2023 NFL mock draft: Big trades shake up new 2-round projections

The 2022 NFL regular season is over, so for 18 of the league’s 32 teams, it’s officially draft season.

While the playoff teams continue their quest for a Lombardi Trophy, the rest will now shift their focus to the offseason, where they hope to add the necessary pieces to be among those crashing the postseason party next time around.

Week 18 gave us a dramatic shift at the top of the draft order, and those moves are sure to have a massive impact on how the early going of this year’s draft shakes out.

Now that the top of the draft order has been solidified, it’s time to introduce some trades into the mock draft madness, and in our updated two-round projections, the blockbusters start at the top:

NOTE: The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick in next year’s draft as a result of the NFL’s investigation into tampering violations.

*denotes projected trade

1. Indianapolis Colts (from CHI)* | Alabama QB Bryce Young

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Now that the Bears have the No. 1 pick, they can either stay put and take one of the two defensive prospects worthy of this spot, or auction it off to the highest bidder who wants to move up for a quarterback. The Colts make the most sense as a trade partner, jumping ahead of the division-rival Texans to land the top passer in the draft. It’s likely to cost them a couple of future first-round picks, as well as their second-rounder in this year’s draft, and maybe more.

2. Houston Texans | Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

It might hurt to see the Colts jump ahead of them for Young, but Stroud is a pretty fantastic consolation prize for Houston here. His performance against Georgia in the CFP semifinals proved what he can do against top competition, and bodes well for his chances of being the franchise quarterback the Texans desperately need.

3. Arizona Cardinals | Alabama EDGE Will Anderson

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Two quarterbacks coming off the board first is a huge win for the Cardinals, who land the best overall prospect in the entire draft at No. 3 overall. Anderson is a dominant force off the edge who could have easily been last year’s No. 1 overall pick, had he been eligible.

4. Chicago Bears (from IND)* | Georgia DL Jalen Carter

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This is an ideal scenario for the Bears, who get a massive haul of additional draft picks to move down a few spots, and still end up with one of the prospects they could have happily taken at No. 1 overall. Carter is a disruptive force at the point of attack, and would make an immediate impact for a defensive front desperate for playmakers.

5. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson

(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

The Russell Wilson trade is the gift that keeps on giving for the Seahawks, who are headed to the playoffs, and still have a top-five pick at their disposal. This is a perfect spot for them to help out their defensive front, either along the interior or on the edge, and Wilson is a high-upside prospect who is a perfect fit for what Seattle wants at the position.

6. Carolina Panthers (from LAR via DET)* | Kentucky QB Will Levis

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If the Lions don’t value the remaining quarterback prospects as potential successors to Jared Goff, don’t be surprised if they’re willing to move down here. The Panthers might be willing to jump ahead of the Raiders (giving up one of their two second-rounders) for the quarterback of their choice, and though he’s still got plenty of question marks, it won’t be surprising if Levis ends up being that next one off the board.

7. Las Vegas Raiders | Florida QB Anthony Richardson

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Derek Carr is obviously on his way out, but even if the Raiders bring in a veteran quarterback, spending this pick on a high-upside passer wouldn’t be a bad idea. Richardson may take some patience, but he’s got many of the same traits that eventually made Josh Allen a superstar.

8. Atlanta Falcons | Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy

(AP Photo/Stew Milne)

This is a great scenario for the Falcons, who need help along the entire defensive front, and have multiple options from the same program that could fill that need in different ways. We’ll have them go with the edge player in Murphy, giving them a complete defender who can anchor against the run as well as rush the passer.

9. Detroit Lions (from CAR)* | Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

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A fantastic situation for the Lions, who drop down a few spots, add another early pick, and still end up with the player they probably wouldn’t have taken at their original slot. Bresee is exactly the kind of disruptive force they need along the interior of the defensive line.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (from NO via PHI)* | TCU WR Quentin Johnston

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Eagles have some solid options here, but if they get a strong offer to move down, they could get better value at their biggest positions of need later in the round. The Jags, on the other hand, could deal a couple of Day 2 picks over multiple drafts to jump ahead of two division rivals who desperately need a true No. 1 receiver. Landing this year’s top pass-catcher, and giving him to Trevor Lawrence instead of having to play against him twice a year, would be well worth the extra picks.

