Analysis

2023 NFL Mock Draft 2.2: Colts Trade Up for No. 1 Pick, Will Levis

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs wrapped up Sunday, and that means the first 28 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft are officially set. The biggest mover was the Bills as their loss to the Bengals now has them picking 28th instead of 30th.

And the movement doesn’t end there. This mock draft projects a handful of trades, primarily as teams pursue quarterbacks.

Led by T.J. McCreight, The 33rd Team Scouting Department has been hard at work evaluating the top prospects in this class. A former player personnel executive for the Philadelphia Eagles and former director of college scouting for the Indianapolis Colts, McCreight has nearly 25 years of NFL scouting experience.

He is joined in the department by three scouts:

  • Kevin Cohn, a former scouting assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars and assistant director of player personnel for the University of Connecticut.
  • Justin Casey, who worked for the Arizona Cardinals in football administration and then as the senior player personnel executive for the Montreal Alouettes.
  • Evan Pritt, a former scouting assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles and former player personnel assistant for the University of Maryland.

Notes:

  • The draft order for picks 1-28 are set but picks 29-32 will be determined by what happens in the remaining playoffs.
  • This year’s first round only has 31 picks because the Miami Dolphins forfeited their selection for tampering with Tom Brady.

33rd Team 2023 Mock Draft 2.2

Projected Trade

Indianapolis Receives: 1-1, 4-102

Chicago Receives: 1-4, 2-35, 3-79, 2024 1st

1. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky (Projected Trade with Chicago)

The Colts’ gambles on expensive veteran signal callers has not panned out the past few years, so they go all-in to get their pick of the lot this year. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Levis might be a controversial choice, but he possesses the physical tools and intangibles to grow through the adversity that all young QBs must face.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Texans watch the Colts move ahead of them, but they get the guy they liked all along. There will be lots of questions about Young’s build (6-foot, 194 pounds), but he has rare presence and instincts for the position. His production during the past two seasons – 79 touchdowns vs. just 12 interceptions and 8,200 yards – is eye-popping.

Projected Trade

Las Vegas Receives: 1-3, 3-96, 5-167

Arizona Receives: 1-7, 2-38, 3-70, 4-108

3. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (Projected Trade with Arizona)

When the Raiders are unable to sign Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, they are forced into an aggressive move to get one of the top three QBs in this class. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Stroud needs to speed up his processing, but he has a lot of NFL traits and an NFL-quality arm.

4. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama (Projected Trade with Indianapolis) 

 Anderson starts from Day 1 and immediately improves their ability to get after the quarterback. He had 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for a loss in three seasons. The Bears turn the No. 1 pick and their fourth-round selection into the top player on their board (Will Anderson), the 35th and 79th picks in this draft and an additional first-round pick in 2024. 

>> Joe Banner: Bears Should Pick Difference-Making QB

5. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver): Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

The Seahawks never planned on taking a QB here with Geno Smith back for a couple more years. They need playmakers on defense, and Carter is as disruptive as they come. He is the No. 1-rated defensive player on our board.

 

6. Detroit Lions (From LA Rams): Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech

The Lions offense proved itself this year, but there are plenty of holes on defense. One could argue corrner is a greater need, but Wilson is graded higher than any of the corners at this pick. He has the ability to rush off the edge (14 sacks, 27.5 tackles for a loss in the past two seasons) as well as kick inside on clear passing downs.

 

7. Arizona Cardinals: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson (Projected Trade with Las Vegas)

The Cardinals have a new GM in Monti Ossenfort, and he makes a big move out of No. 3 to acquire picks and fill the many holes Arizona has on defense. The Cardinals’ leading edge rusher last season had just three sacks. Murphy, who had 14.5 the past two seasons, has the potential to double that as a rookie.

 

8. Atlanta Falcons: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Kaleb McGary is a free agent at right tackle, so the Falcons select Jones, who is athletic and plays with an edge to his game. He should fit in with the style that they are developing on offense.

Projected Trade

New York Jets Receive: 1-9

Carolina Receives: 1-13, 3-74

9. New York Jets: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State (Projected Trade with Carolina)

After acquiring a veteran quarterback in free agency, the Jets give up No. 13 plus their third (No. 74) to pick up the most athletic blind-side pass protector in the draft. The rest of their roster is ready to compete for a playoff spot if they can get competent play at LT and QB.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (From New Orleans): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The Eagles may lose James Bradberry in free agency, and Darius Slay is 32 years old. The 6-foot-2 Porter is the most physically gifted corner in this class. If he checks some boxes during the pre-draft process, he has top-10 type of ability.

11. Tennessee Titans: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

It’s taking two first-round picks to replace A.J. Brown: Treylon Burks last year and now Johnston. He has big-play ability, is 6-foot-4, and plays the game with a physical edge.

12. Houston Texans (From Cleveland): Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Addison, who had 25 touchdown receptions the past two seasons, is a polished route runner who should pair nicely with Bryce Young. They should be able to quickly get on the same page.

13. Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida (Projected Trade with New York Jets)

Carolina moves down four spots and gets the most physically gifted QB while acquiring and an additional third-round pick. The 6-foot-4, 236-pound Richardson may be extremely raw, but the Panthers could do some things with him in the run game while he develops as a passer.

14. New England Patriots: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

New England had some issues at both tackle spots this season. There are some questions about the 6-foot-4 Skoronski’s length and his ability to play outside, but he is a good football player whose smarts and play style should be a good fit with the Patriots.

15. Green Bay Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Robert Tonyan is a free agent and Marcedes Lewis will be 39 when the season starts. Whether it is Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love, Mayer would be a reliable target, which is something they did not have this year. He had 16 touchdown receptions the past two seasons.

16. Washington Commanders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Witherspoon is an instinctive, hard-nosed corner who should fit right in on their defense.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Robert Spillane and Devin Bush are slated to be free agents. When you think of great Steelers defenses, they always have featured playmaking inside linebackers. Simpson has the skills to make plays all over the field.

18. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Detroit has to solidify its defense. The 6-foot-2 Gonzalez has the length and athleticism that the NFL covets, and he has consistently improved throughout his career.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Byron Young, Edge, Tennessee

Tampa Bay missed the edge-rush presence of Shaq Barrett in the second half of the the season. Young is raw but dripping with explosiveness.

Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo

20. Seattle Seahawks: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Seattle had a loaded draft last season and got a steal with Tariq Woolen in the fifth round. This season, they begin the draft with two blue chippers from the two-time defending FBS Champs.

21. Miami Dolphins: Forfeited

The Miami Dolphins forfeit their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

22. Los Angeles Chargers: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

GM Tom Telesco said this week that they needed to get faster at WR. There is no one with more explosive game speed in this draft than Hyatt, who averaged almost 19 yards per catch and scored 15 touchdowns.

23. Baltimore Ravens: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

J.K. Dobbins is a nice player but Robinson, who piled up 3,316 scrimmage yards and 35 total TDs in 2021-22, is just flat out better. If not for the positional value, he has top-5 type ability and tape.

24. Minnesota Vikings: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Miss. St.

Minnesota needs help in the secondary to improve its 31st-ranked passing defense. Forbes will bring a swagger and big-play ability (six interceptions returned for TDs in three college seasons) to that group.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Branch, CB/S, Alabama

Teams in the AFC need to have a stable of coverage players to counter the depth of quality quarterback play littered throughout the conference. Branch is a versatile chess piece who plays with outstanding instincts and toughness.

26. New York Giants: Rashee Rice, WR, SMU

Credit to Brian Daboll and his staff for piecing together production at the receiver position this season, but they need to add more consistent playmaking ability on the outside. Rice has the ability to stretch the field as well as pick up chunk plays after the catch. He would immediately be an upgrade in the Giants’ receiver room.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

The Cowboys are going to have some interesting decisions with Tony Pollard, Zeke Elliott and Dalton Schultz. If they do elect to keep Pollard, adding a playmaking mismatch TE might be the best way to support their franchise quarterback.

28. Buffalo Bills: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

The Bills should be looking for safety help this offseason with Jordan Poyer set to be a free agent and Micah Hyde nearing his mid-30s after missing the majority of this past year with a neck injury. Johnson is an excellent athlete with man coverage skills to match up with the best tight ends in the game. 

29. Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Eli Apple has been inconsistent and Chidobe Awuzie missed this season with an ACL injury—both are scheduled to be free agents. Cam Smith has an elite skill set and knows what it’s like to face elite athletes on a game to game basis.

Projected Trade

New Orleans Receives: 1-30

Denver Receives: Sean Payton

30. New Orleans Saints (From San Francisco): Andre Carter III, Edge, Army (Projected Trade with Denver)

New Orleans jumps back into the first round by trading the rights to Sean Payton to the Broncos (pick from Bradley Chubb trade). Cam Jordan will be 34 next season and Marcus Davenport is a free agent. The Saints have a specific body type that they like in their edge players, and Carter fits that mold perfectly.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Jones is a massive human with vice grips for hands. He is very similar to Orlando Brown Jr. He could either step into his spot if they are unable to re-sign him or start on the right side.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson

The Eagles have age and free agency questions in the interior of their defensive line. Bresee was in consideration for their first selection in this mock draft, and things continue to fall into place for them, landing the talented lineman with the last pick of the first round.

 

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