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NFL mock draft 2023: Four QBs in Round 1, Chicago Bears hold No. 1 pick

Matt Johnson
NFL mock draft 2023, 2023 NFL Draft
Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NFL Draft is months away with teams focused on the upcoming regular season. However, scouts and executives are going around the country to look at the top 2023 draft prospects because this class has a lot to offer.

Following a 2022 quarterback class that lacked franchise-caliber talent, that’s not a problem with Ohio State star CJ Stroud and Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young headlining Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL mock draft.

For those teams seeking potential stars on the defensive side, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. and Georgia defensive lineman are both better than their elders from the 2022 draft class. Of course, there are also explosive playmakers available, too.

The NFL draft order for our 2023 NFL mock draft is based on our NFL predictions 2022.

When is the 2023 NFL Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27 and conclude on Saturday, April 29. It will all be held in Kansas City, Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium.

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

Let’s dive into our 2023 NFL mock draft.

1. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News
Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

If the Chicago Bears land the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there will be discussions about taking a quarterback. Here’s the thing, Justin Fields isn’t the problem. This is a roster devoid of talent, it needs help pretty much everywhere. Will Anderson Jr. is the best NFL prospect in 2023. He generated 60 pressures as a freshman in 2020 and 81 pressures last year. There wasn’t any debate with the No. 1 pick in our NFL mock draft.

Related: Heisman Watch 2022

2. Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Atlanta Falcons will allow quarterback Desmond Ridder to prove he can be the long-term solution. However, one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and a thin roster are ingredients to finish near the bottom of the 2022 NFL standings. If that happens, Atlanta can’t make the same mistake twice when there’s an opportunity to take the star Ohio State signal-caller.

Related: NFL games today – 2022 NFL schedule

3. Seattle Seahawks: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama
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Bryce Young is the top quarterback in most 2023 NFL mock drafts. There’s no denying the talent as the Alabama passer boasts arm strength that is off the charts and NFL evaluators rave about his maturity, football IQ and ability to make plays on the move. However, he is only 6-foot with a favorable measurement and will be a factor some teams consider. It’s certainly not a problem for the Seattle Seahawks, though, who are essentially tanking for this very outcome.

4. Houston Texans: Jalen Carter, iDL, Georgia

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Georgia
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If Young and Stroud are off the board, the Houston Texans will shift their focus to picking the best player available. The 6-foot-3 and 300-pound defensive tackle is a wrecking ball inside, responsible for an absurd 12.9% pressure rate (PFF) on 264 pass-rushing snaps in 2021. He is arguably the second-best player in the 2023 NFL Draft class and the Patriots 2.0 will love his impact on the inside.

Related: Houston Texans schedule

5. New York Giants: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Louisiana State
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The LSU football factory is back to producing premium receiving talent. Clocked at a 4.37 40yard dash in high school, the 20-year-old flashed tantalizing potential this past season at LSU. With the Tigers’ offense expected to take a step forward, Boutte is in a fantastic position to be the first receiver off the board in our NFL mock draft. As for the New York Giants’ situation at quarterback, there are other ways to address it.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Even in a 1,600-yard season, the 347-yard performance against Utah in the Rose Bowl served as the breakout party for Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He now steps in as Stroud’s go-to weapon in one of the best offenses in college football. If he lives up to expectations, Smith-Njigba is the No. 1 receiver that quarterback Trevor Lawrence desperately needs and they would transform the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense in 2023.

7. New York Jets: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

NCAA Football: Clemson at Louisville
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If Robert Saleh remains the New York Jets head coach in 2023, the team must keep reshaping its defense. Carl Lawson will be entering a contract year and there is no standout edge rusher who New York should view a long-term piece on its current roster. Enter Myles Murphy, who erupted last season for 10 quarterback hits and eight sacks in 10 games.

