The 2023 NFL preseason officially wrapped up on Monday, and all eyes are on Week 1. Several rookies performed fantastically in the preseason, while others left us wanting more.
But imagine for a second the entire league had a chance to re-do the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. How much different would it look after seeing these rookies on an NFL field?
Here is how we think it will go now that the preseason has ended.
2023 NFL Re-Draft
1. Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
Original Pick: Young
The Carolina Panthers’ first-team offense struggled out of the gate in the preseason, but Bryce Young looks like the real deal. His poise and accuracy were on display as he moved around in the pocket and made incredible throws.
It will take the Panthers some time to build the right offense around Young, but he appears to be on the right track to be a future star.
2. Houston Texans: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Original Pick: Stroud
C.J. Stroud had a bit of a rough preseason, but there is nothing to suggest the Houston Texans regret selecting him at No. 2. He has already been named the starter and has shown some signs of improvement the more that he’s played.
The most encouraging sign from Stroud is his willingness to use his legs to create positive plays, something he didn’t always do at Ohio State. If he can threaten defenses with his mobility as a rookie, Houston has a chance to be better on offense than expected.
3. Houston Texans: Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
Original Pick: Anderson Jr.
The haul the Texans gave up to acquire Will Anderson Jr. deserves a ton of scrutiny, but the player does not. Anderson looked incredible in the preseason, and it won’t be a shock if he’s a top-10 edge rusher by the 2024 season.
He will immediately be a problem for offensive coordinators, which is rare for rookie pass rushers.
4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Original Pick: Richardson
Anthony Richardson has had some ups and downs in the preseason, but the Indianapolis Colts made the right decision to name him the starter for Week 1. His athleticism will allow the Colts offense to succeed immediately as he continues to grow as a passer.
5. Seattle Seahawks: Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Original Pick: Devon Witherspoon
Tyree Wilson just came off the non-football injury list but looked pretty dominant in preseason Week 3. His power and athleticism would be a perfect fit in Seattle because he can bully offensive tackles back into the quarterback.
With CB Devon Witherspoon still not healthy, Wilson is the better choice for Seattle as they try to take the NFC West.
6. Arizona Cardinals: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
Original Pick: Johnson Jr.
It will take a while for the Cardinals to rebuild their offense, but having a star right tackle will help.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
Original Pick: Tyree Wilson
With Wilson off the board, the Las Vegas Raiders stay on the defensive line and take Jalen Carter. He flashed in the preseason on limited snaps, but it’s clear he’s got a rare combination of size and quickness.
Carter is already a better player than Jordan Davis, whom the Eagles drafted one year before him in the first round. It shouldn’t be long before Carter is one of the more productive defensive tackles in the NFL.
8. Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Original Pick: Robinson
It didn’t take long for Bijan Robinson to flash in the NFL. He made multiple defenders miss on his first carry and picked up a first down. The selection of a running back inside the top 10 is still puzzling, but Robinson is as good as advertised.
9. Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia
Original Pick: Jalen Carter
With Carter off the board, the Philadelphia Eagles select Nolan Smith, who they picked at No. 30 in the NFL Draft. Smith looked fantastic in the preseason. His athleticism and motor jumped off the screen. It won’t take long before he is an every-down player for Philadelphia.
10. Chicago Bears: RT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
Original Pick: Wright
The Chicago Bears traded down from No. 1 to No. 10 (after multiple trades) to select Darnell Wright. We will stay with that selection because protecting Justin Fields has to be the No. 1 goal for the Bears moving forward.
Wright only played seven preseason snaps, so it’s hard to judge him too much. But all the reports out of Chicago have been positive. He will be a Day 1 starter at left tackle for a team that needs to be much better on the offensive line.
11. Tennessee Titans: OG Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Original Pick: Skoronski
There might not be a worse offensive line in the NFL than Tennessee’s, so it’s hard to put anyone else here besides Peter Skoronski. The former Northwestern left tackle has settled in at left guard for the Tennessee Titans and looked impressive when he was on the field in the preseason.
