With just more than a week before the 2023 NFL Draft, I wanted to take my first crack at a mock draft.
The first pick is already decided. And even though the trend right now is to say that Bryce Young may be the only quarterback in the first five picks, I just don't see it playing out that way just yet.
I also tried my best to have some realistic mock trades in here. Teams will be hesitant to go up or down too much this year with so few first-round grades on players. I'd expect the moves to be smaller than what we've been used to in past years.
Note: There are only 31 picks in this mock draft because the Dolphins were stripped of their first-round pick due to tampering.
For more 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.)
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Round 1 - Pick 2
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • 6'3" / 218 lbs
The Texans need a quarterback. They don't have one, and short of a veteran trade in the next month, this is the only place they're going to get one. I understand the smoke around them, but logic dictates they have to take Stroud here.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Everyone knows the Cardinals are open for business, but is someone really going to trade up for one of the remaining quarterbacks? Recall last year when no one traded into the top 10 on draft day. It's hard to do. Arizona takes the safest pick at a position of need.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Round 1 - Pick 8
Illinois • 6'0" / 185 lbs
If you crossed cornerback off the Falcons' list of needs earlier this month when they traded for Jeff Okudah, reconsider. I don't get the impression they've filled that need, and they get one of the top-two corners in this year's draft.
From Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Northwestern • 6'4" / 313 lbs
The Bears have been able to scout him in their backyard for some time. Maybe he's a tackle or maybe he's a guard in the NFL. The beautiful thing is the Bears will plug him in at both and figure it out and get a damn good player.
Mock Trade from Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 - Pick 10
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • 6'6" / 275 lbs
Wilson slips a little bit here due to medical questions. The Texans make the first trade of the night by going up two spots with an amenable Philly to get the pass-rusher. General manager Nick Caserio knows he has picks 33, 65 and 73 to use to get a playmaker at wide receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Lot of folks thinking Tennessee goes QB here. Maybe the Titans do. But the team needs help now, and there's no QB available that's going to offer you more than what Tannehill can give. Protect him and try to win a division you very recently owned.
Mock Trade from Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 12
Mock Trade from New England Patriots
Round 1 - Pick 14
Round 1 - Pick 16
Round 1 - Pick 17
Round 1 - Pick 18
Mock Trade from Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 20
Zay Flowers WR
Boston College • 5'9" / 182 lbs
I love this pairing so much that I had to make it happen in this mock. Otherwise, the Chargers were going to take Flowers and check-off their need for speed at wideout. Giants have to get ahead of L.A. in this mock to get their guy.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Mock Trade from Baltimore Ravens
Round 1 - Pick 22
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Feeling a little antsy after Smith gets scooped by the Patriots and trades start happening, the Jags make a deal to go up two spots and nab an edge rusher. After Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo- Mensah made deals inside his division last year, you have to treat him like a wild card.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Tennessee • 6'3" / 221 lbs
I keep wondering what Adofo-Mensah is going to do at quarterback post-Cousins. Maybe he waits on a disgruntled signal-caller to emerge as a trade candidate by the winter. Or he goes after a talented player like Hooker here and banks on 2024.
Mock Trade from Jacksonville Jaguars
Round 1 - Pick 24
TCU • 6'4" / 215 lbs
The Ravens only have five picks in this year's draft and intend to get more, hence the trade back for a little capital. After getting OBJ earlier this month, the Ravens keep throwing resources at the position by getting the 6-foot-3 receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Alabama • 6'0" / 203 lbs
I know the Bengals went with a safety in the first round last year, but now that they're a destination spot for free agents, they can double down on positions. He has the versatility to play a few positions in the defensive backfield.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Georgia • 6'7" / 265 lbs
No, this doesn't mean the Chiefs think Travis Kelce is done. It means that Brett Veach and Andy Reid are going to constantly surround Patrick Mahomes with dangerous weapons, and Washington fits that perfectly.