Related: New York Jets schedule

8. Washington Commanders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Syndication: The Courier-Journal
By Pat McDonogh / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Washington Commanders find themselves holding a top-10 pick in our latest 2023 NFL mock draft. If this situation unfolds in reality, the Carson Wentz experiment should end after a year. Quarterback Will Levis checks off the prototype boxes for signal-callers today, with the size, arm strength and the ability to operate in a pro-style offense. If he builds upon his success in 2021, this is the ideal NFL-ready starter for Washington to plug in.

9. Detroit Lions: Bryan Bresee, iDL, Clemson

Syndication: The Greenville News
Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

After witnessing the top three quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft come off the board, the Detroit Lions pivot and remain true to their identity. Aidan Hutchinson needs help on the defensive and Bryan Bresee is the man who can help. The No. 1 recruit in 2020, Bresee showed all the traits of a game wrecker who will make life easier for those around him. It would leave opponents with two options, either they go one-on-one with Bresee or Hutchinson.

10. New England Patriots: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
RobertScheer / USA TODAY NETWORK

A key player for one of the best defenses in college football history in 2021, Kelee Ringo is now poised to be a centerpiece of the Georgia Bulldogs unit. He is the best cornerback in the country with skills that translate perfectly to the NFL. Considering the alarming long-term worries at corner for the New England Patriots, this is an ideal fit.

Related: New England Patriots schedule

11. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

We’re certainly not expecting Baker Mayfield to become the solution for the Carolina Panthers’ problems. However, this front office proved it wouldn’t reach for a quarterback in 2022. Instead, it adds the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner to serve as the complement to D.J. Moore. Pair that receiving trio with Christian McCaffrey, this will be the dream landing spot for a star NFL quarterback wanting to be traded.

Related: NFL defense rankings

12. Pittsburgh Steelers: Peter Skoronski OT, Northwestern

The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have their quarterback of the future in Kenny Pickett, now they must protect him. One of the most effective blockers in college football each of the last two seasons, Peter Skoronski comes from a great football program and will be instantly prepared to start at left tackle for the Steelers in 2023.

Related: NFL stadium rankings

13. Houston Texans (via CLE): Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Michael Mayer is a tier below Kyle Pitts, but we’re still talking about one of the best tight end prospects in years. Look at how Houston is building its team and you can identify many similarities to The Patriot Way. Mayer seems like he’d be a favorite of the Texans’ front office and he could be a great weapon for Davis Mills.

14. Tennessee Titans: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

The Tennessee Titans have to know that Taylor Lewan probably won’t be starting at left tackle in 2023. It creates a massive vacancy, especially for a team that seems to be setting the stage for quarterback Malik Willis to take over in 2024 at the latest. Paris Johnson Jr. offers all the building blocks to create a great left tackle and a dominant season with the Buckeyes could push him up even higher in NFL mock drafts.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Georgia at Michigan
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Nolan Smith is the player everyone is watching closely to see if his off-the-charts athleticism turns into production this season. The No. 1 overall recruit in 2019, Georgia is clearly excited about its young edge rusher and there is an opportunity for him to break out in 2022. If he does, the Eagles might not even have a shot at landing him.

16. Arizona Cardinals: Jacquelin Roy, iDL, LSU

The Arizona Cardinals need some beef on the interior defensive line, enter LSU’s 6-foot-4 defensive tackle. Jacquelin Roy quickly made a name for himself last year and he is only getting stronger with better technique. If the Cardinals win to win in the trenches more, Roy will help accomplish that in 2023 and beyond.

Related: Arizona Cardinals schedule

17. Miami Dolphins – FORFEITED

18. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama

The Seattle Seahawks keep building a core in our 2023 NFL mock draft, snagging one of the best defensive backs in the class. Eli Ricks fits the physical style that we’ve seen from Pete Carroll-coached defenses in the past and he could form an exciting tandem with Coby Bryant in the years ahead.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons will both be on the Dallas Cowboys roster in 2023, but the front office needs to think about the future. Lawrence is on the wrong side of 30 with an injury history and Parsons is utilized in a variety of roles. Isaiah Foskey is an ascending pass rusher who could play a situational role next year and then take Lawrence’s spot in 2024.