11. Tennessee Titans | Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

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This offense desperately needs more weapons in the passing game, but with Johnston off the board, tackle is the more pressing need with the best value still available. Skoronski is as polished and pro-ready as any prospect in this class, and would be an immediate upgrade on the right side.

12. Houston Texans (from CLE) | Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.

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There are bigger needs elsewhere, but the value’s just not there at wide receiver in this scenario, nor along the defensive front. That leads Houston to the secondary, where they’ve already got two budding stars from last year’s draft (Jalen Pitre, Derek Stingley Jr.). Porter is a big, long corner who plays with the same competitiveness and physicality that made his dad a Pro Bowl defender.

13. New York Jets | Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh might be tempted to add more talent for his defense here, but the team’s biggest need is at offensive tackle, and Johnson is just too good a value to pass up here. He’s got experience at both tackle spots, as well as at guard, with a track record of success against top competition.

14. New England Patriots | Clemson LB Trenton Simpson

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

A weapon for the offense is possible here, but don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick takes the opportunity to grab one for his side of the ball. Simpson is one of the most athletic, versatile prospects in this draft, and would be a dangerous presence at every level of the field in New England.

15. Green Bay Packers | Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

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The defense could use some trench help or a safety, but the value’s just not there in this scenario. The same is true for the offensive line prospects left on the board here. That points them toward a pass-catcher, and Mayer has the complete skill set to be an immediate difference-maker on every down.

16. Washington Commanders | South Carolina CB Cam Smith

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

This secondary needs a true shutdown artist to take over the No. 1 corner spot, and this gives Washington the perfect chance to do just that. Smith is a stellar cover man with a knack for making big plays whenever the ball comes anywhere near him.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers | Georgia OT Broderick Jones

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Rebuilding this offensive line has to be the top priority for the Steelers in the offseason, and it has to start with finding a franchise left tackle. Jones has been stellar this season against top competition in the SEC, and would be a massive upgrade at a premium position to protect Kenny Pickett.

18. Detroit Lions | Alabama DB Brian Branch

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Detroit’s corner play on the outside has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, but they could still use a hybrid defender with the versatility to line up in the slot or at either safety spot. Branch is the perfect fit, having handled a similar role in Nick Saban’s defense with great success.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are both headed for free agency this offseason, and the Bucs don’t have much cap space to work with, which could leave them needing a new No. 2 corner to pair with Carlton Davis III. Ringo has had a roller-coaster season, but his physical tools and skill set would be a perfect fit in Todd Bowles’ defense.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (from SEA)* | USC WR Jordan Addison

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Patrick Mahomes worked wonders despite the absence of Tyreek Hill this year, but JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman are both set to hit free agency, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling has an $11 million cap hit next season. If Addison’s still on the board here, don’t be shocked if they deal their late second-rounder to jump ahead of multiple teams that would love to add his explosive, big-play skill set.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (from JAX)* | Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

After trading down 11 spots and adding a couple of extra picks, the Eagles are still able to fill one of their biggest needs, and get much better value in the process. Gonzalez is a big, athletic corner with length to burn and fantastic ball skills.

22. New York Giants | Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

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If there’s a worse receiver situation in the NFL right now, I’d love to see it. The Giants desperately need an infusion of talent here, and despite missing most of the 2022 season due to injury, Smith-Njigba’s 2021 tape was impressive enough to warrant first-round consideration.

23. Baltimore Ravens | Texas RB Bijan Robinson

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

If the Ravens are going to keep deploying such a run-heavy scheme on offense, they might need a new lead back if J.K. Dobbins isn’t able to return to form after multiple injuries. Robinson is a complete, three-down playmaker who could dominate opposing defenses that are focused on slowing down Lamar Jackson.

