2023 NFL Mock Draft: Four QBs go in Top 10, Eagles future-proof roster

Mock Draft: QB run lets Howie play to Eagles' strengths originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The NFL Combine came and went, and now we're sitting here with piles of 40-yard dash times and wingspan measurements. A few of the numbers were surprises; a lot of them are redundant.

What matters now is marrying the data with the film and figuring out which of these players will become true impact pieces at the pro level before the 2023 NFL Draft begins in late April.

I have a feeling there will be a run on quarterbacks early, for better or worse, and the Eagles will have pretty strong options at No. 10. Does Howie Roseman plug a hole? Does he go best player available? Does he stick to his philosophies?

Let's see!

1. Colts (via CHI): QB Bryce Young, Alabama

We start with a trade. Indianapolis moves up to secure a young franchise quarterback, pairing Bryce Young with head coach Shane Steichen as the faces of the organization for the forseeable future. Young is short, which has some teams worried, but he can flat-out play and this is a gamble worth taking. Young completed 65% of his passes, averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, and threw 79 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in two years as a starter.

2. Texans: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

Young is a reasonable gamble. THIS is a big one. Richardson has the highest ceiling of the QBs in this year's class, but he also has the most to prove. Richardson completed just 53.8% of his passes last year with Florida and threw just 17 touchdowns, but he ran 103 times for 654 yards and nine TDs and he stands 6-foot-4, weighs 244 pounds, and set records at the NFL Combine. It's a Josh Allen-sized bet on athleticism and potential for Houston.

3. Cardinals: OLB Will Anderson, Alabama

The first non-QB heads West to join Jonathan Gannon's defense as its bright future star. Anderson was a production monster in three years with the Tide, racking up 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss in 41 games. Barring something unexpected, this will be your Defensive Rookie of the Year.

4. Bears (via IND): DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

There's a chance for Carter to slide if his legal issues hang over his draft stock into late April, but for right now Carter is too good of a prospect to think he drops - this is the NFL, a league full of teams ready to turn the other way for a great player. Carter is a potential game-wrecker with insane athleticism and size.

5. Seahawks: EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

The Seahawks continue to add pieces to a defense keen on regaining its former reputation as a juggernaut. Wilson turned it on in his final two seasons in college, tallying 27.5 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks in 23 games with Texas Tech. He's long and athletic, a deadly combination as an edge rusher.

6. Panthers (via DET): QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Another trade! Carolina moves up and swaps spots with the Lions to jump ahead of the Raiders, nabbing C.J. Stroud as their QB of the future. I like Stroud's combination of polish and potential. He completed nearly 70% of his passes in two years as a starter, has good size and ball placement, and gets to work with new head coach Frank Reich. At long last, some stability at QB in Carolina.

7. Raiders: QB Will Levis, Kentucky

Las Vegas joins the quarterback game, grabbing Will Levis to replace Derek Carr. Levis is the QB I'm sold on the least in terms of the first-round options, but NFL teams like a 6-foot-3 pocket passer. His TD-to-INT ratio at Kentucky (43 TD, 23 INT) is concerning, and I'll need to see more than just a strong arm before I believe he can legitimately play at the next level.

8. Falcons: EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson

The Falcons had the second-fewest sacks in the NFL last season and Myles Murphy tallied 18.5 sacks and 36.0 tackles for loss in 35 games with the Tigers. It's a no-brainer selection for an Atlanta team fully in rebuild mode.

9. Lions (via CAR): CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

The Lions need to upgrade their CB2 position after an underwhelming season from Jerry Jacobs, so they opt to take a speedy cornerback in Christian Gonzalez. Gonzalez brings size (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and proudction (four interceptions in 2022) to Dan Campbell's defense. Detroit is a playoff team next year.

10. Eagles: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

I know the conventional wisdom says the Eagles take Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon here. James Bradberry is gone, Darius Slay is old, and they need to figure out the future of the CB position. But I don't think Howie Roseman is going corner with the Birds' first pick this year. I just don't.

It's not his style, and it's not the Eagles' style. The Eagles haven't taken a CB in the first round since Lito Sheppard in 2002. Since that pick they've used 12 first-round picks on players along the offensive or defensive line. It's an organizational philosophy that has led to numerous franchise greats, and I don't see Roseman changing his tune.

I think Isaac Seumalo might leave in free agency. Jason Kelce turns 36 next year, and I think he'll come back for 2023 but I'm not sure about the following season. Lane Johnson turns 33 before Week 1 and has said on the record that he only wants to play a couple more years.

