2023 NFL mock draft 2.0: Bears don't go QB in first round, but rival Packers do
The offseason is here for over half of the league, which means a whole lot of fans will be turning their attention to the 2023 NFL draft and the leadup to it. There are a handful of quarterbacks who might go in the first round, but a pair of defensive linemen have a great chance to get the festivities started with the first overall pick.
Here’s a mock draft for you that will undoubtedly be torn to shreds by the time the draft rolls around.
1. Chicago Bears
Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.
The Bears will consider all options here, but moving on from Justin Fields wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. They can’t go wrong with Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia's Jalen Carter, but the Crimson Tide edge rusher kicks things off here. He has a chance to be a dominant edge rusher immediately in the NFL.
2. Houston Texans
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud might have locked up QB1 status after his incredible performance against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The Texans desperately need to find a stabilizing presence at quarterback and Stroud has all the tools to be that guy.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Georgia DL Jalen Carter
The Cardinals just need to pick who the Bears don’t pick. They could use Anderson or Carter, but Carter falls into their laps here. He’s dominant at a position of need, easy selection.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Kentucky QB Will Levis
This is probably a bit high for Levis considering what he accomplished this past season, but the NFL is going to be high on him once draft season really starts. He has the physical upside to be a long-term starter, which the Colts desperately need.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos)
Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
The Seahawks can bolster their defensive line with the pick they got from the Russell Wilson trade. Murphy gives their defensive line another high-upside, young player to develop alongside players like Tariq Woolen and Jordyn Brooks.
6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)
Alabama QB Bryce Young
Jared Goff has performed well enough as the Lions' quarterback, but they need a smidge more to really put them among the NFL’s elite. Bryce Young is small for a quarterback prospect, but he has all the skills that teams look for in their franchise quarterback.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
With the top three quarterbacks off the board, the Raiders can upgrade another offensive spot. Johnson has all the traits to be a long-term starter and can immediately slide in as the starter at right tackle.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
No team has fewer sacks than the Falcons over the past two seasons. Their pass rush has been an issue for almost a decade now, and it’s time to get serious about fixing it. Wilson is a freak athlete who can play a couple positions on the line, but he’ll make his money on the edge in the NFL.
9. Carolina Panthers
Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
The Panthers could take a dice roll at quarterback here with Anthony Richardson. Instead they take the top cornerback off the board in Ringo. He and Jaycee Horn would give the Panthers a top cornerback duo to grow with over the next few years.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints)
South Carolina CB Cam Smith
The Eagles have this pick thanks to the Saints and they can bolster their defense even further. James Bradberry and Darius Slay were incredible in 2022, but they’re both older cornerbacks and it can never hurt to have young talent at that position. Enter Cam Smith.
11. Tennessee Titans
Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski
The Titans could use some insurance at tackle, depending on what happens with Taylor Lewan. They can cut him rather easily and they need a long-term left tackle to replace him at some point. Skoronski can be that guy for them.
12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)
TCU WR Quentin Johnston
Brandin Cooks wants out from Houston, which means the Texans will need a new top wideout for their new franchise quarterback. Johnston had a quiet national title game, along with the rest of TCU, but he’s talented and would be a nice fit with Stroud as the Texans build a supporting cast for him.
13. New York Jets
Alabama CB/S Brian Branch
The Jets might be tempted to take QB Anthony Richardson here, but they might opt for a veteran instead of another young passer who needs time to develop. So here’s Branch, who can provide a lot of versatility at slot cornerback and safety for head coach Robert Saleh.
14. New England Patriots
Georgia OT Broderick Jones
Jones can bring some stability to the Patriots’ offensive tackle situation. He’s a hard-nosed run blocker who could fit at either tackle spot in New England.
15. Green Bay Packers
Florida QB Anthony Richardson
The Packers need to figure out their post-Aaron Rodgers situation again. Keeping Jordan Love around might create a difficult salary-cap situation, so they might as well restart the rookie contract clock on a quarterback. Richardson has top 1 percent physical attributes, but he needs time before being the face of a franchise. Sitting behind Rodgers could be beneficial for him.
