2023 mock draft roundup 1.0: Experts predict Colts’ selection

The offseason has just begun for the Indianapolis Colts and while finding a new head coach is at the top of the priority list, the 2023 NFL draft will be here sooner than we know it.

Currently holding the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, the Colts are likely eyeing one of the top quarterbacks in this class. They could stay put at No. 4 overall or do whatever they can to trade up to the No. 1 spot with the Chicago Bears to ensure they get their quarterback.

As the offseason progresses, we will round up the most recent mock drafts to see who the experts believe the Colts should or will take when they are on the clock at the end of April.

Here’s our first mock draft round-up of the 2023 offseason:

Draft Wire

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Pick: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 8
Author: Luke Easterling
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: N/A

Touchdown Wire

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 9
Author: Doug Farrar
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: N/A

Pro Football Focus

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: QB Bryce Young, Alabama (via trade-up with Bears)
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 9
Author: Mike Renner
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: “The Chicago Bears are sitting on a golden ticket. With a quarterback talent like Young in this class, the No. 1 overall pick is going to be in high demand. The Colts make too much sense to be the team willing to offer a sweetheart deal to the Bears because a) it would still allow the Bears to be in striking distance for one of the two blue-chip defensive line prospects in the class, and b) the Colts are desperate for a franchise quarterback after years of one-season rentals at the position.”

USA TODAY

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 10
Author: Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: “A disastrous season bookended by humiliating results against the Texans looks like it could prompt the Colts to do what Chris Ballard has avoided for so long: take a swing on a young quarterback. Stroud might give an impatient group a shot at a relatively smooth transition, as the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist is a sharp distributor who repeatedly finds targets in favorable positions. Of course, even with Jonathan Taylor in tow, Stroud will have to demonstrate composure in the face of chaos early on, as the rest of the Colts’ offense is in rough shape.”

CBS Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 8
Author: Ryan Wilson
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: “Since Andrew Luck’s retirement, the Colts have had little success turning to QBs nearing the end of their careers, and it’s safe to assume that owner Jim Irsay will be looking for the team’s next face of the franchise. C.J. Stroud has flown under the national-media radar all season, but some NFL teams will tell you he’ll be in the running for QB1, and his performance in the semifinal game vs. Georgia showed that he can beat you with his arm and his legs.”

Bleacher Report

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 8
Author: B/R Scouting Department
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: “Murphy’s Law went into action for the Indianapolis Colts during the 2022 campaign. What could go wrong certainly did and snowballed from that point forward.

The organization dealt with a mid-season firing of its offensive coordinator, then its head coach. A meddling owner demanded the team’s veteran quarterback be benched. He then hired an unproven entity in the coaching ranks to serve as the interim boss. The team spiraled into the abyss and won only four games after being projected as the favorite to win the AFC South.

The Colts have hit rock bottom, and finding a young franchise quarterback to develop is the only solution to its problems after cycling through Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles over the past few seasons.

Fortunately, the team owns a top-four pick to make that wish a reality. In this instance, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud provides the perfect elixir to cure most of the organization’s ills.

“Stroud is an excellent on-schedule passer,” Klassen said. “He scans the field effectively, plays within the rhythm of the offense, and rarely puts the ball in harm’s way. Ohio State’s offense makes that easier than most, but he still showed a clear command for the scheme.

“The two-time Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year also has a very good arm when he’s set. Far-hash throws breaking to the sideline are no problem, and he’s got just the right blend of velocity and touch to control his ball placement over the middle at a high level.

“Stroud’s biggest area for improvement is how he operates off-schedule and in tight pockets, though he started to answer those questions against the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff. Stroud can get a bit finicky in cluttered pockets and conservative when working on the move. Hopefully, the Colts sort out their offensive line situation to protect him better in 2023.”

The 33rd Team

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick: QB Will Levis, Kentucky
Mock Draft Date: Jan. 9
Author: The 33rd Team Scouting Department
Link to Mock Draft

Author’s Take: “The Colts moved up one spot because of their Week 18 loss, and they might consider moving all the way up to the top spot to secure their QB of the future. But with no trades in this mock draft, the Colts sit at four to select Will Levis, who could be a good fit in Indy. He passed for more than 5,200 yards the past two seasons after transferring from Penn State. His yards per attempt increased to 8.5 this season. He has 33 TD passes but 23 interceptions at Kentucky. “

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire