tyreek world, but Mitchell has a chance to be really good, really early in his NFL career.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Western Kentucky • Jr • 5'11" / 210 lbs
Corley is one of our favorite players in the entire class, and our comp for him is Deebo Samuel. He can line up inside or out, and the thought of a WR room of A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith and Corley is fun to think about unless you're one of the other three teams in the NFC East.