16. Washington Commanders
Clemson DL Bryan Bresee
With Daron Payne set to hit free agency, here’s another first-round defensive lineman to potentially replace him. Bresee would fit in well on a Commanders line that already has a lot of talent.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris need help up front. Harrison has the athleticism to grow into a beast for the Steelers.
18. Detroit Lions
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
The Lions got their quarterback, and luckily, a strong supporting cast to buoy a young QB. Now they can turn their attention to a defense that was among the worst in the league by adding Porter at cornerback.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey
There aren’t really any quarterbacks left for the taking here, so the Buccaneers can add to their depth on the edge with Foskey. He and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka could give the Buccaneers two solutions at edge rusher.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Tyler Lockett won’t play forever and the Seahawks could use a talented third receiver to make their offense really pop. Smith-Njigba didn’t play much this season for Ohio State due to a hamstring injury, but he’s still regarded as one of the best wide receivers in the upcoming draft.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
Utah CB Clark Phillips
After spending the first overall pick on a defensive lineman last year, here’s a cornerback to help stabilize the back end of Jacksonville's defense. Phillips has the click-and-close ability to play slot if the Jaguars need him to.
22. New York Giants
USC WR Jordan Addison
Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka got the Giants’ offense moving in the right direction, but they could still use help at receiver. Addison is a talented, experienced receiver who can start for the Giants right away.
23. Baltimore Ravens
Florida G O'Cyrus Torrence
Lamar Jackson’s future with the Ravens is up in the air, but they still need to improve some offensive spots. Here, they pick Torrence to give Tyler Linderbaum a long-term running mate on the interior.
24. Los Angeles Chargers
Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
Shoring up the run defense would be tempting here, but the Chargers have a gift falling into their lap with Mayer. Justin Herbert could use a dependable weapon at tight end and gets it here.
25. Dallas Cowboys
Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
The Cowboys need to find someone to play with Trevon Diggs, and Gonzalez has the height and length that Dan Quinn likes in his cornerback prospects — assuming he’s still coaching in Dallas next season.
26. Cincinnati Bengals
Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
Cincinnati doesn’t have a whole lot of needs, so here’s an opportunity to get even faster on defense with the addition of Simpson. He and Germaine Pratt would complement each other nicely.
27. Minnesota Vikings
Michigan DL Mazi Smith
Smith might not be in many first-round mocks right now, but he’s a supreme athlete for his size and should fly up boards following the scouting combine. Smith made Bruce Feldman’s freak list prior to the season and looks to be the next freak athlete Michigan puts into the NFL from its defensive line.
28. Denver Broncos (via San Francisco 49ers)
LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari
A pass rusher to pair with Randy Gregory next season to give the Broncos arguably the most complete defense in the NFL.
29. Buffalo Bills
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
Another year, another running back being mocked to the Bills. However, Robinson is probably one of the 10 most talented players in the entire draft. The only reason he falls here is due to positional value.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
North Carolina WR Josh Downs
The Chiefs need another talented, cheaper contract at wide receiver. Downs can provide that along with Kadarius Toney as the Chiefs continue to figure out what their future looks like at the position.
31. Philadelphia Eagles
Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
A linebacker to fill out the Eagles' defense even more. Linebacker is the only unit on Philly's defense that isn’t strong, so here’s an immediate impact starter.
(One first-round pick was forfeited by the Miami Dolphins as a result of the NFL's tampering investigation.)
Teams without a first-round pick
37. Los Angeles Rams
Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan
The Rams suddenly have a lot of holes to fill just a year after winning the Super Bowl, but a starting left tackle would be a nice place to start as they try and get their offense moving back in the right direction.
41. New Orleans Saints
Georgia TE Darnell Washington
New Orleans found a nice receiving option at tight end in Juwan Johnson, but that shouldn’t stop the Saints from adding someone as talented as Washington in the draft. Washington can block like a lineman and has untapped receiving potential for the next level.
43. Cleveland Browns
Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
A big-play wide receiver to give the Browns’ offense an explosive option on the perimeter.
53. Miami Dolphins
Ohio State OL Luke Wypler
Wypler might end up going higher than this by the time the draft rolls around. He’s a young, talented center who would likely be an upgrade from Connor Williams at center.
100. San Francisco 49ers
Georgia S Chris Smith
A potential long-term starter to pair with Talanoa Hufanga on the back of their defense.