The offensive line is so central to what the Eagles do, both institutionally and in this offense in particular. The Eagles must be able to run the ball and they must give Jalen Hurts sufficient time to work his magic. If the front office is thinking not just about 2023 but about the next eight years, Paris Johnson Jr. is the pick.

Johnson is the best tackle in this year's class, a behemoth at 6-foot-6, 313 pounds. He was first-team All-Big Ten and second-team AP All-American last year with the Buckeyes, playing his first season at left tackle after spending the previous year at right guard. He has versatility, always a plus along the Eagles' line, and allowing Johnson to work with Jeff Stoutland could turn the Ohio native into a star.

The Eagles have shown in recent years that they're not afraid to pick players who won't be immediate starters, and Johnson might not have a regular role in 2023. But he would immediately bolster the OL room depth, and would be able to learn from the best in the business in Lane Johnson.

It's a long-term pick, and one that could pay dividends for the Eagles for the next decade.

11. Titans: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

This pick would've been Northwestern's Peter Skoronski pre-Combine, but his Combine measurements highlighted a short wingspan and I have a feeling teams will shy away from a tackle with short arms. Instead the Titans pivot to Broderick Jones, a mountain of a man (6-foot-5, 311 pounds) who impressed with speed and mobility at the Combine.

12. Texans: EDGE Luke Van Ness, Iowa

Hawkeyes edge rusher had a fantastic showing at the Combine, displaying a dynamic mixture of athleticism and strength that'll have teams ready to take him in the Top 15. A 6-foot-5 stud, he didn't have insane output at Iowa - just 13.0 sacks in 26 career games - but he could take off in the right system. The Texans were middle of the pack last year in sacks and need good foundational pieces as DeMeco Ryans rebuilds that team. This is a good start.

13. Jets: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee

This little O-line run continues as the Jets look for a real answer at either tackle position. The quarterback question lingers, but regardless they'll want clean pockets to get the ball to Garrett Wilson and big lanes to make way for Breece Hall. Wright flashed at the Combine, stands 6-foot-6, and will be a valuable piece as the Jets look to make a playoff push.

14. Patriots: DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson

I could see Bresee going anywhere from 10 to 30 in the first round, but I think Bill Belichick jumps at the chance to take a versatile, athletic defensive lineman and plug him into the Patriots' defense. The main concern is his unfortunately deep injury history, but if the New England docs give him a clean bill of health I think he's off the board and headed to the AFC East.

15. Packers: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

Hey, look: a weapon! I think Aaron Rodgers is returning to Green Bay, and this pick will be an olive branch to the aging quarterback after saddling him with an underwhelming WR room last year. Flowers is a fascinating and dynamic wide receiver, a player with a very high ceiling. He caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior year at BC. Flowers and Christian Watson are a pretty nice WR1 + WR2 combo.

16. Commanders: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

The rumored Eagles darling lands in the NFC East, setting up plenty of "should of taken!1!" regret for Eagles fans if Witherspoon turns into the player I think he can. He's a physical, downhill cornerback who loves to make a big hit and has a combination of springiness and body control that makes him impressive on the outside. Witherspoon nabbed three interceptions in his senior year and will likely be a Day 1 starter.

17. Steelers: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Joey Porter's kid winding up in Pittsburgh is almost too perfect - except the Steelers need cornerback help, so it makes sense. Porter only tallied one interception in four years at Penn State, but he brings the size and skillset that projects to an impact player in the NFL.

18. Lions: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

After shipping out T.J. Hockenson before last year's trade deadline, the Lions use their second first-round pick to double down on the "surround Jared Goff with talent" experiment. It's a worthwhile approach that worked last season, and Kincaid could be a real weapon in the NFL. He caught 106 passes for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns over his two seasons as a starter at Utah. Remember this name.

19. Buccaneers: S Brian Branch, Alabama

Branch can play corner or safety, but many experts see him winding up at the backend of the defense. Mike Edwards is eminently replaceable in the Bucs' secondary, and Branch brings speed, agility, and a knack for finding the ball and the ball carrier. His third year at Alabama was a doozy: 90 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two inteceptions, and seven passes defended. He does it all.

20. Seahawks: EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

The Seahawks won't be able to keep both Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu after this season, so they try to future-proof the pass rush here. Smith is a physical player on the edge, and he's also regarded as a culture guy who can lead a locker room. Sound like a guy Pete Carroll would like to have on his team?

21. Dolphins: Forfeited


22. Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

The Chargers have Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Gerald Everett. But they need a true speed demon to take the top off opposing defenses, and that's where Quentin Johnson comes in. He has the wheels, he has the size, and he had the production at TCU (60 catches, 1,069 yards, 6 TD in 2022) to take this Chargers offense to the next level with Kellen Moore as OC.

23. Ravens: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

With or without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens desperately need help at wide receiver. A WR room of Demarcus Robinson, Devin Duverynay, Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, and DeSean Jackson? What are we doing here? If Jackson's back, Smith-Njigba immediately opens up the offense in a way that should put the Ravens back in the postseason. His only full season at Ohio State was insane: 95 catches, 1,606 yards, 9 TDs. C'mon now.

24. Vikings: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia

Patrick Peterson is a free agent and Minnesota likely wants to turn to the future for CB2 across from Duke Shelley, so they opt for the big, impressive Ringo who nabbed four interceptions in two years as a starter with Georgia and who will certainly start in Week 1.

25. Jaguars: WR Jordan Addison, USC

The Jaguars want Trevor Lawrence to take the next step in 2023, and giving him more help on the outside is the perfect way to do it. With Marvin Jones likely gone and Calvin Ridley back, a wide receiver room of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Ridley, and Addison would be a real-deal situation for Jacksonville. Doug Pederson could draw up some truly nasty stuff with those weapons.

26. Giants: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

Remember when the Giants led James Bradberry walk? That didn't work, huh? Big Blue made a big leap last year but they need more help, including at corner where Fabian Moreau isn't cutting it as CB2. Smith was productive in his three years as a starter at South Carolina, and has the size and length to defend NFL wideouts.

27. Cowboys: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Leighton Vander Esch is either playing elsewhere next season or getting paid by Big D, and with Jerry Jones throwing north of $25 million at the running back position I don't see how he can afford to bring Vander Esch back - especially with the talented LB's wild injury history. So the Cowboys opt to replace him instead, with a big and physical linebacker in Sanders who had 9.5 sacks in his third year with the Razorbacks.

28. Bills: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

The Bills don't have a ton of holes, but their backfield has been disappointing for a little while now and if they want to go supersonic against the likes of Kansas City and Cincinnati, it's time to go crazy and load up at running back. Bijan Robinson is far and away the best RB in this class and he would make Buffalo everyone's new favorite Madden choice. They could score 35 points a game.

29. Bengals: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

With Hayden Hurst on his way out and the rest of the roster in pretty good shape, the Bengals opt for another alliterative tight end. Mayer brings size (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) and production (180 catches, 2,099 yards, 18 TD in three years in South Bend) and will help Cincy keep pace atop the AFC.

30. Saints: DL Keion White, Georgia Tech

White isn't as big as the top-of-the-table prospects like Tyree Wilson or Myles Murphy, nor as productive, but he's a relatively raw prospect with absurd athletic traits who could be molded into a deadly weapon on the edge with the right coaching. The Saints take a swing here and try to make their pass rush even more menacing.

31. Eagles: DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

This would be a dream scenario for Howie Roseman: the Eagles draft their right tackle of the future at No. 10, then add a game-wrecking defensive lineman at No. 31. They invest in both sides of the line of scrimmage and bet hard on the organizational philosophy.

Kancey had a great week at the Combine, running the fastest defensive tackle 40-yard dash in 20 years. He's undersized at 6-foot-1, but he showed his mobility and his athleticism in Indianapolis and there's plenty of reason to believe Kancey can be disruptive up the middle.

I'd be surprised if Javon Hargrave returns, despite Roseman's penchant for interior defensive linemen. The price tag will likely be too high, and Roseman has a quarterback to budget for. Luckily this draft is loaded with defensive line talent. If Kancey is around at No. 31, this is a no-brainer.

In his last 23 games for Pitt, Kancey put up 27.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and 64 total tackles. He has my attention. Roseman is no stranger to Pitt football: he personally scouted Kenny Pickett live in 2021 and likely saw Kancey producing as well.

Bolster the line for Sean Desai and let him go to work.

32. Chiefs: OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

It's the age-old story: the Chiefs want to keep Patrick Mahomes clean, but he keeps getting hurt in the postseason. The offensive line was better last year and the dude's play style sort of lends itself to danger, but investing in offensive linemen is always a good call for Kansas City. Harrison is big, long, and fluid and projects as a legit tackle with room to grow.