The NFL regular season is officially behind us, which means the first 18 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft are set. The Bears own the first overall pick after the Texans surprised everyone with a 32-31 victory over the Colts in Week 18. With slightly more than half of the field in place, let’s take a look at what the first round could look like in April.
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.
- The draft order for picks 1-18 is set but picks 19-32 will be determined by what happens in the playoffs.
- Asterisk denotes underclassmen who have yet to declare their intentions to enter the draft early.
- This year’s first round only has 31 picks because the Miami Dolphins forfeited their selection for tampering with Tom Brady.
The 33rd Team 2023 Mock Draft 2.0
1. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
If a team covets one of the top quarterbacks, there is a good chance the Bears will trade out of this spot. However, if they make this selection, they need to get a playmaker on defense who can get to the quarterback. Even though Anderson’s statistics were down this season after having 17.5 sacks and 31 tackles for a loss as a sophomore in 2021, he is a legitimate top-tier playmaker who still produced 10 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss in 2022.
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The Texans lost the No. 1 pick with their overtime victory on Sunday, but with the Bears taking Anderson, Houston lucks into still having their pick of this QB class. Young, who followed up his 2021 Heisman Trophy-winning season with 3,328 passing yards and a 32-5 TD-interception ratio as a junior in ’22, is their guy.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
With a new general manager and head coach coming soon, the new regime picks a player with the ability to be a game wrecker up front for the Cardinals. A consensus All-American, the junior has seven tackles for a loss and three sacks through 12 games.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
The Colts moved up one spot because of their Week 18 loss, and they might consider moving all the way up to the top spot to secure their QB of the future. But with no trades in this mock draft, the Colts sit at four to select Will Levis, who could be a good fit in Indy. He passed for more than 5,200 yards the past two seasons after transferring from Penn State. His yards per attempt increased to 8.5 this season. He has 33 TD passes but 23 interceptions at Kentucky.
5. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver): Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
Seattle had an outstanding draft haul in 2022 (landing running back Kenneth Walker, cornerback Tariq Woolen and bookend offensive tackles among others). They look to continue that this year by adding the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Wilson, a versatile edge rusher who put up a combined 14 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss during the past two seasons.
6. Detroit Lions (From LA Rams): Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson
The Rams won the Super Bowl last season, but the Matthew Stafford trade is starting to tilt in Detroit’s favor. Bresee, a 6-5, 300-pound junior, should help improve the Lions’ 29th-ranked rush defense.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Derek Carr is on his way out, and the Raiders might have their eye on a former big-name New England Patriots QB. If they can’t make that happen, Stroud has the tools for coach Josh McDaniels to develop. The junior passed for more than 8,100 yards and had an 85-12 TD-interception ratio during the past two seasons.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
Atlanta registered just 21 sacks this season, ranking 31st in the league. The 6-foot-5 Murphy is a twitchy edge rusher who should be a good fit in Atlanta’s scheme and allow the Falcons to climb those ranks next season. The junior was consistently productive for the Tigers, amassing more than 10 tackles for a loss every season in college and registering 14.5 sacks combined the past two seasons.
9. Carolina Panthers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Christian McCaffery finished the season as Carolina’s fourth-leading receiver, and he only played in six games before being traded. The 6-foot-4 Johnston is the most physically talented WR in this class with the ability to turn any play into a big gain. His yards per catch during his three college seasons? 22.1, 19.2 and 18.1.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (From New Orleans): Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Knowing the Eagles, they are going to prioritize corner and edge rusher in this draft. Ringo is going to get downgraded for his hip stiffness, but he is a big (6-foot-2), fast, disciplined player who can upgrade their defense. The junior totaled 41 tackles and two interceptions this season.
11. Tennessee Titans: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Taylor Lewan has struggled to stay healthy for the Titans , and the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Jones plays with a physical edge that should fit right in with coach Mike Vrabel.
12. Houston Texans (From Cleveland): Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The Texans add a much needed weapon to support Bryce Young in the passing game. Addison, who has more than 2,400 receiving yards to go with 25 TD catches the past two seasons, is the most polished receiver in this year’s class.
13. New York Jets: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
The Jets are in desperate need of an offensive tackle to protect whoever is playing quarterback for them next season. The 6-foot-6 Johnson is an athletic mover who is an easy projection to the NFL.
14. New England Patriots: Andre Carter, Edge, Army
Carter is raw but boasts rare length (6-foot-7) and a high upside. He produced 14.5 sacks in 2021. Coach Bill Belichick has an affinity for the military academies.
15. Green Bay Packers: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Left tackle David Bahktiari hasn’t played a full season since 2019 and isn’t getting any younger (31). Skoronski is a solid player who should be able to make a smooth transition to the NFL game.
16. Washington Commanders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Richardson might need time to develop, but he is a high-upside prospect at 6-foot-4, 236 pounds. Washington needs to add a spark to their offense.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
We’ve had this connection pegged for some time, so we are sticking with it. His father was a linebacker for the Steelers.
18. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Lions have had one of the best offenses in the NFL this season, and they are plugging holes on the defense with this draft (added Bryan Bresee with their earlier pick). Gonzalez has all the tools, and he has improved throughout his career, making four interceptions in 2022.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
The Tampa defense needs a player who can impact the QB off the edge. Smith is a good scheme fit who can rush and drop into coverage equally well.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Simpson can help fill in for the injured Jordyn Brooks next season, and he can play along side him when Brooks returns to good health.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Evan Engram is on a one-year contract and could attract a decent amount of suitors in free agency. Mayer, who had 67 catches and nine TDs in 2022, is a solid two-way tight end who gives quarterback Trevor Lawrence a reliable post-up target between the hashes and gives the offense more personnel flexibility.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forfeited
The Miami Dolphins forfeit their first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
23. New York Giants: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
The Giants need an outside threat at receiver. There is no other player in this draft who can threaten a defense with speed like Hyatt, who ran a 10.46 100-meter back in 2019. He averaged 18.9 yards per catch and hauled in 15 TD passes.
24. Baltimore Ravens: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Other than Mark Andrews, the Ravens have not been able to develop a consistent receiving threat. Boutte has some character concerns on and off the field, but Baltimore might be willing to take the risk on the ultra-talented Boutte. He flashed elite talent in 2021, scoring nine touchdowns in six games before a disappointing 2022 campaign.
25. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Keenan Allen is 30 years old and only has two years left on his contract. Mike Williams signed a three-year extension last offseason, but the Chargers can save $20 million against the cap by cutting or trading him after the 2023 season. Downs, who had 19 touchdowns combined the past two seasons, provides quarterback Justin Herbert a long-term explosive target who can create separation from the slot.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Dallas might struggle to keep Tony Pollard in free agency, and they are lucky to have Robinson fall in their lap. He is a tremendous all-around back capable of a full-time load. He accounted for 35 rushing and receiving TDs and 3,300 yards from scrimmage during the past two seasons.
27. Cincinnati Bengals: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Bengals have free-agent and performance questions in the secondary. Forbes is a playmaking corner (14 interceptions and six pick-sixes during his three seasons) who plays with swagger and confidence.
28. Minnesota Vikings: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The Vikings ranked 31st in pass defense this past season. Witherspoon is a productive (41 tackles, three INTs), physical corner who should compete for a Day 1 starting spot.
29. Denver Broncos (from San Francisco through Miami): Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Javonte Williams tore his ACL in October, so his availability for the start of next season is unclear. Gibbs can step in right away and is a an explosive back with rare route running ability (1,370 scrimmage yards, 10 TDs) to pair with Williams in the long-term.
30. Buffalo Bills: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Buffalo will have some questions at safety this off-season, and Branch is a player with the versatility, athleticism and toughness to play anywhere in the secondary.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Both of the Chiefs’ starting tackles are scheduled to be free agents and their play was less than elite this year. They need invest in protection for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: B.J. Ojulari, Edge, LSU
The Eagles continue to prioritize and build a stable of edge rushers and corners. Ojulari, who has 25.5 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks in three seasons, is the next best edge rusher on our board.