The hope is he eventually can move out to tackle, but the Titans seem content to let him play guard as a rookie.
12. Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Original Pick: Gibbs
He’s expected to be the passing down back immediately and give the offense more explosiveness. The Lions will find creative ways to use him in space this year.
13. Green Bay Packers: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Original Pick: Lukas Van Ness
Witherspoon was picked at No. 5 by the Seahawks, but he falls a bit here after not participating in training camp or the preseason. He’s still dealing with a hamstring injury and wasn’t the most durable player during his collegiate career.
But at No. 13, he is a value and would fit well with Jaire Alexander. Witherspoon can play in the slot and outside, giving the Green Bay Packers even more versatility and flexibility in the secondary.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Original Pick: Broderick Jones
Broderick Jones was the pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 14, but he hasn’t beat out Dan Moore Jr. for the starting left tackle job. Instead, the Steelers take the best cornerback on the board in Christian Gonzalez, who has all the traits to be a No. 1 cornerback in the NFL.
15. New York Jets: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Original Pick: Will McDonald IV
Zay Flowers was the third receiver picked in the 2023 NFL Draft, and that already feels like a mistake. Flowers has been incredibly dynamic and looks like a polished NFL receiver. He would be a perfect fit as the No. 2 to Garrett Wilson and add some much-needed speed to the New York Jets’ offense.
16. Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes
Original Pick: Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes was the original pick by the Washington Commanders, and we are sticking with it. Washington is loaded on the defensive line but desperately needed a cornerback who could make plays on the ball.
Forbes has elite ball skills and profiles as a No. 1 cornerback. There will be growing pains, but this is a perfect match for both Washington and Forbes.
17. New England Patriots: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
Original Pick: Christian Gonzalez
The New England Patriots need more help at wide receiver, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba feels like a perfect fit. He is one of the best route runners in the class and can operate from the slot or on the outside.
He’s dealing with a wrist injury that could keep him out for the first month of the season, but adding a ready-made NFL receiver for Mac Jones is a significant win.
18. Detroit Lions: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Original Pick: Jack Campbell
The Lions snagged Iowa TE Sam LaPorta in Round 2, but the better pick here would have been Dalton Kincaid. During the preseason, Kincaid showed why he was the top tight end in the class, winning many 1-on-1 battles.
He would be a perfect fit in Detroit’s offense and the ideal target in the middle of the field for Jared Goff. Adding Gibbs and Kincaid in the first round of this draft gives Detroit a ton of offensive firepower going into the 2023 season.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LT Broderick Jones, Georgia
Original Pick: Calijah Kancey
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving All-Pro RT Tristan Wirfs to left tackle this year, which is a mistake. A better option would have been to draft a left tackle and keep their stud right tackle where he belongs.
Jones has had a fine preseason but slips a bit in this re-draft. He’s still a fantastic pick and would be a monster upgrade on the offensive line for the Buccaneers.
20. Seattle Seahawks: WR Jordan Addison, USC
Original Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba
The Seahawks wanted to upgrade their offense in the draft, so they went with Smith-Njigba at No. 20. But with Smith-Njigba already off the board, they took the next-best receiver available.
Jordan Addison is a fantastic route runner and would be a tremendous slot option with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. He doesn’t have the size of Smith-Njigba, but he is quicker and can easily create separation just as well.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Original Pick: Johnston
Despite a rough preseason outing for Quentin Johnston, we’re sticking with the original pick. He is still fighting the ball, as he has no natural hands.
However, the Los Angeles Chargers desperately need his size and athleticism. He’ll be the No. 3 receiver for the 2023 season. Johnston should be a productive weapon right away.
22. Baltimore Ravens: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
Original Pick: Zay Flowers
The Baltimore Ravens snagged Flowers with this pick, and they surely don’t regret that because he’s been one of the best players in the preseason. But all of the injuries at cornerback (including Marlon Humphrey) might have the Ravens second-guessing that pick a bit.