24. Los Angeles Chargers | Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Justin Herbert already has a pair of big, physical receivers who can win in contested-catch situations all day long (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams), but he could use one who can separate consistently. Hyatt’s breakout season was fueled by his explosive, big-play ability, which is exactly what this offense needs.

25. Dallas Cowboys | Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Trevon Diggs is obviously one of the best corners in the game right now, but the Cowboys need an upgrade on the other side of the field. Witherspoon has been one of the most dominant cover men in the country this season, and would be an immediate improvement opposite Diggs.

26. Cincinnati Bengals | Georgia TE Darnell Washington

Syndication: Online Athens

There are some needs on defense, but Cincy’s entire tight end room is basically headed for free agency. Even if Hayden Hurst returns, he’ll be 30 before next season, and was banged up for much of this season. A weapon with Washington’s rare combination of size and athleticism would be extremely dangerous in this offense.

27. Minnesota Vikings | SMU WR Rashee Rice

(AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Adam Thielen isn’t getting any younger, and the Vikings should find a younger understudy to eventually take over as Justin Jefferson’s running mate at receiver. Rice has the size/speed combo that would make him a perfect complement to Jefferson.

28. New Orleans Saints (from SF via MIA, DEN)* | Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

(Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

It sounds like Sean Payton will have his pick of many suitors this offseason, and if anyone can save Russell Wilson, he’s probably Denver’s best bet. In return for letting Payton out of his contract, the Saints get the opportunity to land a potential franchise quarterback with limitless upside, getting that all-important fifth-year option by not hoping Hooker falls to them in the second round.

29. Buffalo Bills | Florida OL O'Cyrus Torrence

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

This pick has to be something to help Josh Allen, whether that’s along the offensive line, or at wide receiver. There are plenty of pass-catching options to pick from, but a dominant interior lineman might be harder to find, so Torrence gets the nod to help protect Allen, and improve the ground game.

30. Seattle Seahawks (from KC)* | Utah CB Clark Phillips III

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

After moving back and adding an extra second-rounder, the Seahawks have some attractive options at multiple areas of need. They opt for the perfect slot corner in this scenario, filling a key role on the defense with a versatile, instinctive playmaker with a nose for the ball.

31. Philadelphia Eagles | Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

32. Pittsburgh Steelers (from CHI) | Baylor DL Siaki Ika

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

33. Houston Texans | Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey

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34. Arizona Cardinals | Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

35. Chicago Bears (from IND)* | LSU WR Kayshon Boutte

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

36. Los Angeles Rams | Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

37. Seattle Seahawks (from DEN) | Michigan DL Mazi Smith

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

38. Las Vegas Raiders | Oregon LB Noah Sewell

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

39. Carolina Panthers | Boston College WR Zay Flowers

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

40. New Orleans Saints | USC OL Andrew Vorhees

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

41. Tennessee Titans | North Carolina WR Josh Downs

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

42. Cleveland Browns | Army EDGE Andre Carter II

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

43. New York Jets | Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

44. Atlanta Falcons | Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

45. Green Bay Packers | Alabama S Jordan Battle

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

46. New England Patriots | Ohio State OT Dawand Jones

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47. Washington Commanders | Tennessee OT Darnell Wright

Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

48. Detroit Lions | Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Kansas State CB Julius Brents

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

51. Philadelphia Eagles (from JAX)* | Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

52. Miami Dolphins | Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave

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53. Seattle Seahawks | Ohio State OL Luke Wypler

(Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images)

54. New York Giants | Arkansas LB Drew Sanders

(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

55. Chicago Bears (from BAL) | Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

56. Los Angeles Chargers | BYU OT Blake Freeland

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

57. Dallas Cowboys | USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

58. Cincinnati Bengals | Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

59. Detroit Lions (from MIN) | South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft

Syndication: Argus Leader

60. Detroit Lions (from SF via CAR)* | Texas A&M RB Devon Achane

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

61. Buffalo Bills | Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

62. Seattle Seahawks (from KC)* | Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims Jr.

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

63. Philadelphia Eagles | Florida DL Gervon Dexter Sr.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire