INDIANAPOLIS -- Jalen Carter is potentially in some legal trouble, as he's the subject of an arrest warrant after it was discovered he left the scene of a fatal car crash in January.
Wednesday's news broke just moments before he was set to speak here at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. The highly touted prospect is still in Indianapolis, but won't speak to the media as he was in medical testing, per NFL executive Michael Signora.
Now, because this is such fresh news, it's unclear as to how much this arrest warrant will impact his draft stock. But as CBS Sports lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones put it, "this has to impact his draft stock." Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman also discussed the situation, noting that if Carter did not address the subject in team interviews before the news broke, "you're going to put a red flag on that."
This mock draft represents, in my estimation, the floor for Carter in the aftermath of this major news.
Elsewhere at the combine is one big veteran quarterback domino. Derek Carr has plans to meet with three teams -- the Colts, Jets, and Panthers -- to discuss his future, and while we may not get a decision during combine week, he feels like the veteran quarterback who'll first land at a new NFL locale, which of course will have a direct impact on the quarterback market in the draft.
For as much as I felt compelled to tweak the quarterback landing spots in this mock, I still kind of love them, so they're staying as-is until I have a reason to change them:
- Derek Carr signing with the New York Jets
- Aaron Rodgers traded to the Las Vegas Raiders
- Lamar Jackson traded to the Atlanta Falcons
- Ryan Tannehill signs with the New Orleans Saints
- Jimmy Garoppolo signs with the Tennessee Titans
One more note: There will only be 31 first-round picks this year because the Dolphins were stripped of their selection due to tampering.
Let's get to the picks!
Mock Trade from Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Florida • 6'4" / 232 lbs
I think Richardson is going to emphatically remove the lid from Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL combine. That will lead to the Colts taking a chance on him, given the hiring of former Eagles Shane Steichen as head coach. Richardson has similarities to Jalen Hurts and All-Pro upside.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • 5'10" / 204 lbs
The Texans upgrade the quarterback position in a big way with Young, who has all the improvisational brilliance to succeed in today's NFL.
Mock Trade from Arizona Cardinals
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • 6'4" / 229 lbs
Levis has big-time upside because of his athleticism and arm talent and his time spent with NFL offensive coordinator Liam Coen is music to the ears of new Panthers coach Frank Reich.
Mock Trade from Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 4
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Anderson gives me serious Khalil Mack vibes, which makes this perfect for the Bears, particularly after trading back. In the trade, the Bears get this pick, the Colts' selections in Round 2 and Round 4 along with a 2024 first-round pick and third-round pick, plus a 2025 second-round choice.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Pittsburgh • 6'1" / 281 lbs
The Seahawks aren't strangers to surprising first-round picks. Kancey should erupt at the combine, and Seattle loves up-the-field penetrating types at the defensive tackle spot.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • 6'6" / 271 lbs
Instead of picking another long, athletic outside cornerback early, the Lions opt to go with Wilson, a super long, bendy outside rusher.
Mock Trade from Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Branch is a do-everything defensive back who tackles extraordinarily well. He's an instant star in Green Bay.
Mock Trade from Atlanta Falcons
Round 1 - Pick 8
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • 6'3" / 218 lbs
The Ravens move Jackson in a blockbuster with the Falcons and are still able to land Stroud inside the top 10. More brilliant GMing from Eric DeCosta. In the deal, the Ravens get this selection, 2024 first-round and second-round picks from Atlanta along with 2025 second-round and fourth-round picks.
Mock Trade from Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Oregon • 6'2" / 201 lbs
New Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon knows the importance of having quality outside corners in today's NFL so is happy to land Gonzalez here. In the trade back the Cardinals get this selection, the No. 34 overall pick and a 2024 first-round pick from Carolina.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Van Ness is a long, highly productive rusher who'll formulate an awesome duo with Josh Sweat in Philadelphia for years.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Johnson is a large, athletic, well-balanced blocker equally as impressive paving lanes for the run game as he is protecting the quarterback.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
USC • 6'0" / 175 lbs
Addison can either learn lots from the similarly sized Brandin Cooks in Year 1, or act as his instant replacement. With Young and Addison, this is a quality first-round haul for Houston.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Northwestern • 6'4" / 313 lbs
In this scenario, the Jets land Derek Carr on the open market and grab a pass-pro wizard in Skoronski to protect one of the edges of the Gang Green offensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Georgia • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Jones is somewhat of a work in progress technique-wise but he comes with high-level athleticism and strength.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Utah • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Kincaid has ridiculously good hands and is a YAC demon. He'd a stud in Green Bay instantly.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Ringo doesn't always find the ball in the air, but his athletic prowess is off the charts. He should have a monster workout in Indy that'll boost his stock after a 2022 season that left a little to be desired.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • 6'3" / 314 lbs
The Steelers stop the Carter fall and feel they have the right coaching structure and locker room to handle everything that will come with making this selection.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Illinois • 6'0" / 180 lbs
Maybe a touch smaller and not quite as athletic as the other marquee corners in this class, Witherspoon sinks a bit and the Lions are happy to grab someone with as clean of film as the Illinois star.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Tennessee • 6'6" / 335 lbs
With this selection, the Buccaneers can flip Tristan Wirfs to left tackle and stay very good at the right tackle spot with the strong and advanced Wright.
Round 1 - Pick 20
TCU • 6'4" / 215 lbs
The Seahawks can't pass on Johnston here, who'd bring another big specimen to the receiver position for Geno Smith.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Jalin Hyatt WR
Tennessee • 6'0" / 185 lbs
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will allow Justin Herbert to push the ball downfield more frequently than the talented QB did with Joe Lombardi. So it's time to get Herbert a serious vertical weapon. That's precisely what Hyatt is.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Deonte Banks DB
Maryland • 6'2" / 205 lbs
If length and man-coverage capabilities are what the Vikings are after with Brian Flores calling the defense, Banks is the ideal pick here.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Maryland • 6'6" / 306 lbs
Duncan didn't have a tremendous 2022 but has first-round feet and room to grow into his frame. Protecting Trevor Lawrence is the utmost priority.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Florida • 6'5" / 347 lbs
Torrence is an NFL-ready guard the Giants can plug in immediately. He'll improve the run and pass game for the G-Men.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Drew Sanders LB
Arkansas • 6'5" / 234 lbs
The Cowboys could be extremely multiple with Sanders on the defense next to Micah Parsons. Sanders is a long, athletic off-ball/edge hybrid.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Ohio State • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Bills jump at the value pick here with Njigba, who almost assuredly would've gone higher had he played a full season in 2022 at Ohio State. He's not a freaky athlete but glides after the catch.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Penn State • 6'2" / 194 lbs
The Bengals add more youth to the secondary with Porter, a big-time athlete from Penn State who got better every year in college.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 29
Texas • 5'11" / 215 lbs
The Saints are the club that goes running back in Round 1 with the uncertain future of Alvin Kamara. Robinson has it all.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • 6'5" / 305 lbs
The Eagles love building in the trenches and double dip up front in the first round with Bresee, a former No. 1 overall recruit in the country with his best football in front of him.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • 6'5" / 275 lbs
The Chiefs have to bolster the outside pass rusher and do it with a youthful option. If he fully accentuates his skill in the NFL, Murphy can be an All-Pro type playing on the same line as Chris Jones.