Deonte Banks isn’t a polished player, but he’s got incredible size and athleticism. Baltimore has one of the league’s worst cornerback rooms entering the season, but the addition of Banks would help stabilize the situation.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
Original Pick: Jordan Addison
After trading away Za’Darius Smith, the Minnesota Vikings need to add another pass rusher. Marcus Davenport is on a one-year deal and hasn’t stayed healthy for much of his career. McDonald would be Minnesota’s No. 3 edge rusher but could be a starter by the 2024 season.
He was a fine pick for the Jets at No. 15, but this is a better range because he is still a limited player despite being a 24-year-old rookie.
24. New York Giants: LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
Original Pick: Deonte Banks
Jack Campbell was one of the most surprising selections in the actual NFL Draft, going to the Lions at No. 18. But he’s already shown he was worth that selection in the preseason. He fell slightly in this re-draft, going to the New York Giants at No. 24.
New York has one of the worst linebacker situations in the league, but the selection of Campbell is a perfect fit. He would be a Day 1 starter and one of their best back-seven defenders.
25. Buffalo Bills: RT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
Original Pick: Dalton Kincaid
The Buffalo Bills have a significant issue at right tackle (and across the whole offensive line) because Spencer Brown struggled in the preseason. With Kincaid off the board, the Bills take the best right tackle in Dawand Jones.
Jones fell to the fourth round, but that already looks like a mistake. He played 223 snaps in the preseason and did not allow a single sack. He still needs to improve as a run blocker, but Jones would be a massive upgrade for the Bills as a pass blocker.
26. Dallas Cowboys: DT Mazi Smith, Michigan
Original Pick: Smith
Mazi Smith had a rough preseason with the Dallas Cowboys, but there were some signs of growth from him in the last few weeks. Smith will likely be a limited contributor as a rookie, but the hope is he can be a dominant run defender in time.
Run defense was a massive issue for the Cowboys last season, and they are hopeful Smith can solve that issue sooner rather than later.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
Original Pick: Harrison
With Cam Robinson suspended to start the 2023 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars almost had to make this pick at No. 27. They needed another viable option at tackle, and Anton Harrison was the best pass protector still on the board.
Harrison had a fine preseason, but the Jaguars need him to step it up early in the year until Robinson returns.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
Original Pick: Myles Murphy
He’s finally healthy, and he’s been nearly unstoppable against 1-on-1 coverage. Musgrave would be a perfect fit with Joe Burrow and would add another weapon in the middle of the field.
29. New Orleans Saints: DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Original Pick: Bryan Bresee
The New Orleans Saints selected Bryan Bresee with their original selection, but they might have gotten the steal of this re-draft with Lukas Van Ness at No. 29. Van Ness is a more athletic version of Bresee with a much higher ceiling.
He already is a difference-maker on defense and would be the perfect complement to Cameron Jordan. Van Ness is an edge rusher, but he can play all over the defensive line and would be an excellent addition for New Orleans.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: SS Brian Branch, Alabama
Original Pick: Nolan Smith
With Nolan Smith going at No. 9, the Eagles take the best defensive back on the board in safety Brian Branch. Safety is a weak spot for Philadelphia heading into the season, and Branch is one of the most versatile defensive backs in this rookie class.
He is an instant starter and should be an impact playmaker from the get-go.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Tank Dell, Houston
Original Pick: Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Let’s go off the wall here and have the Super Bowl defending champions take Tank Dell, one of the preseason’s biggest winners. With Kadarius Toney already injured, the Kansas City Chiefs could use a dynamic playmaker who can make the job of Patrick Mahomes easier.
Dell had a stellar preseason, making plays on offense and special teams. He is one of the smallest receivers in the league, but he is nearly impossible to cover 1-on-1. This might seem high for Dell, but he would be a perfect fit with Andy Reid and Mahomes.
Marcus Mosher is an NFL writer with a decade of experience in podcasting and writing for various NFL websites, including Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. He is currently a managing editor at USA Today Sports Media Group and the host of the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. Marcus has been working full-time covering the NFL since 2015 and works as a betting expert for Gambling.com. You can follow him at @Marcus_Mosher.