Related: Dallas Cowboys schedule

20. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland

It’s certainly possible that Bernhard Raimann becomes a dependable left tackle given with proper time, but there’s also a lot that can go wrong and the history of third-round picks is shaky. if the Indianapolis Colts don’t feel great about this situation heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, there are better options. Jaelyn Duncan out of Maryland offers upside that easily surpasses Raimann and he’s a more pro-ready player even now.

21. Las Vegas Raiders: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah
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The top offensive linemen and cornerbacks are off the board, so the Las Vegas Raiders take things in another direction. This is a 260-pound linebacker who clocked a max speed at 20.85 mph and is a member of Bruce Feldman’s College Football Freaks List. While the tenacity and athleticism are slightly diminished by mental mistakes, Sewell’s skills and his impact at a position of need should be too much for Las Vegas to pass on.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule

22. Minnesota Vikings: Quentin Johnson, WR, TCU

Speaking of freak athletes in college football, meet the 6-foot-4 wide receiver with a 42-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot broad jump. The Minnesota Vikings know Adam Thielen is nearing the end of his effective years and they need someone to replace him. Quentin Johnson dominates college and he’ll do even more at the next level because of the superior quarterback play.

23. Cincinnati Bengals: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Credit to the Cincinnati Bengals for quickly building a very respectable defense. One of the primary weaknesses on it right now is off-ball linebacker, that’s where Trenton Simpson could come into play next year. He is a do-everything piece, equally effective as a blitzer as he is making plays in coverage.

24. Philadelphia Eagles: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles to make a playoff run this season, it should be enough to buy quarterback Jalen Hurts another year. Looking back on the defensive side, James Bradberry is only playing on a one-year contract and that creates a potential need. One of college football’s breakout stars in 2021, Cam Smith (nine pass breakups, three interceptions), will cement his status as a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft if he replaces his playmaking or shutdown coverage skills this fall.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

NCAA Football: Texas at Iowa State
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The best running back in college football lands in the offense that could be the most frightening to the NFL. Bijan Robinson is an all-purpose back, just as comfortable making plays out of the backfield as he is running through small running lanes and creating big plays. Throw him into an offense with Lamar Jackson and we could witness one of the most explosive rushing attacks in recent NFL history.

26. Detroit Lions (via LAR): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

A fourth quarterback comes off the board in our first NFL mock draft before Week 1. Anthony Richardson is a pure upside play for Detroit. He lacks any meaningful experience as a starting quarterback in the SEC, but the highlights he produced and his physical tools could make him a top-10 pick. He’ll need to show a lot more to move up, but the Lions would be the perfect landing spot.

27. Miami Dolphins (via SF): Felix Andudike-Ezomah, EDGE, Kansas State

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

29. Green Bay Packers: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

30. Los Angeles Chargers: Henry To’o To’o, LB, Alabama

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

32. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Vorhees, iOL, USC

Let us know what you think of our 2023 NFL mock draft

2023 NFL mock draft – Players to watch this fall

  • Devin Leary, QB, NC State
  • Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
  • Keytaon Thompson, WR, Virginia
  • Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
  • Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
  • Jordan McFadden, OT, Clemson
  • Brandon Joseph, DB, Notre Dame
  • Sam Smith, CB, South Carolina
  • Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

2023 NFL Draft – Top quarterbacks

  1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
  4. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
  5. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
  6. Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College
  7. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
  8. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
  9. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
  10. Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
  11. Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State
  12. Kedon Slovis, QB, Pittsburgh

2023 NFL Draft running back rankings

  1. Bijan Robinson, Texas
  2. Zach Evans, Ole Miss
  3. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
  4. Blake Corum, Michigan
  5. Tank Bigsby, Auburn